The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 15, No. 7


25ยข July 1, 1985

[Front page:

Solidarity with the Philippine workers and peasants--Down with the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship!;

Reagan and Congress talk about invading Nicaragua--U.S. imperialism, hands off the Nicaraguan people!;

Down with Reagan's plan to tax workers' benefits!]


The struggle continues in South Africa........................ 2
Racists launch terrorist raid Into Botswana.................. 2
'Transitional' Namibia government a racist fraud........ 2
Protests in the U.S. against apartheid........................... 3

New York: against racist police murders.................... 4
Boston: down with the racist attacks against Asians.... 4
Man jailed for self-defense against racist attack.......... 5
Hunger strike of refugees at detention center............... 5
Black mayors support Reagan's subminimum wage.... 5
Justice Department goes to bat for segregation............ 6

Strikes and work place news:

Mass. clothing workers wildcat; New York hotel strike; Detroit cab drivers; Todd shipyard workers...... 6
Sickout at Bath Iron in Maine; Yosemite Park strike... 7

More on Reagan's tax swindle..................................... 9

U.S. imperialism get out of Central America:

El Salvador................................................................... 8 & 9
Nicaragua..................................................................... 10

From Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists............................ 11
Reagan's Honduran allies -- coldblooded murderers... 12
Suppression of veterans who oppose intervention........ 19

World in struggle:

Workers' fight in Spain, Trinidad, Peru, France........... 19
No to the war in Kampuchea........................................ 13
Present-day Kampuchea -- myths and reality............. 14
General strike rocks Jamaica........................................ 15
Reaganism in Jamaica -- the poor won't take no more. 18

Introducing the journal 'Struggle'................................ 18

Agca trial: Why do capitalists take farce seriously...... 19
LEBANESE HOSTAGE CRISIS................................. 20

Solidarity with the Philippine workers and peasants

Down with the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship!

Reagan and Congress talk about invading Nicaragua

U.S. imperialism, hands off the Nicaraguan people!

Down with Reagan's plan to tax workers' benefits!

The Struggle Continues in South Africa

South African racists launch terrorist raid into Botswana

'Transitional Government' of Namibia:

A Racist Fraud

University of California students fight pro-apartheid regents

At Northwestern University near Chicago

Students take up the fight against apartheid

Seattle 'Soweto Day' protest

Shot for walking out of the ghetto

Down with the police murder of Edmund Perry!

Covering up the cover-up

New York coroner whitewashed

Another example of racist justice

Police murderer of Eleanor Bumpurs freed in New York

His 'crime' was self-defense against a racist attack

Stop the railroad of Noah Roisten in Boston


Down with racist attacks against Asians!

Hunger strike of the refugees at El Centro detention center

How the black bourgeoisie 'fights' unemployment

Black mayors support Reagan's sub-minimum wage for youth

Justice Department goes to bat for segregation

Strikes and workplace news

Taxing workers' benefits

AFL-CIO bureaucrats help out Reagan's tax swindle

No to taxing unemployment benefits!

Who benefits from Reagan's tax plan?

The rich get richer

Reagan's gift to the big corporations

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

Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists declare:

No more concessions to the big bourgeoisie!

The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists on the solidarity of the American proletariat

The World in Struggle

No to the war in Kampuchea!

Present-Day Kampuchea-Myths and Reality

Revolution surges forward in the Philippines

Reagan's undying love for Marcos

Reaganism in Jamaica- the poor won't take no more!

General Strike Rocks Jamaica

Introducing the journal 'Struggle'

Star witness Agca claims he's Jesus Christ

Why do the capitalists take this farce seriously?

Reagan's Honduran allies are coldblooded murderers

Suppressing the veterans who oppose intervention

On the crisis over the hijacking of TWA Flight 847

U.S. imperialism and Israeli Zionism hold Lebanon as hostage

Solidarity with the Philippine workers and peasants

Down with the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship!

Like a typhoon developing in the Pacific, the revolutionary movement in the Philippines is gathering strength in the fight against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. From Manila to Washington, government officials and "Asia experts" are biting their lips in worry. Some have begun the countdown on Marcos. And there are ominous signs that plans are being drawn up for U.S. military intervention.

Rebel guerrillas are now active in 62 of the country's 73 provinces and they clashed with government troops in 3,500 engagements last year. They are now able to field as many as 200 fighters in battles. The cities too are beginning to see the emergence of an armed revolutionary presence.

The struggle of the working class has taken a prominent place in the current upsurge. For over a year now, a powerful wave of economic strikes has hit the capitalist exploiters, the biggest strike wave in the country's history. As the mass struggle develops steam, workers are launching strikes combining economic and political demands. Whole provinces have been hit with general strikes during the last few months.

As well, political demonstrations continue to draw the workers, youth and urban poor into struggle. Just recently, on June 12, while Marcos was trying to intimidate the masses with military displays at an Independence Day parade, ten thousand people marched on the U.S. Embassy to denounce the U.S.- Marcos dictatorship.

A Just Struggle Against Tyranny, Exploitation and U.S. Imperialism

The working people of the Philippines are fighting the cruel despot Ferdinand Marcos. His is a regime of terror against the masses. It rules by jailing, torturing and murdering its opponents. While the worst treatment is reserved for revolutionary activists and the poor, the regime even thinks nothing of murdering its bourgeois opponents as it did in August 1983 with the liberal politician Benigno Aquino.

The dictatorship presides over a system of unbridled exploitation of the workers and peasants. The Marcos family and its cronies have amassed great wealth from the sweat of the toilers. Peasants groan under landlord tyranny and workers slave away at pitiful wages for local capitalists and multinational corporations from the U.S., Japan and other imperialist countries. And at the moment, the toilers are suffering under extra-heavy burdens due to the severe capitalist economic crisis that has the country in its grip.

The Marcos regime, like the other capitalist-landlord regimes that preceded it, has also continued to allow U.S. imperialism, the former colonial master of the country, to ride roughshod over the Filipino people. Besides the plunder by the U.S. monopolies, the country is also home to two huge U.S. military bases from where Washington keeps guard over its Asian imperial sphere of influence.

For decades, the Filipino workers and peasants have fought for an end to U.S. imperialist domination and for liberation from the capitalist-landlord oligarchy. Since the late 1960's this struggle has been gathering strength and over the last two years it has developed into a mighty torrent. Today revolution is coming to knock on the door of the dictatorship. And this valiant struggle is blowing an invigorating breeze across South East Asia and the eastern Pacific.

U.S. Imperialism, Get Out of the Philippines!

The Wall Street billionaires? the generals in the Pentagon and the politicians in Washington ardently love the Marcos regime.

Occasionally a few liberals in Washington will wring their hands about "human rights" abuses, but when all is said and done, they will go and dutifully vote for more aid for Marcos. After all, they beat their breasts and declare -- we may lose our ally, our outpost, our bases, our profits and all else.

As the revolutionary movement advances, U.S. imperialism steps up its maneuvers to defend its interests in the Philippines. Aid to the Filipino army mounts. Hugs and kisses continue for Marcos and his lady, the Marie Antoinette of the Philippines. And there are fingers kept in the pie of the liberal bourgeois opposition, just in case things get so hot that a change of bourgeois horses becomes necessary. In the meantime, in the background talk has already begun of contingency plans for military intervention.

Workers and all progressive people! Let us declare our solidarity with the fighting workers and peasants of the Philippines. Let us raise our voices in protest against the Marcos dictatorship and the aid that U.S. imperialism showers on him!

We must stand vigilant against plans for U.S. military intervention. "Our" imperialist ruling class has a disgusting legacy in the Philippines. It waged a brutal colonial war there at the turn of the century, a war which was in many ways like the savage aggression in Viet Nam. It kept the country as an outright colony for decades. Japan stole the colony during World War II, but with the defeat of Japan, the U.S. came in not as liberators but as the old colonial power seeking to keep its claws firmly in the country. It came in to crush the communist-led revolutionary movement that had courageously fought against the Japanese occupation and bore the brunt of the fight to liberate the Philippines. It backed up the cruel war against these Huk guerrillas and installed a capitalist- landlord regime of its lackeys.

Workers and progressive people! Such were the crimes committed in our name in the not too distant past. Let us stand up against the threat of yet another chapter in this disgusting imperialist chronicle.

We say: No to U.S. imperialism in the Philippines! Down with the Marcos tyranny! Welcome the advances of the revolutionary struggle of the workers and peasants!

[Photo: The guerrilla movement ls gathering strength across the Philippines.]

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Reagan and Congress talk about invading Nicaragua

U.S. imperialism, hands off the Nicaraguan people!

Six years ago, in July 1979, the Nicaraguan people rose up and overthrew the tyranny of the Somoza dictatorship. For over four decades the Nicaraguan workers and peasants had suffered under one of the most fanatical and ruthless tyrannies that Latin America had ever known. The principal pillar of Somoza's rule was the National Guard, originally set up and trained by U.S. occupation forces in the 1920's. But, while the American capitalists scornfully referred to Nicaragua as a "banana republic," the Nicaraguan people never gave up their striving to be free and, in 1979, they carried out a successful insurrection.

The Nicaraguan revolution has brought the Nicaraguan toilers more freedom than any other Central American people enjoys. And it is possible that the workers and poor peasants may yet go beyond the petty-bourgeois Sandinistas with their vacillating policy of concessions to the rich; they may carry this revolution to conclusion and bring the working class to power.

All this frightens the American capitalists. They saw no problem with the old rule of Somoza because he guaranteed the profits of the capitalists and loyally obeyed the dictates of Washington. But the Nicaraguan revolution has brought one headache after another to the exploiters.

The Democrats and Republicans Have Followed a Common Policy of Striving to Strangle the Revolution

This is why, ever since Somoza was overthrown, both the Democrats and the Republicans have striven to undermine the revolution and restore U.S. imperialist influence. This began under the Democrat Carter, and it continued when Reagan took office. This is why the Democrats have supported the essence of each new aggressive step of the Reagan administration against Nicaragua, quibbling only over timing, over how to mobilize more support for these steps from U.S. imperialist allies, and over technical issues.

Thus it should come as no surprise that, now that the Reagan administration has begun floating talk about a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua, the House Democrats have fallen into line. (See page 11 for Reagan's talk about invading Nicaragua.) Congress has begun debating what a suitable pretext for invading Nicaragua would be. And just a few days ago, on June 27, the Democratic-controlled House passed a resolution setting forth conditions under which it would consider an invasion of Nicaragua reasonable.

Whether an invasion comes soon, or whether Reagan, the. CIA and the Pentagon continue the "policy of bleeding Nicaragua in an attempt to inspire internal discontent, it is clear that U.S. imperialism is stepping up pressure on Nicaragua. It is time for all friends of the Nicaraguan people to rally to the defense of the Nicaraguan revolution. We must fight the imperialist plans and render support to the rights and liberties of the Nicaraguan toilers.

The House Democrats Talk About Invading Nicaragua

And part of this is casting aside all illusions in the Democrats. The rest of this article is devoted to examining the recent vote of the House Democrats on the bill that lists conditions for the invasion of Nicaragua. This shameless act shows the truth that hides behind the lying words of the Democrats about opposing Reagan and his war plans.

This time no one can say that the Democratic Party tried to stop the resolution, but a handful of conservative Democrats foiled the will of the House leadership by voting with the Republicans. On the contrary, this resolution passed overwhelmingly, 312-111, with a majority of House Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The negative votes in the House were apparently from some Republicans who thought that the invasion of Nicaragua didn't require a pretext at all, and some Democrats who thought that the pretext had to be better thought out.

"Barring the Use of Combat Troops" -- Unless, Of Course, Reagan Finds Them Necessary

Naturally the resolution wasn't entitled "resolution to authorize a future invasion of Nicaragua." Why, that wouldn't be good form. Goodness, no. Decades ago the U.S. got rid of its "Secretary of War" and replaced it with a "Secretary of Defense." And following this example, the resolution on how to find a pretext to invade Nicaragua was advertised as a resolution banning the use of combat troops in Nicaragua. It was supposed to be an example of how the Democrats save the country from the follies of Republican and Reaganite warmongering.

However, this ban isn't absolute. No one can accuse the House Democrats of being rigid, inflexible or dogmatic. So this year, seeing that Reagan has begun to discuss the invasion of Nicaragua, the Democrats decided to advise him on what a suitable reason for that invasion would be. According to the June 28 issue of the New York Times, the bill that passed so overwhelmingly "would leave the President free to send troops to Nicaragua if sophisticated jet-fighter planes or nuclear weapons were introduced there, to respond to hijacking or other acts of terrorism, to protect American citizens or to counter 'a clear and present danger of attack' on the United States or its allies."

In brief, the House Democrats were careful to include every one of the major lying pretexts that Reagan uses to wave the big stick around the world. And, of course, the "President" who is to interpret these conditions is none other than Mr. Reagan himself, who the Democrats were supposed to be saving us from.

The House Says -- You Can Invade If Nicaragua Gets MiGs or Jet Trainers

Consider the question of jet aircraft. The Reagan administration has already used this pretext to whip up a warmongering hysteria against Nicaragua and to threaten the use of American airstrikes or other measures. Indeed, Nicaragua doesn't even actually have to import these planes: all it took was the arrival of some large crates in Nicaragua last fall for Reagan to begin raising a hue and cry. But the House Democrats dutifully echo Reagan. They give themselves the right to dictate what weapons Nicaragua can or can't use to defend itself from the U.S. invasion threat, and they endorse in advance this pretext for the use of combat troops against Nicaragua.

Or to Protect American Citizens

Consider the question of protecting American citizens. This was the lying pretext that Reagan used to invade Grenada. But how could the Democrats refuse its use to Reagan? After all, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson used this excuse to invade the Dominican Republic in 1965.

Or If You Accuse the Sandinistas of Terrorism

And what about the question of hijacking and acts of terrorism? The Reagan administration uses this elastic pretext to justify anything. Just in the days before the vote in the House, the Reagan administration was using this pretext to discuss who to assassinate in the Middle East and to justify the escalation of the war in El Salvador. But none of this bothers the House Democrats, who find it perfectly reasonable.

Or If a U.S. Ally Is In Danger of Being Attacked

As well, the bill stated that if there was a "clear and present danger of attack'' on the U.S. or its allies, this too would be a suitable pretext. But everyone knows that Reagan is surrounding Nicaragua with a ring of iron, making Honduras into one big American base, sending military advisers to Costa Rica, and so forth. And Reagan and company have been fabricating border incidents for months on end. The House Democrats rushed to endorse this time-honored pretext for invasion.

Note that the Democrats are so anxious to jump into a larger war in Central America that they don't even require a U.S. ally to be attacked. All that is necessary is that Reagan can pull out a few intelligence reports to justify saying there is a "clear and present danger.''

The House Democrats were even shameless enough to allow in the bill the suggestion that it is Nicaragua that might be a "clear and present danger'' to the U.S., and not the U.S. to Nicaragua. Of course, this is necessary to endorse Reagan's "national emergency," which states that Nicaragua is already a danger to the U.S.

The Minority of Democrats Who Voted Against the Bill Only Wanted More Careful Pretexts for War

Furthermore, even the Democrats who voted against the bill weren't against an invasion of Nicaragua. They did not get up and declare that invading Nicaragua was immoral aggression, was a crime against humanity, or something similar. They simply wanted the original form of the bill, as it was introduced into the House by Democratic Whip Thomas Foley of Washington, which declared, in the words of the New York Times, that "no money in the military bill could be used to send combat troops to Nicaragua except to defend against a clear danger to the United States or to honor treaties with Nicaragua's neighbors." In short, they wanted the Reagan administration to be more picky in its use of pretext to invade.

Clearly this bill, even in its original form, actually opens the path for attacking Nicaragua. Besides providing an appropriate pretext for invasion, it clearly endorses the U.S. imperialist practice of invading without a declaration of war. This was supposed to be a disgusting practice when the fascists used it in World War II, but it now is the standard method for Pentagon aggression. The Nicaraguans apparently don't really have to be considered a people or a nation with any rights that the U.S. imperialist supermen have to respect, and so the usual rules of war can be dispensed with.

It is no wonder then that Mr. Foley himself, and many or most other supporters of his bill, also voted for the amended version that actually passed.

Lulling the Working People to Sleep

The New York Times also points out that the supporters of Mr. Foley's original form of the bill "said it was a response to widespread public fears that the Administration may secretly contemplate an invasion." But, as we have seen, it is no secret that the Reaganites are contemplating an invasion. Even if they didn't say so, all their military exercises in Honduras and other steps point in that direction. But in fact the Reaganites are talking about this invasion and are discussing it with Congress. Hence quieting the fears of the public simply means lulling the American working people to sleep with the illusion that Reagan will not act. It means trying to head off demonstrations and mass actions and ensuring a "quiet rear" for the Reaganites.

In the past the House has passed an alleged ban on combat troops being used in Nicaragua in a form close to that of Foley's present bill. And all it was was hypocrisy to disarm the people and reassure them that the Pentagon isn't so bad -- the House Democrats have everything under control. In fact, while these bills are passed year after year, combat troops were indeed being used in Nicaragua. They have been overflying Nicaragua in jet fighter planes (as even the American TV news has shown), training the contras, transporting them to and from battle, bombing and mining the ports and oil facilities, and exchanging gunfire with the Nicaraguan military. (See, for example, the article "U.S. combat troops in the secret war on Nicaragua" in The Workers' Advocate of January 1,1985, which discusses the revelations in the bourgeois press about the use of "special forces" units of the regular American armed forces against Nicaragua.)

If the Democrats had really wanted to fight the Reaganites, they should have exposed the use of combat troops, not told the people that this use had been barred. And the liberals could have done this and done it effectively without needing to win a majority vote in the House. But they didn't because their intention was to increase the effectiveness of the Pentagon, to provide it with a better political cover, and to ensure that it goes into battle with the proper justifications on its lips, and not to prevent it from committing aggression.

The difference between the bill as passed this year and as it was passed last year, therefore, is not that the Democrats have abandoned opposition to the use of combat troops in Central America. There never was any such opposition and the past bills did not prevent the use of combat troops. The difference is that this year the majority of the Democrats decided that it was more important to march in step with Reagan's talk of invasion of Nicaragua than to preserve this particular bit of political deception of the masses.

This Year's Bill Shows that Strangling the Nicaraguan Revolution Has Always Been a Bipartisan Policy of Both Democrat and Republican

The Democrats have joined the war talk against Nicaragua. This shows more clearly than anything else the real nature of the Democratic Party, its total commitment to imperialism, its role as a diehard party of imperialism, militarism and aggression. What value is there to the various quibbles of the Democrats with Reagan over exactly how much money to pay the contras, exactly what rhetoric to use, and so forth -- when the bottom line is that the Democrats are willing to follow Reagan in clearing the political obstacles to an invasion? Clearly, the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans are over how best to carry out the strangling of Nicaragua. They may be important differences to those who are planning to be the hangmen of Nicaragua, but they are unimportant to those who disagree with the goal of strangling Nicaragua, to those who wish to fight against U.S. aggression against Nicaragua.

The true friends of the Nicaraguan people must cast aside illusions in the Democrats. They must instead wage a real struggle against Reaganism, a struggle against imperialism. They must organize the working class to fight against the capitalists and their warmongering parties -- the Republicans and the Democrats.

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Down with Reagan's plan to tax workers' benefits!

Reagan, that cynical voice box of the billionaires, is trying to act like a born- again savior of the working people. Reagan claims that his new "tax reform" is "fair" and even "reduces the tax burdens on the working people." Yet one of its central features is to extend the tax on workers, now for the first time taxing the benefits that workers have won through decades of hard fought struggles. This is not "fairness" but another part of the capitalist take-back offensive which must be fought with all the might that the workers can muster.

Under Reagan's plan, medical insurance benefits, workers' compensation, black lung benefits, and death insurance would be taxed for the first time. As well, Reagan's plan extends the tax on unemployment insurance so that now a worker would have to pay income taxes on every cent of unemployment benefits received. According to minimized figures from Reagan's Treasury Department, the tax on medical benefits, unemployment insurance, and workers' compensation alone would cost the workers $26 billion over the next five years and by 1990 would amount to an additional tax burden of about $7 pillion yearly.

And this is just the first step. Reagan's plan is an attempt to establish the principle of taxing workers' benefits. To get this passed with as little opposition as possible Reagan has initially kept some of this new tax relatively low. And he has also increased the personal exemption an individual may take. As a result, while some workers' taxes will rise immediately, others may get a small tax break. But this is only temporary. Once the principle is established as law, one can be sure that the taxes will be raised and extended to cover all the workers' benefits. In the final analysis Reagan's "tax reform" is another program to further shift the burden of taxation onto the working masses.

Taxing Workers' Benefits -- Part of the Capitalist Offensive Against the Workers

Reagan's tax plan is neither fair nor of help to the workers. It is another plan to skin the workers for the benefit of the rich. While adding new taxes on the workers' benefits, Reagan's plan takes a giant step towards eliminating the very idea of progressive taxes where the richer you are the more you should pay. He cuts the tax brackets from 14 to 3, lowers the top tax rate for the wealthy from 50% to 35%, and also cuts the tax rate on the corporations from 46% to 33%. While the handful of billionaires and giant corporations pay nothing or next to nothing, the working people are taxed to death.

