The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 16, No. 6


25ยข June 1, 1986

[Front page:

7 years of revolution, 7 years of U.S. intervention: Protest the CIA war on Nicaragua-July 19!;

10th anniversary of the Soweto uprising--No to S. African apartheid! No to its U.S. imperialist backers!]


The Lessons of Chernobyl:

The people must stop the nuclear programs................. 2
What it shows about revisionist Soviet Union............. 2
Protests against nuclear plants and weapons................ 2
U.S. response: Lies, gloating, hypocrisy...................... 3
It can't happen here? Oh, sure...................................... 3

Neo-nazi group claims It bombed W. Berlin disco...... 4
Right-wing bombers attack Wyoming school.............. 4

Strikes and Work Place News

Colt; Santa Fe; Hoover Vacuum; Glass workers; Carney nurses; Ky. hospital......................................... 5
Shipyards; Trico; Massey Coal; Hormel...................... 6
AT&T; Maine Central Railroad................................... 7

Bonanza for the rich in guise of tax reform................. 8

Down With Racism!

Noah Roisten benefit a big success.............................. 9
Supreme Court for job discrimination......................... 9

Death to Apartheid in South Africa!

Fight rages: Crossroads, Soweto, Johannesburg.......... 10
May Day: 2.5 million workers strike........................... 11
Commonwealth 'peace' plan: against revolution......... 11
Buthelezi's 'trade union'.............................................. 11
Three more brutal raids on black Africa...................... 12
A state of emergency in all but name........................... 12

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

Contadora trap against Nicaragua................................ 13
U.S. court returns contra drug money.......................... 13
Salvadoran workers take to streets on May Day.......... 13
On strike in El Salvador............................................... 13
Pentagon plan for Nicaragua: 100,000 U.S. troops..... 14
Do the Democrats oppose the contras?........................ 14

The World in Struggle

Haitian liberals; Teachers' strikes in Brazil and Bolivia.......................................................................... 15
Demonstration against S. Korean dictatorship............. 17

100th Anniversary of May Day

Around the world; In Mexico....................................... 19
Marches and rallies in U.S........................................... 20
Class struggle vs. reformism at Chicago march........... 20

7 years of revolution, 7 years of U.S. intervention:

Protest the CIA war on Nicaragua-July 19!

10th anniversary of the Soweto uprising

No to S. African apartheid! No to its U.S. imperialist backers!

The lessons of Chernobyl:

The people must stop the monstrous nuclear programs!

What Chernobyl shows about the revisionist Soviet Union

No more Chernobyls!

Protests against nuclear plants and weapons

The official U.S. response to Chernobyl

Lies, gloating and hypocrisy

It can't happen here? Oh, sure

Neo-nazi group claims it bombed West Berlin disco

Reagan covers up for terrorism of the right wing

Right-wing bombers attack Wyoming school

Strikes and workplace news

Bonanza for the rich in the guise of tax reform


Death to apartheid in South Africa!

Black Jews persecuted in Israel

U.S. Imperialism Get Out of Central America!

A wave of demonstrations against South Korean dictatorship:

Workers and students fight Chun's military rule and U.S. imperialism

Shultz swears loyalty to Chun

May Day around the world

The May First battle in Mexico City

Marches and rallies in the U.S. mark

100th Anniversary of May Day, International Working Class Day!

Class struggle vs. reformism at Haymarket celebrations

The World in Struggle

7 years of revolution, 7 years of U.S. intervention:

Protest the CIA war on Nicaragua-July 19!

Workers! Youth! All those who oppose the U.S. war on Nicaragua!

On July 19, marking seven years of the Nicaraguan revolution, the MLP is organizing protests against the U.S. government's undeclared war on Nicaragua. Come out to these events, and events held by others, to voice your outrage against the CIA's war. Lend your hand to building the movement against U.S. intervention.

For seven years, first the Carter and then the Reagan White House has been escalating this war. And at every step, Congress and the Democrats have found a way to go along. Just watch as they are about to hand Reagan $100 million more for the CIA's contra war of assassination, rape and destruction against Nicaragua.

Any way you look at it, "our" government's war on Nicaragua is a filthy, unjust and criminal war. Today Reagan has hired contra mercenaries to do the killing for him. Tomorrow he may give the nod to the Pentagon's plan to send 100,000 sons and daughters of American working people into the slaughter. He has already unleashed a bloodbath with no' higher aim than saddling the workers and peasants of Nicaragua with a new Somoza-style regime of corruption and terror -- a regime that will again be at the beck and call of U.S. generals and U.S. corporations.

The American working people have shown time and again that they don't want a new Vietnam war in Central America. The job we face is to turn this opposition into a powerful movement rooted in the factories, communities and schools. Not so.long ago the anti-war movement brought millions into the streets and helped put an end to the unjust U.S. war in Vietnam. Today too we must build up the struggle to put an end to Reagan's war on Nicaragua.

Not a single cent for Reagan's contra terrorists!

U.S. imperialism, hands off Nicaragua!

Support the Nicaraguan workers and peasants!

Join the July 19th protests!

* For news on Central America see page 13.

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10th anniversary of the Soweto uprising

No to S. African apartheid! No to its U.S. imperialist backers!

[Photo: Rally in Soweto during the May First general strike of 2.5 million workers this year.]

This June marks the 10th anniversary of the historic Soweto uprising of 1976. On June 16, 1976 the racist police savagely attacked a demonstration of black high school students in Soweto, killing and wounding many youth. This set off many months of fierce battles against the apartheid regime. Centered in the huge black township of Soweto, the struggle extended throughout the country. Brave black youth and workers fought the heavily armed police with stones and clubs, stormed police stations and government buildings, and massive strikes paralyzed Johannesburg and other cities.

The Spirit of the Soweto Uprising Lives Today

The tenth anniversary of Soweto comes at a time of an even bigger upsurge throughout South Africa against the racist regime. Two years of struggle have taken place. Neither mass arrests, nor states of emergency, nor the murder of anti-apartheid activists has stopped it.

The black and other oppressed masses of South Africa are standing up to demand their rights. They are shaking to its foundation the entire system of white minority rule. They are not content to be slaves deprived of all rights, toiling for the enrichment of a privileged handful. They want to rule the country in which they constitute the majority.

Reaganites Support Apartheid Racism

The Reagan administration is extending all-out support to the Botha regime. Under both Democratic and Republican presidents, the U.S. government has maintained extensive military, economic and political ties with the racist apartheid slavemasters. The American capitalists make money off the exploitation of cheap black labor in South Africa, cheap because it is denied all rights. And the American capitalists find South Africa a bastion for American, interests, a stronghold from which to put pressure on all of southern black Africa.

How the Bourgeoisie Fights the Mass Upsurge

But even the American bourgeoisie sees that force alone cannot bring down the revolutionary upsurge in South Africa. So it, and the bourgeoisie of the major Western imperialist powers in general, has begun to advise Botha on how to supplement brutal repression with sly co-optation of a thin strata of sellouts. From the "Eminent Persons Group" of the British Commonwealth to the plan of the House Democrats, this is the age of "peace plans" and "reform" proposals. All the Western diplomats are telling the black people to be reasonable, to give up revolution, to be satisfied with a little tinkering with the system, a few token rights, while the foundations of white minority rule remain.

The Solidarity Movement in the U.S.

But there is something in the U.S. besides the Reaganite bourgeoisie. There is also a big movement in the U.S. of solidarity with the revolutionary movement. The workers and youth in this country do not have any stake in the white minority racist rule. They want to see their class brothers in South Africa free and liberated. They rejoice at the victories of the struggle.

This spring the movement particularly blossomed on the campuses. And the activists often connected the struggle against racism in South Africa with the struggle against racism in the U.S. At school after school the university administrations viciously attacked the shantytowns in order to smash the solidarity movement. The activists defied threats and penalties by the university administrations and arrests by the police. The highest point of the struggle was reached at the University of California at Berkeley, where activists confronted the administration and pitched battles were fought with the police.

What Happened in the Spring Struggles

But every step in this movement has taken place against opposition from the Democratic Party and its supporters, who form the right wing of the anti-apartheid movement. The Democratic Party politicians say they don't like apartheid, but in fact they oppose the revolutionary movement in South Africa far more. Whether it is "socialist" Mayor Gus Newport of Berkeley sending in his police against the Berkeley students or Mayor Coleman Young of Detroit posturing against apartheid while handing out big contracts to companies with ties in South Africa, the Democratic Party politicians use their anti-apartheid rhetoric as a cover for their acts against the anti-apartheid struggle.

Struggles such as that at Berkeley only took place because the activists were sick of the passive playacting of the reformist forces. They were impatient to go beyond the genteel lobbying over tea and the prearranged, symbolic actions that accomplish nothing. But the activists did not make a decision to systematically build an anti-imperialist movement or fight the influence of the Democratic Party. And so, after the big battles, a period of lull typically sets in as the movement again has to face the obstruction from the reformists who tell it that militancy is a mistake, that one should work with the American bourgeoisie, not fight it, that one should take the hypocritical words of "concern" from the capitalist spokesmen seriously, etc.

As we commemorate Soweto, as we go to the demonstrations on June 14 or take the anti-apartheid agitation deep into the working class communities, or onto the campuses, we must bear in mind the lessons of the recent events. We must plan how to advance the solidarity movement.

Forward Against Apartheid!

We must oppose all the imperialist parties, including the Democrats. This spring, as earlier, the Democrats and their friends in the movement exposed themselves as opponents of the mass actions. They did not praise the heroism of the activists who fought apartheid but slandered them and their struggle or even called the police against them.

We must aim the solidarity movement at imperialism, which supports the Botha regime in South Africa. We must expose all hopes that Reagan and his State Department will play a positive role in urging on Botha if only the Democrats nudge him a little. To support the fighting black masses of South Africa, who are fighting the chains that bind them, we must fight the imperialist system of our "own" capitalists.

We must base our struggle solidly on the working people and progressive youth. Unlike the capitalists and their political parties, the working people have no interest in maintaining white minority rule and do not profit from it. It is among the working class, the progressive youth and the revolutionary activists that we find sincere commitment and belief in the anti-apartheid movement. It is the working people who are the class brothers of the fighting forces in South Africa.

And we must support directly the revolutionary movement in South Africa as the only way to change apartheid. We must oppose the sly schemes that promise this or that reform in South Africa, if only the masses give up their militancy and trust in the goodwill of the slavemasters. It is the revolutionary mass struggle that is throwing the racist slavemasters into a frenzy, so Botha and the ultra-fascists have even begun quarrelling among themselves. It is the revolutionary mass struggle that is welding together the oppressed people of South Africa. And it is this struggle, and the revolution that it is leading towards, that we must support.

Workers! Students! Anti-racist activists! On this anniversary of the Soweto uprising, let us learn from the experience of the anti-apartheid struggle. Let us dedicate ourselves to providing real support to the revolutionary struggle in South Africa.

Solidarity with the revolutionary struggle of the black people of South Africa against white minority rule!

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!

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The lessons of Chernobyl:

The people must stop the monstrous nuclear programs!

A month has passed since the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the Ukraine. But the tragedy continues to take its toll: the number of dead has climbed to 24, while over 90,000 people have been evacuated from the area surrounding the plant. Meanwhile, studies indicate that over the next several decades, the radiation could cause thousands of deaths and tens of thousands more cancer cases in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

While it will take a long time before all the consequences of this disaster can be added up, already one thing is clear: Chernobyl in 1986, like Three Mile Island in 1979, has once again demonstrated that the nuclear energy program, at the present level of technology known to humanity is unstable and dangerous. It presents a horrifying risk to the people of the world.

And if just one nuclear reactor at Chernobyl can open up such a Pandora's box as it has, think of what destructive potential lies in nuclear bombs -- stockpiles of which keep climbing year after year.

