Vol. 15, No. 9

September 1, 1985

[Front page:

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!--Support the struggle of the black people in South Africa!;

No to Reagan's racist offensive!;

Wheeling-Pittsburgh strikers stand firm]


Reagan's out for apartheid in the U.S. too............................... 2
Reagan's drive to deepen job discrimination........................... 2
Trial in police murder of Michael Stewart in NY.................... 3
NY police attack Haitian march against 'Baby Doc'.............. 3
Protest against racist police murders in Atlanta....................... 3
NJ police attack protesters of racist murder............................. 3

Strikes and work place news:

Hormel strike; Arkansas paper workers' strike; guards support coal miners; car haulers protest.................................. 4

Union Carbide poisons the people........................................... 5

U.S. imperialism, get out of Central America:

Reagan's 'counter-terrorism' in Central America.................... 6
Democrats finance Reagan's dirty war in Nicaragua.............. 6
Contras take marching orders from the White House............. 7
Democrats sabotage anti-intervention movement................... 7

World in struggle:

Workers' actions in Argentina, Peru, Chile.............................. 12
Japanese workers; Grenada vendors protest; Haitian phony reforms; Guadeloupe general strike......................................... 13

French government sinks Greenpeace ship............................. 16

Iron fist and velvet glove to stop the revolutionary movement in Latin America.................................................... 14

Cuban campaign on the Latin American debt crisis, Castro's plan to avoid revolution........................................................... 15
Colombian Marxist-Leninists repudiate Castro's plan............ 17
Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists on the foreign debt.................. 16

CPUSA holds to mistakes of the 7th Cl Congress--Abandoning struggle against the union bureaucrats................ 20

* The struggle surges forward in South Africa

* The solidarity movement in the U.S.

* Reagan and Falwell go to bat for apartheid

* Chief Buthelezi -- lackey of the racist regime

* Does the ANC stand for revolution? See pages 8-11

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!

No to Reagan's racist offensive!

Wheeling-Pittsburgh strikers stand firm

Reagan is out for apartheid in the U.S. too

Another step in Reagan's drive to deepen job discrimination

On the racist police murder of Michael Stewart

Justice will come through struggle

Police attack Haitian demonstrators in New York City

Mounted police help 'Baby Doc' silence the Haitian people

500 protest in the Perry Homes project

Four blacks killed by the Atlanta police

Paulsboro, New Jersey

Police attack protests against racist murder

Strikes and workplace news

From Bhopal, India to Institute, West Virginia

Union Carbide poisons the people

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

Death to Apartheid!

Solidarity with the anti-apartheid fighters in South Africa


On the orientation for the struggle against apartheid

On the strategy and tactics of the ANC of South Africa

The World in Struggle

'Democratic' maneuvers to stop the revolutionary movement

The iron fist and the velvet glove of the Latin American regimes

Cuban campaign on the Latin American debt

Castro's plan to avoid revolution

French government guilty of murder in sinking of Greenpeace ship

Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists on the foreign debt

Aggression, crisis and... external debt

Colombian Marxist-Leninists reject Castro's plan on foreign debt

Revisionist CPUSA holds to the mistakes of the 7th Congress of the CI

Abandoning the struggle against the trade union bureaucrats

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!

Support the struggle of the black people in South Africa!

Workers, youth, black people and all oppressed!

The black people of South Africa are heroically defying the "state of emergency" of the racist Botha regime. Despite thousands of arrests and hundreds killed, the black working masses continue to rise in strikes, school boycotts, township rebellions and other protests. They are fighting to completely demolish the racist system of segregation known as apartheid.

We must come to their aid by organizing a storm of struggle against our "own" government. The U.S. government, whether led by Democrats or Republicans, has for decades been one of the principal backers of the racist system in South Africa. U.S. capitalism is an imperialist monster. While exploiting the workers at home, it reaps super-profits off black labor under the apartheid regime and uses the South African government to help maintain imperialist spheres of influence elsewhere in Africa. No wonder the Reagan administration refuses to budge from its policy of "constructive engagement" and has turned to outrageous lies about how the "reforms" of the white minority regime have supposedly "eliminated segregation." Meanwhile the death toll rises, the blood flows, and the people suffer. We cannot allow our "own" government to soak its hands in the blood of the courageous black masses of South Africa. It's time to step up the struggle against the Reagan government and in support of the revolutionary movement in South Africa.

We must also oppose the Democratic Party, which is a party of imperialism just like the Republicans. The Democrats talk about "human rights" and sanctions against apartheid, but what they really oppose is the black masses rising in revolution to overthrow the racist South African regime. The Democrats' sanctions bill is only token measures, and even these are so filled with loopholes they can easily be nullified. While against the revolutionary workers and peasants of Nicaragua the Democrats support the embargo and the CIA-led contra murderers, they won't even give the racist South African regime a slap on the wrist. Their talk against apartheid is designed to create the illusion that U.S. imperialism will force the Botha regime to reform. They want the oppressed South African masses to fold their arms and wait on the good graces of imperialism and the die-hard racist Botha, and they want the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S. to give up militant struggle and become a lobbying group for the Democratic Party.

A serious struggle against Reagan and the South African racists and real support for the revolutionary struggle of the black masses can only be mounted by organizing the U.S. movement independently of and against both the Democratic and Republican Parties. We must expose the reformist bigshots, who are saddling the movement with the Democratic Party, and turn our energies to organizing the working people for mass struggle.

The Marxist-Leninist Party calls on the workers, youth, black people and all oppressed to build up the mass protests across the country.

On August 18, longshoremen in Vancouver, Washington refused to unload South African cargo. Similar refusals were conducted by San Francisco dock- workers last year. Such direct actions by the workers, and not the hypocritical tears of the union bureaucrats, is what is needed to support the black masses of South Africa. We must spread the anti-apartheid movement throughout the factories and work places.

In the spring, students defied the authorities to occupy campus buildings and mounted stirring protests against the schools', corporations', and government support for the South African racists. This movement should be renewed and built up even stronger.

Recently the voice of protest has been unleashed in big demonstrations in a number of cities. These protests should be strengthened and extended more widely. October 11 has been called as a day for demonstrations in the cities across the country. Everyone should join these actions and make them militant scenes of protest against the Reagan government and in support of the fighting masses of South Africa.

The heroic struggle of the black masses of South Africa is inspiring a fighting spirit among the working people in the U.S. We must rally them into a powerful movement and unleash mass struggle against our "own" imperialist government and in support of the revolutionary movement in South Africa, the only force capable of putting an end to the racist system of apartheid.

[Photo: Black masses stone army vehicle at funeral for slain anti-apartheid activist Mrs. Mxenge in the Ciskei "homeland."]

[Back to Top]

No to Reagan's racist offensive!

The heroic battles of the black masses in South Africa are inspiring ideas of struggle against the brutal racist oppression here in the U.S.

And why not? In the past the black masses in the U.S. have also had to shed their blood in a powerful struggle to break down the apartheid-like system of Jim Crow segregation. And today they face a renewed racist offensive, an offensive that is trying to turn back the clock to the days of "whites only" segregation, police terror, lynchings, and KKK night riders.

But with each new racist outrage the anger among the masses grows. Sporadic struggles of resistance have broken out here and there. And the desire is mounting to advance this struggle forward. What is needed is to build up an organized mass movement. Organization gives the masses the power to wage sustained mass actions which alone can beat back the racist offensive and prepare the ground for complete liberation through the socialist revolution.

Today, while we work to build up the anti-apartheid movement in support of the revolutionary struggle of the black masses in South Africa, we must also work to unleash the anti-racist movement here at home.

Down with the Reaganite racist offensive!

Organize the working masses for struggle!

[Back to Top]

Wheeling-Pittsburgh strikers stand firm

[Photo: Over 800 steelworkers rallied August 31 in Steubenville, Ohio to support the Wheeling-Pittsburgh strike. See article on page 4.]

[Back to Top]

Reagan is out for apartheid in the U.S. too

While backing the racist regime in South Africa, the Reagan government is out to bring apartheid to the U.S. too.

It has unleashed a dirty segregationist drive to eliminate every gain made in the dynamic anti-racist movement of the 1950's and '60's. The Reaganites support racist private academies while they attempt to resegregate the public schools. They work to maintain "whites only" enclaves while driving blacks into segregated ghettoes. Black people suffer 15% unemployment, double the rate for whites, but the Reaganites are making lying claims that there is "reverse discrimination" and are stepping up job discrimination against the black people and other oppressed nationalities.

This entire campaign is being backed up by a reign of racist police terror. It is no accident that the Philadelphia police dropped the bomb that incinerated.11 black people and destroyed an entire city block in the black community. They aimed to terrorize the black people, to threaten that the government will not allow any resistance to their racist offensive.

The Capitalists Are the Diehard Racists

Reagan sings the racists' song, but it is the rich, the capitalist class, that plays the racist tune. The same multinational monopolies that profit off the enslavement of blacks in South Africa also suck the blood of the black people in the U.S. It is the capitalist class that maintains and lives off the racist American system.

Money is to be made off racial discrimination and segregation and the almighty dollar is the god to which the capitalists and all their political flunkies worship. Not only do the capitalists profit off the lower wages paid to blacks and other oppressed nationalities, but racism is used to split up the working class, to weaken its struggle and to thereby drag down the conditions of all the workers. What is more, racism has long been a bulwark of all political reaction, a weapon to save the crisis- ridden capitalist system from the development of the revolution of workers and all oppressed.

It is little wonder, then, that Reagan hankers for the "good ole days" of Jim Crow segregation and finds his best friends in the apartheid regime in South Africa. Nor should it be a surprise that the Democratic Party, despite its liberal hand-wringing for "human rights," rubber stamps each new Reaganite cutback against the poor and bends its policy to the racist desires of the Dixiecrats. The Democrats are a capitalist party, just like the Republicans, and they are marching to the beat of the racist offensive of the capitalist class.

The fight against racism is not a matter of convincing the racists to become reasonable or to purge their souls of white supremacist filth, but of mass struggle against the capitalists and their state. This struggle can only become firm and consistent if it is built up independently of the big capitalist parties, if it targets not only the Reaganites but also the equally capitalist Democratic Party liberals.

The Black Bourgeoisie Sells Out the Black Masses

For years the anti-racist movement has been hamstrung by the respectable leaders of the black community, by the black bourgeois politicians and the leaders of such organizations as the NAACP, the Urban League, and PUSH.

At every turn these leaders have tried to put a brake on the actual struggles of the masses and to divert the anti-racist movement into a struggle for tokenism. In the name of winning more "clout," they seek to use the anger of the masses as a springboard to pressure for token positions in the ruling class, for a job in the Democratic Party, or an office in the government, or a seat on a corporate board, or just another McDonald's franchise. They sell out the struggles for jobs and equal rights, so desperately needed by the masses, for the interests of the black bourgeoisie. And then they echo the Reaganite "trickle down" ideologues by claiming that improving the conditions of bourgeois blacks will somehow ultimately translate into gains for all black people.

The bitter fruits of the sellout of the black masses is becoming all too apparent. Not only has Reagan appointed a black man, Clarence Pendleton, to dismember the few government bars to racial discrimination, but the recent wave of police terror against the black masses has frequently been presided over by black mayors and black police chiefs. It is no accident that it was a black mayor, Wilson Goode, that ordered the racist bombing in Philadelphia; or that Coleman Young and his black police chief head up the police force that murdered an old black woman who simply needed help getting into her house; or that beside the white racist Mayor Koch of NYC stands a black head of police who has whitewashed one racist police murder after another; or that Chicago's black mayor, Harold Washington, and his black police chief have fallen silent in the face of growing racist attacks in the city over the last few years; or that the recent racist police murders took place in the Atlanta of black Mayor Andrew Young.

The black bourgeoisie and their political stooges do not give a damn about the suffering of the black masses. They are out for themselves, and they direct the anti-racist movement to serve their program of collaboration with the big capitalists against the masses for the sake of a few crumbs from the capitalist banquet table.

Organize the Working Masses for Struggle

The anti-racist movement can't be developed by relying on the misleaders from the black bourgeoisie. Rather the movement must base itself on the masses.

The majority of the black people, and the other oppressed nationalities, are workers. They have always been the most resolute and consistent fighters against national oppression. They have no love for the capitalists and no prospects for becoming little exploiters themselves by selling out their people to big monopoly capitalist rulers. Rather, their position in life drives them towards a fierce fight against their national oppression and towards linking this struggle to the battle against all exploitation.

The black workers are an important section of the working class, and it is essential that the workers from every nationality lend their strength to the anti-racist movement. The struggle for full equality and liberation of the black people, and all oppressed nationalities, is not only demanded by elementary justice. It is also essential to break down the strongholds of reaction, to widen the field of the class struggle and to unite the workers in a truly independent class movement, a movement with the strength to beat back the capitalist offensive and to go forward to the socialist revolution. It is the working class of all nationalities, united in struggle against the exploiters and oppressors, which forms the powerful force that can tear down national oppression and smash to dust the entire capitalist system.

Today the death-defying battle for freedom by the black masses in South Africa is helping to inspire a new mood of struggle against racism here in the U.S. The Reagans and Bothas have had their way too long. It is time to unleash the initiative of the working masses who will put a stop to this racist oppression once and for all.

[Back to Top]

Another step in Reagan's drive to deepen job discrimination

On August 15, the White House staff drafted an executive order aimed at tearing up quotas, numerical guidelines and timetables for the hiring, training, and promotion of minorities and women. This order would retract a 1968 executive order requiring affirmative action programs in companies with contracts from the federal government, which still applies to 20,000 to 30,000 of the countries' largest companies. Reagan has not yet signed this draft from his staff, but this new order is right in line with the administration's racist rampage to deepen job discrimination.

Discrimination is Good for Capitalist Profit

The bigots in the White House argue for scrapping affirmative action with the typical Reaganite lies. In the first place they deny that there is (or for that matter ever was) systematic job discrimination against blacks in the U.S. No joke. They not only deny segregation in capitalist America, their boss has now proclaimed that the racist white-minority rulers of South Africa have also "eliminated segregation"!!

Therefore, Reagan and his men argue, the real problem today is allegedly that black workers are taking white workers' jobs under programs that "discriminate against white men." (New York Times, August 15, 1985) Under this "reverse discrimination" fairy tale the government and the racist moneybags have been knocking down the tattered remnants of the meager measures against job discrimination. As well, under this racist lie they hope to break the workers' resistance to the employers' assault on their jobs and livelihood by scapegoating the black worker for unemployment and economic hardship.

Now the eager Reagan staffers have added the argument that anti-discrimination measures have "imposed costly compliance burdens on employers." (Ibid.) But what do "cost burdens" have to do with it? How is requiring the hiring and promotion of blacks and other minorities in proportion to their available and qualified numbers so "costly" to the employers? What sense does this make if it is not an admission on the part of the White House that racist hiring practices are profitable for the capitalists?

Driving the black workers into the worst, most backbreaking jobs, at the lowest pay provides the employers with an army of cheap hands. It's also part of the capitalist strategy of "divide and rule" against all the workers. In fact, from the capitalist standpoint it would even be less of a "cost burden" to turn the clock all the way back to the apartheid-like days of strict Jim Crow segregation. Undoubtedly this is just what Reagan and co. have in mind.

If the Facts Disprove Your Lies, Ban the Facts

The Reagan administration denies that systematic discrimination exists in the face of all the mountains of statistical evidence that refutes their claim. But facts have never been much of a problem for the Reagan administration. The White House staff has come up with the simple solution of prohibiting the use of statistical evidence used to hold an employer accountable for racist hiring practices.

In other words, if a corporation has 10,000 employees, but only a hundred black or Latino workers, despite their large numbers in the local work force, this could not be used as evidence of discrimination. Likewise, if all the worst and lowest paying jobs are found to be held by minorities or women this too could not be used as evidence. What the White House proposal boils down to is that there can be no claims of systematic discrimination as long as management keeps the "Equal Opportunity Employer" sign in the front office and doesn't make a public declaration of his racist practices.

On the legal front this means throwing out class action suits and general measures against discrimination by an employer. This leaves each individual victim of racist hiring and promotion practices to prove in court that he or she had been individually discriminated against. And no matter how nakedly a company may discriminate, proving it is no simple thing for a jobless or poor worker in the racist courts.

Tearing Up the Concessions Made to the Masses In the 1960's

The high tide of anti-racist struggle in the '60's and early '70's broke down some of the most obnoxious features of the strict system of job discrimination. Racist hiring practices remained; but under the blows of the mass struggle they generally became more disguised and less rigidly applied.

To tame the storm of mass struggle the federal government granted a number of concessions, including some limited affirmative action programs against job discrimination. These measures in the main only affected a minimal number of workers. As well, these measures frequently bog down the demands of the workers into endless and painful court cases and bureaucratic procedures that stall any real progress and create maximum conditions to mobilize backward elements against the black workers.

But under Carter and now Reagan the bourgeoisie has been out to tear up even these meager measures. In the spring of '82, the old '68 affirmative action guidelines for companies with federal contracts were revised. Companies with less than 250 employees were exempted, and the guidelines were watered down for the rest. Since the summer of '84 the administration put a stop to negotiating any further affirmative action programs, and 50 major programs already in place were scrapped, including in steel and at General Motors.

In fact, there isn't that much left of the paltry affirmative action programs that the White House staff is so eager to abolish. But that doesn't stop the Reaganites. They are milking their opposition to these programs to build up their racist "reverse discrimination'' lie, and to deepen job discrimination and segregation in all spheres of life.

Fight Against Job Discrimination and for Jobs for All Workers!

Just the unemployment figures for blacks and Latinos, particularly for the youth, are enough painful proof that job discrimination is alive and well in capitalist America. The government is on a segregationist crusade at a time when the economic stagnation has already meant staggering jobless levels for blacks and other victims of the racist principle of "last hired, first fired."

Now is the time to build up the mass struggle against the capitalists' racist offensive. To fight back against the Reaganite plans to strengthen the ugly hand of segregation and discrimination. And to fight racist hiring practices and for jobs for all workers.

[Back to Top]

On the racist police murder of Michael Stewart

Justice will come through struggle

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

It is now two years since a crazed racist mob kicked and clubbed Michael Stewart to death. Two years and a handful of the killers are finally on trial -- on charges of. failing to protect a prisoner in their custody. For Michael Stewart's killers were cops, and because they are cops they will never have to answer for their crimes before capitalist law.

Stewart, a 25-year-old black artist, was arrested by transit police for drawing graffiti in a subway station, an offense which ordinarily rates a summons and a fine. In this case the arresting officers decided to dispense a little of their own brand of justice with their nightsticks. Stewart, however, began to scream for help. His assailants called for backups and a uniformed mob assembled. Stewart was kicked and clubbed, but still could not be silenced. He was lifted up and slammed down on the pavement. Finally, he was thrown into the back of a police van, where the arresting officers spent four and a half minutes with him. Michael Stewart was carried out of the van in a coma from which he never awoke. He died two weeks later.

An intense coverup followed.

The first line of defense was the police themselves. Sergeants filed false reports. Transit Authority police spokesmen issued public denials. Witnesses were intimidated. And the whole mob later took turns perjuring themselves before a grand jury.

Next came the coroner. Chief Medical Examiner Gross conducted the Stewart autopsy himself. No other doctor was present, but a representative of the transit police Internal Affairs Division was. Doctors in the hospital where Stewart had been brought two weeks earlier had reported that his body was covered with bruises. Gross took no note of this. He did, however, remove Stewart's eyeballs and soak them in bleach, thus destroying the most important evidence of a head injury. According to Gross, Stewart had died of "cardiac arrest.''

Public exposure of Gross' shenanigans put the case into the reluctant hands of the Manhattan District Attorney, and it was belatedly brought before a grand jury. Once in the closed chambers of the grand jury, the DA's office did everything possible to dump the case. This less-than-heroic effort failed because of the blatant nature of the murder and because of the efforts of one outraged grand juror. Seeing that the DA's office was attempting to dump the case, he himself visited the scene of the crime and double-checked evidence, and argued successfully for a murder indictment. Far from being congratulated for his efforts, this grand juror was reprimanded by the DA's office and the courts, the latter dismissing the indictments as "tainted.'' According to the logic of the courts, if the DA chooses to dump a case, a grand juror has no right but to acquiesce.

After another delay, another indictment was returned. This time Stewart's killers were charged with failing to protect a prisoner in their custody. An interesting name for murder.

Two years after Michael Stewart's death the case is finally in court. Scores of witnesses are testifying to Stewart's anguished pleas for help and the savagery of the police. Testimony from both Stewart's friends and independent witnesses is blowing up the police claim that Stewart was a crazed drug fiend. But it is doing so after the prosecution has already conceded this police slander. According to the prosecution, Stewart was crazed and in need of forcible restraint, and the issue is just how bad a job the police did of it. The prosecution has built into its case a hole big enough to drive a truck through, and it has done so intentionally.