And what for? In the name of "reducing the deficit" the few benefits the workers received from their taxes are being slashed to the bone. Meanwhile the greatest part of the taxes are being spent on building up the imperialist war machine and paying out interest to the banks and giving handouts to the monopolies. The whole tax system is a monster squeezing the life out of the working people for the benefit of the capitalist exploiters. And every new "tax reform," whether Reagan's which most Democrats support, or the separate Democratic Party plans which are almost identical to Reagan's, aims to make this monster more brutal.

If the workers are to get tax relief they will have to fight for it. The latest tax "reforms" should be exposed throughout the factories. And the workers must build up their own movement, independent from and against the capitalist exploiters and their two main political parties, the Republicans and Democrats. By building up their organization and mounting class struggle the workers can beat back the capitalist takeback offensive and rally all the oppressed for revolutionary battle. Only such a struggle can shift the burden of taxation onto the rich and prepare the ground to eliminate all exploitation. Down with Reagan's "tax reform"! Build the independent movement of the working class! Tax the rich, make the capitalists pay!

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The Struggle Continues in South Africa

Today South Africa is a boiling cauldron of struggle against the racist apartheid system. Since August some 400 martyrs have been murdered in the fight for freedom. But still the movement moves irresistibly forward. In June the tempo of the struggle remained high.

Struggle in the Black Townships

The oppressed toilers of the black townships rose up in one battle after another against the racist authorities. On June 16 in Soweto 4,000 people commemorated the anniversary of the powerful 1977 Soweto uprising which had been bloodily suppressed by the authorities who killed 600 black protestors. The commemoration was not simply a time for bitter memories, but served as a rally for further struggle. When the masses emptied from the commemoration meeting, they unleashed their hatred on the racist police who had surrounded the meeting hall, hurling rocks at the police vehicles. The police responded with characteristic brutality, tear gassing the crowd and firing rubber bullets at the masses.

A particular target of the upsurge in the townships continued to be the black police and other collaborators with the racist regime. On June 8 the masses of Zwide, a black township near Port Elizabeth, attacked the home of a black policeman; the regime's police responded by killing three blacks.

In mid-June rebellions broke out in several townships. The police killed four in these clashes. But at the month's end the townships near Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg were again erupting.

The later part of the month also witnessed a wave of grenade attacks against the regime. These attacks and other actions are indicative of what even the bourgeois press recognizes as the rapidly growing desire of the black masses to take up armed struggle. It shows the black people desire revolution.

A New Ban on Public Meetings

The South African authorities have spared nothing to crush the rebellions. Besides shooting down the masses, they have sought to curtail any form of opposition political activity. At the end of June, for example, the Botha regime more than doubled the number of anti-apartheid groups banned from holding public meetings and extended the ban for six months. The ban now includes the Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO) along with previously banned groups affiliated to the United Democratic Front and the African National Congress. The new ban applies to 30 communities mainly in the Orange Free State. The regime had already earlier prohibited meetings in the Cape and Transvaal provinces.

The Uitenhage Massacre Inquiry: How the Regime "Reforms" Itself

While cracking down harder on the oppressed, the racist regime has sought to hide behind a "reform" shield. Thus it conducted an investigation of the March 21 police massacre at Uitenhage. Recently the judge presiding over the hearings released his findings.

The judge admitted that the police had provoked the incident in the first place by banning the march. He conceded that, in reality, the masses did not launch threatening attacks on the police and that the police lied about this. Then with a display of amazing "logic," the judge refused to condemn the officers in charge of the massacre! Such is the incredible sham nature of the slave- masters' words of "reform." It proves that the South African regime lives on massacre of the blacks, and so even when the racist overlords themselves admit that an unprovoked slaughter took place, they have no intention of punishing the murderers who were only doing their duty for the racist system.

Clearly there is no way the bloodstained racists will ever reform themselves. It is the revolution of the black and other oppressed toilers which will wipe out the blight of apartheid.

[Photo: Militant black youth confront the racist army in Soweto, June 16.]

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South African racists launch terrorist raid into Botswana

The white-supremacist rulers of South Africa added to their endless list of crimes a murderous rampage into neighboring Botswana on June 14. The troops of the racist regime invaded the capital of Botswana, Gaborone, and opened up with mortars and hand grenades on several buildings. At least 16 people were killed in the attacks, including a five year old girl.

The self-anointed bastions of "civilization" who rule South Africa think nothing of invading another country at the drop of a hat. One day it is Mozambique, the next Angola, then Botswana. With this activity, the South African government is keeping up with the current fashion among the reactionary capitalist states. After all, the "civilized" U.S. can invade Grenada because it does not like its government, Israel can invade and occupy Lebanon with impunity, and Soviet social-imperialism imposes its dictate on Afghanistan. This is just part of the "civilizing" mission of imperialism!

The pretext for South Africa's invasion was that it was fighting "terrorists." But if the South African racist regime were really interested in fighting terrorists, they should drop bombs on their own government buildings of Pretoria. The very life blood of apartheid is terror. The South African masses are regularly gunned down in the streets, opposition meetings are banned, and a police state bears down on the masses in every aspect of daily life.

Meanwhile any opponent of white racist rule is dubbed a "terrorist" or a supporter of "terrorists" by the slave-master regime. Thus the Botha regime used the excuse of going after members of the African National Congress to justify the raid in Botswana. This is a fine example of turning truth upside down. The racist slave masters arm to the teeth, and then whimper that the masses fight back. Besides, it can be noted that the ANC was openly opposed to armed struggle for nearly five decades but was suppressed anyway by the South African government. Today ANC does engage in some armed resistance to the government's terror and this is completely just. (Nevertheless the ANC, although it talks of revolution and occasionally engages in armed actions, pursues an essentially reformist strategy.)

The Reagan administration at first showed mock disapproval of the raid, calling back its ambassador to South Africa for consultations. But soon it was leaping to the defense of the invasion. At his June 18 press conference Reagan's only objection to the raid was the question "was the strike back at the people that were guilty, or was it just retaliation in a general direction?" Thus Reagan shamelessly defends the murderous invasion. After all, in his views, it is those opposing the racist regime who are "guilty" and subject to immediate execution. Only Reagan is a little worried that lobbing shells into buildings housing small children may look a bit indiscriminate.

The racist regime may be despised by the masses worldwide. But it will always have a friend in U.S. imperialism.

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'Transitional Government' of Namibia:

A Racist Fraud

On June 15, the racist South African rulers gave a new form to their tyrannical rule over the Namibian people. They replaced their avowed rule over the neighboring country of Namibia with the fiction of a "Namibian government." This absurd facade, called the "Transitional Government of National Unity," replaces a system whereby South Africa exercised its direct control of Namibia through an appointed Administrator General who was given vast powers. By billing this alleged "transitional government" as a move toward Namibian independence, the racist Botha regime of South Africa hoped to undercut the revolutionary struggle of the Namibian masses to throw out the South African tyrants.

But this fraud fooled no one. The very day the new administration came to power, a black township near the capital city of Windhoek erupted with protest. The new government responded savagely. Police with riot sticks charged demonstrators and tear-gassed them as well. All told, 67 people were wounded in the clash. Thus the new government quickly proved that it is simply a new whiphand for the racist overlords in Pretoria.

A New Face for South African Rule

Even a brief look shows that the new administration is a puppet of Pretoria. There were no elections for the new government. Its cabinet and legislature were all appointed under South African direction. South Africa will continue to have direct control over foreign affairs and defense, including the running of the ongoing war to suppress the liberation struggle for an independent Namibia. The new government formally controls the 20,000 strong internal security force and other aspects of domestic policy. But all the purse strings of the new government are tied to Pretoria which will finance the new regime.

The South African government is also taking pains to hide the racist nature of the new administration. Thus it uses black sellouts as frontmen in the government. How kind of the white masters! Of course, these black lackeys are hated by the Namibian people and South Africa is afraid to hold an election for these so-called "representatives" of the Namibian people. Among the other obviously racist features of the new administration is that whites, who make up only about 7% of the population, are guaranteed one-fourth of the cabinet posts.

Moreover the new government will take over the previously existing racist structures. For example, they will run the segregated education system. And they will oversee a grossly unequal system where the white exploiters, and financially privileged white community as a whole, fund only their own separate health, education and other social programs. Meanwhile the impoverished black masses have to finance their social programs from their own meager resources.

Clearly the new administration will continue the South African tradition of all-encompassing racism.

U.S. Imperialism Stands Loyally Behind South Africa

The stand of U.S. imperialism toward this latest South African outrage has been typical. The Reagan administration mumbled a few words of disagreement with the establishment of the new government in Namibia. But it was careful to continue its all-round military, economic and propaganda support of the Botha regime. The U.S. "opposition" to the creation of the new administration was merely to preserve appearances before the African people and the American people.

U.S. imperialism was not upset in the least about the continuation of the South African jackboot in Namibia. This indeed is what the Reagan administration really wants. The only thing that bothered the Reaganites was that the establishment of the new puppet government might expose too clearly that South Africa had no intention of ever leaving Namibia.

The plots of racist South Africa and U.S. imperialism are fueling the anger of the Namibian people. The June 15 demonstrations have served notice that the Namibian masses are determined to smash the plans of Washington and Pretoria and liberate Namibia from South Africa.

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University of California students fight pro-apartheid regents

On June 20 and 21 University of California students and other activists held militant actions in San Francisco to demand that the university regents end the school's gigantic $2.4 billion investment in companies doing business in South Africa. When the regents defied the will of the students and on June 21 voted to continue their vast economic support of apartheid slavery, the outraged activists took to the streets in angry protest, pledging to intensify their fight for divestment.

The June actions mark the continuation of the determined struggle which swept across the Berkeley and other campuses of the University of California in April and May. The protests have included over a month-long occupation of the steps of Berkeley's Sproul Hall (renamed Biko Hall by the activists) during which the students endured police assaults, mass arrests and heavy, trumped-up charges in the capitalist courts. Class boycotts, mass demonstrations and other protests have also broken out as the activists at Berkeley and the other of the school's campuses pressed forward their struggle.

Demonstrations at the Regents' Meeting of June 20-21

Despite the fact that the regents' meeting was purposely put off until summer recess and held away from the Berkeley campus, which is a center of protest, well over 1,000 students, workers and other activists participated in the two days of actions to condemn apartheid and demand "Divestment now!" On the morning of the 20th the anti-apartheid forces began gathering near the site of the regents' meeting. Immediately they were faced with the elaborate preparations of the San Francisco police department which spared no effort to protect the regents from the anger of the activists. Streets all around the University of California extension center were cordoned off and classes for the extension center were canceled. And buses brought in nearly 200 police.

Despite this show of force, the activists persisted with their plans for a militant picket. Several times they marched across nearby Market Street, stretching banners from one side of the street to the other. The police, leaping to the defense of apartheid, attacked the protestors, arresting 26. The activists vigorously denounced this suppression, raising the slogan "SFPD acting in support of white supremacy! "

That afternoon demonstrators held a march down Market Street. Along the way the march was joined by workers and youth who swelled the march's ranks to 500, over twice its original size. The march ended with a two-hour rally where the protestors raised the slogans "No to racism! No to apartheid!'' and "UC investment, we see apartheid!''

Playacting of the Regents

Despite the overwhelming opposition of the students, the regents voted on June 21 for a disgraceful plan which continues the school's huge investment in apartheid but behind a flimsy cover of "opposition'' to apartheid. The regents' plan creates a committee which will review whether companies in which the university has invested follow the bankrupt Sullivan principles, those empty paper agreements which many companies sign in order to pretend they are opposing racism when they operate in South Africa. This gesture is especially meaningless when one considers that all but two of the 33 companies in the university's investment portfolio already have signed the Sullivan principles. But, even if a company was found guilty of violating this code, the committee has no power to divest the holdings. Instead it can only politely ask the regents to divest.

The Regents' Plan Fools No One

This shameful fraud outraged the anti-apartheid activists. Virtually the entire public audience at the regents' meeting stormed out. Some others remained; when they rose to denounce the decision, instantly the police swooped down and arrested the dissenters.

Soon a march of 200 people headed towards the downtown area. The police thugs tried to stop the march, declaring it illegal, and they closed in on the march from the front and the rear. The police managed to surround one section of demonstrators, arresting over 60. But many activists escaped the police trap, regrouped, and continued with protests in the downtown area.

Liberal Mayor Diane Feinstein Directs the Repression

It is interesting to note that these police operate under the leadership of the allegedly "anti-apartheid" liberal Democratic mayor, Diane Feinstein. Feinstein thus joins the ranks of other liberals who suppress the anti-apartheid movement such as the presidents of Columbia University and Rutgers. The liberals cry about apartheid and Reagan's dastardly "constructive engagement" with the racist regime. But let the masses start any serious anti-apartheid action and the liberals respond in a manner worthy of the South African racists themselves!

Divestment Protest at UCLA

The June protests at the University of California were not confined to the San Francisco area. Earlier, on June 10, the UCLA campus had been the scene of another battle in the fight for divestment. A militant protest of 150 was held outside the Royce Hall building as the regents held hearings on divestment inside. The demonstrators shouted anti-apartheid slogans and banged sticks and pots outside the building.

When the university officials arrogantly ordered the police to keep protestors out of the "public" hearing, the demonstrators' outrage grew. The students attempted to break through the police lines and hurled bottles, cans and other debris at the police. A dozen activists who managed to get into the meeting demanded that the meeting be opened up for all to attend. As the police forced them out of the hall, the protestors exposed the reactionary nature of the school authorities, declaring that "We are experiencing apartheid right here and now at UCLA."

Indeed the vicious repression against the anti-apartheid students showed that the regents, administrators, and police all staunchly defend apartheid. This stand was spelled out clearly by various regents themselves at the meeting. The head of the regents boasted: "I'm very concerned with protecting the funds of other people....I am not charged with determining a policy on apartheid." In other words, the investment of funds in the most profitable way is his sacred principle. And therefore, in his view, the super-exploitation of the black toilers of South Africa under apartheid should be accepted on the hypocritical pretense of not "determining a policy on apartheid."

The governor of California and regent, George Deukmejian, also revealed his pro-apartheid stand, raising the bogeyman that the rich capitalist members of the Board of Regents might be sued and lose some of their personal fortunes if the university experienced financial losses from divestment.

Forward With the Anti-Apartheid Movement!

The struggle at the University of California has been an important event in the anti-apartheid movement, and it is not over yet. The resolute stand of the students shows the great potential of the mass movement against apartheid. Their stand is evidence of the deep and widespread hatred of the masses for the South African racist regime and its U.S. imperialist backers. And it shows the capacity of the masses for self-sacrificing struggle. As well, the struggle has inspired more of the progressive masses around the country to go into action themselves.

The mass struggle against apartheid must be pushed forward. The strengthening of the movement requires orienting it to support the revolutionary movement in South Africa, the only force that can sweep away apartheid once and for all. And the movement must also take up opposition to U.S. imperialism, the system that exploits the workers and poor in the U.S. and bleeds the black masses of South Africa. As well the movement must be based on rallying into the struggle the working masses in the U.S. whose class interests are completely opposed to the capitalist supporters of apartheid. Taking up these tasks will help build the movement into a mighty force that can assist the smashing of apartheid slavery.

[Photo: Anti-apartheid activists trying to free protestor from the clutches of San Francisco police thug during the militant protest of June 21.]

[Photo: MLP banner at a demonstration In Berkeley on May 16. The Bay Area Branch of the MLP has vigorously supported the militant struggle of the students of the University of California who are demanding divestment of university funds in companies operating in South Africa.]

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At Northwestern University near Chicago

Students take up the fight against apartheid

In May, a vigorous struggle against apartheid began at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Like at many other colleges across the country, the Northwestern trustees and administration have poured university funds into investments in U.S. capitalist corporations which profit from apartheid racism by operating in South Africa. Thus the students have demanded divestment of these funds. The students have also targeted the administration's racist admissions policy, demanding an increase in minority enrollment and the recruitment of black South Africans to Northwestern. As well, the activists have called for amnesty for those arrested in the course of the struggle.

The struggle began with a demonstration of over 400 students followed by a takeover of the college president's office and other offices in the administration building. The reactionary administration responded by sending in the police who arrested nearly 100 anti-apartheid protestors.

The Students Defy Repression

The administration hoped this attack would put an end to the struggle. But they were sadly mistaken. The students answered the repression with a call to maintain a constant sit-in outside the administration building until their demands were met. Anti-apartheid posters went up outside the building as the activists began their round-the-clock occupation.

Students Demonstrate at Inauguration of University President

A few days later the inauguration of the new president of Northwestern was to take place. That morning 350 protestors marched from the administration building to the ceremony site. Fifty activists with tickets to the event filed into the auditorium where the inauguration was being held. They unfurled banners, shouted slogans and distributed leaflets denouncing apartheid and Northwestern's collaborationist investment policy. Even though these activists were ushered away, the angry chanting of protestors outside could still be clearly heard in the auditorium, denouncing the school's ties to racist South Africa.

Since these spirited actions, the Northwestern students have continued their fight. And they have pledged to resume their struggle when school reopens in the fall.

The Northwestern students have taken their place among the tens of thousands of workers, students and other activists who have gone into battle against apartheid and its U.S. backers. They have punctured again the myth of the capitalist apologists that the students are all "apathetic" and "only out for themselves." No, you hired mouthpieces of the rich. It is you who are "apathetic" in the face of injustice and "only out" for currying favor with the powers that be. The students are rising up despite repression in order to stand in solidarity with the South African masses and to fight your bosses' support for the racist slavedrivers!

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Seattle 'Soweto Day' protest


On June 16 some 400 anti-apartheid activists participated in a march and rally in Seattle. The demonstration was held on the ninth anniversary of the mass uprising in Soweto in South Africa, a rebellion ruthlessly suppressed by the racist authorities. The march route went through Seattle's Central Area, a black community, where it was greeted with enthusiasm. The event culminated with a rally at a high school in the area.

The Seattle Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party prepared for this action with a campaign among the masses in support of the struggle in South Africa. A militant poster with a leaflet on the back was produced for distribution. Widespread postering, door-to-door leafleting, and distribution of The Workers' Advocate went successfully throughout the black community and among the workers at the factories. Leafleting was also done at three high schools with many students hanging up the distributed posters in their lockers at the high school where the rally was scheduled.

A Party contingent also participated in the June 16 actions (photo above shows banner at the demonstration). The contingent raised militant slogans which were readily taken up by the demonstration such as "Embargo South Africa, not Nicaragua!" and "Death to apartheid -- burn it to the ground!'' The comrades of the MLP also carried out distribution of revolutionary agitation among the protesters.

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Shot for walking out of the ghetto

Down with the police murder of Edmund Perry!

(The following leaflet was issued by the New York Metro Branch of the Leninist Party, USA on June 20, 1985.)

Edmund Perry won't be going off to college in September. He was buried this past Wednesday, felled at the age of 17 by a police bullet.

Mugger. That is the police story. Edmund Perry was a mugger who made the fatal mistake of trying his hand on a plainclothed cop. Edmund Perry was young and black, so he was a mugger. Easy as 1--2--3.

Or so the police thought. They didn't know he was a honors graduate from Phillips Exeter, the most elite private school in the country. They didn't know he had been accepted at four universities and was planning to go to Stanford in the fall. They didn't know he had a summer job with a prestigious Wall Street firm. They didn't know that he was, in his mother's words, "squeaky clean,'' so clean, say other kids from his block, that he wouldn't lie about his age to buy beer.

They didn't know and they wouldn't care either, except that the rest of the police story is so full of holes you could drive a truck through it.

Like the one about the muscular five foot, ten inch 170 pound cop who couldn't handle a skinny, six foot, one inch 150 pound kid without resorting to deadly force. A second kid, they say. A shadow figure from the fiction they call police reports.

Like the one about the fight. A fight so fierce that the cop's life was in danger. Yet the autopsy found no bruises on Edmund Perry's knuckles, found not a mark on his body -- save for the bullet hole. And the bullet had not been fired close up enough to leave powder burns. Edmund Perry had not been close enough to land a punch when the shot was fired.

Like the one about the missing backup unit. Around the comer, they say. It wasn't there for the fight; it was still delayed even after the cop radioed in the shooting. Delayed, say, by about the time it would take to double back around that corner to make it look like the first cop had been all alone and helpless.

A fight that leaves no bruises, a close- range shot that leaves no powder burns, a second kid who vanishes into the night and a backup unit that comes and goes like the Flying Dutchman. The writers for Miami Vice could do better.

The only one mugged on Morningside Avenue that evening was Edmund Perry.

