The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 16, No. 12


25ยข December 1, 1986

[Front page:

The Iran-contra scandal--The Democrats say: 'repair the presidency' The workers say: 'Down with the Reaganite criminals!';

Down with the Immigration Bill! Defend the immigrant workers!]


KKK murdered black children in Atlanta.......................... 2
The government cover-up In Atlanta unravels.................. 2
What Roxbury secession movement offers minorities...... 3
Benefit and march in defense of Noah Roisten................. 4

NY's 'finest' caught in drug trade...................................... 4
The Senate majority remains a Reaganite majority........... 5
Who pays for Boesky? Who pays for mergers?................. 5
Court orders schools to cater to religious bigotry.............. 5
Boston protest against anti-abortion movement................ 7

The 'amnesty' trap............................................................. 6
The anti-immigrant Slmpson-Rodino bill.......................... 7

Strikes and Work Place News:

Delco strike; GM workers, defend jobs!............................ 8
Miss, catfish workers; John Deere; Iowa meatpackers; Hormel; N.C. textile workers; Boeing............................... 9
Seattle boatyards; Pittsburgh construction......................... 10
Kaiser hospital workers; LTV; USX; ARMCO................. 11

Why is Reagan dealing with the Khomeini regime?......... 12
U.S. imperialism has its hands in Iran-Iraq war................. 13
CP Iran: Workers and Iran-Iraq war................................... 13
U.S. Imperialism, Get Out of Central America!

Protest contra fundraiser; Contras trained in U.S.; Students protest Duarte in El Salvador.............................. 14
Iran-contra scandal............................................................. 15
From Nicaraguan workers' press....................................... 15

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!

Divestment hypocrisy; Canadian sanctions fraud.............. 16
GM calls in apartheid police against strikers; Fire burns in S. Africa; Black township resists....................................... 17
Botha denounced in France; Solidarity actions; U.C.-Berkeley: defend shantytown activists.............................. 18
October 25 demonstrations................................................ 19

The World in Struggle:

Crisis in Philippines; Filipino left...................................... 20
Brazil price hike; S. Korean repression............................. 23
Bengalis protest tyrant; Haitians against junta; French student protests; Swiss rich poison Rhine.......................... 24

[8-page insert:

3rd National Conference of the MLP, USA-Fall 1986-

Rank-and-file action against the Reaganite offensive!

Build the workers' movement as a revolutionary movement!]

The Iran-contra scandal--The Democrats say: 'repair the presidency' The workers say: 'Down with the Reaganite criminals!'

Down with the Immigration Bill!

Defend the immigrant workers!

The KKK murdered Atlanta's children, the government covered it up

Punish the racist killers and their government protectors!

Revelation's about the Klan's role in the Atlanta child murders

The government cover-up unravels

What does the Roxbury secession movement mean for blacks and Latinos?


In midst of Reaganite hypocrisy about drugs

New York's 'finest' caught in the drug trade

On the midterm elections results

The Senate majority remains a Reaganite majority

Who pays for Boesky? Who pays for the mergers?

Court orders schools to cater to religious bigotry

Fundamentalist sues Satan in Arkansas

The 'amnesty' trap

The anti-immigrant Simpson-Rodino Bill:

Repression in the name of 'reform'

Boston protest against anti-abortion amendment

Delco workers strike for jobs

GM workers, get organized to fight for jobs!

Where are the UAW chiefs' 'innovative job protections' now?

Strikes and workplace news

Why is Reagan dealing with the Khomeini regime?

3rd National Conference of the MLP, USA -Fall 1986- Rank-and-file action against the Reaganite offensive! Build the workers' movement as a revolutionary movement!

U.S. imperialism has its hands in the Iran-Iraq war

From the Communist Party of Iran: 'Workers and the Iran-Iraq war'

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

The Iran-contra scandal:

The dirty war on Nicaragua is based on lies

From the pages of the Nicaraguan workers' press

'Divestment' becomes widespread - hypocrisy becomes total

The fraud of Canadian sanctions


The liberals strike a new compromise with the military

Crisis in the Philippines

The Filipino left in the face of the crisis

The World in Struggle

The Iran-contra scandal--The Democrats say: 'repair the presidency' The workers say: 'Down with the Reaganite criminals!'

The Reagan administration is being rocked by scandal. First, it came out that he's shipping arms to the Khomeini government in Iran. Then, it turns out that money from this deal was skimmed off to fund the dirty contra war against the Nicaraguan revolution.

Reagan's been caught in his own web of hypocrisy and lies. Now he wants the people to believe that he didn't know what was going on from the basement of his White House. Not too many people are buying that.

A few backroom wheelings and dealings of imperialist "power politics'' have been brought out into the open. The capitalist media and politicians -- who've built up Reagan as the Teflon president all these years -- now appear outraged. How come?

After all, it's hardly a deep, dark secret that Reagan supports the contras in Nicaragua. And those in the know have been aware that the government's been seeking deals with the Iranian regime for years. What's more, the U.S. sends weapons to every fascist and cutthroat tyrant around the world every day.

The problem is, a capitalist government is supposed to have one policy for public opinion, and another policy in reality. The real policy is meant to stay under wraps.

For the masses, the White House has championed a hysterical "war on terrorism.'' And, as part of this, Reagan has gloried in Iran-bashing -- to whip up jingoism against revolution in the Middle-East. But behind the scenes, there is business to be done with the Iranian government. After all, it is a regime which defends exploitation, murders leftists, and is no friend of the Russians. And on Nicaragua, while Reagan hasn't made any bones about publicly supporting the contras, they don't really want the masses to know all the ins and outs of how they're financing and running this shameful, terrorist war.

They didn't mean for the ugly details to leak out on this affair. An obscure Syrian-connected journal in Lebanon first spilled the beans. But that could of course have been shuffled over. That it wasn't, that things unraveled, must have to do with the fact there are people in high places who want to see some of the ugly details brought out in the open. There is obviously friction in ruling capitalist circles. Over what agenda? That story is yet to surface. But one thing you can bet, it's not to change any of the essentials of Reagan's policies. There will be hue and cry about laws broken, and about proper consultations, chains of command, and so forth -- but there will be no challenge to the essentials of Reaganite reaction.

The White House and Reagan loyalists are busy with damage control. Some of the chief Democrats, like Sam Nunn and Daniel Moynihan, are lining up to advise Reagan on how best to save his rear -- the president must be defended, they say. After all, his policies must be preserved. Others are making fiercer noises, but it won't go very far.

One thing you can be sure of. The capitalist press and politicians are not going to go after Reaganism.

After all, look at the big hoopla they're making over this scandal. True, it's a scandal. But what's new? Is it new that he sends arms to a reactionary government? Nonsense. Is it new that he figures out creative sources to fund the contras? Not at all.

The fact of the matter is that Reaganism has been one long scandal for six years. Reagan has been on a reactionary crusade all along. He has been a hypocrite and a liar all along. And the press and politicians have known it. But they have groomed the image of a Teflon president -- the Great Communicator. This is because the media moguls and the politicians of both capitalist parties support Reagan's anti-worker reactionary agenda.

Over the years, Reagan has thrown up a thousand scandals on which he could have been crusaded against. Let's just recall a few:

* On Nicaragua, the real scandal isn't just some illegal skimming off of funds for the contras, but the entire contra war itself. Here's a giant superpower backing an army of murderers and rapists to ravage three million people in Central America, whose crime was that they dared to overthrow a U.S.-backed dictator. And can one forget the mining of Nicaragua's harbors, or the CIA writing a murder manual for the contras?

* Reagan has openly and shamelessly supported the racist regime in South Africa. He supports dictators and fascists the world over. A few years ago, he even traveled to Bitburg, West Germany, to pay homage to dead Nazi SS stormtroopers.

* Reagan claims that he's made America prosperous. But there are more than ten million unemployed, and the poverty rolls today include a larger number of people than ever. The growing number of homeless people on the streets is itself one huge scandal for this, the richest of countries.

* Reagan came to office with claims that he's for getting government "off the backs" of the people. But the people are saddled with a bigger than ever Pentagon, while it is business which gets the go-ahead for cutting back on meager safety and environmental regulations. Meanwhile, Reagan has also unleashed the intelligence squads on the masses, he wants to begin mandatory drug testing of the workers, he's beefed up the border patrols, and so on.

* There is the claim that the Reagan administration is honest and clean. But this government has had a hell of a lot of its figures charged with criminal activity and sent to jail. Who can forget, for instance, the string of dead witnesses in the investigation of former Labor Secretary Donovan?

* As for lies, every single speech, every press conference that Reagan's given has been chock full of them. Indeed, Reagan gets so tangled up in his lies that his staff has to later bail him out by issuing "clarifications."

With the latest scandal, the press and the Democrats want to swamp the masses in a thousand details. They want to focus on narrow issues of legality and whether proper people were consulted or not. They will not fight the administration on the substantial issues.

There is a lot of sound and fury in Washington today. But the workers and progressive people cannot expect the Democrats to combat Reaganism. We do need the truth, we do need the full exposure of the Reaganite crimes, and we do need to stand up and fight against the Reaganite offensive. But this is up to us.

Let the class conscious workers and progressive activists use this time of crisis in the White House to spread the truth against Reaganism to the widest sections of the working people.


[Back to Top]

Down with the Immigration Bill!

Defend the immigrant workers!

The passage of the Simpson-Rodino Bill (the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986) is a challenge to all working and progressive people. It marks a big escalation of the government's persecution of immigrant workers from Mexico and other lands. The capitalist rulers are sharpening their oppression of the immigrants as a weapon to strike deep at the interests of the working class.

An Injury to the Immigrants Is an Injury to the Working Class

For the capitalists there are big profits to be made from the super-exploitation of oppressed immigrant labor. Millions of immigrant workers are stripped of all rights in this country. They are barred from unemployment compensation and other social services. They are forced into the worst jobs, under the most inhuman conditions, and often at sub-minimum wages. If they organize and resist, there is always the threat of arrest and deportation hanging over their heads.

The Simpson-Rodino Bill will add new layers to this system of oppression and discrimination against the immigrant workers. By further pushing down the condition of the foreign-born workers, the capitalists are out to drive down all the workers.

Repression Against the Revolutionary Movement

The whole history of police measures against the immigrants in this country shows that this repression is also directed against the revolutionary working class and progressive movements. Class conscious workers from other lands have always played an important part in the revolutionary workers' movement, and they have always been a special target of the government's attacks on the immigrants.

The Simpson-Rodino Bill is no exception. It is stacked against strikers, demonstrators, and others who may run afoul of capitalist law and order. Moreover, the "document verification'' system and the other sweeping new laws in the Simpson-Rodino Bill are just one piece of the whole arsenal of repressive, police-state measures that Ronald Reagan, Ed Meese, William Rehnquist and the bipartisan crew on Capitol Hill are putting in place against the working masses.

"America Standing Tall'' Against the People of the World

The growing repression against the immigrants also has a wider political aim. It is part of building up a racist fear and hatred for peoples of other countries; lining up support for the capitalist government in its struggle against "aliens" and "foreigners"; and spreading a chauvinist "America standing tall" mentality.

This is inseparable from the government's imperialist drive towards war. It is no accident that the Simpson-Rodino Bill will fall heavily on, among others, workers from Central America at a time when the Reagan administration is getting bogged down in a Viet Nam-type war against the Central American workers and peasants.

The Reformists Don't Want to Fight the Simpson-Rodino Bill

For over a decade, Mexican and other immigrants and progressive activists have been protesting and demonstrating against the Simpson-Rodino Bill and its predecessors. Its coming into law is not the end of the battle. On the contrary, it lends even more urgency to the fight against the attacks coming from the Simpson-Rodino Bill. Now more than ever the mass struggle is needed against deportations, discrimination and persecution and for the full rights of the immigrant workers.

Here it must be noted that many of the reformist Latino leaders have been doing their best to undercut this struggle. For years they have been saying that the immigrants' best hope lies with the attempts of Representative Roybal and other liberal Democrats in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to negotiate better terms in any new immigration law. But the only thing these negotiations produced was the votes of half the Caucus members, Roybal included, for the racist Simpson-Rodino law.

Now that the Immigration Bill has become law, the reformist misleaders are pouring cold water on the fires of opposition to it. Some are preaching that nothing can be done and that at least the bill is not as bad as it could have been. After all, these reformists counsel, at least some of the undocumented will be able to take advantage of the "amnesty."

Of course, those immigrants who want to attempt to take advantage of the "amnesty" -- and who understand fully the restrictions, hassles and dangers involved -- should do so. But in no way does that mean taking the heat off this thoroughly racist, anti-immigrant, anti-worker Immigration Bill.

Build the Struggle to Defend the Immigrant Workers!

Let all workers and progressive people -- native and foreign-born, legal and "illegal" -- join the battle to defend the immigrants. Build the struggle for full and equal rights for all workers in this country, no matter their country of origin, the language they speak, or the legal status imposed on them by the government.

This struggle is part of the working class fight against the Reaganite offensive of the bourgeoisie. It is part of the internationalist solidarity among the different races and nationalities that is vital for building the revolutionary workers' movement. It will also help tear down the walls that the ruling class is trying to erect between the U.S. workers and the workers and toilers of Mexico, Central America and the rest of the world. It is part of linking the American workers with the common worldwide struggle for liberation from imperialism and capitalist exploitation.

Down with the Immigration Reform and Control Act!

Workers of all countries, unite!

[Photo: March this past summer against the oppression of immigrants in San Ysidro, California.]


[Back to Top]

The KKK murdered Atlanta's children, the government covered it up

Punish the racist killers and their government protectors!

No black person, no one who is revolted by racist savagery, will easily forget the case of the Atlanta child murders. The murders began in July 1979 and continued at the rate of more than one black child a month for almost two years. The government's answer to this racist terror was to launch a coverup. Wayne Williams was railroaded for two of the murders; and with this black man in prison for life, the government declared that the case was closed.

But the gaping cracks in the official story were too big and now bits and pieces of the truth are finally coming out. Recently discovered court files nail down that a gang of racist Klansmen have their hands drenched in the blood of the children of Atlanta. The police and government officials have known this all along, but they kept it secret. They deliberately covered for and protected the racist mass murderers.

Government Deception to Shield the Klan Murderers

The Atlanta child murders had created panic in high places. The concern, however, was not for the victims of these murders, but to smother the flames of anti-racist struggle that they were spreading among the black working masses. An elaborate campaign of deception was launched out of the mayor's office, the governor's mansion and the halls of the Justice Department in Washington to hide the racist hand of the KKK.

Despite the methodical and brutal nature of these murders, the Atlanta police department at first insisted that they were no more than isolated incidents. Only after the parents and other poor and working people began to organize and protest this systematic terror did the Atlanta police finally organize a task force to investigate. That was in July 1980, a full year after the slaughter began. At its height 400 men were assigned to this task force, one of the biggest criminal investigations ever launched. However, its purpose wasn't to find the racist killers, but to convince the public that racist gangs were not involved.

All along the police hinted that the children themselves were probably petty criminals and the impression was left that they got what they deserved. Parents were repeatedly subjected to degrading and humiliating interrogations. But if this were not low enough, the FBI held a news conference to announce their suspicion that the mothers themselves may have had a hand in the murders.

Day after day, the government officials droned on that the child murders had nothing to do with racism, but were cases of "black on black" crime. The FBI drew up a "psychological profile" of a likely killer as a black male from a broken family. They even hired a "psychic" to agree.

Governor Bugsbee announced that the extensive study which he had ordered of Klan activity had concluded that it did not represent, any danger to the people of Georgia. Meanwhile, the special investigators of his own state police were listening in on a gang of Klansmen as they stockpiled their arsenals and talked about hunting children.

The Masses Start to Take Action

The government's campaign of deception was aimed at snuffing the fuse of the explosion building up among the black masses. Across the country there was anger at what was taking place in Atlanta and protests were beginning. But it was especially in the housing projects and poor neighborhoods from which the murdered children had been taken that a storm was brewing. Angry protests were held and tenants in both the Techwood Projects and Capital Homes organized armed patrols to defend their children from further violence.

The working and oppressed masses were beginning to take matters into their own hands to fight back against racist terror.

The Dirty Role of the Black Bourgeoisie

The black bourgeoisie in the city was frightened stiff by this prospect. The black mayor, Maynard Jackson, accused the patrols of being vigilantes. Sixty police were removed from the investigation of the murders and ordered to keep a watch on the patrols. Several members of the patrols were arrested.

Along with the mayor, both the NAACP and SCLC leaderships denounced the masses for organizing themselves. Benjamin Hooks, head of the NAACP, condemned all who even suggested the murders were racist as "irresponsible, irrational and intemperate." Representatives from these organizations said "racism is not the issue," that "crime in general is the issue." These leaders even used the murders to pitch for more government funds for their organizations, allegedly to address the social ills within the black community.

The child murders posed a sharp crisis for the black bourgeoisie. In the first place, it put them on the spot to prove to the capitalist ruling class that the black administration of the city government was equal to the task of keeping a lid on the mass struggle and safeguarding law and order in such an explosive situation. That is why they were so eager to assist the government coverup of the racist scum responsible for the murders; and that is why they showed such a stubborn opposition to developing any type of resistance to the racist violence.

When Atlanta's present black mayor, Andrew Young, was recently asked about the new evidence that has come to light, he is reported to have responded: "Don't cry over spilled milk." This is amazing, even from the arrogant bourgeois Andy Young. It wasn't milk that was spilled, but the blood of 30 black children.

Young's callous remark shows how far the black bourgeois is willing to go in order not to rock the boat and to check the outrage of the working and impoverished black masses. Even five years later they are still telling the people not to worry, not to get fired up just because all the evidence indicates that racist terrorists -- with the knowledge and protection of the police and other government officials -- carried out systematic savagery against the children of Atlanta.

The Murderers Must Be Brought to Justice

By the summer of 1981, with the anger and protests growing, the police and government officials were in a panic to put someone behind bars. In a cynical ploy to convince the public that the racist murders were really just blacks killing each other, the police arrested Wayne Williams, a small-time entertainer. Williams was to be sacrificed and the world was supposed to accept that the murders were solved.

He was put through a hurried trial. There were no eye-witnesses, no fingerprints, no recovered weapons, and nothing to link Williams with the -other 28 murders. It now turns out that the main witness against Williams was a hardened Klansmen and liar. The prosecution's case was so thin that it hinged on notoriously unreliable fiber evidence and dog hairs. Nonetheless, Williams was convicted of the two murders and given two life sentences.

(The dog hairs that were so critical to his conviction were the same ones that were first believed to have come from a Siberian husky, such as owned by the Klansman Charles Sanders -- the same Klansman known by the police to have been involved in the murders. It was only after Williams was up on trial that it was said that the hairs could have belonged to Williams' German shepard as well.)

But the biggest mockery in this trial was that the hard evidence implicating the Klan in the murders remained stashed away in the police vaults. Compared to what they had on Wayne Williams, the police had a hundred times more of a case against the Klansman Charles Sanders and his racist cohorts: detailed information from informers, recorded discussions, several eye-witnesses placing them with the victims, dog hairs and other pieces of evidence. Moreover, the Klansmen had a clear and declared motive, as this gang of racists openly boasted that they were arming themselves to the teeth for the purpose of killing blacks (as well as Jews and other would-be victims of their fascist doctrine).

Justice demands that the conviction of Williams be overturned. But that is not enough. The racist murderers of Atlanta's children must be prosecuted to the full and receive the severe punishment that they deserve. The police and government officials who are responsible for protecting the bloodstained Klansmen should also be put on trial.

As the whole Atlanta experience shows, there will be no justice for the victims of racist terror if things are left in the hands of the police, the courts and lawyers, and the pro-capitalist officials (even if they are black). The workers and oppressed masses have to take matters into their own hands, build organization, and launch a determined struggle against the racist gangs and the capitalist government which comforts and shelters them.

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Revelation's about the Klan's role in the Atlanta child murders

The government cover-up unravels

The official government cover-up of the Atlanta child murders is starting to unravel. New information is coming out that confirms what black and progressive people across the country have been certain of all along.

The new information provides firm evidence that it was a racist gang of Ku Klux Klansmen which systematically murdered 30 of Atlanta's black children and youth over a two-year period beginning in the summer of 1979. It also confirms that the police and government officials were aware of this evidence at the time, but carried out a massive cover-up of this racist savagery.

Part of this government cover-up was the railroad of the black man Wayne Williams for two of the murders. In recent months, Williams' defense team has set out to overturn his conviction armed with previously undisclosed and hidden information. Most importantly, they have gotten their hands on court files documenting a secret probe of the KKK's role in the murders. Much of this is apparently still not public, but lawyers and police officials presented key parts of it on ABC's Nightline, and the September and October issues of Spin magazine carried other pieces of the new information.

Condemning Evidence Against the Klan

The new information centers on seven members of the Sanders family -- father Carlton and sons Charles, Don, Jerry, Terry, James and Ricky. Together this family is a gang of thugs, with a history of narcotics and arms trafficking, armed robbery, child molesting, wife beating and so on. They are also connected to the National States Rights Party/New Order of the Ku Klux Klan, which is headquartered in Marietta, outside of Atlanta. This Klan faction is known for its particularly virulent appeals for racist violence and for stockpiling weapons in preparation for race war.

A reliable informant of the Atlanta police department for eighteen years, alias B.J. Jones, had been in contact with the Sanders family and their fellow Klansmen. B.J. Jones had engaged them in some weapons and drug deals, and they had tried to recruit him into their plans to break into National Guard armories to steal heavy weapons for the race war that they were hoping for.

Court papers document the following interview between B.J. Jones and an Atlanta police inspector conducted in early 1981. The police informer reports that members of the Sanders family were openly bragging about murdering the children and planning further killings:

"Source [B.J. Jones] advised that Sanders related to him that they [KKK] were creating an uprising among the blacks in Atlanta and that they were killing the children -- that they were going to do one each month until things blow up....Source explained that Charles Sanders told him that he was going to kill the Geter boy, that this was prior to Christmas 1980. Then the kid came up missing, and I know he did it...sometime prior back in early summer...the Geter boy and another black kid was playing [in Lakewood Heights] with a go-cart -- Charles Sanders came by -- parked his car in the street and the Geter boy ran the go-cart into his car -- Source related that Charles Sanders blew his top about it....This was a long time before he said that he was going to kill him...after he tried to get me to help [break into the armories] -- he pointed at Geter and said -- See that little black bastard? -- I'm going to get him -- I'm gonna kill him -- I'm gonna choke the black bastard to death."

On January 3,1981, fourteen-year-old Lubie Geter disappeared and was later found strangled to death. An eyewitness had seen Lubie getting into a car with a white man with a jagged scar on his neck. Carlton Sanders has such a scar on his neck. On January 9, the remains were found of eleven-year-old Earl Terrel, a friend of Lubie's who had been with him when the go-cart ran into Sanders' car. He was last seen a month after the go-cart incident.

B.J. Jones also told police that in the homes of the Sanders' and the group of Klansmen around them, he had seen Ml6 rifles, bazookas, hand grenades, and plastic explosives. He also pointed out that they had collections of police, Coca-Cola, Purolator-Courier and other uniforms. The significance of this is that scores of witnesses were reporting having last seen a number of the child victims alive with a man wearing a uniform.

Meanwhile, a second police informant, who himself held a high post in one of the Klan factions, gave independent corroboration of B.J. Jones' account with a similar report that the Sanders family and the KKK was involved in the murders.

A Secret Investigation to Cover the Tracks of the Klan

So what did the police do with this information? The evidence against the Klan was put under wraps and the case was taken over by an arm of the state government, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which launched its own secret probe of the Sanders family and the KKK. At the initial meeting to launch the investigation, the then director of the GBI, Philip Peters, stressed that all information gathered on the Klan's activities must be kept strictly secret.

At this point B.J. Jones was wired with listening devices and tape recorders as he became an undercover agent for the GBI's special investigation. Two months of surveillance of the Sanders family brought out further pieces of evidence.

A telephone wiretap revealed a conversation between B.J. Jones, Don and Charles Sanders, and Dr. Edward Fields, head of the National States Rights Party, in which Fields authorized the purchase of weapons. This confirmed both the link between the Sanders family and the Klan as well as its paramilitary intentions.

In another taped phone conversation there is talk about hunting children. It records Don Sanders telling his brother Terry: "I might go out and ride around a little bit..."

"Go find you another kid, another little kid?" responded Terry.

"Yeah," said Don, "scope out some places, we'll see you later...."

The investigators also made the connection between the fact that a Siberian husky hung out in Charles Sanders' yard and that on the bodies of fifteen of the murdered children hairs of a Siberian husky had been found.

The Investigation Is Called Off and the Evidence Destroyed

The pieces of a solid case were coming together against the Klan thugs. That is when the GBI officer in charge of the secret investigation, Joe Jackson, called off the probe. Jackson held an unrecorded interview with Charles Sanders on April 23, 1981. Afterward the GBI investigation was officially ended.

Apart from this gentlemen's chat with the GBI officer, Charles Sanders was never officially questioned by the police. But Joe Jackson says that he accepted Charles Sanders' word for it that they were not involved in the child murders and therefore proceeded to close down the entire special investigation. What's more, all charges against the Sanders for weapons and narcotics violations were also dropped. And just for good measure to ensure that the investigation would go no further, it appears that Joe Jackson of the GBI also tipped Sanders that B.J. Jones was a police informant.

In July, after the conviction of Wayne Williams for two murders, Joe Jackson took the tapes and other evidence from the secret investigation from the vault at the GBI and destroyed them. (An Atlanta police investigator had made detailed notes of the tapes, which have only come to light in recent months.)

An Elaborate Cover-up for the Klan Murderers

From its late start to its early finish, the police investigation of the Sanders family and the Klan was a cover-up, a secret operation to protect the Klan thugs. There was every reason to believe that it was racist goons of the KKK type who were responsible for the methodical murders of the black children. With their extensive network of informants and contacts within the racist and right-wing terrorist groups, the police were fully capable of digging up any Klan involvement if they so desired. But they had no such desire. So when their contacts within the Klan circles began to come up with evidence against the Klan anyway, the police went out of their way to bury this evidence and protect the KKK gangsters.

It has not yet been revealed exactly who knew the details of the GBI's secret probe. Reportedly, top police and city officials were in on the decisions to hush up and then shut down this investigation. In fact, it is hard to believe that the GBI acted alone. But the main thing here is that hiding the bloody tracks of the Klan was in line with the government's entire approach to the handling of the whole child murders crisis.

From the office of Atlanta's black Mayor Maynard Jackson, to Governor Bugsbee, up to the FBI and the Justice Department there was a single preoccupation to convince the people of Atlanta and the country that the racist gangs were not preying on the black children. In line with this, GBI chief Peters and other officials expressed their concern about "race riots" if information got out about the role of the KKK in the child murders.

In short, putting a lid on the black peoples' struggle against racist terror called forth a sweeping government cover-up of the systematic Klan savagery against the children of Atlanta.

[Photo: Protest against the child murders held in Atlanta, Georgia in March 1981.]

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What does the Roxbury secession movement mean for blacks and Latinos?

(Reprinted from Oct. 14 "Boston Worker," newspaper of MLP-Boston.)

A group of black politicians has launched a campaign to make Roxbury and other areas of the city that are predominantly black and Latino into a separate city. They call themselves the Greater Roxbury Incorporation Project or GRIP. GRIP has drawn support from a number of black politicians and businessmen as well as from a number of racist white politicians. They have held several meetings around the city and they have placed a referendum on the November ballot. [The secession plan was heavily voted down in the November referendum, which was held in the mainly minority districts.] Although even the supporters of this referendum say they do not think it will win, the capitalist newspapers and TV stations are giving a great deal of coverage to this proposal. So what is behind all the commotion?

GRIP supporters say that by separating into a new city the black people will be taking a step toward liberation. Of course as the result of decades of racist discrimination, the black and Latino people are already largely concentrated in certain districts of the city where they suffer inferior housing and transportation as well as police harassment. So the real meat of the GRIP proposal is that a new government bureaucracy should be created to rule over these areas. According to the GRIP supporters this new government bureaucracy would "give the community the tools we need to control our destiny.'' Thus they claim that if only the black people can get away from the racist Boston city government everything will get better.

Now certainly the city government is a bastion of racism, but it is certainly not the only source of racism. Racist oppression of the black and Latino people is the policy of all the U.S. capitalist rulers. So what will be the result of forming a separate city? Who will benefit from this plan? What will it mean for the black and Latino workers?

Unemployment and Job Discrimination Will Continue

Consider the problem of unemployment and discrimination on the job. In the factories, hospitals, and other work places the black and Latino workers face constant discrimination, often being forced into the hardest and lowest paying jobs. The unemployment rate for black workers is double that of the white workers and the black youth are suffering from an incredible 50% unemployment! But how will separation change this? The same capitalists will continue to own the factories and other work places, most of which are outside the proposed city. But even those within the GRIP area will not change their racist policies without a mass struggle by the workers. The government bureaucrats, be they black or white, will not organize such a struggle. Look at Detroit or Newark, which have had black city governments for years, and you can see that the black workers continue to be plagued by discrimination and that all the workers, both black and white, suffer from the scourge of unemployment. It is not separation that will combat the greedy, racist capitalists but the mass struggle of the workers.

Segregated, Inferior Schools

What about the deterioration of the schools and the terrible education given the black youth? The leaders of GRIP claim that their proposal would mean an end to busing, allowing black students to attend schools in their neighborhoods and that this will bring "quality education" for the youth. But wait a minute, this is a call for voluntary segregation! This proposal has drawn support from the racist politicians of the South Boston Information Center. But the GRIP leaders claim that the fight against racist segregation is not important. They point to the deplorable condition of Boston Public Schools and claim that a separate school system will give blacks better schools. But when in America has segregation ever been implemented to the benefit of blacks? In fact the problem of poor schools would be intensified in the proposed city.

Everyone knows that the wealthier towns have better school systems and the GRIP area would be one of the poorest cities in the state. The city would have far less funds to spend on education than the surrounding white areas. Nearly 40% of Boston's revenues come from taxes on downtown offices and none of this money would go to the new black city. The money would go to the white city. And it is complete fantasy to say that necessary funds will come from the federal government. The Reaganites are only interested in slashing funds for education to finance their military buildup. Thus the GRIP plan would help the rich push the black youth into a completely separate and inferior school system.

Actually any real improvement in education will come from a militant struggle to make the rich provide and pay for such an education. As the high school students' protests against school closings showed this spring, this struggle will be a hundred times stronger when the schools are integrated and the youth of all nationalities are united in this battle.

Bad Housing and the Real Estate Developers

And what about the problem of housing? GRIP claims that by incorporation as a separate city the black population can prevent being forced out of their neighborhoods by the condo and office building developers. Unless GRIP is planning to secede from the U.S. and have a separate socialist revolution in Roxbury, a separate [city] will not save the people's housing from the real estate speculators..A white city government has not saved the poor in [white] South Boston and other areas from being forced out by high rents and real estate speculators. As long as the government protects the rights of the capitalists to use private property to exploit people, the housing problem will plague the working people and not just the black working people.

In fact GRIP practically admits that a separate city will not really prevent blacks from being forced out of Roxbury by development. In an article in the Banner they state that Roxbury will be the place that the next tall buildings will be built in Boston. And that by incorporating as a separate city Roxbury will be able to benefit from this future development. But how will this development take place except by tearing down houses presently occupied by black workers and causing soaring property values and rents that will force still more workers out?

No to Bantustan Nationalism of the Black Bourgeoisie!

It is clear that only a tiny upper stratum of wealthy blacks would benefit from this proposal. To them would go the "spoils of office" presently denied them by their white counterparts. Tax money would pass through their hands, government posts could be sold to the highest bidder, and a bigger share of the development boom profits would end up in their bank accounts. This is what they mean when they talk about "empowerment" -- a bigger piece of the capitalist pie.