The Stewart case, with 66 witnesses to be heard, will go on until November. Past the [New York City] elections. At which time the prosecution will be free to dump the case in the summation, if that will still be possible. And even if it is not, Stewart's killers will likely suffer no more than to lose their jobs and get suspended sentences.

Heads, Michael Stewart dies. Tails, his killers go free. That is capitalist justice at work.

There is an alternative, but it is not to be found in a courtroom. It lies in building up a mass movement against racist police murders, against Reagan's segregationist offensive, against every manifestation of oppression. Only struggle offers the hope of justice.

[Back to Top]

Police attack Haitian demonstrators in New York City

Mounted police help 'Baby Doc' silence the Haitian people

[Photo: New York City mounted policeman hurls racial epithets at Haitian demonstrators just before police charge into the crowd.]

(The following article is reprinted from The West Indian Voice, September 1985.)

On August 3 the New York Police Department (NYPD) carried out an unprovoked and brutal attack on a demonstration of Haitian immigrants and other opponents of the fascist dictator of Haiti, "Baby Doc'' Duvalier.

The demonstration was organized to denounce recent crimes of Duvalier's "ton ton Macoute'' thugs and the murder and expulsion from the country of critics of fraudulent "reforms'' conducted recently by Duvalier. These "reforms'' are being quietly backed and promoted by Washington to provide Duvalier's tyranny with a disguise. And for Washington, the sight of hundreds of Haitians denouncing the fraudulent "reforms'' is no pleasing sight. It is the fervent support provided for the Duvalier regime by U.S. imperialism that ultimately lies behind the attack on the August 3 demonstration in Manhattan.

As the demonstrators, close to 1,000 strong, arrived across the street from the Haitian Consulate a large force of policemen, using the pretext of restricting the demonstration to the sidewalk, set upon the protestors with horses, batons and dogs. The police savagely beat scores of protestors and pursued many of them into nearby stores and business places. About 40 people were injured, including a pregnant woman. Of those injured two had to undergo surgery -- one for a crushed finger and the other for various skull fractures -- victims of police batons and horses. One demonstrator was also arrested just for denouncing the savagery of the police.

The presence of policemen in civilian clothes along with uniformed ones in this attack indicates that careful attention is being paid to surveillance against opponents of Duvalier tyranny in the U.S. We denounce this ruthless repression. It will not intimidate or silence the struggle against the U.S.-backed regime in Haiti. Far from that, the struggle must be stepped up in response. On August 31, another demonstration has been called to denounce this brutal attack of the NYPD.

[Back to Top]

500 protest in the Perry Homes project

Four blacks killed by the Atlanta police

In Atlanta hundreds of angry people have been rallying to protest a recent string of racist police murders.

Since June, three young black men have been gunned down at the hands of white police officers. On August 15, a fourth black man, 41-year-old Eddie Kirkland, a church deacon, died 16 hours after being taken into police custody. According to witnesses, 10 police officers, five black and five white, handcuffed Kirkland and then proceeded to beat him and ram his head against the door of the patrol car.

Atlanta's police chief said he was "satisfied" that there was no "excessive force" used by the police. But the residents of the Perry Homes housing project where Kirkland lived weren't satisfied. Five hundred residents of the projects came out in the first of a number of protests to proclaim the truth about the murder and condemn the police criminals.

The angry residents demanded to speak to Mayor Andrew Young who was conveniently "out of town." This same Andrew Young jets around the world professing his opposition to racism and oppression in South Africa. Yet he governs a city where the police can get away with indiscriminate murder against the black people.

Both Andrew Young and his predecessor, Maynard Jackson, are black and they have increased the hiring of black police officers from 33% in 1978 to 47% of the force today. But police brutality against the black community in Atlanta continues, and along with it the angry protests of the black people.

[Back to Top]

Paulsboro, New Jersey

Police attack protests against racist murder

Monday evening August 19, an angry protest erupted in Paulsboro, New Jersey against the racist murder of Robbie Pierce, a 19-year-old former track star. A hundred or so black residents poured into the streets surrounding the bar where the black youth had been killed by a racist thug. Windows of storefronts were broken, and bottles and rocks were hurled at the Paulsboro police and police reinforcements brought in from 12 neighboring communities to help put down the protest. The struggle continued the following day with the masses denouncing the racist police and city officials.

The murderer was jailed. But three young blacks who had participated in the just protest were also locked up behind bars for "inciting to riot.'' They weren't able to make bail, and as it may take months before the case is brought before the grand jury, the youth may be behind bars well into the winter -- and longer if they are convicted of these unjust charges.

Reportedly the Paulsboro mayor Burzichelli is now working to form up a committee "to cope with racial tension'' in the city, and he has asked a former black mayor to help him set it up. (Philadelphia Inquirer, August 22,1985)

No Mr. Burzichelli, the problem is not some mysterious "racial tensions'' between whites and blacks. The problem is that a racist thug murdered a black 'youth, and the heavy hand of the police and the law were brought down against those who come out to protest this racist crime. The mayor's committee, no matter how many "leading black citizens" sit on it, can't sweep this outrageous injustice under the rug.

[Back to Top]

Strikes and workplace news

Wheeling-Pittsburgh strikers stand firm

The 8,200 steelworkers from nine plants and mills are standing firm in their strike against the concessions demands of Wheeling-Pittsburgh which would reduce their take-home pay to only $5.50 an hour and would virtually eliminate all seniority rights and job classifications.

On August 10, fifty picketers piled huge loads of debris on tracks to block a train that the company was trying to move from its Martins Ferry, Ohio plant. The picketers also sealed the gates to the plant trapping ten company managers inside. Despite threats from the police, the strikers refused to budge and the company gave up trying to move the train.

On August 13, four hundred strikers picketed the W-P mill in Monessen, Pennsylvania in response to two clerks crossing the picket line the day before. No scabbing has again occurred since the mass picketing, even though the USWA bureaucrats made an agreement with the company to limit the number of picketers.

On August 22, steelworkers were joined by coal miners in a 500 man strong picket line at a W-P plant in Beach Bottom, West Virginia. The workers blocked a truck attempting to move out equipment from the plant to be used elsewhere. Police arrested several picketers, but the workers refused to move and after a half hour the company had to order the truck to pull back.

The rank-and-file steelworkers are determined to keep W-P closed, rather than to give in to the steel giant's rotten demands.

Meanwhile, steelworkers from other companies have been showing their support. They know that takebacks at W-P will set the stage for another round of enormous concessions demands throughout the steel industry.

Over a hundred workers from the LTV Steel mill in Massawan, Ohio joined a rally at the W-P's Steubenville, Ohio mill on August 3. Wearing t-shirts that read, "Concessions Stop Now," the LTV workers joined their W-P brothers in a march through the city and militant rally. Around this time solidarity rallies were also organized in Cleveland and Warren, Ohio.

On August 26, over 2,000 steelworkers rallied at the Monessen, Pennsylvania mill. Hundreds came from Chicago steel mills to show their solidarity.

Another 800 steelworkers rallied on the front lawn of the Steubenville mill on August 31. A number traveled from Great Lakes Steel in Detroit. The rank- and-file workers at Great Lakes Steel have flooded the mill with stickers reading, "No Concessions to the Steel Billionaires!" Hundreds of workers proudly display the stickers on their helmets, while the mill walls are covered with MLP stickers denouncing concessions.

While the rank-and-file steelworkers are fired up for the struggle, the USWA bureaucrats continue to show signs of sellout. Top hacks have admitted that they would agree to the wage cut, if only W-P would agree to sign a contract. But the giant monopoly wants a. free hand. Under their Chapter 11 bankruptcy ruling they can slash wages, benefits, and work rules without even committing themselves to any contractual obligation to the workers. The W-P bosses actually want the right to cut wages whenever their weekly cash-flow falls below a certain point.

At the same time, the steel union bureaucrats have begun to float the idea of taking part in drawing up a bankruptcy-demanded reorganization plan for W-P in which the workers would be forced to accept the horrendous concessions in exchange for the promise that workers "may one day own, operate, and control the company." That is, the workers would receive the right to cut their own throats.

Obviously the workers must get prepared to resist their own union leaders if they are to be able to successfully beat back the outrageous demands of the W-P capitalists.

Hormel workers strike against the concessions railroad in the meatpacking industry

One thousand, five hundred workers at the Hormel- meatpacking plant in Austin, Minnesota defied the top leadership of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) to go out on strike August 17. They are determined to beat back the company's arbitrary and unilateral action of cutting their pay by over $2 an hour.

The workers have been gearing up for this strike for months by carrying out mass rallies and protest marches. Once the strike began they have continued such actions. For example on August 23rd, 1,200 strikers, workers from other Hormel plants, and their supporters held a protest at First Bank in Minneapolis. First Bank is a major stockholder in Hormel. The workers, chanting "Stop First Bank Greed," protested the bankers' complicity in the takebacks imposed by Hormel. With actions like these the workers are consolidating their own militance and building wide support for their struggle against the money-grubbing capitalists.

Capitalist Greed Knows No Bounds

Hormel is the fifth largest meatpacking firm in the country and in the last quarter alone it raked in $9 million in profits. But it is not content. It demands a minimum of a 16% return on its investments and complains that it must have concessions from the workers to keep up with the enormous wage cuts that have swept through the rest of the industry. But the workers have gotten mountains of experience with takebacks and have decided to put a stop to the concessions railroad in the meatpacking industry.

At the Austin plant, the workers have suffered from concessions in 16 of the last 21 years. In 1978 they got hit hard. Threatened with the closing of the plant, the workers gave up $20 million in wage concessions, allowed a 20% speedup, and a seven year no-strike contract. These concessions were used to finance a new, modernized plant that the workers were promised would somehow benefit them. But the speedup at the new plant has meant that job injuries have soared by some 11% since 1981 and that certain operations have been cut. What is more, Hormel has continued to come back for more concessions. In '81 Hormel got a wage freeze and the elimination of cost-of-living increases through a company-wide agreement imposed by the top leaders of the UFCW. Then on October 23, 1984 Hormel unilaterally cut wages from $10.69 an hour to $8.25.

The workers at the Austin plant denounced the wage cut and wanted to strike. But the national leadership of the UFCW launched a vicious campaign against them and the local leadership, citing the no-strike clause from the '78 agreement, kept the workers on the job until the contract expired, and temporarily substituted a "corporate campaign" of protest for striking.

Union Leaders Denounce the Workers

Even this mild campaign was too much for the capitalists and the top UFCW leaders. Hormel and First Bank threatened to shut down part of the plant or other drastic actions. The Austin city council passed a resolution denouncing the Hormel workers and demanding that the workers give up their protest. And the UFCW national leaders not only demanded that the workers give up their protest, but also sent letters to all the workers in other Hormel plants denouncing the Austin plant's workers for supposedly splitting the meatpacking workers.

In the face of the concessions drive in meatpacking the UFCW bureaucrats have adopted a "strategy" of "retrenchment." They have declared they will accept wage cuts in all meatpacking plants down to some $8 an hour in order1 to "maintain" an industry-wide wage pattern. What a craven sellout! But more! When the workers at the Austin plant demanded that they keep their $10.69 wage level, the top union bosses claimed the workers were breaking the pattern and thereby splitting the meatpacking workers. The UFCW leaders ordered the workers at the Austin plant to stop their protests and to go along with the company's arbitrary wage cut.

However, the UFCW hacks' tactics seem to have backfired. The Hormel workers became more determined to strike. And instead of isolating the workers at the Austin plant from other Hormel workers, many of the rank and file from other Hormel plants have rushed to Austin to join the mass protests and, now, to help in the strike.

The workers also have to watch out for their local leaders. In defying the national union bureaucrats, the local union leaders have postured like militants. But they were the ones who kept the rank and file working at cut wages from October to August. What is more, they have offered the company the alternative of a "profit sharing" deal in which the Hormel workers would more than repay the company for any loss of profits before current levels and in which the workers would receive only modest wage gains in the event Hormel increased its profits. For now the Hormel moneybags refuse to budge from their own wage-cutting plan. But some bourgeois analysts predict that the local bureaucrats' offer is the basis for an eventual sellout agreement at the plant.

900 workers strike for job security

Paper workers at the Georgia Pacific plant in Crossett, Arkansas have gone out on strike for job security. Beginning on July 15th, 900 workers have been on strike. As many as 300 strikers at a time have rallied across from the plant, on guard against scabs and strikebreakers.

The workers are fighting Georgia Pacific's attempt to put the younger workers in a reserve labor pool that would be on call to work day to day, could be sent home at any time, and could be arbitrarily switched from job to job. The company considered this plan to combine and eliminate jobs so profitable that it offered the workers a $1,000 bribe each if they would sign the labor pool into their contract.

But the workers refused to be split young against old. They denounced the plan as a new form of slavery and went on strike. Their principled stand has been winning them support from many other workers in the small Arkansas town.

If you can't beat 'em, join the strikers

In the eleventh month of their bitter strike, the Massey coal miners continue to fight determinedly against company thugs, scabs, and state police. This crucial struggle to maintain a pattern contract in the coal fields has won wide support among miners and other workers.

Recently the strikers received support from a surprising quarter. Some Pinkerton guards, who had been hired by the A.T. Massey Coal Company to protect their property and scabs, set up a collection to help the families of the strikers. Soon after the collection began, the coal monopoly fired the Pinkertons and contracted another security firm to do their dirty work.

Class lines are being drawn sharper in the coal fields. Now the fierce struggle of the miners has begun to win over even workers who have hired out as company policemen for the monopolies. Unfortunately, the UMW bureaucrats do not have as much class feeling. They continue to follow their "selective strike strategy," keeping the rest of the coal miners working while the Massey miners have to struggle alone. When the miners overcome the treachery of their own "leaders" they will be unconquerable.

Car haulers protest proposed settlement

After a spirited three week strike, 21,000 car haulers were ordered back to work by the Teamster union heads before the workers even got a look at the proposed contract. The strike was just beginning to cause serious shortages of cars at the auto dealerships.

According to some reports, the new agreement has some improvements in some areas. But there are workers who have denounced the contract as being little more than a reworking of the proposal that over 80% of the strikers had already rejected. Some workers have even claimed they will make less under this proposal than the last.

Many of the car haulers were angry that they were forced back to work before they got to vote on the new contract. At a meeting of 1,400 car haulers in Detroit, the top Teamster bosses were denounced and workers called for slowdowns to protest against the tentative contract. Many of the Detroit Teamsters did not report back to work immediately.

[Back to Top]

From Bhopal, India to Institute, West Virginia

Union Carbide poisons the people

On the morning of August 11, a yellow cloud of gas spewed from the Union Carbide plant in Institute, West Virginia. Over 135 people were hospitalized from the poisonous fumes which included aldicarb oxime and possibly other deadly gases.

The Institute plant also produces methyl isocyanate (MIC). MIC is the deadly chemical that in December leaked from a similar Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India killing over two thousand people and gravely injuring thousands more. Despite Carbide management's original claims that it is a "harmless substance,'' the company itself grades aldicarb oxime on the highest level of toxicity, along with MIC and other deadly substances. The Institute plant combines MIC with aldicarb oxime to produce the pesticide Temix, which by the way is the chemical which sent 180 people in the western U.S. to the hospital after eating Temix-tainted watermelons earlier this summer.

After the Bhopal tragedy the Union Carbide capitalists didn't even consider abandoning its murderous operations with MIC. Instead they began a big public relations campaign to cover up the extreme hazards that were revealed in Bhopal. They were more concerned about calming stockholders' fears about losing dividends than about preventing another chemical massacre.

For the Institute plant this meant a five month shutdown, mainly to allow managers and federal inspectors to give the plant a clean bill of health. They also installed a $5 million computerized alarm system. But it seems that one of the main purposes of this new system is to hide chemical leaks from the public.

The system includes computerized sensors to detect leaks and to determine the course any emissions will travel in the atmosphere. It appears that Union Carbide was hoping that this device would allow them to avoid triggering the alert when a leak takes place unless the computer indicated that a public alert couldn't be avoided. After all, there's no point in getting the populace all worked up about the countless "minor'' leaks that spew cancer-causing agents and other poisons on the people all the time.

But on August 11 there was no alert until half an hour after the cloud of noxious gas had already spread through Institute. The company claims that it was the fault of the computer. Other reports claim that the technicians in the plant weren't provided with the information the computer needed about the nature of the chemical because of the company's fears that the word would get out about the deadly chemicals it was releasing into the atmosphere. But in either case, the Union Carbide's preoccupation with covering its toxic tracks meant that the people of Institute were poisoned for half an hour before any alert was sounded.

The leak at the Institute plant is just the tip of the chemical iceberg. That same week, other significant chemical accidents were reported in South Charleston, W. Va.; Camden, N.J.; Valentine, Ariz.; and Fairfax, Va. The capitalist corporations are poisoning the atmosphere daily, hourly and on a massive scale with substances which their technicians know cause cancer, birth defects, and other disastrous consequences for humans.

There is nothing "accidental" about this poisoning. Last year U.S. chemical corporations earned a cool $15 billion in profits. In the scramble to divide up these profits there is no place for serious safety precautions. Temik pesticide is a big money maker, no matter that it also happens to poison people, and no matter that to produce it demands monstrous hazards, threatening the lives of hundreds and thousands.

High-pressure tanks full of MIC or aldicarb oxime or the thousands of other toxic substances in the hands of the monopoly capitalists mean disaster for the working people: either industrial massacres like in Bhopal, or no less certain mass murder by slow poisoning.

The working people across the country are concerned and angry about industrial poisoning and have demanded measures to restrain the corporate polluters. But in the final analysis industry must be taken out of the hands of the mopey-grubbing capitalists and placed in the hands of the working class and people through the socialist revolution. Only then will safety and the well-being of the working people be a top priority. And only then will the working people have confidence that they will be told the truth about the situation and be warned of any dangers by the workers who control production.

[Back to Top]

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

Holding Central America hostage in the name of 'counter-terrorism'

The Reagan administration has just unveiled its new $53 million "Regional Counter-Terrorism Program." Under a flood of crocodile tears about "terrorism," Reagan wants to further tighten the iron police-state apparatus of the pro- U.S. regimes in Central America. Under the banner of opposing "terrorism," the Reagan government aims to step up its attacks on the Central American workers' and peasants' struggles by building up the police and military forces of the hard-bitten reactionary regimes of El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama.

In the latter 1970's the U.S. government carried out the farce of pretending to halt its training of some Central American police forces to quiet the outcry over the CIA-recommended torture techniques. But last month, to make way for the regional crackdown, Congress relaxed the ban on training. The Regional Counter-Terrorism Program would provide specialized training, automatic weapons, vehicles, helicopters, computers and communications devices, police laboratories, and night vision equipment to Central American police forces which are already notorious for their atrocities against the people, as well as providing materials directly to the military.

Funding the Death Squads in El Salvador

The largest part of the funds $22 million, is to go to the Salvadoran police who are nothing but a thin cover for the notorious death squads.

The Reagan administration and Congress are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into massacring the Salvadoran workers and peasants. After the armed liberation fighters, on June 19, successfully attacked and killed four U.S. Marines intervening in the civil war in El Salvador, Reagan and the State Department have been shouting their heads off that this allegedly justifies the new measures to hunt down and kill the progressive Salvadorans. What a farce! When the Pentagon, CIA and State Department spend $600 million- plus dollars to wage a five-year war against the Salvadoran workers and peasants, bombing them as if they were flies and martyring tens of thousands, that is supposedly "defending democracy." But the minute the Salvadoran people's guerrilla units hit four U.S. enemy soldiers, that is called "terrorism" and it allegedly gives the U.S. license to spend an additional $22 million to put bars around El Salvador.

More Funds to Strangle the Nicaraguan People and Restore a Somoza-Style Regime

Nicaragua is the other major target of the program. Here the pro-U.S. tyranny of Somoza was overthrown, so the program aims not to bolster the police but to overthrow the present government. The Regional Counter-Terrorism Program directly threatens Nicaragua by beefing up the police and military forces of her hostile neighbors, Honduras and Costa Rica.

Eleven million dollars is targeted for Honduras -- home of the main contra group, FDN, and the site of U.S. military bases and war exercises against Nicaragua. The Honduran government has a reputation for shooting first and asking questions later when it comes to domestic opposition, but this is just the type of police-state that Reagan admires.

Money is also allotted to Costa Rica, which protects ARDE, another branch of the CIA-organized contras. Costa Rica pretends to have no army, but the Pentagon has been sending military advisors to train it anyway. The new program proposes to spend an additional $9 million to consolidate Costa Rica's Civil Guard and turn it into a full-fledged military force to fight Nicaragua.

All these war preparations are done here too in the name of fighting ' 'terrorism." Thus, although it is the U.S. which has sent a 15,000-man army of pro-Somoza killers against Nicaragua, and has put out a special CIA murder manual to train them in terror, although it is the U.S. which has used its own pilots to bomb Nicaragua's oil facilities in the dark of night, still Nicaragua is made out to be the "terrorist."