Nevertheless, both in the Soviet Union and the U.S. -- and elsewhere in the capitalist-revisionist world -- the ruling authorities have again affirmed their determination to march ahead with their monstrous nuclear energy programs. As the U.S. and Russia both lie that each side has the best safety features, their common cry remains: full steam ahead.

And this is no surprise. While there is no reason for going ahead with nuclear power from the standpoint of the interests of the people, the nuclear energy program -- wherever it is being carried out today -- is intimately linked to militarism and war preparations and it is immensely profitable to the wealthy rulers.

Thus the lesson of Chernobyl is clear: The criminal nuclear energy program, whether in the U.S. or Russia or elsewhere, must be stopped. The nuclear plants must be scrapped, lock, stock and barrel.

But neither the avowed capitalists who reign in the West nor the traitors to Marxism who rule in Russia will do this. It is up to the working people around the world -- to those who are its victims and who pay for it in so many ways.

Only the struggle of the working people can stop the nuclear madness.

The Chernobyl disaster offers important lessons for the working class. In these pages, we publish a number of articles which explore various facets of the latest nuclear accident and the response worldwide.

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What Chernobyl shows about the revisionist Soviet Union

In the first days after the Chernobyl accident, the lies and rumors made it hard to take stock of what really happened. Since then, however, some facts have become clear. And they have disproved the lies which were so hysterically spread by the "free press" and from the highest levels of the U.S. government.

But even if you discount the unconscionable behavior on this issue by the U.S. establishment, Chernobyl remains a terrible tragedy. And it could have been worse.

The explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear plant released a large amount of radioactivity into the atmosphere. Besides the immediate deaths and injuries, there are the deadly long term consequences. A large area near the plant, including water reservoirs and agricultural lands, was contaminated with radioactive dust. And lower-level radiation went far and wide. The full extent of harm will not be told for years to come.

Meanwhile, even as they clean up and seal up reactor #4, the Russian authorities have already declared their plan to-eventually reopen the Chernobyl power station.

All told, the Chernobyl tragedy is far from over -- it has merely begun.

What Does Chernobyl Show, About Present-Day Soviet Society?

Typically enough, the U.S. government and media used the Chernobyl accident to slander socialism and whitewash capitalism. They claimed that Chernobyl verified the heartlessness of socialism and the superiority of capitalism. The common refrain was that Chernobyl proved that Russia is a "totalitarian, closed society" which simply cannot match the freedom and technological mastery of the U.S. which ensures that such disasters cannot happen here.

Excuse the expression, but only one word seems to do justice to these claims -- bullshit. One incident alone is enough to stand as a powerful refutation of these lies -- Three Mile Island. As other articles in these pages show, the U.S. nuclear industry and government are no less "closed" than the Russian. And the U.S. authorities don't give a damn about the safety of the American people -- other things are more important, namely profits and war-making potential.

In fact, Chernobyl dramatizes not so much the differences between the U.S. and Russian systems as the similarities. It gives the lie about the present-day Soviet Union being a socialist workers' state. Instead it shows that the Soviet Union is run along capitalist, imperialist lines.

The Soviet Union was once a socialist country. At one time, it would have been the welfare of the Russian masses that would have received priority. But the victories of the workers' revolution of 1917 and the construction of socialism in the USSR were corroded by bureaucratic degeneration in the 1930's which led to the restoration of capitalism in the 1950's. Today, under the present-day capitalist rulers, the drive for nuclear energy in the Soviet Union is the outcome -- just as it is in the U.S. and Western Europe -- of the drive for profits and preparations for nuclear war.

Rushing Headlong With an Unsafe Nuclear Program

The gravest indictment that Chernobyl brings home against the Soviet Union is not in this or that feature of this latest accident, but in the larger question: Why are the Russian revisionist rulers gambling on this nuclear energy program in the first place?

There is no evidence that the Soviet Union has solved any of the fundamental safety problems in nuclear power.

The Chernobyl reactor #4 was one of Moscow's most recent reactors and one equipped with their latest safety designs. In an ironic twist, just tins February the Russian magazine, Soviet Life carried glowing reports about the very same plant that would have such a terrible accident. In this, the Russian bureaucrats boasted wildly about all the good things brought about by Chernobyl. They claimed that "both man and nature are completely safe." They bragged about the safety designs and about how the odds of a meltdown are "one in 10,000 years."

Here in the U.S., right after the accident, much was made about the Chernobyl reactor not having containment structures, proper cooling systems and so forth. But in fact, it turns out that, aside from relatively minor differences with U.S. designs, Chernobyl did have a containment structure, cooling systems, etc. (See the New York Times, May 19, "Chernobyl design found to include new safety plans -- U.S. experts say construction is similar in some ways to plants in America.")

Thus, Chernobyl had essentially the same "failsafe" systems as U.S. reactors do. But Chernobyl proved in 1986--just as Three Mile Island had in 1979--that even the best of current safety systems isn't good enough. What's more, the Soviet Union also has not solved the basic problem of what to do with radioactive waste. In other words, at the present level of technology known to humanity, nuclear power remains essentially unsafe and dangerous.

But despite these facts, the Soviet Union is enthusiastically forging ahead with nuclear energy plants. Today 11% of its electricity is nuclear-generated and the new Gorbachev government plans to double this in the next five years. The Soviet social-imperialists plan a large expansion of nuclear power for Eastern Europe and Cuba as well.

Moreover, the Soviet Union, just like the Western imperialists, sees nothing wrong with siting nuclear plants near big cities. In fact, the new five year plan even proposes nuclear plants within big cities. In fact, the new five year plan even proposes nuclear plants within big cities.

And after Chernobyl, the Soviet Union isn't reconsidering its nuclear energy plans. It has already declared that the program will continue.

Clearly, it isn't concern for the safety of the masses that guides the Russian rulers. Neither is it a matter that there is no alternative to nuclear energy. The Soviet Union could tap vast potential in other sources of energy. But the truth is that -- as in the U.S. -- nuclear power is closely linked to the development of nuclear weapons and it is a matter of securing large profits.

A System Which Does Not Trust the Masses Has Nothing in Common With Socialism

The U.S. media was proved wrong with its wild claims that the Russians were hiding the number of casualties, that they were hiding the scope of the disaster, and so forth. But nevertheless, there were grave problems with how the Russian bureaucrats handled the disaster.

For one thing, the Soviet revisionist rulers dragged their feet and were hesitant to inform their own people and their neighbors about what was going on. Not only did it leave the victims and potential victims in the dark, preventing the mobilization of the initiative and energy of the working masses in coping with the accident, but it also left them open to the lying rumors and panic-mongers of the West. The Soviet authorities also delayed 36 hours before they began their evacuation of the area around Chernobyl.

What this shows is a serious lack of trust in the people by the Soviet rulers and the sluggishness of the ruling bureaucracy. Indeed, now after the disaster, even Pravda admits that the government made mistakes. It declares, "Let this be a lesson, and not for us alone: People should be trusted." But what was shown with Chernobyl are not some mere mistakes -- they are the problems of a system where capitalism has been restored. Lack of trust in the masses has nothing in common with a state ruled by the working class -- rather it is the hallmark of capitalism which believes that the masses are stupid and it is the crust at the top which is trustworthy and omnipotent.

In their hesitations to inform the masses and their slowness in evacuation, the Soviet rulers were no worse than the U.S. rulers -- and perhaps in some minor ways better.

The U.S. has a long history of doing its best to hide its radioactive accidents. Look at just the latest example. A few weeks ago, the botched April 10 underground nuclear bomb test in Nevada resulted in a significant release of radioactive material. The Department of Energy stonewalled for weeks before admitting it under public pressure.

As for evacuation plans, the U.S. authorities never evacuated the area around Three Mile Island. The people were left to do it for themselves as best as they could, as they tried to unravel the lies being spread by the utility and the government. The Soviet Union established an evacuation zone of 18.6 miles around Chernobyl. U.S. regulations on paper only call for 10 miles, and many nuclear industry officials are pressing to reduce that to two miles.

Still, when all is added up, what stands out is the similarities in American and Soviet behavior when it comes to the drive for nuclear power, and weapons we may add. In short, every essential question raised by the Chernobyl disaster points to the same conclusion. There is nothing socialist about the system in Russia today.

It is up to the Soviet workers to once again rise up and throw out the revisionist traitors to communism and put an end to such calamities as Chernobyl.


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No more Chernobyls!

Protests against nuclear plants and weapons

The Chernobyl accident brought home once again the threats posed by the nuclear energy programs of.the capitalist and revisionist powers. And in many countries it spurred a new round of protests against nuclear energy.

Despite the efforts of the Western imperialists to direct mass outrage simply against the Soviet nuclear program, the demonstrations generally called for struggle against all the nuclear energy plants and in some cases targeted nuclear weapons as well.

West Germany saw a number of militant protests. In fact, for years now that country has seen an unrelenting mass struggle going on against nuclear plants and nuclear weapons. On the weekend of May 17-18, there was a sharp clash between police and protesters outside a nuclear waste reprocessing plant in Wackersdorf. The police used water cannons and tear gas against the crowd which fought back with stones, steel balls and even gasoline bombs.

In the first few days of May, there were anti-nuclear protests in Wroclaw, Poland. The demonstrators protested the effects of the Chernobyl disaster and opposed the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Poland.

On May 25th, 5,000 people marched through the streets of Paris waving anti-nuclear banners and demanding "No More Chernobyls!" They denounced the French government for withholding information about the effects of the Chernobyl accident and condemned France's huge dependency on nuclear energy. Imperialist France is one of the world's worst nuclear criminals, under conservative and social-democratic rule alike. Besides its large nuclear energy program, it has its own nuclear arsenal and it routinely sprays the people of the south Pacific with radiation from its atmospheric nuclear bomb tests.

Here in the U.S. too there has taken place a revival of activity against nuclear power plants. There were a number of actions after Chernobyl and on May 24, there were more demonstrations around the country. One of the largest was at the Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire, where 1,500 protesters gathered.

The U.S. saw an upsurge of anti-nuclear actions after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. There were many protests and demonstrations across the country. But the energies of this movement were unfortunately frittered away, largely due to the liberal politics spread by political forces connected to the Democratic Party. Instead of building a militant movement, such forces advocated various schemes of convincing the nuclear imperialists to see the light. And within a few years, these forces were even arguing against anti-nuclear slogans altogether, replacing them with schemes to beg the capitalists to expand alternate forms of energy.

Yet another nuclear accident has taken place. And the U.S. imperialists remain -- not surprisingly -- unconvinced that they should stop the nuclear drive. Once again the idea of appealing to the imperialists to become reasonable men is proven to be a dead-end road.

No, the only road for those who seek to stop the nuclear madness is to build the mass struggle against the U.S. imperialist nuclear program -- all of it, from the unsafe nuclear power plants to the even deadlier nuclear arsenals.

[Photo: On May 17, a series of militant confrontations began at a nuclear waste reprocessing plant in Wackersdorf, West Germany. Of the 2,000 riot police deployed against the anti-nuclear protest, 132 were injured. Nine protesters were hospitalized and 16 were arrested.]

[Photo: Since Chernobyl, numerous protests have taken place across the country against the U.S. nuclear program, including a rally of 1,500 against the nuclear power reactor in Seabrook, N.H.]

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The official U.S. response to Chernobyl

Lies, gloating and hypocrisy

The nuclear program of the Soviet revisionists -- like the nuclear programs of the other imperialists -- is a crime, and Moscow's handling of the Chernobyl accident was disgraceful. Chernobyl offers one more refutation of the lies of the revisionists that the present- day Soviet Union is still socialist or communist, as we discuss in the adjoining article.

But the response of the U.S. government and media to Chernobyl was simply scandalous. As the facts emerge about Chernobyl, let us not forget the headlines in the U.S. press from yesterday: 2000 Die in Nukemare, Thousands Flee Nuke Nightmare, Winds of Death, and others of the same ilk.