The Police Patrol Morningside Park Like the Texas Rangers Patrol the Mexican Border

Morningside Park is the Rio Grande of Upper Manhattan. To the east lies Harlem; to the west, Columbia University, St. Lukes Hospital and a neighborhood largely owned by Columbia. The police patrol Morningside Avenue like the Texas Rangers patrol the border at Juarez. Black youth who cross over from Harlem are stopped and harassed, sent back if they're lucky or arrested if they aren't.

Edmund Petry had the innocence or the audacity to cross over to the other side of the park. He had the bad luck to fall into the hands of an "anti-crime" patrol. In theory, "anti-crime" patrols are decoys with backups: the decoy gets mugged and the backup comes in for the arrest. In reality, if there is no incident to be had, an "anti-crime" patrol may go out and create one. The decoy may start or fake a fight, to be followed by an arrest. While the details have been obscured, it is clear that Edmund Perry was caught in such an ambush, and this time it led to murder.

Every evening since, parents are returning home to Edmund Perry's block on 114th Street to find their children missing. Every afternoon, while the parents are at work, police haul off another carload of young people to question and harass. They're looking for the second kid, they say. In effect, they are telling the youth on the block: keep your mouth shut and don't get out of line; you could be next.

This is the police attitude toward the youth. It's open season, and the police are the hunters.

The killing of Edmund Perry is so glaring because of his impeccable credentials, credentials which would have given him a chance few others can even dream about. But thousands of other youth are the victims of unjust police attacks. And they too must have the right to walk down the street without getting harassed, arrested or shot, even if they don't happen to have a diploma from Phillips Exeter. Edmund Perry's crime was to be mistaken for an ordinary person, for one of the rest of us.

It's Time to March!

The answer to the police campaign against the youth is mass struggle. Demonstrations and picket lines can't bring Edmund Perry back to life. But they can give voice to people's outrage. They are a way to do something ourselves, instead of waiting for the authorities to investigate themselves again. They give an alternative to sitting by while this murder gets swept under the rug. And the next one. And the one after that.

It is time to demonstrate, to picket, to march. For the memory of Edmund Perry. But most of all, for the future of the rest of us.

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Covering up the cover-up

New York coroner whitewashed

(The following article is reprinted from the June 1985 issue of The West Indian Voice.)

For the past six years, police murderers in New York City have had a friend at the coroner's office. When a cover-up was needed, they could count on Chief Medical Examiner Elliot Gross. In the most horrifying cases of police beatings, strangulations and close-range shootings, Gross would be there to doctor the evidence.

Take the case of Micheal Stewart. Stewart, a young black artist, was caught painting graffiti in a subway station. For this crime, a mob of 11 transit cops clubbed, stomped and choked him. Stewart was brought in in a coma and died two weeks later.

Elliot Gross performed the autopsy on Michael Stewart himself. Two transit police detectives were present. Stewart's body was covered with bruises and contusions, but Gross did not see them. There were hemorrhages in Stewart's eyes, evidence of strangulation. But for Gross this was no problem. He plucked out the eyeballs and bleached them.

According to Gross, Michael Stewart had died of a heart attack at age 25.

Elliot Gross has been doing the job he was hired for.

In 1979 Mayor Koch fired Michael Baden as Chief Medical Examiner. According to Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau, 'Baden had been uncooperative. With a death at the hands of the police every 10 days, with elderly people dying on the street from hunger and exposure while the mayor blithely cut the budget, Koch could not afford a medical examiner wandering around loose. On Morgenthau's recommendation Koch brought in Gross as Baden's replacement.

Gross gives himself credit for "remaining functional in the face of increasing public concern over police brutality." And so he has. He has heard no evil, seen no evil and spoken no evil. He has plucked the occasional eyeball when the going gets rough. During the past six years, Elliot Gross has helped take the heat off the NYPD.

But lately it is Gross himself who has been on the hotseat. Last year Gross tried to toe the official line on the police murder of 67-year-old Eleanor Bumpurs. Bumpurs had been shot twice. The first shot took off her hand and the knife that was in it. The second shot killed her, Gross altered the medical report to hide the fact that she had been shot twice. But public outrage poured out on the Bumpurs case, leading to a series of exposures, including that of Gross' little trick. This put Gross in the spotlight and led the New York Times to exhume some of the cover-ups which Koch -- and the press -- had buried in the past. Now Gross was in the hot-seat, the subject of city, state, and federal investigations.

This has been an uncomfortable situation for Gross, but by no means a fatal one. Elliot Gross' job is cover-up; the job of the investigatory commissions has been to let off a little steam, the better to cover up the cover-up.

The city investigation is a case in point. To head the commission to investigate the Chief Medical Examiner appointed by him on the recommendation of Robert Morgenthau, Koch appointed lawyer Arthur Liman. Liman is a close associate of Morgenthau's and a Koch fund-raiser. Nothing like an insider to do the job right.

The Liman commission duly deliberated. It found that Gross had made some errors, including "confused handling" of the Stewart case. But there has been no cover-up, no indeed.

Michael Stewart had no comment.

The Gross affair shows once again how official investigations are used to whitewash official crimes. When the threat of mass outbursts looms on the horizon, commissions are appointed. They bide their time, hold their breath, and then disband. Meanwhile, business goes on as usual at the NYPD, the coroner's office and City Hall.

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Another example of racist justice

Police murderer of Eleanor Bumpurs freed in New York

(The following article is reprinted from the June 1985 issue of The West Indian Voice.)

Last October 1984, Police Officer Stephen Sullivan gunned down an elderly black grandmother during an eviction. Her only crime was failure to pay four months back rent and being black and poor. Four months later all charges against Sullivan have been dropped by State Supreme Court Judge Vitale.

This was the crowning event in a grand-scale cover-up and whitewash. From the start the indictment against Sullivan was a fraud. Explaining why he brought the indictment in the first place, Bronx D.A. Merola called the situation in the black community a "powder keg." He was referring to the protests which greeted this brutal racist police murder. The indictments were brought only to cool off the mass outrage. Now the killer Sullivan is back on full duty and it's back to business as usual at the NYPD.

From the start Mayor Koch and Ben Ward vigorously defended Sullivan claiming he was only following orders. The Medical Examiner Gross tried to suppress and distort crucial medical evidence which showed that Eleanor Bumpurs had been shot twice and that the first shot had blown off her hand and completely destroyed the knife with which she supposedly threatened six police officers. All the medical evidence showed the second shot was just plain murder.

But Justice Vitale completely ignored the medical evidence which Gross failed to cover up and found that Sullivan acted "in conformity with the guidelines and procedures" of the Emergency Services Unit. As Mrs. Bumpurs' daughter summed up: "If you're poor, if you're black, then there is no justice."

Vitale's finding that the coldblooded racist killer cop should go free because he was "following police department guidelines" is a travesty of justice which exposes the whole travesty of capitalist "justice." The "guidelines" of the NYPD and capitalist "justice" sent a squadron of cops to forcibly evict and gun down an elderly black grandmother who failed to pay her rent on time. Meanwhile, E.F. Hutton is caught stealing hundreds of millions and no one is indicted or even punished. Defense contractors have been caught stealing millions from taxpayers by charging $700 for a toilet seat or $500 for an ashtray. No one is punished. Eleanor Bumpurs paid with her life and her killer walks free. President Reagan visits Bitburg to bless the Nazi SS and killer cops go free under the same excuse used by Nazi war criminals: "I was only following orders." Such is capitalist justice.

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His 'crime' was self-defense against a racist attack

Stop the railroad of Noah Roisten in Boston

[Boston Worker masthead.]

(The following article is reprinted from the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA, issued on June 11, 1985.)

On Monday, June 3, the newspapers and TV news reported that a white Dorchester youth, Joseph Henaghan, was stabbed to death outside Park Street Station during a fight. The police and media reports made it seem that Henaghan and his friends were the victims of either a racial or criminal attack by four black youth. One of the black youth, Noah Roisten, has been charged with murder and faces life in prison. Police are also hinting that they will charge Roisten with violating the civil rights of Joseph Henaghan.

Such is the official story that people are being fed. But the truth is that Joseph Henaghan and his friends had launched a violent racist attack on Noah Roisten and his three friends. Roisten killed Henaghan in self-defense. According to accounts from MBTA employees who witnessed the incident, the following is what happened:

At 11:30 p.m. Noah Roisten and his three friends approached a starter on the Red Line platform and asked him directions to the shuttle bus that was running out of Park Street Station. While the starter was giving the directions, Henaghan and three other white youth who were on the other platform began shouting racial obscenities. One of the white youth threw a tonic can at the black youth. Then, Henaghan jumped down into the track pit between the two platforms, pulled out an 18 inch long homemade blackjack and began swinging it wildly and challenged the black youth to come down and fight him. Roisten picked up a trash can and was about to dump its contents on Henaghan when the starter restrained him.

The starter and Roisten's three friends all advised him not to be provoked but just to leave the area because the racists only wanted to start a fight. Roisten agreed and the four black youth left to catch the shuttle bus. Meanwhile another starter came down on the center platform to restrain the white youth. Thinking that the incident was over, the starters called off the security alert.

But Henaghan and his friends, seeing that the black youth had gone upstairs, ran upstairs after them. They chased the black youth onto the Common. Henaghan, still swinging his blackjack, chased Roisten to the area where tents were being put up for the Dairy Exposition. Roisten grabbed a tent stake, turned on his attacker and stabbed him to death with the stake.

Clearly Henaghan was an extremely violent aggressor and Roisten had every right to defend himself against the racist who was terrorizing him.

People should recall that six months ago Bernhard Goetz shot four unarmed black teenagers on the subway in New York for the crime of asking him for a cigarette and for five dollars, a crime better known as panhandling. Goetz shot two of the youth in the back as they were fleeing. He shot another a second time as he lay writhing on the ground. For this cowardly act Goetz was applauded by the press as a national hero standing up to crime. The black teenagers who never even touched or threatened him were painted as hardened criminals.

But, as in Boston on June 3, when an unarmed black teenager like Noah Roisten manages to kill a racist who is attacking him with a deadly weapon, he is denounced as a criminal and immediately charged with murder. This sharp contrast shows how deadly earnest the rich and their government and press are in organizing racism against black people. Even now, racist politicians and agitators such as City Councilman James Kelly are using the media to distort the Park Street incident and to whip up white racist gangs to take "revenge" for the death of Joseph Henaghan (see last week's South Boston Tribune).

The racist offensive of the rich must be met with militant resistance and revolutionary mass action. Class conscious workers must spread the truth about what happened at Park Street and demand that murder charges against Noah Roisten be dropped.

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Down with racist attacks against Asians!

(The following article is taken from the June 11, 1985 issue of the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA.)

Over the past months there has been a wave of cowardly racist attacks against Chinese, Vietnamese, and Cambodian immigrants. On May 1, Detective Francis Kelly, a 220 pound vice squad officer, assaulted and severely beat a 120 pound, 57-year-old Chinese worker, Mr. Huang, near Chinatown. Mr. Huang was so badly beaten that he required hospitalization and will be out of work for six months. To add insult to injury, and to protect Detective Kelly, the Police Department then charged Mr. Huang, who does not speak a word of English, with soliciting the services of a prostitute and assaulting an officer. Despite the fact that there were 15 eyewitnesses to the incident, who refuted the police story and maintained that Mr. Huang was the victim of a completely unprovoked attack, the Police Department and District Attorney continue to press changes against Mr. Huang.

On May 25, a gang of 30 racists broke into the home of some Vietnamese immigrants and attacked them in their house at 1:30 in the morning.

Two days later, three Cambodians were attacked in front of their home in East Boston.

These attacks are no accident. The promotion of a rotten atmosphere of racism and nationalism, and the brutal persecution of minorities, are a major part of the Reaganite offensive against the working masses. Each day Reagan's cabinet officers and the little Reaganites in state and local politics tell the white workers that they are suffering because blacks and other minorities are getting favored treatment under affirmative action and school integration plans. Of course, if this were true, one would wonder why blacks, Latinos and Asians still live in ghettos, barrios and Chinatowns and still suffer two to three times the unemployment and are still confined to the lowest paying jobs. But facts do not matter to the rich and their politicians. They hope that with their propaganda, the white workers will not notice that it is the white capitalists and politicians who are exploiting and robbing them blind. Meanwhile, they use racism to increase the exploitation of the minority and immigrant workers by terrorizing them and depriving them of all rights. Such is the Reaganite plan of divide and conquer.

The attacks on the Asian workers have aroused a great deal of anger and disgust not only in the Chinese community but also among the white and black workers. Feeling this pressure, even the South Boston Information Center, which specializes in organizing racist attacks, has had to fake some opposition to the attacks. Meanwhile, Mayor Flynn and his "liberal" Police Commissioner Roache, are pretending concern about the racist attacks. They have arrested a few of the racists and promised a "full investigation" of the police attacks on Mr. Huang. If Flynn and Roache really wanted to do something to show opposition to these attacks, they might start by dropping charges against Mr. Huang and pressing charges against Detective Kelly. But they will not do that. They are up to their usual tricks, those used every time a black kid is shot by a cop. They express concern and investigate until the mass anger dies down. Then Kelly will be exonerated and the racists who were arrested will be let off with a slap on the wrist.

The government of the rich will never bring racial justice of equality. The workers and youth of all nationalities must answer the racism and warmongering of the rich with revolutionary mass struggle.

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Hunger strike of the refugees at El Centro detention center

On May 27, over 175 Salvadoran and other refugees imprisoned at the El Centro detention center in California courageously launched a hunger strike and work stoppage in protest of the intolerable conditions imposed on them by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The INS responded to this just protest with a series of brutal measures ranging from violent attacks on the strikers to immediate deportation and other forms of intimidation.

Located in the middle of the desert 200 miles southeast of Los Angeles, El Centro is a virtual concentration camp for undocumented immigrants who have been rounded up by the INS. Built to house 300 prisoners, El Centro presently holds 500 men, most of them refugees from Central and South America, but also from Africa, the Middle East, India and China. The "crime" of these prisoners is that they have fled death-squad dictatorships and other capitalist regimes, fled political persecution and grinding poverty in their homelands and entered the U.S. without "proper" papers. Many of the immigrants detained at El Centro have in fact applied for political asylum in the U.S. But during the long wait for their applications to be processed they are held at El Centro and other detention centers, and the only way out is to post a $2,500 bond, a nearly impossible amount for impoverished refugees.

For their "crime" of being undocumented refugees, the prisoners at El Centro are forced to spend 14 hours a day in a barren prison yard under the sweltering desert sun as temperatures rise to 120 degrees. Toilet and medical facilities are totally inadequate, and legal services are essentially blocked. The refugees are subjected to physical and verbal abuse by the INS guards. Immigrants are frequently placed in five foot square solitary punishment cells if they refuse to sign "voluntary departure" forms consenting to their own deportation. And for many of the refugees, such as those from El Salvador, deportation carries the danger of death for many of them upon their return home. It was against these inhuman conditions that the refugees launched their protest.

Retaliating against the hunger strikers, the INS quickly transferred most of the strike leaders to other detention facilities and deported over 50 others, including 23 Salvadorans. In the early morning of the fourth day of the strike, the INS sent in a large SWAT-type squad of Border Patrol agents to attack and beat the remaining strikers. One leader of the strike was knocked unconscious and dragged around the prison yard as an example. Despite these brutal attacks, seven men persisted in their strike and were ultimately bonded out on June 3 by an activist Lutheran minister.

The barbarous treatment of the refugees at El Centro is not simply some twisted policy of a few bad apples in the INS. The Reagan administration, which so piously and self-righteously declares U.S. imperialism to be the defender of civilization against subhuman thugs, has been carrying out one act of terrorism after another against the immigrants. Border Patrol forces have been beefed up, immigrant youth have been shot across the border, raids and mass arrests have been stepped up in factories and other work places in Los Angeles, Chicago, and elsewhere. American activists who assist refugees escape the persecution in their homelands are being spied upon by undercover political police and prosecuted by the U.S. government. And of the thousands of refugees who apply for political asylum, only a tiny handful are granted it.

The brutal treatment of the immigrants is part and parcel of U.S. imperialism's policy on Central and South America. The U.S. government gives all-sided backing to the death-squad regime of Jose Napoleon Duarte in El Salvador and to the other fascist, pro-imperialist governments in the region. It is not about to be sympathetic to toilers fleeing these regimes. As well, the U.S. government fears the influx of workers and peasants who often bring with them their bitter experience with U.S. imperialism in their homelands and revolutionary ideas.

To fight the persecution of the immigrants, we must build up the mass struggle. Let the courageous stand of the fighting refugees at El Centro be an inspiration to the movement in defense of immigrant workers.

[Photo: A rally in support of the hunger strike and work stoppage of Immigrants imprisoned at the El Centro detention center in California.]

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How the black bourgeoisie 'fights' unemployment

Black mayors support Reagan's sub-minimum wage for youth

For three years the Reagan administration has been calling for a sub-minimum wage for teenagers with a program called the Youth Employment Opportunity Wage.

The Reaganites claim that this will solve the severe unemployment problem, especially the huge unemployment currently plaguing youth of the blacks and other oppressed nationalities. What rot! Can anyone really believe that Reagan is concerned about unemployment among black youth when he has been busy dismantling the few job training programs and meager affirmative action plans?

Reagan has been joined in his call by the likes of such outfits as the National Association of Manufacturers, which is only to be expected. But this plan has also been hailed by the National Conference of Black Mayors, the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Education (representing 114 largely black colleges), and the National Association of Minority Contractors.

Such a stand shows once again that the black capitalists and politicians do not give a damn about the interests of the working and poor black people. These groups speak in the name of all black people but in fact they only represent the interests of the wealthy upper crust. This stand also shows that while such outfits may spout rhetoric against Reaganism, they are in fact going along with the Reaganite offensive against the black people.

The Fraud of Job Creation

Echoing the lie of the Reagan administration, Marion Barry, Mayor of Washington, D.C. and president of the National Conference of Black Mayors said recently: "This is no panacea. It doesn't solve the structural employment problem. But it will give youth an opportunity...'' (Boston Globe, May 7, 1985, emphasis added)

How this scheme for $2.50 an hour wages will create job opportunities for youth when factory after factory is being shut down, when jobs are hard to find for even those with skills and an education, is left unsaid.

Barry goes on to say that: "We have to take what we can get. We have to help them [the youth] get their feet in the door.'' What belly crawling! If the government of the racist billionaires were to bring back outright slavery for the black youth, would Mr. Barry also see that as an "opportunity'' and suggest that the black people take what they can get?

With such arguments, Barry is arguing just like the voices of monopoly capital who support starvation wages for youth. This is the argument that the young people are pricing themselves out of the labor market and that if they would only take lower wages, the employers would rush to greet them with open arms.

This is nonsense, In the 50's and 60's the minimum wage was 50-60% of the average wage, while today the minimum wage is less than 40% of the average wage. Yet in the 30 years that the floor on wages has taken a sharp decline, jobs did not open up to the youth, particularly minority youth whose unemployment rate has soared to 41 %. Lowering the minimum has not opened up new jobs. In fact the opposite is the truth -- the economic crises have decimated the job market and the growing army of unemployed has been used by the capitalists to drive down wages.

Obviously the sub-minimum wage is no solution to youth unemployment. This is no surprise. After all, the source of the problem is the capitalist system itself which inevitably creates unemployment and which makes profits out of discrimination against oppressed nationalities.

Nothing Nobler Than Greed for Profits Lies Behind This Scheme

But the black bourgeoisie like all the other capitalist vultures have only dollar signs in their eyes. While they speak of concern for the unemployed youth, all they are really concerned with is the number of dollars they could reap through this scheme.

This scheme is just another part of the capitalist drive to cut wages. In recent years, the capitalists have cut wages through inflation, imposed direct wage cuts and launched a two-tier wage system in many places. Now the Reagan administration is stepping in to lower the wages of teenagers by law. This would not only lower the wages of teenagers but serve as a tool for ousting older workers and for driving down the wages of the entire work force. What profit-hungry capitalists would not be for such assistance from the Reaganites?

The scheme for a sub-minimum wage for teenagers is like manna from heaven especially for the food industry which is a major employer of youth at current minimum wages. It is estimated that the fast food industry would save $4 billion over a mere three-year period from such a wage cut. (AFL-CIO News, April 25, 1985) And everyone knows that the black bourgeoisie has fought hard for their fast food franchises.

The Coleman Youngs and Wilson Goodes of this world may speak in the name of all black people, but fine words cannot erase the class differences dividing us. They represent the exploiters and would-be exploiters of labor -- primarily, of black labor. Only from such a vantage point could a scheme to reduce wages be seen as a benefit to the black community. Let there be a sub-minimum wage, and there will be black teenagers working for reduced wages not only at white franchise owners of McDonald's but also black franchise owners.

The answer to unemployment lies with the working class, black and white. It begins with a fight against the exploiters of labor, with mass struggle against unemployment, against racism, for jobs, living wages and a decent life.

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Justice Department goes to bat for segregation

(The following article is reprinted from the June 1985 issue of The West Indian Voice.)