But this bigger piece of pie would be purchased by selling out the black working people who would suffer even worse segregation and oppression. Of course the black politicians, like their white counterparts, try to present their own selfish interests as those of the people. They paint their separate city scheme up in liberation colors. They talk about decolonization of the black community. They have even proposed that the new city should be called "Mandela," a name that is associated with the heroic struggle of the black people in South Africa against the racist apartheid regime. But it would be more appropriate to name it "Bothaville" after the racist who rules over the segregated bantustans, townships, and factories of South Africa.

Phony Talk About Unity from Flynn

The GRIP plan is being opposed by Mayor Flynn and a number of black liberals and ministers who have launched a "One Boston Campaign." But this opposition is nothing more than an apology for the status quo and a prettification of the racist oppression suffered by the black people. They claim that the born-again anti-buser Flynn is "healing" the city and that racism is fading away. (The police harassment, school and job discrimination are just a figment of our imagination!) Further they say that if the black people just keep quiet the profits of the downtown construction will trickle down. In the words of Reverend Stith, "We have sown the seeds of opportunity, now it is time for us to reap the benefits." But for all Flynn's talk about passing the prosperity on to the neighborhoods, the fact remains that the downtown boom has only meant soaring rents, displacement and gentrification for the working people.

Build the Mass Struggle Against Racism! Build the Unity of All Workers!

Neither the separatist schemes of the black bourgeoisie nor the pious words of the capitalist flunkey Flynn will bring any relief for the black workers from the crushing burden of racist oppression in capitalist America. But there is a way to fight. There is the path of the 1960's -- building up the revolutionary mass struggle against the racist ruling class. It is only on this path that the black masses have ever won any improvement in their condition. The struggle against racism is an integral part of the struggle of the whole working class for its emancipation from capitalism. As the struggle against racism develops, the allies of the black workers will not be the sold out stratum of black capitalists but the workers of all nationalities and colors who face common oppression at the hands of the rich exploiters.

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Benefit for Noah Roisten's legal defense

'Self-defense against racism is a right, not a crime!'

On November 12, the Noah Roisten Defense Committee held a benefit to raise funds for Noah's legal defense. One hundred thirty workers, college students, and young people from Noah's neighborhood attended the militant event.

Two youth -- who had been with Noah the night he was attacked by a racist gang on the MBTA -- addressed the benefit. They stressed that two racists were severely beating Noah when, in self-defense, he stabbed one of them. And they declared that it's a crime that Noah has had to spend any time in jail since he was defending himself from a racist attack.

A motorman on the MBTA also spoke. He related his experience with the government and the MBTA trying to cover up a racist gang attack. They had tried to create the lying impression that his train had hit a black youth. He pointed out that this experience had taught him how important it is for the masses to support each other, and that was why he was supporting Noah and why everyone should.

At the benefit, letters of support for Noah were read. One, signed by 33 GE workers who had raised nearly $100 for Noah's defense, stressed that 4'These days, black and white workers need to be united, not divided. Reagan would love us to be fighting each other instead of him and his rich friends." Another, signed by 16 workers who raised $55 for the defense fund, declared, ''We workers from Sintered Metals Inc. would like to add our voices to those who are defending Noah Roisten. We demand that the government stop persecuting Noah for his brave act of standing up to Joseph Hennigan and his racist gang."

Noah's aunt spoke on behalf of the Defense Committee. She reported on how the court-appointed lawyers had tried to pressure Noah into pleading guilty. She said that now, with the money from the defense fund, they had finally been able to hire a private lawyer who promised to fight for Noah. She thanked all who were there for their support.

A comrade from the Marxist-Leninist Party also gave a militant statement. In conclusion he stated, ''The Marxist-Leninist Party believes that all workers must stand up to defend the rights of black people and to oppose the poison of racism that is used by the rich to divide, and rule, and drag down the entire working class. The spirit of resistance is growing and that is what the rich and their government are afraid of. They are afraid that Noah's courageous spirit will catch on. Well, sorry Ronnie [Reagan], sorry [Boston Mayor] Ray Flynn -- it has caught on. This benefit is an expression of that fact."

The high point of the benefit came at 11 p.m. when Noah called from jail and was able to address the crowd over the public address system. He thanked the committee, his family, the MLP, and all who came to the benefit, for their support. Without that support, he said, he would not have a chance. His statement was greeted by shouts of ''Free Noah! Free Noah! Self-defense against racism is a right, not a crime!''

Through the work for the benefit over $1,100 was raised from workers and students throughout the Boston area. This swelled the fund for Noah's legal expenses to a total of $4,000. Many thousands of dollars more is still needed as the trial approaches.

Demonstration against the railroad of Noah Roisten

A court hearing to set Noah's trial date was scheduled for November 18. To show support for him, the Noah Roisten Defense Committee held a demonstration which marched from Noah's neighborhood to the Roxbury District Court House on Saturday, November 15.

The demonstrators handed out hundreds of leaflets, chanted anti-racist slogans and sang songs against racism and apartheid in South Africa all along the march route.

Workers from the MBTA and other work places, MIT students, and Noah's friends and family took part in the demonstration. As it passed through Noah's neighborhood other people joined the march for short distances. And many more people showed their support for the militant slogans which demanded Noah's release, called for a fight against the racist offensive of Reagan and the rich, and declared solidarity with the fighting black masses in South Africa.

At the street where the Roisten family lives the march stopped for a militant rally. A lot of people stopped for discussion and to express support for Noah.

The march proceeded on to a shopping center mall. The demonstrators turned straight through the mall taking the security guards by surprise. Youths who were friends of Noah's joined the march here, noisily showed their support, and took a bunch of flyers to distribute.

As the march approached the Roxbury District Court House it went by about 50 teenagers and a few parents who were gathered in front of a local club. They wanted to know what was going on and for about 15 minutes a vigorous discussion broke out that developed into support for Noah.

The march concluded with a militant rally across the street from the Roxbury District Court House where the government was denounced for railroading Noah, and everyone was called on to build up the movement against racism.

The defense committee appeals for support

(Excerpt from statement by the Noah Roisten Defense Committee entitled "Self-Defense Against Racism Is a Right Not a Crime!'' Reprinted from Nov. 12 "Boston Worker.")

Noah has had two court-appointed attorneys. The first never even talked to him for a whole year. The second never even bothered to ask Noah what had happened and put repeated pressure on Noah to plead guilty to mantime, refused to prepare a case for trial or even talk to Noah about the possibility. Apparently the District Attorney and the lawyer thought that, having sat in jail for a year, Noah would agree to anything.

But Noah has stood up to this pressure and demanded a trial. Thanks to previous contributions by hundreds of workers, the Noah Roisten Defense Committee has been able to find and make an initial payment to a private lawyer who has agreed to organize an aggressive defense for Noah. But much more money is needed to pay the legal bills.

To keep from being railroaded to a long prison term by the racist authorities Noah needs the active support of the community and of every anti-racist worker, black or white. Please join us in raising money for Noah's legal defense and, more importantly, in helping build a mass movement demanding Noah's release.



Who is Noah Roisten?

Noah Roisten is a young black man who has been held in jail for 17 months on one quarter million dollars bail for the simple act of having defended himself from an extremely violent armed attack of a racist gang. Despite the fact that there are numerous unbiased witnesses to the fact that Noah was the victim of a racist attack and was acting in self-defense, and despite the fact that Noah suffered severe internal injuries from the racist attack, the police and government prosecutor have charged Noah with first degree murder. The persecution of Noah Roisten is yet another example of how the government of the rich promotes, protects and supports racism.

(Excerpted from Nov. 12 "Boston Worker," paper of MLP-Boston)

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In midst of Reaganite hypocrisy about drugs

New York's 'finest' caught in the drug trade

Eight policemen from the 77th Precinct in Brooklyn, New York were indicted November 6 for sale or possession of illegal drugs. It is reported that the policemen were involved in stealing crack, marijuana, and guns from drug dealers and then reselling them.

These indictments provide more evidence of the hypocrisy of the Reaganite "war on drugs." When soldiers for the "war on drugs" are themselves part of the drug traffic, why should anyone believe that more police enforcement will stop the heavy toll taken by drug abuse? They shouldn't! The bipartisan "war on drugs" of Reagan and the Democrats is aimed more at stepping up the repression on ordinary working people than at breaking up the big-time drug rings or punishing the rich who profit off of the ruined lives caused by the drug trade.

"War on Drugs" Aimed at Repression of Working Masses

At the center of the bipartisan, anti-drug measures passed in Congress this October is increased funding for police, jails, and border patrols. The bill will add more than a billion dollars to the $2 billion already spent yearly for police enforcement.

But increasing the police forces does nothing to deal with the chronic social diseases that give rise to the blight of drug abuse. Unemployment and poverty, overwork and harassment in the work places, racial oppression and terror against immigrants, these and other abuses of grinding capitalist exploitation are the roots from which drug abuse grows. But instead of dealing with these problems, Reagan and the Democrats have launched more repression against the ordinary masses in the cities and the immigrants on the border. The real nature of their "war on drugs" can be seen in the experience in New York City.

Terror Against Ordinary People While the Bigshots Are Off the Hook

The offensive against drugs in New York City has been well publicized. Police raids on the housing projects of the poor, impounding the cars of workers and young people caught buying drugs, and other police repression against working people was supposed to stem the tide of drug traffic in the city.

Then, all of a sudden, it came out that illegal drug dealers were complaining not that they were being suppressed but that policemen were stealing their drugs to sell. This complaint eventually led to an investigation by a special state prosecutor and the indictment of several cops. Instead of stopping the flow of drugs, it turned out that policemen are involved in spreading them.

Police Commissioner Benjamin Ward claims that the police involvement in the drug traffic is not a major citywide phenomenon. But this is hard to believe. The investigation that was carried out involved only the 77th Precinct and even it was cut short. The investigation was uncompleted because "someone" leaked out that the investigation was going on. There is speculation that the source of the leak was from the special prosecutor's office itself. At any event, there was no attempt to even investigate drug running, bribery, and so forth in the rest of the police department.

What is more, the special prosecutor, Charles Hynes, admits that he concentrated the investigation on ordinary policemen while leaving the bigshot public officials untouched. Hynes justified this blind spot toward the bigwigs on the amazing grounds that they are harder to catch. "Corrupt public officials do not make an appointment at 3 p.m. to take $100 on the comer of Thompkins and Myrtle Avenue," he said. "Police officers, unfortunately, over the years, do precisely that." (New York Times, November 10, 1986) In other words, if you have the position and power to slightly conceal your illegal drug dealings you have no worry from the prosecutor's office.

Down With Reaganite Hypocrisy

But all of this is only what is to be expected. Drug running is a major profitable enterprise, and in this country no one is more favored than those who can turn a quick buck. It is not only policemen in the 77th Precinct, or only the New York police department, that are involved in the drug trade. Reports frequently leak out from around the country of law enforcement officers and other public officials who are taking their cut. Just this summer we heard that seven Miami policemen, apparently being true to the name "Miami vice," were indicted for using their positions to run a cocaine and marijuana operation.

Indeed, when we see Reagan and the Congress sending millions upon millions of dollars to support such well known drug runners as the Nicaraguan contras, it becomes clear that the government, from the highest levels on down, condones drug trafficking. The problem of drugs in this country won't be solved until this rule of the rich is overthrown and the degrading social conditions of capitalist exploitation, which give rise to drug abuse, are swept away. Neither police repression nor liberal do-gooders will help. It is up to the working class to organize the day-to-day struggle against every ruinous condition that the capitalist system imposes on the working masses and to merge the various streams of protest into a single revolutionary torrent that will sweep away this rotten system.

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On the midterm elections results

The Senate majority remains a Reaganite majority

The 1986 elections are done and over with. The Democrats and Republicans spent more than a billion dollars in this year's campaigns. But they only succeeded in showing, more strikingly than ever, that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two capitalist parties.

There are many concerns agitating the working people, but the elections didn't address them. It is therefore hardly a surprise that voter turnout was 37.3% of the registered voters, the lowest since 1942!

The Democratic Party recaptured control of the Senate, as well as preserved its majority in the House. Control of Capitol Hill passing into the hands of the party out of power may lead some to have expectations of change. But the truth of the matter is that this doesn't amount to even a hill of beans for the workers.

The labor chiefs of the AFL-CIO and other flunkeys of the Democrats, such as the pro-Soviet revisionist Communist Party, USA, are however crowing to the skies that the 1986 elections were a crushing defeat for Reagan. They tell us, now that the Democrats are in control of Congress, Reaganism will be challenged and things will change for the better for the working people.

But wait a minute. The Democratic chieftains themselves are making no such claims. On election night, as the Democrats were winning eight Senate seats away from the Republicans, Senator Byrd, the upcoming Senate Majority Leader, made it very clear that the Democrats were not planning to confront Reagan. Bipartisanship was the theme he stressed, not any sort of challenge against Reaganism.

Indeed, throughout the election campaign, the Democrats worked extra hard not to fight against Reagan. Just before the elections, the Wall Street Journal, mouthpiece of the monopolies, noted that "virtually nowhere in this huge arena of big-league politics will you find a major Democratic candidate opposing Ronald Reagan's politics. Something remarkable has happened to the Democratic Party. It won't fight.'' (Did it ever?)

And this is borne out even more if you look at the composition of the Senate Democratic majority. The majority in the Senate remains a Reaganite majority. The Democrats who replaced the Republicans stand for policies barely distinguishable from the Republican opponents they defeated.

Take a few examples. Democratic Congressman Richard Shelby defeated Republican Senator Jeremiah Denton in Alabama. But in the House, Shelby has stood with the Reagan administration on most issues. In Florida, Democratic Governor Robert Graham who won the Senate seat supports Reagan on Star Wars and aid for the contra terrorists.

Even the victors who have had a liberal reputation worked hard during the campaign to shed that image. Senator Biden who campaigned in 25 states for the Democrats says that the candidates he saw during his travels did "a lot of trimming of traditional liberal sails.'' Traditional liberalism didn't stand for the interests of the workers, but even its lip service for some of the needs of the masses is considered out of sync in the age of Reaganism.

The new Democratic leadership in Congress can also be expected to follow through on the Reaganite agenda. Sure, the Democrats will have their squabbles with Reagan, but the reactionary capitalist offensive that Reagan champions will very much remain in place.

The Senate and House will be under the charge of Senator Byrd and Congressman Jim Wright, who are well known for their conservative views.

The program to boost the Pentagon budget and rush towards war will continue unabated. Senator Sam Nunn will replace Barry Goldwater on the Armed Services Committee. Nunn is a well-known hawk, a good friend of the Pentagon. On election night Nunn pointed out that his top priority is going to be to keep Reagan's Star Wars program alive.

And in the area of social programs, Congress will continue the policy of cutbacks. Even the prince of liberals, Ted Kennedy, who is taking the chair of the Labor and Human Resources1 Committee, talks of support for a "revenue neutral'' approach to social issues. And don't forget Kennedy supported the Gramm-Rudman cutbacks this year.

It is quite clear that the Democrats will not challenge Reaganism in the next two years. After all, they have collaborated with the Reaganite program through the last six years of the Reagan presidency. And this isn't because of the fairy tale we are told about the popularity of Reagan's policies. No, it is because the Democrats are the other party of big business. And Reaganism is the program of big business. It isn't just the right-wing agenda of the ex-Hollywood actor in the White House.

The working class cannot sit idle; we must confront the Reaganite offensive. With six years of Reagan, we are already in a new Viet Nam-type war in Central America. Bigotry against minorities and oppression of women are on the rise. The wages and working conditions of the employed are being cut down. Industrial accidents have been growing. The number living in poverty has increased. The environment gets worse.

The times cry out for change. But as election '86 reaffirms, change is up to us. Moving ahead requires not reliance on capitalist politicians but the mass action of the working people.

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Who pays for Boesky? Who pays for the mergers?

Boesky has made hundreds of millions of dollars off stock market manipulation and "insider'' information. He is an "arbitrager." He works with the stocks of companies about to merge.

Boesky's job performs no useful work at all. He doesn't add anything to the economy, produce anything, or provide any service.

The other speculators are complaining that Boesky cheated and illegally used "insider information" not available to them. But even if Boesky had obeyed the rules, he still wouldn't have been doing anything productive. He is one of the small handful of investment bankers, corporate executives, lawyers, etc. who make millions from the merger fever that has struck big business. Mergers have zoomed to the point where they affect firms valued at close to $200 billion in a single year. And each merger gives millions upon millions in fees, percentage commissions, profits from buying and selling junk bonds, and "golden parachutes" to speculators, executives, and other parasites. Each of them is a little Boesky in his or her own right.

This money comes from the concessions, the wage cuts, layoffs, and speed- ups that are being imposed on the workers. These concessions, which ruin workers by the hundreds of thousands, which push millions to the wall, which drive the standard of living down, are done for the sake of the super-profits of a handful.

Today the capitalists talk of driving wages down while even first-year people in the investment houses on Wall Street look for quarter-million dollar salaries.

Should the workers keep sacrificing for the profits of Boesky and the New York Stock Exchange? Or should the Stock Exchange, the parasites, and the "golden" privileges of the high-living executives be sacrificed for the good of the working class?

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Court orders schools to cater to religious bigotry

The Reaganites are seeking to poison the minds of the people. One of their chief means is the promotion of religious bigotry. They don't want the workers to see the cause of poverty and misery in the capitalist system of exploitation, but in failure to uphold religious doctrine. And they want to produce stormtroopers ignorant of everything.

This was what was at stake in a court case in Greeneville, Tennessee. A group of religious fundamentalists objected to the school books that didn't drill students in religious bigotry.

What books did they object to? Well, here's a sample.

They objected to the Diary of Anne Frank, which is against the persecution and murder of Jews by the Nazis. Their reason -- Anne makes statements in favor of religious tolerance. They oppose such toleration and hold that the textbooks must not put other religions on a par with Christianity (to say nothing of putting atheism on a par with Christianity).

They objected to the Wizard of Oz because it showed the development of personal virtues such as courage, intelligence and compassion by one's own efforts rather than saying they are god-given.

They objected to books mentioning the causes of tidal waves because in their, view only god is the cause.

They objected to any mention of when dinosaurs lived (unless one lies about when that was) because it goes against their time table for when god created the universe.

Shakespeare's Macbeth really sent them running with its inclusion of witches in the cast of characters. Cinderella was condemned for magic; the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen for fortune telling; Greek and Roman mythology for idol worship; etc.

For that matter, they object in general to requests for students to use their imagination "beyond the limitations of scriptural authority." This strikes hard at many science texts. In short, they were against any contact of their children with modern science or modern thought. Their children were to be kept ignorant and isolated and bigoted. And they demanded that the schools were to take part in this religious indoctrination. Even neutrality towards this indoctrination was condemned. (Just imagine how scared the fundamentalists are that their children might have any thought of their own or be able to judge things for themselves.)

The Courts Agree

And the court agreed. It specified that the public schools must cater to this religious indoctrination and religious bigotry. Their children were to be excused from reading any book that might undermine their faith in the good, old time, cross-burning religion. Any book the parents objected to.

Nor was this a fluke. This decision was in line with the current Reaganite doctrine that the schools should indoctrinate "Christian values."

The Reaganite think tanks have explained that indoctrination of Christianity supposedly does not violate religious freedom. On the contrary, failure to promote Christianity allegedly amounts to preaching "secular humanism." They use this obscure phrase, "secular humanism," to refer to any explanation of world events that doesn't refer to religion. They claim that "secular humanism" is a religion, the religion of denying the supremacy of Christianity. All this double-speak is for the sake of reinterpreting the U.S. Constitution. When the First Amendment denies the establishment of a state religion, it is not forbidding the state indoctrination of religion. Oh no, it is really guaranteeing that Christianity must be taught in the schools. Why, if Christianity isn't taught in the schools, it would amount to establishing a state religion of "secular humanism." (This is a fine example of what the Reaganites mean when they talk about the "strict construction" of the letter of the Constitution.)

And this sick joke is being taken up by the courts. This proves once again that the courts are simply the tool of the ruling class. There is nothing too absurd, nothing too ridiculous, for a pro-capitalist court to take seriously -- just so long as it is in the interests of the powers-that-be.

Some Reaganites Add an Amendment

Of course, not all the Reaganites applauded the Greeneville court decision. You see, the fundamentalists in Greeneville went so far that the teaching of any science might be impossible. Anyone could object to anything on the grounds of religious prejudice. So if the schools were to be refashioned according to fundamentalist principles, you could rule out science. And the Reaganites do need the results of science, if not the spirit. You see, science is needed for atomic bombs and star wars. Science is needed for developing new ways of sweating the workers in the factories. Science is needed to compete in the modern world.

But the Reaganites also need shock troops of completely ignorant people. These are needed to break strikes, to beat up minorities, to invade other countries.

So the plan is to foster segregationist and fundamentalist academies and private schools to churn out the shock troops. But in other schools science must be taught (but perhaps not evolution and certainly not the science of how to change society and fight exploitation). Religious indoctrination is to be stepped up, but even poison has to be administered in the proper doses.

Science and Knowledge for the Emancipation of the Working Class

But the working class needs knowledge and enlightenment. In order to change the world, in order to eliminate poverty and misery, the workers must approach the world in a scientific spirit. They must not only look for the causes right here on earth of the problems that are suffered on earth, but they must look into the methods of changing society.

The working class clears the way to enlightenment by supporting true religious freedom. This means both freedom to worship any religion (and not just Christianity) and freedom to have no religion or to oppose religion. The working class unites in its struggle to change the world and triumphs over doctrinal differences about the afterworld. And, as the class struggle develops, more and more workers will come to realize that a consistent scientific attitude to the world banishes all religious ideas whatsoever.

Today it is the working class that is interested in knowledge, while the Reaganites are roaming through the medieval torture chambers looking for outdated barbarisms to bring into the future. But with Marxism-Leninism, the science of how to change society, the working class will conquer the backward-looking bourgeoisie. Let the bourgeoisie return to the dark ages. The working class takes upon itself the task of taking mankind into the future!

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Fundamentalist sues Satan in Arkansas

The Reaganites want to impose "Christian values" not only on the schools but on the courts. After the November elections an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate, Ralph Forbes, sued a public school district in Arkansas to make them stop observing Halloween. He charged it was a satanic holiday. To back this up he claimed to be suing not only on his behalf and that, of children, but also of Jesus Christ. (After all, if god talks to Robertson and tells him whether to run for president, why shouldn't Christ give Forbes power of attorney?) And he named Satan as a defendant, along with the school district, some officials, etc.

In this day, and age of Reaganite idiocy, you never know what the courts will take seriously. After all, a Tennessee court in Greeneville just upheld that having children read Shakespeare, or about dinosaurs, or about what causes tidal waves, violates the religious rights of fundamentalist parents. And a court in Italy took seriously the testimony of a self-proclaimed Jesus Christ in the "Bulgarian connection" case.

Now who wants to be co-defendant with Satan? So the defense lawyer filed a motion to dismiss Satan from the suit. He gave constitutional grounds. But just in case that didn't work, he added the argument that there is no proof that Satan transacts business, owns property, or had committed crimes in Arkansas.

It should be interesting to see how the court takes evidence on this case of Christ suing Lucifer. And do U.S. courts really have jurisdiction over the underworld?

If Satan is kept as a defendant, one can expect a whole new dimension to be given to the old excuse that "the devil made me do it."

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The 'amnesty' trap

Much is being made of the "legalization" or "amnesty" in the new Immigration Reform and Control Act. The sponsors of this racist, anti-immigrant law are advertising this alleged "amnesty" as a gesture of the "humane" and "big-hearted" attitude of the government towards the "illegal aliens." But cut through the fine words and big promises and you find that this "amnesty" is more of the tight-fisted and cruel oppression of the undocumented foreign workers.

A Mountain of Restrictions, Qualifications, and Conditions

To begin with, the "amnesty" is so bristling with restrictions that only part,probably only a small part, of the several million undocumented workers will be able to meet the requirements. There are dozens of conditions to meet this "amnesty." The following are the most important:

* An applicant must have lived as an "illegal" continuously in the U.S. since before January 1, 1982. This excludes all the more recent immigrants, such as several hundred thousand recent refugees from the U.S.-backed death-squad regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala. It also excludes anyone who has been out of the country for any length of time or, ironically, anyone who has had any type of temporary legal status (work permit, student or tourist visa, etc.) over the last five years.

To prove continuous residence will require documents such as pay stubs and W-2 tax forms. Many of the undocumented, living semi-underground and hunted by the authorities, either would not keep records, or would not have used their real names for employment.

* An applicant must show that he or she will not become a "public charge." The wording of this restriction is so wide open that it could exclude any worker who has needed unemployment benefits, workman's compensation, welfare, etc.

* An applicant must "show an understanding of English" and of U.S. history and government, or be enrolled in a course to learn them. This is not so easily done by an immigrant worker putting in 12-hour days washing dishes or bending over a sewing machine.

* Three misdemeanors or one felony committed in the U.S. is an automatic disqualification. This will exclude any worker or activist who has faced arrests on picket lines or in demonstrations, as well as countless victims of the racist and arbitrary persecution of the police. Moreover, it is possible that previous arrests and deportations for illegal entry into the U.S. may also be cause for exclusion. If this is actually enforced, this provision alone would exclude several million potential applicants. There are also vaguely worded restrictions against certain political activities before entry into the U.S., presumably for the purpose of excluding progressive people.

To apply for this "amnesty" requires filing with the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) within the next 18 months. This means putting your fate into the hands of the same INS which has been hounding the undocumented like a pack of wolves and which deported 1.8 million immigrants last year alone. If the arbitrary and racist bureaucrats of the INS deny an application, the immigrant will face arrest and deportation. And worse, if it judges that there were false statements or false papers used in the application, it carries penalties of up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

No wonder that there are grave doubts about this "amnesty" in the immigrant communities. In general the more stable and better-off immigrants (professionals, skilled workers, store owners, etc.) will be the ones who benefit most from this "amnesty." So will the predatory lawyers who have already begun swarming around the immigrant communities, offering to process "amnesty" applications for fees as high as several thousand dollars.

But for the majority of the super-exploited underclass of the undocumented, this "amnesty" is a cruel hoax. To escape their hunted status, some will take the risk of applying and will be accepted. Others will fall into the trap and be arrested and deported. Most will probably just remain "illegals."

"Amnesty" Without Rights

But even gaining "amnesty" is no paradise. In fact, the conditions of "legalization" are so obnoxious that many will undoubtedly choose to take the risk of continuing to live as an "illegal" under false documents over the humiliating terms of this "amnesty."

Upon receiving "amnesty" an immigrant will be given 18 months of "temporary residence"; then he or she has to re-apply and hope to be accepted for "permanent residence." And for five years the "amnestied" immigrant will be held in the purgatory of a humiliating, second-class existence.

Like paroled convicts, they will be placed under the scrutiny of a police bureaucracy, in this case by the INS. Violations of their original condition of "amnesty" are grounds for loss of status and deportation.

The "amnestied" will be barred from almost all federal and state social services -- unemployment insurance, food stamps, welfare, medical care, housing, etc. While they work and pay taxes like other workers, if they find themselves jobless, sick or homeless they will be left to suffer and starve.

The foreign-born, legal and "illegal," have always faced job discrimination that pushes them into jobs at the lowest pay and the most back-breaking work. The Simpson-Rodino Bill puts this into law, declaring that it is legal for employers to discriminate against the "amnestied" immigrants in hiring. The empty and toothless "anti-discrimination" clause attached to the employer sanctions will apply to citizens and other immigrants, but not to the temporary and permanent residents given "amnesty."

The "amnestied" will not be allowed to bring their spouses and children into the country. In the style of apartheid, this means that these immigrants workers will face years and years of the forced breakup of their families.

In short, this "amnesty" writes into law a specially oppressed status for the immigrants. It deprives them of their rights. It discriminates against them. And it helps to enforce the super-exploitation of immigrant labor by the bloodsucking exploiters. So much for the "humane" and "big-hearted" treatment of the immigrants by the capitalist government.

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The anti-immigrant Simpson-Rodino Bill:

Repression in the name of 'reform'

They have finally done it. In their rampage against the rights of the working people, the Congress and the White House have finally passed a sweeping overhaul of the immigration laws. The racist, anti-worker "Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986" fetter known as the Simpson-Rodino Bill and previously known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Bill) is the fruit of more than a dozen years of congressional dickering and more than a dozen years of racist hysteria about the need to crack down on so-called "illegal aliens."

The Simpson-Rodino Bill is being advertised as a "humanitarian reform." Supposedly it will "legalize" the "illegal aliens" with an "amnesty" that allegedly will bring several million undocumented immigrants "out of the shadows" of their semi-underground existence. But there are two big flaws in this promise.

First, the "amnesty" itself is a farce. It is so loaded down with restrictions that only a part of the undocumented will qualify. Even then, those who do qualify will face five years of second-class existence: barred from social services, discriminated against in hiring, and placed under the close watch of the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) with no guarantee against future deportation.

The "amnesty" is specially tailored for the labor needs of big agribusiness. Like indentured servants, many farm workers will be committed to put in three years of loyal service to the capitalist growers as a condition of their "amnesty."

Then there are those who will apply for "amnesty" only to fail to pass the arbitrary judgments of the INS officials. These unfortunates will fall into the "amnesty" trap only to face deportation or even prison.

Second, the bill is packed with repressive measures against the rest of the undocumented and other immigrants. And lurking within this complex law for "controlling" the immigrants there are menacing measures for "controlling" all militant workers and progressive activists. This is a monstrous police law:

* It puts in place civil and criminal penalties against employers who hire undocumented workers. Employer sanctions mean even worse job discrimination against the immigrants and, for that matter, any "foreign-looking" workers. (There are already reports of employers in New York City firing foreign-born workers in the name .of abiding by the new law.) They also mean turning each employer into an agent of INS and police surveillance over the workers;

* It permits the president to set up a national, computerized system of "document verification." While done in the name of "immigration control," this is a big step on the way of a complete Big Brother system that can be used for blacklisting militant workers, tracking progressive activists and other means of "control" over the whole population;

* It makes the use of false papers to gain employment a federal crime, with heavy fines and two-year jail sentences;

* It beefs up the criminal penalties for "smuggling aliens" into the U.S. with up to five years in prison "per smuggled alien." New language is added to assist the persecution of sanctuary activists. (The sanctuary movement has been assisting refugees fleeing from the death-squad regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala; and the government has been hounding sanctuary activists on charges of "alien smuggling.");

* It adds $868 million to the INS budget over the next two years, and also expands the Border Patrol police by 50%. This means a big escalation of the war of harassment, beatings, raids, and deportations that the INS and the Border Patrol have been waging against the immigrant workers.

These are some of the repressive measures in the bill that stand out. The bill also includes a number of less severe measures, and it can be expected that other hidden land mines of repression will surface from the hazy legal language of this far-reaching new law.

Reaganites and Liberals Join Hands Against the Immigrants and Workers

Ronald Reagan signed the Simpson-Rodino Bill because it is wholly in line with the Reaganite assault on the rights of the workers and all the oppressed. But this immigration "reform" has been long in the making. From its first stirrings way back in the Nixon era, it has been the likes of Peter Rodino, Ted Kennedy, and other liberal Democrats who have been its main sponsors. (While Kennedy did not vote for the bill this time around, he has over the years played a big role in keeping this type of immigration "reform" alive.)

When the bill finally breezed through Congress this October, it was the Democrats and liberals who cast overwhelming votes in favor. It was mainly the right-wing super-patriots who voted against, angered by even the token "amnesty" for the undocumented.

The Democratic politicians like to pose as "friends of labor and the minorities." But when it comes to the immigrants they spill their bigoted guts. Together with the chauvinist labor chieftains of the AFL-CIO, they try to scapegoat the immigrants for unemployment, wage cutting and the other "crimes of the capitalists -- crying for more deportations, jailings, and persecution of the undocumented.

At the same time, the Democrats were the ones who took on the job of wrapping the racist and anti-worker Immigration Bill in the cover of a "humanitarian reform." Peter Rodino, for example, advertises his bill as "show(ing) the big heart of America." Oh yes, some of these Democratic politicians wring their hands with concern that the bill may lend itself to discrimination and abuses. But, they say, that is all part of the give-and-take needed to pass their big-hearted reforms. The club of employer sanctions and the host of other police laws against the immigrants, they argue, is a necessary trade-off for their miserable farce of an "amnesty."