The U.S. response was an effort to gain cheap propaganda advantage over Washington's Soviet imperialist rivals and to carry out general anti-communist hysteria -- all in the finest tradition of Cold War "Red Scare" hysteria. But in the end, more than anything else, the U.S. response ends up making a number of damning indictments against our "democratic government" and our "free press."

The Lie Machine in Action

First, there were the lies. This was sheer panic-mongering, nothing else. It tried to feed on justified fears of nuclear radiation among people in order to spread Cold War hysteria.

The Soviet Union said there were two immediate deaths and a number of injuries. But the U.S. media railed on and on about 2,000 dead. The New York Post even came up with a story of 15 thousand in mass graves. It became so bad that any liar or trickster who could come up with a fanciful story against the Soviet Union would get a sympathetic ear from the Western press. But in the end, the rumors were proven to be lies.

Soon afterward, when some facts began to emerge showing that the fire at Chernobyl was being brought under control, the U.S. authorities came up with the second meltdown theory. This was supposed to be based on "hard evidence" -- spy photographs taken by a U.S. satellite. And everyone knows about the wonders of U.S. spy technology. Who could argue against these pictures? Never mind that the pictures didn't show much more than two spots giving off heat at the Chernobyl complex. This story also turned out to be false.

This campaign of lies and rumors was not simply carried out by the sensationalist tabloids of the National Enquirer kind. No, everyone got into the act -- the government, press, and politicians -- conservative and liberal alike. For example, the liberal Washington Post editorialized, "The Soviet Union doesn't put the same value, on civilian lives... as does the democratic West." Oh yes, we know well of the value given to civilian lives in the West -- there is Hiroshima, there is Union Carbide's Bhopal, there is the recent bombing of Libya, there is the bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia, there are the innumerable scandals about toxic waste around the U.S. -- the list could go on forever.

Gloating Over the Victims

These lies were used to damn Soviet society as evil, as opposed to everything the U.S. allegedly stands for. But there was more to it than that. There was also a strong streak of gloating. The discussion of Soviet casualties was carried out in the spirit of examining body counts of the enemy.

Secretary of State Shultz himself stepped into the fray over casualty figures. He offered on TV to bet a reporter ten dollars that the original Moscow estimate of those killed at Chernobyl was a lie. Senator Steven Syms of Idaho even went so far as to declare, "It's too bad it didn't happen closer to the Kremlin.''

As it turned out, Moscow's original number was true. Since then however more of the injured have died. And the U.S. media reports on it in the same spirit of gloating -- as if they can hardly wait before the death toll rises to 2,000. As if then they would be vindicated -- better late than never.

The spirit of gloating over Soviet casualties reveals the fundamental attitude of the U.S. ruling class towards the Chernobyl tragedy. There was never one iota of concern about the victims of the tragedy. No, the Chernobyl accident was seen through the spectacles of the warmongers that they are. It was seen as a self-inflicted wound by the enemy himself.

After all, aren't the U.S. imperialists the very same gentlemen who are building bombs for a nuclear first strike that will obliterate millions of Soviet people? Well, if one of their own nuclear accidents does part of the job, why, so much the better.

The Capitalists Drool at the Prospects of Profiteering

To cap off the display of the mean-spirited nature of U.S. capitalism, how can we forget the glee demonstrated at the Chicago Grain Exchange after Chernobyl? No sooner than it was rumored that Soviet croplands were possibly contaminated than the capitalist speculators at the Grain Exchange shot up the prices of grain futures. The Soviet people may have a tragedy on their hands, but U.S. capitalist entrepreneurship certainly knows when there is a buck to be made.

Here we have a small but damning indictment of what is wrong with the capitalist system. In this system based on profit, the tragedy of another people simply becomes a target for profiteering.

The Hypocrisy About the Closed Society

From beginning to end, the U.S. response to Chernobyl reeked of hypocrisy. Every single accusation made against the Soviet Union can in fact be brought home against the U.S. government and nuclear establishment.

One of these charges was especially galling. This is the story about how the Soviet Union is a closed society which hides things from its people, while the U.S. and the rest of the West are open, free societies, where the people are fully trusted.

This is complete rot. Neither the Soviet revisionists nor the Western imperialists trust the masses. In fact, the U.S. nuclear establishment is notorious for lies, coverups, and hiding things from the people. The U.S. government knows this full well, so even as it tried to make this charge against the Soviet Union, it squirmed to defend its right, to keep things hidden from the eyes of the American people.

We could draw up an endless list of how "open'' the U.S. nuclear establishment really is. Let us just take a few striking examples.


* It has just now been revealed -- nearly forty years later -- that the federal government intentionally sent a radioactive cloud drifting over several towns in Washington state in a 1949 military experiment. The Department of Energy refuses to say who ordered it or precisely why, but apparently U.S. military officials wanted to gauge the levels of radioactivity that would be detected at various distances from the release point at the Hanford nuclear facility. Iodine 131 was released, which is known to be able to get into the food chain and cause thyroid cancers. (Reported by UPI on May 12 and also covered in the ABC Evening News.)


* A radioactive leak during a failed nuclear test in April 1986 in Nevada was just this month reluctantly acknowledged by the government.

* In January 1966 a U.S. B-52 crashed near Palomares, Spain, losing four 20-megaton hydrogen bombs. The Pentagon did not acknowledge that it lost anything for 44 days, even as U.S. troops were scouring the Spanish countryside with Geiger counters. Eventually the U.S. admitted that two of the bombs had broken open, releasing deadly radioactive plutonium and enriched uranium. The radiation was described as "basically harmless'' even while the Pentagon directed the tearing up of 1,500 tons of topsoil and brought it to the U.S. for burial!

There is a final item worthy of note. The U.S. authorities never tire of telling us how the Soviet government is run on a "party line," while the U.S. is oh-so democratic. But recently it has been revealed that the U.S. Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Agriculture all sent out memos to their employees and contractors telling them not to comment on the Chernobyl accident. Moreover, according to the New York Times "technical personnel were also barred from giving out factual information on previous nuclear studies or on nuclear matters unrelated to the accident" (May 22, 1986). An NRC bigshot pointed out in one of these memos that there is a "strong determination on the part of the U.S. government to speak with one voice on all matters" related to Chernobyl. The Times reports that it learned that the press curbs were ordered by the White House itself.

Thus, the lesson to draw from the U.S. response to Chernobyl is a simple one. When the U.S. establishment begins to talk of its "evidence" for something where it has an axe to grind -- think twice. And remember the "2,000 dead" and "second meltdown" at Chernobyl. Remember George Shultz' wager. And when Washington points its fingers at another of its adversaries, take a good strong look at Washington's own record.

Once again, we affirm that the only proper response to the Chernobyl tragedy is to keep aloft the demand that all the nuclear energy programs be scrapped -- U.S., Soviet and elsewhere.

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It can't happen here? Oh, sure

After Chernobyl, the U.S. nuclear establishment struck a pose of extreme piousness. Knowing that the political fallout from Chernobyl would increase domestic anti-nuclear sentiment, they decided to point the finger at the Soviet Union's nuclear program and declared -- oh, it can never happen here!

We were told all sorts of stories about the "superiorities" of the U.S. nuclear program -- unlike the Russian ones, our plants have containment domes, we don't use graphite moderation, we have more safety features, etc.

In the meantime, many of these claims have been proven wrong. For one thing, the U.S. still operates several old graphite reactors with features that make them more susceptible to problems than Chernobyl. And what's more, it has now also been disclosed that the Chernobyl reactor did have a containment structure and wasn't really that much different than U.S. designs.

Clearly, the danger of accidents with the possibility of becoming Chernobyl's -- or worse -- here in the U.S. remains high.

In the history of the U.S. nuclear program, there have been many accidents, both small and large. Many of these have been covered up until years afterward when some facts made the light of day. But we don't even have to go into those cases. We can simply take what was most likely the worst case to date -- the accident that took place at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania at the end of March 1979.

A Partial Meltdown

The Three Mile Island accident released dangerous radioactivity into the atmosphere and it reached the stage of a partial meltdown. But today the U.S. nuclear industry and the government treats the case as a "success" story -- just because there were no immediate casualties and it didn't get worse!

Today much is being made of the shameful Soviet behavior in handling Chernobyl. But the record at TMI was no better.

It may be worth recalling that when the TMI accident happened, the utility officials first spread all sorts of soothing stories about how only a slight mishap had taken place and that everything was under control. It took days before the disaster was acknowledged.

Also, it was not until 56 hours after the accident began -- after most of the radiation had already leaked out -- that pregnant women and pre-schoolers were advised to leave the area within five miles of TMI. And potassium iodide wasn't made available until five days after the accident (although the truth is that it doesn't do much good after you're already exposed).

In 1984, the capitalist owners of TMI pleaded guilty or no contest to seven criminal charges of falsification of data on leaks of radioactive material. The company admitted that it lied when it made assurances that no meltdown had occurred; in fact a partial meltdown did occur and there is evidence that even plutonium escaped into the atmosphere. The company also admitted that temperatures during the accident reached 5,100 degrees. At the time of the accident, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission official had said that if temperatures had approached 2,100 degrees, it would have been mandatory to evacuate Harrisburg.

The Deadly Aftermath Continues to Unfold

And what's happened since then?

The government and the nuclear industry have steadfastly denied that there was any danger from the TMI accident. We are assured -- the radiation leaked was only in "safe" amounts.

This is just another capitalist lie. The residents of the area have a wealth of experience with the effects of radiation poisoning. There is considerable data about this, but the authorities deliberately ignore it all. For example, statistical analysis of infant mortality rates within a five-mile radius of TMI showed an increase from 2.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 1978 to 16.2 per 1,000 in 1979, a seven-fold increase. And plant life in the area continues to show up in strange forms. We reprint in this paper a picture of some dandelions from the TMI area; they speak for themselves.

Meanwhile, the danger at TMI itself is far from over. Seven years after the accident, the company contracted to clean up the damaged reactor has only managed to remove 36,000 pounds of highly radioactive material. What's left is 308,000 pounds which are kept in the reactor chamber under 20 feet of chemically treated coolant water. This hangs as a serious threat over the people. As well, over 600 workers involved in the cleanup have suffered contamination despite wearing protective clothing. And the owners of TMI still plan to bring the rest of the TMI plant back into operation.

In learning from Chernobyl, let us not forget the experience at Three Mile Island.

[Photo: Fruits of the U.S. nuclear program: three mutant dandelions found this May 1 near Three Mile Island (alongside a normal one).]

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Neo-nazi group claims it bombed West Berlin disco

Reagan covers up for terrorism of the right wing

Reagan launched the April bombing raid on Libya with the pretext that Qadhafi had ordered the terrorist bombing of a German disco. Reagan claimed that he had "irrefutable evidence" of Qadhafi's involvement, but none was forthcoming. And there is little wonder why. Not only was Reagan's "evidence" far from credible but he was also apparently covering up the evidence that a West German neo-nazi group may have carried out the terrorist bloodletting which killed a black U.S. GI and a Turkish woman and injured 230 others.

Neo-Nazis Take Responsibility for Bombing the Disco

It has recently been revealed that, besides claims of responsibility by a few left-wing West German terrorist groups, a neo-nazi group also took responsibility for the bombing of the disco. The Reagan government and the capitalist news media hid this fact. But the neo-nazi claim is more than believable.

The group, named "Wehrsport-gruppe Hess" after Rudolph Hess, a leading deputy of Adolph Hitler, apparently bombed the disco as part of a racist campaign against Turkish and Arab immigrants and black GI's in Germany.

The La Belle disco is not a night spot of the American military in general, and therefore not a logical target of left-wing terrorists, as the news media made out. Rather this is a club frequented mostly by Turkish immigrants, Arab immigrants, and U.S. blacks. Because of this clientele the night club was becoming a target of a vicious right-wing campaign as racist slogans calling for the persecution of foreigners were found scrawled on the walls nearby.