The Reagan administration has taken another step in its crusade for job discrimination. At the end of April the Justice Department took the City of Indianapolis to court in order to gut that city's meager affirmative action program for the police and fire departments. At the same time, the Justice Department has threatened similar action against 55 other cities, counties and states if they do not "modify'' -- i.e. dismantle -- their affirmative action programs.

The Justice Department suit against Indianapolis is a test case for a far wider onslaught against anti-discrimination measures in employment. The aim of the Reaganites is to wipe out any gains made in the anti-racist struggles of the 1960's and restore segregation to its place of honor, this time in the name of "color blindness.''

It was only with the mass civil rights movement of the 1950's, and especially with the revolutionary upheavals of the 1960's that the government took any steps against job discrimination. In response to the mass struggles the capitalist rulers came up with a lot of talk and very little action. This has been shown in the affirmative action programs that the Justice Department negotiated in the past. These programs were negotiated case by case in individual work places with a history of blatant and systematic discrimination that could be proven in court. They provided for quotas for hiring blacks, women, and other discriminated-against sections of workers. At best, such programs eased discrimination in some particular work places. They by no means eliminated discrimination altogether, as is shown in the simple fact that black unemployment remains twice that among whites.

Now, however, the Reaganites are going after even these limited concessions. This is testimony not so much to the effectiveness of these halfhearted measures as to the extent of the Reaganites' intentions. The Reaganites, of course, say that they are not for discrimination, but just against quotas. But what this means is gutting any concrete measures against discrimination, leaving general laws barring job discrimination as the merest window dressing for rampant discrimination and resegregation. And that is exactly what the Reaganites intend.

It should be noted that the Supreme Court is cooperating with the Justice Department in its drive. In a decision last year, the Supreme Court overturned an affirmative action program in Memphis, Tennessee at the request of the Justice Department. In so doing, the Court endorsed the racist logic of the Justice Department and gave a green light to the Reagan government's crusade. Far from being an obstacle to this crusade, the courts have become an instrument of it.

The Reaganites are taking aim against anything and everything won against racism through the mass struggle of yesterday. The only answer to the Reaganite crusade is more mass struggle, today and tomorrow.

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Strikes and workplace news


Clothing workers wildcat in Massachusetts

(The following article is reprinted from the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA, issued on June 11,1985.)

Last week 6,000 clothing workers in New Bedford and Fall River struck against outrageous takeback demands by the clothing manufacturing capitalists. The workers organized their strike despite the sabotage of top union officials who insisted that they keep working. The old national contract had expired on Friday, May 31 and the companies had not only refused to meet the workers' demands, they were demanding concessions.

The clothing workers are very poorly paid; most work on piece rates at an average around $6.00 an hour. But the capitalists want more! They are demanding the right to unilaterally change the piece rates so that they can increase production and cut wages. They are also demanding that the hourly workers accept a measley $.45 increase over three years. This is far, far less than inflation. And they are insisting that the workers pay for health insurance.

Of course the workers could not accept such demands, so beginning June 3 they struck, closing 10 factories owned by seven different companies. But while the workers launched the mass struggle, the union bureaucrats cringed before the Clothing Manufacturer's Association and worked to break the strike. The union officials ordered that the workers return to work and agree to extend the contract until September 30. This move will greatly weaken the workers' movement. By September, the winter clothes, which the factories are now beginning to make, will be completely stocked. Also the workers Would have to strike during the most costly holiday and winter seasons. In short, the union bureaucrats are strengthening the position of the capitalists and weakening the position of the workers.

By Monday, June 10, the capitalists and the bureaucrats had succeeded in forcing most of the workers back to work. But the capitalists only have the upper hand temporarily. The wildcat strike of clothing workers is a sign that workers are getting fed up with the union leaders' policy of going along with the capitalist offensive, and they want to fight. The same situation exists for workers across the country. For decades the rich and their government have been corrupting the union bureaucracies. Today our union officials are more interested in keeping their cozy relations with the capitalists than they are in defending the working class.

The Reaganite offensive of the rich can only be fought with militant mass struggle of the workers themselves, with strikes, demonstrations and with revolutionary mass action. To organize such a fight the militant workers must combat the sabotage and influence of the soldout union bureaucrats and build independent revolutionary organization to lead the struggle.

New York hotel workers' vigorous strike ends with partial victory

From initial reports it appears that the striking New York City hotel workers beat back a number of concession demands of the hotel capitalists. But the strike was hamstrung by the union bureaucrats and stopped halfway, allowing the capitalists to impose several significant takebacks.

It is clear that the workers won what they did only because they waged a militant fight. Beginning on June 1 with 14,000 workers at 47 hotels, the strike quickly spread to a total of 54 hotels with 16,000 workers out on strike. The workers held frequent demonstrations, and at on& point the New York skyscrapers reverberated with the sound of over 10,000 marching strikers who were banging pots and pans, blowing whistles, and chanting, "No Contract, No Work!'' As well, hundreds of strikers manned picket lines which denounced scabs, threw eggs at management personnel, and often attempted to turn away those trying to cross their lines.

This defiant stand led to daily confrontations with scabs and the police sent to protect them. On the first day of the strike alone, 35 strikers were arrested and several suffered serious injuries in the course of the struggle. But this repression did not undermine the workers' determination to carry through their strike. Rather, it was their own union leaders, the heads of the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, who hampered the struggle and sold it out halfway.

As the strike gained momentum New York's $2 billion-a-year tourist industry began to suffer. The struck hotels were losing business and money like crazy. And the strikers had won wide support among the sanitation workers, cab drivers, city workers, and other working people who refused to cross the picket lines. But at this point the union bigwigs refused to spread the strike further and bring the hotel industry to a grinding halt.

The union represents, and the contract covers, 25,000 workers at 165 hotels. Instead of spreading the strike further, as they had originally promised, and bringing the industry to its knees, the union bureaucrats worried over the profits of the hotels. Vito Pitta, president of the Hotel and Motel Trades Council, tried to justify keeping the strike narrow by whining, "Both parties are trying to save the tourist business for the rest of the summer. The hotels are losing money, quite a bit of money.''

With such touching concern for the hotel capitalists, it is little wonder that the union bureaucrats called off the strike after 27 days and handed the workers a contract that retains a number of takebacks.

From initial accounts, it appears that the strike beat off the attempt to virtually eliminate sick days and won an additional paid sick day and an additional holiday. The strike also seems to have defeated the attempt to make the workers contribute to the payment of their benefits and instead won improvements in medical and pension coverage. As well, the wage settlement is improved in the first year. However, over the five-year contract, lower paid workers may actually benefit less from this settlement than the original offer from the hotel capitalists.

Meanwhile, the hotel capitalists have been given a modified two-tier wage system. For one year new hires will receive only 75% of full wages, after which they are to receive full compensation. As well, the capitalists have been given the right to shift employees from one job classification to another in certain areas. Thus the door is opened to job combination and overwork.

These concessions granted by the union bureaucrats will bring greater suffering to the already hard-pressed hotel workers. But the workers have shown a lot of spirit in this the first strike in the 46-year history of their union. Gaining experience in battle and learning of the treachery of their union misleaders, the workers will know better how to take matters into their own hands in the future struggles that are bound to break out.

[Photo: Striking hotel workers in one of the many marches they held through the streets of Manhattan.]

'We have no rights'--

Detroit cab drivers demand better terms

(A leaflet from a group of Detroit cab drivers appeared the first week of June under the title "We have no rights! 220 Checker drivers say: Bring down the lease!'' [Earlier, Checker announced an $80 per month pay cut in the form of raising the lease price. The lease is the daily price paid by the drivers to the company for the use of their cabs.] Below we reprint excerpts.)

On Friday, May 10, a group of 20 Checker drivers presented the petition calling on the owners to bring down the lease to Bob Barnes as president of the company. The petition had 220 names on it -- the big majority of the steady lease drivers and many others. Through the petition the Checker drivers declared that they want the owners to bring down the lease!

Barnes promised to take the petition before the Board and give the drivers a reply after the next Board meeting May 22. On May 25 he told the drivers that the Board does not decide the lease rates, the individual owners do, and said that the petition was circulating among the fleet owners. Within the past week, drivers have reported that the owners (Lossing. and Sweeney in particular) have been threatening their jobs for signing the petition. And a certain road boss made a joking (but unfunny) threat to have the car of one of the petition organizers blown up.

It is clear that the owners are ducking and dodging, dragging their feet and refusing to give the drivers a clear answer to our demand to bring the lease down. These threats show that the Checker driver does not have much more rights than the average black in South Africa. The owners can raise our lease at will and we aren't even supposed to petition against it! We drivers protest against these threats! We have every right to fight for a better life! We want a clear reply from the owners on the petition!...

In light of the rising cost of living, we drivers declare that the least must come down! We will not be satisfied with a return to last winter's rate.... Along with the mechanics and dispatchers, we do all the work here. We bring in the money that keeps Checker going. We can not accept this pay cut! The owners have no right to a monopoly over a decent life! If we don't stop this lease raise now, the owners will feel free to do it again, and eventually we won't be able to afford to work! We demand -- Bring down the lease!

Todd's shipyard workers reject new concessions demands in Seattle

In the face of heavy layoffs and a company campaign of dirty job-threatening blackmail, the workers at Todd Shipyards in Seattle voted almost two to one to reject a new round of concessions. This is an important blow to the concessions drive of the shipbuilding monopolies.

Only four years ago Todd Shipyards employed as many as 4,500 craft workers in Seattle. But it has thrown the workers into the streets left and right so that today only some 900 workers remain. Nevertheless, in 1984 Todd pulled in $18.5 million in profits and it is still receiving subsidies from the Navy to help it carry out a job-eliminating modernization program.

In the teeth of such job cutting, the heads of the Pacific Coast Metal Trades District Council (PCMTDC) came up with a scheme. Fight for jobs? Heavens no! They proposed to Todd and a number of other yards in Seattle and Portland that the workers give up $3.50 an hour and accept cuts in overtime and shift differential pay on specific new construction and repair contracts with the Navy. This, the union hacks claimed, would make these yards more competitive and thereby increase jobs.

But the Todd workers have seen this shell game a little too often. Every time the workers at one yard give concessions, then every other yard demands more concessions too. Soon enough, all the shipyard workers have taken a general wage cut while modernization continues to eliminate their jobs. Well over 1,000 employed and unemployed Todd workers came out to vote and they broke into wild cheering when the overwhelming No! vote was announced.

California Shipyard Workers March in Solidarity

Meanwhile, on June 10th, 150 shipyard workers in Southern California marched in solidarity with their brothers in the Northeast. Shouting, "No freeze, no cut!" the workers denounced the PCMTDC hacks who were meeting at the Disneyland Hotel to discuss how to impose the wage cut on the Northeast yards. The workers at the two Portland shipyards which accepted further concessions and the workers at Tacoma Boat and other yards which are still in negotiations should learn a lesson from the stand of the Southern California workers.

As a widely distributed leaflet of the Seattle Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party put it, "This wage cutting proposal stinks. It is part of the Reaganite concessions and strikebreaking offensive against the working class. The workers must rely on themselves and must organize independently of the sold out union hacks...if the workers build their active struggle they can block the reopening of contracts and thus put themselves in the strongest position to fight when the Pacific Coast and Lockheed contracts expire in 1986."

Workers stage sickout against Bath Iron concession demands

The 4,500 production workers at the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine have begun a struggle against concessions.

Bath Iron is demanding a three-year wage freeze, major benefit concessions and a two-tier pay system that would cut the wages of new hires below the frozen wages of those presently employed. But the workers, represented by Local 6 of the Industrial Union of Marine Shipbuilding Workers, have said no to the vicious takeback demands.

On June 28 the workers staged a sickout protest which involved over 50% of the workers in some shops and forced Bath Iron to close up and send everyone home. It is reported that the workers plan to follow the sickout with a strike.

First strike ever at Yosemite Park

For the first time in its 95-year history, Yosemite Park is facing a strike.

One hundred and Twenty bus drivers, mechanics, maintenance workers and service station attendants walked off the job on May 17 demanding a substantial wage increase and rejecting a demand that they pay 50% of their employer-paid medical insurance.

The strikers are battling the Curry Company, which is the park's main concessionaire. They have set up picket lines at the tourist lodgings and shuttle bus stations and are denouncing the company's use of management personnel to carry out the strikers' jobs.

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Taxing workers' benefits

AFL-CIO bureaucrats help out Reagan's tax swindle

The top leaders of the AFL-CIO are double-dealing on Reagan's new tax proposal. While loudly campaigning as the greatest opponents of taxing workers' benefits and for increasing the taxes on the corporations, the AFL-CIO bigwigs have been quietly wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to get enacted a "moderate''.form of adding new taxes onto the workers.

According to the May 30 issue of the Wall Street Journal, Republican Senator Bob Packwood "advanced a compromise privately suggested to him by Lane Kirkland, the president of the AFL-CIO and an outspoken defender of tax-free fringe benefits. The compromise would tax only a small amount of employer-paid health-insurance programs.'' The Reagan administration accepted this compromise which, at least initially, limits the tax on medical benefits to the first $300 per year for a family and the first $120 a year for an individual.

The AFL-CIO News has promoted this compromise as "a reduction of $7.9 billion in tax impact,'' from the Treasury Department's original plan. (June 8, 1985) But the newspaper fails to mention that this measure adds a new tax which, according to minimized Treasury Department figures, will cost the workers some $17.4 billion over the next five years. And, what is more, compromising on such a tax means giving up the principle that workers' benefits should not be taxed. Once this principle is lost then the door is open for raising the taxes on benefits every year until there is little left of these hard-won benefits but a memory.

Nevertheless, this is how the AFL- CIO bureaucrats fight the Reaganite takeback offensive -- they agree to every takeback and then haggle over the amount.

Minor Tinkering With a Reactionary Tax Plan

The AFL-CIO bureaucrats, like the Democratic Party politicians that they are in love with, have actually embraced Reagan's tax plan. They only want to tinker with a few of its provisions.

Shortly after Reagan publicly announced his tax proposal, Lane Kirkland bubbled his support, "The AFL-CIO has long worked to bring fairness to the federal tax code and we favor measures that genuinely fulfill this objective. We therefore welcome the President's tax initiative and will support those elements of his announced program that are consistent with that aim...'' (AFL-CIO News, June 1, 1985, emphasis added) But there is nothing fair, nothing supportable, in Reagan's tax plan. It is reactionary through and through. Still Kirkland, the leader of what is supposed to be a workers' organization, "welcomes'' it.

Kirkland goes on to say that, "The AFL-CIO will carefully review the President's entire tax package with the goal of making constructive and practical suggestions...'' But making "constructive'' suggestions on a reactionary bill is like asking Hitler to put the gas chambers in a more scenic location. Nevertheless this is the reformist conception of the AFL-CIO bureaucracy. Take a look at some of Kirkland's modifications.

A basic provision of Reagan's tax plan is to reduce the tax brackets from 14 to 3 and to bring down the top tax rate for the rich from the present 50% to 35%. This is a giant step towards eliminating the whole idea of a progressive tax, one which correctly demands that the richer you are the more taxes you pay. Yet Lane Kirkland "welcomes the President's tax initiative." His only recommendation is to perhaps add a fourth tax bracket.

Another basic provision is to cut the tax rate on the corporations from 46% to 33%, a provision which a major mouthpiece of the monopolies, the Wall Street Journal, hails as "head[ing] in the direction of the greatest simplification possible, total elimination of the corporate tax." (May 30, 1985) Yet Kirkland "welcomes the President's tax initiative." His only complaint is that the tax cut for the corporations is a bit too "deep."

The other basic feature of Reagan's tax plan is to introduce the new system of taxing workers' benefits. Yet Kirkland "welcomes the President's tax initiative." As we saw above, Kirkland only wants to hold down the amount initially taxed in order to make the plan more salable to the workers.

The Top Union Bureaucrats Benefit From Reagan's Tax Plan

The reformist policy of the AFL-CIO bureaucracy leads it to sell out the workers every time the capitalists demand more takebacks. But there is an additional reason they are so happy with Reagan's tax plan.

The fact is that the top bureaucrats of the AFL-CIO are among the wealthy few who are in the tax brackets that will benefit from Reagan's tax cuts. Lane Kirkland's salary alone was $110,000 in 1984. And a recent survey showed that the average salary for 78 top union officials in 1984 was $98,062 a year. This amount does not include the mountains of side benefits that the bureaucrats receive, like "business expenses" from hanging out at union-owned resorts, the meals with corporate bosses, and so forth and so on.

The union bureaucrats are a bought off section of the workers. Bribed from the super-profits of the capitalists, they act as agents of the bosses within the workers' movement. There is little wonder that for all their noisy talk they actually support Reagan's tax plan.

The workers can not defend themselves from the monstrous taxation or advance any other struggle against the capitalists as long as they are chained to this union bureaucracy. The fight against Reagan's "tax reform" requires also the exposure of the union bosses who are acting as Reagan's little helpers.

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No to taxing unemployment benefits!

Talk about skinning the cat twice! It's bad enough that the capitalists make billions of dollars in profits from slaving workers to near death and then make more profits from throwing them into the streets without jobs. It's bad enough that only a small portion of those without jobs can actually qualify for unemployment benefits. It's bad enough that the workers are already taxed to pay for a major part of the benefits that only a few of the unemployed can receive. But now the Reagan government wants to tax a second time those workers who are lucky enough to get a hold of unemployed benefits. How's that for a "fair" tax system: tax the workers to death if they're working -- and if they lose their jobs and are balancing on the brink of hunger, well, tax them again. If Reagan makes his "tax reform" any "fairer" he'll start taxing the workers for - the air they breathe.

Growing Unemployment under Reagan's Tax Plan

Of course, to hear Reagan talk you would think that unemployment is all but a bad memory. Why under his tax plan there will be "economic growth." And, Reagan likes to say, nearly anybody could just invest their "savings" and start a new multimillion dollar business like Apple computers. But these are the typical fairy tales of an administration which has persistently claimed that there is no hunger in America.

The fact is that even according to the extremely optimistic forecasts of Reagan's Treasury Department "the unemployment rate would show no improvement, compared with present expectations, until 1995 -- and then the gains would be minimal." (Washington Post National Weekly Edition, June 17, 1985) And more sober-minded bourgeois economists predict that instead of growth there will be a deepening economic crisis and mounting unemployment. Reagan's tax plan actually aims to increase the burden on those workers who are even today being laid off and, because they are new to the unemployment rolls, may qualify for unemployment benefits.

The Reagan government likes to brag that its enormous tax cuts for the rich in 1981 brought about an "economic recovery." But this has been no recovery for the workers. Six industries -- steel, textiles, coal and petroleum products, chemicals, tobacco, and leather products -- have less employment now then they had at the worst depths of the depression. As of May, according to the minimized official figures of the government, there were 9.7 million unemployed workers (8.4 million "officially" unemployed and 1.3 million who the government calls "discouraged" workers because they have stopped looking for the jobs that are not there to be found). And there were another 5.9 million workers who were on part-time jobs (and thus on a minimal income) because they couldn't find full-time work.

Even the slight economic growth that was accomplished, and this was most of all a growth in the profits of the giant monopolies, was only brought about by stimulating the economy through enormous deficit spending by the government. Although Reagan likes to ballyhoo the wonder working powers of "supply-side" economics. In practice this has turned out to be the same old Keynesian pump priming but on an unprecedented scale. And now, when the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been poured into military spending and tax breaks for capitalists have created an unheard of deficit, the bills are coming due. Sooner or later the cries for "deficit reduction" will bring not only further cuts in social benefits but also a new round of tax increases.

Obviously Reagan's claims about future "growth" will mean no more to the ravaged workers than his past claims about "recovery." In either case, enormous unemployment and suffering will continue and the workers face the prospects of a heavier tax burden.

No to Taxing the Unemployed! Make the Capitalists Pay for Jobs or Income for All Who Can Work!

Despite the enormous suffering that the huge unemployment means, the Labor Department reported that in May only 2.5 million of the 15.5 million unemployed or underemployed were collecting benefits. The Reagan government eliminated the program for extended unemployment benefits throwing hundreds of thousands off the benefit rolls. And now he would cut the benefits of those lucky enough to receive unemployment coverage by taxing every penny of unemployment benefits that they receive.

This outrageous plan should be fought against tooth and nail. The issue is not to extend the tax on the unemployed, but to extend benefits to the millions upon millions who are being left in the streets with nothing. The capitalists have made fat profits from using up the lives of the workers and then thrown them in the streets without a dime. The capitalists are making even more profits by using the unemployed as a threat to drive the employed workers into every greater overwork. The capitalists are getting rich off the misery of millions. They should be forced to pay to provide either jobs or a livelihood for all the unemployed.

No to taxing unemployed benefits!

Make the capitalists pay!

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Who benefits from Reagan's tax plan?

The rich get richer

Reagan's "tax reform'' is another boondoggle for the rich. Although the administration has piled up a mountain of lies about the supposed "fairness" of the plan, in recent weeks a whole slew of examples have come out which show that this tax program actually means that the rich get richer while the burden of taxation is further shifted onto the working people. Take a look at a few of the examples.