That's just how the bourgeois liberals horse-trade with the rights of the working people.

[Photo: Border police in action.]

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Boston protest against anti-abortion amendment

Five thousand people demonstrated October 18 in downtown Boston to protest a proposed anti-abortion amendment to the state constitution. This amendment (which was voted down in the November 4 elections) was pushed by the reactionary anti-abortion movement. It would have mandated the government to stop state Medicaid funds from paying for abortions, and would have prohibited private insurance policies from covering abortions. As well it would have penalized medical facilities that do provide abortions. This referendum would have been a step toward making all abortions illegal.

In their paper Boston Worker the Boston Branch of the MLP issued a call to participate in the demonstration. They pointed out that the amendment's measures aimed at making it even more difficult for poor and working class women to have abortions by driving the cost up prohibitively. This would only increase the already heavy burden they carry, as more women would be forced to choose between unwanted children and the danger of back-alley abortions.

Boston Worker also denounced the anti-abortion movement's propaganda that people should support the amendment because it would stop tax dollars from being spent to "take lives." Yet these "pro-life" hypocrites do not lift a finger to oppose the dirty CIA war of assassination and rape against the working people of Nicaragua, nor to oppose the huge stockpiling of weapons of mass murder by the Reagan government -- all of which consumes billions of workers' tax dollars. What's more, for all their talk about saving lives, the "pro-lifers" have not a word to say against the cutbacks in social programs that are devastating the working people and hitting poor women and their children especially hard.

The MLP organized a militant contingent in the demonstration. The Party's banner declared: "Down with the antiabortion movement! Defend the rights of working women!" In the march the MLP contingent raised these slogans and others for the rights of working class women. They denounced the offensive of Reagan and the rich and exposed the anti-abortion movement leaders as Reaganites who serve the rich. Putting forward the working class perspective on the question and raising other demands such as for child care and equal pay for equal work upset the bourgeois feminist leaders of the event. But a number of the MLP's slogans were taken up by many of the demonstrators.

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Delco workers strike for jobs

On November 17, the 7,700 workers at GM's Delco Electronics plant in Kokomo, Indiana began a six-day strike for job security. The strike halted the production of electronic parts that are used on every light vehicle that GM produces. It eventually shut down 18 of GM's 31 plants. Over 58,000 GM workers were laid off, some until December.

The Delco strike foreshadows the national contract struggle with GM and Ford which is coming up next fall. It demonstrated that the rank-and-file auto workers are becoming more and more determined to fight for job security. At the same time, it showed the betrayal of the United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership who continue to peddle the tired old lie that giving concessions can save jobs.

The Strike Had the Potential to Win Real Job Guarantees

The striking Kokomo workers were fighting against job elimination. GM had cut around 50 maintenance and tool-and-die jobs by subcontracting the work to outside, nonunion companies. As well, GM announced in October that it was planning to transfer the production of a new radio from the Kokomo plant to its Delco plant in Matamaros, Mexico. This plant reportedly pays wages of only about $2 an hour. GM claimed the production shift would eliminate about 600 jobs at the Kokomo plant over a three to four year period. UAW officials estimated the loss to be closer to 2,000 jobs.

The Kokomo workers wanted GM to guarantee their jobs. And their strike -- which shut down over half of the auto giants' system in only six days -- showed that GM was quite vulnerable to the mass struggle of the workers.

But the UAW leadership, in an effort to soften up the workers for a sellout, denigrated the strike. They claimed that GM was prolonging the strike in order to cut production and reduce its oversupply of cars. They covered up the real damage the strike was doing to GM. The strike not only shut down some of the overproduced car models, it also shut down plants producing cars that GM wants and needs, including those starting up the building of new models that GM hopes to introduce by March. The fact is that the strike was hurting GM and the workers were in a good position to win their demands.

Top UAW Hacks Agree to Phase Out Jobs

But the international UAW leadership took the strike out of the hands of the Kokomo workers. The top UAW officials did not even trust their local flunkies to do their dirty work. Negotiations were transferred to Detroit where the top leaders could quickly cut a deal with GM.

Even though the Kokomo workers had given concessions only two years ago, the UAW leaders agreed to trade even more concessions for a promise that GM would produce the new radio in Kokomo. The UAW hacks crowed that this was a great victory. But they covered up the fact that the agreement does not provide job guarantees. Indeed, the pact stipulates that jobs will be "phased out" over the next period of time.

The UAW leaders agreed to an estimated $25 million in concessions including job combinations, changes in job classifications, gutting of protective work rules, and so forth. Among the more "flexible" work rules agreed to is the elimination of transfer rights for the workers on the new radio line. They will not be allowed to transfer to another unit for 12 months.

These concessions are aimed at making the Kokomo plant more "competitive" with GM's sweatshop in Mexico. With the new concessions in hand, GM concluded it will now be profitable enough to produce the new radio in Kokomo. But while GM's profits are guaranteed, the workers' jobs aren't. The various concessions that were agreed to will cause the elimination of a series of jobs. And the contract itself specifies a "phase out" of jobs.

This agreement shows the complete bankruptcy of the UAW bureaucrats' policy. They refuse to fight against the auto billionaires to defend the workers' jobs. Instead, they claim that jobs will be saved by making each plant more competitive with every other plant (whether in the U.S. or in some other country). So they give concessions at each plant. But the concessions themselves result in the elimination of many jobs. And conditions are created for another round of competition between the workers at the different plants and another round of job-eliminating concessions. The UAW bigshots are not saving jobs; they are saving the multibillion dollar profits of GM.

A Growing Struggle for Jobs

The Kokomo strike is the most dramatic of a number of recent struggles for job security by the auto workers. For example, this summer's strike by 3,000 workers at Ford's Hapeville, Georgia plant was against speedup and the subcontracting of jobs to two nearby, nonunion warehouses. The October strike of some 600 workers at the GM tech center in Warren, Michigan was also against the shifting of jobs to nonunion contractors at two buildings GM had leased in the Detroit area.

These strikes show that workers are turning to mass struggle in order to defend their jobs.

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GM workers, get organized to fight for jobs!

On November 6, GM announced plans to close nine plants, shut parts of two others, and lay off 29,000 workers over the next three years. GM also declared that further shutdowns would be necessary. And, within a week, it laid off 1,200 workers at its ultramodern Buick City complex in Flint, Michigan.

GM Chairman Roger Smith showed no shame in making this announcement. In the cool, calculated language of a born money-grubber, Smith gloated that the closings would save GM $500 million. But what about the ruination of 29,000 auto workers? GM's response is more than callous. The announcement, at this moment, of so many plant closings which are to take place over the next three years, is designed to open up another wave of concessions bargaining leading to the 1987 national contract.

Already local officials of the United Auto Workers (UAW) have begun to scramble to offer more concessions to save their own plant at the expense of the workers at other GM plants. Meanwhile, the international UAW leadership forgot to so much as criticize GM's plan for throwing tens of thousands of workers into the streets. Instead, UAW chief Owen Bieber complained that GM isn't fighting hard enough against foreign imports; and he called for GM to unite with them for a tougher trade war against the Japanese and other foreign workers.

Such is the sellout policy of the UAW bureaucracy, not even a thought of fighting against GM to defend the workers' jobs. Rather they want unity with GM as they help to split up the auto workers, plant against plant, both inside the U.S. and abroad.

The auto workers can expect no help from the likes of Roger Smith and Owen Bieber. They have to take matters into their own hands and get organized for mass struggle. GM raked in profits of over $16 billion in just the last six years. It can well afford to provide jobs, or failing that, full pay and benefits for all of the laid-off. The workers have given GM too much for too long, now it's time for the workers to take something from GM. No more concessions! No more plant closings! Fight for jobs or livelihood for the laid-off!

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Where are the UAW chiefs' 'innovative job protections' now?

In 1984, the UAW leaders celebrated what they claimed was a major contract victory -- the trading of concessions for "job security'' for the GM workers. But GM's plan to close 11 plants and to throw 29,000 workers into the streets has exposed the bankruptcy of these supposed "job protections."

The most advertised measure was the "job opportunity bank" which was supposed to give laid-off workers pay, benefits, job training, and eventually new jobs.

But the bank's gone bust. Its funding allows no more than 4,600 workers a year into the program. What is more, a giant loophole negotiated by the UAW leaders makes most workers ineligible for the program anyway. The November 6 issue of the Wall Street Journal cites "industry sources" as admitting that, "most jobs in the expected wave of closings will fall into the big loophole in the pact, which exempts jobs lost because of market conditions."

While the job bank is closed to the workers, they can also expect their supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB) to quickly run out. This fund has never been designed to deal with more than short-term layoffs (such as for model changeovers) and always runs dry whenever there are large-scale, permanent layoffs.

The UAW promised workers that the "guaranteed income stream" would make up for the shortfall of their SUB payments.

But few workers will ever get this either. This benefit, applies to only workers with 10 or more years seniority. Further, it applies only to workers from plants that are "permanently closed." This leaves out at least those thousands of workers at the two plants which GM plans to close only partially. As well, any worker can be excluded from this benefit if he or she turns down another job offer, no matter how bad it is, from GM or from a government employment office. Since GM is eliminating jobs, and since there are more than 10 million workers unemployed, one can expect to be forced to work at McDonalds or some other sweatshop. But should any worker make it through all of these restrictions, he or she will still only receive 50% to 75% of their present take-home pay, depending on seniority. In other words, the few workers who meet the requirements can count on losing up to half their pay. This plan should be renamed the "guaranteed income cut."

The UAW leaders' "job protections" are worth little to the 29,000 GM workers who are facing the latest round of layoffs. They are mostly aimed at disorganizing the workers' struggle, at keeping the workers from fighting until their plants are already closed, and at forcing each worker to face mountains of GM red tape by themselves. The UAW leaders can't be trusted. The auto workers must get organized independently of the UAW bureaucracy to unleash the power of their 600,000 members to fight against plant closings and for full pay and benefits for the laid off until they are called to an equally well-paying job.


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Strikes and workplace news

Mississippi catfish workers organize

[Photo: Delta Catfish workers leave the plant after voting for union representation.]

The 1,050 workers at the Delta Pride catfish processing plant in Indianola, Mississippi have been fighting for nearly a year to organize themselves into a union. Ninety-five percent of the workers are black women. In their drive to get organized they have fought against firings, racist intimidation, sexual harassment, and threats to close the plant. On October 10 they won the vote to certify the United Food and Commercial Workers union as their legal bargaining agent. Only 9% of the workers in Mississippi are organized. With this victory, the Delta Pride plant becomes perhaps the biggest union shop in the state.

Workers Resist Abominable Conditions

Catfish processing has become a $650 million a year industry. Delta Pride is the biggest processing plant in the world, producing half of the catfish consumed in the U.S. The workers -- who kill, skin, fillet and freeze the fish -- face terrible conditions.

Wages average about $3.80 an hour, with only the most skilled making the top scale of $5 an hour. Workers receive no overtime pay and no downtime pay. Frequently they have to remain at the plant waiting for hours, without pay, for the raw fish to be brought in. As well, the workers have to pay the company for safety gloves, uniforms, and insurance.

The terrible speedup causes frequent injuries. At the skinning table, workers must wield their razor-sharp knives to skin at least ten fish a minute. Bad cuts are a daily hazard for them and for those who fillet the fish. Meanwhile a number of workers have lost fingers working at the handsaws.

As well, the workers face racist intimidation and sexual harassment from the foremen, who are almost entirely white men. Until recently, the bathrooms didn't even have doors on them and the supervisors routinely violated the workers' privacy.

Any complaints have brought immediate firings. And fired workers have frequently been blacklisted by other employers in the area. The workers set out in January to organize a union to fight these rotten conditions.

Solidarity from Other Plants

The Delta Pride capitalists hired a notorious union-busting law firm from New Orleans to try to smash the union drive. To try to prove a union was unnecessary, they gave the workers a 35 cents an hour raise. At the same time, they began firing a number of the key organizers and physically threatened other workers who supported the union drive. They even hired Charles Evers -- the mayor of Fayette, Mississippi and brother to the civil rights martyr Medgar Evers -- to come to the plant to try to convince the workers to vote no. Again a black bourgeois politician proved to be in the hip pocket of a wealthy white monopoly.

Just before the day of the certification vote, another smaller unionized catfish plant, Tunica's Pride of the Pond, shut down. And Delta Pride spread vicious rumors that unionization causes plant closures. But workers from the Pride of the Pond plant showed up at Delta Pride the day of the vote and exposed that the closing of their plant was a fraud (the plant reopened right after the vote). As well, workers from the ConAgra catfish processing plant in Isola showed up to support the union drive. In August, they had lost a union vote through a company-rigged election.

The Struggle Continues

Although the certification vote has been won, the struggle continues.

Since the vote, Delta Pride has stepped up its harassment of the workers. The workers are still fighting to win back the jobs of workers fired in the union drive. They are preparing for their first contract fight to win job security, decent pay and benefits, and protections against discrimination and degrading treatment. And they are joining in the drive to organize all 4,000 workers in the catfish industry.

Talks in John Deere strike collapse

On November 21,a United Auto Workers spokesman announced that negotiations between the union and John Deere had collapsed without a Single point of contention being resolved.

John Deere is the largest U.S. manufacturer of farm equipment. But crying about economic difficulties, it has laid off some 10,000 workers. And this summer Deere demanded a series of concessions from those still employed including cuts in the cost-of-living allowance.

In August, around 2,000 workers at the John Deere plants in Dubuque and Waterloo, Iowa and Milan, Illinois went out on what the UAW leaders called a "selective strike." Instead of using the collective power of all of the workers in the farm equipment industry to strike against layoffs and concessions, the UAW leadership has employed its "selective strike strategy." The UAW hacks claim that strikes at only a few plants of one company can put pressure on the farm equipment bosses while allowing the workers at other non-striking plants to continue to receive their pay and make contributions to the strike fund. But the John Deere company quickly locked out the 10,000 workers at its other 10 plants. By federal law these workers are considered part of a labor dispute and the state governments refuse to pay them unemployment benefits.

The impasse at John Deere has once again exposed the bankruptcy of "selective strikes" which only splits up the workers at different plants and companies and weakens their struggle.

Meatpackers fight scabs in Iowa

Since the middle of October, 315 workers have been waging a bitter strike against the Swift Independent Packing Co. in Marshalltown, Iowa. Swift is demanding a "permanent flexible work week," exclusion of new hires from the pension program, and a 19 percent wage cut (on top of the 39% cut in 1982). As well, state, county, and municipal police have been brought in to herd some 250 scabs across the picket lines.

But the strikers have fought back. On October 16 and 17 mass picket lines blocked the scabs. The police set off tear gas and arrested some 30 strikers. On October 20, the picket lines swelled as auto workers, bricklayers, and meatpackers from Austin, Minnesota and from Ottumwa and Cherokee, Iowa joined the strikers. Police armed with tear gas and riot gear marched on the picketers, arrested two, and cordoned off an area to escort in the scabs. On October 26, a solidarity rally of 650 workers from throughout the region marched around the plant. The struggle continues.

Hormel and UFCW chiefs to cut strikers' recall rights

In Austin, Minnesota the international leaders of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) have gone from one infamy to another. They recently forced through a new concessions contract by having scabs vote along with the strikers. The new contract left the strikers without jobs and only the thin hope of being eventually recalled. Now Hormel and the UFCW leaders are even working to eliminate the recall rights.

Hormel, pointing to a contract provision that bans boycotts, is threatening to cut workers from the recall roster if they continue to support a boycott of Hormel products. The UFCW trustees of Local P-9 have not only supported this threat, but they also sandblasted the militant mural that was painted on the local union hall during the strike and refused to allow the former strikers with recall rights to attend local union meetings. Obviously the recall rights were just an empty promise to try to cover up the fact that the UFCW leaders have thrown the strikers to the wolves.

Revisionist CP praises strike-breaking Democratic governor

The pro-Soviet revisionist Communist Party, USA recently promoted Minnesota's Democratic Party governor Rudy Perpich for declaring "Jobs, Peace and Justice Week" in his state. Making him out to be a staunch defender of the working masses, the CP even quoted his proclamation as stating that "it is the inalienable right of all citizens to a job with wages and benefits adequate to bring up a family with dignity, with safe working conditions and with mechanisms for the harmonious resolution of disputes..." (People's Daily World, November 8, 1986)

The CP forgot to mention that Perpich's idea of the "harmonious resolution of disputes" was to send the national guard to brutalize the Hormel strikers in Austin, Minnesota. Perpich's action backed up the concessions demands of the Hormel meatpacking monopoly against the jobs, decent wages, safe working conditions, and dignity that the Hormel strikers were fighting for. But this is nothing to the CP. After all, the CP itself opposed the Hormel strike. So when Governor Perpich claims he's for "jobs, peace, and justice," the CP tries to convince the workers that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, this is so.

Such is the disgusting role of the revisionists. They have turned their backs on revolution. They have-revised the principles of Marxism-Leninism to try to make it into a tame doctrine of petty reformism. So they repeatedly fall into the pit of even opposing workers' strikes and of prettifying the Democratic Party liberals who, like Reagan, carry out dirty strikebreaking for the capitalists.

Textile workers organize in North Carolina

Eight hundred workers at five plants of the Bates Nitewear Co. in North Carolina have organized a union. After a year of struggle, workers recently won the vote to be represented by the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union.

Bates is owned by the giant Gerber Products monopoly. The workers at these children's wear plants have no pension plan at all, receive low pay, and complain of favoritism and arbitrary discipline by the company. Workers from sewing plants in Maine and Virginia came down to support the union drive.

Two-tier wages kept in Boeing contract

Thousands of Seattle aircraft workers showed their contempt for a new concessions contract at a union meeting on October 3. They booed their International Association of Machinists negotiating team. They booed a priest who gave the invocation. They booed a youngster who sang the national anthem. And they hooted derisively as IAM general vice president, Justin Ostrow, claimed "This is the best contract we can bring you, short of a strike." Many workers tore up copies of the contract summary and threw them at the negotiators. A fourth of the over 20,000 workers at the meeting got up and walked out, making it clear they were voting no.

With this contract Boeing offered one-time, lump sum bonuses (12% the first year and 5% the second and third year) in a bid to maintain the concessions from the 1983 agreement and to add new ones. The freeze on base wages was kept, the multi-tiered wage structure was maintained, and new concessions were added such as a provision to force many machine operators to run more than one machine. According to an IAM spokesman, over two-thirds of the 38,000 workers at the Boeing facilities in Seattle, Wichita, and Portland voted for a strike against the company. The MLP put out three leaflets encouraging this struggle and worked to organize slowdowns and refusals of overtime work to prepare for a strike.

But the IAM leaders violated the tradition of no contract no work. They kept the workers on the job, and on October 8 brought back another agreement. Fearing that a strike might harm their $500-600 million profits, Boeing gave an inch. The demands for additional concessions were apparently dropped, although the company and union are to continue to negotiate on combining machine operators' jobs. As well, a new cost-of-living provision would give an immediate forty cents an hour wage increase. But the multi-tiered wage scale was maintained.

Lockout at Lockheed shows need for united action in the shipyards

Lockheed shut down its Seattle shipyard on November 17, locking out several hundred workers. The yard management stated that the workers are not welcome to return until they agree to Lockheed's demands for massive concessions. These arrogant executives also threatened that they will reopen the yard with scabs if the workers don't give in soon.

This aggressive action by Lockheed is the latest step of the overall strategy of all the companies to impose deep cuts in the West Coast shipyards. Their aim is, to take maximum advantage of the big layoffs by isolating the handfuls of workers left at each yard and picking them off one yard at a time. That's why the companies disbanded their employer associations this year and initiated separate negotiations at 52 different yards. Concessions contracts have already been unilaterally imposed at six of the small boatyards in Seattle. Now Lockheed is trying to speed up the process of ramming through concessions. Its attack is sure to be used by the other shipyard capitalists to threaten their employees.

The powerful alternative to concessions at Lockheed and everywhere else is a united strike of all the Puget Sound shipyards. This is the way to counteract the weakness caused by the fact that very small numbers are left at each yard. What has happened at the boatyards and Lockheed shows what, to varying degrees, will eventually happen at all the yards without a united struggle.

Lockheed's "Merit Pay" Scheme -- Never!

Lockheed's "take it or leave it" proposal demands deeper cuts than any other yard in this area and probably the whole coast. The contract contains a four-level wage classification: a "craft specialist" paid $11.25 per hour, "journeyman" $11, "mechanic" $9.75, and "helper" $7.25. All scalers would be cut to $7.25. Lockheed would be able to assign anyone to any classification and to order them to do any of the tasks that today are journeyman work.

Lockheed management has indicated that the vast majority of the workers would be declared "mechanics" and suffer a $3.75 per hour wage cut. On top of this, a smaller number of journeyman craftsmen were arbitrarily declared "helpers." This means a $6.25 per hour wage cut and they may be forced to do the exact same work as before!

This rotten wage system is nothing but a "merit pay" scheme like Lockheed has imposed at its small, nonunion yards. With the freedom to raise or lower wages by $4 per hour at its whim, Lockheed aims to divide the workers with the dog-eat-dog competition of a nonunion sweatshop.

Lockheed's contract provides for massive job elimination through virtually unrestricted craft interchangeability. It would also abolish the mandatory union hiring hall, gut seniority, cut benefit payments by 36%, cut overtime to time and a half. Etc., etc., etc.

Build Up the Resistance at All the Yards

The arrogant Lockheed moneybags have taken the point position in the companies' concessions drive. The lockout signals the need for workers at all the yards to push forward the resistance to concessions and find ways to develop this into a united struggle.

Workers at all the yards remain defiant despite the difficult situation. No one has fallen for the company propaganda that "concessions will create jobs" and every proposal put to a vote has gone down by at least 95%. Workers at several boatyards are carrying out slowdowns and other actions against the imposed contracts.

The slowdowns should be spread to every yard where the workers are still on the job no matter what wage rate they are paying today. Central to all actions organized by the rank and file should be the aim to develop contact and united struggle with workers in all the yards. Many workers at Lockheed have voiced the demand for a mass meeting of all crafts from Lockheed and Todd. This is entirely legitimate. A meeting of all workers, including those from the boatyards and Tacoma Boat, too, would encourage resistance and provide a forum to advocate united action against concessions. These are ways to take steps towards the only real alternative to concessions -- a militant united strike at all the Puget Sound shipyards.

(Reprinted from Nov. 17 leaflet of MLP-Seattle.)

Union hacks divide shipyards workers

The Seattle shipyard union officials condemn the companies' decision to negotiate each yard separately and claim that there is nothing they can do about it. B.S.! There is too something they can do about it. They could call a united strike at all the shipyards. These corrupt sellouts have not only refused to call a united strike, but they have actively worked to isolate the workers at different yards from each other.

The union bureaucrats are so dead set on keeping everyone divided that they won't even consider the most elementary demand for a meeting of the local shipyard workers. The Seattle Metal Trades Council overwhelmingly rejected such a demand from the rank and file in late October. The hacks are so afraid of the solidarity of the shipyard workers they don't even want them to talk to each other.

The metal trades officials are not only trying to divide the workers by yard, but also by craft. The Boilermaker hacks continue to threaten to scab on any shipyard strike. The officials of other crafts spread the myth that rank-and-file Boilermakers would go along with the union officials and actually scab. The bureaucrats' plan is to atomize the workers' ranks and make them so weak they won't even think about struggling.

Legalism to Hold Back the Struggle

At six of the Seattle boatyards, where concessions were imposed in August, the metal trades officials have found ways to pour cold water on the workers' sentiment to fight. They overruled the workers' 95% strike vote and ordered them to work under the imposed contract. The bureaucrats have tried to deceive the boatyard workers with the "hope" that a lawsuit against unfair labor practices will stop the wage cuts (or at least prevent the permanent replacement of workers during a strike. This special legal protection applies to an "unfair labor practices strike.") The hacks' chatter about a legalistic solution is a big hoax.

Such suits are decided by labor boards stacked with Reaganites, and only when they get around to it. Even in the unlikely event that they would rule in the workers' favor (assuming this would happen before the contracts expire in 1989), the concessions would not be blocked. The company would merely have to stop violating whatever technicality the labor board declared unfair. Then the company could "legally" reimpose the cuts and the workers would lose any special legal rights for a strike. The labor laws written by the capitalist state are not going to block the capitalists' concessions drive".

Joe Scab Calls for a "Solidarity Program"

A more sophisticated anti-strike tactic is the Boilermaker hacks' advocacy of their "solidarity program" or "in-plant tactics." Many workers in the boatyards have been surprised to hear the crusty Boilermaker hacks advocate things like slowdowns and informational picket lines, and to shut down various boatyards for a day by calling union meetings. After all, Mr. Pilato helped finger and blacklist militant workers who organized such things in the 1970's. And of course he has distinguished himself this year with his threat to scab on any shipyard strike.

Has Joe Scab turned over a new leaf?

No, Pilato is still up to his old tricks. But in this case the treachery lies not in what actions he is advocating, but to what end he wants them used for. Pilato is only interested in the "solidarity actions" as a means to confine 'the boatyard workers' struggle within narrow bounds. The Boilermaker officials want to let the workers blow off a little steam, yet still keep those at each yard isolated from the rest. As long as the struggle is limited to only the solidarity actions at a few individual yards the workers will be too weak to seriously challenge the imposed contracts.

The Boilermaker hacks used these exact same "in-plant tactics" at the Fluor and American Boiler shops. By remaining confined to only these tactics, the workers could do nothing to prevent concessions. In fact, American Boiler now has the lowest wage rates of any "union" shop in this area? The boatyard workers should continue to participate in the solidarity actions, but use them to build up the struggle rather than to restrict it. In particular, the actions can be used to promote the united struggle of all the shipyards. But watch out -- that kind of solidarity is sure to make Pilato come unglued!

(Taken from Nov. 17 leaflet of MLP-Seattle.)

Strikes at five Seattle boatyards

Last Friday, November 21, the workers at five Seattle boatyards walked out. These companies had imposed a two-tier system cutting wages from $2.50 to $5.50 per hour since August 18. At a mass meeting last Friday, the workers militantly denounced these concessions and voted (for the second time) by over 90% to strike. Pickets were set up immediately and mass picketing began at these yards this Monday morning to block the companies from taking applications from scabs.

This walkout is the opening shot of the fight to block concessions in the West Coast shipyards. It is an important step towards a united strike at all the Puget Sound shipyards. A limited strike is the only effective way to stop the concessions drive.

The workers now face two immediate issues. First, the strike must be spread to the other yards (Todd, Marine Power, and Tacoma Boat) as quickly as possible. Second, combined pickets of workers from all the yards and those laid off need to be organized in order to concentrate large numbers at each yard that tries to bring in scabs.

(Excerpted from Nov. 24 leaflet of the MLP-Seattle.)

45,000 construction workers protest scab labor


On November 3, over 45,000 union construction workers marched through the heart of Pittsburgh, in protest against the use of nonunion labor on downtown construction projects.

For three hours, the two-mile long solid mass of workers took over the streets. Even though they did not have a parade permit, the police backed off rather than attempt to confront the large throng. Bus and truck drivers, who were unable to move for hours, honked their horns in support.

Since October 25, workers have been gathering daily to protest against the use of scabs at one of the largest construction projects in the city. With each day, their numbers grew at the site until the November 3 march was called.

Shaken by the protests, the city officials and the contractor for the large project got together and agreed to start using union labor. Unfortunately, the construction union leaders pledged to keep the labor costs of the project within the budget (a budget drawn up on the basis of the lower nonunion wage rates).

The mayor of Pittsburgh pointed at this agreement to claim that the workers' protest had been "unnecessary." But this is ridiculous. More protests are needed to force the unionization of other projects and to bar the union hacks from imposing wage and benefit cuts down the workers' throats. The city government and the union misleaders may try to prove that protests are unnecessary. But the workers will not soon forget when they stood together and showed their strength!

Support the striking California hospital workers!


Over 9,600 hospital workers have been on strike since October 27 against 26 Kaiser hospitals and clinics of the northern California region of this huge health maintenance organization (HMO).

On November 13th, 4,000 workers carried out a militant protest through the streets of Oakland, California. Joined by many other workers, the striking Kaiser workers marched two miles shouting, "Hi hi, ho ho, two tier has got to go!" and "Beat back Kaiser's attack, no two tier, no subcontract!" During the rally, rank-and-file strikers began to march across the street to surround the Oakland Kaiser Hospital and protest against the scab doctors working there. But union hacks from the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) called them back and blocked the action.

Picket Lines Cripple Kaiser

The SEIU hacks and the bureaucrats from the MEBA (Engineers and Scientists of California) have also tried to undermine the daily picket lines which have been central to crippling the Kaiser system.

The health care monopoly has tried to keep its operation going by paying double-time wages to Kaiser workers who would cross the picket lines. And it offers $400 a day, plus room and board, to nurses from other states who will come to scab on the California strikers.

But picket line actions have stopped truck deliveries and impeded the scabbing. The striking housekeepers, clerks, and lab techs have received strong support from the clerical workers and registered nurses. On November 3 and again on November 7, over 300 uniformed nurses rallied and marched around Kaiser Hospital in Oakland. Workers from other hospitals, cemetery workers, rank-and-file members of Teamsters, longshoremen, and retired Kaiser workers have also been joining the picket lines. Several workers have been arrested in these actions.

To try to undermine the mass actions, the union hacks have called for "moving the picket lines away from Kaiser's front door and out into the community." But the rank and file have resisted the hacks' orders.

The MLP, citing the strong sentiment of solidarity among the workers throughout Oakland, called for the workers to "bring the community onto the picket lines." At least at one hospital, a rank-and-file action committee has been launched which, independently of the union bureaucrats, is mobilizing other working people to join the picket lines and to carry forward actions concentrated on blocking truck deliveries and making scabbing more difficult.

Faced with the united strength of the workers, big, bad Kaiser has found itself pinned down and incapable of resuming full operation. It has canceled countless appointments and all elective surgery. And it is paying tens of thousands of dollars to other hospitals to care for Kaiser member patients.

Kaiser Millionaires Demanding Still More

Kaiser is trying to ram through a two-tier wage system that would slash wages 30% for all new hires employed outside Oakland or San Francisco. This demand is combined with a proposal for a wage and benefit freeze for those already employed. As well, Kaiser wants the right to subcontract out work presently done by Kaiser workers -- thus creating massive layoffs. Taken all together, the proposed contract amounts to a declaration of war on the wages and conditions of the Kaiser workers.

Kaiser refuses to discuss a major concern of the strikers: the quality of patient care. Among the horrendous cost-cutting measures implemented by Kaiser is the monitoring of phone calls between nurses and patients to enforce a three-minute consultation limit. Strikers are also demanding an end to the current six-week wait for appointments and to the limiting of doctor visits to 15 minutes.

To justify its attacks on the workers, the health care giant has been yelling itself hoarse about staying competitive -- by which it means staying on top of the heap. It is worried that it will lose its supreme position to the many smaller health plans that are coming into the field.

The fact is that Kaiser, the original HMO, is the largest and richest health care corporation in the world. It has two million members in northern California alone. Kaiser raked in over $359 million in profits last year and it currently holds assets of about $1 billion. These greedy profiteers not only want to remain on top, they want to make even more money. And, as a typical capitalist conglomerate, it tries to achieve this at the expense of the workers.

Kaiser became large from the inflow of unionized workers who won their demands for employer-paid health coverage. They want to become larger by grabbing concessions from their own workers and by giving as little care to their patients as possible. But the same workers who built Kaiser are now crippling it. The strikers, with the strong solidarity they have received from other workers, are helping to open up the struggle against the two-tier wage structure and other concessions not only at Kaiser but throughout California industries.

Strike for first contract at LTV Aerospace in Arkansas

The 450 workers at LTV's Aerospace and Defense plant in Camden, Arkansas organized themselves into a union over a year ago. But LTV refused to recognize the union or sign a contract. In June, the workers went on strike demanding union rights and higher pay. They receive only about half the wages of workers at the organized LTV aerospace plant in the Dallas area.