These facts point to a right-wing bombing. Even the April 21 issue of Der Spiegel, the big capitalist magazine in West Germany, had to admit that "The 'proofs' of Qadhafi's responsibility for the Berlin disco explosion have reportedly convinced everyone -- except for the West Berlin State Security.... Because the disco was a friendly atmosphere for black Americans and Turks, it is not unthinkable that Berlin neo-nazis were at work here."

Racist Terror Against Turks, Arabs and Blacks

It is well known that the neo-nazis, and other right-wing groups in West Germany, are on a racist crusade against Turkish immigrants. In fact, West German Chancellor Kohl has spurred on this campaign with his Christian Democratic Party's calls for the repatriation of Turkish guest workers. The reactionaries have also been attempting to organize racist attacks on black GI's since the 1960's when the black GI's formed the center of GI opposition in West Germany to the U.S. war on Viet Nam. As well, racist terror against Arab immigrants has been growing lately, including the bombing of an Arab-German social club on April 5.

Indeed, right-wing terrorism is being boosted throughout Europe. In Denmark racist youth gangs have attacked Iranian communities. In Sweden, fascist groups in full nazi attire have tried to march through the cities, meeting determined opposition each time. The British fascists, called the National Front, were instrumental last year in launching the racist riots at the soccer match in Brussels in which 38 people were killed. In France the openly racist Front Nationale has led a campaign against Arab and Algerian workers in France which has led to the killing of some 60 immigrants over the last three years. In Italy such fascist groups as the Moveimento Sociale ltaliano have been responsible for a campaign of terror against Jews and the left. The Italian right wing is known especially for its indiscriminate bombings such as the explosion of a train killing 15 and wounding 180 holiday shoppers in December 1984 and the train bombing in August 1984 which killed 12 and wounded 48 people.

Down With Reaganite Reaction and the Right-Wing Terrorism It Fosters

Obviously it is this racist, right-wing terrorism that is the real threat to the oppressed and wording people. But Reagan never mentions it. Indeed, Reagan's reactionary crusade against Palestinians and other Arab peoples, and against anyone who is rising to oppose U.S. imperialism, spurs on the right-wing groups. Reagan has even directly shown the right-wing terrorists his sympathy with such things as his visit to the graves of the Nazis in Bitburg, West Germany last year and his support for the reactionary anti-abortion movement in the U.S. which has spawned the bombing of clinics, doctors' offices, and so forth over the last few years. Of course, these right-wing terrorist groups are only the little brothers of the governmental monsters of terrorism -- U.S. imperialism and its friends such as the Israeli Zionists, the South African racist regime, and so forth -- who bomb the masses from modern jets and naval destroyers.

Reagan's campaign against "international terrorism" is an attempt to cover up for and justify right-wing terrorism against the working people and oppressed nationalities. But this campaign is not going unopposed. Just as the West German workers and youth have mounted powerful demonstrations against the nazis in their country, they have also carried out militant protests of U.S. imperialism's aggression against Libya and other countries. Here in the U.S. we too must develop the fight against the real terrorist danger, against U.S. imperialism and its reactionary mouthpiece, Ronald Reagan.

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Right-wing bombers attack Wyoming school

Two right-wing terrorists took 150 children hostage at the elementary school in Cokeville, Wyoming on May 16. After demanding $300 million in ransom, the terrorists' homemade gasoline bomb went off. Seventy-eight children received second degree burns and two remain in serious condition in the hospital. As well, the right-wing thugs shot a music teacher who attempted to escape. One of the terrorists may have also shot the other one, who in any case died in the explosion, and then committed suicide himself.

Racist Gun Thugs of the Rich

The right-wing bombers were connected to the Posse Comitatus, a reactionary paramilitary outfit that is best known for its virulent racism and antisemitism. The Posse has at times tried to demagogically play on the anger of the working masses about some issues such as the terrible burden of taxation that the capitalist government imposes on the working people. But its reactionary, racist, and generally anti-people goals and its connections to the rich in this country are impossible to conceal. It has never been able to gain support among the workers and the oppressed.

For example, a Posse boss was one of the leaders of the fascist anti-busing movement in Louisville in 1975 and '76. At first its appeals against the highhanded actions of the government temporarily won it support among a section of white workers. But its appeal "workers and businessmen unite," its blatant violent attacks on some black workers, and its attempts to physically force white workers to support the racist movement soon caused the workers who were originally fooled by the anti-busing movement to turn against it. The Posse leader fled the city, apparently to join up with the rest of this small band of thugs that now mainly marauds the Northwest.

The Cokeville bombers were not only connected to the Posse Comitatus but also spoke highly of the Aryan Nation, a neo-nazi outfit headquartered in northern Idaho. Like the Posse, the Aryan Nation stands for a racist "revolution" to re-enslave and carry out genocide against the black people. They do not oppose Reagan's motivation, but chide him for not moving fast enough in carrying out the goals they mutually share.

With such a blatantly racist, gun thug mentality it is little wonder that one of these Cokeville terrorists, David Young, was repeatedly recruited into the police departments in a number of states. Young previously worked as a policeman in Cokeville itself, as well as in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in smaller cities in Idaho and Nebraska. The police in this country are above all a force to suppress the working masses. They are always on the lookout for a few "good men," like Young, that will carry out such dirty work with relish.

Reaganism, the Godfather of Right-Wing Terrorism

The Reagan government never tires of trying to frighten the American people with. horror stories about invisible Libyan hitmen marauding the U.S. and of supposed Nicaraguan terrorists only a "two-days drive from Brownsville, Texas." But when it comes down to real-life hostage taking, indiscriminate bombings of defenseless children, and other brutal terror against the working people in the U.S., we find that the perpetrators are not Nicaraguan, or Palestinian, or Salvadoran revolutionaries but, rather, homegrown reactionaries.

The bombing of the school in Cokeville is only the latest right-wing atrocity. In the last few years we have seen similar outrages. The bloody massacre of children at the McDonald's restaurant in San Ysidro, California was carried out by a gunman who was inspired by racist, right-wing organizations. The neo-nazi group called the "Order" recently conducted an 18- month campaign of assassination and fire bombings. The anti-abortion movement has given rise to several terrorist groups who have crisscrossed the country blowing up clinics and doctors' offices. And this is not to mention the innumerable attacks by various branches of the Ku Klux Klan and similar racist groups against the black people and other oppressed nationalities.

This is the terrorism we find in the U.S., from the right wing. But you won't hear Reagan crusading against it. No, Reagan's program of hunger, racism, and war preparations has helped to unleash these right-wing gun thugs. And his own dirty war against Nicaragua, his bombing of Libya, his invasion of Grenada, his breaking of strikes, his segregationism against blacks, and so forth have given the right-wing groups a model to follow. Reagan is the godfather of terrorism in the U.S., and only revolutionary struggle of the working masses can put an end to it.

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Strikes and workplace news

Colt workers resist strikebreaking

On May 13, over 1,000 strikers and " workers from other industries held a mass picket line at the Colt Firearms plant in Hartford, Connecticut. The 1,100 workers at this plant have faced scabbing and brutal police repression in their four-month strike against Colt's wage-cutting demands. On some days up to 80 policemen are on the picket line escorting some 300 scabs into the plant.

Over 115 workers have been arrested so far in the strike, some on such outrageous charges as walking on the wrong side of the street or for stopping too long."

At the May 13 picket line, 45 people sat down in front of the gate barricading the scabs inside the plant. One hundred and fifty policemen waded into the crowd with nightsticks. Two workers were injured and all 45 were arrested as the scabs were quickly whisked out of the plant in school buses. Despite the strikebreaking, the Colt workers are persisting in struggle and are winning wider and wider support from the workers in other work places in the region.

Sante Fe rail workers resist job cuts

Twenty thousand workers on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad struck May 3 and, at least for the time being, beat back the rail line's attempt to cut crew sizes and to introduce nonunion crews. The strike crippled freight traffic and blocked the movement of Amtrak passenger service over the 12,000-mile network of the Santa Fe. Protest demonstrations were held in various locations, including the May 3 rally of 2,000 in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

The Santa Fe management is introducing a new train called the "RoadRailer." Despite a 1981 contract on this kind of train, the rail line tried to arbitrarily cut down the crew size in the name of becoming more "competitive" with the trucking industry. Knowing that the unionized workers would refuse to operate the train at the smaller crew size, the Santa Fe attempted to secretly staff what they called a "test run" of the RoadRailer with nonunion personnel. But the workers quick strike smashed the company's maneuvers. The strike ended when the Santa Fe agreed to operate under the existing contract and withdrew its crew cuts.

Hoover Vacuum workers' strike turns back concessions

The two-week strike of 2,600 workers at the Hoover Vacuum Cleaner plant in Canton, Ohio defeated the company's demands for a freeze on the cost-of-living-adjustment and other concessions. And the workers won a 51 cent-an-hour wage increase and other demands. The workers refused to be fooled by the company's pleas that it needed concessions to become "competitive with foreign imports." Their strike shows that only struggle against the capitalists, not joining hands with them against "foreign competition," can defend the workers' interests.

400 Glass workers blockade plant in fight for a union

In August, the 400 workers at the Guardian Glass plant in Carleton, Michigan organized themselves into a union. On May 15, they went on strike demanding job security, a seniority system, and other union rights.

The Guardian capitalists have resisted every attempt of the workers to organize themselves. And it is now trying to break their union by employing scabs. But the workers have fought back valiantly. On May 22, over 400 strikers blockaded the plant gates with their cars and kept the 20 scabs locked up in the plant for the night.

Boston: Carney nurses on strike

[Photo: Striking nurses demonstrate outside of Carney Hospital, Boston, May 5.]

(The following article is excerpted from Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the MLP,USA, May 15, 1986.)

The registered nurses at Carney Hospital are on strike for higher wages to keep up with the cost of living. In addition the nurses are fighting against the hospital administration's attempts to force them to do the work of scores of clerks, housekeeping workers, transportation aides and other workers whose jobs have been eliminated. The nurses are demanding that the hospital hire enough people to do this work. The administrators want to lay off still more workers.

The nurses' strike has met with widespread support from other hospital workers and from working class people in general. Nurses who work for temporary agencies have refused to cross the picket lines. Nursing students from Laboure College and from Northeastern University have refused to do work at Carney in solidarity with the strike. On Tuesday, May 13th, 400 nurses and their supporters held a march and rally in front of Carney Hospital. The rally was also attended by striking railway workers and by striking TWA flight attendants.

The Carney nurses' strike is part of a growing resistance of hospital workers in this country to the so-called "hospital cost containment" program of the rich and the Reaganites. The hospital cost containment program is designed to save capitalist employers billions in insurance premiums and to help the government free up more money for Reagan's war buildup. It "contains" costs by attacking the livelihood of the ordinary hospital workers and by more and more reducing the amount of medical care available to the workers, the poor and the elderly.

In 1982 Massachusetts, in compliance with federal guidelines, passed its first hospital cost containment law (Chapter 372). In response to this, Carney immediately attempted to impose a 3% wage cut on all workers. The nurses, being the only unionized workers in the hospital, were the only ones able to resist this cut. The lower paid workers simply had to take it.

Now that a new federal cost containment law has taken effect Carney is tightening the screws even more. The hospital has carried out big staff reductions, laying off nurses, housekeepers, transport workers and other staff. Just this week Carney announced plans for permanent layoff of 50 more non-nursing workers as a bare minimum. This program of job elimination and job combination has meant a back-breaking increase in the workload for the lower paid workers who remain. And now Carney is trying to impose double duty on the nurses to do the work of the laid off. But the nurses have said enough is enough and they are right. It is time to stand up to this Reaganite drive of the rich.

Carney's attacks have angered not only the nurses but other sections of workers in the hospital too. In recent years maintenance and service workers have attempted a number of times to get organized into unions. But each time the hospital has crushed the organizing drive and fired many of the militants. For years the Catholic hierarchy has preached to the Carney workers about how they respect the dignity of the workers and how they are all one big Carney family. But the workers are seeing through this hypocrisy. They are beginning to fight.