The Rich Get Richer

The small number of rich people who make over $200,000 a year get the biggest part of the savings from Reagan's tax plan. According to the minimized figures of the Treasury Department they will get a full 25% of the tax cuts. As the June 17, 1985 issue of the Washington Post National Weekly Edition puts it:

"...the biggest cut goes to the wealthy. Not only do the rich -- who got the lion's share of the 1981 tax cut -- benefit enormously from a reduction in the top rate from 50 percent to 35 percent, they get a bonus through a cut in the capital-gains tax from a maximum of 20 percent to 17.5 percent.

"A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities based on Treasury data shows that the average annual tax cut for those making over $200,000 a year would be $9,254..." (emphasis added)

And the richer you are the bigger your cut will be. The following examples give a good idea of who really benefits from Reagan's tax plan:

* Ronald Reagan himself would save about $28,000. Reagan's net worth is about $4.4 million. No wonder he believes his plan is "fair." (Money Magazine, June)

* Even if they do lose deductions for state and local taxes, a $390,000-a-year executive, with $100,000 in capital gains, $20,000 in interest and dividends, and five exemptions, would save:

- $17,700 if he lived in New York,

- $40,300 if he lived in Chicago,

- $47,000 if he lived in Dallas. (Business Week, June 17,1985)

* A family of six with four children, a nonworking mother and a father earning $600,000 would save more than $70,000 in 1986 taxes -- a 20 percent reduction. (Washington Post National Weekly Edition, June 17,1985)

The Working People Get Empty Promises

While the handful of rich are raking in tens of thousands of dollars in tax breaks, the vast majority of the people will receive at best only piddling tax cuts and many will see their tax burden rise immediately.

* The cuts for those in the lower income brackets, from $10,000 to $50,000 in income, will be from $128 to $211 a year. (The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, June 17,1985)

* A single telephone operator with one child and an income of $21,264 a year, would pay an additional $174 in taxes; a married worker in a $23,340 two-income household would pay $361 more. (AFL-CIO News,June 15,1985)

* Even the claim that the increased personal exemption would remove all those who are under the official poverty line from the tax rolls is not true. At least one group below the official government poverty level would, according to the Treasury Department, still pay taxes: single, childless people. They would begin paying taxes at an income of $4,900 although the poverty level for them is $5,800. (Washington Post National Weekly Edition, June 17,1985)

And all the working poor would continue to pay social security tax as well as the higher sales taxes and service fees that can be expected as the states adjust to the new income tax proposal.

What is more, the meager tax cuts that some working people may receive would come from the increase granted in the standard deduction and the personal exemption. Under the relentless calls to "reduce the deficit," talk has already begun about cutting the personal exemption and thus raising the taxes on the working people. Meanwhile, new taxes have been added onto the working people such as taxing employer-paid health insurance, black lung benefits, workers' compensation, and death insurance, and other taxes have been increased such as on unemployment benefits, child care, two-earner families, etc. Over the long run, it can be expected that Reagan's "tax reform" will mean ever increasing taxes on the working people.

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Reagan's gift to the big corporations

One of the key selling points of Reagan's "tax reform" is the claim that finally the giant corporations will be forced to pay up the tens upon tens of billions in yearly taxes that they have been escaping for decades. Key Democrats have praised the administration's plan for just this point, claiming that Reagan "is bucking his party's tradition as protector of big business." But these claims are just so much hot air.

Over the last two decades the corporations' share of the total taxes paid to the government has dropped from 21% to only about 7.5% for 1986. Even according to the Treasury Department's cooked-up figures, the supposed rise in corporate taxes under Reagan's plan would mean that big business would still only pay some 9.9% of the total taxes in 1986. The chief burden of taxation would remain on the backs of the working people.

But you can't trust a point of the Treasury Department's figures. Even bourgeois analysts who mainly support Reagan's plan have become skeptical of the claims. For example, the Washington Post National Weekly Edition reported on June 17 that, "In three fundamental respects the administration appears to have touched up its tax simplification plan to make it look a little rosier than it is...The administration says business taxes would go up and individual taxes come down, compared with current law. This is a good selling point in Congress. But it now appears that, in the long run, business taxes would not go up as much as the revenue tables originally suggested. Some analysts even think the business tax burden could fall." (emphasis added)

And why wouldn't corporate taxes fall? A key feature of Reagan's plan is to cut the corporate income tax rate from 46% to 33%. Even a child knows that means a whopping tax cut for the corporations.

What is more, Reagan has retained most of the tax loopholes used by the monopolies and, while reducing the size of the tax breaks from some, he has added additional loopholes. Through the use of such tax breaks the average corporation's income tax has dropped from 41% of profits to only 16.7% in the last two decades. And many of the biggest monopolies pay no taxes or even make additional profits from tax breaks.

Many Big Corporations Pay No Income Tax At All

For example, General Electric paid no federal income taxes on $6.5 billion in 1981-83 profits and, in fact, received $283 million in rebates from taxes previously paid. W.R. Grace, with $684 million in profits, made $12.5 million by selling off excess "tax benefits." Meanwhile, four giant war monopolies -- Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed and Grumman -- earned a total of $4 billion in profits, paid no taxes, and received $337.6 million in tax rebates. In fact, a study of 250 major corporations showed that over half paid no taxes in at least one of the three years between 1981 and 1983.

Reagan's tax plan hardly dries up this fountain of plenty for the monopolies. While some corporations may be unhappy because they lose, or have reduced, their favorite tax shelter, their highly paid tax experts will find them new loopholes and on the whole the monopoly corporations will grow fat off Reagan's tax plan.

In the face of such an obvious tax cut for the corporations, how does the Reagan government go about portraying its plan as one that will increase the corporate tax? Well, the administration claims that by reducing the rate of taxation on the corporations then big business will be encouraged to stop using loopholes to dodge paying taxes. Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous? It's like claiming that the way to cure an opium addict is to give him more heroin.

It is little wonder that the parties of big business, the Republicans and Democrats alike, are pulling for Reagan's "tax reform." Only the working people suffer under this plan. And only the working people, by building up their own revolutionary movement, independent of and against the two big parties of the monopolies, will be able to fight the tax system which is squeezing their life blood.

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


Upsurge of strike movement in El Salvador

The last few months have seen an impressive upsurge of the liberation movement in the cities and work places of El Salvador. In April, May and June thousands of striking workers in El Salvador bravely defied the repressive measures of the Reagan-backed Duarte government and of its death squads in order to win their demands.

Duarte, leader of the Salvadoran government, has pledged that he could bring reform to El Salvador without revolution but with U.S. bayonets, and ever since the election of March 31 his Christian Democrats have controlled the legislature as well as the presidency. But the very first months since this election have seen Duarte viciously attack the ongoing strike wave, showing that the Christian Democrats are nothing but the smiling face of the bloodstained Salvadoran aristocracy of big landowners and capitalists.

The Workers Organize Against the Salvadoran Exploiters

There is a history to the current upsurge of the workers' movement. El Salvador's workers' movement, which has faced violent persecution for decades, began to pick up a lot of steam over a year ago. Two new union coalitions were formed for mutual strike support (one for private and one for public sector workers). These coalitions played a big role in organizing the 15,000-strong May 1 demonstration in San Salvador -- one of the largest and most militant in years. Including many striking workers, and drawn from both rural and urban leaders, this march demanded higher wages, condemned the bitter repression faced by the workers, denounced the ongoing war against the people, and demanded an end to U.S. intervention.

The more than 30,000 workers on strike at various times since April, some for as long as three months, include 6,000 public hospital workers and 4,000 public water workers, as well as teachers, transport workers, shrimp processing workers, Ministry of Agriculture and Cattle workers, candy manufacturing and Levi Strauss workers.

Duarte's "Democracy" -- Freedom for the Exploiters, Arrests, Death Squads and Emergency Measures Against the Toilers

The water and hospital workers both won significant victories, but this came in the face of heavy retaliation by the Duarte government. The eight-day strike led by the water workers' union SETANDA was launched May 14; on May 16 Duarte invoked a decree banning strikes by public employees and fired 49 leaders of SETANDA. At the same time San Salvador radio stations broadcasted a communique from the death squads threatening the strikers and promising to "bring them to justice.'' (Soldiers of the Arce Battalion had already murdered two water workers on May 2. And just during the first four months of the year paramilitary squads murdered seven trade union organizers and kidnapped 15.)

Undaunted, on May 20, the water workers organized a march of 1,500 through San Salvador to protest the firings. On May 21 their mass struggle brought victory when they won a wage increase, the reinstatement of the 49 workers, the firing of two corrupt managers and the transfer of several others.

The Christian Democrats Use the "State of Siege" Against the Strikes -- But in Vain

On May 23, in response to the water workers' victorious struggle, the Legislative Assembly extended the state of siege invoked in 1980 and outlawed mass demonstrations.

The month-long hospital strike began on May 6 when 6,000 workers in the Social Security Workers' union, STISSS, occupied their work places. They were demanding a pay raise from $125 to $200 per month to offset the 65% drop in real wages during 1984. On June 1 Duarte publicly threatened all the unions on strike, claiming they were "infiltrated'' with guerrilla fighters and had no support among the people. What he really meant, was that the strikers had no support among the Salvadoran oligarchy, whose orders Duarte takes. In point of fact the strikers enjoy both wide popular support and the solidarity of the armed liberation movement.

Duarte's Raiders Kill Each Other in Their Frenzy to Suppress the Hospital Workers

On June 2 the Military Police and National Guard stormed five hospitals and 20 clinics across the country in an effort to break the strike. Over 100 troops invaded the 489-bed General Hospital in San Salvador, some entering through the roof with the aid of a helicopter and some plainclothes troopers breaking into the emergency room. At gunpoint they forced the workers and patients to the floor and tied them up. The raid caused the death of one patient and, in their frenzy to crush the strike, the soldiers shot down dead four of the plainclothes men whom whey mistook for strikers. Two leaders of the strike were also arrested and taken into custody.

More Defiant Than Ever, the Workers Continue the Struggle

More defiant than ever, on June 4 the strikers led an illegal march of 2,000 workers and students denouncing the attack on the hospital and demanding the release of the two leaders. On June 6, the hospital workers returned to work having won the release of their leaders and the start of negotiations on their wage increase and their demand to lift the state of siege.

The upsurge of the strike movement has exposed Duarte's election promises of "reform." All the workers had to do was demand a wage increase and Duarte declared martial law, unleashed massive force against the workers, and watched impassively as the death squads broadcast their threats on the radio. But even more importantly, the strike movement has provided another proof that the real power lies in the masses of working people, who have won some economic victories despite Duarte, the Salvadoran oligarchy and the U.S. imperialist multinational firms. The strike movement reinforces the armed struggle of the revolutionary movement. By persisting in struggle, the Salvadoran workers and peasants have the power to bring down the oligarchy and carry out a popular social revolution in El Salvador.

[Photo: Striking workers played a militant role In this year's 15,000-strong May Day demonstration in El Salvador.]

The casualties mount as Reagan escalates war in El Salvador

As Reagan escalates U.S. imperialist intervention in El Salvador, American soldiers are increasingly coming under attack. On June 19 urban guerrillas successfully attacked and killed four American marines in a restaurant in El Salvador. The Mardoqueo Cruz guerrillas, named after a liberation fighter killed in an air raid in 1983, took responsibility for the attack. And later on the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) declared that American military personnel would be targets for the struggle.

These attacks show that the Salvadoran people are not bowing down to the Pentagon. Despite the death from the sky rained down by American bombs delivered from American planes flown according to the instructions of American advisors, the Salvadoran people are unbowed and defiant. And they will find the way to strike back at the American troops.

Reagan Whines: "Unfair -- The Salvadoran People Are Shooting Back!"

Chief warmonger Reagan went into a frenzy on his favorite theme: terrorism. Why, those dirty terrorists, Reagan expounded, they killed our soldiers. And he promptly used the occasion to justify the stepped-up military supplies to El Salvador that were being sent anyway.

But just a second, chief liar Reagan. The American marines were armed guard troops sent into a country at war, in which the U.S. is one of the combatants. Their deaths were no more terrorism than were the killings of nazi officers in World War II, ambushed by the resistance fighters of various countries.

But, say the Reaganites, the soldiers were not on alert, but lounging in a restaurant. Well, has the Pentagon given up surprise attacks? Did it issue warnings in advance of where and when to expect an attack on Grenada, or do American advisors issue warnings to the Salvadoran people living in liberated zones before launching attacks? Come on, be serious. The Pentagon and the State Department asked for the war -- let them not cry now that the other side is shooting back.

But, say the news media, the guerrillas shot at random killing nine people besides the marines. Why, we don't even know if they were shooting at the marines, pontificated the sold-out journalists.

Really, let's be serious. Despite the U.S. troops and advisors crowding into El Salvador and directing every step of the war, it is still not the case that you can fire at random in San Salvador and just happen to wipe out an American squad. The guerrillas were obviously aiming at the marines. And, as only a few of the newscasts bothered to mention, the right wing fired back at the guerrillas and the "crossfire," as the reports delicately put it, killed various of the civilians.

All Reagan's whining amounts to is this: when the Pentagon invades other countries or the CIA knifes you in the back, that's just good old fashioned frontier justice. But when the people rise up and fight back, why, that's allegedly terrorism. When the Salvadoran death squads pick up unarmed civilians off the street to torture and kill, Reagan sighs with satisfaction and cynically remarks: "Look how democratic, what touching regard for human rights -- they have picked up a few less this year to torture than the last." But when the Salvadoran workers and peasants rise up in a revolutionary war to overthrow the bloodstained oligarchy and the death squad regime, Reagan cries out that this is murder.

Can a more cowardly and lying warmonger than U.S. imperialism be imagined? It uses napalm and heavy weapons and instruments of mass destruction, and then whines for sympathy the moment the most lightly armed victim strikes back.

Support the Liberation Struggle of the Salvadoran People

The Salvadoran people are not striking out at random, as the Reaganites claim. They are fighting for their most fundamental rights. They are fighting against unbearable exploitation from an oligarchy of large landowners and big capitalists and from the U.S. corporations that jump for joy to set up in a country where the workers have low wages and face repression or death for even elementary trade union activity. They are fighting for agrarian revolution that will give land to the peasants. They are fighting for improvements in the condition of the working class. They are fighting for their rights and against being dominated by U.S. imperialism.

They can only accomplish their aims by revolution, by sweeping away the death squads and the oligarchy through a profound social revolution. Any other means would condemn them to perpetual slavery.

The struggle is armed because the oligarchy and U.S. imperialism won't give up their paradise of exploitation without a fight. Tens of thousands of progressive Salvadorans have been murdered by the death squads. And untold victims have been claimed by the American armaments, American- directed atrocities and American methods of counterinsurgency warfare.

The struggle of the Salvadoran people aids the struggle of the working masses here in the U.S. against Reaganism. When they strike at the Pentagon and the military, they are not hitting the American working people but the enemies of the American working people. It is our job to support the valiant Salvadoran people. This requires exposing the bloodstained U.S. intervention, demonstrating against the U.S. war on the liberation movement in El Salvador, and fighting U.S. imperialism tooth and nail. It means organizing for a struggle, including right inside the imperialist armed forces themselves, and showing the soldiers how to take part in the struggle against U.S. aggression just as many American GI's did during the Viet Nam war. And it requires organizing for a socialist revolution right here in the U.S., to bring the working class to power and remove once and for all the bloodstained militarists and exploiters from power.

Demonstrations denounce Congress' vote to aid contras

[Photo: Five hundred demonstrators in Los Angeles condemn the aid the House approved for the Nicaraguan contras on June 12.]

On June 12, even before the House had completed voting for aid to the contras, protests had begun around the country against the bipartisan support for the CIA-organized war on Nicaragua. Fifteen hundred arrests were made nationwide of demonstrators as actions took place at military recruiting centers, Air Force bases, federal buildings and at the local offices of congressmen voting for the contra aid.

In Boston 400 people continued the protest on June 13 with a militant march to a military recruiting office. In New York City, the demonstrators against the contras also cheered on the hotel workers in their strike struggle against the Reaganite offensive here in the U.S. (See article on page 7 on the hotel workers.)

Among the masses of people, anger against aid to the contras is widespread and demonstrations took place in far-flung areas; for example 14 people took to the streets in Jasper, Georgia, a town of 2,000 where there has never before been a protest on a national issue.

While Congress gave its official stamp of approval to funds for the contra torturers and killers, the June 12 demonstrations were a sign that the majority of the American people oppose this aggression against Nicaragua. Even bourgeois polls report majorities against this aid and against the embargo against Nicaragua. This shows that Congress was not bowing to the will of the people as it voted for these funds, but bowing to the will of the American bourgeoisie, militarist and imperialist to the core. In showing fear of appearing "soft" on Nicaragua, the congressional Democrats were proving themselves once again a party of the capitalist exploiters, worried not over how to represent the American working people but about the slightest tarnish in reputation of being a diehard defender of capitalism and the multinational corporations.

Reagan talks about invading Nicaragua

Ever since he took office, Reagan has sought to crush the Nicaraguan revolution by force. The CIA organized the dregs of humanity, the so-called "Contras," in order to carry out this policy. But, as the contras have suffered one crushing defeat after another at the hands of the Nicaraguan people, the Reagan administration also has carried out preparations for a direct U.S. invasion. And now, the Reagan administration has begun open discussion of an invasion with Congress and various reporters.

To the people, the Reagan administration lies through its teeth. Seeing how unpopular the U.S. dirty war on Nicaragua is, to say nothing of invasion, White House Spokesman Larry Speakes brazenly declared: "The president has no plans to use U.S. military forces in Central America, period. To raise the specter of direct U.S. involvement is wrong, wrong, wrong."

Meanwhile, Reagan declared in a secret report to Congress that the use of U.S. military forces in Nicaragua "must realistically be recognized as an eventual option in the region, if other policy alternatives fail." (See the June 5 issue of the New York Times)

Taken at face value, this statement is another one of Reagan's outrageous lies: the use of U.S. military forces "in the region" is not a future alternative, but the present policy. U.S. airplanes, airbases, advisors, guards, combat troops, naval gunboats cover Central America from one end to the other. American jet fighters overfly Nicaragua regularly, while American combat troops, "special forces" units of the regular army, are used in the CIA dirty war on Nicaragua. (For example, see the article "U.S. combat troops in the secret war on Nicaragua" in the January 1 issue of The Workers' Advocate.)

But obviously, what the dirty little liar was saying was a direct U.S. invasion was a policy alternative. Thus while Reagan's spokesman announces that there are no plans whatever for invasion, Reagan himself informs Congress, in a classified document, that such plans do in fact exist.

Furthermore, the New York Times reports that the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, the White House National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane, Secretary of State Schultz, and every one of almost 50 military, diplomatic and foreign government experts interviewed all raised this possibility as well. First they would sanctimoniously declare that they hoped that it would never come to an invasion. (Of course not, since this would mean that the CIA had failed again in its attempts to overthrow the Nicaraguan government.) Then, having established their credentials as men of peace by declaring their abhorrence of invasion, they would cynically declare that events could change the situation overnight, i.e., that they would have no difficulty manufacturing overnight a pretext for invasion.

Already Reagan officials are raising the trial balloon of invasion to selected audiences. They say that if sufficient aid isn't given to the contras then the Reagan administration will be faced in the future with the question of invasion; i.e., the Nicaraguan government must be overthrown one way or another.

Thus Secretary of State Shultz speculated on May 23 to the American Bar Association about the possibility, if the contras aren't funded in just the way the Reaganites want, of facing "an agonizing choice about the use of American combat troops" in the future. And Fred C. Ickle, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, had sounded the same theme in an interview on May 22, asking whether in two or three years, if the contras aren't funded, "Are you going to send in the Marines?" (Ibid.)

This talk of invasion shows again the utterly aggressive nature of American capitalism. The capitalists and their military, political, educational and journalistic spokesmen are openly debating how Nicaragua should be attacked: Should it be invaded? Should its people be starved first, and if so, for how many years? Should the contras be used to murder Nicaraguan workers, peasants and government ministers, and how many murders would put the appropriate pressure on Nicaragua?

People who oppose militarism and aggressive war clearly cannot rely on the good will of the cynical "gentlemen" who regard any crime, from mining harbors to outright invasion, from bombing oil ports to trade embargoes, as justified in the pursuit of restoring the profits of the American multinational companies. Those who live off super-profits will never learn to give up slaughter and bloodletting. It is necessary to rally the working class to rise up against these warmongering fiends. And it is only the socialist revolution that will sweep the capitalist class out of power and thus remove the source of aggressive war once and for all.

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Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists declare:

No more concessions to the big bourgeoisie!

(The following article is translated from Prensa Proletaria, newspaper of the Movement of Popular Leninist of Nicaragua, Issue 15, May 31, 1985. Translation by The Workers' Advocate staff.)