To try to break the union LTV offered a 3% pay increase and then started bringing in scabs. Although the courts have banned picketing of more than two LTV workers at a time, workers from other plants in the area have come out to form mass pickets to confront the scabs and their police protectors.

The workers at this LTV plant say they are not just fighting for themselves. There are more than 6,000 unorganized aerospace and war production workers in the area. The LTV workers are fighting for union rights at their own plant to help open up a drive to organize all the other unorganized workers.

USX workers clash with police

Workers at the USX mill in Lorain, Ohio have been waging a stiff battle to block the shipping out of pipe. USX had promised that it would do no more shipping from the mill. But at the end of November they began trying to sneak out pipe. Workers got wind of the steel giant's plans and quickly threw up a mass picket line on November 24 which blocked the shipment. The next day hundreds of workers again blocked the shipment.

Then, on November 26, some 300 policemen were dispatched to get the shipment through. They cordoned off a three mile area surrounding the mill. Then they viciously attacked the nearly 200 steel workers who had set up a picket line. In the fighting that took place, there were broken bones, some workers were injured, and several were arrested.

Bureaucrats from the United Steelworkers union (USWA) immediately called for workers to stay away from the mill. But rank-and-file activists called for the struggle to continue and for revenge against the cowardly police attack.

Negotiations Collapse

Meanwhile, the first negotiations since the USX strike began collapsed on November 23. USX is still refusing to agree to any curtailment of its right to contract out jobs. For over six years it has been bringing in some laborers and janitors, for instance, at wages of only about $5 an hour. USX also wants to eliminate thousands more jobs through job combinations and attrition. And the steel monopoly continues to push for major wage and benefit cuts.

The USWA leadership, unfortunately, has already agreed to wage and benefit cuts of around $2 an hour and to job cuts through attrition. But USX wants more and so the talks fell through.

The rank-and-file steel workers want an end to the concessions railroad. But the bureaucrats have been undermining the anti-concessions strike at every turn.

Last year the union leadership agreed with the steel corporations that the industry-wide steel contract should be broken up to company by company contracts. Workers at each company have been left to fight the companies' concessions drives by themselves. The union leadership allowed USX to amass huge stockpiles to protect' themselves against this strike. And the union hacks are allowing USX to ship steel out across the picket lines despite efforts by the workers at many plants, like those in Lorain, to stop this.

Despite the bureaucrats' betrayal, the four-month strike by the 44,000 USX workers is beginning to take its toll. USX's stockpiles now are running out and the steel monopoly appears to have lost its steel orders for the first quarter of 1987. Although negotiations have temporarily stopped, the strike is now beginning to put the hurt on the billionaire steel giant.

[Photo: Four hundred steel workers converged on the railroad tracks at the USX plant in Lorain, Ohio to block a shipment of pipe on November 25.]

Splitting ARMCO workers mill by mill

July 31, the union leadership extended the ARMCO strike deadline so that ARMCO and USX wouldn't be struck simultaneously. And in early November, the USWA bureaucrats signed a concessions contract at ARMCO which went so far as to agree to different wage rates for the workers at each of ARMCO's three mills. The USWA hacks began by splitting up the workers company by company. Now they are even splitting them up mill by mill.

Bethlehem workers picket against contracting out

Steel workers picketed Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point headquarters near Baltimore in early November. They were protesting Bethlehem's violations of the new contract which was just signed July 1.

In the contract, enormous concessions were traded for Bethlehem's promise to stop contracting out jobs to low wage, nonunion companies. But since the contract was signed, the company may have even increased some contracting out. The workers are so agitated against the company that they made the union leaders withdraw from the labor- management participation teams in October.

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Why is Reagan dealing with the Khomeini regime?

The details about Reagan's latest scandal are still unraveling. There are many sides to this story, and if you follow the press, it is easy to get swamped by a thousand and one details. But what are the big issues at stake?

Two issues of policy are already fully established: The first is that Reagan has been seeking an accommodation with the Islamic regime in Tehran. And the second is that out of this wheeling and dealing, the Reagan administration has been raising funds for the dirty counterrevolutionary war against Nicaragua. We discuss the contra connection in another article; in this article we want to explore what is behind the deals with the Iranian regime.

There is a certain irony in the situation. Reagan is notorious for having made a career out of Iran-bashing. He came into office this way. He has ranted and raved about Iran as a principal target of his "war on terrorism." And the Iranian regime, for its part, has tried to look and sound as an opponent of U.S. imperialism. Now, it turns out that behind the rhetorical displays, the devil Khomeini and the Great Satan have been reaching out to one another!

The capitalist media and the Democrats are attacking Reagan for not being Reaganite enough. They see the Iran deal as a sign that he's become "soft on terrorism." This is garbage. All along, the U.S. "war on terrorism" has been a gigantic exercise in hypocrisy, behind which Washington has sought to oppose revolutionary movements as well as any governments it didn't like.

The same gentlemen who single out Iran as a terrorist state have nothing but gushing praise for Israel -- which is in fact the biggest terrorist in the Middle East. Just count the number of victims that the Israeli government has bombed and gunned down over the years. These are the same gentlemen who've supported aid for the Nicaraguan contras -- as terrorist an outfit as they come. And what's more, these are the gentlemen who run the CIA -- the biggest international terrorist outfit of our times.

The Iran deal isn't a sign that Reagan is now supporting some sort of revolutionaries. No, the Iranian regime stands for counterrevolution. It is a regime that has been attempting to stabilize capitalist rule in the wake of the revolution. It is a ferocious enemy of the workers and peasants. It is a bitter enemy of Marxism.

The Iranian regime, in essence, is no different than any of the other capitalist tyrannies that Reagan ardently loves and supports -- from the. South African racists to the Pinochet fascists. The Iranian regime is only different because it emerged in the wake of a revolution -- one that Washington fiercely opposed; and the U.S. has found it useful to identify it with revolution in its continuing crusade against revolution.

The Deals With Iran

Contrary to Reagan's lies, the dealing with Iran has nothing to do with humanitarian motives. It has nothing to do with finding a just peace in the Iran- Iraq war. As for the release of hostages, they were at best a by-product of a much larger equation. The accommodation with the Iranian regime is a question of calculated imperialist wheeling and dealing and cynical "power politics." First, let's review the cornerstones of the deal.

* The first deal is well known by now. The U.S. government has been shipping weapons to the Iranian regime. Reagan lies when he says it was only a few, "defensive" weapons. In fact, it has included surface-to-air missiles, anti-tank missiles, and important spare parts. And as for the size of the arms shipments, it's already being revealed that the original claims were a gross underestimate.

* But the recent arms deals aren't the first attempts to help Tehran. The Washington Post has reported that in 1983, the CIA and British intelligence gave the Khomeini regime a list of Soviet agents and supporters in Iran, which led to the outlawing of the- pro- Soviet revisionist Tudeh Party and the execution of many of its figures.

* The Post also alludes to the fact that ever since the Iranian revolution, the CIA has made repeated attempts to make contacts and come to agreement with the Khomeini regime, even as it has been funding and supporting various right-wing opposition groups in exile.

* It is also clear that Washington's close ally, Israel, has been shipping arms to Iran from way back in 1981. The Wall Street Journal, among other sources, reports that these shipments had the tacit approval of the Reagan administration. Israel had its own reasons all along to support the Iranian war effort -- among other things, it wanted to help bleed its traditional adversary, Iraq i-- but both Israel and the U.S. hoped that the arms shipments would help curry favor within the Iranian establishment, particularly in military circles.

* Finally, a number of reports have appeared indicating that part of the U.S. deal with the Iranian regime has been an agreement to raise world oil prices, up to $18 a barrel from the current $12. The oil monopolies obviously know much more than they are telling. On Sunday, November 23, the New York Times reported on this, quoting an American oil watcher that "there is a convergence of interests between Iran, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. on an $18 price." It also quotes a Houston oil producer, a close associate of Vice President Bush, saying that "some of the people close to the president" have probably told Reagan of the national security implications "if the price of oil stays too low."

Probably more facts will emerge. But it is already clearly established that here we aren't talking about a small gift of a few arms, but a broad-ranging policy to make friends with the Iranian regime.

Why the Deals?

Why is this taking place? Because Washington knows full well that behind the rhetoric, the Iranian regime isn't a revolutionary government. It knows full well that this regime has clamped down brutally on the revolutionary forces, murdering tens of thousands and holding others in its dungeons. The U.S. knows that the regime is a capitalist regime which respects exploitation of labor. As well, Iran is strategically located next to the Soviet Union and the regime is hostile to the Russians.

But why has the policy escalated at this time?

For one thing, through the passage of time the Iranian regime has proved itself to imperialism. The Western capitalist press has for some time now been praising the business-like efficiency acquired by the clerical rulers. The Islamic rulers have shown that they want to go about the business of stabilizing capitalist exploitation. They have also shown a willingness to come to deals with other reactionary governments. There are signs that the Iranian regime has been reining in its efforts at fostering Khomeini-ite groups in the other Persian Gulf countries.

For another thing, Iran is facing an acute crisis at the moment. The war is taking a heavy toll, the oil price collapse has slashed its revenues, factories are being shut down widely, the discontent of the masses is growing. There is a possibility of social explosions, and a new period of instability for the regime is here. The crisis has led to increasing conflicts within the ruling circles. There are various factions which have emerged and are now engaged in acrimonious public debate and rivalry.

Washington hasn't given up support for various of the Iranian right-wing exile groups. But they haven't been all that successful. Meanwhile, the Tehran regime is showing that it can be dealt with on a closer basis than before. Thus the U.S. imperialists have decided to step up approaches to the Iranian regime. Washington's main goal is to fish in the current unstable waters in order to try to influence the coming developments in its favor. The U.S. is active in making bridges with those who are most likely to be pro-U.S. imperialist among the Iranian rulers.

These include military officers, whom the U.S. knows from the Shah's days, as well as elements from among the clerical rulers.

Why Will Khomeini Deal With the Great Satan?

For its part, the Iranian regime is denying that it has made any deals with the U.S. and is crowing about making Reagan look bad. But there are enough facts to suggest that this is just an attempt to put a good face over its side of this sordid affair.

The Iranian regime has historically tried to appear anti-U.S. imperialist. And this is because the Iranian people, quite justly, hate U.S. imperialism. Over the years, what didn't U.S. imperialism do against the people of Iran?

The U.S., under every president from Eisenhower to Carter, backed the brutal regime of the Shah to the hilt. In fact, the CIA helped bring the Shah to power back in 1953. And the Shah stifled all rights and freedom for the masses. He killed its opponents or put them in jail, to be tortured by the U.S.-trained secret police, the Savak. The U.S. armed the Shah to the teeth. In return, the U.S. got military bases, built up the Shah as a regional policeman, and U.S. corporations, the oil monopolies and others, got free rein to exploit the Iranian workers.

The Khomeini regime, being a regime of exploiters, has never had any fundamental contradiction with imperialism. It has been eager to deal with the other imperialists, such as the West Europeans and the Japanese. But Washington's hostility and the Iranian people's hatred for U.S. imperialism have made, a rapprochement with the U.S. somewhat difficult. But today the Iranian regime is wracked by crisis. It is more eager than ever to come to a deal with Washington, although it does not want to flaunt this openly.

Although much is made about this or that figure being more disposed to relations with the U.S., the truth of the matter is that the Iranian regime, from its highest levels, has endorsed the policy of reaching out to Washington. The Washington Post reports that a meeting was held in July 1985 between Khomeini and Iran's ambassadors to Western Europe and the Americas in which he called for rapprochement with the U.S. And a few weeks ago, after the story first broke, the Iranian ambassador to the U.N. confirmed that-his government was interested in better relations with the U.S.

When All Is Said and Done...

The exposure of the deals between Reagan and the Khomeini regime may slow things down. It may make continuation of the present deals somewhat difficult. But one thing has been established. Generally there is agreement among the U.S. capitalist rulers that the fundamentals of Reagan's Iran policy are right, even though there is debate over what form the approaches to Iran should take. Even those who oppose the arms deals with Iran by and large agree, however, that the U.S. must find approaches to influential forces within the Iranian ruling class.

This represents a major danger to the workers and peasants of Iran. If the U.S. government succeeds in establishing an alliance with those in power in Iran, it is the people of Iran who will suffer. Restoration of U.S. imperialist influence in Iran will not bring an era of freedom and democracy in Iran. Rather, it will back up reaction and the exploitation of the toilers with CIA and Pentagon "aid."

The workers of the U.S. have no interest in U.S. imperialist designs upon Iran. We should support the revolutionary movement of the Iranian toilers. There lies the hope for the liberation of the long-suffering Iranian workers and peasants.

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3rd National Conference of the MLP, USA -Fall 1986- Rank-and-file action against the Reaganite offensive! Build the workers' movement as a revolutionary movement!

[Photo: Longshoremen in Port Elizabeth, New Jersey stand firm against a scab trucker during the strike of 30,000 dock workers in October 1986.]


Rank-and-file action against the Reaganite offensive....................... 2
The Democratic Party is the other face of Reaganism...................... 3
Draw the workers into the political movement................................. 3
Build the party in the work places..................................................... 4
Build the workers' press.................................................................... 4
The historic mission of the working class -- putting an end to capitalist society.................................................... 5
Against the union bureaucracy.......................................................... 5
Against reformist liquidationism...................................................... 6
Solidarity with the revolutionary struggles in Central America....... 7
Apartheid No, Revolution Yes.......................................................... 7
Greetings to the Marxist-Leninist Communists of the world............ 8
On differences in the international Marxist-Leninist movement.............................................................. 8

Message to the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP-ML).................................................................. 8
Message to the Communist Party of Iran.......................................... 8
Message to the Communist Organization-Workers' Policy of Portugal............................................................................................. 8
Other materials from the 3rd National Conference will be published in future issues of The Workers' Advocate and the Supplement.

The 3rd National Conference of the Marxist-Leninist Party calls the workers to rank-and-file action against the Reaganite offensive!

The conference centered on strengthening the workers' movement. It analyzed the strike movement. It summed up the Party's work in the factories and other work places. And it denounced all attempts to subordinate the workers' struggle to the concealed Reaganism of the liberal Democrats and the union bureaucracy or to submerge it in the reformist tinkering of "left"-posturing bureaucrats and revisionist liquidators. The conference emphasized that progress, whether in the economic struggle or in the political mobilization of the working masses, demands that we build the workers' movement as a revolutionary movement!

The Strike Movement and Rank-and-File Action

The re-emergence of the strike movement has been the most important recent event in the workers' movement. After reaching its lowest point since the beginning of the Great Depression of the 1930's, the first stirrings of the strike movement began to break out once again in the middle of last year.

Some workers, such as those in basic steel, have again turned to struggle after having been kept sitting on their hands for years. There is a renewed use of mass picketing and other militant tactics to combat the capitalists' widespread use of scabbing and police repression. Solidarity strikes and demonstrations are also spreading. And there are flashes of struggle where, for short periods, workers break loose of restraints and wage wildcats and other mass actions over the heads of the sellout union bureaucrats.

In summing up the Party's widespread work in the strike movement, the conference stressed building up the independent motion of the workers and unleashing rank-and-file actions. These are the actions that slip the treacherous noose of the union bureaucracy and release the fighting initiative of the broad masses of the workers. These are the actions that have the greatest potential to combat the capitalists' concessions drive and to advance the overall struggle of the working class.

The conference analyzed the struggle between trends within the strike movement. The workers confront the disgusting class betrayal by the top union bosses of the AFL-CIO and Teamsters.

They also face a trend of "left" bureaucrats who posture for the "rank and file" and "against concessions" while tying the workers' struggle down in reformist compromise with the top union sellouts. Experience has shown that rank-and-file actions are prepared by persistent work to expose and combat these pro-capitalist trends and by using every opportunity to encourage the independent motion of the workers. The further advancement of the strike movement depends, to a great extent, on the rank-and-file activists consciously forging a trend opposed to the union bureaucracy.

The conference hailed the signs of renewed struggle. Although still scattered and sporadic, the strikes show the deep-felt anger of the masses. They are educating the rank and file. They are helping to prepare the workers for broader struggle in the future. They are providing another wide field for the Party to build up its influence and to step by step lay the basis for real, fighting organizations of the masses.

Build the Workers' Movement as a Revolutionary Movement

The conference held that the tasks of the working class activists are not confined to fighting against concessions. The workers' movement must be built as a revolutionary movement.

The mass strike movement against concessions must not just push for struggle despite the union bosses. It must be strengthened in an open fight against the labor traitors and seek to draw wider and wider sections of the masses into the struggle.

The workers must also push forward the mass political movements to fight Reaganite tyranny and racism, militarism and imperialist aggression. This is important in its own right. As well, for the economic struggle to be really firm and effective the workers must be enlightened by revolutionary political consciousness.

Persistent work is required to sever the workers from the liberal-labor politics of the Democratic Party and the union bureaucracy, to undermine the non-political atmosphere foisted on the masses, and to unite them in a movement based on the independent class interests of the workers.

As well, the struggles of today -- whether economic, political, or ideological -- need the perspective of socialist revolution to guide them forward and to inspire them with the alternative to this capitalist hell.

The conference laid stress on training the workers in party concept and on constructing the Party in the factories and other work places. This is the indispensable weapon needed to build the workers' movement as a revolutionary movement.

Deepen the Party's Ties With the Masses

At the 2nd National Conference, which was held in 1984, the Party analyzed the problems for revolutionary work under the present difficult conditions. It set out various tasks to deepen the Party's ties with the masses. This included improving the Party's agitation through such measures as regularizing The Workers' Advocate, producing a supplement, and other changes. And it included work to seize on the ripples of struggle in the local areas and work places to build up the influence and organized links of the Party among the masses.

The 3rd National Conference approved the advances made in fulfilling these tasks and discussed how to carry them forward.

The changes that were made in The Workers' Advocate have allowed for greater attention to providing guidance to the mass movements,and to educating the workers through hard hitting exposures of the political events of our days. While the paper has been made easier to read, its revolutionary orientation has been preserved. And it has continued to serve, along with the supplement, as an organ for the essential theoretical work of the Party.

The strengthening of The Workers' Advocate also reflected an improvement in the agitation throughout the Party. The local papers, leaflets, pamphlets, and so forth have shown a growing sensitivity to the political mood of the masses and an improved ability to link up with the still inconsistent, vacillating and incomplete revolutionary tendencies that exist among the masses. The Party's press is better able to speak the language of the workers, to appeal to the confused strivings of the still unawakened masses and to help bring them forward to a communist stand.

This revolutionary agitation helped the Party to strengthen its influence among various sections of the working masses. In the last two years the Party led a number of mass struggles. It was able to reactivate a trend of pro-party workers in some work places and to organize and extend that trend elsewhere. The Party also linked up with some organizations that spontaneously arose among militant activists and it built other modest mass forms. Overall, the Party expanded the distribution of its revolutionary literature and extended its contact with various militants. This lays the basis for gradually building up more organized links among the masses in the future.

Contradictory Situation for Revolutionary Work in This Period

These advances have come only through a most persistent, painstaking, and slow process. The conference discussed the contradictory situation for revolutionary work in this period.

The vicious capitalist offensive has produced a deep-seated anger, and the desire to fight back continues to boil up among the masses. In this situation sporadic battles break out, the masses are attracted to the Party's agitation, and the Party is able to spread its influence wider.

At the same time, the economic conditions and the general ebb in the mass movements creates pressure to break up and disperse organizations of the working masses. Thus building up organization and recruiting new members to the Party remains a slow, demanding process.

This difficult situation has been created by many factors. The plant closings and large-scale layoffs have tended to disorganize the workers. Meanwhile the bipartisan, united offensive of the capitalists has been able to temporarily put a brake on the mass struggle. While the so-called "free press'' in this country spends its time repeating Reagan's lies and justifying his clumsy, inept policies, the Democratic Party has rallied to the Reaganite program. The labor bureaucrats have turned to a business unionist approach to jointly administering the takebacks and productivity drive against the masses. And the black bourgeoisie has kept its back turned on the masses and is scurrying after a tiny share of the profits being amassed by the big monopolies.

It cannot be predicted when the ebb in the mass movements will pass. But it can be seen that the bourgeoisie is using up its reserves to keep the masses in check. The steps the capitalists have taken to forestall economic depression today are only intensifying contradictions and preparing the way for an even more devastating crisis tomorrow. One section of the masses after another is facing the prospects of ruin. As well the meager palliatives meant to cushion the horrors of capitalism are being stripped away. Meanwhile, there is a growing disrepute of their instruments of deception. Such developments are creating conditions for an even bigger upsurge of the masses against the capitalist parasites.

What stand should be taken in the face of this situation?

The reformist and revisionist groups have been swamped by demoralization and have turned to liquidationism. This is the latest phase of their throwing out of the revolutionary interests of the working class in favor of buttering up to the union bureaucracy and the Democratic Party liberals. Some have become little more than the foot-soldiers of the liberal-labor politicians. The despair of other revisionists is being displayed in semi-anarchist impatience, in deserting the factories and the workers to play at detached "actions" based on certain liberal and pacifist circles. These are but two sides of the same liquidationist coin. While one side justifies deserting revolutionary work on the grounds that snuggling up to the Democratic Party is supposedly essential to stay close to" the masses, the other side argues that upholding revolution requires deserting the masses. Both are a reflection of the difficult situation for revolutionary work and, at the same time, are part of the problem holding down the working masses.

The Party sternly rejected the opportunist paths and held firmly to the road of steadfast revolutionary work. It has not hidden away from the pressures, but faced them squarely, analyzed them, and taken various measures to combat them. The Party has carried out careful ideological and organizational work to consolidate the Party itself. It has worked to assist militant activists to stand up for a revolutionary, fighting policy. It has paid attention to concentrating its work and to making the best use of the forces around the Party. This and more has been done so that steady progress can be made in more firmly entrenching the Party among the working masses.

The harsh conditions of our day, and the exposures carried out by our Party, are helping to tear down all that is false, all that is corrupt, all that has been used to ensnare and hold down the working masses. How long before the dam bursts, no one can say. But underneath the apparent calm, the class contradictions are building up to an explosion.

The 3rd National Conference held that the work the Party is carrying out today is precisely what is needed. The Party's strenuous efforts are the chief guarantee that the working class will be able to organize itself; that it will be able to successfully lead all of the oppressed masses against the Reaganite assault; that it will be able to raise this struggle to a revolutionary crescendo that will put this man-eating capitalist system in its grave. The conference called on the workers, the oppressed masses, and all progressive people to rally to the Marxist-Leninist Party, the Party of truth, the Party of courage, the Party of revolutionary struggle for the bright socialist future.

Below are the resolutions adopted at the 3rd National Conference.

Rank-and-file action against the Reaganite offensive!

Today Reagan and the capitalist rulers have rallied around a vicious offensive against the workers and poor people, a drive to force back the clock of history. This is a drive to wipe out every gain the working people have made through their struggle and sacrifice in the past, whether it was in the class battles of the 30's or in the upsurge of the 60's.

Reagan speaks of the "new prosperity" in America. But this is a prosperity for the wealthy and the corporate bosses, not for the workers and poor. For six years now, the White House has presided over a vicious assault against the masses while lining the pockets of the rich with gold. While the corporations get huge tax breaks and fat military contracts, while the banks rake in big interest payments from the budget deficits, while profits zoom skyward on Wall Street -- the capitalist employers have kept up the demand for more and more concessions from the workers.

The high-living capitalist parasites say that the workers are paid too much, so they demand that wages be cut. And in the work places, overwork, speedup, and harassment are the rule. Millions remain unemployed, while a new round of layoffs and plant closings is already threatening to throw more out of work. In the meantime, Reaganism has steadily stripped down unemployment, welfare and other social benefit programs.

The capitalists have thrown down their challenge. For the sake of the profits of American business, they are demanding the massive driving down of the wages, working and living conditions of the workers.

What's more, the Reaganite offensive is an all-out drive against the masses, not just against their livelihood. Reaganism stands for forging new chains on the black people and other minorities with the stepping up of segregation, discrimination and Klan-style terror. And it stands for unbridled jingoism, for rampant militarism, and for new military adventures abroad. Today the U.S. imperialists have already begun a new Viet Nam-style war against Nicaragua.

Under Reaganism, the capitalists have stepped up the pressure of reactionary, bourgeois ideas and culture against the workers and young people. In the name of promoting a "new pride" in America, the capitalists are glorifying acceptance of the way things are. They proclaim that the highest goal a person can have is to be rich, and they promote contempt for any higher aspirations, such as the idea of changing the world for the better. In addition, this cultural offensive is a crusade of mindless, flag-waving patriotism, of worshiping militarism and war, of hatred for foreign peoples and minorities, of religious bigotry and intolerance, and of brutality against women.

The Reaganite offensive is not just Reagan's program alone. It is a bipartisan offensive pushed by both the Republican and Democratic parties. In fact, Reaganism is nothing other than the class war of the capitalists against the working people.

In the face of the bipartisan capitalist offensive, progress for the workers will not come by waiting for deliverance from the government, politicians or corporations. No, the fight to go forward requires class struggle. To defend the gains the masses made in previous rounds of struggle requires returning to the path of struggle that won those things in the first place.

Today there is a widespread feeling of outrage and indignation among the workers and downtrodden. Already there is a revival of the strike movement, although it still remains at a low level. And there continue to be sporadic outbursts of protest against war and racism. These stirrings are the sign of the movement to come and must be developed.

The Third National Conference of the Marxist-Leninist Party calls upon the workers to transform their anger into rank-and-file action against the Reaganite offensive.

The MLP emphasizes rank-and-file action because the trade unions and other organizations that the masses look towards to defend their concerns are under the control of sellout misleaders. The labor bureaucrats and other liberal and reformist chieftains are slaves of the Democratic Party. From the outset of the Reaganite offensive these misleaders have been doing their best to smother the mass struggle. Under these conditions, the struggle of the masses must be launched over the heads of the official and respectable leaders.

Rank-and-file action was the militant spirit of the 1960's and 70's. It is action by the workers themselves, when the masses themselves decide that enough is enough and their demands must be reckoned with. Rank-and-file action is a question of launching strikes and other job actions, of building protests and demonstrations. It is a question of breaking out of the bounds that the authorities and misleaders demand the workers must stay within, a time when the workers refuse to simply beg for favors, and become fighters through confrontations with the corporations and government.

Rank-and-file action raises in the minds of the masses the necessity for independent organization, for building up fighting organizations that can effectively wage struggle. Only when it is backed by organization can struggle be sustained.

It is when the rank and file has initiative in its hands and can block the treachery of the misleaders that the workers have the best chance to win their struggles. Sometimes even when they don't win their demands, the workers can succeed in extending their organization -- which puts them in a better position for the future. At other times, the workers may suffer bitter defeats; but there are valuable lessons for the future in a hard-fought struggle. There will be an inevitable next round of battle. And the lessons learned in each round of struggle must be carried forward into the next round.

In the course of struggle, the workers begin to break free of capitalist influences and develop awareness of their own class interests, strength and goals. But this cannot be left to spontaneity. The building of working class struggle and organization calls for a widespread challenge of the ideas and lies spread by the ruling class. For this, the class conscious workers must work to develop the workers' press, to spread revolutionary ideas and agitation far and wide.

These steps -- rank-and-file action, independent organization, and the spreading of progressive and revolutionary ideas -- are the tasks of the hour. They are the next steps for building up a powerful working class response to the capitalist offensive.

The Democratic Party is the other face of Reaganism

Six years of Reagan have proved time and again that the Democratic Party also stands for the backward, Reaganite agenda. In the last few months alone, the Democrats have added to their list of crimes against the working people an orgy of collaboration with the Republicans. They have endorsed a new round of cutbacks with the Gramm-Rudman bill. They have joined eagerly with Reagan in the dirty war against Nicaragua. And they have just passed the Simpson-Rodino anti-immigrant bill.

And where the Democrats run governments, they show they are equal to the Reaganite Republicans when it comes to supporting wage cuts, speedup and cutbacks against the workers. The Democratic governors and mayors have followed the same anti-worker economic policies that Reagan has championed from Washington.

The Democrats are strikebreakers and union busters no less than Reagan. In the strike of the Phelps-Dodge copper miners, it was Democratic Governor Babbit who sent in the National Guard, as it was Democratic Minnesota Governor Perpich who did the same against the Hormel workers. And it was Democratic Mayors Coleman Young in Detroit and Wilson Goode in Philadelphia who came down fiercely against the city workers' strikes this summer.

The Democrats pose not only as the party of the working people but also of the black and Latino people. In truth, however, they are a racist party no different than the Republicans. The bigoted Dixiecrats of the South are still a cornerstone of this capitalist party. And even the liberal politicians, including the black bourgeois who have made their home in the Democratic Party, stand against the needs of black and other minority workers. After all, it was none other than black mayor Goode who ordered the bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia, murdering eleven black people and ravaging an entire neighborhood.

The Democrats and Republicans are engaged in a contest over the mid-term elections these days. The Democrats claim that the masses must help them gain control of the Senate. But these elections are an empty battle. No matter who wins, Reaganism will be assured of dominating Congress and the Reaganite bills will continue to be churned out one after another.

This is because the Democrats, equally with the Republicans, are a political party of monopoly capitalism and imperialism. And it is this man-eating system of exploitation, reaction and war that is propelling the Reaganite offensive.

At the same time, the liberal-labor politicians of the Democratic Party play a special role in this offensive. With the loyal assistance of the trade union bureaucrats, the black bourgeoisie, the social-democrats, and other reformist forces, they strive to co-opt the mass opposition to Reaganism. They attempt to bind every outbreak of struggle and protest to the electoral campaigns of the Democratic Party, and to smother the mass struggles under the liberal and pacifist politics acceptable to the Democratic Party chieftains.

Therefore, the fight against the Reagan offensive is inseparable from the struggle against the capitalist parties. And it demands a determined struggle to free the mass movements from the confines imposed by liberal-labor politics. On this road the working class and oppressed masses can unleash a powerful revolutionary movement.

Draw the workers into the political movement!

A crucial part of the work of building up the workers' movement is bringing the working class into the political struggle.

Today decades of liberal and revisionist politics have resulted in the workers' movement being considered as something restricted to the economic struggle. Of course workers vote in elections and individual workers take part in meetings. But it is taken for granted that the workers' own specific movement, and their class struggle, is restricted to economic interests. The workers are regarded as simply an economic special interest group in the liberal political coalition. This is one of the greatest crimes of the bourgeois "friends of labor" against the workers' movement. It is one of the greatest weapons in the hands of the capitalists and their revisionist hangers-on to destroy the revolutionary sweep of the workers' struggle.

The workers' movement only takes on its full scope when it is waged on all questions of modern-day life -- political, economic, or ideological.

The economic struggle is crucial for the working class to breathe; it helps instill hatred for the capitalists; and it helps organize the working class. But the economic struggle by itself is narrow. To have the class consciousness needed to wage the economic struggle in an effective way, the working class must realize that its struggle is not just against individual oppressors, but is a class wide struggle on all fronts. Moreover the struggle on such partially or fully political issues as. war, militarism, racism, the oppression of women, cultural degeneration, and religious bigotry is just as important for the working class as the economic struggle.

Furthermore, the working class can only achieve its economic emancipation through a political revolution that brings the workers to power. The working class can not eliminate its position as wage slaves, it cannot eliminate the exploitation of person by person, until it frees itself of political slavery to the capitalist state and parties. And the working class will never be able to rise to the level of this political revolution if it restricts itself solely to issues of wages and benefits.

Without political consciousness, the working class cannot go beyond the most elementary forms of organization. Without political consciousness, even fierce fights against the capitalists and bureaucrats cannot be consolidated and their fruits will tend to fritter away or be misdirected. And without taking up political and ideological issues, the working class cannot understand the need to rally around its own political party and to sacrifice to defend it against the bourgeoisie.