Strike for job security at Kentucky Hospital

Workers at the Appalachian Region Hospital (ARH) in Whitesburg, Kentucky went on strike March 31. The ARH is threatening to close the hospital unless the workers concede to its demands for a sharp reduction in the work force and for the right to arbitrarily call back only who it pleases. The ARH hospital chain owns ten hospitals in rural eastern Kentucky and is threatening to close six of them. While the management claims the hospitals can't survive without concessions, Paul Miles, an ARH administrator, admitted to The Mountain Eagle newspaper that ARH is making money at the area hospitals. The strikers say they will stay out as long as it takes to save their jobs and union rights.

Unsafe conditions kill at Great Lakes Steel

On May 3, Don Sheppard was nearly killed when the drive shaft on the electric motor he was working on flew up, striking him in the head. He remains in critical condition.

This accident is the result of the National Steel capitalists refusing to take the time or spend the money necessary to ensure safe working conditions. Unsafe working conditions, including inadequate or inoperative safety devices, are the norm at National's Great Lakes Steel mill (GLS). These conditions are getting worse as National Steel continues its "cost cutting" concessions drive which began in 1982.

A Deadly History of Unsafe Conditions

As the layoffs mounted in 1982, so did the work loads and hazards.

Switchman Ben Flagg was killed in 1982 on Zug Island, when the string of cars he was riding jumped the track and crashed to the ground from the ABC high line. This happened because the company was overloading the work, using double-high coke gondolas and putting too many cars on a string. As well, the lead car he was riding was continuing to be used even though Maintenance Repair had tagged it out for repair because of a bent axle shaft.

In December 1984, rigger Jim Jacobs fell from the roof of the Electro-Galvanizing Line building because the company refused to take adequate safety measures. Though Jim was not killed, he has not been able to return to work.

In July 1985, another switchman, "Doug" Lindsay was injured and later died from being struck by a car-hauling cable which had snapped at the screening station in the coke plant.

Yet another switchman, A1 Rojo, was killed in January 1986 on Zug Island when he was run over by his engine.

Again in January 1986, mobile equipment operator George Kachadoorian received massive burns, and later died, when hot metal poured onto him from #26 vessel, #2 BOP. This "accident" occurred because he followed the "safety rules" of the company's "Job Safety Analysis" which required him to operate the Hough front-end loader under the vessel while the vessel was being "blown."

And now, Don Sheppard is in critical condition because the company had refused to provide adequate safety measures while demanding he perform his job.

GLS Profits Off the Blood of the Workers

The blood of these deaths and injuries drips from the hands of the billionaire owners of National Steel. It is their "cost cutting" concessions drive that is increasing the hazards to the Great Lakes workers' lives and limbs. The "attrition" program, for example, means fewer workers doing more work in more unsafe conditions.

The sold out officials of the USWA do nothing to defend the workers against the dangerous conditions. In fact the union bosses are collaborating with the National Steel capitalists to implement new concessions that will result in the slaughter and injury of more workers. It was the USWA leadership who rammed through the new contract by means of a voting fraud. These concessions will mean more job combination. And the new "job security pool" will mean that workers will be forced to work in unfamiliar areas and conditions that will increase the hazards.

The only way out for the rank-and-file workers is to take matters into our own hands to fight the unsafe conditions. We workers must build outfighting movement relying on our own efforts, independent of the sold-out union chiefs.

(Excerpted from the May 1986 issue of the Detroit Workers' Voice produced by the Detroit Branch of the MLP.)

West Coast shipyard workers prepare for contract battle

July 1 is the expiration date for the West Coast shipyard contract and a fight is brewing. On the one hand, the workers have maintained a stronger position to fight from by blocking a number of concessions assaults since 1983. On the other hand, the shipyard capitalists want revenge for being forced to honor the contracts they signed and for all the "high" wages they have had to pay.

The latest scheme of the shipyard companies to cut wages bit the dust April 4, at least temporarily. Lockheed management's request to reopen the labor agreement and put their latest concessions proposal to an immediate vote was rejected.

This sortie by Lockheed brings the total up to five major assaults on the wage rate by various Puget Sound shipyards since the union bureaucrats pushed through the wage freeze in 1983. The most serious were in the spring of 1984, when Tacoma Boat temporarily imposed its "trade stock for wages" plan, and in early summer last year, when Todd's $3.50/hour wage cut was actually brought to a vote, and to a resounding defeat. For the most part, the prevailing wage rates at the major shipyards from Seattle to San Diego have been maintained.

But the shipyard capitalists are still out for blood. As everyone knows, the companies are determined to use the layoffs and high unemployment as a club against the workers, to weaken their resistance and impose deep concessions at all the yards. If anyone is tempted to forget this, the Times and the Post Intelligencer remind them every few weeks with their articles "analyzing" the "realities" of the shipbuilding industry.

But the shipyard workers do have the power to win this battle. Various recent strikes, such as the ongoing battle of the meatpackers against Hormel, show that the tide is slowly beginning to change. Workers are not only starting to actively resist the concessions drive, but are also striving to spread the struggle broadly, to try to draw in huge numbers at many plants. United, the West Coast shipyard workers are a formidable force. The factor that will tap this force, that will make the difference, is the organization of the rank and file for struggle.

(Based on a April 9, 1986 leaflet of the Seattle Branch of the MLP.)

U.S. and Mexican Trico workers, unite!

Last month a rally was held to protest the Trico Production Company's plan to eliminate 1,100 jobs by closing two of its three plants in Buffalo, N.Y. Trico, an automotive parts producer, is transferring its main manufacturing operations to Mexico where it has already begun to super-exploit Mexican workers at wages of $1.25 an hour. Meanwhile, in Buffalo, Trico has so far refused to agree to severance pay, guaranteed pensions, or other measures needed to ensure the livelihood of the workers it is throwing in the streets. And it wants concessions from the workers who will remain on the job at its third Buffalo plant.

At the protest rally a movie was shown depicting the plight of the Mexican workers who are super-exploited by the U.S. corporations. The class conscious workers and other progressive people at the rally called for solidarity between the U.S. and Mexican workers to fight against Trico.

But the UAW bureaucrats blame the Mexican workers for "stealing" American jobs. Instead of organizing a fight against the money-grubbing Trico capitalists, the UAW hacks are conducting a whole campaign to find ways to "help Trico" to become more profitable in Buffalo. Part of this campaign aims at creating a chauvinist fervor against the Mexican workers in order to tie the U.S. workers to the profit-interests of the Trico capitalists; it aims to get the U.S. workers in the spirit to "help Trico."

The workers' interests can never be defended by joining hands with their "own" capitalists against the workers of other lands. No, the workers must fight against the capitalists to defend their jobs and livelihood. And they must support and encourage the fight of Mexican workers to improve their conditions. Only such a stand gives hope for the workers to defend themselves and to prepare conditions to put this whole man-eating capitalist system in its grave.

(Based on an article from the April 15, 1986 issue of the Buffalo Workers' Voice and reports from the Buffalo Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA.)

UMW leaders spit on the Massey coal miners

It is now five months since the United Mine Workers (UMW) president, Richard Trumka, made his lying claims of "victory" in the tenacious 15-month strike of the Massey Coal miners and ordered the miners back to work "unconditionally." But still over half of the Massey miners have never been called back to work, most of them fired for strike "misconduct" and "violence." Meanwhile, those who have been called back to their jobs are working without a contract and side-by-side with nonunion miners who crossed their picket lines during the strike. Here is the fruit of Trumka's "victory."

To make matters worse, the UMW officials are now trying to find ways to renege on their promise to pay strike benefits to the workers who have not been called back to their jobs. Take the Massey mine in Dehue, West Virginia for example. There only nine of the striking miners have been called back to their jobs. But the UMW leadership announced in April that it would stop paying benefits to the other workers from this mine who have been left jobless. The UMW hacks claim that since Massey has leased out this mine (in fact many, if not most of Massey's mines are under some kind of leasing arrangement) it is no longer a Massey operation and therefore the UMW doesn't have to pay the miners benefits.

This whole tragedy is the fruit of Trumka's "selective strike" strategy. In 1984 Trumka declared the end of the miners' traditional policy of "no contract, no work." Instead of an industry-wide strike against all of the companies of the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA), he called for a strategy of "selective" strikes against only certain companies while most of the miners were to stay on the job waiting for the industry contract to be signed. This led to a BCOA contract that failed to satisfy a number of the miners' demands, including those for job security. More than this, it left miners at companies which left the BCOA, such as Massey Coal, to fight alone, without the support of the other miners in the coal fields.

The Massey miners fought bravely. But they were hamstrung by court injunctions, brutally attacked by the police and company-hired gun thugs, restricted by their own union leadership, and eventually ordered back to work without a contract and without guarantees against firings. The miners have taken a bitter pill. But they are learning from Trumka's treachery. The miners' movement will only reach its former power if the the rank-and-file gets organized independently of the union hacks and builds up industry-wide struggle against the vicious coal operators.

Hormel strikers resist takeover attempt by top union bureaucrats

In yet another attempt to smash the Hormel strike, the leadership of the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) put its Local P-9 in receivership on May 8. A court injunction forbids the local to touch its money and records or to harass the international's representative, Joseph Hansen, who is being sent to take control of the local. What is more, the UFCW leadership is trying to split the strike by promising a bribe of $40 a week for any worker who will renounce the strike.

But the defiant workers at Hormel's Austin, Minnesota plant refuse to give in. The day after the receivership was announced, the strikers held a demonstration outside the union hall where they temporarily chained shut the hall's doors, put up guards, and pledged to resist the UFCW leaders' takeover bid. The workers have declared they will continue their strike no matter what the UFCW honchos order.

In another show of resistance, on May 10 a strike rally was held in Ottumwa, Iowa. Five hundred workers at Hormel's Ottumwa plant were fired in January for honoring the Austin workers' picket lines. The UFCW leaders opposed this act of solidarity, ordered the workers across the picket lines, and has refused to support or give any benefits to those who were fired. But the Ottumwa workers have continued to fight in solidarity with Austin strikers and a key demand of the strike has become amnesty for all workers who have been dismissed for supporting the struggle. A number of Ottumwa workers were among the 17 arrested in the April 11 mass picket that temporarily shut down the Austin plant. The May 10 rally was another display of the workers' determination to carry through the struggle.

Putting the local in receivership is just the latest in a long list of dirty actions by the top dogs of the UFCW to help the Hormel capitalists break the nine-month-long strike and shove concessions down the throats of its workers. While the Hormel bosses have imported scabs and called out the police force, and even the National Guard, to violently suppress the strike, the UFCW bosses have stabbed the workers in the back by working to sabotage the strike and trying to isolate the Hormel workers in Austin from the other meatpackers around the country. But their filthy maneuvers are backfiring. As the Austin workers have defiantly continued their strike they have gained ever wider support from rank-and-file workers nationwide.

Recently 700 workers belonging to a UFCW local in Albert Lea, Minnesota signed a petition to withhold their dues from the international union until the UFCW leaders support the Austin strikers. These workers join the list of a number of other locals who have also voted to withhold their dues. Meanwhile more than 30,000 UFCW workers on the West Coast have signed a petition demanding the removal of UFCW president William Wynn for his stand against the Hormel strikers.

The MLP,USA raises its voice along with those being heard from militant workers and activists across the country. Down with the top UFCW leaders' strikebreaking actions against the Hormel workers! Support the Hormel strike!

[Photo: Maine shipyard workers took part in the April 12 rally in Austin, Minn., to support striking Hormel workers.]

Revisionist CP follows the lead of the strikebreaking UFCW hacks

The official pro-Russian revisionists of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) have fallen in line with the scandalous strikebreaking activity of the top dogs of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

In the May 13, 1986 issue of the Daily World the CPUSA reports on the UFCW leaders' decision to put its Austin, Minnesota local in receivership. It blandly states that, "The UFCW says it will now move to take over the local and to try to reach an agreement with Hormel." But there is not one word anywhere in the article condemning this latest attempt by the UFCW leadership to smash the Austin strike and to help the Hormel moneybags force concessions down the throats of its workers.