In the meetings of the bourgeois cotton growers, rice growers, cattle raisers, etc., with Jaime Weelock, member of the National Leadership of the FSLN, even though it was in the middle of the U.S. blockade and the turning of the tide of military aggression, the government's firm decision to further develop the class alliance with the strongest sectors of big capital was again very marked.

As a result of their pressure, the big private producers have obtained the privilege of special incentives in dollars, currency which costs so much to the Nicaraguan toilers. It is no exaggeration to state that the scarce currency which the country is obtaining for its purchases abroad is the product not only of the sweat of the toilers, but also, in the present situation of war unleashed by imperialism and internal reaction, a product of the very life of the Nicaraguan people.

The toilers, workers, and peasants of our country in the army, Military Service, Militias, factories, enterprises, production units and cooperatives, with their efforts in labor and defense, aspire that the result of all this should be translated into economic and social transformations for their benefit, for strengthening the struggle against exploitation, oppression and backwardness.

But the policy of National Unity, which is nothing other than the policy of reconciliation with the forces of big capital in Nicaragua, is determining that this sacrifice and hard work of the masses will not go for the objective benefit of this laboring majority. Rather, thanks to the handiwork and concessions of Sandinism, it will go to the agrarian and agro-industrial big bourgeoisie which controls, despite the scandals of the reaction and the government's demagogy, nothing less than 70% of the wealth produced in Nicaragua.

Thus, in a situation of economic crisis, commercial embargo and military aggressions, this collective effort of thousands upon thousands of Nicaraguan toilers, the results of these deeds of the Nicaraguan masses, the sacrifice and austerity of vast worker and peasant sectors, this social effort of enormous contingents of toilers who fight for their class emancipation, all this ends up not in strengthening the revolutionary forces materially and politically, but in helping the big bourgeoisie to accumulate more strength, take better positions for pressure and offense, and build up the counterrevolutionary forces.

This is the objective result that the toilers have been suffering through the whole course of the pompously called "Mixed Economy," which is nothing more than the populist and demagogical way of sweetly labeling dependent capitalism in Nicaragua.

The class alliance that the Sandinista petty bourgeoisie is insistently promoting and building with the powerful sectors of big private property in Nicaragua not only hurts the long-term basic interests of the workers and poor peasants -- the fundamental revolutionary forces -- but also concretely, at this very moment, and every day it is converted into a whip over the toilers.

In the present situation of crisis and aggression of every type, the fact that the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie is setting ever more complicated and deep conditions for its participation in this National Unity coveted by Sandinism and is demanding more economic and political concessions, is one more expression of the aggressiveness of the bourgeoisie against the possibility of deepening the revolution under the class interests of the proletariat and poor peasantry of our country. This bourgeois pressure and the Sandinista concessions constantly weaken the forces of the proletarian revolution in our country, the material and political forces of the workers and poor peasants.

The working class, and the poor peasantry in alliance with it, must firmly oppose Sandinism's policies of concessions to big capital.

The working class and the rest of the toilers must get mobilized more vigorously with a NO to the concessions to the big private producers and the conservative, liberal, social-christian, social-democratic and other politicians in their pay.

The government must satisfy the needs of the toilers and not the needs of the big bourgeoisie and landholders. On this road we must strengthen the basic forces of the revolution, the class forces of the proletariat and poor peasantry.

No more concessions to the bourgeoisie, death to imperialism!

[Photo: A scene from a recent Joint meeting held by MAP/ML -- the Marxist- Leninist Party of Nicaragua -- and its trade union front, Workers' Front (Frente Obrero). Francisco Qutierrez, secretary general of the Workers' Front, is speaking.]

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The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists on the solidarity of the American proletariat

(The following article is reprinted from Prensa Proletaria, newspaper of ML, the Marxist-Leninist party of Nicaragua, Issue 15, May 16-31, 1985. Translation by The Workers' Advocate staff.)

The Nicaraguan proletariat has been receiving expressions of internationalist solidarity from the American proletariat, especially through the activities of the Marxist-Leninist Party of the USA, headquartered in Chicago.

The MLP,USA has denounced the ostentatious smokescreen of supposed deep differences between the Republicans and Democrats, who have been acting out the farce of pretending that the one is an advanced alternative to the other.

The MLP,USA has also developed political campaigns of support for MAP-ML in various cities in the United States, propagating the struggles of the party of the Marxist-Leninist communists of Nicaragua, and in material solidarity in favor of the reopening of the daily paper El Pueblo and the continuation of Prensa Proletaria. As is known, on top of the political restrictions for the publications of the Marxist-Leninists of Nicaragua there have been added the effects of the embargo on commercial interchange between the U.S. and Nicaragua. Among other grave effects for the people, this is going to increase the difficulties of the Marxist-Leninist workers' press of Nicaragua.

Internationalist actions of the world working class are likewise growing in support of the struggle for the defense and deepening of the [Nicaraguan] Revolution toward proletarian socialism. The American working class also continues advancing on this road.

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The World in Struggle


General strike in Spain against social security cutbacks

Workers fought police and scores were arrested on June 20 as much of Spanish industry and transportation was shut down by a one-day general strike, the first nationwide strike since 1977. The strike was called as a protest against proposed pension cuts and other austerity measures introduced by the government of prime minister Felipe Gonzalez, head of the social-democratic PSOE (Socialist Workers Party of Spain).

Striking workers closed various businesses and government services in all major cities. The strike completely shut down the Basque country and most of Barcelona, the nation's two major industrial centers. Valencia, Spain's third largest city, was virtually at a standstill. In Madrid many factories were closed, bus and train service was sharply reduced, and major newspapers failed to appear. In Gijon, where militant shipyard workers have been protesting layoffs for months, clashes were especially sharp as picketers fought national policemen in riot gear.

The PSOE's Social-Reaganism

The focus of the strike was a bill that the government is pushing through parliament to reduce pension eligibility. Among other things, the bill would require workers to pay into social security for eight years before being eligible for the national pensions; current requirements are two years of social security payments. Another target of the strike was other austerity measures introduced by the government and the ever increasing unemployment, which has now reached 22%.

The PSOE's government's attack on pensions is part of its policy of reducing all social welfare expenditures -- unemployment compensation, health services, etc. At the same time the government is increasing military expenditures as Spain becomes more integrated into NATO. The government is buying more tanks, planes and weaponry at the same time that close to one-and-a-half million unemployed youth receive no unemployment compensation at all.

The social-democrats are also stepping up government spending on economic reconversion, which involves a massive rationalization of Spanish agriculture and industry. This means for the workers an intense productivity drive and massive layoffs, as in the shipbuilding industry. This program will create greater profits for the capitalists while it destroys the livelihood of thousands of workers.

The June 20 general strike was preceded by massive demonstrations on June 4. These demonstrations drew out half-a-million people in cities all across Spain -- 200,000 in Madrid alone and 100,000 in Barcelona. This action as well as the general strike was supported by the Communist Party of Spain (ML), which reports in its newspaper Vanguardia Obrera that numerous people affiliated with the PSOE participated in the demonstration despite the express prohibition of the PSOE leadership.

[Photo: On June 4 hundreds of thousands of Spanish workers demonstrated across the country against the social-democratic government's plan to cut back social security eligibility. Above is a scene from the demonstration in Madrid.]

Workers in Trinidad demonstrate outside cabinet meetings

(The following article is reprinted from the June 1985 issue The West Indian Voice.)

Weekly cabinet meetings by the government in Trinidad and Tobago are once again featuring mass demonstrations by workers outside the prime minister's office. In particular these have involved DEWD (Development and Environmental Works Division) workers, thousands of whom have been staging rallies and mass demonstrations over wage cuts and impending layoffs.

A large force of paramilitary tactical police units were brought out to disperse demonstrating DEWD workers on March 21 as workers attempted to stop the prime minister's car from leaving his compound. In early May three people were arrested in a similar demonstration outside a cabinet meeting.

DEWD is a program (similar to the CETA program in the U.S. which was abolished a few years ago by Ronald Reagan) directed at the chronically unemployed. The Trinidad government's cuts in the program led to demonstrations late last year when funds for workers' salaries ran out. The scheduled March 11 start of this year's program was delayed leaving DEWD workers with no income once again. This sparked the present round of protest actions by the workers.

Dock workers strike in Trinidad

(The following article is reprinted from the June 1985 issue The West Indian Voice.)

The wharves in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad were shut down on May 1 as dock workers went out on a two day strike against the Port Authority's attempt to strip them of their right to organize on the job.

This militant action was taken when the Port management attempted to implement a previously issued bulletin banning the practice of roving shop stewards. The seven affected shop stewards were reassigned to various jobs to prevent workers from pursuing grievances on the spot -- a provision which they had won since the 1973 contract.

The strike was initiated through a walkout by 97 workers from the militant Transport Division who were subsequently issued dismissal notices as a reprisal. The dock workers replied with a full-fledged strike which crippled the unloading of some ten ships docked on the wharves. They forced the Port management to withdraw the dismissal notices. This strike action was the seventh work stoppage on the Port-of-Spain docks so far for this year alone.

Government workers in Peru on strike again


Twelve thousand government workers march through downtown Lima, the capital of Peru, on June 18 during a strike that shut down seven of the country's 18 government ministries. This was the third strike launched by these workers during the past year. The workers are demanding a wage increase of 46%, which would bring their monthly pay to an average of $87.

French workers battle police


A demonstrator hurls rocks at French riot police from behind a barricade in the Paris suburb of Ivry oh June 5. Hundreds of workers were attempting to occupy a ball bearing plant. They were fighting to re-open the plant which had been shut down by the Swedish corporation SKF in March 1983. Police were ordered out against the workers by the Interior Minister of the social-democratic government of Francois Mitterrand. The workers bravely defended themselves from the tear gas and rubber bullets of the police.

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No to the war in Kampuchea!

(Below we publish two more articles on the subject of what has been happening in Kampuchea (Cambodia) over the last decade. In our March 1, 1985 issue, The Workers' Advocate published the article "The lesson of the Kampuchean tragedy: The peasant revolutionary movement needs the leadership of the proletariat." That article analyzed what took place in Kampuchea under the Pol Pot regime during 1975-1979. In the articles in this current issue, we discuss the current war over Kampuchea and the present situation in that country generally.)

During this past winter and spring, a large-scale military offensive by Viet Nam and its client regime in Kampuchea successfully routed the major bases along the Thai-Kampuchean border of the opposition coalition which is backed by the capitalist governments of the U.S., China, and southeast Asia.

In the face of these defeats, ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations), the alliance of reactionary and pro-U.S. governments of Southeast Asia, pledged to step up assistance to the Kampuchean opposition and called on the United States government to provide direct aid to these forces.

Since then, a flurry of activity has taken place in Washington on the Kampuchean question. Son Sann, leader of the KPNLF, the main pro-Western faction within the Kampuchean opposition coalition, visited U.S. officials and politicians to appeal for support And just recently, the Senate and House Foreign Affairs Committee voted to provide $5 million in open support to the Kampuchean opposition.

This is not a new endeavor; it merely raises the level of an ongoing U.S. commitment. For years, Washington has provided a certain amount of "covert aid" to the Kampuchean opposition, and the much larger "humanitarian" refugee aid has also helped to shore up the fortunes of these groups.

Thus, ten years after the U.S. defeat in Indochina, Washington continues to fuel the fires of war and strife in that Asian region. This policy is couched in rhetoric about Kampuchean self-determination, but quite often the honorable gentlemen in Washington acknowledge that they are guided by nothing more noble than filthy revanchism -- revenge against Viet Nam for having defeated the "mighty" forces of U.S. imperialism ten years ago. "Make Viet Nam bleed!" has become the battle cry of these latter-day heroes in the White House and Congress.

No to the War in Kampuchea. Both Sides in the War Stand for a Capitalist Order. Both Sides Stand Against Self-Determination for the Kampuchean People

The Marxist-Leninist Party, USA believes that class conscious workers and anti-militarist fighters must oppose the efforts of U.S. imperialism to continue stoking the fires of war in Indochina. There is nothing good in the motives of U.S. imperialism. The same imperialist superpower which wantonly invaded Kampuchea in 1970, which carried out a savage war for five years afterward and which dropped half-a-million tons of bombs on that country, can hardly be believed when today it speaks of self- determination for Kampuchea.

At the same time, revolutionary Marxist-Leninists hold that the Vietnamese occupation of Kampuchea is wrong and should be opposed.

Viet Nam originally went into Kampuchea responding to attacks from the Pol Pot regime. These attacks had been the result of the extreme chauvinism of the Pol Pot regime and an attempt by Pol Pot to stave off the crisis of his regime; as well the Chinese revisionists played a dirty role in egging on these attacks. Viet Nam overthrew the Pol Pot regime. We do not mourn the demise of that regime which had become a noose around the Kampuchean people. If Viet Nam had worked to set up a really revolutionary regime, its presence would have had a liberating character. But Viet Nam did not do that; instead it has established a client regime and taken up the task of stabilizing a capitalist order in Kampuchea. (See the adjoining article for a more detailed analysis of the Vietnamese presence in Kampuchea.)

The lurid picture painted by the U.S. government and media about Viet Nam's occupation is simply full of lies. In fact, the facts show that at this time the Vietnamese presence, and the Heng Samrin government, is not a brutal order against the masses. But no matter how benign it may be today, it is still not a presence welcomed by the masses and it is ultimately bound to turn against the working masses when they begin to take steps to advance their independent class interests.

Today self-determination for Kampuchea is a real enough issue. But opposition to the Vietnamese occupation is hypocritical without also condemning the Kampuchean opposition. After all, there are two internationally-backed camps at war over Kampuchea. And the actually existing relation of forces today is such that a mere withdrawal of Viet Nam will mean that the opposition coalition will walk in.

And the pro-West camp also seeks to establish a client regime, only subservient to different foreign powers, and perpetuate a capitalist order. What is more, given the historical record of the opposition forces, the future they promise is likely to be a brutal one, more reactionary than the present situation.

After all, the misnamed "Democratic Kampuchea" opposition coalition is a bloc of forces that has been responsible for one disaster after another over the last several decades. This coalition includes the KPNLF, which is dominated by elements from the Lon Nol puppet regime of the early 70's; it includes the royalist Sihanouk, bourgeois opportunist par excellence, and his followers; and finally its strongest component is the thoroughly unpopular Pol Pot forces of the old Khmer Rouge, which began as a peasant-populist revolutionary movement but after victory turned against the people and ultimately degenerated into just another bourgeois faction playing the game of one or more foreign powers.

The war in Kampuchea is a tragedy. This war is an unpopular war; there is no sign that the Kampuchean masses have enthusiasm for any of the sides in this war. Rather, exhausted by years of war and the harshness of the rule of the Khmer Rouge which destroyed the fruits of the victory of the liberation struggle, the Kampuchean working people have yet to recover their own independent fighting capacity and a voice that can speak on their own behalf. And the continuation of war itself serves as an obstacle to social and economic recuperation in the country.

The war in Kampuchea is also a wider calamity. It is a source of much hardship for the people of Viet Nam as well. The tremendous drain of resources from Viet Nam caused by the Kampuchean war contributes to the difficulties that Viet Nam faces. As well, given the entanglement of all the local capitalist powers of the region, as well as of such big imperialist powers as the U.S., China, and the Soviet Union, there is always the threat of the Kampuchean conflict flowing over into a wider reactionary war.

The people of Kampuchea are caught in an unfortunate situation, in the midst of a rivalry between forces among whom no one stands for their real interests. We do not believe that the Kampuchean people should simply be left to choosing the lesser evil between these two unfavorable choices. No, they have to find their way out of this trap. For this, the development of a revolutionary movement among the Kampuchean masses is essential.

Towards the Recovery of a Voice That Can Speak on Behalf of the Kampuchean Toilers

In the whole Kampuchean affair, the biggest tragedy is that there is no voice that can speak for the interests of the Kampuchean toilers. Kampuchean society shows all the signs of a society that suffers from exhaustion. The society has yet to recover from the ravages of decades of war and the shocks and disillusionment of the Khmer Rouge rule. In the 1960's and early 1970's, a powerful revolutionary movement grew up among the toilers. It accomplished the great feat of defeating the U.S. war and the Lon Nol regime. But the limitations of the peasant-populist ideology and leadership that came to the fore led to the destruction of much and degeneration of the rest of the revolutionary forces that had emerged from that wave of struggle.

For future progress in Kampuchea, we cannot look in the direction of either of the camps at war. Rather, we must look towards the social and political recovery of the Kampuchean workers and poor peasants. We must look in the direction of the social trends that will result in renewed struggle of the toilers.

It is true that the continued war acts as a brake on social and economic recovery in the country. Nevertheless, even under the current regime, a certain amount of recovery has taken place. In the countryside, capitalist relations have expanded, giving rise to growing class differentiation, between a class of kulaks (rich peasants) and an expanding rural poor. The towns and cities are being revived, albeit very slowly. A working class, that was all but destroyed during the Khmer Rouge rule, is again coming into being.

These social trends are bound to lead to the next round of social struggle in Kampuchea. Class contradictions will lead to class struggle. And there lies the ground from which will emerge the political forces that will speak for the laboring masses.

It is from this that the next upsurge of revolutionary struggle in the interests of the poor and exploited can be expected. The class conscious workers of the world must encourage every step in this direction.

Kampuchea is of course not an isolated and remote place. It is part of an Asian region which in recent decades has seen a dramatic growth in the ranks of the proletariat because of a certain expansion of capitalist industry and agriculture. The ferment in the ranks of this proletariat can be observed today in the strike movements and political struggles of the workers of the Philippines and South Korea. The building up of the forces of the proletarian movement in this region, on a truly revolutionary Marxist-Leninist basis, will be of immense assistance to the recovery of the Kampuchean toilers.

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Present-Day Kampuchea-Myths and Reality

From the contemporary international debate over Kampuchea, it is nearly impossible to understand what is actually taking place in present-day Kampuchea. In this article, we take a closer look at the reality which is hidden behind the noisy propaganda war.

The Picture Painted by the U.S. Government and Media Is a Complete Lie

Let us begin with the portrayal of Kampuchea today by the Western-backed Kampuchean opposition and its supporters. This is the picture promoted by the U.S. government and news media. From this, one would get the idea that the people of Kampuchea suffer unspeakable brutalities under the Vietnamese occupation and the Heng Samrin regime. Stories are spread of continuing massacres, of massive colonization of the country by Vietnamese settlers, of the looting of rice back to Viet Nam, and of the very destruction of the Kampuchean nation.

But the facts show that these are nothing but lurid tales conjured up by professional liars.

A number of sources who have visited the country or worked in international relief there have helped refute these lies. One particularly useful source to get some of the facts on present-day Kampuchea is the book Cambodia 1975-1982 by Michael Vickery that we referred to in our earlier article on the rule of the Khmer Rouge. Vickery appears to be a liberal historian with a long interest in Kampuchea and his current sympathies lie with the Vietnamese-backed regime. However, as we noted earlier, while we do not agree with either Vickery's liberal views or his support for the Heng Samrin regime, in his book Vickery shows a certain fidelity to uncovering the truth, despite the fact that what he reveals proves to be unflattering to both sides in the current war over Kampuchea.

In our last article, we noted that Vickery carried out extensive investigation which helped to refute the "standard total view'' of Kampuchea under the Pol Pot regime. In his book, he also subjects the "standard total view'' of today's Kampuchea to a similar scrutiny. He bases his conclusions on examination of written sources, interviews with refugees along the Thai-Kampuchean border, and also a short trip to Kampuchea in 1981.

The interviews with refugees showed that the stories of massacres and brutality are simply untrue, although isolated incidents of arbitrary acts can not be ruled out, especially in the war zones. The bourgeois refugees who tried hard to come up with reports of the harshness of conditions under the present regime could not come up with any descriptions of massacres. Meanwhile, peasants who came to the border refugee camps for brief forays did not have any specific complaints about the new regime, although they would have preferred not to have the Vietnamese occupation.

The stories of the destruction of Kampuchean culture also turn out to be absurd. Libraries and schools have in fact been reopened, the schools operating with subject matter similar to what existed in Kampuchea before the onset of war. There is no sign of any forced imposition of the Vietnamese language. Even a defecting official from the Heng Samrin regime's Education Ministry acknowledged that, while Vietnamese language instruction had been proposed, it had been rejected by the Khmer educational committees and indefinitely shelved.

Vickery also could not find any truth in the reports of looting of rice to Viet Nam, although he admits that it is of course impossible to say that not a single grain of rice ever found its way to Viet Nam. As for the issue of Vietnamese colonization, this appears to be a distortion of a different phenomenon. Some settlement by Vietnamese people has indeed taken place, but there is no evidence that this is either massive or officially organized. It should be noted that before the 1970-75 war, there were 4-500,000 Vietnamese residents of Kampuchea, most of them natives, who were expelled or fled to Viet Nam during the war and the Pol Pot period. Most of these people were urban shopkeepers and artisans or inhabitants of fishing villages, and it is in these areas that Vietnamese residents are being reported today. As well, there are also reports of people of Khmer origin from South Viet Nam coming to settle in Kampuchea.