The bourgeoisie as a whole puts one obstacle after another in the way of the political activity of the working class. The tremendous overwork and speedup that exhausts the workers is itself a huge obstacle. And the ordinary methods of bourgeois politics require huge amounts of money that only the wealthy have. Meanwhile the bourgeoisie imposes dozens of police regulations against "unauthorized" literature distribution, demonstrations, and meetings. The mass media and educational institutions chime in by seeking to demoralize the working class, to make it doubt itself, and to blame the crimes of the government on the alleged backwardness of the workers.

The labor bureaucrats, revisionists, and other "friends of labor" also downplay the participation of the workers in the political movements. Oh, they think it is all right to have workers applaud them now and then; they positively need the workers for voting fodder at elections; and they need the workers to stir things up occasionally so that the "friends of labor" have a bargaining chip for their deals with the conservatives. But they are afraid of the militancy and revolutionary spirit of the workers. They want nothing done that could disturb the bourgeois liberals or go beyond a mere squabble among different bourgeois policies.

Revolutionary work at the place of work must go directly against this nonpolitical atmosphere enforced by the bourgeoisie. It must include work to draw the working class into the political movements. Agitation on all political issues must be brought to the work place, to the working class communities, and to all the workers' organizations. Workers taking part in economic struggle must also be brought into the political movements, and workers considering political issues must be shown the distinction between bourgeois liberal and proletarian politics.

Indeed, what the working class needs is not any type of political struggle, but precisely struggle against the capitalist politicians and capitalist parties. The workers need that type of politics that raises in them the determination to put an end to the long dreary rule of the exploiting classes. Our Party pays attention to bringing consciousness of the meaning of the different political trends to the working class. All sorts of methods must be used to allow the workers to see and participate in the struggle of trends in the political movement. The workers must become the bastion of the struggle against bourgeois liberalism and petty-bourgeois reformism and for a revolutionary stand on all questions.

The more the working class takes part in the movements against militarism and war, against racism, against all the outrages of bourgeois life, the stronger these movements will be. Not until the workers' movement becomes the driving force in these movements, not until the workers are not just additional bodies to fill out these movements numerically but place the stamp of class conscious ideology upon these movements, will these movements show their true potential.

A crucial part of building up the working class movement on the political front is the building up of the working class' own political party, the Marxist-Leninist Party. The Party is the essential core for the building up of a class conscious workers' movement at the work places and elsewhere. Around the party there must be built up a whole network of pro-party workers, of distributors of Marxist-Leninist literature, of activists for communist politics, of study groups, and of mass organizations of various types. It is the party that provides consistency to the workers' struggle, keeping the spark alive at times of lull and drawing all the currents of struggle together at times of ferment.

The Reaganite offensive of the bourgeoisie is reflected within the political movement in liquidationism. Liquidationism means fighting to oppose (liquidate) the independent class stand of the proletariat in the name of "broadness" or attracting the liberals or whatever. It means opposing the building up of a revolutionary workers' party. But the fate of the workers' movement for a long time will be affected by whether the workers' party maintains and strengthens its positions among the working class in this period. The existence of the Marxist-Leninist Party is the hard-won fruit of two decades of struggle of the revolutionary activists. Without its influence and guiding activity the revolutionary workers' movement would be slowed down immeasurably by the need to retrace these steps.

It is among the workers that spontaneous skepticism and opposition toward the Reaganite campaigns is strongest. But there is also a spontaneous tendency to simply wash one's hands of politics. It is necessary to always pay attention to developing a political atmosphere in the workers' movement. And in turn the development of enthusiasm for a revolutionary political stand will help give a broad sweep and fervor to the work on all fronts.

Build the Party in the work places!

Organization -- this is what the workers need in the fight against the Reaganite capitalist offensive. In its struggle with the capitalists the working class has only its class consciousness and superior numbers. But to weld these into an invincible weapon the workers must get organized. Organization transforms the workers from individual, isolated wage slaves into a unified class, a fighting force that can withstand the assaults of the capitalists, a power that can take command of society and shake the world out of its degrading, exploitative stupor.

Unfortunately, at present, most of the main workers' organizations are under the control of traitors to the working class. The 3rd National Conference of the Marxist-Leninist Party called for struggle to change this sorry state of affairs. It called for building organizations that rely on the initiative of the masses themselves, organizations that combat the bigshot sellouts, organizations that courageously stand for the class struggle of the workers.

The conference stressed organizational work in the factories and other work places. These are centers of the workers' day-to-day resistance to capitalist exploitation. The work places are, at the same time, centers for heightening the revolutionary political consciousness of the workers and for mobilizing them to take their proper place in the center of the political mass movements.

The Party concentrates work in the factories to mobilize the workers for the fight to defend their class interests on every front, whether against concessions and job-eliminating productivity measures or against police repression, racism, and the imperialist war drive. It strives to drive a wedge between the masses and the sellout union bureaucrats, liberal politicians, and other reformists. And it strives to build up, step by step, a multitude of different types of organizations.

In the struggle over the last few years the Party has made use of a variety of organizational forms. Temporary committees have been formed to draw the workers into campaigns against overwork, on union elections, for defense work in cases of racist attacks, and so forth. The Party has called at-work meetings of workers during lunch breaks and in the parking lots to discuss carrying out some particular resistance or to debate an urgent political issue. The Party has also linked up with networks of militants that have spontaneously arisen to carry out job actions over particular grievances. Circles have been formed to discuss Party literature and the teachings of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Networks have been built to distribute revolutionary leaflets and papers inside the factories. Whether forming compact, disciplined groups or loose- knit mass forms, the Party seeks to extend the organization of the workers and enhance their ability to wage independent mass actions.

At the heart of all this work is the struggle to build up the Party itself as the guiding center for all the other organizations of the workers. A great deal of work is necessary to train the workers in party concept. From its work in the mass struggles, its revolutionary agitation, its work in other organizations of the workers, and so forth, the Party must show the masses that it is their consistent defender, their most farsighted champion, their leading center for the class struggle.

Out of its many-sided activity in the work places, the Party gathers around itself a trend of activists who support the Party's all-round revolutionary policy and directly assist the Party's work. This pro-party trend is only developed through painstaking work, by encouraging the workers to lend a hand in the different tasks, by consulting them, by patiently developing their political consciousness, and gaining their assistance in organizing the class struggle. The creation and organizational consolidation of the pro-party trend is an essential task, because it ties the Party more firmly to the masses of workers and provides the Party with new recruits from the best revolutionary workers.

Today the resumption of the strike movement has created a wider field for the Party's work. At the same time, the undermining role of the union bureaucracy, the large-scale layoffs and plant closings, and other factors continue to disrupt the organization of the workers and make organizational work particularly difficult. Only by concentrating its work in certain work places and, at the same time, spreading its revolutionary agitation as widely as possible among the masses of workers, can the Party overcome the difficulties of our times and gradually build up more organized links with the masses of workers.

The 3rd National Conference calls on the militant workers to take up the essential task of our times -- get organized! Build the Party in the work places!

Build the workers' press!

The 3rd National Conference calls on workers throughout the country: Put your brains and hands to the task of building the workers' press!

The American news media is neither "free" nor based on "objective reporting." It is the voice of the filthy rich exploiters. The whole system of respectable newspapers, magazines, TV stations, and the rest are owned lock, stock and barrel by the capitalists. This press exists solely to serve their class interests. It is a press that lies, a press that manipulates the news to keep the working masses in the dark and under the exploiters' thumb.

The press of the AFL-CIO unions and the Teamsters is little better. This is the voice of the sellout union bureaucrats. Under their exclusive control, these publications have become the apologists of giving concessions to the capitalists, the heralds of retreat, the missionaries of "labor-management cooperation" to sacrifice the rank and file at the altar of corporate competition and profits.

What the workers need is their own voice, their own class conscious press. Papers that tell the truth about this capitalist hell. Pamphlets that defend the interests and champion the goal of the working class. Leaflets that fan the flames of class struggle.

The Marxist-Leninist Party wholeheartedly encourages the spread of revolutionary agitation and it has built up the Party's press as the model and guide for all other working class literature. From the Party's local leaflets, papers and pamphlets to the national voice of the Party -- The Workers' Advocate and its Spanish language supplement, El Estandarte Obrero -- a whole network of working class literature has been built up that is national in scope and consistently revolutionary in character.

The Party's 2nd National Conference in the fall of 1984 decided to further strengthen The Workers' Advocate, and the whole network of agitation around it, to help the Party deepen its ties with the working masses. Since that time The Workers' Advocate has come out on a regular monthly basis, the Supplement has been born, and the paper has become more popular and hard hitting.

The Workers' Advocate provides news on strikes, political demonstrations and other mass actions to encourage the development of the mass movements. It exposes the sabotaging role of the liberals and reformists in these movements. And it orients the mass movements in an independent, working class direction.

The paper also covers major political events. It reveals the real class content that lies behind the complicated swirl of domestic and international developments. And it uses this experience to train the workers in complete hostility to the bourgeoisie and its state machine.

Part of the class struggle today involves the fight against the cultural impoverishment that the capitalists are foisting onto the working masses. The Workers' Advocate and other Party journals combat the cultural reaction of the bourgeoisie and provide space for the development of progressive art and literature.

The Workers Advocate also deals with the most perplexing theoretical problems confronting the revolutionary working class movement. It vigorously defends the principles of Marxism-Leninism, applies them to revolutionary practice, and combats the fashionable, renegade distortions of revolutionary theory by the revisionists and opportunists.

The Workers' Advocate is a powerful weapon for the workers and an important instrument for organizing the Party itself.

The 3rd National Conference calls on all class conscious workers and revolutionary activists to help us further build up the workers' press. Send us reports from the factories, news of mass actions, and views on the political debates that engulf the working masses. Give The Workers' Advocate and other working class literature financial support. Form circles to discuss it. Distribute it. And build networks with other activists to spread it widely in the factories, the workers' neighborhoods, the schools, and mass actions. The workers' press is the voice of truth. Help us spread this truth to every comer of the country to help unite, educate, and organize the workers into an independent, class conscious power.

The historic mission of the working class - putting an end to capitalist society

Every day of capitalist society is a struggle for the working class. The workers must fight to obtain adequate wages to live on and to avoid mutilation from unsafe working conditions, fight the capitalist government to stop wars of aggression, and fight for enlightenment against the miserable bourgeois "culture" of dollar-worship, chauvinism, and bigotry.

Will this struggle continue forever?

No, it is possible to live without exploitation and oppression. The workers' struggle has a goal. The workers must use the daily struggle to organize themselves to overthrow the old, capitalist system of exploitation. It is possible to live without capitalist overseers and racist police. The working class can become the ruling class and eliminate the man-eating system of exploitation.

Exploitation does not come about because of human nature. Nor is it simply a matter of the greed of individual capitalists.

Exploitation is the result of the capitalist system of production for profit. Today production requires the cooperation of huge masses of people. But the fruits of that cooperation are the private property of a handful of exploiters. Whether it is manufacturing or agriculture, whether it is the making of goods or the provision of services, the present economy is dominated by large-scale production and large enterprises. Yet the working class neither owns nor controls the results of its collective labor. Instead the executives, big stockholders, and parasites own the majority of the country. The rich get richer, while the poor get harassment, repression, and a few soup kitchens to keep them ready to produce for the benefit of the rich.

The socialist revolution aims at eliminating the division of mankind into two great groups, those who labor and those who own the results of that labor. By eliminating the division of mankind into separate classes, it will eliminate exploitation. And it will eliminate the bitter oppression that is needed to maintain this exploitation.

This cannot be done overnight. And it will face the diehard opposition of the exploiters who fight like dogs for the preservation of their privileged, parasitic lifestyle. These egoistic aristocrats regard the end of their rule as the end of civilization itself. The same parasites who poison the land, air and sea with hazardous wastes -- to make a few bucks, who run workers ragged with overtime while millions are unemployed -- to make a few more bucks, and who fight wars to preserve spheres of influence -- for still more bucks, are not going to give up their privileged position from love of humanity.

The elimination of exploitation can only begin when state power passes into the hands of the working class. The big capitalists and monopolists will step by step be stripped of their ownership of the products of other people's labor. The means of large-scale production will pass over to collective management by the working people as a whole. Private property will remain only for things that are truly private such as the personal possessions of the masses. All this will be the opposite of the present system: today the workers' possessions are frequently the property of loan companies or can be lost as soon as one becomes unemployed, while the big factories and corporate farms are the private property of a handful of capitalist lords. (Meanwhile small producers who do not exploit the labor of others will be treated differently from capitalist slavedrivers. The benefits of cooperation and large- scale production will be used to gradually win over the small producers to collective methods.)

The working class will thus transform the economy. It will step by step eliminate production for profit and replace it with production for the benefit of the collective good. The economic crises, the unemployment, and the other evils of capitalism will be eliminated as dog-eat-dog capitalist production is replaced by socialist production.

Both the revolution itself and the subsequent transformation of economic life take place in a fierce class struggle. This is the uprising of one class against another. The government under capitalism is a tool for the suppression of the working majority by the overprivileged minority. Political power will be conquered by the revolution and become a tool for suppressing the resistance of the former exploiters to the working majority.

But the ultimate goal of socialist development is the end of class divisions and the introduction of a classless, communist society. In such a society, the government apparatus, which even in the most democratic society is a tool for the suppression of one class by another, withers away. There is no longer any class to suppress.

These vast changes are what revolutionary socialism will do. Socialism is not simply a readjustment of the present system. It does not consist of appointing a government commission to "regulate" the capitalists, or of handing out a few more welfare checks. It consists of building a new society.

The writings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin provide the clearest description of what the new society will be and how to get there. They show that the replacement of capitalism by socialism is not simply a nice idea, but the inevitable outcome of the whole development of class society.

Revolutionary socialism is not what exists today in the Soviet Union. Capitalist restoration has taken place in the Soviet Union. The once-socialist Soviet Union has become a state-capitalist country. The Soviet Union is now simply another capitalist superpower, just like the U.S.

The American capitalists try to demoralize the working class by saying that socialism failed in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. But it is not socialism that failed. As long as socialism existed in the Soviet Union, the working class performed miracles. It transformed backward, illiterate, poverty-stricken, almost medieval Russia into a country where the working class could stand up against the whole capitalist world.

But under the tremendous pressure of world capitalist encirclement, the Soviet leaders gradually abandoned the revolutionary class struggle. This is when the decline of the Soviet Union began. Instead of fighting to maintain working class rule and hold in check the bureaucratic strata, the Soviet leaders declared that the class struggle was over. This allowed a new bourgeois class, a state capitalist class, to consolidate. While the Soviet leaders continued to pay lip service to Marxism- Leninism, they discarded its real essence and preached that its revolutionary core was outdated.

It is revisionism that has failed. It is the idea that one can achieve socialism through collaboration with the bourgeoisie at home and abroad that has failed.

Yet the setback in the Soviet Union cannot wipe out the historic accomplishments of socialism and the class conscious working class movement that fought for socialism. These are the forces that brought the working class out of wretched humiliation and degradation into the center of world history. These are the forces that spearheaded the defeat of the fascist Axis in World War II, the advances in the liberation movement in China and a number of other oppressed countries, and other struggles.

History teaches that only socialism, only the path of socialist revolution, is the salvation for the working class. The revisionist tragedies in Russia and China, and the deviations from Marxism-Leninism that presently threaten socialism in Albania, do however set before the working class movement an important task: the defeat of revisionism and all deviations from Marxism- Leninism. The struggle for socialism, and the maintenance of socialism once working class power has been achieved, are completely tied up with the anti-revisionist struggle.

The working class movement has never given up the goal of socialism. Wherever the struggle reaches a certain intensity, ideas of socialism, of living without exploiters, flare up again among the working class. As the revolutionary movement grows again in the world, there will be another assault on world capitalism.

Meanwhile world capitalism has had one failure after another to its "credit." It is capitalism that plunged the world into two world wars, each more devastating than the last. It is capitalism that now threatens a third world war with even more catastrophic results. It is capitalism that gave rise to the Nazi regime in Germany and that today nourishes death squad regimes in Central America and the most vicious racist minority rule in South Africa. Capitalism can only continue as long as it is fed a constant diet of corpses and oppression.

It is the perspective of social revolution that provides guidance to the struggle of today. It is this goal that shows the way out of capitalist hell. It is this goal to which our Party is dedicated.

We are the party of revolutionary struggle and socialism. We stand for fighting the battles of today against poverty and war, against racism, against the oppression of women, and against all the evils of the capitalist hell. And we stand for using the organization that the working class builds up in these struggles for the goal of a social revolution that will sweep away these capitalist demons once and for all.

For many decades the militant workers of the world fought for socialism before there was a single example of a socialist revolution. But today socialism, is not just a dream. Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 ushered in the era in which the working class began its first attempts to actually build a socialist society. From the setbacks that occurred, the working class movement can and will learn how to fight still harder against the bourgeoisie, and the necessity of stepping up the fight against revisionism. Let us continue the struggle for socialism! Let us put an end to the capitalist horror!

Against the union bureaucracy

The 3rd National Conference condemned the trade union bureaucracy for its strikebreaking role and its collaboration with the capitalists' concessions offensive.

The trade unions originally emerged as a basic form of organization among the workers. They came up because workers recognized that they needed to band together against the employers. The workers belonging to unions still look towards them to defend their day- to-day interests, but they face the serious problem that the union machinery in the U.S. has long been captured by a sellout bureaucracy.

The top leaders of the unions stand at the head of an entrenched bureaucracy which has imposed a policy of class cooperation and compromise on the workers. They not only betray the workers at contract time, but on an everyday basis the union bureaucracy smothers the concerns of the workers. They leave the workers without organized defense against the outrages of the employers.

The union bureaucracy is part of a strata of labor aristocracy, detached from the mass of workers. The top union chieftains are even paid like corporate executives, with salaries running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sometimes militant workers obtain low level union posts with the hope of doing something positive, but they confront a great deal of pressure and enticement from above to separate them away from the rank and file.

If the union leaders were really loyal to the workers, they would help organize the workers against the system of wage slavery. But the union bigshots in the U.S. are avowedly pro-capitalist.

Today the strike movement is again beginning to emerge. But again and again the union bureaucrats come out to oppose and sabotage strikes. Lane Kirkland and the other heads of the AFL-CIO have gone so far as to condemn the Hormel strike while the top dogs of the United Food and Commercial Workers took over the Austin, Minnesota local, brought scabs into the union, and forced through the concessions' contract that the Hormel capitalists wanted. In other instances, union heads have ordered their members to scab on fellow workers, as the Machinists leadership has betrayed other airline unions or Teamster hacks turned their backs on California grocery workers.

The union hacks are breaking up the organization of the workers. This year they split up the national steel contract, the national telephone contract, and the West coast shipyard contract so that the workers in each company are being forced to fight alone. Meanwhile in the auto industry and others, the union leaders are letting the companies rewrite the contracts on a plant-by-plant basis. Underneath empty phrases of labor solidarity, the union bureaucrats are promoting the idea of loyalty to one company against others, and even one plant against others.

While the capitalists continue to throw workers into the unemployment lines and pit them against those who are employed, the union hacks merely talk and talk. Instead of struggle against layoffs and plant closings, the union chiefs preach faith in empty promises from the corporations, court suits, legislation, or they simply support the worn-out capitalist blackmail that concessions will save jobs. At the same time, the labor bureaucrats are supporting the capitalists' man-eating productivity drives and automation that are eliminating jobs and turning the work places into hell holes of overwork. As for those on the unemployment lines with little chance of being recalled, the union bosses have nothing but complete neglect.

The union bosses have also fallen in with the capitalist demand that the workers' wages be cut. And while they may sometimes grumble about outright wage cuts on currently employed workers, the union hacks have become eager devotees of the scheme to impose two- tier wage scales.

The union heads also do not give a damn about the masses of unorganized workers. It is a disgrace that today only about 18% of the work force is organized into unions. Drives to organize the unorganized are few and far between. When they think of recruiting new members these days, the union leaders frequently think of raiding the members of other unions.

The union bosses have taken up the mission of drowning the class struggle in a sea of labor-management cooperation.

In company after company, they are pushing all kinds of labor-management committees, whether it is to speed up the workers, to help cut jobs, or to fink on workers.

GM's Saturn project, where even before the plant is opened the United Auto Workers leaders have agreed to a whole slew of concessions and to what amounts to a company-union, has become the model for the entire AFL-CIO. Meanwhile, the top dogs of the United Steel Workers have made organizing "middle management" and other "persons having supervisory powers" into the union a top priority. Their chief demand upon the monopolies has been to give the hacks a seat on the corporate boards' of directors. All this is just "business unionism" where union bureaucrats become businessmen administering the concessions offensive against the rank and file.

The union bureaucrats are flag-waving chauvinists. They advocate that the workers should side with the American slave drivers against the workers of the rest of the world. Thus the union bosses eagerly join in chauvinist anti-import campaigns, in crusades against immigrant workers, and in appeals to build up U.S. war preparations. They are imperialist labor bureaucrats.

The 3rd National Conference also pointed out that a section of middle- level bureaucrats, under the pressure of the angry rank and file, has begun to posture against concessions and in support of strikes that have broken out.

They even falsely drape themselves in the mantle of the "rank and file." One such grouping of the bureaucrat opposition is the National Rank and File Against Concessions (NRAFAC) but even in its constitution this group restricted its membership only to local union officials.

Such bureaucrat oppositions refuse to completely break with the class collaborationism of the top union hacks; for example, when NRAFAC was formed its declaration affirmed that they would not oppose any union leaderships. Instead of organizing a firm fight against concessions, they seek a reformist compromise for somewhat lesser concessions. Instead of building up the independent action of the masses of workers, they tie down the struggles in legal channels and corporate campaigns. Instead of organizing the workers independently of the top hacks, they bog the workers down in maneuvering within the union bureaucracy.

These "left" union bureaucrats can be no more trusted than the sellouts who stand at the top of the unions. Sometimes such bureaucrat oppositions, even with their hypocritical, reformist opposition to concessions, attract workers looking for a struggle. To the extent that an organization based on a bureaucrat opposition attracts numbers of workers and actually engages in struggle, it may be necessary to work in or around it. But this work should be directed at linking up with the militants, supporting real struggles, and exposing the treachery of the bureaucrat opposition.

The Marxist-Leninist Party works in the trade unions and runs in some trade union elections, but not with the aim of achieving reconciliation with the union bureaucracy. Instead the MLP orients itself to winning over the rank and file. The aim of the party's work is to win the masses of the workers to the class struggle and to eliminate the influence of the union bureaucracy among them.

The workers' movement will once again forge truly proletarian unions, but this will require a wide and intense upsurge of the workers. And only the course of struggle will determine how this will come about -- whether as completely new organizations or through radically transforming the current unions.

The 3rd National Conference stressed that the building of the strike movement against the capitalists' concessions drive requires a tenacious fight against the union bureaucrats. This provides the best chances for the workers to succeed in their struggles. And with such a fight, each strike can also become a vehicle to build up the organization and class consciousness of the workers and to spur on the mass struggle. To fight effectively, the rank and file must take matters into their own hands, organize themselves independently of the union bosses, and spread the spirit of class struggle to every corner of the country. NO MORE CONCESSIONS! GET ORGANIZED FOR THE CLASS STRUGGLE!

Against revisionist liquidationism

When the workers turn to struggle, they are attracted to political groupings of the left, groupings which speak in the name of the working class and claim to be Marxist and socialist. The experience of class struggle begins to break down capitalist prejudices against Marxism.

When this happens, it shows a healthy interest in political currents and in new and different ideas. But in real life, the workers are confronted by a host of left organizations. At first this may appear confusing, and workers naturally ask why the different groups do not unite. The fact of the matter is that, despite the Marxist, socialist and communist labels, not all the trends are revolutionary and they have different stands. The workers must learn to distinguish among trends.

Among the various political forces in the left, the workers will find truly revolutionary Marxists. There are also circles of activists gravitating towards Marxism, and there are reformist opponents of the class struggle.

The Marxist-Leninist Party is the party of revolutionary Marxism- Leninism in the U.S.

We do not expect the workers to accept our party simply because we say so, but by taking a conscious stand towards the class struggle and what role the different organizations play in it. This calls for drawing lessons from the experience of the workers' movement and learning about revolutionary theory.

In examining the ideas and work of the MLP, the workers will indeed find that it is our party which consistently defends the interests of the working class. The MLP stands for class struggle, works for independent action and organization, and upholds the perspective of socialist revolution. The MLP bases its stands and work upon the revolutionary ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin, the path-breaking leaders of the international working class. Marxism-Leninism is the revolutionary theory that guides the working class movement towards liberation.

From time to time within the mass movements, other circles emerge formed by revolutionary-minded activists who gravitate towards Marxism. These circles also face the task of differentiating among the various left trends. They have to sort out what is false and tame, and what is live and revolutionary, among the established groups which claim to be Marxist. For its part, the Marxist-Leninist Party works to link up with such groups, to fight together in the mass struggles, and to assist the activists to embrace consistent, revolutionary positions.

Then there are the established reformist left trends, such as the groupings who follow pro-Soviet revisionism, Maoism and Trotskyism. They have long learned the art of using Marxist phrases to limit the workers' perspective to putting bandaids on the ills of capitalism.

Today the reformist trends of the left have put to the fore a stand of liquidationism -- the abandonment (liquidation) of the independent interests of the working class in favor of more and more outspoken class collaboration with the capitalists. And while continuing to give lip service to Marxism, the liquidators openly throw out its principles and replace them with revisions that justify their renegade stands.

Liquidationism is against class struggle. It is opposed to the vital need for class independence of the workers; it denies the need for separating the workers from the sellout union bureaucrats and liberal capitalist politicians.

Some of the liquidators have no shame in glorifying the liberals and union bureaucrats. In the past year, we have seen, for example, the pro-Soviet revisionist CPUSA (which puts out the newspaper People's Daily World) openly supporting the blatant strikebreaking of the AFL-CIO leadership against the Hormel strikers in Austin, Minnesota. They are masters in finding something good in even the most sellout hacks.

These liquidators also openly urge the workers to support the capitalist Democratic Party. In the current elections, the pro-Soviet revisionists are telling the most outrageous lies about how voting for the Democrats will bring progress for the workers against Reaganism.

Some other liquidators follow a craftier policy. They will spout words against reformism and the Democratic Party. But they too see no value in independent struggle by the workers. They have no faith in the workers' ability to develop rank-and-file action. Their maximum interest in any working class struggle is to look for some section of the labor bureaucracy they can link with or some liberal politician they can preach trust in.

Some of these liquidators will even run their own candidates at election time against the Republicans and Democrats, but they eagerly invite the Democratic politicians to be the guests of honor at demonstrations. And in work place struggles, they are constantly on the lookout for some section of the union bureaucracy that will give them some posts or favors. In essence this stand is no different than the CPUSA. It remains a policy which ties the workers to handmaidens of the capitalists.

And there are still other liquidators who, in the name of upholding revolution, have completely abandoned the working class in this difficult period of ebb in the mass movements. They preach the petty-bourgeois idea that some other class, not the proletariat, will be the vehicle of progress.

For the workers to advance, political interest and activity is essential. This is not only a matter of opposing the capitalist parties but also of breaking with their servants in the reformist left. Only through this can the workers build their unity, struggle, and organization, including the proletarian party itself. All class conscious workers and revolutionary activists should unite in the struggle against the capitalist rulers and the reformist liquidators.

Apartheid no! Revolution yes!

The white minority regime in South Africa is one of the most bloody and barbaric regimes on the face of the earth. A small white minority monopolizes all political rights, while the black and other oppressed people have only the right to slave for the racist masters. The white minority lives like kings, while the black majority lives in shanties and huts, huddled into poverty-stricken shantytowns or left to rot on barren wastelands. This oppression weighs far hardest on the black people, but also is exercised against the other oppressed peoples. And political repression also hits at progressive whites who oppose racist rule.

This exploitation and oppression can only be maintained with the whip and the armed forces. Since World War II, this regime has gone so far as to reinforce this oppression with the system of apartheid, which is an extreme form of segregationism and Jim Crow. This is a barely disguised system of slavery and genocide; it even separates millions of black workers from their families.

But this oppression has also given rise to powerful revolutionary struggles. For the last two years hundreds of thousands and millions of black workers, youth, students and other oppressed people have risen in struggle. They have come into the streets for demonstrations, waged strikes, staged school boycotts, opposed forced removal from their townships, etc. And they have punished the spies and collaborators who work for the racists for a few crumbs.

The South African regime talks of "reform," but it continues to step up military oppression. And indeed it is absurd to believe that the racists, whose whole way of life is based on exploiting the black majority, can become humanitarians. What is needed is revolution, the sweeping away of the entire system of white minority rule. This is the necessary first step in the struggle of the black and other oppressed workers for liberation, a step that will open the way to the class struggle for socialism.

In the U.S. a widespread solidarity movement has developed with the struggle in South Africa. This is one of the favorable developments of this period. This movement has struck at the U.S. government support for the South African regime. The American bourgeoisie is one of the diehard backers of apartheid. It makes money off exploiting cheap labor in South Africa, and it uses South Africa as a whip against the nearby black-ruled countries.

But once aroused, the force of the South African working masses, the force of revolution, is bound to triumph sooner or later over the forces of racism and capitalism. The U.S. government and other Western governments are worried by the possibility of a revolution in South Africa. They are horrified by the very possibility that encourages the working people around the world: the prospect of radicalized black masses coming to power, sweeping away the old system, and beginning the struggle to build a new society in South Africa.

The U.S. government and the corporations are also faced with the development of struggle in the U.S. against their pro-apartheid policies. The movement against apartheid is a big thorn in the side for their propaganda of reactionary chauvinism and the glories of private enterprise.

Both to divert the insurgent masses in South Africa and to cool off the mass movement in the U.S., the American politicians and corporations have begun to maneuver. They pass "sanctions" bills which tap the South African racists on the wrist while maintaining full U.S. support for the South African regime. They admit that their motive isn't to hurt the racists but to advise them on the best ways to stop the revolutionary upsurge. And GM, IBM, Coca-Cola and some other big corporations are making a show of "divesting" from their South African subsidiaries. But in fact these firms are maintaining -- and even stepping up -- their commercial ties with these subsidiaries. They are even, in many cases, trying to negotiate "buyback" options for the future in case things cool off.

It is up to the working class, youth, and progressive people to continue to build a powerful solidarity movement with the struggle against apartheid and all forms of white minority rule in South Africa. This struggle must support the only way real change can come to South Africa -- the revolutionary action of the overwhelming majority of the country. Only revolution can overthrow the entrenched system of white minority rule.

The movement should be built up as an anti-imperialist movement. It must show that the Reaganite support for apartheid is not an accident, but is an expression of the class interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie as a whole. It must fight the plots of both capitalist parties, Democrat and Republican, to support apartheid. Both outright support of the racist regime, in Reagan's style, and advice to the racists on how to cool off the situation better, in liberal Democrat style, represent different shades of opinion among the exploiters. Instead the movement must base itself on the real opponents of racism and oppression -- not the capitalists, but the working class and progressive people in the U.S.

The movement should continue to fight against the connections of the U.S. government and corporations with South Africa. It should expose the fraudulent nature of Republican Senator Lugar's "Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986," the one which passed Congress to the applause of the liberal Democrats. And it should expose the sham divestments of the big corporations that continue to prop up the apartheid regime, that continue to sell it computers to track down the masses and equipment to prop up the military and the apartheid economy.

The movement should link up the fight against apartheid with the fight against racism in the U.S. The Reaganite bourgeoisie's support for apartheid in South Africa reflects its support for racism in the U.S. Connecting the fight against the oppression of the black working masses in South Africa with the fight against the oppression of the black people in the U.S., and with the fight against the general Reaganite offensive against all the oppressed nationalities, can only strengthen the powerful sweep of the anti-apartheid movement. This is a link which has a powerful appeal to the black people in particular. And all such links between imperialism's crimes abroad and at home express the truth that the oppressed people in South Africa and the working class of all nationalities in the U.S. face a common enemy in international imperialism and capitalism.