U.S. imperialism has also been shouting about Costa Rican and Honduran "border conflicts" with Nicaragua in order to prepare a pretext for a U.S. invasion of Nicaragua. On July 26, when the Nicaraguans chased a band of invading contras out of their territory, and back into Costa Rica, the U.S. government pretended this was an international scandal, and called Nicaragua "aggressive." Everyone knows that it is the U.S. and its allies Costa Rica and Honduras that violate Nicaragua's borders every day, but shouting about border incidents is a favorite gimmick of U.S. imperialism. It is part of the overall U.S. program of building a ring of fire around Nicaragua to try to force it to give in to U.S. dictate.

As well, the program would help bolster the repressive apparatus of the Guatemalan government, well known for its massacres of Indians and domestic opponents. And it would also send funds to the reactionary Panamanian government.

Thus, behind Reagan's anti-terrorism banner all that can be found is further preparations for massacring the workers and peasants of Central America and invading Nicaragua. Reagan shouts about terrorism to hide the fact that he himself is the biggest terrorist in Central America, that he is the bloodstained criminal who wants to hold all of Central America hostage to the CIA, the Pentagon and their friends, the death squads.

[Photo: Residents of Esteli, Nicaragua mobilizing to resist attacks by the U.S.-backed contras. The masses in Nicaragua remain determined to defend their revolution despite the vacillation and demobilization on the part of the Sandinista government.]

The Democrats finance Reagan's dirty war on Nicaragua

On July 31 the Democratic-controlled House approved a foreign aid authorization bill which provides $27 million in aid to the contras -- the army of counterrevolutionary cutthroats who are invading Nicaragua.

As Reagan signed the foreign aid bill on August 8, he declared himself pleased, "particularly pleased," that the bill supported the contras. The passage of this bill is a sign of the close unity on foreign policy between the House, the Senate and the Reagan administration. This is the first time in four years that the House and Senate have reached agreement on a foreign aid bill (Since '81 the Democratic- controlled House has financed the Reaganite foreign policy through stopgap measures, but, in order to dramatize its minor squabbles with Reagan, it has not passed a comprehensive bill.) This year's bill is the result of the Democrats in the House aligning themselves ever more openly and closely with Reagan in arming to the teeth the most reactionary, bloodstained forces across the globe.

Over the previous four years the Democratic Party had maintained a facade of opposition to Reagan's policy of the armed overthrow of the Sandinista government, engaging in minor squabbles over how (although never whether) to fund the contras -- though overt or covert, official or unofficial, CIA or non-CIA-administered aid. In 1984, feigning objections to the contras' terrorist methods, the House even temporarily suspended direct aid to the contras (although it made sure to provide for indirect funding through other means, and it passed a bill to have private aid shipped at government expense). Today the Democrats have put even these minor tactical differences aside and, by approving the current foreign aid bill which spans two years, they have ensured that another debate over withholding aid to the contras won't even come up before 1987.

Though it is clearly the Democrats who have moved over to Reagan's position on how to fund the contras, the Democrats swear up and down that it is actually the station that has moved to meet the train. The Democrats pride themselves that, during this year's debates, they have won Reagan over to the position of opposing military aid to the contras and supporting "only" the "humanitarian," "non-lethal," "non- CIA" aid authorized by the bill. The Democrats waved their magic wand and the politicians in Washington turned philanthropic to a man.

But what the Democratic Party is trying to hide, even a blind man can see: the contras have more U.S. military assistance than ever before. They are overflowing with U.S. arms shipments and U.S. planes violate Nicaraguan airspace every day in order to send intelligence information back to the contra camps. As Dante B. Fascell, a Democratic Congressman from Florida puts it, the "humanitarian" aid concept is important for "political symbolism." It is a meaningless symbol to cover over the harsh reality of U.S. aggression, directed from the White House and loyally funded and given political support by the congressional liberals.

[Photo: Workers of Morazan Province, El Salvador protest on July 3 against stepped-up bombings of civilians by the U.S.-backed Duarte regime.]

[Photo: Nicaraguan people on guard against the contras.]

Contras take their marching orders from the White House

[Photo: (right to left) Reagan and National Security Council member Oliver L. North meet with Adolfo Calero and other contra leaders to direct the war against Nicaragua.]

On August 7 senior White House officials disclosed what has long been known in the movement against U.S. intervention in Central America -- the counterrevolutionary contra war on Nicaragua is run straight from the White House, regardless of whether U.S. aid is officially flowing to the contras.

Reagan administration sources revealed to the New York Times that, at least since the summer of '84 (when U.S. aid to the contras was officially cut off to the blowing of trumpets and the beating of drums), the National Security Council has been the government agency that directly led the war. The National Security Council is the highest intelligence body of the U.S. government. The NSC coordinates all military and spy activity of U.S. imperialism. The president of the U.S. is a member of the NSC, and the NSC's function is to advise him. Hence the direction of the war by the NSC means that it is a 100% American war, personally directed by the chief jellybean eater himself. Nicaraguans are being tortured and killed at the direct command of Reagan and, of course, without the formality of a declaration of war. Criminals and American presidents don't declare war -- they just stab you in the dark of night.

In particular, military officer Col. Oliver L. North, a National Security Council member and close aide to National Security Advisor Robert C. McFarlane, has trundled between the State Dept., the Defense Dept., the CIA, the contra headquarters in Central America and briefings with President Reagan for the purpose of coordinating the war. The contras "are his account," said a senior administration official. (New York Times, Aug. 8) Col. North makes such frequent trips to Central America that the Reagan administration has provided him with his own government airplane, a privilege normally bestowed only on Cabinet secretaries.

On the front of fundraising for the contras, the NSC picked up the baton from Congress without missing a beat. Last year, when Congress temporarily suspended official aid to the contras and instead authorized the Defense Dept, to airlift private aid to them, Col. North busied himself giving "numerous speeches and-briefings" on fundraising and informing wealthy donors about how to make their millions and gifts in kind available to the contras.

In response to the White House's revelation that it has been directing and collecting funds for the contras, the Democrats in Congress are blushing up to their ears and pretending that they didn't know this already. After all, NSC direction of the war proves that all the huffing and bluffing about a "non-CIA" war, a "non-lethal" U.S. involvement in the war is so much hogwash. So the Democrats had to pretend outrage.

"The NSC is violating the spirit of the Boland amendment!" protest some. This toothless 1982 Congressional resolution, updated in 1984, prohibits government agencies involved in intelligence from aiding the contras. Others are demanding an "investigation."

But what have the Democrats got to be upset about? Everyone knows that the Boland Amendment is a farce which is violated every day of the week. And clearly it is not the dirty war itself that is bothering the Democrats, since the Democratic-controlled House just approved $27 million more in aid to the contras.

Nor do the Democrats intend to do anything against White House direction of the war. Liberal congressman George Brown Jr. (D.-Calif.) explained their attitude: "If the President wants to use the NSC to operate a war in Nicaragua, I don't think there's any way we can control it." (New York Times, Aug. 8)

No, the issue here is that the Democratic Party objects to having the cover stripped off U.S. aggression in Central America. As Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Calif.) put it, the NSC affair "just makes it unmistakably clear that it's our war." (New York Times, Aug. 9)

Yes, it makes it unmistakably clear that it is precisely an American war, organized by the CIA, funded by Congress, and directed from the White House. And it makes it unmistakably clear that the liberal Democrats are the biggest liars this side of Voice of America. All they are concerned with is hiding the truth about the dirty war on Nicaragua, so that they can continue to fund the murder of Nicaraguan workers and peasants under the banner of "non- lethal," "non-CIA," and "humanitarian" aid.


Democratic Party sabotages the anti-intervention movement

(The following article is taken from a recent leaflet of the San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA that discusses the problems facing the local movement against U.S. intervention in Central America.)

In the U.S. the majority of working and oppressed people are opposed to another Viet Nam war in Central America. This massive opposition has been seen not only in capitalist opinion polls but also in large mass actions. For example, in 1981 ten thousand marched and rallied in Dolores Park to protest the war in El Salvador and to support the revolutionary struggle there. In September of 1981 five thousand militantly denounced the fascist Duarte on his visit to San Francisco. In more recent memory, there have been several smaller demonstrations denouncing Reagan and the U.S. military escalation in Central America. However, in this recent period, there has also been a retreat in the U.S. movement as the social-democratic misleaders of the movement have gone even further to the right. These misleaders are trying harder than ever to reduce the movement to an impotent adjunct of the Democratic Party.

Social-Democratic Misleaders Work to Sabotage the Mass Movement In the U.S.

The weakness of the movement today is the inevitable result of this drive of the social-democratic misleaders to tie the movement to the Democratic Party.

We have been told time and again that the way to halt or prevent escalation of the war and the way to draw more people into the movement is by linking up with the Democrats and relying on them. This has proven itself to be a vicious attack on the movement as every day the war is escalating even while the movement remains smaller than it was four years ago. But the misleaders have based everything on this fairy tale and the entire movement has been narrowed down and restricted to only those politics, tactics and forms of organization that are acceptable to the Democratic Party. This has meant, among other things, trying to wipe out the militancy of the activists and squelching mass actions.

From the opportunist standpoint, as lackeys of the Democratic Party, this makes sense. After all, if the movement were large and militant right now it is not only Reagan who would be denounced, the activists would also denounce the Democratic darlings such as Stephen Solarz, who hailed the embargo against Nicaragua, and Michael Barnes, who included himself in when he said the House of Representatives would vote for the contras and against the Sandinistas 20-to-l. The social-democrats want to prevent this denunciation of the liberal Democrats from happening. They want to prevent the masses from breaking with the Democratic Party and building a real fight against U.S. imperialism.

Rightward Maneuvers of the Social-Democrats to Smash the U.S. Movement

Taking the movement from the more militant position of '81 to the doldrums of today has involved a fair share of opportunist maneuvering. Such maneuvers broke out into full bloom during 1983. In early '83 San Francisco CISPES issued their "Congressional Pressure Strategy." This document held that the Democratic Party is a genuine oppositional force which only has to be pressured to take ''better stances.''

Out of this grew their Proposition N Campaign. This ballot initiative attempted to have a statement sent from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to Congress saying that the people of San Francisco opposed the war in El Salvador. While this was not a harmful thing in itself and those who voted for it did so on the basis of their sentiment to oppose U.S. intervention in Central America, the harmful aspect of this Proposition N Campaign was its hidden agenda. The Proposition N Campaign was used as an excuse to cancel or ignore major and even national demonstrations (too busy getting out the vote) and it was used to forge links with Democratic Party clubs and elected officials including Ms. "USS Missouri" herself, Mayor Dianne Feinstein.

Once the floodgates were opened by the lengthy Proposition N Campaign, the movement was channeled into full-scale campaigning for the Democratic Party during the '84 elections. The "Congressional Pressure Strategy" set the tone for all the activities at the Democratic Party convention in San Francisco and during the Mondale campaign. The activists were encouraged to "hold their noses" and support Fritz -- the man who suggested an embargo of Nicaragua as part of his electoral campaign.

Now it is 1985 and the Democratic Party's political solution is being promoted as the only issue of importance for the movement. Any support for a revolutionary triumph in El Salvador, for example, is thrown out the window and labeled ultra left (!). The Northwest Regional CISPES guiding document for 1985 no longer requires its members to even support the revolutionary forces in El Salvador.

And finally, one can measure the extent of the social-democrats' attempt to tie the movement to the Democratic Party by listening to the Central America "Hotline." The inauguration of this Hotline was touted as a great triumph for the movement. However, it is nothing but a promotion of relying on Congressional Democrats to oppose U.S. intervention. The Hotline message of July 15, 1985 recites a laundry list of recent House appropriations which will escalate the U.S. war more than ever before and then says that the activities of the House Democrats in voting for this escalation are "indicative of the difficult conditions faced by the anti-interventionist forces in Congress right now." What craven apology for the liberal imperialists! Anti-intervention forces indeed!

Let Us Build a Fighting and Powerful Movement Against U.S. Aggression!

Serious and honest activists have time and again raised the question: How can we build a powerful movement capable of challenging U.S. imperialism and supporting the revolution in Central America? They are becoming more aware that the social-democrats' prescription for building the movement is a fairy tale. We say: No more fairy tales!

We want to build the movement based on the genuine sentiment of the masses of workers and poor people and not based on the interests of the liberal Democrats and their flunkeys. The workers and oppressed people's sentiments can be crystallized in the slogans: U.S. imperialism, get out of Central America lock, stock and barrel! Support the revolution in Central America!

We must rejuvenate these slogans in the movement. We must organize actions where these sentiments can be given full play. The movement must be built with the working class as its backbone, not the Democratic Party liberals. We want no Democratic Party restrictions on the mass actions. We must build militant demonstrations, rallies and pickets, move forward to smash all reliance on the Democratic Party, and genuinely support the struggles in Central America!

[Back to Top]

Death to Apartheid!

Botha pledges to preserve white minority rule

How the South African racists 'reform' themselves

On August 15 the racist president of South Africa, P. W. Botha, delivered a major speech which he termed a "manifesto for a new South Africa." The South African government and the U.S. imperialist officials and media had made a big fuss before the speech, promising that it would announce important reforms in the apartheid system. But in fact the speech showed that despite Botha's attempts at looking like a reformer, his "new South Africa" is the same old South Africa where the black majority is treated as subhuman, deprived of basic rights, used as virtual slave labor and brutally punished for the slightest protest.

Far from announcing any new measures of value to the black masses, Botha openly declared that he will defend white minority rule forever. He announced he would never tolerate even simple voting rights for blacks, saying he "will not accept the principle of one- man, one-vote in a unitary system." Botha declared that he could never support such a reform because it would "destroy white South Africa" and lead to "chaos." Obviously Botha is only for such reforms that help shore up "white South Africa," that is, the racist system which deprives blacks of even the most minimal rights.

Furthermore, Botha threatened to launch even more repression against the anti-apartheid movement. Already the government has murdered over 600 black protesters this year and declared a fascist "state of emergency" that gives the police virtually unlimited powers and bans all protest in the centers of the anti-racist revolt, etc. But, according to Botha, the government has thus far been "lenient and patient." And he added "we will use stronger methods" as necessary. Thus Botha's "reform" speech was essentially a declaration that he would protect the apartheid system at all costs.

The speech highlights the fraudulent nature of Botha's so-called "reform" policy. In the past the Botha regime has offered various token changes in the apartheid system. And this speech too was padded with empty rhetoric about reforms, repeated from past speeches. Botha said he would talk to some blacks -- oh, how benevolent of him. He said all South Africans would participate in matters of concern to them -- of course, blacks aren't supposed to be concerned about the serious "white" matters. And Botha will undoubtedly continue this empty prattle in the future.

But this speech openly drew the line defining just how far these reforms will go. It declared that the regime's reforms will be confined to those that strengthen the basic system of white- minority rule. They will be cosmetic tinkering that leaves the main features of apartheid intact. The speech clarifies that the talk of reform is just a cynical maneuver to forestall real change, try to split the masses, and cover up intensified repression against the anti-apartheid forces.

The South African racists have no intention of dismantling apartheid. They must be smashed in a revolutionary uprising of the oppressed masses. Only in this way will the hated apartheid system come to an end.

American racists love apartheid racists

Reagan denies segregation exists in South Africa

Nothing can break up the love affair between the Reagan administration and the racist Botha regime. No matter what the apartheid rulers do, the administration continues to support them under the guise that the racist murderers are really a bunch of kind-hearted reformers. Even though Botha's speech of August 15 declared that the South African rulers will defend white-minority rule to the end, and that the principle of one person-one vote will never be granted to the black majority, the administration went out of its way to praise it.

While expressing some disappointment that the speech offered virtually no new token reforms, Reagan's national security advisor, Robert McFarlane, hailed Botha's tirade as "an important statement" containing many valuable principles. And the administration announced that its policy of "constructive engagement," a policy of all-round support for the racists, would continue. Thus the administration stood loyally beside the apartheid rulers and their denial of basic democratic rights to the black masses.

About a week-and-a-half after Botha's speech, however, Reagan really outdid himself. In remarks taped for a radio show in Atlanta, Reagan said of the South African rulers that "they have eliminated the segregation that we once had in our country." Is Reagan still on planet earth?!

Unfortunately, he is, and furthermore he knows full well that racial discrimination is a way of life in South Africa. But for Reagan no lie is too shameful when it comes to defending his brother racists in South Africa. Just as Reagan justifies his racist measures in the U.S. by pretending that discrimination is a dead issue here, so he prettifies the racist Botha regime by pretending that it has already eliminated apartheid there.

After all, for Reagan, South Africa is a model of the good old days in the U.S. when, according to Reagan, there wasn't a race problem. Oh, those good old plantation days when a slave was a slave and a master could sit around all day sipping mint juleps. How could diehard exploiters and racists like Reagan not sigh after the lost paradise of South Africa, where protest is punishable by death, public schools are just big concentration camps for the black children, and there is no need to lie about how one respects the rights of the working masses?

But the working class has a different idea of paradise. It is to work without slave masters at their back -- whether the crude apartheid slave masters of South Africa or the modern American capitalist with his labor spies, industrial efficiency experts, and racist henchmen. It is to work for the benefit of all and not for the private profit of a few egotistic lords of creation. And just as the South African masses are rising up against apartheid, so too the American working class will rise to break its own chains by carrying out a socialist revolution.

'Mr. Morality' Falwell takes up a collection for apartheid

On August 19, Jerry Falwell, leader of the so-called "Moral Majority," announced a campaign in support of the racist Botha government. The U.S. bourgeoisie has vigorously promoted Falwell in its efforts to spread fundamentalism and religious prejudice. In particular it is well known that Reagan and Falwell have formed a mutual admiration society. Falwell's despicable stand in support of the South African racists shows what sort of morality lies behind the bourgeoisie's efforts to promote Falwell-style religious trends.

The campaign was announced after Falwell met with the chief slave master, South African President P.W. Botha. Falwell heaped praise on Botha for allegedly "making progress" on racial matters. Then he proclaimed he would launch a campaign to oppose the passage of the token sanctions against South Africa presently before the Congress. As well, he called for withdrawing investments from U.S. companies that reduce or end their investments in South Africa. And he urged "millions of Christians to buy Krugerrands," the gold coin sold by the racist regime. Clearly the bible-toting bigot, Falwell, was overjoyed by Botha's recent pledges to maintain white supremacist rule.

To top it all off, Falwell hurled insults at Bishop Desmond Tutu, saying that Tutu is a "phony" if he contends that South African blacks are in favor of sanctions against the racist government. Now Tutu is no hero. He is a meek, liberal opponent of apartheid who is opposed to militant struggle against the regime. But Falwell's real message was that black South Africans love the racist slave masters so much they wouldn't want any measures to be taken against them.

What an incredible lie! For Falwell, the millions of black workers and youth who have set South Africa ablaze with their militant revolt against the regime simply don't exist! How desperate "Mr. Morality" is to drum up support for apartheid. The fact of the matter is that it is Falwell himself who is a world-class phony for promoting himself as a pillar of morality while playing cheerleader for racist criminals like the Botha regime.

[Photo: A meeting of racist minds. "Mr. Morality" Jerry Falwell and Hitler-worshipper P. W. Botha discuss the wonders of white supremacist rule in South Africa.]

The scheme for a joint KwaZulu-Natal provincial government

A bigger role for chief Buthelezi in propping up the racists

In mid-August, the arch-racist National Party of Botha announced it had approved talks between the white administration of Natal province and the government of the KwaZulu "homeland" (one of the miserable bantustans for blacks) under the leadership of the notorious black sellout, Chief Gatsha Buthelezi. The white rulers are saying that these talks may lead to a joint KwaZulu-Natal provincial administration which will allegedly be a model of multiracial rule. In reality, all this plan means is that a few black sellouts like Buthelezi would join the white racist Natal administration in a subordinate position and take even more part in oppressing the black and other oppressed masses.

The Botha regime wants to give Buthelezi a somewhat bigger role because they have been grooming him and his organization Inkatha, with its regimented bands, for use as a club against the anti-apartheid movement. They let Buthelezi say a few words against apartheid so he can maintain some credibility among the black masses. But they know Buthelezi will not lift a finger against the racists. Instead Buthelezi reserves his "militance" for attacks on the anti-apartheid movement. Buthelezi's organization, Inkatha, collaborated with the racist police to kill and maim black protestors in this month's rebellions near Durban. Buthelezi's followers played a similar role in the heroic Soweto uprising of 1976.

Internationally Buthelezi's friends include Ronald "the racist'' Reagan who invited him to the U.S. several months ago to help oppose sanctions against South Africa. And this month Buthelezi was welcomed to tour zionist Israel, a close ally of the white racist regime.