Clearly the picture painted by the Western imperialists is a complete fabrication.

There Is Nothing Revolutionary in What Viet Nam Has Set Up

Meanwhile, exaggeration in the other direction is typical of the stories spread by the Vietnamese revisionists and their apologists. The pro-Soviet revisionists paint the present situation in glorious revolutionary colors. While it is acknowledged that there are many "difficulties" in the country, nevertheless it is claimed that a Marxist-Leninist regime is in place and conditions are being created for socialism. There is no truth in these claims.

While Vickery is clearly sympathetic to the present order and he also happens to believe that Viet Nam is revolutionary and socialist (showing that he knows nothing of the gulf between Marxism and revisionism), still he does bring out a number of the facts which verify that what Viet Nam is building in Kampuchea is a capitalist order.

In economic affairs, the Vietnamese and their client regime have simply adopted the course of letting capitalist relations run rampant.

Take the countryside, the mainstay of the Kampuchean economy. With the overthrow of the Pol Pot regime, its collectivization of agriculture had crumbled; this was not surprising considering that it had been artificially imposed without considering the level of the consciousness and organization of the peasants. But the new Vietnamese- backed regime did not adopt a revolutionary course of basing their agrarian policy on the interests and organization of the rural poor. Instead virtually a laissez-faire capitalist approach was taken. Property has in large measure reverted back to private hands and the result has been the encouragement of the emergence of an economically privileged and powerful upper stratum of the peasantry. The rural poor have not been helped to defend their interests. Thus, Vickery himself admits that the new regime has gone a long way toward the counterrevolution which the remnants of the old society wanted.

And in the newly repopulated towns and cities, an unproductive marginal capitalist economy typical of urban areas of dependent countries around the world has begun to be reestablished. The development of productive industry has lagged far behind.

Vickery also provides information which shows that the new government is in fact a regime very much made up of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois elements who were part of the old bourgeois regimes of Kampuchea. Besides some petty-bourgeois elements, who are either remnants of the old Khmer Rouge or historic supporters of the Vietnamese leadership within the Kampuchean left, the new regime includes numbers of former officials from both the Sihanouk and Lon Nol regimes, of course only those who have been willing to work for the Vietnamese-backed regime.

It may be argued that given the devastation suffered by Kampuchea and the fleeing of so many with intellectual skills, what's wrong with utilizing the skills of the old bourgeois strata? True, many revolutionary regimes are forced into such a difficult situation, and it carries dangers that have to be guarded against. But in Kampuchea today we do not have a case of a revolutionary regime using the skills of some bourgeois elements. The fact is that the regime as a whole pursues a capitalist policy. What is more, there is no sign that the ordinary toiling masses are being trained to run the state through organs of peoples' power of any kind. Only under those conditions could anyone say that conditions were being prepared for revolutionary transformations towards socialism.

The essentially bourgeois character of the Heng Samrin regime can even be sometimes gleaned from the Vietnamese and their apologists. For example, even while Viet Nam carried out the recent military offensives against the Kampuchean opposition bases, spokesmen for Viet Nam and the Heng Samrin regime held out hopes for the bourgeois leaders of the opposition. They declared that even such people as Son Sann and Sihanouk could play a role in the present order. In fact, Viet Nam is willing to come to a compromise with most of the top bourgeois leaders of the opposition; it only rules out dealing with a few of the top leaders of the Pol Pot faction.

Viet Nam Remains Of Course Very Much an Occupying Power

Despite the fact that the horror stories spread by the Western propaganda mills are a pack of lies, the fact remains that Viet Nam remains very much an occupation power. And this runs contrary to the interests of the Kampuchean masses.

For one thing, there continues to be a military occupation and the client regime in Phnom Penh takes a subordinate position to Viet Nam. There are still over 150,000 Vietnamese troops; The Vietnamese have not been able to get enough support from the Kampuchean masses to mobilize enough of a local armed force to fight the war. There are signs that they have begun to take recourse to conscription. The local regime, while it is made up mainly of Kampucheans, nevertheless remains dependent even in its day-to-day administration on Vietnamese personnel.

No matter how moderate the Vietnamese presence may be today, the fact remains that the Kampucheans have not registered any enthusiastic approval to their presence. Given the exhaustion of the society and the low level of domestic class contradictions today, there are yet no signs of popular rebellion against the Vietnamese. But the Vietnamese presence, in giving support to a capitalist order, is bound to turn against the masses sooner or later, especially when the local working people begin to take steps in defense of their own class interests.

And while today there do not yet appear to be signs of Vietnamese economic exploitation of Kampuchea, the fact that relations between Viet Nam and Kampuchea are capitalist and unequal relations means that sooner or later things are bound to head in that direction.

Finally, from the standpoint of the toilers, the continuing occupation of Kampuchea by Viet Nam means that there exists a ready-made weapon for the exploiters to use to divert the struggle of the toilers -- the weapon of bourgeois nationalism. The pro-Western bourgeois opposition has so far failed to strike a chord of sympathy among the masses. But when class conflicts began to develop, this opposition will undoubtedly seek to draw in the discontented toilers with its nationalist appeals. Or else other bourgeois forces emerging from within the present republic will come forth with this approach. Hence, in order to have the clearest field for the class struggle to develop, with the least chance of being obscured by nationalist demagogy, an end to Vietnamese occupation is essential. This is also the best condition for the unity of the Kampuchean toilers with the fraternal toilers of Viet Nam itself.

The Western-Backed Camp Is No Alternative

As we note in the article on the facing page on the war in Kampuchea, the Western-backed Kampuchean opposition offers no alternative to the people of this country. Should they come to power, they would turn the country also into a client regime, only dependent on other foreign powers, such as Thailand, China and the U.S. And while their domestic program for the country also stands for perpetuation of a capitalist order, given their history they are likely to establish a brutal regime, one more reactionary than the present pro-Vietnamese regime.

For the advance of the cause of the working masses of Kampuchea, we have to look not at the existing "choices" before the country but towards the recovery of the forces for social revolution.

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Revolution surges forward in the Philippines

The U.S.-backed Marcos dictatorship is being hit hard by a continuing high tide of struggle. In this upsurge, the workers, peasants and youth are besieging the regime from all sides, using a variety of methods of struggle.

Guerrilla Warfare Sweeps Through the Philippines

Fighters of the New People's Army (NPA), the main guerrilla force, have been rapidly expanding their area and scope of activity. Rebel attacks are widespread across the country. On June 6, guerrillas attacked an army truck in Connors, 200 miles north of Manila, and killed ten soldiers. On June 9, a force of,50 rebel fighters smashed up a government patrol in San Isidro, 600 miles southwest of Manila, killing six soldiers.

One of the most fertile areas for guerrilla activity recently has been the island of Negros, known as the "sugar bowl'' of the Philippines. On Negros, the laboring population is composed mainly of rural proletarians and semi-proletarians, who work as farm hands on the large sugar haciendas or as workers in the sugar mills. When employed, these workers are forced: to labor 12 hours a day for a wage that is often half the official minimum wage. But even that work is seasonal, and right now the sugar industry is in deep crisis, which has led the hacienda owners this spring to lay off about two-thirds of their work force (170,000 workers).

A growing mass movement has emerged on the island, which has included demonstrations of tens of thousands protesting economic conditions as well as the dictatorship. In this fertile ground, the NPA has reportedly increased its strength in the last three years from 50 fighters to a force of 1,000 today. One of their most successful actions was the March 25 raid on Visayan Maritime Academy in Bacolod City. Without firing a single shot, guerrillas took over the Academy for a time and captured about 450 rifles and other firearms, the largest number ever seized in a single raid.

The hottest spot for the armed insurgency continues to be eastern Mindanao. Here rebel forces are more and more taking the initiative in clashing with government troops. Mindanao is also the island on which guerrillas have been developing an armed presence in the urban areas. In Davao, the third largest city in the country with a population of about a million, NPA fighters have been active for three years and have established a firm base of support among the city's poor. NPA "sparrow units'' killed 80 policemen in 1984 and now move freely in the poor neighborhoods, while police are afraid to appear on city streets even in broad daylight.

The revolutionaries are stepping up work among the urban squatters across the country. Squatters make up over one-fourth of the population of Metro Manila and are involved in constant struggles against the government's attempts to destroy their communities.

General Strikes Paralyze Entire Regions

A new development in the struggle against the Marcos regime this spring has been the organizing of "people's strikes,'' which are general strikes of the working masses combining economic and political demands. These have embraced whole regions.

On June 18, thousands of workers launched a three-day general strike in Bataan Province. Among other issues, the people protested the country's first nuclear power plant at Morong. The actions of the masses included work place strikes, a march between three cities and rallies, and blockades of highways. The military deployed tanks and armored carriers across the province against the fighting workers and students.

Earlier, at the end of April, a two-day people's strike in Mindanao embraced 100,000 workers and shut down transport and 140 enterprises. The demands of the working people included calls for increasing the minimum wage; price rollbacks on basic commodities; an end to the militarization of the region; repeal of repressive laws; and the dismantling of all U.S. bases in the country.

Workers' Economic Movement Surges Forward

Alongside the workers' political strikes, there has also been a vigorous economic strike movement. In 1985 the workers' strikes have been growing in number, frequency, length, and militancy, in a continuation of the dramatic upsurge in the economic struggle which developed in 1984. While in 1983 there were 4.7 million man-hours of work time lost in strikes, in 1984 that figure had swelled to 15.3 million and already in the first quarter of this year five million man-hours have been lost.

Increasingly workers are taking militant stands on the picket line, as they face the strikebreaking attempts of the capitalists as well as the repression of the Marcos dictatorship. Many of the strikes that have taken place only demand that the workers get paid the legal minimum wage but this has not prevented the regime from attacking picket lines with water cannons, busloads of strikebreakers, etc.

The workers' experience has also helped expose for them the corrupt nature of the trade union officials of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, the officially recognized union federation. Its influence is dwindling so much that this year for the first time in 20 years, the TUCP was unable to organize a pro-government May Day parade in Manila; the fighting workers held their own militant march on International Workers' Day.

Marcos Responds With More and More Repression

As the revolutionary struggle sweeps over the Philippines, dictator Marcos thinks only of stepping up repression.

To terrorize the populace of Metro Manila, Marcos recently reactivated the "secret marshals,'' a secret force of 160 plainclothesmen ostensibly created to "fight urban crime." Within two weeks of being launched, they had killed 14 people on the streets of the city. The regime's police have also stepped up their hated "zonings," wide-scale dragnets during which they go through every home in entire neighborhoods. Unofficial "death squad" killings are also on the rise.

If such measures do not suffice, Marcos announced on June 11 that he will renew martial law. This would of course be more symbolic than anything else since Marcos already rules through dictatorial decrees and the military is widely used against the struggling workers, peasants and students of the country.

Marcos is also making it clear that he is counting on U.S. help when the revolutionary forces come knocking on his door. Marcos declared that he may have to ask for "allied troops as provided for in the [U.S.-Filipino] mutual defense pact" if rebel forces launch what amounts to "an outright attack."

Justice, Marcos Style

The current wave of-mass upsurge in the Philippines had received an impetus from the broad outrage that grew after the 1983 murder by the regime of the bourgeois liberal opposition leader, Benigno Aquino. To calm down the mass outrage, and to soothe the heartstrings of some liberal U.S. congressmen, the regime made a showy indictment of a number of military personnel for Aquino's murder, including General Fabian Ver, the military chief of staff.

But in recent weeks the Marcos regime has made one move after another to flaunt that this is nothing but a trial for show. Marcos recently denounced all the witnesses at the trial as perjurers. Meanwhile, since the trial began, five key witnesses have "disappeared." And the court recently threw out on procedural grounds the major evidence against Ver, Ver's own testimony before a civilian fact-finding board set up to investigate Aquino's murder -- testimony in which Ver had been caught in lies and contradictions.

Such is the farce of a trial which all sorts of American politicians and journalists were so quick to believe was a sign that the Marcos regime was becoming just and democratic.

Liberal Opposition Leaders Meet With CIA Chief On How to Head Off the Revolution

Besides the revolutionary movement in the Philippines, there is also the activity of a bourgeois liberal opposition to Marcos. This political camp, while having various conflicts with Marcos, is mainly scared to death of the prospects for victory by the revolutionary forces. It believes that a Marcos-style regime only helps the growth of the left. The liberals believe that the interests of the Filipino capitalist-landlord ruling class can best be served by a capitalist parliamentary regime which could win over some of the people attracted to the left and demoralize, disintegrate and crush the revolutionary forces.

American officials and politicians, while supporting Marcos to the hilt, are closely involved in helping to boost the liberals. Democratic Party liberals are lauding Salvador Laurel, the main liberal leader today, as the great American hope for the Philippines, the local equivalent of El Salvador's Jose Napoleon Duarte who helps imperialism fight the Salvadoran revolution through a "democratic" facade.

Reagan's head of the CIA, William Casey, visited the Philippines in mid- May to assess the strength of the popular insurgency and during his visit he consulted with some of the liberal bigshots close to Laurel. The liberals convinced Casey that what is needed to defuse the explosive situation are early elections and Casey is reported to have urged Marcos to call a presidential election earlier than the scheduled 1987 date.

The liberal maneuvers are aimed at undercutting the revolutionary forces. What makes such maneuvers even more dangerous for the vitality of the revolutionary struggle is that unfortunately the Communist Party of the Philippines, which leads the New People's Army and dominates the Filipino left today, shows dangerous illusions in the liberals. This is one of the negative consequences of Maoist ideology on the Filipino revolutionary movement. (A fuller discussion of this problem is beyond the scope of this present article, but it will be taken up in an upcoming issue of The Workers' Advocate.)

Illusions in the liberals carry the danger of replacing the prospects for revolutionary victory over Marcos with the possibility of a half-way compromise. However, for the time being the Marcos regime refuses accommodation with the opposition, even of the most liberal sort. This has helped the increasing momentum of the fighting workers, peasants and youth.

All signs are that this momentum will steadily mount. For the most decisive outcome of the struggle, and above all to prevent the liberals from stealing the fruits of the popular struggle, the revolutionary forces of the Philippines need the utmost vigilance against the treacherous liberals. The struggle of the masses must not be allowed to be stopped half-way but must go on to bury the Filipino capitalist-landlord regime with a revolutionary government of the workers and peasants.

Down with the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship!

Solidarity with the revolutionary struggle of the Filipino people!


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Reagan's undying love for Marcos

As a revolutionary storm sweeps through the Philippines, U.S. imperialism is trying to prop up the regime of reactionary despot Ferdinand Marcos. While the Reagan administration is involved in some maneuvering with bourgeois opposition figures, and Democratic Party congressmen sometimes complain about "human rights" in the Philippines, none of this hinders the U.S. government in its day-to-day support for Marcos' tyranny, with the support of Democrats and Republicans alike.

One feature of the close relation between Marcos and U.S. imperialism is the huge complex of U.S. military installations in the Philippines. This includes Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base, the largest American military bases outside of the U.S. And they are getting larger. Landing runways at Clark were recently enlarged to accommodate any plane in the U.S. war fleet, and on-base housing was expanded to accommodate more U.S. servicemen.

The bases are also getting more dangerous. As reported in the U.S. capitalist press last January, the Pentagon's Nuclear Weapons Deployment Plan of 1985 calls for 227 nuclear bombs to be deployed in the Philippines in case of a war alert, without even informing the Philippine government.

Ferdinand Marcos likes to pose sometimes as a "nationalist" and to declare he is going to "assert Philippine sovereignty" over U.S. bases. But this is just whistling in the wind, aimed only at getting the best cash deal with the Pentagon. Marcos didn't utter a peep of protest against the nuclear weapons deployment plan, and has tried to cover up the expansion at Gark. This loyalty is one of the reasons why the imperialist leaders of the U.S. government keep Marcos close to their hearts.

Thus Marcos continues to receive massive amounts of U.S. military and economic aid. This year Reagan has asked Congress to approve $180 million in official U.S. aid for fiscal year 1986. This is more than four times what Marcos received the previous year, and this is aside from the hundreds of millions of dollars in "unofficial" aid the Reagan administration arranges for Marcos every year in the form of bank loans, credits, IMF loans, etc.

The Democrats Want to Give U.S. Support for Marcos a "Human Rights" Facade

Congressional Democrats are puffing and wheezing about "human rights" in the Philippines, but they are not letting this prevent them from voting for more aid to Marcos. Recently the Senate passed a resolution introduced by liberal Democrat John Kerry (D-Mass.) stipulating that future aid to the Philippines be tied to progress in human rights and democratization of the country. This is similar to the sort of "restrictions" Congress placed on Reagan's requests for aid to the death-squad regime in El Salvador, which were simply a liberal cover for congressional approval of increased aid to the fascists. Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio) is planning to introduce a resolution similar to Kerry's in the House.

What is even more glaring, Kerry's resolution only deals with aid for 1987 and beyond; it leaves untouched Reagan's request for 1986. Furthermore, this is a non-binding resolution -- in other words, it is purely for the sake of liberal appearances. No wonder the Republican-controlled Senate passed this resolution overwhelmingly! It is another example of how the Democrats and Republicans work together to support the most dirty features of U.S. imperialism.

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Reaganism in Jamaica- the poor won't take no more!

[The West Indian Voice masthead.]

(The following article is reprinted from the June 1985 issue of The West Indian Voice.)

For the working people of Jamaica, Seaga's Reaganite program is a horrible nightmare of hardship and suffering.

Two months ago, Seaga suddenly imposed a "pre-budget" austerity package. There were sharp new price increases on everything from sugar, flour and corn meal to chicken meat. The pitiful levy on the bauxite companies was scrapped. It was replaced with a brutal 30% tax on the masses instead. Large scale layoffs were announced in the public sector again along with with the closure of half of the sugar industry.

Just when the toilers thought they had seen it all -- more dreadful news came knocking at the door. Now Seaga has come out with his 1985-86 budget which goes into effect after June. Included are more and larger price increases, while subsidies are being given the final axe. But J $600 million (i.e. 600 million Jamaican dollars, a 71.8% increase) is reserved to feed the banks as debt servicing. Seaga plans to raise J $300 million of this through more taxes on the masses.

And the regime is conducting savage repression, curtailing voting rights, and clubbing and tear gassing demonstrators at will. After ordering the tear gassing of downtown Kingston for the fourth time on May 15 (the opening of parliament), the Minister of National Security and Justice declared: "We are setting the ground rules today, or tomorrow might be too late." Let's show them who is boss, declares the Minister! Is there any wonder that Seaga is proposing $377.3 million for the security forces for 1985-86 -- four times more than the proposed expenditure for agriculture?

Under these desperate conditions, the workers' movement in Jamaica is making a stronger and stronger appearance. Just as eruptions by the poor and unemployed have shaken the island, so too the factories, work places and fields have become real centers of resistance and struggle against soaring prices, wage cuts and layoffs, against Seaga, the capitalist exploiters and the IMF.

April and May witnessed several mass demonstrations in Kingston, despite the police clubs and tear gas. Roadblocks and barricades were the response of the masses to Seaga's drive to curtail the vote. And the past two months have seen an island-wide strike by sugar workers, protests by small farmers, strikes in electricity, postal, hospital and transport.

Aside from these actions, there has also been a series of hardly noticed but bitterly fought struggles by smaller groups of workers. Fighting against closures and eviction, they have attempted seizures and barricaded themselves against the police and army bulldozers.

No sooner does the regime think that its latest volley of tear gas canisters has silenced the masses than the fantasy explodes in its face as more demonstrations and strikes break out.

Extremely hard hit, the workers have not allowed their spirits to be dampened by the repression. Nor have they bent under the blackmail and threats of being subjected to further layoffs unless they agree to give in to the whip of the exploiters, Seaga or the IMF. They are showing a heroic and militant spirit.

The union bureaucrats, however, have not raised a finger to help the workers organize their struggle. Of course, they are like Johnny-on-the-ready when it comes to quickly negotiating away every struggle before things get out of hand. This is because the lifeline of the two largest unions in Jamaica is owned by the two major capitalist parties, the ruling JLP, and the liberal PNP.

Hugh Shearer, Seaga's deputy prime minister, is the president of the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union, while Michael Manley heads the National Workers Union. The leadership of both unions goes to great pains, each according to its own style, to illustrate their loyal "patriotism" before the Seaga government and the rule of law.

That is why on Labor Day this past May, Seaga announced that he was "very heartened" by the "understanding and restraint" shown by the trade union leaders. Meanwhile he cursed workers who go out on strikes regardless.

From the depths of suffering and woes the working class must utilize its militant spirit to get organized against the influence of these bourgeois parties. To advance their struggle against Seaga, the working class must cut a revolutionary path, independent of the JLP and the PNP.

[Photo: Two hundred workers recently occupied the Evantide poor house In Jamaica after the Seaga government closed the institution and fired all Its workers. This is one of the many struggles that continue to break out across the country against the austerity measures of the Reagan-loving capitalist government.]