All out for the struggle against white minority rule!

Support the upsurge of the black masses of South Africa!

Denounce the U.S. government and corporations for their support of the white racist regime!

Revolution Yes! Apartheid No!

Solidarity with the revolutionary struggles in Central America!

The people of Central America are rising up in struggle. The Salvadoran workers and peasants are fighting against a brutal pro-U.S. regime of exploitation and tyranny. The Nicaraguan working people have defended their revolution for over seven years against the worst that the CIA and the Carter and Reagan administrations could throw at them. And the rest of Central America is a powder keg waiting to explode.

The American bourgeoisie is in a frenzy to maintain Central America as a profitable area for low-wage exploitation. They arrogantly regard Central America as a "backyard" to be ordered about at will. And they have long followed the policy of maintaining this "backyard" by repeated military intervention to kill off the masses who rise in struggle.

Today the American bourgeoisie is preparing new Viet Nam-style wars of aggression in Central America. Congress and the Reagan administration are jointly pouring money and "advisors" into El Salvador. And war on the Nicaraguan workers and peasants has become the fixed consensus of the American bourgeoisie. Democrat and Republican debate how best to crush the revolution and install a new pro-U.S. regime of tyranny.

The war on Nicaragua is not just waged with U.S. troops and CIA- directed "contras." The so-called "Contadora group" is another enemy of the Nicaraguan people.

The "Contadora group" presents itself as kind-hearted humanitarians who simply want to to mediate between Nicaragua and the pro-U.S. regimes around it. But actually the Contadora group consists of Latin American regimes who are savage exploiters of their own workers and who are close economic and military allies of the U.S. government. The Contadora regimes are just as scared of any revolutionary movement of workers and peasants as the Pentagon and the State Department. Contadora presents to Nicaragua the demand that it disarm and hand power over to the exploiters, the same demands that Reagan makes. Contadora is no alternative to the Reagan policies of war. It is just a way of dressing up aggression as sweetness and light.

But the mass struggle of the Central American peoples continues. It defies the genocidal U.S.-financed "air war" in El Salvador. It defies the U.S.- trained murderers who infest the borders of Nicaragua. The working masses are standing up to fight against the outrageous exploitation by low- wage U.S. companies and by the local capitalists and landlords. They are standing up to the merciless oppression that was used to enforce this exploitation.

In Nicaragua, in 1979 the people overthrew the Somoza tyranny. This shook the U.S. imperialists to the core. They have unleashed a campaign of slander and denigration against the Nicaraguan revolution. The fiends in the State Department used to wine and dine with the dictator Somoza and his cohorts. But today these dogs have the gall to talk about the alleged lack of freedom in Nicaragua. The Reagan administration blockades Nicaragua, issues booklets on the bombing of health clinics, the burning of granaries, and the murder of government officials. It then gloats about the economic difficulties in Nicaragua.

The Reagan administration shouts that the issue is Russian intervention in Central America. What a lie! The issue is the struggle of the workers and peasants to free themselves from U.S. imperialism and the local exploiting classes. The Soviet revisionists advise the Central American toilers to give up revolution and instead come to terms with U.S. imperialism and the local exploiters. European social-democracy gives the same advice. Soviet revisionism and European social-democracy are drags on the Central American people, who want to be free of all imperialism, whether U.S., European, or Soviet. But the people's struggle goes on anyway, and it will continue just so long as the exploitation and oppression of the masses exist.

Our Party organized an American workers contingent to visit Nicaragua and express the solidarity of the American working people with their Nicaraguan class brothers. While the capitalists of the U.S. plot war and fund contras, the working people of the U.S. and Nicaragua join hands.

In Nicaragua, the tour made contact with the basic masses. It was not a tour put together by the Sandinista government, a government which tries to balance between the toilers and the exploiters. It was a visit to the workers and poor peasants, to their homes, factories, their demonstrations.

The delegation also expressed solidarity with the true Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninist communists. Despite Reagan's shouting about the Sandinistas being communists, in fact the reformist Sandinista government is trying to please those capitalists and landlords who remained in the country. It is asking the masses to bear the burden not just of the contra war, but of financing the exploiters. The real communists, the defenders of the class interests of the workers and poor peasants, are the comrades of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP/ML). They show how strengthening the fight against the contras and U.S. imperialism requires relying on the toilers. They stand for carrying forward the Nicaraguan revolution until the workers and poor peasants come to power.

The revolutionary upsurge in Nicaragua, El Salvador and elsewhere in Central America deserves the support of all American workers. This solidarity is crucial. The strength of the working people, whether on strike for a wage demand or fighting against armed intervention, is their solidarity. We must stand up against the imperialism of the American bourgeoisie. And we must render support to the Nicaraguan workers and Marxist-Leninists. The ongoing Campaign for the Nicaraguan Workers Press is one way of demonstrating this solidarity. It provides material support to help the publication of the revolutionary workers' press of the MLP. of Nicaragua and the associated Nicaraguan Workers Front.

By supporting the Central American toilers, the American working class also helps break the chains of its own exploitation. To prevent the masses from striking at the real causes of the growing hunger, homelessness, and despair in the U.S., the American bourgeoisie is shouting itself hoarse about foreign imports and foreign competition, against languages other than English, etc. Fighting against the new Viet Nam-style wars in Central America is one of the ways the working class can strike hard against this chauvinism. It weakens the criminal rule of the American bourgeoisie.

Greetings to the Marxist-Leninist communists of the world

The Third National Conference of our Party, the MLP,USA, sends you a militant proletarian internationalist salute.

With the ongoing crisis of world capitalism, the Marxist-Leninists are confronted with great challenges. The proletariat and the toilers all over the world are facing the capitalist offensive of growing exploitation, reaction and fascism, and imperialist aggression and war. The working masses are seething with revolt. And a number of countries are one after the next being shaken by revolutionary upheavals.

The Marxist-Leninists are the most far-sighted and consistent fighters for the revolutionary cause of the proletariat and the oppressed. They are the ones who can give the mass struggle an organized and revolutionary character, first and foremost by organizing the Marxist-Leninist parties as the vanguard fighters of the working class. They are the ones who can defend the political independence of the proletariat, by waging a stern struggle against the capitalist liberals, social-democrats, revisionists and other forces of bourgeois influence on the masses. And they are the ones who can bring to the toilers the revolutionary perspective of the overthrow of capitalist exploitation and who can carry the revolutionary struggle forward to the victory of socialism.

These are the tasks which history has placed before the Marxist-Leninists. To meet the challenge, there can be no complacency. Much work is needed to strengthen the Marxist-Leninist parties, to build parties where they don't exist, and to cement the ties among the world's Marxist-Leninists. Our Marxist-Leninist Party is the U.S. contingent of the international Marxist-Leninist movement. We regard proletarian internationalism as a touchstone of revolutionary work. And we proclaim our militant solidarity with the Marxist-Leninists, the revolutionaries and the working class and exploited of all lands in our common struggle for the triumph of revolution and socialism.

Build the international Marxist-Leninist movement!

Workers of all countries, unite!

On differences in the international Marxist-Leninist movement

Proletarian internationalism is a powerful weapon in favor of the revolutionary working class movement and world communism. The Marxist- Leninist forces of the different countries are greatly strengthened when they combine their efforts, unleash joint campaigns, and carry out close collaboration and interchange.

Unfortunately, it is an unavoidable fact that such a militant and active solidarity does not presently exist in the international Marxist-Leninist movement. This problem is inseparable from the serious ideological and political divergences that exist within the international Marxist-Leninist movement. The proletarian solidity that is so ardently desired by the world's Marxist-Leninists and so urgently needed can only be built through an open struggle to resolve these differences in favor of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism.

The Marxist-Leninist forces of the world today emerged through a bitter and protracted struggle against the treachery of modern revisionism. They have fought against the Soviet revisionists, the Chinese revisionists and other opportunists who have betrayed communism and the working class. To defend the interests of the working class and the revolution, a clear line of struggle has to be maintained against the revisionist treachery.

Today the Marxist-Leninists are also faced with a serious struggle against corrosion from various liquidationist and petty-bourgeois nationalist influences from parties that once fought revisionism. These mistaken ideas create dangerous illusions in the bourgeois liberals, social-democrats and reformists; they weaken the polemic against revisionism; they undermine the class independence of the proletariat; and they cloud over the perspective of socialism.

These harmful ideas can be found in the wrong orientations being put forward by the leaderships of the Party of Labor of Albania, the CP of Brazil, and others. As well, these influences are being expressed by the leadership of the Communist Party of Spain (ML) and others who had in the past indicated reservations about some of the most flagrant rightist errors -- but only to preserve the underlying liquidationist and petty-bourgeois nationalist conceptions, and to oppose bringing the discussion of these issues before the rank-and-file communists around the world.

The times cry out for an open struggle for the rectification of the international movement and its consolidation on the principles of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism.

This demands an open discussion of the burning issues facing the Marxist-Leninists of the world. It demands a deepening of the polemic against revisionism, and the development of criticism of liquidationist and petty- bourgeois nationalist deviations. It also demands working for a critical examination of the history of the world communist movement. This is necessary in order to revive the positive, Leninist orientations and traditions of the Communist International. It is also necessary to free the movement of the wrong and anti-Leninist orientations (for example, of the 7th Congress of the Cl), which continue to bring grist to the mill of revisionism as well as to the liquidationist and petty-bourgeois nationalist deviations in the international Marxist- Leninist movement.

In several countries revolutionary Marxist-Leninist forces are taking steps on this road of struggle. This is a positive development. And our Party commits itself to work with these forces, along with all other healthy forces of the international Marxist-Leninist movement, to contribute to the development of the fighting unity of world Marxism- Leninism.

Message to the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua

The 3rd National Conference of the MLP,USA sends a proletarian salute to our fraternal comrades of the MLPN.

The defense of the revolution in Nicaragua is a burning task facing the working class and progressive forces of all countries. This task has particular urgency here in the U.S. as it is the U.S. imperialist government which has unleashed the dirty CIA war of counterrevolution against Nicaragua.

Moreover, we hold that the best defense of the Nicaraguan revolution demands active political and material support for your Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP/ML), the party of the proletariat and toilers. The workers and poor peasants made the revolution and they hold the key to its defense and further development. The Sandinista government doesn't represent the revolution of the workers and poor; it attempts to reconcile the masses to the big exploiters (who make up the domestic social base of the imperialist attack on Nicaragua). It is only the MLPN which is courageously shouldering the tasks of organizing the working class and the masses as an independent force for the defense and deepening of the revolution. It is only your Party which champions the revolutionary cause of the proletariat and the poor against the big capitalists and landlords. And the MLPN is the Party which resists the pressures of Sandinism towards reformist compromise and reconciliation with the exploiters.

We welcome the successful development of concrete acts of solidarity between our two Parties. This includes the November '85 tour of the U.S. by a representative of the MLPN, the July '86 tour of Nicaragua by a contingent organized by the MLP,USA, and the ongoing development of the Nicaraguan Workers Press Campaign. Our Party will continue to organize the working masses in the U.S. against the barbaric U.S. war on Nicaragua, and to work for concrete solidarity with the revolutionary forces of the Nicaraguan working class represented by the MLPN.

The development of militant solidarity between our two Parties is important for building the ties of class solidarity among the revolutionary workers of our two countries. It is also part of the development of the international ties between the Marxist-Leninist forces that is needed for the worldwide struggle against capitalism and revisionism and for the triumph of socialism.

A proletarian internationalist salute, 3rd National Conference,


Message to the Communist Party of Iran

The 3rd National Conference of the MLP,USA sends communist greetings to the comrades of the Communist Party of Iran.

The 1979 revolution was a heavy blow to the U.S. and other imperialists who had profited so much from the brutal monarchy of the Shah. But, unfortunately, the fruits of the revolution were robbed from the masses by the exploiters. Today the Iranian people are suffering under the bloodthirsty tyranny of the Khomeini regime.

The emergence and struggle of your Party is an important development for the revolutionary movement in Iran.

The CPI has stood for a consistent struggle against the barbaric dictatorship. It has adhered to the path of organizing the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and the toilers. The CPI has championed the revolutionary interests of the working class and oppressed in the face of the treachery of the revisionists, Trotskyists and others who have taken a cringing and cowardly stand in the face of the regime. And the CPI has defended the class independence of the toilers, rejecting the counsel of the petty-bourgeois elements who have sought refuge at the coattails of the capitalist liberals.

We salute all the militants of the CPI who are organizing the workers' revolutionary underground in defiance of the torturers and executioners of the Khomeini regime. We salute the armed fighters of Komala (the Kurdish section of CPI) in revolutionary Kurdistan. We salute all the heroic efforts of the CPI and the Iranian working masses to destroy the dictatorship, to overthrow the exploiters, and to realize the triumph of socialism.

We look forward to the further development of contact and cooperation between our two Parties. This will strengthen the bonds between the workers of our two countries. And it will be part of building up the ties of world Marxism-Leninism.

A proletarian internationalist salute, 3rd National Conference,


Message to the Communist Organization - Workers' Policy of Portugal

The 3rd National Conference of the MLP,USA sends militant greetings to the comrades of the Communist Organization/Workers Policy.

As shown by the revolutionary events of 1974, the Portuguese working class has a militant revolutionary spirit. But the class struggle in Portugal has been hamstrung by the reformist policy of the revisionist CP of Portugal, which fosters bourgeois democratic illusions and ties the workers to the bourgeois liberals and the social-democrats. Unfortunately, the Communist Party (Reconstructed), which emerged in the struggle against revisionism, has itself become mired in reformist and petty-bourgeois democratic politics.

Thus, we are encouraged by the efforts that your organization is making to rebuild a communist party in Portugal. You have raised the banner of struggle for the independent interests of the proletariat and for the socialist revolution. You have also launched an open discussion of the controversial questions in the world Marxist-Leninist movement and in the history of the communist movement.

We wish you every success. And we hope for the further development of ties and cooperation between our two organizations.

A proletarian internationalist salute, 3rd National Conference,


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U.S. imperialism has its hands in the Iran-Iraq war

Reagan is a master of doublespeak. He's made "War is Peace'' a key slogan of his administration. He tells us that his trillion-dollar Pentagon buildup is really for peace. Remember, he even named the MX missile, the "Peacemaker.'' Now he's come up with yet another whopper.

The Great Communicator has claimed that he shipped arms to the Iranian regime for humanitarian motives -- they were only "defensive weapons," he tells us, meant for peace, to end the terrible Iran-Iraq war. Weapons shipments to end the reactionary Iran-Iraq war -- what crap!

Reagan's scandal has drawn a certain attention on the Iran-Iraq war. For years, the U.S. capitalist establishment has told us that the Iran-Iraq war was just between two crazy, Middle Eastern governments, that the U.S. government was neutral, ad nauseum. But today this big imperialist lie has had some of its gloss smudged off.

Now it has been brought out in the front pages of the newspapers that it wasn't just despots like Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Khomeini of Iran who had their fingers in this terrible war. But the fine, respectable gentlemen in Washington, Israel, and other "civilized" places, have also been profiting from it.

The Iran-Iraq War A Terrible Tragedy

The six-year long war in the Persian Gulf has taken a huge cost in human life, and it is bleeding the peoples of Iran and Iraq dry. Iran has had 300,000 killed and 400,000 wounded, while Iraq has had 100,000 killed and 250,000 wounded. The war has created millions of refugees.

But contrary to the imperialist propagandists, this war, like any other war, isn't some crazy happening -- there are political and economic reasons why the war began and why it continues.

The war itself has gone through two phases. It began with an Iraqi invasion in 1980 that was aimed not only at removing the Iranian regime but at smashing the whole Iranian revolution. But after a while, the Islamic regime in Iran itself seized the initiative in clamping down on the revolutionary movement of the Iranian masses. The war became simply a reactionary war between two exploiting regimes.

The Iraqi Invasion Was Aimed Against the Iranian Revolution

The origins of the war lie in the counterrevolutionary offensive against the Iranian revolution of 1979. This revolution brought down the hated tyranny of the Shah. This was a big blow against U.S. imperialism who backed the Shah and relied upon him as a regional policeman. But Washington wasn't upset alone. All the reactionary regimes in the region -- from the despotic regime in Iraq to the oil kingdoms of the Gulf--felt threatened.

As part of an international offensive against the Iranian revolution, the Iraqi regime launched a direct invasion of Iran in 1980. The Iraqi regime wanted to clear away the Iranian revolution. It wanted to crush the active workers and peasants as well as overthrow the Iranian regime that had come to power with the fall of the Shah.

The Iranian regime was not a revolutionary government of the toilers but a regime of exploiters who came to power on the crest of the revolution. At that time, however, the regime had not consolidated its hold on the country, and there still existed a mass upsurge of the toilers that had been unleashed by the 1979 revolution. The regime was taking steps against the masses, but it had not yet wiped out the revolutionary movement.

The Iraqi government wanted nothing less than the restoration of the old reaction. This was also what U.S. imperialism wanted. Despite protestations of neutrality, the U.S. government connived with the Iraqi invasion. And its closest allies in the Gulf, the Saudi regime and the other oil kingdoms, threw billions of dollars behind the Iraqi war effort.

For its part, the Iranian regime's response to the war was double-edged. On the one hand, it resisted the effort to have the Shah's henchmen brought to power on the bayonets of the Iraqi military. But the Iranian regime also sought to use the conditions of the war to curtail the revolutionary mobilization of the masses. Instead of arming the masses and widening the rights of the masses, it stepped up its efforts to clamp down against them. It used wartime nationalist appeals to bind the masses to its side. And it also had its own ambitions of using the war to press claims against Iraq itself.

A Reactionary War on Both Sides

At a certain point, the character of the war changed. The. main factor in this was the coup of June 1981 when the Islamic Republican Party of the mullahs seized complete control and launched an all-out, bloody drive against the left and the toilers. The Iraqi invasion ceased being the cutting edge of counterrevolution against the Iranian toilers. The Khomeini regime itself seized the initiative in this direction. The Iran-Iraq war degenerated into a reactionary war between two rival capitalist powers.

In the military field, the Iranian regime was successful in pushing the Iraqi forces out of Iran and since then has pressed a frankly expansionist war against Iraq. The Khomeini regime wants to overthrow Saddam Hussein and put in power a puppet Islamic regime in Baghdad, and it seeks billions of dollars in tribute, money that can only come out of squeezing the Iraqi toilers.

Today both sides in the war not only engage in military clashes but routinely organize missile and bombing raids on the civilian population. They both use the war to whip up patriotism and keep in check the mass movement of the the workers and peasants.

What's in It for the Imperialists?

As for the world's capitalist arms merchants, they have had a field day with the Iran-Iraq war. Virtually all the world's bloodstained weapons makers have been cashing in on lucrative weapons deals to make money off this savage bloodletting. Forty countries are reported to sell weapons to the two sides, ten of them to both sides. And besides cold cash, the war has been a useful testing ground for all sorts of weapons systems. The military planners of all the major powers have kept a close eye on the performance of the two clashing armies.

Iraq has mainly been getting weapons from the French imperialists and the Soviet social-imperialists. The U.S. for a while was supplying Iraq with intelligence gathered from AW AC flights over the region. In the meantime, Iran has bought weapons from Israel (right from the outset of the war, not just recently), Argentina and Brazil, the Chinese and North Korean revisionists, etc.

One can get a glimpse of the profits involved from just one deal described in a recent issue of the British Jane's Defense Weekly. In one 1985 deal for tanks and guns, Iran is reported to have paid Arab and Swiss arms dealers $100 million; the merchants pocketed $10 million in commissions. The irony of this deal was that these weapons had originally come from Iranian stocks captured by the Iraqis.

Recently there are signs of a scramble among many of those who backed Iraq to switch allegiances. This appears to be due to the feeling among these regimes that, as one exploiter to another, they can come to terms with Iran. As well, last year there were signs that the Iranian regime might make gains in the next round of battle against Iraq. The Saudis and other Persian Gulf states have tried to come to their own deals with Iran. The French and British imperialists have as well. And now, with Reagan's scandal, it turns out that U.S. imperialism has also been making an effort.

The War Intensifies Popular Discontent

The picture the Iranian and Iraqi regimes paint is of national unity behind each regime's war efforts. But behind the public displays of patriotism, the war is in fact intensifying the seeds of discontent and crisis for both regimes. And this coincides with a severe economic crisis for both regimes, especially due to the sharp collapse of world oil prices.

There are many reports of popular discontent from within Iran. The regime has stepped up efforts to force workers and others to go to the war front, and there have been many signs of resistance to these efforts. There are many who have evaded military conscription. There have been demonstrations against the war, for example, in the towns of Kurdistan where the Islamic regime is locked in a separate war with the revolutionary masses. And while the regime publicly pledges unity on the war effort, there are signs even of strife over the war policy among the ruling circles.

In the meantime, the Iraqi regime is also in trouble. The number of deserters from the war is estimated at higher than 30,000. The Iraqi military has even outlawed white underwear for soldiers to prevent them from surrendering. And in June, the government closed down schools until next February and drafted university teachers and students into compulsory military training. Secondary school students later followed. There was an outcry of opposition to this and the regime was forced to say that the training would be away from the war lines. There are also increasing reports of friction within the ruling establishment, particularly between the ruling Ba'ath Party and the military staff.

Iran and Iraq are heading towards major social explosions. The war itself is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the regimes use it to keep discontent down, but it itself sows the seeds of wider discontent. And it is in this popular unrest that the hope for the future lies.

The exploiters and their regimes must be made to pay for this brutal war. The toilers have accounts to settle -- this will require the working masses of Iran and Iraq to take matters into their own hands and overthrow the exploiters.

And the workers and progressive people around the world must not forget the capitalist and imperialist powers who have profited from this cruel and barbaric war. This war is one more reason for the workers to come out in struggle against bloodsucking world capitalism.

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From the Communist Party of Iran: 'Workers and the Iran-Iraq war'

(Reagan's arms shipments are merely fueling the reactionary Iran-Iraq war. They have nothing to do with finding a just peace in this conflict. For that, one must look to the revolutionary movement of the toilers of Iran and Iraq. And there are many signs pointing to growing discontent among the masses of these two countries, unrest out of which the conditions are maturing for social explosions.

Contrary to the lies of the imperialists, Iran is not merely a land of fanatic religious priests and their victims. There are other players on the stage as well. There is a revolutionary underground. There is an incipient workers strike and protest movement. There is an armed resistance in the region of Kurdistan. The workers of the U.S. must come to the aid of the revolutionary movement in Iran.

Below we carry an article on the resistance of the Iranian workers to the war. It was broadcast from the radio " Voice of the Communist Party of Iran on September 25, 1985, from where it was reprinted originally in "Bolshevik Message," newspaper of the CPI-The Committee Abroad, Dec. '85/Jan. '86. The Communist Party of Iran is the Marxist-Leninist party of the class conscious Iranian workers. It is fighting for a new revolution to smash the Islamic tyranny and to open the way for the socialist rule of the working class. Although the article below is a year old, the anti-war ferment among the workers that it describes continues to develop.)

During the five years of the reactionary Iran-Iraq war which has now entered its sixth year, the heads, the propaganda organs, the thugs and parasites of the Islamic Republic have gone on and on that the factories are right behind the Islamic front and the Islamic government in this war! With every war effort made by the heads of the state and with every wave of war cries raised, the Basiji gangs (Mobilization Units for the war -- BM), Islamic Societies, the managers and all other government stooges in the factories and industries have cast about to inflame the atmosphere of war terror and repression in the factories, plunder part of the workers' wages in the name of war, raise the hours and intensity of work, make the workers, by the force of bayonets, do official unpaid labor for war orders and services, and finally through terrorization, threats and demagogy send a number of workers from every factory to the death fields of the war.

This situation has made resistance against the war impositions and protest against the war part of the workers' struggles. Out of the hundreds of workers' strikes and movements in the last one to two years, we have witnessed tens of workers' strikes and actions in which the workers have openly or implicitly stood in protest against the reactionary war of the bourgeoisies of Iran and Iraq and have confronted the Islamic Republic's war privations through the unity of their ranks.

The condemnation of and protest against the reactionary Iran-Iraq war and withstanding the war impositions of the Islamic regime is one of the arenas of workers' struggles. No doubt the workers of industries and factories such as Oil, Zobe-e-Ahan (the steel works -- BM) and Iran-National car manufacture^ who have the lifeline of the bourgeoisie and its Islamic regime in their grips, comprise the strongest force which can, through the class unity of its ranks, advance victoriously the struggle of the hard pressed and risen (people against the war and the Islamic regime to put an end to this five-year-old bourgeois oppression.

If the Islamic Republic has tried to claim that the factories are the rearguard of its reactionary war, the united and organized struggles of the workers of industries and factories are the powerful, resolute and vanguard stronghold for advancement, and the main pillar of effective and revolutionary struggle of the toiling masses against this war and the Islamic Republic regime.

Let us take a look at some examples of the workers' struggles and actions against the war and the war impositions of the Islamic Republic during the- last two or three years:

The bloody strike at Canada Dry, August 1984: This strike took place after the Tobacco workers' strike and represented a new upturn in the workers' struggles, under the atmosphere of terror and repression created by the Islamic regime. When the regime's authorities were talking of war and the war conditions so as to quell the strike, the heroic Canada Dry workers openly declared, through the tribune that they had forced on the management by their strike, that this war is against the workers and they are not prepared to give in to the regime's war impositions!

The Tobacco workers' heroic strike in January 1984 was weighing too heavily on the regime for months after.

And in October 1984 the regime tried to force the Tobacco workers to do official corvee [unpaid labor] in the name of the War Week, in an attempt to break their morale. The regime even claimed in the newspapers that a thousand Tobacco workers had produced several million cigarettes in order to fund the war fronts. But the workers generally boycotted this compulsory overtime, and out of the 3,000 Tobacco workers, the regime only managed to make a small fraction of them do overtime for the war. During the War Week of 1984 the government's attempts to impose overtime and wartime labor were met with the extensive resistance and confrontation of the workers.

The workers' struggles against the war efforts and impositions of the Islamic Republic have continued in various forms: from holding independent mourning sessions in protest against the killings in the war fronts, to resistance to the enforcement of war overtime and forced labor; from resistance to the pressures of conscriptions, to the staging of strikes and sit-ins against the acquisition of war contributions and the reduction of wages under the pretext of war.

In spring 1983 when the productivity allowance of the workers of the General Motors factory in Tehran was cut off in the name of aiding the war fronts, more than 3,000 workers stopped work and held a protest meeting. Only after sending in its Pasdars and firing into the workers did the regime manage to hold the workers back.

In September 1983 the workers in the Toshiba factory demonstrated and chanted slogans against the management's announcement that the workers must do overtime and forced labor during the War Week.

In the Madar textile factory in 1984 none of the workers agreed to enroll to build war bridges; and those who had been forcibly sent to do overtime went on go-slows.

In June 1984 the workers in the Sepenta factory refused to sign in to go to the war fronts and told the Islamic Republic's officials: "Every time you say this is the last time. But this war has been continuing for four years."

In August 1984 the 1,200 workers in the General Industry factory stopped work for a few days. They were demanding the payment of the bonus for the first four months of the year which had been cut under the pretext of the war.

In September 1984, the Tide workers, by staging protests, forced the management to pay back part of the workers' wages which had been deducted in the name of the war.

In December 1984 the workers in the Arak car factory staged a protest against the 12-hour shift work which had been enforced under the pretext of building the war orders of the Islamic Republic. The management was forced to change the shifts.

In March 1985 the workers in the Shahoo factory, which was under the threat of an air strike, stopped work, demanding that the factory be closed until the danger of the air strike was over.

Among the workers' protests against the hardships of the war in 1984-85 we must also recall the bloody and extensive strike of the Fomenat textile workers in the city of Rasht in July this year, during which the workers protested against the deduction of one day's wage for the war.

In the workers' struggles against the war and its resultant hardships, what imperatively and immediately stands before the workers' movement is that the workers everywhere must, relying on their united power, take up the slogan "immediate end to the war.'' The time when the call for the immediate ending of the war is raised reverently and in unison from the factories, industries and workers' strikes and assemblies, not only will the workers' movement have engaged in the most effective struggle against the Islamic Republic's war impositions, but the revolutionizing power of the united workers for imposing the ending of the war will mobilize the immense masses of the people, who can stand no more of this war, for a decisive and effective struggle against the war and the Islamic Republic!

[Photo: Poster produced by the Kurdistan Organization of the Communist Party of Iran to commemorate June 21 "Day of the Peshmarga (fighter).'']

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


Contra fundraiser feels the wrath of the people

[Photo: Demonstration against a fund-raiser for the U.S.-backed contras on October 12, 1986.]

When the leaders of the contra criminals tried to hold another fundraiser in San Francisco, they received a fitting reception from the people. In order to get to their meeting on October 12, CIA hirelings like Adolfo Calero (head of FDN, the main contra group attacking Nicaragua) and Arturo Cruz (spokesman for the contra umbrella organization, UNO), and their supporters, had to run a gauntlet of 750 enraged opponents of the U.S. war on Nicaragua. The activists physically blocked the contras' path, spat on them, tore their expensive clothes, and militantly condemned them as assassins.

Defying the Police

The activists were undeterred by the attacks of the San Francisco police, who attempted to usher the contras to safety. No matter how many times the police attacked the demonstrators, the demonstrators continued to fight the contras, and they loudly denounced the police.

The San Francisco police showed their typical brutality, sending at least seven people to the hospital, wounding several more, and macing an infant whose mother proceeded to denounce them for 20 minutes in front of the crowd. But 100 officers -- with horse battalions, motorcycle divisions, swat teams and paddy wagons -- were unable to stop the mass action. For three and a half hours the protesters fought the contra gangsters, shouting the slogans: "No pasaran!'' (they will not pass); "Death to the contras, push them to the sea!''; and "Plunder, rape, torture, lies, that's what contra money buys!"

The Marxist-Leninist Party was in the thick of the struggle side by side with the other militants, clashing with the contras, and denouncing the police. (One comrade needed stitches.) The MLP brought pickets and banners exposing the role of both the Republican and Democratic parties in the CIA/contra war and distributed The Workers' Advocate.

Reformists Try in Vain to Call It Off

One of the important things about this spirited anti-contra action was that it took place in spite of the best efforts of the reformists, who dominated the official leadership of the event, to strip the event of any militancy, vigor, or sharp politics. They did everything possible to; channel the opposition to the contras into a small, tame, unpolitical vigil at a polite distance from the contras' meeting. What's more, when a militant confrontation with the contras broke out anyway, they turned rabidly against it.

In the first place, though the reformist-dominated Nicaraguan Information Center and CISPES called the event, it was basically the militant activists, not the official sponsors, who publicized it, spreading the word all over the Berkeley campus.

Secondly, the event was planned as a sidewalk vigil across the street (six lanes of traffic) from the contra fundraiser. Then, when over 600 people refused to go along with the milquetoast vigil, and headed straight for the contras to teach them a lesson, the reformist organizers sought to block them by forming a human chain at the crosswalk (comprised of pro-Soviet revisionists, from the "Line of March" group, Trotskyites from "Socialist Action," and various social-democrats). They tried to interfere with the activists and order them back to the vigil. But as more people arrived, the ranks of the militant activists swelled.

Some social-democratic organizers from CISPES, as well as leaders from the Trotskyist "Socialist Action" and the pro-Soviet revisionist CPUSA and "Line of March," denounced the activists for confronting the contras. Preaching that the event must be kept "legal" and "disciplined," they tried to lure individuals back across the streets. Some even went so far as to lay hands on the protesters, pulling them away from the contras, and back toward the police lines.

Activists Didn't Hesitate

But this time the activists didn't hesitate. They didn't give an inch to this pressure. Only 100-150 were left with the tame, official action. The activists and the MLP raised the slogan "Join us!" and brought more demonstrators from the official vigil into the struggle against the contras. The hold of the social-democrats and revisionists dwindled away.