The fact that Buthelezi administers a bantustan is another graphic example of his love for apartheid. The bantustans were created by the racists to forcibly separate blacks off into barren wastelands. The bantustans also divide the black people up on a tribal basis. But Buthelezi accepts this humiliation and actively promotes strife between blacks on the basis of tribal origin. And it would be absurd to pretend that he tries to use the bantustan as some sort of base against apartheid, because in fact he has such an oppressive rule in KwaZulu that neighboring black and Indian townships are fighting as hard as they can to stay outside it. For one thing, Inkatha supports money-grubbing landlords who bleed the black masses with rent hikes. The neighboring townships fear that bringing Buthelezi into the Natal administration simply means bringing the Inkatha club down over their heads, unleashing even harsher repression and bleeding them for more money. Clearly the joint administration of Buthelezi and the white racists would mean life would continue to be a living hell for the oppressed.

The proposed plan for the new administration for Natal province is another exposure of the sham nature of Botha's "reforms.'' Botha is willing to consider recruiting a few of his time-tested black servants into the white racist structure in the same way as the black policemen already "participate'' in the government by shooting down their neighbors under the command of white racist officers. Meanwhile Botha announces that he will never give blacks the right to vote. "Reform'' is just fine with Botha -- as long as it contains nothing of value to the black masses.

Treason trials in South Africa

Pretoria threatens anti-apartheid leaders with the death sentence

As part of its efforts to crush the powerful rebellion in South Africa, the racist regime has arrested and placed on trial various leaders and members of organizations in the anti-apartheid movement. In early August, 16 members of the United Democratic Front (UDF) were brought to trial on charges of treason. All told, 38 UDF members currently face treason charges. Another trial is under way involving 23 activists including members of the Azanian People's Organization (AZAPO) who are also charged with treason. And still another trial involves trade union leaders involved in a two-day general strike in November 1984.

In South Africa all opposition to apartheid is a crime, punishable by death. Execution on the spot by the police and indefinite detention without charges are both used by the racist regime. And those who are brought to trial face farcical proceedings based on fascist laws. The government can't be placated by moderation, as the UDF members on trial have found. Despite the anti-revolutionary preachings of UDF leaders such as Reverend Boesak, the UDF leaders and members are charged with working for the violent overthrow of the South African regime. No, when the real criminals are the judge, jury and executioner, only a revolution can provide real justice.

The trials are another example of the barbaric repression of the South African government. They show that it is just a fascist police state. The racists hope that their efforts will undermine the will to resist among the masses and help end the anti-apartheid struggle. Undoubtedly, the brutal repression will cause some temporary setbacks. But like the other atrocities of the regime, the trials of the activists are further fueling the fires of revolt. The hardships of the struggle are steeling the oppressed so that one day their struggle will succeed in overthrowing the racists and smashing apartheid to the ground.

Anti-apartheid protests in the U.S.

While the Reagan administration continues to come to the rescue of the racist system in South Africa, hatred for apartheid has gripped the working masses.

On August 18 dock workers in Vancouver, Washington honored a picket line set up by anti-apartheid activists and refused to unload a Dutch ship carrying South African steel. The shipping line had docked in Vancouver, hoping to avoid the protests that it experienced eight months ago when San Francisco dock workers conducted a militant anti-apartheid struggle and refused to unload South African cargo.

A few days after the workers' action in Vancouver, longshoremen in New Orleans also pledged to not unload South African cargo.

The wide spread of anti-apartheid sentiment was in evidence at a number of mass demonstrations in August. The largest was a march and rally of at least 15,000 people in New York City on August 13. Among the protestors were many workers who took off from work early to attend. Other demonstrations in August included protests of over 5,000 in Washington,'D.C., several thousand in Atlanta, 1,500 in Chicago and 1,000 in Detroit.

[Photo: Fifteen thousand anti-apartheid protesters demonstrated August 13 in New York City.]

[Photo: Longshoremen in Vancouver, Washington refuse to unload South African cargo.]

In defiance of brutal repression and "state of emergency"

The struggle against the racist regime forges ahead

Since the July 21 declaration of a "state of emergency'' the racist Botha regime has unleashed a horrifying wave of murder and repression against the black and other oppressed of South Africa. But the heroic struggle against apartheid continues to forge ahead. The shackles of the "emergency'' are being torn off and thrown into the dust as across the country the black workers, youth and students launch one daring action after another, the mixed-race (called "coloreds," as opposed to black, in the lingo of the South African caste system) youth enter the street fighting, and anti-racist white university students demonstrate in solidarity.

Death Squad Murder Spurs Struggle

A wave of revolt was spurred by the Botha regime's death-squad-style murder of Mrs. Mxenge, a local leader of the United Democratic Front (UDF) and a lawyer for two of the UDF members currently on trial for treason. On August 11 a funeral protest of 10,000 mourners was held in the Ciskei "homeland," a bantustan granted a sham independence by the racist South African government. During the militant demonstration the masses pursued black soldiers sent to intimidate them. One of the soldiers received a just punishment when he was captured and killed on the spot to the approval of a large crowd.

Numerous revolts broke out in other areas as well. From Soweto, in the northern region of Transvaal, to Cape Town, the southwest coastal city, the black people fought pitched battles against the police and army.

The Events in Durban

The murder of Mrs. Mxenge also played a big role in the major uprising in Durban on the east coast. In this fierce uprising the police admit to killing 36 blacks.

In the midst of the Durban rebellion, some confused events took place that deserve some comment. This included looting of stores in the nearby Indian townships (the Asian Indians are still another caste in the vicious system of segregation in South Africa) and direct clashes between Indians and blacks. The Indian population in South Africa suffers oppression under and hates apartheid, especially the vast majority who are ordinary toilers. The Indian community also contains a strata of exploiters some of whom are outright allies of the white racist rulers; and some Indian landlords had evicted black squatters just prior to the rebellion. The looting may have been directed to some extent against the Indian exploiters.

Chief Buthelezi Tries to Stop the Mass Struggle

However it appears that backward communal violence took place. One of the major factors in this appears to be the influence of the notorious black agent of the white racists, Chief Buthelezi, whose organization, Inkatha, has strength around Durban. We do not know if Inkatha began the attack on the Indians, but it has been working^to fan up communal prejudices. Such an effort to foment splits among the oppressed are right up Buthelezi's alley, especially as he has been involved in violent attacks on the anti-apartheid organizations and has tried to break up the national unity of the black people by working to create communal hatred between the blacks of different tribal origin. For example, Inkatha murdered 12 people attending a memorial service for Mrs. Mxenge in Durban; Inkatha had against her that she worked with UDF instead of supporting the "moderate" Buthelezi and that she worked with Zulus although she herself was a Xhosa, not a Zulu. And Inkatha has its hostilities to the Indian community, holding against it that many prominent UDF leaders are Indian and that Indian townships neighboring the Buthelezi-ruled bantustan of KwaZulu don't want to be incorporated into KwaZulu out of fear of Inkatha landlords and oppression. (Black townships neighboring KwaZulu have the same fears.)

After the looting began Buthelezi then demagogically pretended to be the friend of Indians in order to send Inkatha thugs into the violence. He also used this as a pretext to massacre the masses in black townships who were fighting apartheid. Bands of up to 1,000 of his club-wielding thugs were given free rein to go after the rebelling blade masses, while the South African police looked on approvingly. Later on in the month, Buthelezi's followers attacked 70 people who attended a funeral protest of 8,000 mourners in Umlazi township near Durban.

Cape Town in Revolt

Near the end of August the focus of the struggle shifted to Cape Town. On August 29 thousands of protestors fought several battles with police as they attempted to organize a march to Pollsmoor prison to demand the release of African National Congress leader, Nelson Mandela. At each of the five gathering points for the march the police launched brutal assaults, charging the demonstrators with whips and firing tear gas and bullets into the crowd. But the masses offered staunch resistance. In the black township of Guguletu the toilers erected street barricades and pelted police with stones.

Students also played a big part in the Cape Town resistance. Not only did black students participate, but students at the mixed-race University of the Western Cape and at the mainly white University of Cape Town threw themselves into the fray. Earlier in the month, white students at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg faced off with police in an anti-apartheid demonstration.

The suppression of the attempted march on Pollsmoor Prison further aroused the oppressed masses of the Cape Town area. On August 29 police opened fire on grade school and high school students who built barricades in the mixed-race community of Mitchell's Plain. The oppressed "colored" community is bitterly opposed to the racist system, and these events marked the massive entry of the mixed-race youth into the current phase of the street fighting. The next day the fight continued in Mitchell's Plain and resumed at the University of the Western Cape.

The high tide of struggle at the end of the month was not confined to Cape Town. On August 31, for example, a militant funeral protest of 50,000 was held in East London.

Miners' Strike

On September 1st, 28,000 of the half-million black gold and coal miners began a strike for higher wages. The black miners are cruelly exploited. Most of them are migrants from neighboring countries and the bantustans. They labor for one-sixth the wages of white miners and unsafe conditions have turned the mines into mass coffins. An estimated 8,200 workers died in the mines from 1974-83.

Imagine the hypocrisy of Botha claiming that he instituted the "state of emergency" to stop blacks from dying in the violence. Business as usual in South Africa kills over 800 black workers a year in industrial accidents in the mines alone.

It is reported that the mine owners are preparing for a bitter struggle, stockpiling tear gas, shotguns and other means to suppress the just struggle of the miners.

Botha's Fascist Repression

Every step of the struggle has been met with ever-greater repression under the "state of emergency." Botha claimed his "emergency" was meant to stop violence. Since it began, the regime has shot down blacks at three times the previous rate with 160 killed in the last five weeks. Under "emergency" powers, some 2,200 people have been detained. Once in detention torture is common. House-to-house searches were carried out in Soweto by 1,000 police thugs. The regime has even sunk to the level of rounding up 800 school-children in Soweto, some as young as eight! Over 300 of these children face charges of violating "emergency" regulations banning them from boycotting school. At month's end, it was reported that in Tembisa township near Johannesburg, the authorities were arresting black store owners in order to break a boycott of white businesses. This is the real face of the racist government that Botha hides behind glib talk of "reform."

Though the gestapo terror of the apartheid rulers is causing untold horrors for the masses, ultimately it will backfire. Every crack of the whip creates a determined anti-apartheid militant. Each bullet fired at a demonstration galvanizes the revolutionary resolve of the masses. The regime has a strong arsenal at its disposal. But it faces an invincible force, the millions of black and other oppressed toilers who will not rest until they are free. The struggle may go through twists and turns. But in the end the liberation struggle will win.

[Photo: Militant black coal miners. On September 1st, 28,000 gold and coal miners went on strike.]

[Photo: Soweto school-children rounded up by the racist police being transported in an armored vehicle, August 1985.]

New pamphlet declares:

Forward against apartheid!

(The San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the MLP has produced a pamphlet on the anti-apartheid struggle to agitate against the South African racists and deal with the problems of orientation that arise in the local movement. It consists of articles from the Branch and reprints from The Workers' Advocate. Their introduction to the pamphlet is reprinted below.)

The San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party has produced this pamphlet as part of its work to contribute to the building of the anti-apartheid movement-in the U.S.

Over the past year the heroic revolutionary upsurge of the black masses in South Africa against the barbaric system of apartheid has left a deep impression on workers and youth in this country. Sentiment in solidarity with the South African masses spilled out. into demonstrations and militant mass actions all over the U.S. In the Bay Area this welled-up sentiment was displayed everywhere. In factories, work places, and communities red ribbons were worn and denunciations and rallies could be heard against the racist regime.

From the beginning it was the working masses here in the U.S. that made great sacrifices to show solidarity with the black masses in South Africa. The dock workers in San Francisco gave us a militant example of self-sacrifice by risking their livelihood and standing up against police harassment and refusing to unload cargo from South Africa. Universities became targets of the anti-apartheid movement for their investments and political support to the racist South African regime. The student activists made many sacrifices to build the movement on the campuses. At UC Berkeley, in spite of many obstacles the movement organized the sit-in on the steps of Biko Hall facing the very real threat of arrest and jail; organized large demonstrations and mass actions and constantly hounded the UC Regents about divestment; wrote, produced and distributed their own literature to educate the whole student body on the real situation occurring in South Africa.

This activity has not stopped over the summer and shows every sign of being repeated in a bigger way this fall. Interest has been sparked about South Africa and people have serious political questions which need answering about stepping up the fight. Serious activists are coming forward to shoulder the task of building the anti-apartheid struggle into a fighting mass movement. In order to do this work and ensure that real blows are struck against apartheid slavery the following tasks are crucial:

1. The widespread hatred for apartheid must be developed into conscious support for revolution in South Africa. Only a revolution will bring majority rule and sweep away all the oppressive institutions, including the racist army and police and the racist government structures. No tinkering with the white minority regime can make any difference to the oppression of the black masses and only the naive can think that the racists themselves will surrender power. We must raise our voices against all attempts of the reactionaries to smash the revolutionary movement in South Africa, whether by the big stick of Botha or Reagan or the liberal and reformist talk of "dialog" with Botha.

2. Solidarity with the struggle of the South African masses must be made concrete by targeting U.S. imperialism. U.S. imperialism is one of the main backers of the South African racists. It sends military equipment, lends moral and political support and props it up with economic aid. The multinational corporations, the IBM's, the GM's, etc., reap billions in profits from apartheid slavery. The Pentagon and State Department use South Africa as a base to oppress the rest of Southern Africa. This relationship guarantees that the capitalist politicians of the Republican and Democratic Party (and the appointed institutional leaders such as the UC Regents) will all work to protect apartheid. Thus real support for the black people of South Africa means raining blows on "our own" imperialists right at home.

3. The real strength of the movement must be built up through mass struggle. Students and youth, but particularly the working people are the bastion of the solidarity movement. It is they who not only sympathize with the South African masses, but who have no interest in maintaining the capitalist and imperialist system that squeezes them here as well as sitting on the backs of black people in South Africa. But the only real power the masses have is their numbers and their ability to organize. Thus their will can only be exercised by, taking matters into their own hands, i.e., through mass struggle. The serious activists must fight every attempt by the Democratic Party liberals, the social-democrats and other reformist elements to draw the movement away from mass struggle and onto the dead-end path of relying on the capitalist politicians or the likes of the UC Regents.

4. Workers, students and all anti-racist activists! The black people of South Africa are shedding their blood in the heroic struggle for their freedom. Let us support the revolutionary movement in South Africa and thus strike real blows against all those who want to keep the African peoples downtrodden and oppressed. Let us work to build up a fighting mass movement in solidarity with the struggle against the white minority racist regime of South Africa. Let us support the courage and daring of the anti-apartheid fighters in South Africa by resolutely standing up against U.S. imperialism, the backer of apartheid. Let us rally all the working people of America around the banner of the anti-apartheid struggle!

Solidarity with the revolutionary struggle of the black people of South Africa against the the apartheid regime!

Down with the Reaganite racist offensive in the U.S.!


-Introduction: Forward Against Apartheid

-Black People Defy the State of Emergency

-UC Regents, Enemies of the South African Struggle

-Reagan Supports the 'State of Emergency' of the South African Racists

-Putting a Good Face on U.S. Support for Apartheid

-Bishop Tutu Denounces Militant Actions of the Black Masses

-UN Sanctions Against South Africa

-Revolution Is the Only Solution to Apartheid

To obtain, visit or send 50¢ to: [Addresses and telephone number.]


[Back to Top]

Solidarity with the anti-apartheid fighters in South Africa


The mighty struggle of the black and other oppressed masses in South Africa has continued to surge forward in the face of the naked terror of the racist Botha regime. The rebellions of the black toilers in the segregated townships, the scenes of the masses confronting head-on the rifles and armored vehicles of the white supremacist troops, are inspiring the progressive people the world over.

Today the oppressed masses in South Africa are showing the world that they are the powerful force that will one day bring about a revolution that will sweep away the racist rulers. Everyone talks about the prospects of revolution: the reactionaries want to crush the revolutionary movement, the liberals and reformists want to avoid revolution by the game of negotiating over trifles, and the oppressed masses are striving fervently to bring about the revolution. For or against the revolution, for building the revolutionary movement or for moaning about the horrors of a "cataclysm," this is the fundamental issue confronting the solidarity movement with the anti-apartheid struggle.

In desperation, the barbaric Botha government has responded to the mass upsurge with its latest round of atrocities against the black people. The racist regime has unleashed its "state of emergency," which legitimizes and intensifies the past repression. The apartheid butchers want to crush the fighting masses with murder, imprisonment and bans on political activity.

While Botha orders the black people gunned down in the streets, he also continues to play the game of "reform," offering empty promises of minor changes that leave the basic horrors of the racist system intact. And the more Botha talks of reform, the more he represses the people, unleashes the death squads, and vows resistance to the end. Clearly there is no hope that the racists will decide to abandon white minority rule out of "moderation" or good will. Only the revolutionary overthrow of the racist system will accomplish this.

Meanwhile in the U.S. a broad movement against apartheid has unfolded from coast to coast in support of the oppressed in South Africa. The goal of this movement must be to develop support for revolution in South Africa. Only such a stand is in line with the true interests of the fighting toilers of South Africa. And such a stand puts the movement in opposition to the Reagan administration and Congress, both of which want to forestall revolution in South Africa. Reagan supports Botha's big stick, while the majority of Congressional Democrats and Republicans think it is necessary to pay more attention to subverting the revolution through mock sympathy with the goal of eliminating apartheid, combined with utter opposition to the overthrow of the apartheid rulers.

There Are Different Trends Striving to Lead the Anti-Racist Struggle in South Africa

In order to strengthen the solidarity movement in support of the anti-apartheid struggle, it is important to pay attention to various political forces in the struggle. In previous articles, The Workers' Advocate has examined the role of the liberals in South Africa, such as Reverend Desmond Tutu. For some time we have meant to examine the role of the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC is one of the most influential groups in the anti-apartheid movement of the black masses. The strategy and tactics followed by the ANC, the political standpoint of its leadership and the methods it follows in the struggle, has tremendous influence, for better or worse, for the struggle.

The ANC is widely regarded as an organization which stands for revolution against the racist oppressors. When the ANC addresses the angry masses in South Africa, or when ANC spokesmen speak to militant audiences in the U.S., they speak in the language of struggle and revolution. In one appeal after another, the ANC puts itself forward as the leaders of revolution and tries to claim credit for all the meritorious deeds of the liberation movement. Undoubtedly many rank-and-file ANC members and supporters believe these statements and seek the revolution with all their hearts.

At the same time, anyone who has heard ANC spokesmen speak to the liberal politicians, observed their efforts to win over the leaders of the reactionary giant corporations, or read their appeals to the Western imperialist spokesmen, has seen another side of the ANC. Anyone who has been able to examine the history of the struggle in South Africa and the deeds of the ANC leadership has seen the huge gulf that separates the revolutionary words of the ANC and its actual practice. In fact, despite its revolutionary proclamations, the ANC leadership has essentially reformist strategy. In practice, it aims at progress through obtaining an agreement with the ruling white bourgeoisie, and it has expressed repeatedly that it will give up its present stands if the apartheid regime agrees to negotiations and to constitutional development. In line with this strategy, it relies on the South African liberals and moderates, despite the fact that these political trends openly regard revolution as even worse than the present situation.

At present, despite its talk of "reform," the Botha regime has no intention of negotiating with the ANC. It is trying to suppress the movement of the masses with murder and jails, and it restricts its "negotiations" with blacks to talking with the most abject lackeys. But that does not remove the danger of the reformist views advocated by the leaders of the ANC. And this is not just a potential danger for sometime in the future, for, as we shall see, these views lie behind the ANC's present tactics, such as its promotion of the anti-revolutionary liberals and its request for intervention by Western capitalist powers.

It should be noted that, under the barbaric white minority rule in South Africa, all opponents of apartheid face the most savage repression and persecution, whether they are revolutionaries, reformists or even liberals. The racists banned the ANC in 1960, twenty-five years ago; this was at a time when ANC was openly advocating pacifist views and had no pretension of standing for revolution. ANC leaders, like the well-known Nelson Mandela, have been languishing in prison for decades, as have other activists, and many activists have been murdered in cold blood by the racists. Our Party firmly condemns the murderous repression and treason trials against the ANC and all anti-apartheid activists. We salute the heroism of all those activists who have risked and often sacrificed their lives in the liberation struggle.

But it is a crucial part of solidarity with the struggle in South Africa to help the development of revolutionary views and politics. To refrain from this is to fail to carry out our sacred responsibilities to the martyrs of the struggle in South Africa, to the fighting masses and even to the militant elements of the ANC. This is especially true at a time when the main stand of the Western imperialist governments and of the Democrats and Republicans here in the U.S. is to hide support for the white minority regime under the hypocritical hand wringing about the misfortunes of apartheid -- especially the misfortune (for imperialist exploiters) that the struggle against apartheid is giving rise to an evermore powerful revolutionary movement that is destined to liquidate white minority rule.