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General Strike Rocks Jamaica

The mounting Jamaican workers' movement shut down the island country in a nationwide general strike during the last week of June.

Facing the vicious austerity measures of the Seaga government -- which include sharp price increases on basic necessities; major tax increases; and enormous layoffs especially among the public sector and sugar cane workers -- the Jamaican workers have increasingly taken to the streets in struggle. Over the last several months major strikes have broken out among sugar cane workers, teachers, and workers in transport, electricity services, hospitals, and the postal services. Militant demonstrations have rocked the major cities as the working people have built barricades and roadblocks to battle the police.

On June 25, the workers launched a general strike protesting the high cost of living and the massive layoffs. Public sector workers disrupted water, electricity and communications services all across the country for three days. Schools were closed by striking teachers. And Prime Minister Seaga had to call out the army to fight fires as the firefighters refused to work. Meanwhile 6,000 bauxite miners briefly shut down mines in central Jamaica, hotel workers shut down wealthy resorts on the northern coast, and other private sector workers struck mills and factories.

On June 27, the bosses of six major unions demanded that the workers return to work. It is reported that on that day many public sector workers began filtering back to their jobs, but large private factories and mills remained closed.

This general strike is another sign that the anger of the masses is boiling over and the class struggle has become the order of the day against the bloodsucking capitalist regime of Seaga.

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Introducing the journal 'Struggle'

The Reaganites and the liberals are together flooding the airwaves and newspapers with militarism, racism, mysticism, dollar-worship, anti-women brutality and empty sentimentality. This capitalist culture is designed to stupefy the masses and destroy their will to resist the capitalist offensive. But the revolt of the masses against the capitalist offensive is also expressed on the cultural front, where proletarian literature, songs, poems and drawings can be found in revolutionary newspapers, in leaflets, at demonstrations, in performances at meetings, and so forth.

Recently the first issue of Struggle appeared. Struggle is a literary journal of the Detroit Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party. By providing a journal specifically devoted to cultural work, the Detroit Branch is seeking to encourage progressive writing and art and to help spread it widely among the working masses. It is precisely that writing and culture that is linked with participation in the revolutionary movement and that is designed for the benefit of the working masses that expresses what is new and healthy on the cultural front.

Struggle is a militant journal that fights for the revolutionary culture. It is in the nature of cultural work that, inside the general trend of proletarian revolutionary views on literary matters, there are certain different methods of approach and different views on certain cultural and artistic questions. The particular views on these questions expressed in Struggle are the responsibility of its editor, who is a supporter of the MLP, and the particular authors of articles, polemics, stories and songs; they do not necessarily represent the views of the Marxist-Leninist Party as a whole or of the Detroit Branch on these issues.

Struggle can be reached at the following address:


Individual issues of Struggle cost $1.00, $1.50 by mail. Articles, original works, and reports on the reception of revolutionary culture are welcomed.

From the Editorial "There Is Such a Trend!"

The magazine Struggle is founded to be a voice for the revolutionary working class trend in American literature.

There is such a trend!...

Through its history, the international working class has produced great revolutionary writers -- Pottier, Gorky, Mayakovsky, Barbusse, Ostrovsky and others. Their work is a ringing battle cry to the proletariat, a cry made all the more powerful by the techniques of revolutionary art....

But the bourgeois literary bigwigs have hidden the fact that in the U.S., too, the proletarian movement gave rise to a vigorous renaissance of literature. Militant American literary fighters joined their voices with their international comrades to promote the mass struggle against capitalism. The songs of Joe Hill and the Industrial Workers of the World, though flawed by syndicalism, burned with rebellion against the bosses. Works of an inconsistently anti-capitalist nature, such as Upton Sinclair's Jungle, appeared and made a certain contribution to the workers' cause. The novels of Jack Conroy, Thomas Boyd, the early Myra Page and others, the poetry of Henry George Weiss, the early Langston Hughes, W.S. Stacy, etc. -- all associated with the Communist Party USA in its revolutionary days of the 20's and early 30's -- inspired the working people in the big class battles of the Great Depression. Party journals and progressive magazines such as The New Masses, The Rebel Poet, Anvil and Dynamo printed the works of these writers.

Struggle declares that this trend is alive and growing in the United States! We will unearth the works of our predecessors and we will ...[publish] present-day works....

There can be no great literature which does not take full part in the struggle of ideas in society and in the class struggle which is at the root of the ideological struggle. But today even the idea that literature should stand up and battle for the cause of the oppressed majority is ridiculed by most critics and writers. Almost to a man the literary critics declare that the proletarian literature of the 30's in the U.S. was a freak, deformed and misbegotten, never to appear again. The "end of ideology" (meaning Marxist ideology) in literature has been the vain hope of virtually an entire generation of anti-communist literary theoreticians of the right and social-democratic "left."...

In opposition to this unclarity, confusion and outright muck, Struggle declares that the writer must take the stand of the working class and participate in the most profound battles of present-day society. ...Struggle calls upon all those who feel the urge to battle the capitalist bloodsuckers through creative literature, whether beginners or experienced writers, to step forward and lend their voices to the Cause!


Struggle will print poetry, songs, short fiction, short plays, essays, drawings and cartoons. Longer fiction and drama will have to wait until more resources are available. We will give main emphasis to works which openly voice the revolutionary cause of the workers. But we will also print works which do not consciously embrace this cause but which express a genuine current of rebellion, protest and exposure directed against capitalist rule. By "genuine" we mean works that stand for the struggle of the masses and not for the schemes of the Democratic Party and the various opportunist sects who worship at the donkey's rear end....

By Tim Hall, editor of Struggle.

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Star witness Agca claims he's Jesus Christ

Why do the capitalists take this farce seriously?

Today a trial is proceeding in Rome. It is the second trial for the shooting of the Pope in 1981. Mehmet Ali Agca, the fascist Turk already convicted for shooting the Pope, is on trial again, and so are four other Turkish fascists and three Bulgarians.

But there is a strange thing about this trial. The star witness, Agca himself, can't remember a single detail about the assassination attempt clearly. From one day to the next he contradicts himself, denounces his own previous testimony, and at least three times has theatrically refused to testify further when questioned about the obvious errors in his testimony. There is only one thing about which Agca is consistent. That is his claim to be Jesus Christ.

While in jail Agca decided he was Jesus Christ. He has, in his testimony, explained certain events on the basis that he was Jesus Christ, stating that a Masonic Lodge connected to the former head of Italian military intelligence tried to rescue him from prison because they too knew he was the Christ. And he has told the court that he will resurrect someone from the dead in order to prove to the Vatican that he is indeed Jesus Christ.

Nor is this delusion something sudden. The Vatican paper reported late last year this strange delusion of Agca's.

And yet the prosecution insists that this witness is believable.

Trying to Hide the Terrorism of the Right

The reason for this farce is that the prosecution is not interested in the facts. The prosecutor has but one interest: to create a witch hunt against the left. To do this he has to hide the fact that the attempted assassin of the Pope is a fascist, a rightist, and instead create a mythical Bulgarian or Soviet connection to the assassination of the Pope. (Of course, the Soviet Union is no longer left, nor is Bulgaria. The Soviet Union was once a socialist country but it degenerated and was turned again into a capitalist country. But Reagan and the pro-Western capitalists like to shout about the Soviet Union when they are raving about the left-wing and communist threat.)

First let us recall who Agca is, and then we shall pass on to this so-called Bulgarian connection.

Agca -- Assassin for the Fascist Right

Agca's political trend is clear. He was a member of the Turkish Nazi-like group called "The Grey Wolves.'' He assassinated a liberal Turkish newspaper editor on behalf of this group, and they rescued him from prison.

In 1979, long before even the Italian prosecutor claims that the Bulgarians entered the picture, Agca decided to kill the Pope. But the circumstances he counted on didn't materialize, and the plot was never carried out. True, Agca was a rightist and so is the Pope. But Agca and the "Grey Wolves'' are fanatical Muslim rightists who hate Western society.

It is claimed that Agca received some training in a Syrian camp. This may be true but doesn't contradict his rightism at all. The Syrian bourgeoisie plays around with various of the fanatic Muslim groups, of which "The Grey Wolves'' is one.

In 1981 Agca shot the Pope.

In 1983 unknown elements tried to rescue him by kidnapping a girl for ransom; Agca claims these were rightist elements.

It would seem that Agca's fascist credentials are clear and that his shooting of the Pope was an act of right-wing terrorism.

The So-Called Bulgarian Connection

But soon after Agca was arrested, the bourgeois press began to try to present him as a leftist. One fantastic story after another was concocted, only to be discarded the next day. Finally the Reaganites of the world decided on the story that the Bulgarians had paid him to assassinate the Pope, on the orders of the Soviet Union, because the Poles were having trouble with the Solidarity trade union.

Now, as the CIA carries out assassinations around the world, undoubtedly the Soviet KGB is no better. We have denounced the Soviet revisionists up and down and have no doubt of their criminal nature.

Nevertheless, there is one big problem with the story of the Bulgarian connection. It is not only wildly improbable, there is absolutely no evidence for it. It flies in the face of every known fact about the case. It is maintained only because the Reaganites in the world want to use the myth of the "Bulgarian connection'' to justify repression against the left.

But, the papers say, there is evidence that Agca didn't act alone.

Yes, quite likely there is. But it is all evidence linking him to other members of the Turkish Grey Wolves.

Why Would Agca Lie About the Bulgarian Connection?

Why not? Agca is a fascist, a man with no love of the left, a man who already murdered a liberal. One might also note that, under Italian anti-terrorist law, if Agca cooperates with the Italian political police in framing up whom they want on terrorism charges, his life sentence would be commuted to ten years.

And finally, Agca appears to have gone off his rocker.

Of course, the prosecution might try the tactic of pointing out that it is impious to accuse Jesus Christ of lying.

All indications, however, are that the Italian political police spoon fed the story of the Bulgarian connection to Agca, who obliged them with any wild statement they wanted. Unfortunately for the Italian police, Agca also kept changing the story. He led them on a merry chase.

On State-Sponsored Terrorism

Naturally the absurdity of the "Bulgarian connection'' won't stop the Reaganites from trumpeting it to the skies. They have already publicized it far and wide, repeating it over and over again, in order to give it the character of a fixed belief, a preconceived view, irrespective of what the evidence is or even what happens in the farcical trial in Rome.

The myth of the "Bulgarian connection'' is a major part of the Reaganite hysteria about the good-hearted capitalists around the world being besieged by "state-sponsored terrorism'' of the left, centered in Moscow.

Far be it from us to deny the existence of "state-sponsored terrorism." But far and away the major part of this terrorism comes from the Reaganites themselves, through the CIA, the Pentagon, and the corresponding agencies of Reaganite allies around the world. It is the CIA which has assassinated leaders, overthrown governments and organized dirty wars around the world. And it is imperialist chief Reagan himself who has taken part in considering who the next target of U.S. "retaliation" should be: Lebanese Shiite leaders? A Syrian general in the Bekaa valley? Khadafy? Or perhaps a raid to destroy Iran's Kharg Island oil depot.

But, in order to distract attention from the CIA dirty war against Nicaragua and other examples of CIA- Pentagon terrorism, the Reaganites need a spectacular diversion. What could be better than trying to use religion to create religious fervor against the left? What better way than to tell the people that the left tried to assassinate the Pope? Who cares that it was really the fascists.

And this is why the farce in Rome rolls on, with the judge "seriously" interrogating Jesus Christ in person in order to prove the "Bulgarian connection."

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Reagan's Honduran allies are coldblooded murderers

On Wednesday, June 19 Robert Reed, an American welder, was killed in cold blood by the Honduran military. Robert Reed's presence in Honduras did not appear to have any political significance; according to his brother, Mr. Reed simply liked exploring the countryside. But he took a wrong step somewhere and the Honduran military pumped him full of four shots, killing him on the spot.

By itself, this is not an unusual occurrence. The Honduran government is a right-wing, pro-U.S. government that rules by terrorizing the workers and peasants to force them to submit to unbearable exploitation. Honduran working people are shot down regularly by the armed forces and the reactionaries. The only difference was that this time an American had been killed.

Why was an unarmed, unpolitical nature lover shot down? We will never know Mr. Reed's side of the story, but let's listen to the account of the Honduran officials. According to them, a six-man patrol from the Honduran Army's 12th Battalion spotted Reed and a companion in an isolated area near the border with El Salvador. Reed and his friend allegedly failed to obey the order to stop. And so what could the patrol do but shoot him, and shoot him again, and again, and again. And ask questions later. Apparently the Honduran government believed that Reed's alleged crime justified immediate execution.

As it so happened, the same day Robert Reed was brutally murdered by the Honduran reactionary government, the empty-headed liar Reagan was on a rampage against terrorism. He was seeing terrorists under his bed, and shouting threats right and left. And indeed, also the same day Robert Reed was murdered, four American marines in El Salvador were killed by the liberation forces. And Reagan flared up and denounced the alleged terrorism of the liberation forces in El Salvador, who actually shot back at the American forces involved in directing the war against them.

But did Reagan denounce the murder of Robert Reed? The four marines in El Salvador were fully trained and armed soldiers of death, on duty in the midst of a war. But Robert Reed was an unarmed civilian not involved in any war. If anything was terrorism, it was the random killing of Reed. Yet Reagan was silent. There were no calls to find the exact target in the Honduran government to assassinate in retaliation, unlike the Reaganite ravings on Lebanon. There were no calls to bomb Honduran military camps. There was no fancy rhetoric denouncing murderers, barbarians, thugs, etc. In fact, Reagan didn't give a damn over Reed's death.

Of course not. The Honduran military is the shining star in the Reaganite plans. Honduras has become one gigantic military base for attacks on Nicaragua. As far as Reagan is concerned, the right wing has the right to murder anyone it pleases. The CIA should be unleashed to do more glorious deeds, like the murder of the late Chilean president Allende, the South African regime should continue shooting down demonstrators and raiding neighboring countries, and the Honduran military can kill any innocent bystander it pleases. But should the people rise up against these real terrorist fiends,against the CIA, the Pentagon, the Honduran military, or the right wing anywhere -- then, that's terrorism by definition.

Today, the biggest terrorists shout themselves hoarse against terrorism. In fact, Reagan couldn't give a damn about human life, even the life of someone who didn't fall into any of his forbidden categories of non-humans: the poor, the blacks, the unemployed or the left wing. His simulated concern for the violence of this bad old world is simply the well-worn playacting of a grade B actor.

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Suppressing the veterans who oppose intervention

The Reaganites pretend to be great friends of the veterans (as long as the veterans don't ask for improvements in the VA or treatment for exposure to Agent Orange). But let a veteran denounce U.S. intervention, and the Reaganites come down with the iron hand. Why, if those veterans can't take part in recruiting more cannon-fodder for the next Viet Nam-style war of aggression, they should at least have the decency to be silent about the crimes of the Pentagon!

This was recently revealed once again as the national leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars revoked the charter of Post 5888 in Santa Cruz, California and confiscated its money, flags and other property. And why? Because this post, whose members are mainly Viet Nam veterans, criticized the new Viet Nam-style war in the making in Central America.

The Reaganite leaders of the VFW had previously suspended the post when it sent a resolution to Nicaragua which, according to the San Francisco chronicle, opposed U.S. intervention in Central America. But the members of the post kept speaking out publicly. So, as good supporters of Reaganite democracy and freedom, the national leaders of VFW wiped out the post and demanded that its members join another post, for example, another more conservative post in Santa Cruz.

With this action, the chauvinist leaders of the VFW cannot succeed in silencing the mass indignation at the growing U.S. aggression in Central America. They can and will succeed in exposing once more the hypocrisy of what the imperialists call "freedom."

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On the crisis over the hijacking of TWA Flight 847

U.S. imperialism and Israeli Zionism hold Lebanon as hostage

On Friday, June 14 some unknown Muslim elements hijacked TWA Flight 847, en route from Athens to Rome. The hijackers demanded the release of 766 Lebanese civilians taken prisoner by Israel in Operation "Iron Fist" and transported back to Israel as hostages. The plane eventually ended up in Beirut, the majority of passengers were released, one passenger had been killed, 39 passengers and 3 crew members were kept as hostages, and the Amal organization took over as intermediary.

Thus began the new Lebanese hostage crisis. During the rest of June the Reagan government foamed at the mouth against terrorists, while itself threatening retaliation against unknown persons, speculating on air strikes against various elements in Lebanon, or against Libya and Colonel Khadafy, or against Iran, or possibly against Syria. While the Lebanese Shiites held 42 hostages from the hijacking, the Pentagon and the State Department tried to hold whole countries hostage, threatening the use of American military power if only American intelligence could figure out exactly who to kill.

U.S. Imperialism and Israeli Zionism Have Held Lebanon Hostage

The Reagan administration labels every act in self-defense by the Lebanese people as terrorism. If the Lebanese people attack the Israeli occupiers, that is supposed to be terrorism. If they attack the U.S. Marine occupation force in Beirut, that is terrorism.

In this case, the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 differed from most other incidents of the Lebanese people's struggle against U.S. imperialism because, indeed, it did not involve striking at those oppressing the Lebanese people or, for that matter, having any connection with Lebanon at alt. The hijacking was an ugly act.

But it is absolute hypocrisy when the bourgeois politicians and militarists do their best to cover up the fact that U.S. imperialism and Israeli zionism were committing far greater acts of terrorism and hostage-taking. Can one forget Operation "Iron Fist" with the hundreds of hostages taken to Israel, with the bombings of homes, the murder of civilians, and the threat to attack all newsmen who did not come over to Israeli lines and obey all Israeli restrictions (in fact, two Lebanese employees of CBS were murdered in cold blood). Can one forget the American naval bombardment of Muslim neighborhoods in Beirut? Can one forget the threats of Israel to return to south Lebanon if the people don't do what Israel wants, or the Reagan's administration attempt to kill Sheik Mohamed Hussein Fadlallah, in which CIA-trained terrorists set a car bomb that killed 80 people that just happened to be around?

The U.S. imperialists and the Israeli Zionists have waged war upon the Lebanese people and held whole populations hostage. In response to the present hostage crisis they stepped up their threats against the world. How then can they talk, without the utmost hypocrisy, of their struggle against terrorism? The big terrorists, who count in millions, are condemning the acts of desperation of individuals.

Defend the Lebanese people!

Throughout the hostage crisis, the Reagan administration threatened the most dire retaliation. Now it appears that the hostage crisis may be over: the American hostages are on the verge of being released in an apparent deal that appears to include guarantees of no reprisals and of the release of the over 700 Lebanese hostages in Israel. Since the Amal leaders who are the most exposed targets of American retaliation are actually among those the U.S. has hopes in, it may well be that no retaliation will take place. Or again, it may only be because, as Reagan himself put it, the U.S. government does not know yet who to strike at.

Nevertheless, there must be vigilant opposition to any attacks on the Lebanese people. The U.S. has landed troops in Lebanon more than once, and the Israelis maintain a certain presence in southern Lebanon despite their ballyhooed withdrawal. And the promises of no retaliation have to be weighed against the fact that administration sources have enunciated for years the policy that U.S. imperialism will retaliate silently, without making a fuss. And, retaliation aside, imperialism still holds the Lebanese people in a vise.

Denounce Reagan's Hysteria about Terrorism

And we must expose Reagan's terrorism hysteria. During the Lebanese crisis the most _absurd remarks were made about terrorism. The media trotted out the State Department assertion that 40% of terrorist attacks around the world are made on Americans. Where they got this figure, no one knows. In fact, it is U.S. imperialism that has murdered the world's people. Can anyone seriously maintain, for example, that while the CIA's Operation Phoenix assassination squads were active in the Viet Nam war, other assassination squads were active against

Americans in the U.S., so that 40% of the casualties were American? To ask the question is to realize how absurd it is.

The truth is that attacks on Americans take place because U.S. imperialism tramples the people of the world. In order to justify U.S. military aggression against other countries, the Reagan administration has listed deaths of American troops involved in hostilities against the peoples of other land as victims of terrorism. The close to 300 marines who died in the bombing of the American occupation force at Beirut airport in 1983 are listed as victims of terrorism. But, ahem, weren't they occupying another country? What kind of logic is this: the troops have the right to fire at the Lebanese people, but if anyone shoots back, they are "terrorists." The U.S. gives itself the right to pinpoint those shooting at it and kill them as efficiently as possible, but when the Lebanese use a bomb to fight back (what is the difference between a bomb and the huge shells from the battleship New Jersey that the U.S. Navy lobbed at Beirut?), that is supposed to be terrorism.

And then, while the Lebanese hostage crisis was going on, Reagan reached the heights of hysteria over the deaths of the four Marines in El Salvador. What a farce! The U.S. sends in advisors and combat troops to a country, sprays it with bullets from gunships, and then calls the inevitable American casualties the result of terrorism.

Meanwhile Reagan links arms in solidarity with abortion bombers in the U.S., with the death squads in El Salvador, and calls for money for the CIA, with its bag of dirty tricks and its training of assassination squads.


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