Against the Politics of Capitulation

The activists were also fed up with the politics of capitulation. Mocking the typical reformist view, they would say to the opponents of militancy: "Why don't you go write your you think your congressman would come and stop the police from hitting the demonstrators?" Yes, indeed, it is precisely the social-democrats' and revisionists' subservience to the Democrats in Congress -- Reagan's partners in aggression -- that is at the root of their opposition to militancy on the part of the people. The fear of embarrassing or offending their beloved liberals dictates the reformists' groveling tactics before the contras and the police.

For a Powerful Movement!

Discussions and arguments took place throughout the event on the value of militant action, the role of the police, and the need for a real fighting movement. Afterward the MLP comrades and other activists summed up what happened and the role of the opportunists. Undoubtedly the struggle between militancy and reformism at the anti-contra demonstration will be reflected in differing assessments of this militant action afterward, just as the reformists denounced earlier this year the militant anti-apartheid actions at San Francisco's Pier 80.

The spirited confrontation with the contra reactionaries, the rejection of liberal tactics, and the lack of hesitation before the pressure of the handmaidens of the Democratic Party make October 12 a notable event for the movement against U.S. intervention in Central America. This militant action is an inspiration for all those who oppose the vicious contra war to work hard to build up a powerful mass movement to defend the Nicaraguan people from the CIA/contra aggression.

Students denounce Duarte in El Salvador


On November 11, students at the University of El Salvador militantly protested against President Napoleon Duarte when he visited the campus. They denounced the fascist policies of his U.S.-backed regime.

Duarte claimed the fact that the demonstration took place showed there was "freedom" in El Salvador. But every time the people protest in El Salvador, they are defying the threats of the death squads which enforce the government's program of repression and starvation of the masses.

Contras -- trained, bought and paid for in the U.S.

On November 21 the first group of contra squad leaders began their official training program with the Green Berets at an unnamed site inside the U.S. The locations which have reportedly been under consideration by the Pentagon include Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Eglin Air Force Base in Florida; and Homestead Air Force Base in Puerto Rico. Fort Bragg is also where the Army's 82nd Airborne Division just carried out its own massive two-week simulation of a full-scale invasion of Central America, using some 15,000 troops.

The Reagan administration is stepping. up its filthy offensive against Nicaragua; it has been given the green light by the $100 million in outright aid for aggression to the contras. A key element of the escalation is an intensive effort to step up combat training of the contras by U.S. troops (including bringing this training into the open). It never strikes the Reaganites that the contras are losing because they are anti-people sadists out to subjugate the people; no, it is just a matter of getting some up-to-date training.

The Reagan administration has been searching high and low for a "safe" place to train these hated rapists and murderers. But there is no such place, because everywhere the working people and all honest people despise the contras.

The governor of Puerto Rico has said he feared significant popular backlash if the contras were brought to the island. The very mention of using a Puerto Rican site has already caused widespread anger there. Even the reactionary governments of Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica, who provide bases or other support for the contras, have refused to openly host the training. They are afraid of the reaction from the working people in their country. And, as befits mercenary barbarians, these regimes are bargaining for more cash. The reactionaries in Honduras, for example, are demanding that the Reaganites carry through with an additional $80 million bribe ("economic aid'' that passed various votes in Congress but got lost in the rush to adjourn before the 1986 elections).

And, in the U.S., the masses of people detest the contra thugs. (The contras have previously been drilled in out-of-the-way spots in Florida, but unofficially and in secrecy.) Protests have occurred against each step of the-CIA war on Nicaragua, from the trade embargo and the aid to the contras to the National Guard exercises along the Nicaraguan border. This October and November people participated in over 600 events, in 68 cities across the U.S., to protest the new aid to the contras. On October 12 a particularly militant demonstration occurred in San Francisco where protesters ripped the clothes of the top contra leaders and spat on them as they attempted to hold a fundraiser there. (See accompanying article.)

The Reagan administration has expressed concern that the training site(s) for the contras be in a remote area, far from any population center, so as to reduce the risk of popular protests. The Reaganites are right to be concerned. Such training of thugs to commit aggression against our class brothers in Nicaragua is an insult and a challenge to all working and progressive people in the U.S. It will prove another target of the mass struggle against the Viet Nam-style war on Nicaragua.

Down with the contra training!

Expose the role of the Republican and Democratic Parties in sponsoring the contras!

Organize and participate in mass protests against U.S. aggression in Central America!

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The Iran-contra scandal:

The dirty war on Nicaragua is based on lies

The Iran fiasco of the Reagan administration continues to deepen. The newest twist is that the Reagan administration used money from arms sales to Iran to bankroll the contras.

Once again the contras have proved to be a simple creation of the White House and the CIA. These are not Nicaraguan "freedom fighters." These are corrupt puppets who cannot move an inch without the say-so of Reagan's White House staff.

Once again capitalist law has proved to be something that is enforced against the workers but has no meaning for the capitalist government. The laws are there to fool the naive. It was illegal to finance the contras this way, but no one cared.

A Den of liars

Once again the White House has been shown to be a den of liars. One top Reagan aide after another is being implicated in the dirty deals. First Lt. Col. Oliver North, a member of Reagan's elite National Security Council and Reagan's right-hand man for dirty military operations, was exposed as the man who carried out the deal. And John Poindexter, another member of the National Security Council, was shown to be involved. Donald Regan too, Reagan's chief of staff, is now being fingered as a liar who was in on the deal all the time. And can George Bush, personally involved in the contra affairs as shown in the Hasenfus case, have been so innocent of how the contras got their funds?

Reagan Led the Wolf Pack

What about chief liar Reagan himself? He states that he was unaware of the use of the money from the Iranian arms deals to finance the contras. Who is he kidding? Oliver North and John Poindexter and Robert McFarlane are his close associates. They were the men responsible for implementing Reagan's own policy of waging terrorist war against Nicaragua, of bleeding Nicaragua through sabotage and murder. And after Reagan "fired" North, he called him a "national hero" in an interview to be published in an upcoming issue of Time.

The truth is that Reagan didn't just know that the contras were obtaining secret, illegal funds. Reagan directed it. As far as the Iran deal went, he even signed a special secret executive order.

And What About the Democrats?

But this is not just the scandal of the Reagan administration. This is the scandal of the Democrats in Congress.

The Democrats had assured the world that secret funding and CIA funding of the war on Nicaragua had been stopped. There is no secret U.S. aggression, they cried. We have stopped it. So, if Nicaraguans are dying, our hands are clean, they told the world. It is the Nicaraguans who are at fault.

Hogwash. The contras have never lacked for Reagan administration money. During the last two years when the Boland Amendment was in effect, allegedly banning this money, the contras had more money than ever.

The Democrats say they want an investigation. Why? To prove that the White House violated the Boland Amendment? But the Boland Amendment carried no penalties.

The Democrats have known for years that the secret war has been going on. Every few months they feign indignation and demand an, investigation. And then they roll over and go to sleep.

When CIA funding, direction, and carrying out of the war on Nicaragua was revealed, for the hundredth time, by the shooting down last October of Eugene Hasenfus' plane, what did the Democrats do? They demanded an investigation. And then they gave final approval to another $100 million in contra aid and repealed the Boland Amendment.

Will Congress Ride to the Rescue?

Now the Democrats, and the Republicans too, are crying out that it will be a cold day in Washington before contra aid passes again. We've heard that tune before. It lasts right up to Reagan's next hysteria about the awful Nicaraguans. Or they include a footnote that they are not referring, of course, to humanitarian aid, and can't leave their friends out in the cold after they have loyally murdered and raped for the greater glory of the State Department. But even if Congress should outdo itself, and temporarily they do cut off the official aid, the whole point of the present scandal is that the contras have been rolling in secret funds anyway.

For that matter, the Democrats aren't upset today because the White House has been sending funds to the contras. They are upset because the White House is so crude and ineffective, just a house divided and without direction. Senator Sam Nunn, one of the most influential Democrats on defense matters, put it this way: "We must, all of us, help the President restore his credibility in foreign affairs. We can't have a crippled President for two years." (New York Times, The Week in Review, Nov. 30, 1986)

The Democrats want an investigation, preferably one carried out by the Reagan administration itself. They want to patch together the Reagan administration whose infighting and squabbling and ineptitude threatens to spoil everything.

Cripple the Reaganite Offensive!

But for the working class and progressive people, the task is precisely to cripple the Reagan administration and its Democratic helpers. The fiasco over the Iranian arms deal should be used to deepen the exposure of the U.S. dirty war against Nicaragua. Condemn the Reaganite aggression against Nicaragua! Fight the Reaganite cutbacks and repression against the working class at home! Get organized as a force independent of the capitalist parties!

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From the pages of the Nicaraguan workers' press

[Prensa Proletaria graphic.]

We have recently received the October issue of Prensa Proletaria, the newspaper of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP-ML). This issue carries articles on many of the burning questions facing the Nicaraguan revolution: the necessity to uphold the banner of proletarian socialism in the struggle against imperialism; discussion of the bourgeois nature of the new constitution proposed by the Sandinista leadership; criticism of the revisionists' conciliation of capitalism and reaction; as well as a number of reports on the struggles of the working masses. A review of some of this material follows.

Imperialism will bite the dust of defeat!

Prensa Proletaria commented on the capture of CIA mercenary Hasenfus, printed with a picture of him being led by his Captor, the young people's fighter Jose Fernando Canales:

"The arrogance of U.S. fascism, adopted by the Reagan administration, has begun to taste the bitter flavor of defeat and humiliation. The proud people's fighters continue to stand ready to confront the mercenaries and the Yankee marines to secure the defense and deepening of the revolution. These combatants are fighters of the people, who offer their lives and carry out acts of self-sacrifice and heroism. They do so not so that the foreign and 'national' chiefs of the mercenaries can continue to exploit and enrich themselves, but so that in Nicaragua it will be possible to bring down forever the power of capital, of the landlords and reactionaries."


Poor peasants expropriate landlord in Jinotega

In late August, Prensa Proletaria reports, the poor peasant cooperative "Rodriguez Brothers," consisting of 40 families of field hands in Jinotega's San Gabriel Valley, seized 220 manzanas of land from the landlord Roque Padilla.

This seizure is a victory for the poor peasants, whose families have gone hungry for years for lack of land, while the latifundists' big estates have been idle.

After months of inaction on the part of the Agrarian Reform authorities with respect to the condition of the peasants, the cooperative members -- all active militiamen in the region -- installed their families on the land and began producing food for the cooperatives' benefit.

The small parcel of land taken so far is proving inadequate for the needs of the 40 families and their 16 head of cattle. The coop plans to take in 60 more families and to occupy more parcels of land, including some belonging to landlord Nicolas Gonzalez.

The coop has succeeded in procuring its basic financing for grains through the National Development Bank. The coop members are enthusiastically taking up the task of organizing production. As well, they have dedicated themselves to revolutionary vigilance to avoid provocations by the affected landlords.

Metal workers mobilize for their rights

In the last few months workers at the state-owned metal fabricating plant, Metasa, in Tipitapa, have achieved some important gains. These include revision of their job classifications; promotions on the wage scale; new incentives, including special incentives for arduous jobs; strengthening of the workers' democracy and expulsion of some anti-worker elements; publication of a union shop paper, El Metalurgico; more presence in the military defense of the revolution; sale to the workers of shoes and milk; and improvement in food.

Prensa Proletaria notes that these gains were made possible partly because the new union leadership at the plant, which the workers elected in March, [which is affiliated with CST-Ed.] has taken an independent stand from the CST (the Sandinista union center), and is fighting for the workers' demands.

MLPN's union center, FO (Workers' Front), has contributed to reorganizing the union at the plant. It presented a plan of struggle to the new union leadership, and supports its efforts to defend the workers' interests.

The recent advances at Metasa have been made in the face of a big effort by the management of the plant and the CST leaders to distract the workers from the main problems they are facing.

The CST has made several maneuvers to distract the workers, including reneging on the new job classifications and threatening to raise the production quotas, as well as firing the plant's doctor, who had a lot of support among the workers.

Through these maneuvers the bureaucracy of Metasa and the CST have been trying to gain time. They know that the Metasa workers winning their wage demands will provoke an explosion throughout the industry for similar demands. A delay in the struggle also gives the CST an opening to try to consolidate its control over the metal-mechanical industry and to eliminate independent local union leaderships such as the one at Metasa. FO has reaffirmed its support for the local union leadership at Metasa, as long as it continues to respond to the workers' needs. FO is also calling on all the metal workers to give their support to the Metasa workers and to open a common discussion on the rights and interests of the workers in each plant and in the industry as a whole.

A campaign to promote workers' press

The Marxist-Leninist Youth of Nicaragua has launched a campaign for the promotion of Prensa Proletaria, the newspaper of the MLPN (MAP-ML.) The campaign, initiated in August, is oriented towards guaranteeing the distribution of the paper in different sectors, the establishment of permanent sales stands, the sales of subscriptions, and days of sales.

At present there are permanent sales stands in 5 locations in Managua. The campaign, designated "For the strengthening of the workers' press in Nicaragua!," will continue throughout the rest of the year.

Repression against working class leader

The workers at the liquor factory, Compania Licorera, in Chichigalpa, owned by millionaire Pellas, have been undergoing repression and reprisals against their struggle for economic demands and trade union democracy.

Recently the Sandinista-appointed management and the CST (Sandinista union center) leaders in the plant have tried to fire the militant worker and union representative, Rodrigo Parrales, due to his leading role in championing the workers' demands and his affiliation with the MLPN and its union center, FO (Workers' Front).

Previously the management and union officials fired Rigo's brother, Julio Parrales, for the same reasons. So far they have not succeeded in firing comrade Rigo, partly because of their own clumsiness, and partly because of the strong support for him from his fellow workers, who have chosen him as their leader.

The bureaucracy at the licorera has used various methods to try to get rid of Rigo, including blackmail, physical harassment and threats on his life. The most recent is the following. Rigo was called into the military reserves. In accordance with the orientation of the MLPN for the working class to put itself at the head of the military defense for the development of the revolution, the comrade reported for training. However, the Sandinista authorities, noting his political affiliation to the MLPN, disqualified him from service claiming he had "ideological differences" which supposedly could not be permitted in the military.

The Sandinistas expelled Rigo, but failed to provide him with any proof of demobilization. When he returned to the factory for work, he was told he could not be reinstated without this document. The comrade was forced to go to the Ministry of Labor to denounce this chain of events which was threatening to get him fired from his job. Finally he received his demobilization slip.

A few days after returning to work, he was falsely accused by the management of drinking at his work station. Due to the pressure of his coworkers he was not fired, but suspended for 15 days without pay.

FO called on the workers to rally around the comrade, and also demanded that the local Ministry of Labor intervene in the case. The Chinandega Ministry of Labor made an investigation and could find no evidence that Rigo had been drinking. Thus the Ministry of Labor could not enforce the punishment for the original charge. Instead they called for a 5 day suspension without pay for the false accusation of being absent from his work area. If Rigo wasn't in his work area, then why didn't management accuse him of this in the first place, instead of claiming he was drinking at his work station?

The Ministry of Labor's charge on absence from the work area was quite deliberate, because Rigo is a union steward and needs mobility within the plant. Now he must limit his mobility in union organizing activities or be fired.

Rigo's case has been very instructive for the liquor workers concerning the bankruptcy of the management and CST leadership. He is continuing to stand up for the workers' demands and to expose the dishonest methods being used to suppress their struggles.

Comrade Rigo personifies the right of the Nicaraguan working class to work, to struggle independent of the management and the state mixed economy, to adopt its own ideology -- Marxism-Leninism, as well as for the base to elect its own leaders. The struggle for these rights unfolds daily in the licorera.

The MLPN and FO denounce the repression against Rigo and demand guarantees for his person and his family. His firing, under whatever pretext, will be one more proof for the working class of the bankruptcy of the CST and the Sandinista state, and a signal for further struggle by the advanced proletariat.

Support the Nicaraguan workers' press!

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

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'Divestment' becomes widespread - hypocrisy becomes total

In late October, GM and IBM, along with several other U.S. multinational corporations, announced that they were "divesting" from South Africa. In fact, since 1985 about 70 U.S. firms have declared they are withdrawing from the land of apartheid.

The anti-apartheid activists have long fought for the U.S. companies to stop propping up the racist system. Are the corporations now complying with this demand? Have the capitalist boardrooms become hotbeds of support for the oppressed in South Africa?

The truth is that the vast majority of these "divestments" are frauds. The imperialist enterprises want to give the appearance of withdrawing to escape the heat of the anti-apartheid movement. And they want to readjust their relations with their South African subsidiaries due to the economic hard times in South Africa. At the same time they want to maintain, and in a number of cases increase, their ties with racist South Africa.

Fake "Divestment" Scheme I: GM

The cases of GM and IBM are typical in this regard. GM boasted it was selling off its operations in South Africa and thus its hands were clean.

But GM is selling its plants to its current management in South Africa. An executive, who at one time was the head of GM operations in South Africa, left GM to become the head of this new company. And GM will still reap profits by shipping components to the new South Africa corporation from its U.S. operations, from its West German subsidiary Opel, and from Isuzu, which it partially owns. As well a number of licensing agreements will tie GM to the South African plants. On top of this, GM may invest in the new company and is even negotiating the right to buy back its property in the future.

When all is said and done, GM's "divestment" simply means giving another name to operations in South Africa.

Under its "divestment," GM will continue to reap profits off the semislave labor of the black and mixed-race workers. The only difference is that this will be done indirectly. The new company will act as a middleman between GM and the South African market.

Far from divesting for reasons of morality, GM made a cold cash calculation. The business journal Automotive News reported on November 24 that GM will reap many financial advantages from the new arrangement. Over the last few years, for example, GM has been losing money on its South African operations. Under current U.S. tax law, it cannot deduct these losses from its U.S. tax returns. But by "divesting" prior to the new year, it can deduct 46% of the accumulated losses from its U.S. tax return. (Firms that divest after the new year can still deduct 40% of accumulated losses, and after July 1987, 34% of such losses.) It can further deduct any money it spends on paying off the debts of its South African subsidiary before selling it.

Stepping Up the Exploitation of Black Workers

Furthermore, a big part of the "divestment" plans, GM admits, is to "have greater opportunities for reductions in labor and benefit costs." This means greater exploitation of the workers through layoffs and wage and benefit cuts. GM frankly confessed that it hoped,that under the "divestment" scheme it could ram through these attacks on the workers without tarnishing the "good name" of GM.

Unfortunately for GM, the workers did not take this lying down. In late October they launched a three-week strike to oppose GM's plans. GM responded by unleashing the racist police forces on the strikers.

Thus, far from cutting ties with South Africa, GM's "divestment" scheme has only cemented the bond between GM and apartheid.

Fake "Divestment" Scheme II: IBM

The IBM "divestment" is a similar scandal. Its new company is to be led by its present local managers. The new company will continue to market IBM products in South Africa. Moreover, "IBM products will be sold in even greater quantity than before," according to Ken Mason, the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa.

IBM spokesmen are also hinting that their new company will make it easier to get around the weak U.S. sanctions forbidding sales of computers to the South African military. These computers are well known to be used to help police keep track of anti-apartheid opponents. Clearly IBM's "divestment" also means strengthening IBM's ties to the white slavemasters.

Ford Goes After Police and Military Contracts

The examples of GM and IBM by no means exhaust the various tricks being used by the American capitalists to keep their foothold in South Africa. The Ford auto monopoly, for instance, used the method of establishing a new company with joint ownership between Ford and some South African capitalists. Ford's South African subsidiary SAMCOR has been especially active in seeking out contracts for police and military uses of vehicles.

Apartheid Goes Better with Coke

Coca-Cola also plans to retain some ownership in a new company it is setting up. And it will continue to license the South African company to sell Coco- Cola. But it has added an extra "anti-racist" disguise to this scheme by promising to include non-whites in the new ownership of the South African operation.

A Method to Dodge Anti-Apartheid Laws

Thus the fraudulent "divestment" schemes retain the multinational corporations' ties to South Africa. They are designed to get around the loophole-ridden legislation passed by various state and city governments which claimed to put restrictions on corporations with ties with South Africa. "Look," say the capitalists, "we have divested, we are no longer covered by these laws." And already many government officials are agreeing that their cities and states can resume business as usual with those corporations who have supposedly divested.

New York State, for example, has withdrawn its threats to withdraw its funds invested in GM and IBM stock.

The University of Minnesota has said it will not go ahead with the promised divestment of GM and IBM stock. The State of Michigan has declared it will not give up its $1.3 billion of stock in companies who have undertaken phoney "divestments." A debate on reversing divestment plans is now underway in many other places including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the State of New Jersey.

This not only shows how stubbornly the corporations are clinging to their ties with South Africa. It also highlights that the capitalist politicians are handmaidens of the corporations and friends of the South African racists. The politicians thump their chests about their anti-racist credentials. But the anti-apartheid "sanctions" laws they pass are utterly weak and full of loopholes. And they were full of big grace periods precisely to allow the corporations to come up with some new maneuver. The ease with which the corporations get around these laws show that the officials are not interested in fighting apartheid, but simply in cooling off the mass movement with fancy rhetoric about solving things through another law or two. The fight over divestment at the University of California was one of the fiercest in the country. Just a few months ago the UC board of regents promised it would divest, and the California legislature passed a general divestment bill. The politicians claimed that the activists should sit on their hands and simply applaud the legislature. The national TV coverage assured the whole country that California had divested. But the divestment bills gave a one year grace period before anything would be done at all, and three more years for a very gradual process of divestment. And lo and behold, now the issue comes up of whether these laws will cover the main offenders at all, since IBM and GM and Ford and so on have all sheltered behind phoney "divestments.

Fight the Capitalist Backers of Apartheid

Obviously the recent round of so-called "divestment" plans does not mean the U.S. companies suddenly care about the plight of the oppressed in South Africa. Oh sure, before the cameras, IBM and their corporate buddies now insist they are against the racist system. But the true stand of the capitalists was expressed by IBM Chairman Akers only last spring when he stated: "We are not in business to conduct moral activity, we are not in business to conduct socially responsible action. We are in business to conduct business." In other words, the U.S. businesses support apartheid slavery because there's a buck in it.

Anti-apartheid activists! The cynical maneuvers of the capitalists are a slap in the face of the anti-apartheid movement. There is no way two-faced bastards like these are going to become pillars of the anti-racist struggle or are even going to take a neutral stand. The anti-apartheid movement must take to the working masses and organize militant protest!

And our actions must also strike at the hypocrisy of the capitalist politicians, Democrat or Republican, who swear they're against apartheid but who are in the hip pocket of the corporations. Only such a movement can really hit hard at U.S. corporate and government support for apartheid in South Africa. Only such a movement can lend assistance to the revolutionary movement in South Africa that is destined to bring the oppressed masses to their feet and topple white minority rule once and for all.

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The fraud of Canadian sanctions

The Western capitalist countries are backing South African apartheid at the very time that they make the biggest show of passing "sanctions" against it. It is not just the Reaganite "Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986" In the US that is a fraud. Another example of this fraud comes from Canada.

In July, 1985 Canada passed what the bourgeois press calls "strict" sanctions against the South African regime. Nevertheless, South African exports to Canada have zoomed up nearly 50% since then. These figures were released by the Canadian office of the South African Congress of Trade Unions (COSATU). They were calculated from figures given by Statistics Canada, an arm of the Canadian government.

Clearly the anti-apartheid movement can have no illusions in the phrasemongering of the capitalist governments. Their intervention in South Africa is not for the purpose of helping the black masses. It is the revolutionary movement of the black and other oppressed workers in South Africa, and the widespread solidarity movement of the workers and progressive people of other countries, that is the real force against apartheid.

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GM calls in apartheid police against strikers

[Photo: Strike meeting of GM workers in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.]

On October 29, black and mixed-race workers began a determined strike at GM's plants in Port Elizabeth. The strike exposed the fraud of GM's so-called concern for the workers and for ending the racist system. It lasted three weeks despite GM's vicious repression and use of the racist apartheid police to attack the workers.

Workers Demand Relief From Layoffs

The workers fought for two basic demands. They wanted severance pay for laid off workers. And they sought more company contributions to the workers' pension fund.

These demands arose when GM announced plans to sell off their South African operations to the local managers in South Africa and to have the new company headed by a former GM executive. An important part of this fake "divestment" plan was "reductions in labor and benefit costs" said GM. In other words, GM planned to step up layoffs, cut wages, pensions, etc. Indeed over the last 15 months, 1,100 GM workers had been given the axe. The mass layoffs in the auto industry have helped raise black unemployment in Port Elizabeth to a whopping 50%.

Faced with the loss of their livelihood, the workers took action. On October 29 over 500 workers held a sit-in, occupying the Kempston Road and Aloes plants. And 2,500 workers went on strike.

GM Unites With the Racists to Punish the Workers

GM, the self-styled friend of the oppressed in South Africa, immediately sought to put the workers in their place. They called in the racist police to break up the sit-down and fired 567 workers for participating in this action. But this failed to intimidate the workers who added amnesty for the fired workers to their list of demands.

GM then began to hire scabs. As well the auto capitalists attempted to keep their plants running with their white-collar employees. The workers replied- with a mass picket of 350 to block strikebreakers from entering the plant on November 17. Again the company sent in the cops, who attacked the workers with dogs and whips, arresting 16 in the process. On top of this, GM announced that all those not back at work the next morning would be fired. Under such pressure, the strike was broken.

The Workers Support Divestment

It should be noted that some of the bourgeois media has tried to portray the struggle of the GM workers as a fight against divestment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

First of all, GM's divestment is a divestment in name only as GM is setting up a company directly linked to itself.

Secondly, the workers never asked GM to stay but quite justly demanded relief from GM's attacks on the workers. GM itself denounced the militant workers as pro-divestment political agitators. And the autoworkers' union supports divestment as helping the struggle to end the racist system. But supporting divestment does not mean the workers should not fight for relief from the hardships inflicted on them by imperialist corporations who have sucked their blood for decades.

GM: Friend of Apartheid

GM's crackdown on the strikers shows the complete hypocrisy of their so-called divestment. This scheme was supposed to prove GM's opposition to the racist system. But a few days after announcing this scheme, GM called on the South African courts and the racist police, the enforcers of apartheid, to crush its workers. GM may today swear on a stack of bibles its revulsion at apartheid. But now, as in the past, GM banks on the white supremacists to protect their sacred profits.


GM and the racist forces may have won a temporary victory over the workers. But it will prove hollow. The workers are still simmering over the repression and mass firings. And new struggles are bound to break out as GM or the new company it is organizing tries to carry out layoffs and wage and benefit cuts. The days when GM and the imperialist companies could run roughshod over the black and other oppressed toilers in South Africa are coming to an end.

The fire burns in S. Africa

Over the last two months, the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa waged a wide array of struggles. Each outrage of the racist ruling class was seized upon to launch militant battles. Elsewhere in this paper we report on the strike of GM workers in Port Elizabeth and the resistance to forced removal by the residents of the black township of Oukasie, near Pretoria. Below we report on several other struggles.

Gold Miners Strike

On October 25, about 35,000 gold miners went on strike at three mines owned by the "Goldfields Group." The strike broke out because the mine owners refused to grant the workers a wage increase agreed to by the mine owners' federation, the Chamber of Mines. In this struggle, the miners battled the racist police who attacked strike meetings and used whips on miners to force them back to the mine shafts.

The miners' action comes in the midst of the further slaughter of the workers in the mines. On October 26, five miners died at the Randfontein Estates Gold Mine when a cable in their mine shaft elevator snapped and they plummeted 2,600 feet. A few weeks later, three miners died from carbon monoxide fumes at the General Mining Corporation's Stillfontein mine in Transvaal province. This is the same company which owns the Kinross mine where 177 miners were killed in an industrial disaster last month.

Clearly the mine capitalists, in their ruthless drive for profits, don't give a damn about the safety of the workers. These mine disasters are part of the horrendous conditions of exploitation that are pushing the miners into struggle.

Protest in the Black Townships

The black townships continue to simmer with protest. At the beginning of November, the masses of Soweto started a boycott of the Public Utilities Transport Corporation. The action was aimed against bus fare increases by this government-subsidized company. The bus line is used by 90,000 people each day to get from Soweto to their jobs in Johannesburg.

The anger of the people boiled over when, a few days after the boycott began, an eleven-year-old black child was shot to death by four white men on one of the company's buses. Buses were pelted with stones, and several were hijacked. The racist police opened fire on a group of protesters, killing one.

Another major action in the townships was a mass "stay-away" in Mamelodi township on November 21. Tens of thousands of workers and students stayed off the job or boycotted classes to commemorate the anniversary of a government massacre of 13 people in the township last year. An estimated 80% of the township's population participated in the protest.

Student Struggles

During the past several weeks, the black high school youth have continued to keep up the heat on the racist authorities. On October 13 thousands of students in 40 Soweto high schools held a coordinated walkout and began a boycott of classes. The students demanded the reopening of 33 schools closed last month by the authorities to still campus protest. As well the students want the racist troops removed from the black townships and the release of youths detained under the government's "state of emergency."

Meanwhile a school boycott has been going on in the Eastern Cape. In response the authorities announced the closing of 40 more schools in the region in early November and threatened to extend the shutdown of 31 more schools previously closed. The schools are to remain closed until the students agree to attend classes and give up protests.

Repression Will Not Stop the Struggle

The mass actions across the country again demonstrate the determination of the oppressed to win liberation. The racists have gunned down the masses. They have detained 22,000 people under their "state of emergency." But the racists are just flailing around in quicksand. Each attempt to crush the masses has further steeled them for the struggle, preparing them for the final onslaught that will bury the racist system forever.

Black township resists forced relocation

The residents of Oukasie, a black township north of Pretoria, are fighting the South African government's efforts to forcibly relocate them. The racist regime wants to make Oukasie's 10,000 inhabitants resettle in a new segregated township 12 miles away called Lethlabile.

Only last year the Botha regime claimed it would end their system of forced relocation. But even as they announced this "reform" they tried to bully the residents of the Crossroads shantytown to relocate against their will. Now they are at it again. This relocation effort proves once more that the promises of reform by the Botha regime are nothing but lies.

The Oukasie relocation is a cruel insult to the black residents. Blacks have lived legally in the township for 55 years. But on October 17 the government announced that Oukasie was officially abolished. The residents were now technically illegal squatters in the town they lived in for decades.

The racist authorities claimed they were relocating the township for "humanitarian" reasons. They said they merely wanted to improve the living conditions of the black people by moving them to a more sanitary, modern town. But if this is the case, why not improve the poor facilities in Oukasie which they have systematically neglected through the years?

Enforcing Segregation

The fact of the matter is that the racists are concerned that Oukasie is located too close to the whites-only town of Brits. Not only do they want to enforce strict racial segregation, but they also covet the area for the expansion of Brits. Clearly the relocation is motivated not by a desire to help the black people but by the greed of the white rulers.

In fact the relocation will result in a number of hardships. Besides suffering the indignity of being ordered from their homes, the people will be moved far from Brits where many of them work. There are no jobs in the new town and workers would have to nay bus fare to maintain their employment. This is a major expense for die impoverished workers who slave away for the capitalists in Brits, including the subsidiary of the Firestone company and other multinationals.

Moreover, it is possible the new town may be incorporated into the Bophuthatswana bantustan which it borders. Since the racists consider Bophuthatswana to be independent of South Africa, this would mean the former residents of Oukasie would have to get permits to work in South Africa. Thus their freedom of movement would be further restricted.

This relocation attempt is actually the second big push to force blacks to the new settlement. In the first effort the government forced about 7,000 residents to move by threatening to bulldoze their residences and leave them homeless. But the remaining 10,000 are digging in to resist. On October 19, several hundred angry residents held a militant meeting to denounce the relocation and declare a one-day protest strike at the local factories for October 21.

Forced re-locations are one of the great evils created by apartheid. Over the years some 3.5 million blacks have been moved against their will. Such involuntary exile has helped create the notorious bantustan system. But the fight against forced re-locations is providing another current to the rushing waters of revolt sweeping through South Africa today.

Botha denounced in France

[Photo: On November 11, demonstrations took place in France opposing a visit of a South African delegation headed up by racist President P. W. Botha. Here a protester denounces the South African delegation with a nazi salute at a joint ceremony with the French Imperialists at Longueval in northern France.]