In fact, the CPUS A tries to put the UFCW hacks' strikebreaking in the best possible light. Without uttering a peep against the UFCW hacks' attempts to split the strikers, the CPUS A claims that "the local union remains seriously split" and reports that "230 have agreed with the international's call to end the strike and are accepting post-strike benefits from the UFCW." And it quotes Al Zack, the international's spokesman, to try to prove that the UFCW is acting most reasonably to help the rank and file "to solve this step by step, working with as many of the local members as possible." In short, the CPUS A paints a picture of the strike being in a shambles and of the oh-so-goodhearted UFCW leaders simply trying to help the workers out of a mess. The CPUS A does not directly condemn the strike. It merely repeats UFCW leaders' lies and slanders against the strikers as if these were fact.

The CPUSA long ago gave up the revolutionary cause of the working class and slid down into the quagmire of tailing after the sellout union leadership.' Indeed it condemns even the mildest divergence from the top AFL-CIO honchos. For example, in February the Daily World denounced as "ultra-leftism" the formation of a group of dissident bureaucrats called the National Rank and File Against Concessions. And now it is stooping so low as to following the union bureaucrats in their vicious campaign to break workers' strikes against concessions.

This example shows the importance of the Marxist-Leninist Party's struggle against revisionism. For the workers' movement to reach its true stature the workers must be organized independently of the treacherous union bureaucracy and tear the mask off those who, like the CPUSA, are trying to justify the bureaucrats' sellouts and dress up class betrayal as Marxism. Let all class conscious workers unite with the MLP to carry forward this struggle.

Phone workers strike against ATT's takeback demands

On June 1, picket lines went up across the country as 155,000 communication workers struck against American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T). The strike includes workers at 26 manufacturing plants in 18 states, some 36,000 operators, and other workers at AT&T's Phone Center stores. In the first hours of the strike, in New York City (and possibly elsewhere), phone workers who share common facilities with AT&T, but are employed by the regional phone companies, are also honoring the AT&T workers' pickets.

AT&T has reaped enormous profits in the last few years. In 1985 it pulled in $1.56 billion, up 13% from the year before. And in only the first three months of 1986 it has banked another $530 million, up nearly $200 million from the same period in 1985. Meanwhile AT&T has highly rewarded its top executives. Its chairman, for example, received a raise in his base salary to $1,315,000 a year.

Despite these riches, AT&T wants a whole slew of concessions from the workers. While offering a piddling wage increase that won't come close to keeping up with inflation, AT&T is demanding such things as the elimination of the cost-of-living adjustment, a two-tier wage structure, changes in job classifications, and other job-eliminating measures. Since AT&T divested itself of local phone operations (which are now run by seven separate regional companies) it has eliminated some 35,000 of the jobs that remained and forced another 20,000 workers to transfer, often to far away stations. The fight for job security is one of the main issues in this strike.

The workers not only have to fight the AT&T money-grubbers, they also have to combat the treachery of their own union bureaucrats. The leadership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), which represents about 50,000 of the over 200,000 AT&T workers, have signed a tentative agreement and are ordering their workers to stay on the job until a vote is taken on the contract.

The top leaders of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) are hypocritically denouncing this back stabbing. But the IBEW hacks are only following the model that the CWA hacks had already set. The CWA leaders allowed AT&T and the seven regional companies to each negotiate separate contracts. What is more, the CWA leadership agreed to switch the deadline for the AT&T contract to this earlier date while the contracts with the regional companies don't expire until August 9. In this way, the CWA has tried to help the companies head off solidarity actions between the 370,000 workers in the seven regional companies and the 200,000 AT&T workers.

Despite this treachery, the striking AT&T workers are sticking to their guns. By persisting in the mass struggle they can defeat AT&T's demands and help put all of the communication workers in a better position to defend themselves from the concessions offensive.

Reagan orders Maine Central strikers back to work

On May 3, over 2,000 railroad workers and supporters marched through Greenfield, Massachusetts in support of the Maine Central Railroad workers' three-month strike against Guilford Transportation Industries (GTI).

The marchers showed their contempt for Timothy Mellon, multimillionaire capitalist and owner of GTI, by carrying signs saying "Save a job -- break a Mellon." A truck carried an effigy of Mellon (complete with an appropriate melon-head) bearing a placard stating "Take a slice of Mellon before he takes a slice of you!" Onlookers were given slices of the Mellon melon-head as workers carved up the effigy.

This demonstration and similar actions, such as the May 18 rally of several thousand strikers in Boston, showed the spirit with which the strike was growing. By the middle of May the strike of the maintenance of way workers on the Maine Central Railroad had spread to 10 other major railroads, including the government-owned Conrail which had joined with other rail lines to send money, personnel, and equipment to help keep the Maine Central operating. As 4,000 Conrail workers honored the picket lines of the Maine Central workers, rail service was shut down throughout the Northeast. And the strike threatened to spread through the rest of the country.

Frightened by the growing strike, the Reagan administration stepped in May 16 and ordered the workers back to work under the National Railway Labor Act. Reagan claimed he was going to mediate the strike but in fact he was just trying to break the strike's momentum. The GTI bosses promptly refused to allow 50% of the strikers to return to work!

This has become a regular Reaganite pattern -- break the strike and wipe out the strikers' jobs. In 1981, the Reagan government strong-armed the air traffic controllers, breaking their strike and destroying the PATCO union. Since that time one capitalist monopoly after another has turned to the use of scabs -- backed up by local police forces, National Guard troops, and other government instruments of repression -- to break workers' strikes and to rid their factories of unionization.

And, while the workers have attempted to resist the Reaganite strikebreaking, the union bureaucrats have gone along with it at every turn. The leaders of the International Association of Machinists refused to call out the airline mechanics to support the PATCO strike in 1981 and, more recently, refused to support the strike of the TWA flight attendants. Meanwhile the leadership of the United Food and Commercial Workers has tried everything under the sun to force the Hormel strikers back to work. And the list of treachery goes on.

Still the role of the leadership of the railroad unions in the Maine Central strike is particularly disgusting. This was not a case where the workers from a single shop were desperately fighting in isolation. No, the solidarity among the workers had already shut down the railroads through the Northeast and there was a strong potential to extend the strike further. The powerful strike had the railroad companies in a bind and the workers were in a good position to resist the strikebreaking orders of the government. But one word from Ronald Reagan and the union hacks collapsed! They immediately ordered the railroad workers back to work and twiddled their thumbs as the workers lost their jobs.

Despite the treachery of the union bureaucrats, this struggle is far from over. The issues that provoked this strike are not settled. And the railroad workers have shown that they are determined to combat the job elimination offensive and all-round concessions drive of the capitalists.

This strike has shown the potential great power that the workers can wield if they stick together and employ the weapon of mass struggle. But this power will be frittered away as long as the union bureaucrats still dominate over the workers. The rank and file can fight and win if they organize themselves independently of the union bureaucrats and use their united strength to defy the dictate of the Reaganite strikebreakers.

[Photo: On the picket line at a Conrail yard in South Philadelphia.]

Lessons of the Philly strike for the New York transit workers

(The following leaflet was issued by the New York Metro Branch of the MLP, USA on May 19, 1986.)

Earlier this spring Philadelphia transit workers waged a four-day strike against management's concessions demands. This strike was successful in beating back all the concessions demands and in winning some improvements for the workers. In this sense, the outcome in Philadelphia stands in marked contrast to the recent giveback contracts in New York and brings home the importance of mass action in halting the concessions drive of the rich.

One of the issues in the strike of special interest to N.Y. transit workers was the vicious harassment of the Philadelphia workers by SEPTA (Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority). SEPTA had stepped up the write-ups, suspensions and discharges as far back as 1979 when David Gunn was "imported" from Boston specifically for this purpose. But when Gunn "emigrated" to New York, the harassment of the Philadelphia workers actually increased under a new "homegrown" management.

Changing the man at the top had proved worse than useless to the Philly transit workers. With their militant strike, however, the Philly workers managed to squeeze certain gains in arbitration and grievance procedures from SEPTA, as well as a near doubling of their pension benefits.

Here in New York, transit workers are also suffering from constantly increasing attacks from the "men at the top." Harassment, speedup, denial of bid, pick and bump rights, job combinations, etc., are the order of the day. These attacks are making us more and more angry and willing to take action to stop the takebacks.

In response to our anger, our union leader, Sonny Hall, is mounting a slick PR campaign against transit administrators Kiley and Gunn. It is a campaign of strong words, but nothing else. It is a campaign supposedly directed at winning the dismissal of Kiley and Gunn, but with no plans or intentions to fight their policies. But all our experience and the recent experience in Philadelphia show that if Gunn and Kiley go, they will be replaced by another Gunn, another Kiley. Is a "native New Yorker" whip-cracker any better than an "import"?

Of course, transit workers would love to see Gunn and Kiley run out of town on a rail. But our main concern must be to fight the concessions drive by developing mass actions of the workers which will stop the TA (Transit Authority) in its tracks.

To do this means fighting the sabotage of Sonny Hall and the other union hacks who help the TA put over the concessions and who stifle the righteous anger of the workers. We have to fight every day against the givebacks, as well as preparing for the next contract. As the Philadelphia transit strike shows, mass action is the only way to beat back the concessions drive!

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Bonanza for the rich in the guise of tax reform

Like a vampire, Reagan's tax reform has arisen from the coffin to seek out more blood from the working masses.

In general Reagan's plan seeks to further shift the burden of taxation onto the working people while giving more handouts to the big monopolies and the wealthy. For this reason the plan has gotten the overwhelming endorsement of all of the chief spokesmen of the capitalist class. But since December, when the House passed its version of the bill, Reagan's tax plan has been bogged down in the Senate as the various capitalist interests haggled over which is going to get the biggest piece of the pie. Finally a compromise was reached. The Senate Finance Committee agreed to a new bill on the promise that a whole slew of capitalist interests will get special exceptions in the "transitional rules'' and that further amendments can be made when the bill is taken to the Senate floor during the first week of June.

The Senate Finance Committee's bill has the same basic thrust as the House version. But it gives further breaks to the rich and the biggest monopolies. Reagan immediately hailed it as "one giant step further down the road toward meaningful, historic tax reform.'' And no wonder. Take a look at the key features of this bill.

* It "flattens" the individual income brackets from fourteen different rates to two and brings the top tax rate down for the rich to 27% from its present 50% (and from 70% just four years ago). This cuts another two brackets from the House version while further lowering the top rate from the 38% in the House bill.

While it is claimed that there are special provisions that will mean that in practice the richest people may pay closer to 32%, these special provisions are the ones most likely to be dropped on the Senate floor or later. In any case, the rich will reap a huge windfall. Even according to the doctored figures of the report of the Senate Finance Committee those with incomes of over $200,000 a year will save an average of $5,892. Meanwhile workers making $20-30,000 will average only $186 in savings and those earning less than $10,000 annually will save an average of only $43. (New York Times, June 1, 1986)

With only two tax brackets this bill virtually eliminates progressive taxation, that is, the system in which the more you make the greater percentage you pay. It is the next step away from Reagan's reactionary goal of making the poor pay the same tax rates as the filthy rich.

* Cutting the maximum rate of taxation for corporate income from the present 46% to 33%. This is a further cut from the House bill which charged a maximum corporate rate of 36%.

As well, the Senate Finance Committee's plan restores a series of corporate tax breaks. For example, the oil monopolies will keep the write-off for "intangible'' drilling costs, mining companies will keep depletion allowances, manufacturers will get even more generous write-offs for equipment and machinery, the 25% tax credit for research and development is saved, banks will retain their deduction for bad-debt reserves, and the list goes on.

Still more, over 20 pages of "transitional rules,'' which are to govern how the new tax code treats those sharply affected by the changes, make special exceptions for a series of corporations. For example, the steel monopolies would get to keep the enormous tax credits they have accumulated even though they haven't paid taxes for years. Pan American World Airways can claim investment tax credits for a new fleet of airplanes. Control Data Corporation has been exempted from minimum tax rules. And so forth and so on.