Under the catchwords of opposing "violence," opposing an "apocalyptic outcome," and so forth, the Western bourgeoisie is struggling to stamp out the revolution in South Africa. It wants the Botha government to make use of agreements with the liberals and reformists in order to forestall the revolution. In this situation, only conscious support for the revolution in South Africa will allow the solidarity movement to render real support to the black and other oppressed masses in South Africa and to fight the schemes of "our own" American bourgeoisie and other supporters of South African white minority rule.

It is from this standpoint that the solidarity movement must criticize the ANC leaders and support the development of a consistent revolutionary trend in South Africa. Moreover, it should be noted that the ANC representatives, when they visit the U.S., support the bourgeois liberals and visit with the corporate heads. If the solidarity movement is not to give up its militancy and become a simple appendage of Congressional maneuvering, it must oppose the reformist orientation of the ANC leadership.

In the following article we will describe some of the basic features of the reformist strategy advocated by the leaders of the ANC.

[Back to Top]

On the orientation for the struggle against apartheid

On the strategy and tactics of the ANC of South Africa

At first glance, the ANC may seem to stand for revolution. In one appeal after another the ANC leaders call on the masses to rise up against white minority rule. In many official statements the ANC leaders talk of "revolution," "the transformation of more and more localities into mass revolutionary bases," of "the heroic example of Umkhonto we Sizwe (the armed wing of the ANC)," of the masses wanting to form "effective combat units," of "people's war" and of "the forcible overthrow of the racist regime." The ANC leaders also try in their statements to identify themselves with, or even take credit for, all the revolutionary acts of the masses.

Undoubtedly the appeals for revolution are very popular in South Africa and among rank-and-file ANC members. The logic of the struggle is bringing large numbers of the black people and other oppressed toilers to revolutionary conclusions. The revolutionary image of the ANC is why it is one of the most popular liberation organizations in South Africa and why one sees in South Africa slogans in favor of Nelson Mandela.

But there is a big gulf between the revolutionary phrases of the ANC and the deeds of the ANC. This is one of the reasons that there are also revolutionary activists in South Africa who are bitter about the stands of the ANC leadership. In fact, the ANC leadership pursues a reformist strategy, and its tactics are designed to advance this reformist perspective.

The ANC Seeks a Peaceful, "Constitutional" Solution to Apartheid -- to be Achieved Through a Negotiated Agreement

Although the ANC leadership repeatedly issues revolutionary proclamations, it is searching for an alternative to revolution. It is still pursuing its old plan of progress through constitutional reform, through a negotiated settlement. Day after day the ANC leadership issues statements about "no compromise," about overthrowing the racist rulers, but at the same time they continue to make other statements about their desire for a negotiated settlement and about how preferable such a settlement would be than a revolutionary "cataclysm."

In particular the ANC leaders call for a peaceful process of drawing up a new constitution by agreement with the racist regime. This basic goal was reiterated earlier this year, right in the midst of the current revolutionary upsurge, by the imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela. Mandela stated:

"If the ANC is legalized and allowed to participate in the constitutional development of the country, then there is no need for violence..." (Manchester Guardian Weekly, February 10,1985)

One can be for revolution and the overthrow of the racist rulers, or one can be for peaceful "constitutional development," but clearly one cannot be for both. By advocating "constitutional development," the ANC leaders are declaring that they are not serious about revolution. The revolutionary upsurge of the masses is not something that can be turned on and off at will. But for the ANC leadership it is simply a bargaining chip to obtain the cherished goal of agreement with the regime.

Furthermore, the idea of eliminating white minority rule by negotiating a new constitution with the racists is worthless. The meaningful and effective part of a constitution can only reflect the actual balance of forces in the country. And in a country like South Africa, no significant change in this balance of forces can take place without revolution. A constitution that will be of use to the oppressed in South Africa can only come about with the smashing of the racist system. A new constitution obtained by agreement with the racist ruling bourgeoisie would -- at best! -- merely result in some hollow paper reforms which will serve as window dressing on the racist system while the slavemaster's repressive apparatus remains intact.

We are against the government's persecution of the ANC. And we support making use of any legal opportunities to support the revolutionary movement. But it is a reformist pipe- dream to believe that the revolution in South Africa will be accomplished through peaceful, legal "constitutional change."

Prettifying the Racist Oppressors

As part of this reformist scheme, the ANC leaders must find something good, some moderate, reasonable elements, in the South African ruling class. They must whitewash these racist, would-be supermen. Thus, right in the middle of their revolutionary proclamations, one can find the ANC leadership promoting the fantasy that there is a section of the ruling racist bourgeoisie which is showing an interest in ending the racist system.

For example, the president of the ANC, Oliver Tambo, expressed this idea in his revolutionary-sounding statement "Render South Africa Ungovernable." He stated:

"The disarray in the enemy camp has compelled some to examine the fundamental premise of the entire system of racial oppression. The realization has begun to dawn on some of Botha's own supporters...." ("Render South Africa Ungovernable" -- Message of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress on the Occasion of 8th January, 1985)

Thus Tambo, speaking in the midst of the current revolutionary upsurge, is even willing to find supporters of the racist hangman Botha as potential enemies of apartheid. The mass struggle is valuable because it compels disarray in the enemy camp and thus brings about enlightenment even in the camp of the reactionary hangman.

This idea of the increasing enlightenment among even Botha's supporters is an essential prop to the ANC's appeals to the racists that the ANC would call off the revolutionary violence of the mass upsurge in exchange for talks with the ANC. As Nelson Mandela stated:

"Of course, if there were to be talks along these lines [talks with the regime to legalize the ANC -- ed.], we in the ANC would declare a truce." (Mandela, op. Cit.)

Of course, the ANC leadership also issues repeated statements that they are not for talks with the regime at the present moment or perhaps not at all. But in other statements the ANC leaders repeatedly set forward their desire for talks and progress through collaboration with the present rulers.

These appeals by the ANC to barter the revolutionary upsurge in favor of talks show the danger of the reformist strategy. This strategy may lead to the struggle being called off at the crucial moment if only the racist bourgeoisie consents to talks and some minor gestures.

True, today the Botha regime prefers to murder or put on trial for treason leaders of the UDF (coalition of ANC supporters and liberals), as well as leaders of other liberation organizations, black trade unionists, and others. But the South African bourgeoisie may decide to make more serious attempts at co-opting the reformists, and even now Botha is showing some willingness to consider talking to Bishop Tutu, who is supported by the ANC and the UDF. A section of the South African capitalists -- including some of the biggest exploiters -- is urging this path. And the governments of many major capitalist powers are urging Botha to use more sophisticated tactics to combat the revolution and to talk to the reformist leaders and even the ANC. Thus talks may take place. But to suggest that such diehard racists as the white ruling class of South Africa will engage in such talks and cooperate with either Bishop Tutu or the ANC to "end the racist system" is ridiculous. If they talk, it will be for the purpose of finding ways to prevent a revolutionary outcome to the mass upsurge.

The Freedom Charter

The ANC's efforts to abolish apartheid through peaceful constitutional means have a long history. This has been the ANC's goal from its formation in 1912. But even after the ANC took on more militant coloring, it continued this basic plan.

In the mid-1950's for example, the ANC helped organize the drawing up of the much ballyhooed "Freedom Charter," a document which is still considered by the ANC to be its basic program. "The Freedom Charter" itself basically consists of a long list of political and economic reforms. There are many ordinary democratic demands such as allowing blacks and other oppressed the right to vote and hold office, the ending of the pass law system, and an end to discriminatory wage scales.

But the Charter sweeps under the rug the issue that the elimination of apartheid in South Africa can only come with the revolutionary overthrow of white minority rule. It hints that the government is bad, but avoids blaming this on the white South African capitalists, imperialism, or anything.

The failure to target the white supremacist ruling class was no accident. The purpose of the Charter was to create a new constitution drawn up with the collaboration of the ruling class political parties. The leader of the ANC in the 1950's, Chief Albert Luthuli, describes the process leading up to the drawing of the Charter as follows:

"The Liberal Party [a liberal bourgeois party -- ed.] sent observers to this meeting.... We pointed out that they had done nothing (9 respond to the initial invitation sent out to all -- we had, in fact, even invited Nationalist [the arch-racist party that has ruled from 1948 to the present] organizations." Luthuli, intent on proving to the racists how moderate the ANC really is, adds in a footnote that "this should give some idea of how subversive our intentions were." (The Autobiography of Albert Luthuli -- "Let My People Go," Mcgraw Hill, 1962)

Other sources report that the United Party, another arch-racist party which was the governing party immediately preceding the Nationalists, were also invited into the process of drawing up the charter. All of these parties of the ruling white bourgeoisie refused the invitation to participate in formulating the Charter. But this does not change the fact that the ANC's Charter was designed to be able to serve as a joint platform with these parties. The fact that these efforts were rejected, even by the liberal party of the ruling bourgeoisie as well as by the arch-racist parties, highlights the futility of trying to abolish apartheid hand in hand with the slavemasters.

Unfortunately, 30 years later the ANC leaders still cannot really conceive of anything beyond trying to push the racists to reform themselves. At the same time as they try to win over the masses with revolutionary phrases about overthrowing the racists, they repeat their dream of advancing hand in hand with the white bourgeoisie. As Winnie Mandela, wife of the imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela and an ANC spokeswoman in her own right, recently stated:

"Late as it is in the day, in the African National Congress we still believe that we are prepared to accommodate each and every one in this country. We cannot wish away even the racists who have violently governed us these past 30 years." (Interview aired on the ABC TV show "Nightline," March 21,1985)

What does it mean when Winnie Mandela cannot "wish away even the racists" and is prepared to "accommodate" everyone, even apparently the Botha government for it is precisely Botha's party which has "violently governed us these past 30 years." She makes a certain attempt to make it appear that she is simply talking about allowing whites to exist in liberated South Africa. But if this were all she meant, it wouldn't be a matter of accommodating racist political forces, and especially not of accommodating Botha's violent racist thugs. No, it means that W. Mandela cannot conceive of a revolution wiping out the power and influence of "the racists who have violently governed us these past 30 years," i.e., Botha's arch-racist party. She dreams of progress through an accommodation agreeable to all, even the racists. With this conception, of course, the mass upsurge is useful mainly as a way of nudging the racists into the agreement -- revolution is useful not as something to be actually carried out, but as a bogeyman to scare the racists into an agreement.

(By the way, it can be noted that violent racists also ruled South Africa prior to Botha's National Party taking power 30 years ago. The National Party's banner of apartheid is only the latest stage of the bloody system of white-minority rule.)

ANC and the Armed Struggle

The ANC has an armed wing, called the "Spear of the Nation," Umkhonto we Sizwe. This is one of the main reasons the ANC has the appearance of being revolutionary. But because of the ANC's reformist strategy, the armed actions are intentionally kept quite sporadic. There are tons of words about armed struggle, and a big show of preparations, but in the two and a half decades of the existence of the Spear of the Nation there has been little in the way of actual struggle.

From its origin in 1912 until 1960, the ANC opposed armed struggle, both in the immediate situation and in principle, advocating nonviolence and never engaging in forms of struggle beyond Gandhian passive resistance. Nevertheless in 1960 the ANC was decreed illegal and banned by the government. Only then did the ANC begin to reluctantly talk about armed struggle.

But, despite revolutionary verbiage, the goal of the armed struggle was never revolution, but waking, up the government to make some reforms to stave off revolution. A 1961 announcement of the formation of the Spear of the Nation declared:

"We of Umkhonto we Sizwe have always sought -- as the liberation movement has sought -- to achieve liberation, without bloodshed and civil clash. We do so still. We hope -- even at this late hour -- that our first actions will awaken everyone to a realization of the disastrous situation to which the Nationalist [a reference to the ultra-racist Nationalist Party, which is today headed by Botha] policy is leading. We hope that we will bring the government and its supporters to its senses before it is too late, so that both the government and its policies can be changed before matters reach the desperate stage of civil war." (Manifesto of Umkhonto we Sizwe issued on December 16, 1961, reproduced in South African Communists Speak, London, 1981)

Thus here we have an armed struggle whose goal is to avoid "bloodshed and civil clash." It didn't aim at overthrowing the racist government but at bringing the government to its senses and avoiding "civil war."

Of course the ANC has also bombarded the masses with declarations about how revolutionary the Spear of the Nation is, about how the masses want to form "effective combat units," and so forth. Nevertheless, their conception of the role of the armed struggle has not really gone beyond their conception of 1961. We have already quoted statements this year by ANC leaders pointing out that the goal of the armed struggle is to force the government into talks with the ANC and onto the path of peaceful constitutional development. These statements essentially declare that, if only the Botha government retreats to the pre-1960 situation in which the ANC was not banned, the ANC leaders are willing to retreat to the pre-1960 situation in which the ANC had nothing to do with anything beyond Gandhi-style nonviolence. The ANC leaders may not be able to channel the whole movement, or even all the ANC rank and file, into following them in such a deal with the government, but there is no doubt that they have been seeking such an accommodation with the ruling bourgeoisie for years on end.

This overall view by the ANC leaders affects the way they have directed the Spear of the Nation. Oliver Tambo, president of the ANC, declares that the armed struggle must be conducted with "immense restraint because we have bound ourselves by a morality which is not understood by even many of our people." (Apartheid -- The Story of a Dispossessed People, Motsoko Phoko, Marrom Books, 1984)

Indeed, ''immense restraint" and avoiding revolutionary "civil war" against the racists are the hallmarks of the ANC leadership's stand on the armed struggle.

While we do not agree with the reformist views on the armed struggle, we are not here prescribing any particular formula for armed struggle in South Africa. Such a question requires close familiarity with the particular conditions in South Africa and are beyond the scope of this article. Here we simply point out that the ANC leadership directs its armed wing in such a way as to reinforce its reformist perspective.

The ANC Has Faith in the Liberals in South Africa

The reformist stand of the ANC leadership is closely connected to their praise of and reliance on the liberals.

Despite their words about revolution and armed struggle, the biggest accomplishment of the ANC leadership in the recent period was forging an alliance with the liberals, an alliance which consists of the heart of the United Democratic Front. (The UDF coalition between ANC supporters and liberals was originally set up in the midst of the struggle to oppose the government's setting up of separate, segregated and powerless parliaments for the Indian and mixed race "colored" populations.) The black liberals like the Reverends Boesak and Tutu and the white liberals like Black Sash are avowed opponents of revolution and militant struggle. Indeed Tutu has recently gained much publicity as the foremost would-be "riot stopper" in South Africa, personally intervening to save agents of the racist the masses.

But the ANC does not criticize the liberals despite the fact that their goal is to tear the revolutionary heart out of the mass upsurge and is in direct opposition to the revolutionary claims of the ANC. Rather the leaders of the ANC glorify the liberals. For instance, the Secretary General of the ANC, Alfred Nzo, stated in September 1983 that:

"More and more religious leaders have openly and boldly condemned the system of apartheid. Among this is...the President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Alan Boesak, and General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches Desmond Tutu." Nzo adds that these liberals are "working to realize the aspirations of the people, who are striving to break the shackles of slavery and oppression." (World Marxist [actually: revisionist] Review, September 1983)

The ANC's misplaced faith in the liberals is evident in their work in the United Democratic Front. The UDF's policy is tailored to the liberals who are openly against revolutionary struggle. The liberals do not just simply refrain from making revolutionary statements in an attempt to maintain some sort of legality, but they campaign against the revolution and the revolutionary actions of the masses. They are particularly horrified by the burning mass sentiment against the sellouts and by the revolutionary violence of the masses.

The UDF serves as a platform for the liberal abhorrence of the revolution and for liberal misleaders such as Reverend Boesak, who is a main leader of UDF, and Reverend Tutu, who remains outside the UDF but is supported by them. Yet the ANC does not have an independent stand in its work in this coalition. For the sake of unity with the liberals, they fail to point out the distinction between the liberal policy and their own phrases about revolution. This is another indication that revolutionary proclamations are just empty words and are not seriously meant. In fact, the ANC's work with the UDF has the effect of giving the rotten liberals a militant covering or even revolutionary tinge to their anti-revolutionary stand.

A Friendly Stand Toward Western Imperialism

Just as they support the liberals in South Africa, the ANC also supports the U.S. imperialist liberals of the Democratic Party. The U.S. liberals, like Kennedy, are die-hard opponents of revolution. They offer flowery words against Reagan's support for the Botha regime. But when it comes to doing anything against the racist regime, the best they can offer are a few token sanctions so full of loopholes as to be acceptable to many Republican ultra- Reaganites in Congress. Yet during a recent tour of the U.S., Oliver Tambo heaped praise on the Gray-Kennedy bill and its boosters in the Free South African Movement. (See The Guardian, May 8,1985)

The American bourgeois liberals are die-hard enemies of revolution in South Africa. The ANC leaders can be for revolution, or they can be in favor of advancing hand in hand with the liberals, but they can't be in favor of both.

On the same trip to the U.S., Tambo also met with the representatives of the big imperialist monopolies such as Texaco, Exxon, Mobil and Citibank. These corporations reap fat profits from their investments in apartheid and are a traditional prop of white minority rule.

The ANC also appeals to the bourgeoisie of other major capitalist powers.

Why then has the ANC leadership been appealing to the imperialist monopolies and the capitalist politicians who are trying to preserve apartheid? This is part of their search for an alternative to revolution in South Africa, their search for additional ways to pressure the South African racists into negotiations. Since the ANC leadership doesn't seriously believe in the revolution, it replaces revolution with such things as the fantasies that international imperialism will help overthrow its tool, the white-minority regime of South Africa.

After all, the ANC leaders have been searching for the path of constitutional development by negotiated agreement with the racist government, and a number of governments of major capitalist powers have also come out in favor of negotiations between Botha and black leaders. So the ANC leaders want U.S. imperialism and the other imperialists to back up the ANC's strategy of replacing revolution with peaceful "constitutional development" in agreement with the racists. As Joe Slovo, chief of staff of ANC's military force states: "...really serious measures by the West against the regime, economically in particular...will open up possibilities for some kind of fundamental transformation short of an apocalypse." (Washington Post National Weekly Edition, February 18,1985)

Of course, the Western imperialists want Botha to engage in negotiations in order to avoid revolution. They want Botha to make better use of the policy of co-opting the liberals and reformists than it has in the past; the black masses have been effectively attacking the black lackey police and various sellout politicians, and the Botha government has been slow to co-opt more liberals and reformists to replace the discredited lackeys. The Western imperialists wouldn't mind reforms of this or that aspect of apartheid, if the main chains holding down the black and other oppressed people are strengthened. When the ANC leadership finds something in common with this strategy of Western imperialism, when it appeals to it for help, this shows that it has no intention of making a revolution at all. It too is interested in avoiding "apocalypse," which is how all the Western liberals refer to the revolution in South Africa.

It should be noted that the demand for sanctions against South Africa is just. But what ANC considers "serious measures" are things like the empty Gray-Kennedy bill. The liberals (and even many reactionary ultra-Reaganite congressmen) want such sanctions, but simply as a means to give U.S. imperialism a good image in the eyes of South African blacks and to nudge the Botha government to use a more crafty policy of deception in order to smash the revolutionary movement. And the facts are that even more serious sanctions could only play a supplementary role to the South African people's liberation struggle. It is absurd to think that the U.S. and other major capitalist powers will implement effective sanctions that will force an end to white-minority rule. Therefore, to create the illusion that Western imperialism will bring about a "fundamental transformation" that will liberate the South African masses is very dangerous. It means the oppressed should put their faith not in their own struggle, but in the very imperialists who help oppress them. And, for that matter, it harms the struggle for sanctions itself j by creating illusions in the weak taps on the wrist that the Western bourgeoisie is passing off as sanctions.

Alliance With the Revisionists

As well, the ANC does not only adopt a friendly attitude toward Western imperialism. They also promote Soviet social-imperialism and the capitalist- revisionist states of Eastern Europe as supporters of the liberation struggle. And the ANC leadership's reformist stand towards the liberation movement in South Africa is in line with the prescriptions of Soviet revisionism.

Botha and reactionaries all over the world denounce the ANC as communist. If only it were! Unfortunately the ANC is not sympathetic to communism, but to the revisionists that abandoned revolutionary communism decades ago. The revisionists parade under the glorious name of communism in order to get the working masses to believe in them, but in fact the revisionists are among the most bitter enemies of true communism, of Marxism-Leninism and of revolution.

In fact, the ANC has a very close alliance with the revisionist South African Communist Party. The revisionists have provided them with a good deal of their revolutionary phraseology, are active in ensuring a reformist organization of the Spear of the Nation, and so forth. (The revisionist party is called the South African Communist Party, rather than the CP of South Africa, because the latter party dissolved itself in June 1950 to avoid persecution under the Unlawful Organization Bill. The revisionists claim that in 1953 they finally held their first underground conference -- three years later! --under the new name of South African Communist Party, but they themselves admit that the party issued no statements in its name for the entire decade between June 20,1950 and July 14,1960.)