In support of the struggle in South Africa

The movement against apartheid and U.S. support for it continues to spread throughout the country. Over the last two months, demonstrations have broken out on dozens of college campuses and elsewhere.

At Johns Hopkins University

The determined struggle of the students at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore continues to unfold. They have been fighting to force the school to divest $75 million in stocks of companies doing business with South Africa. Last spring a few reactionary students fire- bombed a shanty built by the anti-apartheid activists. On September 11, these racist students were convicted but the capitalist courts let them off the hook without spending a day in jail or even fining them. Meanwhile the courts granted an injunction to the school administration barring the construction of shanties on campus. In short, the courts sided with the racists.

But the spirited activists defied the court order and rebuilt the shanty on September 29. They were then charged with contempt of court, but still they refused to dismantle the shanty. The school administration then called in the cops who arrested 14 activists.

The arrest aroused indignation throughout the campus. After several protests by students and faculty, the school officials were forced to retreat. The charges against some of the students were dropped, and the students were given permission to build new shanties.

At Cornell University

The efforts to suppress the anti-apartheid movement were by no means confined to Johns Hopkins. On October 8 Cornell campus police destroyed shanties and arrested 23 students following a mass rally. The students rebuilt the shanties the next day, but once again the police tore them down. The struggle continues with more protests planned.

At the University of Texas

At the University of Texas in Austin, 16 activists barricaded themselves inside the office of the college president to protest the school's investments in South African-linked companies. The students were arrested and faced charges and school disciplinary action. Other students rallied in support of those arrested, shouting slogans as the activists were led away by the cops and holding several mass protests.

Other Student Protests

Numerous other student actions have occurred, many in conjunction with a national day of protest on October 10. Besides demands for university divestment, there have been protest marches to corporations demanding they break their ties with South Africa. Students have rallied in support of the political prisoners in South Africa. And at the University of California-Santa Barbara, protesting students succeeded in ending the sale in the campus bookstore of products from a company with ties to South Africa.

Non-Campus Actions

Besides the protests on the campus, several other anti-apartheid actions have been held in recent weeks. On November 8th, 1,500 people marched through Jersey City, New Jersey. Along with opposing racist South Africa, the demonstration raised demands for jobs and housing for the working masses of Jersey City. On October 11th, 1,200 protesters marched in Los Angeles.

The protests of the last two months show the deep hatred for apartheid throughout the country. While U.S. imperialism continues to stand by the racist Botha regime, the working masses and students are marching in solidarity with the black and other oppressed people in South Africa.

Defend the shantytown activists at UC-Berkeley!

On November 17, the administration of the University of California at Berkeley held disciplinary hearings for 10 students involved in the anti-apartheid "shantytown" protests of March 31 through April 2. The shantytown action had marked a new level of militancy in the struggle. For two days the activists had defended their shantytown in pitched battles against the police called in by the administration.

In the wake of these powerful actions the UCB regents promised a gradual and lengthy divestment over four years of their massive holdings in companies operating in South Africa. (No divestment at all is to take place for an entire year.) But they are still persecuting anti-apartheid activists in kangaroo court disciplinary proceedings. They couldn't even get the ordinary courts, hostile as they are to the mass movement, to convict the students of anything, so it is going to act as judge, jury, and executioner all wrapped up in one. And it is very much a question whether the regents will renege on their promises or claim that the phoney "divestments" by various companies releases the regents from their word.

Students Protest in Defense of the Shantytown Activists

The Berkeley students have been rallying in defense of the persecuted activists. In September the students turned a disciplinary hearing for the activists into a forum to denounce the pro-apartheid administration.

The November 17 hearing was also met with vigorous protest. Before the proceedings, 240 students rallied in Sproul Plaza. The demonstrators heaped scorn on the administration. They denounced the charges as a fraud and demanded they be dropped. They exposed the ties of the administration with the U.S. imperialist war machine. And they declared that it was not just the 10 activists who were on trial, but the anti-apartheid movement itself.

The activists marched to the hearing under the slogans "Drop the charges!, " "Berkeley, Soweto -- the people fight back!,'' and "Revolution yes, apartheid no, death to apartheid blow by blow!''

At the hearing, time and again the students rose up to condemn the school authorities. When a UC attorney referred to the shanty protest as "misconduct,'' the activists chanted "The shanties were fine, apartheid is the crime!" Unable to quiet the militant students, the school officials adjourned the meeting and fled. The students took over the stage and continued to angrily denounce the administration.

The Administration Sets the Police on the Students Again

The administration convened a closed hearing on November 20. And once again students came to protest. When students rallying outside the hearing held open the door to the hearing, the UC campus police went into a frenzy. They attacked the students, brutally beat whoever they could, and singled out particular individuals for attack. The police went all out to trump up criminal charges against the students they attacked.

The administration then adjourned the hearing again.

The local branch of the MLP was active in defending the anti-apartheid movement and activists. It took part in the struggles in defense of the shantytown activists: Part of this was issuing a special leaflet calling on people to join the November 17 action. And below we reprint the leaflet of November 21 denouncing the brutal police attack on the student movement.

Down with the kangaroo hearings!

Defend the arrested activists!

UC cops go wild: Denounce the police attacks against campus activists!

Last night [November 20] at Wheeler Auditorium, University of California (UC) campus police carried out a vicious attack against activists gathered to support the shantytown defendants who are currently being dragged into Heyman's closed-door kangaroo court. Students and anti-apartheid activists gathered in front of the auditorium to demand that these hearings be opened to the public. A large anti-rape demonstration had also come to the hearing in support of this demand and to denounce the UC disciplinary board for its kid glove treatment of the football players recently accused of rape.

A struggle with the police broke out when activists held open the hearing room door to allow their slogans to be heard inside. Several activists were hit with batons and pushed as the police charged the crowd. Everyone saw five UC police gang up on one activist. He not only suffered injuries from this assault, but was arrested and jailed. And, for the "crime" of defending himself and preventing himself from getting seriously injured, he is now being charged with resisting arrest and assault on the police! Another activist was singled out and brutally assaulted by a cowardly cop named Freeman who ran thirty feet out of his way to hit him from behind, knocking him off his feet.

What is behind this attack? It is a continuation of the administration's attempt to squash the trend towards militant mass action on campus. The hearings being protested were themselves aimed at silencing activists through intimidation. The administration hopes that threatening students with disciplinary action will stop future shantytown-like actions.

But these attempts backfired. Instead of being intimidated, hundreds of activists came out for mass actions to protest this suppression of the movement. They brought their protest right into the hearing room, exposing the fraudulence and hypocrisy of the university.

This was intolerable to the administration. To protect their committee from any further exposure, they closed the hearings and called in the UCPD to enforce it. The UCPD, loyal lackeys of the administration, singled out particular activists and brutalized them in order to terrorize others.

Students! We must unite to defend the shantytown activists and build a strong mass movement on campus. We must denounce this violent attack on the students and continue to target the UC administration with militant mass actions.

(Reprinted from Nov. 21 leaflet of MLP-San Francisco)

October 25 protests against apartheid and the U.S. war in Central America

[Photo: New York City]

Two thousand five hundred people marched against the CIA/contra war on Nicaragua in Washington, D.C., October 25. The demonstration got its strongest welcome from throngs of people as it marched through black and Latino neighborhoods. An MLP contingent got a warm response from working people as it shouted "Apartheid No, Revolution Yes!'' and slogans against U.S. imperialist aggression in Nicaragua. Many people were interested in the MLP's recent tour to Nicaragua and its work in solidarity with the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua.

On October 25, over 1,500 people marched in San Francisco to protest U.S. intervention in Central America and Reagan's Star Wars nuclear buildup. Unfortunately, the organizers of this march tried to use the occasion to promote the lie that voting for the concealed Reaganites of the Democratic Party in the November elections would help beat back the Reaganite war drive. But the banner declaring "Build Mass Struggle Against the Reaganite Program of the Republicans and Democrats!'' -- which was carried by the MLP contingent -- was well liked by the masses on the march.

On November 1, a spirited demonstration of over 6,000 people took to the streets of Los Angeles. Some told MLP supporters, who were active at the march, that they want more actions against Reagan's aggression in Central America and his oppression of immigrants and minorities here in the U.S. November 1 demonstrations were also held in Boston and Seattle.

Some 2,000 people demonstrated against the imperialists' nuclear warmongering and U.S. intervention in Central America in New York on October 25. On that same day similar protests took place in 15 cities across the country including 1,000 marchers in Chicago and 800 in Austin, Texas.

[Photo: San Francisco]

[Photo: Washington D.C.]

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The liberals strike a new compromise with the military

Crisis in the Philippines

In November, the Aquino government in the Philippines came close to collapse.

Factional infighting in the government reached crisis proportions as right-wing military officers supporting the Defense Minister, Juan Ponce Enrile, threatened a coup against President Corazon Aquino. However, they were eventually thwarted by the armed forces chief of staff, General Fidel Ramos. Aquino has stabilized the situation for the time being by firing Enrile, but at the same time she has agreed to much of what Enrile and the military men were demanding.

The lesson of the latest crisis? Liberalism in power in the Philippines has again shown that it remains beholden to militarist reaction.

The Conflict

The Aquino government was formed last February as an alliance between two major bourgeois political forces, the liberals grouped around Aquino, and the military led by Enrile and Ramos. At a crucial moment in the crisis facing the Marcos dictatorship, Enrile and Ramos deserted Marcos to join the Aquino forces. Support of the U.S. government for this move helped get Marcos out of the country and establish the new regime.

The new alliance was always somewhat uneasy. Enrile had been one of Marcos' close cronies for years, and had enriched himself at the expense of other capitalists who were on the outs with Marcos. During the long years of martial law, Enrile and Ramos implemented the Marcos policy of smashing any political dissent, which was aimed mainly at the toilers but also stepped on the toes of many liberals. Aquino's husband, for example, was murdered by military officers; and some of her advisers had been interned at various times by Enrile or Ramos.

Soon major differences in policy emerged between the two forces, the main one having to do with how to deal with the revolutionary guerrilla movement.

Enrile and his supporters stand for a bloodthirsty policy of all-out war against the leftist insurgents led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New Peoples' Army. This is coupled with their demand for stronger action against the workers' and peasants' strikes and protests.

Aquino and the liberals, on the other hand, stand for a craftier policy of combining war against the revolutionary forces with a certain reformist facade.

The liberals argued against the Enrile policy that 13 years of all-out war by Marcos, under martial law, had not wiped out the insurgents; on the contrary, it had produced a vast increase in the revolutionary forces. Thus Aquino opened peace negotiations with the CPP (while still conceding nothing to the leftists and authorizing further military offensives launched by Enrile and Ramos). Aquino also believes that it is necessary to promise reforms to the toilers, although she has done nothing to implement any.

Thus the stage was set for the emergence of sharp differences within the government. These were held in check for a while, but eventually they came out in the open.

Rightists Put the Heat on Aquino

When Aquino's constitutional commission finished its deliberations, Enrile stepped up his campaign against her. Enrile, together with the Vice- President, Salvador Laurel, began to agitate against the new constitution.

Aquino plans to hold a plebiscite on the new constitution on February 2 and then proceed with local and then parliamentary elections in the spring. Enrile became concerned that these polls would strengthen the hand of the liberal and reformist forces. At public rallies Enrile began threatening to "do a Rambo" if he didn't get his way.

Enrile stepped up the pressure on October 26 when he addressed a rally of 20,000 in Manila. This was a straight-up pro-Marcos rally and was Enrile's first open alliance with Marcos loyalists. Thousands in the crowd chanted "Marcos! Marcos!'' and "Down with Cory!'' Enrile himself led chants of "Down with communism!'' while many in the crowd held signs saying "Rambo save the republic.''

After this rally Enrile's supporters began open preparations for a military coup. Pro-Enrile officers led by the chief of his bodyguard, Col. Gregorio Honasan, bragged to reporters that they were stockpiling automatic weapons for urban warfare.

Enrile himself issued an ultimatum to Aquino demanding: dismissal of liberal cabinet officers; a deadline to ceasefire negotiations with the CPP; scrapping the new constitution and the plebiscite on it; reconvening the old National Assembly (the Marcos parliament, which Aquino dissolved); calling a new presidential election (which Enrile would probably run in). While not openly threatening a coup, Enrile let it be known he "might not be able to control'' the officers who support him.

Meanwhile Honasan and co. went ahead with coup preparations and at the same time launched a campaign of terror. The first victim was Rolando Olalia, head of the leftist KMU trade union center and a leader of the People's Party, a new legal party associated with the CPP that follows a policy of "critical support'' for Aquino. Right-wing terrorists also began a series of bombings in the Manila area to terrorize the populace.

Aquino Conciliates the Rightists

The liberal response to the rightists was craven. While top military officers plotted against her government, Aquino did absolutely nothing against them. While threatening that she might call for mass demonstrations if the military ever moved against her, in the meantime Aquino did not even demand the resignation of Honasan or any of the other officers openly bragging that they would overthrow her.

Meanwhile Aquino stepped up her threats against the left. On her trip to Japan Aquino sermonized that she would "not stand for a communist insurgency.'' And on November 20 she instructed her negotiators with the CPP to reach a ceasefire within one month, thus bowing to Enrile's demand for a deadline.

Meanwhile Aquino tried to conciliate the military's demands for cabinet changes. She reduced the power of her executive secretary, Joker Arroyo, a noted liberal lawyer and one of Enrile's chief targets.

Aquino Finally Moves -- One Step Against Enrile, Three Steps Against the Left

The night of November 22 Col. Honasan and co. decided to make their move by sending a couple battalions of troops into Manila to take over radio stations and government buildings and to reconvene Marcos' National Assembly. This move was stymied by General Fidel Ramos, the chief of staff, who came out on Aquino's side and ordered the troops to not obey orders from Enrile or Honasan.

The next day Aquino fired Enrile, replacing him with a friend and fellow West Pointer of Ramos.

But in fact the "dismissal'' of Enrile seems to be part of a deal in which, in return for Enrile's stepping down, Aquino agreed to crack down on the Philippine left and "untrustworthy'' liberal cabinet members. While dismissing Enrile, Aquino also demanded the resignations of all her other cabinet officers, and the word from her advisers is that the more reformist among them will be dropped.

While announcing Enrile's ouster, Aquino also announced that leftist insurgents had only seven more days to sign a ceasefire, after which there would be "no more negotiations at all." Aquino also authorized a massive new offensive against the NPA by Ramos to begin November 27.

Liberalism Lets the Military Plotters Go Scot-Free

A striking point about the failed rightist coup is the lack of any recriminations by Aquino against the military plotters. While uttering bloodthirsty threats against the insurgency among the poor toilers, Aquino is all sweetness and light towards the rightists who tried to overthrow her.

In most countries a treasonous defense minister is usually clapped into jail, at the least. But Enrile simply went on a vacation, after which he is expected to play a major role in Philippines politics as leader of the Nationalist Party, a new party composed largely of Marcos loyalists.

As for Col. Honasan and his cronies, the new defense minister said only that there will be some kind of investigation -- "a very informal investigation" -- and that if anything was amiss (which he doubts), then these officers might be reassigned. That is all -- no trial, no punishment, not even a demand for their resignation.

While the immediate aspirations of Enrile and his clique have been foiled, the coup and its aftermath brought Aquino much closer to the military establishment. The U.S. bourgeois press was lavish in its praise for Aquino's "decisive action'' because it now clears the way to "get on with the war" against the left.

The U.S. media also showered praise on General Ramos, whom they pictured as a "principled, professional" military man "above politics." But in fact Ramos was one of Marcos' most trusted and most efficient counterrevolutionary butchers, the man who organized the brutal local constabularies. It should also be remembered that it was Ramos who delivered Enrile's ultimatums to Aquino.

The new defense minister, General Ileto, is a good friend of Ramos (but also, it should be noted, a good friend of Enrile). Qeto's main credentials for the post come from his experience in fighting the Huk rebellion of the 1950's; Ileto organized the small-unit ranger squads that murdered revolutionaries.

Thus the "good ole boys" of Filipino bourgeois politics, despite their factional infighting, have come to an agreement on how to prosecute their war against the toilers. Personalities like Marcos and Enrile come and go, but the reactionary policy remains the same. Real change for the toilers will not come until their own movement, independent of the bourgeois liberals, rises up to smash the entire rule of the exploiters.

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The Filipino left in the face of the crisis

If the rightist military coup around Defense Minister Enrile had been successful, it would have meant a setback for the Filipino masses. The main goal of the right was to smash the left -- the trade unions, peasant organizations, and other organizations of the working people. And the right clearly showed its hand with the murder of Rolando Olalia, a leader of the May First Movement trade union center.

The threat of the rightist coup brought out multitudes into the streets during November. The biggest event was the demonstration of November 20. This was a funeral march for Rolando Olalia.

This was the largest left-wing demonstration in Filipino history. The march lasted all day, eleven hours long, and took nearly two and a half hours to pass any one point. The number of participants was in the hundreds of thousands. Tens of thousands waved red flags and chanted revolutionary slogans, while demonstrators with paintbrushes painted slogans on walls throughout the city. Armed guards in the demonstration protected leftist leaders who appeared in public for the first time.

However, the political weakness of the leadership of the Filipino left again showed itself in the approach taken to the crisis in the government. This problem is a conciliationist stand towards liberalism, which has translated into a policy of trailing behind the Aquino government.

The leaders of the demonstration delivered a letter to the palace telling Aquino to "draw your strength from the masses now at your doorstep." And J.V. Bautista, a leader of BAYAN, a coalition of left organizations, said, "[Aquino] is unsure about the strength of people power; that's why we are having the march, to show her these forces are at her disposal if the military moves against her."

It is necessary to stand up against the threat of a rightist coup. But this does not mean that the left should throw itself into the role of foot-soldiers for the liberals. After all, the liberals are no real opponents of the right. This was, proved once again, as Aquino faced the Enrile crisis only by moving even closer to the military.

The issue before the workers and peasants is not to trail Aquino, with the never-ending illusion that she'll become a real defender of the masses, but to concentrate on building up an independent movement of the toilers.

[Photo: Demonstrators in Manila condemn the murder of trade union leader Rolando Olalia.]

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The World in Struggle


Bengalis protest new 'democracy' of military tyrant

On November 10 the government of Lt. General Ershad declared the end of four years of martial law in Bangladesh. But this fraud was immediately met with militant denunciations by the masses who want real freedom. The people of Bangladesh are very dubious of the General's new "democracy." During its rule, the martial law regime has faced repeated upsurges of struggle by the working people. To stabilize his rule, Ershad decided this year to carry out a much-advertised return to democracy. But before agreeing to withdraw military rule, he first had himself elected president of the new "civilian" government -- in elections marked by widespread fraud and little voter interest. Ershad also codified his powers as chief martial law administrator into powers of the presidency. Then, just to make sure, Ershad had a law adopted granting immunity to the generals for anything they might have done during four years of repressive rule.

On the day martial law ended, protests against Ershad erupted in Dacca, the capital city. Thousands of demonstrators battled police, hurling firebombs and setting buses ablaze. The protesters wounded 34 policemen while suffering 100 casualties themselves.

These demonstrations indicate the mood of the Bengali toilers as Ershad tries to legitimize his tyrannical rule as "democracy." The workers and peasants of Bangladesh have a long history of fighting military despots -- both when they rule under direct martial law or through a civilian facelift. The fight against reaction and poverty will continue to develop. Only by crowning their struggles with the overthrow of the rule of the exploiters will the toilers realize what they long for.

Haitian workers demand ouster of Namphy's junta

[Photo: Massive anti-government demonstration in Port-au-Prince on November 7.]

A recent wave of mass actions in Haiti shows that the Haitian toilers are getting fed up with the regime of General Namphy and are burning to push forward their struggles against reaction and poverty.

As the mass movement in Haiti ebbed somewhat in late summer and early fall, some Duvalierist reactionaries thought it opportune to begin a comeback. On October 30 the formation of a new political party called PREN, the Party of National Togetherness, was announced. This party was composed entirely of former Duvalier officials hoping to reestablish their former rule.

But the Duvalierists were wrong in thinking they could so openly begin a comeback. As soon as the masses heard about PREN, large demonstrations broke out in Port-au-Prince and a half dozen other cities. The masses not only denounced PREN, but also General Namphy's government for allowing these fascist scum to organize. On November 7 there was a demonstration of 80,000 people in the streets of the capital. This was the largest demonstration since the fall of Duvalier, and burning barricades went on long into the night. A strike of transport workers also paralyzed Port-au-Prince on November 6.

After the protests spread to Gonaives and other cities the second week of November, the leaders of PREN announced they were dissolving their organization. At the same time General Namphy went on TV to announce the firing of all of Haiti's overseas envoys. He wanted to try and conciliate the protesters by showing that he was ridding the government of Duvalier cronies. Namphy then departed for Washington to ask Reagan for aid.

But by this time the movement was under way again and could not be easily stopped. The third week of November brought a two-day general strike on November 17 and 18. This strike was called by a coalition of dozens of new labor unions and opposition political parties, and demanded the resignation of Namphy and his junta.

The general strike crippled business in Port-au-Prince and the surrounding area. Youths built roadblocks all over the capital and threw stones at troops when they came to disperse the protesters. On the first day of the strike troops fired into the crowds, killing two and wounding three.

After the Haitian masses brought down Duvalier, for a while they focused their demands on the ouster of Duvalier's closest cronies in the new government. But as the new regime of General Namphy has been exposed more and more, the demand for the removal of the entire government has become louder and louder. In the general strike of last June the demand for Namphy's ouster was voiced by only some of the toilers, but now it is being taken up widely. This shows, the growing maturity and self-confidence of the movement in Haiti.

Reagan is sending tons of military supplies to try and prop up Namphy, but this may not be of much help to the regime as it becomes more and more exposed among the masses.

Wave of student protests in France

A huge protest movement is sweeping through universities and high schools in France as a response to a plan that will make government-run universities more expensive and harder to get into.

The students' protest is the first major challenge to the rightist government of Prime Minister Jacques Chirac since it came to power eight months ago. (In the French political system, although the social-democrat Mitterrand is still the president, the conservatives control the government because of the parliamentary majority they won in this year's elections.)

Student strikes and sit-ins have spread with remarkable speed to more than half of the 72 major state universities, and high school students are supporting the movement with boycotts and demonstrations.

During the last week of November, university students were holding nonstop meetings and attending giant daily assemblies as they built up for a huge demonstration at the parliament building on November 27. On November 25 students from 66 high schools boycotted classes and demonstrated in Paris demanding the resignation of the cabinet minister responsible for the new proposals. On November 26 violence flared as a demonstration of students was attacked by a group of right-wing extremists, with five injured.

And on the 27th, a million demonstrators took to the streets of Paris and 50 other cities. In Paris alone, hundreds of thousands of university and high school students marched through the heart of the capital before converging on the National Assembly. They chanted slogans and carried banners protesting the new education policy. Banners proclaimed, "No to elitism and inequality." At one point during the march, a small band of right-wing students attacked the demonstrators.

The students are protesting a program that would increase tuition fees by a maximum of $250 and do away with the system of automatically admitting to university any student who has completed the college preparatory academic program. The government is pushing these changes under the banner of "higher standards." But students, supported by many teachers, recognize that it will restrict access to higher education for children of the working people.

In the face of the student upheaval, it appears that the Chirac government has decided to retreat for the time being. On November 28, the Education Minister announced that the new proposal was being sent back to committee for revision.

Swiss capitalists poison the Rhine

Noisy street demonstrations erupted across Western Europe the first week of November in response to a chemical spill into the Rhine River. The poisoning occurred as the result of a fire November 1 at the Sandoz AG chemical plant in Basel, Switzerland.

As firemen sprayed water onto the fire at the Sandoz plant, 30 tons of chemicals and dyes were washed into the river. This included 440 pounds of mercury, a highly toxic substance. The result was the immediate death of all fish in the area around Basel -- it is estimated that half a million fish were killed almost instantly.

Within a few days mercury levels were three times normal along the German-Dutch border, 350 miles from Basel. It is still not known whether the mercury is undergoing chemical changes on the bottom of the river that could turn it into a particularly deadly substance. Meanwhile many communities along the Rhine have had their water shut off. There are reports of French sheep dying after drinking Rhine water.

The Swiss government, protector of the capitalist monopolies that it is, tried to minimize the disaster right from the beginning. It took them one whole day to raise the proper alarm and even a day later it didn't know what poisons had been spilled. And ironically, the Swiss government had been one of the loudest critics of the Russian bureaucrats for their shameful record at the Chernobyl disaster.

Protest marches within days of the chemical spill included window-smashing incidents in Basel. Marchers in demonstrations carried banners saying "Fish are powerless, we are not." Graffiti artists renamed the city "Chernobasel." On November 9 the Sandoz company and the city fathers of Basel organized a "panel discussion" on the disaster to try and calm the masses with assurances about how safe the Rhine will be a decade from now. Protesters crashed the "panel discussion" and pelted the officials with dead eels and smelly river water.

The disaster could have been even worse. Only one building away from the fire was a storage site for phosgene gas. This was used as a poison gas in World War I and more recently it earned notoriety for being one of the main base ingredients for MIC, the killer gas at Bhopal. And only 15 meters away from the fire were tons of highly explosive Natrium.

In the wake of the Sandoz disaster, various facts have emerged about Sandoz' criminal safety record at this plant. The plant lacked vessels to catch leaking chemicals, automatic sprinklers, automatic fire and smoke detection system, etc.

Some of the facts have emerged as various of the European governments have pointed fingers at one another, but the sad truth is that the course of the Rhine -- from Switzerland to Holland is dotted with huge chemical plants owned by the chemical monopolies from Switzerland, Germany, Holland and the U.S. And every one of these monopolies has had poisonous spills into the Rhine over the years.

Indeed, right after the Basel accident, the herbicide atrazine was discovered in the Rhine in Germany -- a chemical not produced by Sandoz. The Swiss monopoly Ciba-Geigy came out and admitted that on the day before the Sandoz fire, they had secretly leaked 105 gallons of atrazine into the river.

The chemical disaster in Basel shows the insanity of capitalist production which allows a few filthy rich individuals, who only care about maximizing their own profits, to organize and run the large-scale industries which affect the lives of millions. Concerned only with the fast buck, the capitalists neglect the health and safety precautions in their industrial plants. And they fight like mad against any imposition of safety standards or emergency procedures.

This rotten state of affairs highlights the need for the overthrow of this savage system for profit. It shows the urgent need for socialism, a system where control of production passes into the hands of the working class.

[Photo: The cleanup of poisonous chemicals at the Sandoz plant.]

Samey hikes prices; thousands clash with police

On November 27, thousands of workers and students demonstrated outside the presidential palace in Brasilia. This was the fiercest, and one of the largest, anti-government protests in Brazil since the end of military rule last year. The demonstration was called to protest the Sarney government's new price and tax increases, announced on November 21.

At the demonstration the crowd chanted anti-government slogans for hours as hundreds of police held them back from the palace. Near the end of the demonstration police attacked the protesters with clubs and tear gas. The protesters responded with firebombs which destroyed 13 police vehicles.

In a nationwide radio broadcast the next day, Sarney stood by his austerity measures and defended repression against the protesters. After hypocritically claiming that his regime respected dissent, he declared that "in my duty to defend peace, I cannot tolerate any abuse in the expression of disagreement.''

Samey's new austerity plan has become a big scandal in Brazil.

Earlier this year, the Brazilian president had introduced some price controls which had won him a certain amount of support; but Samey did not go far enough to satisfy the workers' demands for protection from high inflation.

Samey and his party campaigned on the basis of this popularity for the elections to Congress and state governorships that were just held on November 15. They swept the elections. And only a week later, Samey announced his price and tax hikes 1 The masses quite justly feel that they have been swindled. Brazil's election tribunal has received many calls from people asking whether they can change their vote.

The protest at the presidential palace is a sign of the new, fighting mood of the working masses against the liberal government. There is talk of a general strike from the trade unions.

[Photo: Plainclothes police attack protester at demonstration in Brasilia, November 27.]

Mass actions in the teeth of South Korean repression

In the past couple of months, student activists centered in the universities of South Korea have launched a new series of mass actions against the Chun dictatorship. The reply of the U.S.-backed tyrant has been more repression against the opposition.

In the meantime, the activities of the liberal opposition politicians in South Korea have reached new lows. Chun's repression has hit some liberals too. But the politicians of the New Korea Democratic Party (NKDP) have been busy trying to smother the mass struggles and continue their negotiations with dictator Chun Doo Hwan.

Protests Expose the Asian Games

In September the South Korean government hosted the Asian Games. This was a trial run in preparation for hosting the Olympic Games in 1988. The government's purpose in hosting these games is to whip up South Korean chauvinism domestically, while advertising to the world how "democratic'' and "stable'' the government is.

During the games the NKDP liberals called a political truce to avoid any negative publicity about the South Korean government. But students on many campuses held demonstrations against the games. The Chun regime surrounded the campuses with riot police and flooded the streets of Seoul with troops. Visitors to the games got a first-hand glimpse of the regime's "democratization" and "stability" as students fought off tear gas attacks of riot police with rocks and molotov cocktails.

Chun Goes on Anti-Communist Crusade

In the month after the games, Chun went on a campaign of repression against all opponents of the regime. In this he used the standard South Korean government accusations against its opponents of being "North Korean agents."

This campaign reached right inside the National Assembly after an NKDP representative, Yoo Sung Kwan, gave a speech on October 17 in which he said Chun should worry less about communism and more about uniting the country. Chun said these statements reflect the North Koreans' line, and sent policemen to arrest the Assemblyman. When other liberal Assemblymen tried to shield the man from arrest, Chun sent an additional 1,000 riot policemen into the National Assembly to clear away the legislators and arrest Yoo. He was charged with violating the National Security Law.

What is amazing about this incident is that, even after such a vicious attack, the NKDP legislators still continue to serve faithfully in the National Assembly and are trying to carry on negotiations with Chun.

In another incident, on October 27, government prosecutors announced they were seeking the arrest of 101 labor organizers who were alleged to be affiliated in a network of 20 cells aiming to unite in a new Marxist-Leninist party. The only evidence given against the organizers so far was that a copy of a book by Lenin on trade unions was found in their possession.

This shows the rabid anti-communist paranoia of the South Korean government, which forbids anyone from owning or looking at Marxist literature. At the same time, it shows that labor activists in South Korea are looking in the right place for guidance on how to build up their movement.

Campus Revolt

The day after the government announced this roundup of labor organizers, two thousand students from 27 campuses met at Kunkook University in Seoul to announce the formation of a new organization to "fight against dictatorship and foreign intervention.'' At the founding rally, effigies of Chun, Reagan and Japanese prime minister Nakasone were burned. Posters and slogans called for the removal of U.S. troops and nuclear weapons from Korea.

The students then tried to march off campus into the city but were stopped by a force of 3,500 riot police who attacked them with tear gas. The students responded with rocks and molotov cocktails, then returned to the campus and occupied five buildings. The students issued a statement saying they would hold the buildings until some students recently arrested by the government were released. The police cut off water and electricity to the buildings and tried to starve out the students.

After two days the students still held the buildings, and the police brought in liberal leaders to try and talk the students into surrendering. When this did not work, the police launched an all-out assault with 8,000 troops while helicopters dropped tear gas bombs on the students. In the battle a number of students were badly injured, but they also inflicted scores of casualties on the riot police. Nearly 1,300 students were arrested, and the government said it would try them under the National Security Law.

These incidents show that despite the fierce repression of Chun's regime the fighting spirit of the activists in South Korea remains high. And they appear to be expanding their organization. Today we get reports of a new anti-dictatorship mass organization. A few months earlier, there were reports of a widespread, network of circles to study Marxist- Leninist literature. While we still do not know how much clarity the activists have arrived at in their study of Marxism, these are signs of progress. Struggle, organization, and revolutionary theory -- these are the essential ingredients to develop the movement.

[Photo: Militant protest against the Chun dictatorship.]

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