Reagan has repeatedly argued that the maximum tax rate on the corporations should be cut because the companies will have to pay even more taxes than at present due to the closing of tax loopholes. Indeed, it is claimed that the Senate Finance Committee's bill will raise corporate taxes by $100 billion a year and thus offset the reduction of the individual income taxes. But this is hardly likely. Both the House and Senate plans retain many of the existing loopholes and create new ones. Further, each time the tax plan is amended the loopholes grow. And with whole staffs dedicated to finding new ways to getting out of paying taxes, the corporations will undoubtedly pay far less than is being predicted. No matter what the final details of the bill looks like, the overriding issue is that the drastic cut in the tax rate for the corporations will mean a general cut in the taxes on the monopolies. Although some companies may lose tax shelters in the shuffle and end up paying more, on the whole what remains is a big tax cut for the corporations.

* New taxes are added onto the workers. The Senate and House bill both make all of unemployment compensation taxable. It's bad enough that the workers are already taxed to pay for a major part of these benefits and that only a few of the unemployed managed to receive them. But now, with whatever bill, the workers will be taxed a second time if they are lucky enough to get hold of unemployment benefits. Other workers' benefits may also be taxed, but as yet such details have not been revealed.

Taken as a whole, it appears that the bill will bring about a general tax reduction. Some workers may pay more and some may pay less, but the rich and corporations will rake in the bulk of the savings. What is more, the minor cuts due to take place in the workers' taxes arise not from the fundamental changes in the tax code but from the increased standard tax deduction and personal exemption. Once the cries for balancing the budget get loud enough one can bet these deductions will be cut down and the workers will suffer a tax increase.

In the meantime, the new tax plan will most likely mean a loss of tax revenues for the government and a further increase in the budget deficit. Talk has already begun on using new excise taxes, that is taxes that fall most heavily on the workers and poor, to raise the needed money. At the same time, Reagan can use the loss of revenues to demand more cuts in social benefit programs. Such cuts have already meant that millions of workers have suffered hardships that can hardly be alleviated by even a several hundred dollar tax break.

Tax the Rich!

It is impossible to tell what the final version of the "tax reform'' will look like when the Congress is through with it. A lot more wrangling lies ahead. But the essential features of Reagan's tax plan will survive -- the further shifting of the burden of taxation onto the working people through flattening the income taxes, cutting the corporate taxes, and adding new taxes on the workers. These fundamentals have received the support of all the capitalists, conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats alike.

The working masses can expect no real tax relief from the capitalist parties. The workers must depend on themselves, on their organization and militant mass struggle to resist the capitalist offensive. A tax reform that will actually shift the burden of taxation onto the capitalist monopolies and billionaires requires the building of a powerful revolutionary struggle against the capitalist class and their two main political parties, the Democrats and Republicans. The new tax bills must be exposed in the work places and communities throughout the country to help prepare for just such a struggle. Down Reagan's tax swindle! Build the independent movement of the working class! Tax the rich! Make the capitalists pay!

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Support grows for black man on trial for fighting back against a racist attack

Noah Roisten benefit a big success

(The following article is reprinted from the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA, May 15,1986.)

On the evening of May 7, the Noah Roisten Defense Committee held a benefit dance to raise money for legal expenses and bail for Noah Roisten. Noah is a young black man who is facing a long jail term for defending himself from a racist attack. The fund-raiser was attended by over 200 workers, black and white, and raised $2,000. MBTA [transit] workers turned out in especially large numbers.

Support for Noah and the Fight Against Racism

The workers who came, came not only to party but especially to show support for Noah and his family and to show their militant opposition to racism.

At ten o'clock the music was stopped for a while and militant anti-racist speeches were given by members of Noah's family and the Defense Committee. Each of the speeches was interrupted repeatedly with applause.

The high point of the evening was the playing of a taped telephone message from Noah in jail. Noah thanked everyone who had supported him and called on everyone to take a stand against racism. This fund-raiser was an important advance for the anti-racist movement and the unity of the workers in the Boston area.

Noah's "Crime" Was to Resist a Racist Attack

Noah Roisten was attacked last June by a gang of racists at Park Street Station. The racists initiated the incident on the Red Line platform. They began calling Noah and his friends racial names and threw [soft drink] cans at them while Noah and his friends were asking instructions for the shuttle bus from a MBTA starter [transit worker].

Noah and his friends retreated from the confrontation and went upstairs to catch their bus while another starter restrained the racists. But as soon as the starter let the racists go they bolted upstairs. They saw Noah waiting in line to get on the bus and three of them went after him. They beat him severely with homemade blackjacks as he tried to escape. Noah pulled out a knife and turned on his attackers, and in the course of defending himself stabbed the ringleader Joseph Hennaghan to death. This account is based on the reports of MBTA employees and other witnesses who saw what happened.

But for his act of self defense Noah has been charged with first degree murder. He has been held in jail for almost a year on $250,000 bail. And in this time he has not had even one minute with a lawyer.

Had Noah been white and his attackers black or had he been a cop he would never have spent a day in jail. The newspapers would have made him a hero. But Noah is a black man who stood up to racist attacks.

The rich and their government who are trying to reverse the gains of the 60's cannot tolerate any militant resistance by blacks. And so the police department and District Attorney Newman Flannagan threw the book at Noah. They are trying to quietly railroad him to a long prison term.

Only the Working People Have Come to Noah's Defense

The capitalist newspapers, including the Bay State Banner [Boston's black bourgeois newspaper], either hushed up the persecution of Noah Roisten or joined in the police slander campaign. The liberal politicians, black and white, including Mel King [a black reformist in the Democratic Party] have refused to lift a finger to help Noah for fear of antagonizing the rich and powerful.

Only the working people have stood by Noah and upheld the right of self defense against racism. From the very beginning Noah's family stood by him. Right away the party of the revolutionary workers, the MLP, began popularizing the truth about Noah's case and working to build support for him.

A few weeks ago some members of Noah's family, some MBTA workers, a couple of revolutionary college students and a couple of supporters of the MLP got together to form the Noah Roisten Defense Committee and began organizing the fund-raiser. Now hundreds of workers have taken a stand in defense of Noah.

While the liberal politicians of the Democratic Party who always pretend to be such friends of the black people turned their backs on Noah, the workers acted in his defense. In the fight against racism, just as in any other fight, the working people have to rely on their own strength and organize independently of the political flunkies of the rich.

The Noah Roisten Defense Committee has got off to a good start. The Defense Committee has promised to organize more events and mass actions. Join the work of defending Noah Roisten. Mass action is the only way to fight racism.

Jackson, Michigan schools

Another Supreme Court ruling for job discrimination

On May 19 the Supreme Court struck another blow at measures which protect black and other minority workers from disproportional layoffs. The decision concerned the affirmative action program in the Jackson, Michigan schools, which was voluntarily agreed upon by the School Board and the teachers' union in 1972. Already the government is trying to utilize this decision as a spade to dislodge the remnants of existing affirmative action programs, not just in the public sector but also in industries which have contracts with the government.

The Court declared illegal those measures which protect minorities from disproportional layoffs on the grounds of past discrimination in society. Despite a long history of racial discrimination in which blacks, Latinos and recent immigrants have been the last hired and the first fired, the Court maintained that discrimination in society was "too amorphous" a reason to justify the need for protection for minorities from unequal layoffs.

The Court further stated that there was no clear proof that the Jackson School Board had a history of discrimination against black teachers. And thus, there was no need for this affirmative action program. In the Reaganite outlook of the judges, discrimination doesn't exist unless they see documents where the aim to discriminate is spelled out. The fact that the Jackson School Board did not hire black teachers until pressured by the mass movements of the sixties is irrelevant to the Reaganites.

And even though the Jackson teachers themselves wanted the plan -- and the teachers who are mainly white repeatedly voted in favor of it -- the Reaganites will not tolerate any measure against discrimination, voluntary or otherwise.

The anti-racist struggles of the 60's broke down some of the most obnoxious features of job discrimination. To cool down the mass upsurge, the government granted some concessions against job discrimination, including some limited "affirmative action" programs. These measures however affected a small number of workers. As well, these measures frequently bog down workers in red tape and drawn-out court cases stalling any real progress, and they create maximum conditions to mobilize backward elements against the black workers.

But under Carter and now Reagan, the capitalist rulers have been out to scrap even these minimal measures.

Justice Department Sees A Green Light For Further Attacks

The Justice Department, which has been in the forefront of the racist offensive, praised the Supreme Court decision. The position of Reagan and his Justice Department is that any affirmative action measures are "immoral" and discriminate against white workers. While the Supreme Court decision did not outlaw all affirmative action programs, barring such programs which affect layoffs of public sector workers was in fact a big step down the road of eliminating all affirmative action measures.

In fact, three days after the decision was made, the Justice Department declared that an Executive Order, which requires 20-30,000 of the largest companies which do business with the government to set goals for the hiring of minorities, must now be "rewritten." The Reaganites have been chomping at the bit to tear up this Executive Order so that no shred of paper will remain which makes it illegal to discriminate. But there was such outrage last time when the White House staff first announced its eagerness to get rid of the order that they decided to lay low and wait for an opening. The Supreme Court decision has now given them the ammunition they were waiting for.

The enthusiasm of the Justice Department for the decision was not surprising. But the liberals' attempts to portray this decision as a victory for the cause of civil rights was truly revolting. Leave it to the lawyers for the NAACP to find a silver lining in the racist Reaganite clouds. Barry Goldstein, lawyer for the NAACP's Legal Defense and Educational Fund, hailed the decision for "approving) the use of affirmative action goals." While the decision did hint at the possible legality of affirmative action programs in hiring, the only clear message that came out of the decision was -- No Affirmative Action in Layoffs. Clearly, a rotten racist decision.

And there is no end in sight to the racist drive. The Reaganites have the ball rolling. Now that the mass movement is at a low level, they will push the racist offensive as far as they can take it. The White House, Congress and the Supreme Court are all on the same track in carrying out the racist offensive for the capitalist exploiters.

The Supreme Court is also scheduled to take up other court cases in the near future to obtain more clear-cut and thoroughgoing racist decisions than has emerged out of the lower courts.

There is a Cleveland case challenging an accelerated promotion schedule for black and Hispanic firemen who had been denied promotions for years. Reagan and the Justice Department, as always, take the side of the racists. They say, so what? To them there is no justification for the accelerated promotion schedule that was eventually set up for minorities.

And in a New Jersey case, the Justice Department is defending the Sheet Metal Workers union for refusing to admit blacks and Hispanics. The Justice Department maintains that any class action suits against discrimination, such as the one brought against the union, are illegal. They are trying to require that each and every individual who is discriminated against must file his own suit, so that even if hundreds of minority workers have been discriminated against by a single institution, only a single individual is considered for compensation.

The workers of all nationalities must get organized to resist the racist assault by the capitalist authorities. Building up the anti-racist mass movement is the road to stop the Reaganites in their tracks. There is no place in the movement for the cringing stand of the liberals who can find something nice about the jackboots kicking at the small gains that minorities made through the struggles of the 60's.

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Death to apartheid in South Africa!


From the shantytowns to the universities, the struggle rages on

Crossroads, Soweto and Johannesburg

May was ushered in with the gigantic May Day general strike in South Africa. (See separate article.) And all month long there were fierce clashes between the black people and the racist South African rulers. As the uprising of the oppressed marched forward, the Botha regime sank to new levels of barbarity against the oppressed, especially venting their wrath on the black squatter towns.

Crossroads: Neither Fire Nor Bulldozers Can Break the Spirit of Revolt!