Prior to going, revisionist, the CP of South Africa had many problems. The Communist International worked to help it so that after some years it took up seriously the question of the struggle of the black people, and it accomplished a number of things in this period. The Cl also instructed it to deal with the ANC as part of addressing the national movement of the black people.

But with the turn in the line of the Communist International in the mid-1930's, the CP of South Africa began to deal with the ANC by trailing behind the reformist and liberal politics of the ANC leaders. (Meanwhile, the new line also meant that, in the name of opposing sectarianism and fighting fascism, the CPSA took a disgraceful stand towards the white racists of the "Labor" Party and of other liberal bourgeois groupings, even in the ruling United Party.) After World War II, as the party wallowed in the morass of revisionism, it continued to deal with the national movement, but through identifying ever more closely with the reformism of the ANC leadership and through fighting to ensure that militant elements in the ANC were subordinated to this reformist plan. Eventually the South African CP achieved various leadership positions itself in the ANC. The South African CP is one of the sources both of the revolutionary-phrasemongering of the ANC leadership and of the present formulations of its reformist strategy.

[Photo: A militant protest of bakers. The black workers' strikes are a powerful force in the struggle against the racist regime.]


[Back to Top]

The World in Struggle

Workers' actions in Argentina against Alfonsin's liberal regime

Industrial workers in Argentina staged a general strike, their third against the government of Raul Alfonsin, on August 29. The strike was called to protest Alfonsin's new economic austerity plan, announced June 12, which has meant a freeze on wages and escalating layoffs. A strike rally in Buenos Aires was attended by 60,000 people.

Most Argentines have been hard hit by Alfonsin's austerity program. In the first week of the program a drastic devaluation of the currency led to a 42% increase in the cost-of-living index. Industrial stagnation has led to massive layoffs, suspensions, mass firings, and forced vacations. One-third of the 75,000 members of a textile workers union have been laid off.

The general strike of August 29 is the latest in a number of mass actions by workers to fight the offensive against their livelihood. In late June the 4,500 workers at Ford's General Pacheco plant staged a sit-down strike to protest mass layoffs. Workers occupied the plant for 19 days, until July 14, despite a siege of the plant by riot police mobilized by Alfonsin. On July 17 workers in the city of Rosario carried out a thirteen-hour general strike demanding an end to layoffs and suspensions. On July 18 a march of 1,000 workers in Buenos Aires chanted slogans denouncing Alfonsin for mobilizing police against the Ford workers and also denounced the Peronist head of the auto workers' union for capitulating to the threats of police attack and giving up the plant occupation, which resulted in the firing of 400 workers.

Alfonsin's austerity program and his repression against the Ford workers show that, despite the hoopla about the "democratization" of Argentina two years ago, the government remains a regime of the capitalist exploiters just as it was during the days of the military junta. This is further borne out by the fact that little has been done to account for the 30,000 people who disappeared under the military regime or to punish the militarists who were responsible.

A trial of nine military leaders has been dragging on for months, and this has provided some graphic testimony of what happened to many of the disappeared; witnesses have told of many people being thrown to their deaths from helicopters into rivers, and of nazi-style concentration camps with ovens for mass cremations. But none of this has resulted in conviction for any of the military leaders.

In fact the only person so far convicted is a leftist leader convicted for his opposition to the military regime. On August 27 Ricardo Obregon Cano, former governor of the province of Cordoba, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for being associated with a guerrilla group in the late 1970's.

Such is life under the liberal bourgeois regime of Raul Alfonsin. But illusions that were engendered in the process of "democratic restoration" are daily evaporating and the workers are building up their mass struggles.

Strike wave against new social-democratic regime in Peru

[Photo: Life under the new social-democratic Garcia regime in Peru: Riot police firing tear gas into a crowd of marine service workers who were demonstrating outside the Presidential Palace in Lima in mid-August.]

For months now, workers in Peru have been carrying out a wave of strikes in the face of the deep economic crisis that has the country in its grip. The capitalist regime of Fernando Belaunde Terry, which was routed in the recent elections, was forcing the workers to bear the effects of the crisis. The country's inflation has been flattening the workers' paychecks.

On July 27, the newly elected president, Alan Garcia of the social-democratic APRA party, was sworn in. But despite a show of militant rhetoric, he is promising the workers nothing but more austerity measures and repression.

In the weeks leading up to the inauguration, public sector workers throughout the country staged a series of strikes and demonstrations demanding wage increases. Workers marched in Lima, the capital, and occupied public buildings in many cities. Some workers and their supporters launched mass hunger strikes. In many cases, police attacked workers' demonstrations with tear gas and birdshot, and strikers took to arming themselves with sticks to repel police attacks.

A number of solidarity strikes supported the government workers. Public school teachers struck for two days and students demonstrated against transit fare increases. The city of Cuzco was shut down by a general strike. Construction workers and ship builders carried on their own strikes for higher wages.

At his inauguration, Garcia made a lot of noise about ending "injustice, exploitation and misery" and about standing up to the International Monetary Fund, which has directed austerity measures against the Peruvian working people. There has been a great deal of coverage in the press about how Garcia took a tough stand against the imperialist bankers by deciding to only allow debt repayments equal to 10% of the country's export income.

But what is usually shuffled over in the attempt to paint Garcia as a militant fighter is the fact that Garcia actually imposed measures which may just as well have been taken out of the IMF textbook. Garcia has reportedly offered to increase debt payments directly to the banks by about 100% over last year and he has privately reassured foreign bankers that his tough talk will mainly be symbolic. And Garcia has himself imposed new austerity measures. Garcia's new minister for economics and finance declared that the new regime will "initiate a spartan policy within a war economy" and that Peruvians will have to "walk a long road of deprivation."

But Garcia has not found a receptive ear from among the workers. He is already being faced with strikes. On August 5, bank workers and bus drivers in Lima walked off their jobs. The 25,000 bank workers, who are paid only $22 a week, are demanding a 200% increase in pay. And a few days later marine service workers demonstrated outside the Presidential Palace demanding wage increases. And Garcia's regime, just like its predecessor, is sending the police out against the workers.

The capitalist-landlord regime in Peru is also beset by a widespread peasant insurgency in the countryside. Six of Peru's 24 states have for years now been under a state of emergency where civil rights are suspended and the military and police carry on a reign of terror. One of the first acts of the new Social- democratic president has been to extend for 60 days the state of emergency in these six states.

Mass actions against police murders in Chile

[Photo: Chilean workers demonstrate against the fascist Pinochet regime.]

Recently there have again been reports of mass actions against the U.S.- backed fascist Pinochet regime in Chile. The latest actions were called to protest a brutal atrocity of the regime, the death-squad-style murder of three activists of the outlawed Communist Party of Chile last March 30. On August 2, after a four-month investigation, a civilian judge concluded that 14 Carabineros, or national police, were clearly involved in the murders.

As soon as the judge reported his finding, hundreds of people surged into the streets of Santiago to denounce the police murders. Riot police were called and a ten-hour battle ensued in which 13 of the demonstrators were wounded and 79 arrested.

The next day Pinochet ordered the army to move into position in and around Santiago to guard bridges, power stations, and other strategic locations. Pinochet also announced that he would "use the most drastic measures" to "maintain order." The meaning of this was made more clear on August 4, when hundreds of mourners gathered at the graves of the murdered activists to lay wreaths. They were attacked by a large force of riot police that used tear gas and riot sticks to disperse the mourners.

The next action occurred August 9, when a march and rally were held in Santiago protesting the police murders and demanding trials for the 14 Carabineros. Police used water cannons to attack these demonstrations and arrested the widows of two of the murdered activists. At last report a number of additional demonstrations were being planned against the Pinochet dictatorship.

The Pinochet regime's murder of the three CP activists shows the characteristic brutality of the dictatorship which was installed by U.S. imperialism and the Chilean bourgeoisie in 1973. The Workers' Advocate condemns the murders and repression of the Chilean dictatorship, including the repression of the CP, a party which abandoned Marxism-Leninism and the revolution decades ago and fell into the morass of revisionism.

The CP of Chile is loyal to Soviet revisionism and follows a reformist and class collaborationist policy. In the current struggle against the fascist dictatorship, this party follows a policy of tailoring the resistance movement to the politics of alliance with the liberals, the Christian Democrats. The Christian Democrats helped prepare for and originally welcomed Pinochet's coup, but are now in the opposition. They are working to prevent the movement against Pinochet from developing in a revolutionary direction and seek to establish a bourgeois regime with some sort of civilian face which will defend capitalism and preserve the strength of militarist reaction. Unfortunately the CP of Chile which still has a good deal of influence among the workers is working to help the Christian Democrats instead of building up the revolutionary movement.

Japanese workers against imperialism and racism


Top photo shows a portion of a demonstration on June 1 in Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan's southernmost island. The rally was organized by the youth and women workers' sections of the trade unions in Kyushu. It was attended by 15,600 workers. Among other things, the demonstrators condemned the nuclear buildup in Asia and protested the Japanese government's program of job cutting and labor intensification. The slogans on the banners read Workers of all countries, unite! and Down with the reactionary Nakasone government!

The picture below is a scene from a demonstration of 250 working people on June 30 in Shimonoseki. It was organized by the Yamaguchi Prefectural Council of Worker Representatives as part of a nationwide campaign of rallies and protests marking the 25th anniversary of the huge mass upsurge against the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in 1960.

At the June 30 protest, the demonstrators called for the abrogation of the treaty, condemned imperialist war preparations, and denounced the discrimination against Korean residents in Japan. The Korean minority in Japan is subject to various forms of oppression, such as an Alien Registration Law which requires fingerprinting of all Korean residents.

The June 30 demonstration in Shimonoseki was viciously attacked by police, who injured a number of protestors and arrested ten. The marchers staged a protest action in front of the police station. The photo shows this protest at the police station. (Pictures courtesy of The People's Star, International Bulletin of the CP of Japan (Left))

Street vendors in Grenada protest harassment by U.S.-puppet regime

Street vendors in Grenada (which was invaded by Reagan in 1983) are learning that they must fight against repression by the puppet police stooges of the U.S. occupation simply in order to earn a living. The vendors have operated in front of government buildings in the capital of St. George's for years, and sell such items as newspapers, shoes, bags, and jerseys. But on July 17 the vendors were set upon by heavily armed members of the Grenadian police backed by the U.S.-trained Special Services Unit (SSU). The police tried to justify this arbitrary assault with the ridiculous excuse that they had received complaints about "obscene language'' and "the smell of marijuana'' coming from the area where the street vendors work. The police confiscated all the goods of the vendors and forced them away from their place of business.

However, the sidewalk vendors were not so easily intimidated. They organized a demonstration which marched through the streets of St. George's for two hours protesting the repression and confiscation. The demonstrators carried placards saying "No Work, No Food,'' "Down With State Terrorism,'' "Down With Police Brutality,'' and "SSU Behave.'' The vendors ended their demonstration by marching through buildings occupied by the ministries of education and labor, where the labor minister caved in to their demands and told them they could resume their selling.

Duvalier's phony 'reforms'

(The following article is reprinted from The West Indian Voice, September 1985.)

The Duvalier regime in Haiti held a national "referendum'' on June 22. This was done under the prompting of the governments of the U.S., West Germany and Canada. From the start it was designed to show that the regime, by allowing a once-in-a-lifetime vote, was improving its "human rights" record. And the "democratization of the regime" is supposed to grease the road for the continued financial and other support for Duvalier's tyranny by these various governments.

It is interesting to see what the referendum itself was on. It was such a cruel hoax. Voters were called upon to "certify the validity" of the laws already established by "Baby Doc" Duvalier. The main thing was to endorse Baby Doc's presidency-for-life and to agree with him that he also has the right to appoint his own successor (presumably his son, Francois Nicolas Jean-Claude II). In this way the referendum was to guarantee the perpetuity of the Duvalier family dynasty over Haiti forever. That's "democratic reform" for you. And the voting itself was an even more despicable fraud.

The referendum was held under strict and massive security measures. All trucks and buses in the country were ordered under government control as the security forces rounded up people to transport to the polls. At.the polling stations the ballots, with two paragraphs of tiny wording, were in French even though most Haitians speak Creole and 85% are illiterate anyway. All ballots were already printed with a vote, some with a "yes" and some with a "no." All you had to do was pick one, go up to a table and drop it into either a corresponding "Yes box" or a "No box" placed on the table guarded by Haiti's finest. The security forces and ton ton Macoutes kept close tabs over the "No box." So, Duvalier came out of the referendum claiming a victory of 99.93% of the votes.

Such is the type of dirty fraud that Washington applauds as "democratic reform" in Haiti just as it did in El Salvador before.

General strike rocks Guadeloupe

(The following article is excerpted from the September 1985 issue of The West Indian Voice.)

From Wednesday, July 24, the Caribbean country of Guadeloupe was rocked by a full-fledged general strike. The strike assumed the proportions of a rebellion with numerous fierce clashes over six days between thousands of protestors and the local police aided by 550 paramilitary gendarmes and riot police flown in from Paris on the orders of French president, Francois Mitterrand.

Guadeloupe is a group of islands of some 350,000 people. It is one of the remaining Caribbean colonies still held by France and administered through its office of the Secretary of State for Overseas Territories.

The general strike was called to demand the immediate release of a leader of the Guadeloupean independence movement imprisoned at the Fresnes prison near Paris. This man, Georges Fraisans, a teacher in Guadeloupe was sentenced for wounding a racist white teacher in Guadeloupe with a machete. The racist, in the tradition of the colonialists and slave owners, had just kicked and savagely beaten up a black school child while spouting racist filth at the child. For punishing this racist, Georges Fraisans was condemned to three years in prison over in France.

The French imperialist government saw the jailing as a way to teach the independence movement in Guadeloupe a lesson. But it backfired badly. Instead the incident aroused the deep-felt sentiment and age-old demands of the oppressed in Guadeloupe to be free from French repression and colonial stranglehold. And it aroused a storm of protest by opponents of French imperialism in France itself.

A coalition of twenty local organizations in Guadeloupe called the general strike after Fraisans had been on a hunger strike in prison for close to two months. The strike met with huge success, the masses were firm as a rock. The entire country was shut down. Demonstrations and violent clashes took place in all areas. Things assumed the most intense proportions in the city of Pointe-a-Pitre situated on the island of Grande-Terre which is the principal port in Guadeloupe.

Though it had arrogantly turned down an earlier appeal before the strike, with the struggle at such intense proportions the French government, through its Appeals Court, conceded to the demands of the protestors ordering Fraisans' immediate "conditional release." The general strike had been victorious, the masses stood together, and were resolute....

[Back to Top]

'Democratic' maneuvers to stop the revolutionary movement

The iron fist and the velvet glove of the Latin American regimes

Latin America is seething with revolt. Across the continent the proletariat and toilers are showing their strength. From the popular insurgency in El Salvador to the general strikes in Bolivia, the working masses are rising to their feet and landing blows on the local exploiters and the U.S.-backed capitalist regimes. These struggles show the vast potential in Latin America today for the development of the revolutionary struggle against the old world of tyranny and super-exploitation.

The bourgeoisie and imperialism are answering this situation with a two-fisted assault: On the one hand, they are unleashing reaction and the military and para-military iron fist; and, on the other hand, they are giving a "democratic" facade to the repressive regimes in an attempt to persuade the masses that there is no more need to fight their. exploiters. This two-pronged strategy poses a challenge to the revolutionary forces, who must be able to keep their revolutionary bearings in the midst of the twists and turns of changing political situations.

The "democratic restorations," "democratic openings," and new electoral games that are being played out by the ruling classes of a number of Latin American countries raise a series of complex problems before the proletarian revolutionaries: How to unfold the struggle for the democratic freedoms (and how to take advantage of these freedoms and any cracks in the repression to develop the revolutionary work), while at the same time effectively combating bourgeois democratic illusions and avoiding the "democratic" traps being laid against the revolutionary movement? How to advance the fight against reaction and the fascist tyrannies, while at the same time combating the corrupting influences on the masses of bourgeois liberalism and reformism, forging the working class and toilers into an independent political force for the revolution? And other problems of tactics. Let us look further into these problems and the nature of the "democratic" maneuvers of the regimes.

The World Capitalist Crisis Is Bringing the Class Struggle in Latin America to the Bursting Point

Far from the claims of the ruling classes that their "democratic" maneuvers are signs of "national reconciliation" and "social peace," in reality they reflect the ever deeper and sharper class antagonisms wrenching the Latin American continent.

The 1960's and early 1970's were relative boom years of capitalist development in Brazil, Mexico and many other countries of the region. There was a tremendous growth of capitalist industry and capitalist agriculture, and a corresponding growth of the bourgeoisie and the modern proletariat. At the time the bourgeois and imperialist mouthpieces speculated that a miracle was at work that allegedly was going to raise the Latin American toiler from his desperate poverty. But what was at work was the steamroller of capitalism, paving the way for ever deeper crisis and misery, and laying the groundwork for ever sharper class struggles.

The "miracle" crumbled in the late 1970's and early 1980's under the blows of the world capitalist economic crisis. The Latin American economies have been sent reeling by shrinking world markets for their agricultural products, minerals and new industries. Unemployment, under-employment, poverty and hunger have reached record levels. And every where the bourgeois regimes are saddling the working people with drastic austerity measures to keep up their profits and to cope with the tidal wave of debts owed to the imperialist banks.

The economic crisis has provoked powerful strike waves and revolts among the workers and oppressed. It has severely undercut the stability of the military dictators and fascist tyrants from Central America to Brazil and Chile, as the struggles against tyranny have been reenforced by nearly universal discontent with the miserable economic situation.

Putting on "Democratic" Makeup

The Latin American capitalist regimes, even the more bourgeois liberal ones, have responded to the mass revolts with the typical measures of bloody repression -- with troops, tanks, and death squads, and with "state of emergencies," mass arrests, and massacres of workers and peasants. And the Pentagon and the CIA are supplying the regimes with the bullets and bombs, the funds for beefing up the police and armed forces, and the expert training in the latest methods of torture and counter-insurgency warfare.

At the same time, to relieve the pressure the bourgeoisie and imperialism are resorting to various types of "democratic" maneuvers. During the last two years, the military dictatorships in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay have been carefully replaced by bourgeois civilian governments. Preparations are being made to do the same thing in Chile, as the civilian "democratic" collaborators with Pinochet's fascism are being carefully groomed to form a government in the event that the dictator cannot put down the revolt of the workers with bullets and torture alone. Last month in Peru, facing a peasant insurgency and a mounting strike wave, the bourgeoisie installed the new social- democratic APRA government -- a rare case of a peaceful transfer to an elected government in modern Peru. The Colombian and other reactionary capitalist regimes are covering themselves with new layers of "democratic" whitewash as they unleash troops and death squads against the movements of the working people. Even in El Salvador, the counter-insurgency war against the population and the U.S. intervention is being carried on beneath the "democratic" mask of the Christian democrat Jose Napolean Duarte.

Despite some of the self-styled "anti-imperialism" of the capitalist politicians involved, these "democratic" maneuvers have generally had the blessing of the U.S. State Department and U.S. imperialism; frequently they have even been negotiated inside the U.S. embassies. Reagan himself is boasting about the "democratic evolution" and an allegedly "new democratic era" in Latin America as one of his foreign policy triumphs.

"Democratic" Maneuvers to Strengthen the Hand of Capitalism, Reaction and Imperialism

These "democratic evolutions" have their individual features in different countries. In some cases they are connected to economic changes and the growth of the capitalist class which has pressed the old narrow oligarchies to negotiate a redivision of the bureaucracy and other spoils of political power. In other cases, they are little more than a sprinkling of "democratic" holy water over the entrenched reaction. But everywhere they signify a bigger and more important role for bourgeois liberalism and reformism in blunting the revolutionary drive of the masses. They are an attempt to bury the demands of the working masses under fine-sounding promises about "reform" and "democratic openings."

The transfers from military to civilian rule (in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, etc.) have been realized through careful negotiations between the fascist military men and the liberal and reformist politicians. Any radical changes demanded by the masses have been scuttled. Little or no measures have been taken against the bloodsoaked military officers and para-military criminals, as the forces of reaction have been carefully protected and kept in the wings to be unleashed against the masses whenever the bourgeoisie sees the need. And the screws of capitalist austerity have been tightened down even further.

Meanwhile, the bourgeois liberals are put before the masses as "democratic" saviours. The reformist forces in the working class movement applaud these bourgeois gentlemen; and they call on the workers to curtail their demands so as to not upset the compromises between the generals and the politicians, and so as to not endanger the "democratic opening" the bourgeois saviours promise the people. And, as the workers starve under the austerity policy of the bourgeois liberal regime, the reformists preach faith in the electoral game, calling on the workers to seek relief under one faction or the other of bourgeois liberal or reformist politicians.

What Does This Mean for the Revolutionary Workers?

The advanced workers must never lose sight of why they devote so much energy to the struggle against reaction and for democratic freedoms. They fight reaction to clear the field for the class struggle; to bring the class antagonisms out from under the shadows of tyranny; and to prepare the political army of the working class and toilers for the proletarian revolution and socialism. These objectives are not simply ornaments or future goals. They are guide- posts for working class tactics in the fight against reaction -- tactics that demarcate the day-to-day work and agitation of the proletarian revolutionaries from that of the reformists and petty-bourgeois democrats.

The Struggle Against the Bourgeois Liberals

Efforts to separate the masses from the bourgeois liberals and reformists is a hallmark of this day-to-day work and agitation. This is not something that can wait for some future stage of the struggle. Of course, the social and economic conditions in Latin America span a wide gulf and the character of the revolution varies in different countries. In some countries the working masses face the socialist revolution; in some others, it may be necessary to first fight for the democratic revolution and then go over, to the socialist revolution. But in both cases, the strength of the revolutionary movement and how far it will go towards the final objective hinges on the extent to which the working masses have organized themselves as a class force independent of the liberal exploiters.

If today someone preaches faith in or strengthens illusions about these "democratic" gentlemen, it is pure humbug for them to say they will fight for class independence tomorrow. The advanced workers must train the masses in hostility to the liberals even under the harshest military tyranny, even where the working masses and the bourgeois liberals may find themselves at moments facing a common enemy,.and even under particular conditions where they may have to form certain agreements for the struggle against this common enemy. Among other things, the working masses must understand how the class nature of the bourgeois liberals compels them towards a compromise with the fascist dictators out of fear of a revolutionary overthrow of the tyrants which may threaten capitalist rule itself.

When the military men go along with a "democratic" transfer of power to the bourgeois politicians, it is only natural that among the masses there would be a wave of euphoria about the "democratic opening"; but the proletarian revolutionaries must not get caught up in this wave. They must leave no room for illusions in the bourgeois liberal politicians like Tancredo Neves and Samey in Brazil or Raul Alfonsin in Argentina -- men of the bankers and industrialists who built their political careers under the warm protection of the military hangmen.

The working masses of Argentina or Brazil did not give thousands of martyrs to the anti-fascist struggle so that they could be starved and oppressed under a bourgeois regime with a liberal face. The masses have fought reaction to clear the ground for the struggle against the ruling classes which have time and again brought down the military jackboot on the people -- against the capitalists and imperialists that are so faithfully represented by Samey, Alfonsin, or similar bourgeois scum.

The Struggle Against Bourgeois Democratic Illusions

This is an important part of the work to separate the masses from liberalism and reformism.

The downtrodden workers and peasants of Latin America have always been the bulwark of the struggles against tyranny and for the democratic rights of the people. And this fight must continue in the face of the "democratic" maneuvers of the capitalists. It is essential that the class conscious workers make the best possible use of any freedoms won or cracks in the repression, even small and temporary cracks, to spread their agitation and organization. But as they take advantage of any legal opportunities or other freedoms it becomes all the more necessary to conduct a systematic struggle against democratic illusions. Among other things, this means explaining to the masses that taking advantage of any legal opportunities is not an end in itself, but a necessary means to build the revolutionary movement. It means telling the people the truth that any "democratic opening" will inevitably be restricted, partial and relative as long as the capitalists and landlords hold power. It means opposing the fantasy that the people can achieve a realm of pure democracy under the exploiters, and instead showing the people how to link the struggle for democratic rights to the revolutionary struggle.

The bourgeoisie swindles the people with its chatter about "democracy" and "constitutional" government, while it orders troops to shoot strikers and peasants, and bows to military rule whenever it feels the situation is getting out of hand. The reformists and petty-bourgeois political trends play into this swindle, with their "democratic" scheme-mongering and electoral fantasies. The revolutionary workers, on the other hand, bring out the harsh class realities under all of the "democratic" noise of the bourgeoisie and reformism. At the same time, they reveal the hypocrisy in the capitalists' promises of "democratic"opening," and expose the halfway and downright empty gestures of the exploiters. And to avoid a tragedy like the fascist coup in Chile, the revolutionaries must remain vigilant against renewed assaults of reaction, making the masses conscious of the basic truth -- a truth borne out a thousand times over in the sanguinary history of Latin America -- that without the success of the revolution of the working masses and the overthrow of the capitalists and landlords there can be no guarantees against coup-d'etats and dictators and no lasting victory over reaction.

Under Their Own Revolutionary Banner the Working Masses of Latin America Will Surely Triumph

The long-suffering workers and peasants of Latin America are providing the world many examples of revolutionary energy, strength and courage. But their emancipation will not take place in a straight line. It will take place through a tortuous revolutionary struggle in the face of bloody repression and military intervention, as well as the "democratic" and reformist maneuvers of the exploiters and imperialism. The important thing is that the working class and toilers cast off the liberal and reformist shackles of the bourgeoisie and rally under their own revolutionary banner. On this road of revolutionary struggle the Latin American toilers are bound to triumph. They are bound to breach the fortresses of the capitalists, landlords and imperialists, providing the world with new examples of attempts at the proletarian revolution and socialism.

[Back to Top]

Cuban campaign on the Latin American debt

Castro's plan to avoid revolution

The Cuban leadership has launched a big campaign on the debt problem of the Latin American and Caribbean countries. Fidel Castro has spoken at length on the subject. And this summer, the Cuban government hosted several conferences on the debt crisis which attracted delegations from all over the region.

The Cuban campaign has received wide promotion across Latin America. Here in the U.S., the reformist left has enthusiastically hailed it. The supporters of revisionist Cuba try to give the impression that the Cuban crusade heralds the latest phase of the Latin American revolution.

This is however quite far from the truth. Castro's campaign is aimed at undermining the revolutionary movement in Latin America. His proposals are a prescription for class collaboration, a thoroughgoing reformist and bourgeois nationalist strategy for the workers and peasants of Latin America.

This latest Cuban campaign again verifies that the Cuban leadership is not revolutionary. Although it speaks in revolutionary-sounding language, the fact of the matter is that it is a revisionist regime, which uses Marxism only to paint the politics of reformism in revolutionary colors.

Castro Himself Admits that He Wants to Avoid the Revolution

The debt crisis in the dependent countries has profound revolutionary implications, as it is one of the major factors pushing forward the class battles of the working class and other toilers. In this situation, the capitalists are worried about the problem of how to save capitalism and avert or put down the class struggle.

Castro places himself squarely with the defenders of capitalism. Time and again, Castro affirms that he is looking for a solution to the debt problem that avoids the specter of social revolution. What Castro wants is to prevent the masses from coming to revolutionary conclusions.

In an interview given to the Spanish news agency EFE on February 13, Castro exclaims: "...there will be social revolutions if this problem is not solved. The other solution [i.e. his proposals -- WA] can provide a respite and a potentially less traumatic process.'' (Intercontinental Press, April 15, 1985, emphasis added.)

In typical reformist fashion, Castro points to the pain and sacrifice that revolution entails and offers the seemingly attractive possibility of a "breather,'' the idea that in the short term things can be made better without revolutionary struggle.

But this is just demagogy. The Cuban proposals to solve the economic crisis of Latin America are a reformist pipe dream. When all is said and done, the Cuban plan merely turns out to be a scheme that tinkers around with the status quo and prettifies it.

What Is Castro's Plan to Solve the Debt Crisis?

Castro's basic proposal is that all the governments of Latin America should join together in a debtors' club. Castro suggests that the debtors' club press common demands on the imperialist governments and banks. Castro tries to give the impression that this demand should be a refusal to pay the debt. However this is eyewash as we shall see in the next section.

As well, Castro is very careful to clarify that by no means does he want the collapse of the imperialist financial system. No, he suggests that his plan is a realistic plan, fully achievable under world capitalism. All that is needed is the imperialist governments have to be asked to take over the debt, something he suggests achieving through cuts (small ones, mind you) in the military budgets.

Castro also believes that the governments of Latin America will then use the money which would have gone into debt repayment for the purpose of economic development and social welfare, thus ushering in bright new prospects for the masses.

Castro adds that this solution to the debt is only the first step. Beyond this issue, he says that the roots of the economic crisis of the dependent countries have to be addressed. And he believes that these can be dealt with by the governments of Latin America, Asia and Africa working to achieve the "new international economic order,'' where world economic relations are made favorable to the poor countries.

All this sounds very beautiful. But now let us proceed to see what the reality is in this fantasy world.

Castro Does Not Want the Repudiation of the Foreign Debt

Castro tries to give the impression that what he seeks is the cancellation of the foreign debt. But this is just militant posturing. Castro has adopted it because he knows that the most militant workers and activists in Latin America stand for such a demand. In fact, however, Castro keeps his demand much more modest.

There are times when Castro will spell out that he is for keeping the debt. For example in his February 13 interview with EFE, he says, "I suggest the following: that Latin America needs a grace period of approximately ten to twenty years as a minimum in terms of its foreign debt obligations, including the interest.'' (Ibid., p. 219)

In other words, postpone the debt obligations for future generations. Meanwhile, let it be noted that this is Castro's maximum program. Where practical politics are concerned, Castro is willing to settle for far less. For example, Castro applauds the meager and demagogical measures that various Latin American governments come up with to deal with the debt crisis, measures which are designed more to hoodwink the masses than to inconvenience the imperialist bankers.

Painting the Latin American Bourgeoisie in Liberation Colors

This gets us to the heart of the problem with Castro's plan. He has created a utopia where the bourgeois regimes of the dependent countries, especially those of Latin America, have suddenly become fighters for all manner of good things, such as liberation from imperialism, democracy, and development and welfare for the masses.

For example, in a March 21 interview with the Mexican daily Excelsior, he declares that "Such a serious situation has been created that the Third World countries are being forced to think, to unite, and to seek solutions, regardless of their political stands and ideologies, as an elementary matter of survival.'' (This interview is serialized in the Militant, May through June 1985, and is also available as a pamphlet from Cuba.)

Castro makes it appear as if the bourgeois governments are seriously interested in seeking solutions to the debt crisis that will be favorable to the working people of Latin America. This begs the question: What has been the actual role of this bourgeoisie with respect to the foreign debt?

The facts show that the Latin American bourgeoisie bears great responsibility along with the imperialist moneylenders for having built up the huge foreign debts. It collaborates with imperialism and the IMF in sucking the lifeblood out of the masses through savage austerity measures. And it sends out the police and troops against the resistance of the poor and hungry masses.

Of course, the Latin American bourgeoisie does not happily pay all its debt obligations. No, it does squabble with imperialism over the debt repayments. After all, it has its own economic interests to defend. But the Latin American bourgeoisie has no real quarrel with imperialism about shifting the burden of the debt onto the shoulders of the toilers.

Castro lies when he claims that any money saved from debt repayment will be used by the governments for the benefit of the masses. The fact of the matter is that any "breather'' gained by the bourgeoisie would not mean much relief for the working masses. No, the bourgeoisie will try to increase its own profit margins at the expense of the workers and peasants.

The Latin American bourgeoisie is far too tied with imperialism to be able to take such a radical measure as cancelling the debt. Moreover, these are capitalist regimes and capital does not look kindly on setting such precedents as violating the well-established rules of capitalist finance.

Castro's Proposals Are a Reformist Pipe Dream

Castro claims that his reformist approach can not only solve the debt problem but even overcome the problems with the imperialist world economic relations. But he has "forgotten'' some trifles.

He has "forgotten'' about the nature of imperialism and capitalism. If imperialism could be merely convinced or cajoled to give up its exploitation of the dependent countries, it would not be imperialism. And if the Latin American bourgeoisie could devote itself to the economic and social well-being of the masses, it would not be the cutthroat and bloodstained capitalist class that it is.

Castro Declares That Socialism Is No Longer on the Agenda

For several years now, Castro has been campaigning on the theme that Latin America is not ready for socialism. In his discussion of the debt crisis, he again reaffirms this and wipes out the need for revolution altogether.

He told Excelsior, "Right now there is something more important than social change and that is our countries' independence.... Independence and the struggle for the new international economic order have become the main issue for the Latin American and other underdeveloped countries."

Not only is Castro wrong about wiping out the need for fighting for revolution and socialism (what else is "social change"?), but he also confuses the question of "independence." By "independence" Castro obviously refers to the problem of imperialist domination in Latin America. But as these countries are already formally independent, the struggle against imperialist domination is meaningless apart from the struggle to overthrow the regimes of the local exploiters and thus coming out from under the heels of the world imperialist system.

Castro Calls for Class Collaboration on a Continental Scale

Castro focuses his discussion on the debt crisis on the activity of the bourgeois governments. To him, it is only their actions that carry any weight.

But Castro has of course not forgotten the masses: he has kept a place for them. It is at the rear of the bourgeoisie and the regimes. Castro urges the masses to give up all notions of social change. Castro urges them to trust the bourgeoisie and line up behind it. What Castro is advocating is the panorama of class collaboration on a grand, continental scale.

The type of broad, class collaborationist unity that Castro is urging on the Latin American masses could be glimpsed at the conferences the Cuban leadership held this summer on the debt problem. This excerpt from a social-democratic writer in the American weekly Nation captures it well:

"There were former presidents, vice presidents, prime ministers and cabinet ministers; Catholics and Protestants, clergymen and -women; feminists, capitalists, guerrillas, generals, admirals... a Colombian revolutionary spoke from his wheelchair. His legs had been blown off by bombs thrown by soldiers then under the command of a previous speaker." ("Cuba Libre," The Nation, August 17-24,1985)

No, thank you, Mr. Castro. The revolutionary workers and peasants of Latin America will not reconcile with their bloody oppressors. They will not line up behind this latest nationalist and pan- American scheme for class collaboration. Latin American solidarity is an important source of strength, but this must be a solidarity of the toilers, a solidarity for revolution and socialism.

[Photo: The burden of the economic crisis on the Latin American workers, compounded by the heavy debts to the international banks, is leading to struggle. Here, the Bolivian tin miners, a militant section of the Bolivian working class, march 12,000-strong in the March 20 demonstration in La Paz during Bolivia's general strike.]

[Back to Top]

French government guilty of murder in sinking of Greenpeace ship

On July 10, the ship Rainbow Warrior belonging to the environmentalist Greenpeace organization was blown up as it was docked in Auckland harbor, New Zealand. The ship was destroyed by two mines which divers had attached to the hull. In the explosion and sinking, the ship's photographer was trapped and killed.

Shortly afterwards the New Zealand police arrested and issued warrants for a number of French citizens on charges of arson and murder. Reports began to leak out that these were in fact intelligence agents of the French government. On August 27, the French government released a report admitting that all of the six people implicated in New Zealand were in fact French spies, sent to that country to spy on the Greenpeace organization. At the same time, in conclusions that strain human judgement, the French report declared that the French government had nothing at all to do with the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior.

This is a lie. The sinking of the Rainbow Warrior was a terrorist crime set in motion from the highest levels of the French government. This cuts through the tons of hypocrisy French imperialism covers itself with about respect for human rights, about liberty and civilization.

Terrorist Attack on Environmentalists

Why would French agents be involved in an attack on Greenpeace? Greenpeace is a pacifist environmentalist group known for its protests against the hunting of whales and seals. Greenpeace also carries out protests against the dumping of nuclear and toxic wastes into rivers, lakes and streams. But the activity which aroused the ire of the French government against Greenpeace was its opposition to nuclear weapons testing and its plans to protest French nuclear tests in the Pacific.

The Rainbow Warrior was to lead a new series of protests against French nuclear testing. The Rainbow Warrior was due to sail to Tahiti, where it would meet nine other ships and proceed from there to the French nuclear testing site of Mururoa atoll. There the ships would try to disrupt the test by sailing into the waters around Mururoa and even launching small boats to land on the atoll.

Nuclear weapons are one of the highest priorities of French imperialism. Today the social-democratic government of Francois Mitterrand is involved in a buildup of French nuclear weapons and firmly supports Reagan's plans to place more nuclear weapons in Europe. Mitterrand himself has declared that France must develop its own Star Wars program similar to Reagan's. Thus Mitterrand's government will not tolerate any interference with its nuclear program.

Another sensitive point for Mitterrand's social-democratic government is the continued exposure of French colonialism. Greenpeace planned to emphasize the connection between nuclear tests and colonialism on this voyage by having on board the Rainbow Warrior two leaders of the Kanak independence movement in New Caledonia, another French colony in the Pacific. The French imperialists fear that independence for their colonies could mean the end of their nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific.

The French Report -- A Ludicrous Whitewash

From the very beginning of the Rainbow Warrior affair the French government denied any involvement in it. The French embassy in New Zealand issued a statement saying it had nothing to do with the bombing, and even made a show of condemning it. But as the New Zealand police began issuing warrants for French-Speaking travelers, reports began to leak out of Paris about the possibility of French government agents being involved. To put a lid on the flap, the first week of August an investigation into the affair was ordered by President Mitterrand. The investigation was headed up by Bernard Tricot, a former advisor to Charles DeGaulle, former conservative president of France.

When Tricot issued his report on August 27 it was immediately denounced as a whitewash and a cover-up both in France and New Zealand. The basic conclusion of Tricot's report was that the French government had nothing to do with the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. Yet in order to give any credibility at all to the report, Tricot had to admit what everyone already knew -- that all of the prime suspects in the case were in fact French agents.

Of the couple originally arrested and charged, the woman is a captain in the French army serving in counter-intelligence; the man was an instructor at a secret French navy frogman center in Corsica. The three agents posing as crew members of a yacht were actually all working for the General Directorate for External Security (DGSE), France's equivalent to the CIA, and were all trained frogmen and demolitions experts, A sixth agent, a woman, is a lieutenant in the DGSE and had successfully infiltrated Greenpeace. Posing as a marine archeologist, she got a job translating documents and was able to pass internal information along to the other agents.

The fact that French spies -- and not only spies, but frogmen and demolitions experts -- were right there at the scene of the crime makes Tricot's claim that France was not involved patently incredible. But there are also other absurdities in Tricot's report.

For example, Tricot claimed that the two arrested agents could not have planted the charge because the woman "has a bad back'' and the man "has not worked as a frogman for two years'' -- as if someone could not do any scuba diving if they were not in perfect shape or did not do it every single day! Furthermore, Tricot insisted in his report that no orders to blow up the Rainbow Warrior would ever have been issued by the French government. Yet he admitted that the French agents were sent to New Zealand to spy on Greenpeace and that this mission was approved at the very highest levels, by Defense Minister Charles Hernu and Gen. Jean Sauinier, the chief military aide to President Mitterrand. Finally, Tricot's lamest argument was that the French spies could not have done it, because the saboteurs were so clumsy, letting themselves be seen and leaving clues lying around. This just proves, he said, that someone else did it to embarrass France! What chauvinist rot!

Tricot's report was so widely condemned that French Prime Minister Fabius was forced to order a second investigation of the French intelligence agency. But Fabius' real attitude toward the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior was revealed in a statement he made on the affair on August 28, in which he said, "Nobody...should be surprised that we are vigilant in maintaining our interests.'' This statement was an echo in turn of a statement made August 17 by a former head of French counterintelligence, Roger Wybot, who said in an interview, "France did what it had to do over there to put out of action people who were harming its interests.'' As a further reflection of the real attitude of the French government, Mitterrand on August 20 issued orders to the French military in the Pacific to use force if necessary to keep the "peace flotilla'' of Greenpeace well away from Mururoa (Greenpeace is still planning to carry out its demonstration).

Terrorists Overlooked by Reagan

A significant sidelight to the Rainbow Warrior affair is the complete silence of the U.S. government. The Reagan administration has made "opposition to terrorism" the key theme of its foreign policy, and it was just two days before the Auckland explosion that Reagan made his latest "state terrorism" speech, in which he gave the U.S. the right to carry out "retaliation" against the "state terrorism" carried out, supposedly, by a network of terrorist governments. Yet the Reagan administration has not uttered a word of criticism of "state terrorism" carried out by French agents, nor has it even condemned the bombing of the Greenpeace ship.

The obvious reason for this is that France is a close imperialist ally of the U.S., and the U.S. government does not want to add to the embarrassment of the Mitterrand government. The U.S. completely backs the nuclear buildup of French imperialism. As well, U.S. imperialism also has its own colonial and strategic interests in the south Pacific.

Like the French imperialists, the U.S. imperialists regard the islands of the south Pacific as their own colonial preserve where they have complete rights to run roughshod over the inhabitants. Between 1946 and 1958 the U.S. dropped 66 nuclear weapons on south Pacific islands in above-ground tests. Today the U.S. continues to administer the Marshall Islands as a colonial preserve, which it uses as a tracking station and research base for testing ICBMs and for developing Reagan's Star Wars anti-satellite weapons. As well, the U.S. government has made contingency plans to relocate the huge U.S. bases from the Philippines to the south Pacific in case the revolutionary movement forces them out.

The Reagan administration, like the Mitterrand government, no doubt is wishing that the whole affair will just die away. But the terrorist attack on a pacifist group like Greenpeace will serve to open the eyes of many to the criminal and brutal nature that lies behind the fine words and slogans of Western imperialism.

[Back to Top]

Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists on the foreign debt

Aggression, crisis and... external debt

[Prensa Proletaria graphic.]

(The following article is reprinted from Prensa Proletaria, newspaper of the Popular Action Movement (Marxist- Leninist) of Nicaragua (MAP-ML), issue 16, July 16-31, 1985. Translation by The Workers' Advocate staff.)

Between 1979 -- the date of the popular victory over the Somoza military dictatorship -- and 1980, the government of National Unity headed by the FSLN [Sandinista Front for National Liberation] visibly included the local bourgeoisie, which was harmoniously integrated into the administration of the power that came out of the popular insurrection. But it excluded the advanced and conscious sectors of the proletariat. This sector, represented by MAP-ML, the Workers Front (FO), and the newspaper El Pueblo, suffered all the rigor of the anti-communist repression of a euphoric power based on class conciliation with the bourgeois-landlord reaction. The government put in place its policy of opening towards big capital and of restrictions on the workers' movement. The anti-capitalist political actions of the working class were severely repressed, as well as the peasant mobilizations in the countryside. The prestige of the FSLN after the insurrection helped it to legitimize its anti-communist policy. The flow of credits for the accumulation and reproduction of capital began to arrive in a relatively easy manner. The perspectives of class conciliation -- for the petty bourgeoisie -- were most favorable. The conscious proletariat, nevertheless, continued raising its immediate and strategic demands, although it was severely limited, repressed and weakened by the avalanche of populism and demagogy.

By 1980-81, as a result of the sustained pressure and revolutionary demonstrations of the masses, the bourgeois/petty-bourgeois harmony burst, and the bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism launched their counteroffensive. Ronald Reagan ascended to the command of the imperialist superpower and Jimmy Carter descended. Imperialism varied its tactics, from the supposed policy of promotion of human rights by the peanut seller, to the warmongering policy of the second-rate actor. The credits began to diminish in abundance and began their work of applying pressure in order to provoke a line of more restraints on the masses on the part of the Sandinista government.

[The article goes on to describe how the FSLN continued to make one economic and political concession after another to the big exploiters and the bourgeois opposition in the face of the growing pressures of U.S. imperialism and the internal bourgeoisie. Simultaneously it cracked down on the workers' struggles and the peasant mobilizations. For example, for three years it abolished the right to strike and prohibited peasant land seizures, imposing penalties of up to three years in jail. It also decreed a wage freeze, and it curtailed trade union democracy to try to limit the revolutionary currents among the workers.

The bourgeoisie utilized this period to the maximum to enrich themselves and apply economic pressures on the government, pulling out capital from private enterprises, using state resources for speculation, etc.

At the same time, the combined effects of the aggression of the CIA-backed contras and the worsening world economic crisis made the economic situation in Nicaragua even more difficult. The government had to seek out more sources of foreign capital in Europe and elsewhere.

However, the article continues, "by 1984-85, the new credits obtained abroad by the government proved to not have served in a significant manner as a boost for the productive forces," with much of the credits being channeled into the big private enterprises only to be squandered or used for speculation by the bourgeoisie.

This year [1985], the day of payment for the external debt inherited from Somozism and renegotiated in 1980 came due. In New York last June, a Nicaraguan delegation succeeded in negotiating with a committee of creditor banks headed up by the Bank of America, the postponement of $219 million due (out of a total of $1.6 billion [the 1979 foreign debt] inherited from Somozism). For this arrangement, which puts off the due date for twelve months, Nicaragua had to immediately pay $24 million more to the almost 150 banks represented there.

Four billion, two hundred million dollars [the present figure] in external debt is not a light burden for a country in which more than 60% of the wealth goes to private hands.

However, [the FSLN continues to condemn] the Nicaraguan work force to make self-sacrifices in order to pay off the great international financial monsters in the name of the revolution. This policy of the FSLN government of paying the debt is not only serving to increase the degree of exploitation of the working class and the suffering of the people, but compromises the real and objective possibilities that the revolutionary forces of the workers and poor peasants will deepen the victories in the elimination of exploitation, oppression and backwardness that the bourgeoisie has imposed on the Nicaraguan proletariat and toilers.

The proletariat fights for the repudiation of the external debt for the purpose of liberating itself from this enormous burden on its shoulders.

To repudiate the foreign debt or not will be another indication of whether or not the Sandinista petty bourgeoisie corresponds with the genuine class interests of the proletariat and the rest of the toilers. In this, neither will be able to stand on middle ground.

[Back to Top]

Colombian Marxist-Leninists reject Castro's plan on foreign debt

The Cuban campaign on the Latin American debt crisis is receiving wide promotion in Latin America from a variety of bourgeois and reformist circles. But it has also come under criticism from Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary workers who are active in dispelling its reformist illusions.

In its July, 29-August 4, 1985 issue, the newspaper Revolution, Central Organ of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist), carries an article on the Trade Union Conference of the Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean on the Foreign Debt which was held in Havana from July 15-18. The article is titled "In Support of Imperialism and the Bourgeoisie."

This conference was attended by 331 delegates from 29 countries in the region. Revolution reports that trade unionists of diverse political and ideological currents participated in the conference. A minority of trade unionists from several countries, including comrades from Frente Obrero (Workers Front -- FO) of Nicaragua, defended positions which were either revolutionary or expressed a militant stand.

However, as Revolution points out, "the Conference was in the main controlled by the revisionists, headed up by the delegates of the Workers Central of Cuba and by their own Fidel Castro. This activity is part of the aim of world revisionism of having its agents in these countries play an increasingly more active role as firefighters of the revolution.

"This reactionary commitment is well illustrated by Fidel Castro's statement at the closing of the conference: 'We are not now posing nor promoting revolutionary changes; we are posing a movement of national liberation, a struggle for independence, because among other things, independence in the objective reality of rights does not exist. The struggle for the non-payment of the debt, for the new international economic order, for the integration of Latin America, is a struggle for the liberation of the peoples of the continent. For this it is necessary to form a broad front that does not exclude any social sector, since this is a historic moment of enormous consequence....'

"Here you have two expressions of many that served to support the negative line toward revolutionary changes, which states that in Latin America there are 'more than enough objective conditions, but the subjective conditions do not exist,' that 'there's a child to be born, but no one to deliver it.' This is a magnificent reflection of what the Cubans think of the revisionist parties and. of the Castroite and Guevarist organizations of the region, considering them useless instruments for making revolution, but suited for conciliation with the bourgeoisie. And it is also a call to the proletariat and peoples to refrain from unleashing new revolutionary battles. Fortunately there exist Marxist- Leninist parties which are indeed involved in the struggle for the revolution."

Revolution goes on to criticize the reformist proposals of the Castroites for a united front of the governments of the debtor countries and the scheme for the "new international economic order." The newspaper points out:

"The thesis of the 'New International Economic Order' is a bourgeois, three-worldist thesis, which aspires to the economic integration of the Latin American bourgeoisies in order to 'defend themselves' from the 'injustices' of imperialism. It seeks a breather for the native bourgeoisies before the possibility of social outbursts, a product of the sharpening of the capitalist crisis, which comes up with greater sharpness in the dependent countries. This verifies the truth of our labeling the revisionists and social-democrats as agents of the bourgeoisie within the workers' movement. And this is no slander. Fidel himself, in an interview conducted on March 21, 1985 with the journalist Regino Diaz from the newspaper Excelsior of Mexico, declared:

"'I am absolutely convinced that for all the countries of the Third World, comprising a great variety of systems and forms of government, different stages of development of the productive forces and the most varied forms of political and religious beliefs, the task of the moment, the vital, fundamental priority of all without exception and around which all can unite and fight in common is development.'"

Revolution concludes: "As you can see, he calls for a union with no regard for classes, with no regard for economic interests. We stress, it is not the proletariat and peoples who are in crisis; it is a structural crisis of the capitalist system, and the chronic characteristic of indebtedness and inability to pay is a consequence of this crisis. It does not fall to the Latin American proletariat and peoples to save the bourgeoisie from this crisis. The role that history and Marxism have assigned us is that of the gravediggers of capitalism."

[Back to Top]

Revisionist CPUSA holds to the mistakes of the 7th Congress of the CI

Abandoning the struggle against the trade union bureaucrats

August marked the 50th anniversary of the Seventh Congress of the Communist International, a congress which continues to have serious consequences for today's Marxist-Leninist movement and the struggle against modern revisionism.

In the last issue of The Workers' Advocate we began a review of the revisionist Communist Party, USA's assessment of that congress in their article entitled, "In the Perspective of History, Seventh Congress of the Comintern" (Jim West, chairman of the Central Review Commission of the CPUSA, Political Affairs, May 1985). The CPUSA has long been corrupted by revisionism and spits on true communism and anything revolutionary. Its main occupation is to convince the workers to join in electoral campaigns for Democratic Party liberals and to fall in line behind the sellout bureaucracy of the trade unions. It is a liquidationist party, a party whose every action aims at smothering any independent motion of the working class in the warm blanket of liberal-labor politics. But the CP tries to paint up its treacherous policy in the colors of Marxism-Leninism and it turns to the Seventh Congress of the Comintern for vindication. The CP's article by Jim West traces the "new strategic policy" of the Seventh World Congress and emphasizes that it forms the basis for the actions of the CP today.

Our review showed that, unfortunately, West's assessment of the Seventh CI Congress was fairly accurate; that indeed it did turn away from the fighting traditions of the world communist movement and the Marxist-Leninist policy of the previous six congresses of the Comintern; that it opened the door to the revisionist corruption that led to the degeneration of the CPUSA and much of the world communist movement; and that it continues to be one of the theoretical bulwarks for the current revisionist liquidationism that plagues the revolutionary movement. Our last review especially detailed how the Leninist united front tactics were perverted into work for unity with the liberal bourgeoisie and how the independent workers' movement in the U.S. was liquidated into a liberal-labor coalition with Roosevelt in the 1930's, and with the concealed Reaganites of the Democratic Party today.

In this issue our review of West's article will turn to another aspect of the Seventh Congress policy, the call for unity with the trade union bureaucracy in the name of opposing sectarianism and building a united front of the working class.

Cries Against Sectarianism to Cover Abandoning the Struggle Against the Union Bureaucracy

One of the central themes of the Seventh Congress was that so-called "sectarianism" of the communist parties had allowed the working class movement to remain split and that this split could be remedied not by waging a powerful struggle against the reformist splitters, as previous congresses had said, but by simply uniting with them.

West emphasizes this theme when he points out that the "new strategic policy" of the Seventh Congress aimed "to work out an orientation which could overcome sectarianism and splits in the working class and broad masses..." (emphasis added)

Now it is an interesting fact that West does not even mention who split the working class movement. He not only fails to point out how the social-democrats originally split the working class by capitulating to the bourgeoisie and coming out in support of their own imperialist governments during World War I, but he also forgets how the social-democrats and other reformist union hacks continued right into the 1930's to wage an international campaign to expel communists, and for that matter any militant worker, from the trade unions, and how the social-democrats who took power in various countries presided over vicious suppression of workers' strikes and other struggles, and how in Germany and other countries the social-democrats laid the basis for and assisted the fascists to come to power.

No, instead of denouncing the social-democrats and union bureaucrats for splitting the working class, West simply notes that the working class was split and lays the blame at the door of the supposed "sectarianism" of the communist parties.

This assessment is fully in the spirit of the Seventh Congress of the Comintern. Although Dimitrov, in his report to the Seventh Congress, mentions various crimes of the social-democrats and union bureaucrats, the direction of his remarks is to denounce the communist parties for "sectarianism." And, in the name of fighting "sectarianism" and uniting the working class, Dimitrov calls for giving up the struggle against social-democracy and opportunism and instead sets a course of unity with the social-democratic political leaders and union hacks.

Prettifying the Union Bureaucrats as Fighters for the Workers

But what was this "sectarianism" that supposedly kept the working class split? Among other things, West explains that the Seventh World Congress, "was strongly critical of sectarian mistakes which regarded the reactionary-led trade unions as instruments of the capitalist state, an erroneous idea which resulted in poor participation of Communists in trade unions and strike struggles under reactionary or reformist leadership." (emphasis added)

This is truly an interesting criticism, because it is not a critique of the mistakes of some of the communist parties but, in fact, a caricature and denunciation of the' analysis of previous CI congresses. Prior to the Seventh Congress, the Comintern had analyzed that one of the reasons for the strength and resilience of reformism in the workers' movement was the fact that it was directly backed up by the capitalists and their state through direct bribery, the appointment of union bureaucrats to government positions, the creation of joint "labor and management" committees, and other "grafting together of the State apparatus and capitalist organizations with the upper stratum of the Labor organizations, led by social-democracy." (See the documents of the Sixth CI Congress, "Communism and the International Situation," section IV, "Class Struggle, Social-Democracy and Fascism," number 18.)

This did not mean that the communists should desert the reactionary and reformist unions, where they really were mass organizations, but that organizing the struggle of the workers in these unions could only be accomplished through a most tenacious struggle against the union bureaucracy. The Sixth Comintern Congress, for example, explained that, "The correct application of united front tactics and the fulfillment of the general task of winning over the masses presupposes in their turn systematic and persistent work in the trade unions and other mass proletarian organizations. It is the bounden duty of every Communist to belong to a trade union, even a most reactionary one, provided it is a mass organization. Only by constant and persistent work in the trade unions and in the factories for steadfast and energetic defense of the interests of the workers, together with ruthless struggle against the reformist bureaucracy, will it be possible to win the leadership in the workers' struggle and to win the industrially organized workers over to the side of the Party." ("Program of the Communist International," section VI, "The Strategy and Tactics of the Communist International in the Struggle for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat," #2, "The Fundamental Tasks of the Communist Strategy and Tactics," emphasis added)

By throwing out the analysis of how the union bureaucracy was being drawn into the state, West is not defending the need for work among the masses in the reactionary unions but, instead, he is trying to deny the necessity for continuous struggle against the reformist union bureaucracy.

Indeed the Seventh Congress actually claimed that social-democratic class collaboration was all but dead and that the reformist union hacks were becoming fighters for the workers. Dimitrov argued for this view by claiming, among other things, that the entire bought-off labor aristocracy, which is based mainly on the trade union bureaucracy and a section of the privileged skilled workers, was giving up its penchant for class collaboration. He said, "In the first place, the crisis has thoroughly shaken the position of even the most secure portion of the working class, the so-called aristocracy of labor, upon which, as we know, Social-Democracy relies for support. This section, too, is beginning more and more to revise its views as to the expediency of the policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie." (from, "Speech in Reply to the Discussion," section entitled "The Role of Social-Democracy and Its Attitude Toward the United Front," emphasis added)

Still the CPUSA goes on to deny that there is any labor aristocracy whatsoever and to claim that even to raise the issue is to split the working class. As Gus Hall, the head of the CPUSA, put it: "There is also a new, "Left" variant of this anti-working class, anti-trade union campaign [of the Reaganites]. The old 'labor aristocracy' myth is also taking on some new life. It is like the proverbial cat with nine lives.... There are skilled workers and unskilled workers. There are organized workers and unorganized workers. There are workers who are victims of racism. There are higher- paid and lower-paid workers. But there is no significant section of our working class that fits into the traditional concept of the labor aristocracy. In fact, today it is a contradiction in terms.... Each time it reappears it is related to an overall anti-working class campaign. It is always used as a weapon to divide the working class." (Political Affairs, July 1984, emphasis added)

And so it goes, there is no labor aristocracy, no upper strata of the workers being bought off by the capitalists, no class collaborationist union bureaucracy being drawn into government bodies, no danger of reformism. Only horrible sectarians, like the world communist movement prior to the Seventh Congress, would think so. This is how the struggle against the social-democratic and reformist union bureaucracy is put aside and the Leninist united front tactics perverted into an appeal for unity with the sellout union hacks.

A Tragedy In the 1930's, a Farce Today

The important class battles that broke out in the mid-30's have masked the tragedy of the backward turn in line at the Seventh Congress. Indeed, West attempts to cite the big CIO organizing drives as proof of the correctness of the "new strategic policy." But what West covers up is that the change in line meant that the CPUSA missed the golden opportunity to build up the working class movement into an independent revolutionary force. The vanguard, the Communist Party itself, was liquidated piece by piece. The workers' movement was handed over to the reformist union bureaucrats who merged it into a liberal-labor coalition under the domination of Roosevelt and the Democratic Party. And, as a result, the gains made through the dynamic struggles of the working masses were sold out and step by step frittered away.

The liberal-laborism of the mid-1930's has continued to be the curse of the workers' movement down to today. At every turn, the AFL-CIO bureaucracy blocks the workers' struggles. They have stood in the forefront of shoving concessions to the capitalists down the workers' throats. They have turned a deaf ear to the cries of the unemployed, refused to wage any real struggle to organize the unorganized, and attempted to tie U.S. workers to their own imperialist bosses through anti-import campaigns against the workers of other lands and racist campaigns against so-called "reverse discrimination" and the super-exploited immigrant workers. In the last few years, the AFL-CIO bureaucracy has stepped up its work for the Democrats, not only supporting Democratic Party policy and electoral candidates but also becoming a bigger part of the Democratic Party structure itself.

But despite its loyal service to the bourgeoisie, the union bureaucrats are falling on hard times, losing members left and right and facing an expanding union- busting assault by the monopolies. In February, the AFL-CIO executive board met and outlined what they claimed to be a new "innovative" course for "revitalizing" the unions. Unfortunately, the new innovations are the same old class collaborationism, including the endorsement of no-strike agreements and binding arbitration, replacing militant struggle with so-called "corporate campaigns" to convince the monopolies to be more lenient with their workers, and replacing organizing drives with forming self-help "employee associations."

The only thing more disgusting than this craven treachery of the union bosses is the attempts of the CPUSA to prettify them. In April, right after the AFL-CIO executive board's meeting, the CP held a "labor conference" in New York, where the chair of the CP's National Labor Department endorsed the general thrust of the union bureaucrats' "new" program.

"George Meyers, labor secretary of the CPUSA, told the gathering of Communist and non-Communist unionists that the recent AFL-CIO analysis of the problems facing the working class and labor movement had a correct focus. But, he added, the Communists were able to deepen the understanding of the problems facing labor because their view is expanded by the science of Marxism-Leninism." (Daily World, May 7,1985) Now remember, to the CPUSA the "science of Marxism-Leninism" is not the revolutionary theory of the working class but a "science" of how to unite with the union bureaucrats and how to find militant phrases to prettify the hacks and justify class collaborationists Thus we find the CP's deeper "understanding of the problems facing labor" expressed repeatedly in the following outrageous terms:

"Actions in the past year by the AFL-CIO leadership show a response to the pressures for change. The pre- Democratic Convention endorsement of Mondale was a step towards greater independence from traditional tailist electoral policies. [For the CP, building the independent movement of the working class means endorsing the Democratic Party presidential candidate earlier than in the past and becoming more deeply submerged in the machinery of the Democratic Party. Amazing!] The federation's statements favoring cuts, albeit most modest, in the military budget was a step away from subservience on matters of foreign policy. [These "cuts" were those promoted not only by the liberal Democrats, but also many Republicans, and amounted to all-time high Pentagon spending. Remember that the AFL-CIO leaders not only promote imperialist policy among American workers but also organize pro-U.S. imperialist "labor organizations" in El Salvador, Nicaragua, and many other countries and act as an arm of the CIA against the revolutionary movements of the workers and peasants who are fighting U.S. imperialism.] The call for nationwide demonstrations and picketing at South Africa's embassies and consulates, and the active personal participation of AFL-CIO leaders in anti-apartheid protests, is a significant advance over past inaction or mere formal gestures on such issues. [The CP fails to mention that the AFL-CIO is, among other things, trying to convert the workers' opposition to U.S. imperialist support for apartheid into a chauvinist anti-import campaign and that it was the union bureaucrats who forced the San Francisco dockworkers to give up their militant actions boycotting the unloading of South African cargo.]" ("Reagan Confronts Labor -- The Record," Political Affairs, May 1985)

This is how the CP paints up each new act of treachery by the union bosses in "Marxist-Leninist" colors. But then, nothing else should be expected once the struggle against reformism is put aside and the search is begun for "unity" with the union bureaucracy. Unfortunately, this course was adopted at the Seventh Congress of the Comintern and it still provides the theoretical justification used by the revisionists for their liquidationist activities. The CP's craven love affair with the sellout union bosses today shows us the importance of criticizing the harmful theories of the Seventh Congress and the necessity for bringing back to the light of day the powerful enlightening and organizing force of the revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism.

[Back to Top]