The squatter town of Crossroads, near Cape Town, became the showcase for the latest in apartheid savagery. During the last two weeks of May black pro-government vigilantes have unleashed a reign of terror with the backing of the South African police. The pro-government thugs have struck at the militant anti-apartheid activists. They have burned down those sections of the squatter camp where the militant youth enjoyed especial support and where control had slipped from the hands of pro-government lackeys.

The militants have resisted, so the burning of Crossroads could only take place in the midst of a big fight. So far, at least 42 people have been killed in the fighting. An estimated 2,000 homes have been destroyed, leaving tens of thousands without shelter.

The destruction of sections of the squatter town was done with the full backing of the racist regime. This is not the first time the white racists have used black frontmen to carry out the repression of the black community. The hatred the black masses have for these paid-off tools of apartheid can be seen in the constant attacks directed at black policemen and other lackeys.

In the Crossroads affair, the police surrounded the shantytown but stayed outside so long as the fighting and burning went in the direction they wanted. It is notable that when any anti-apartheid action takes place, the police immediately swoop down to suppress it. But when the vigilantes went on their rampage, the police stood by day after day and watched, claiming there was nothing they could do. Indeed these "helpless" cops assisted the black reactionaries in attacking anti-apartheid activists. The cooperation between the police and the vigilantes was so obvious that even a South African judge issued an order which stated that the police should not aid the vigilantes. Of course, in the next breath the racist judge allowed the police to maintain "law and order," that is, carry on as before in the suppression of the masses.

Not the First Time Crossroads Has Been Attacked

The racist forces have been trying for some time to destroy Crossroads, or prune it down to a size they regard as manageable. In February 1985 the Botha regime tried to forcibly evict the squatters and transport them to a so-called "model" town called Khayelitsha, located further away from white urban areas. In reality this "model" town had homes too small for a family to live in, higher rents and poorer means of transport to the work places.

At that time the masses launched a powerful rebellion against the forced relocation. Eighteen people died in the struggle, but the masses forced the racists to temporarily back off of the relocation efforts. The regime then took bows for being so benevolent as to give up the attempt to move those whose resistance had been too strong.

But, in fact, the racists never gave up their plan. Now that the black vigilantes have done their dirty work for them, the government is once again ordering the homeless to Khayelitsha. The regime is offering relief only to those who move and threatening destruction of whatever belongings those who remain in the devastated areas of Crossroads still have.

Despite the bloodthirsty attacks, the masses of Crossroads are not about to knuckle under. Despite being burned out, many residents are vowing to stay on, come what may. So the police decided that now it was time for them to intervene. They laid down barbed wire to prevent the people who had temporarily fled the fires from returning to Crossroads. They sent in bulldozers to complete the destruction of the burnt out areas and to destroy whatever remnants of building materials remained, such as the zinc sheets widely used in shanties.

As the few interviews of Crossroads residents that made it onto the bourgeois TV showed, the burning of the homes has further fueled an intense hatred that is building up against the regime and its lackeys. One mother, worrying how to keep her children from getting sick in the coming winter without shelter, nevertheless also expressed a general sentiment as she vowed to stay in Crossroads no matter what, and she expressed regret at not having a gun "to kill those guys." Other residents have contemptuously rejected relief given them by the regime rather than accept the condition of moving. The struggle at Crossroads is far from over.

Squatter Camp In Soweto Is Destroyed

The events at Crossroads came close on the heels of another forced relocation outrage at the huge black township of Soweto, near Johannesburg. Due to the severe shortage of housing (there is a 20 year waiting list for housing) newer arrivals set up a squatter camp on a golf course in Soweto. For this "privilege" the squatters were forced to pay the corrupt black mayor of Soweto $18 a piece, a large sum for the impoverished masses.

In mid-May, government forces moved to destroy the camp. The squatters mounted a protest; this was viciously attacked by the police who were able to disperse the protesters with tear gas.

In this situation too the South African government was aided by reactionary black gangs. The anti-apartheid militants bravely battled the black flunkeys. Eventually, however, the government succeeded in leveling the squatter camp.

Black Masses Protest Bantustan "Independence"

While the resistance was going on in the squatter camps, the masses of the KwaNdebele bantustan, near Pretoria, fought against plans to have this bantustan declared an "independent" homeland. The bantustan "homelands" are underdeveloped wastelands where the black people have been forcibly relocated by the government on a tribalist basis. The "homelands" have their "own" puppet governments which are under the thumb of the Pretoria regime. As if this forcible segregation is not bad enough, four of the ten homelands have been declared "independent" and are, according to the government, no longer part of South Africa. The fake "independence" is simply a further step in the forcible segregation of the black people; it is an excuse for denying the black people rights in South Africa and for deportations of blacks to their "homeland." Meanwhile, if a lackey Bantustan government should ever take it into its head to displease its white masters in Pretoria in the slightest, it would quickly find that it was economically, politically and militarily powerless and liable to replacement at a moment's notice. The proclamation of the "independence" of this Bantustan shows that Botha, proclaimed in the West as a reformer who is gradually abandoning apartheid, is in fact a diehard supporter of the essential features of apartheid.

It is not Botha but the oppressed masses who are the opponents of apartheid. So when the puppet legislative assembly of KwaNdebele voted to accept "independence," the black toilers were outraged. A militant rally of 25,000 protesters was held in the bantustan's capital city, Siyabuswa, on May 14. The demonstrators clashed with the bantustan police, suffering two deaths. Four days later the rebellion against the acceptance of "independence" was reported to be continuing and growing.

Revolts Throughout the Black Townships

As has been the case for month after month, the anti-apartheid rebellion in the black townships has continued to light up South Africa from one end of the country to the other. On May 22, for instance, the masses of Soweto battled the racist troops following a funeral protest of 8,000. That same day revolts were reported in 15 different townships.

Whites Participate in a Protest in a Black Township

A relatively new feature of the anti-apartheid struggle in May was the participation of a group of whites in a protest in a black township. On May 18, 250 whites entered the black township of Alexandra to participate with 1,500 blacks in a service for victims of the racist regime. There had been joint white-black actions on campuses, but this was the first time during the current upsurge that a large group of whites had come into a black township in an anti-apartheid action. To get to the service, the white protesters had to defy the racist police who banned them from entering the township, photographed the participants and arrested one of the contingent.

Against Going Into the Racist Armed Forces

This event reflects the growth of opposition to apartheid among some sections of the white population. For example, there is a developing trend among the white youth to avoid being drafted into the racist armed forces. This has become so embarrassing to the Botha regime that it has stopped giving statistics on the number of inductees who are no-shows.

University Protests

In respect to the draft question as well as other protests against the apartheid regime, there have been a number of actions on university campuses. White participation in the campus protests with blacks also has, in fact, been going on for several months. On May 20, for example, 13 protesters were arrested when white and black students at Johannesburg University of the Witwatersrand held a vigorous protest against South Africa's bombing of three neighboring countries.

On May 30 a number of protests, most of them involving confrontations between police and protesters, took place in South Africa's two biggest cities, Johannesburg and Cape Town. These included protests against the Republic Day holiday that marks the anniversary of the founding of the "Republic of South Africa," against the new emergency laws being put in place by the Botha government, against the military draft for the racist armed forces, and against the arrest of a black university student. The clashes with students and faculty from the University of Witwatersrand near Johannesburg pitted black, white and mixed-race demonstrators against the police. The demonstrators marched into Johannesburg, where a passive, nonviolent protest was dispersed by police running amok, striking viciously right and left with the usual steel-tipped whips (sjamboks). This outrage gave rise to a much larger demonstration, that was dispersed by police teargassing. The police also marched on campus and displayed their guns in an attempt to intimidate the students.

A Tidal Wave

As the May actions show, the liberation struggle continues to plow through all the obstacles the racists put in its path. The Botha regime may be able to spill rivers of blood. But it cannot subdue the tidal wave that will one day sweep it completely away.

[Photo: Students at Johannesburg's University of Witwatersrand protest the apartheid regime's terrorist raids on neighboring countries, May 20.]

May Day: 2.5 million workers strike

On May 1, International Workers Day, the South African workers demonstrated their collective might. Launching a powerful general strike, black workers brought racist South Africa to a halt.

The strike, involving about 2.5 million workers, was the largest in South African history. The Association of Chambers of Commerce of South Africa conceded that between 70 and 100 percent of the black workers participated.

In Port Elizabeth, a major industrial area and a stronghold of anti-apartheid struggle, the strike was virtually 100 percent effective.

The workers' action was bolstered by a school boycott involving over one million students. And many mixed-race and Asian shopkeepers are reported to have closed down in support of the May Day actions.

The workers' action idled the factories and most of the mines across the country. The commuter trains that bus black labor from the segregated townships to workplaces in the white cities were empty. Meanwhile, the white capitalist managers scrambled to find whites to cook in restaurants, pump gasoline and do the other menial jobs usually reserved for blacks. But without the black workers, many shops and restaurants were forced to close.

While South African capitalism ground to a standstill, the black workers took to the streets with militant protests. At fiery May Day rallies, the workers voiced the demands of the strike. These included the recognition of May Day as a workers holiday, the removal of troops from the black townships, and other demands against the racist system. Twenty-five thousand workers rallied in Soweto and 15,000 in Durban.

The Racist Authorities Go Into a Frenzy

The racist authorities brought out their whips and guns as usual. Thus May Day also turned into another day of direct clashes with the racist authorities. Twenty-five miners were reported injured in various clashes with the police. Several May Day rallies around Cape Town were attacked by police who hurled tear gas, fired on the protesters, and arrested dozens of demonstrators. In total, seven blacks were reported slain by the guns of apartheid.

But the black masses could not be intimidated, and they struck their own blows at the apparatus of repression. In the black township of Wattville, near Johannesburg, a black policeman was killed by an angry crowd. In the Eersterus township by Pretoria, a black cop was shot to death. And in Soweto a police informer was burned to death.

Combining Economic and Political Demands

The mammoth May Day strike showed that the workers are increasingly fighting for political demands against the apartheid system. At the same time they are continuing to press forward their economic demands against the white capitalist employers. The combining of political actions with the economic struggle shows that the workers' movement is gradually breaking out of the narrow pure economic outlook which has been one of the major shortcomings of the black trade unions in South Africa. The workers are emerging as a powerful force in the liberation struggle.

The South African capitalists, along with the U.S. multinationals and the other imperialist companies, have used white minority rule to reap fat profits off of enslaved black labor. But they are now reaping another "return on their investment.'' The capitalists have created a force that can bring about their own demise. Today the black workers are rising up in struggle. And they are ever more showing they are destined to be apartheid's gravedigger.

The Commonwealth 'peace plan'

'Eminent People' against the revolution

This past month the bourgeois media has devoted much effort to promoting the work of the British Commonwealth's "Eminent Persons Group'' (EPG) in South Africa. This group is being touted as the "wise men'' whose plans can peacefully solve the conflict in South Africa to the satisfaction of both the racists and the blade people. But when all the media glitter is scraped away, the plan boils down to this: the black masses must give up their struggle against apartheid in favor of relying on the good favor of the racists to give up white minority rule voluntarily through negotiations.

The EPG was appointed in November 1985 by the British Commonwealth governments; the Commonwealth is an alliance of British imperialism with former colonies now ruled by bourgeois regimes. The EPG is co-chaired by ex-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and ex-Nigerian ruler General Olesugun Obasanjo. Other members are from Britain, Canada, India, Tanzania and Barbados. Since February, the EPG has made a number of visits to South Africa.

A Plan to End the Anti-Apartheid Struggle

In April, the EPG proposed its so-called peace plan. The proposal calls for the Botha regime to release imprisoned ANC leader Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners. As well the government is supposed to legalize the African National Congress. But in return, the ANC must pledge to "renounce violence'' and work solely within legal channels, i.e., work to end the mass uprising of the oppressed.

These measures are to create the climate for talks between the racists and the ANC which will supposedly lead to some form of "power-sharing'' between the racists and the black people.

With this plan the "wise men" want to entice the black masses away from the revolutionary movement. They are telling the black masses to rely on the goodwill of the Botha gang.

Can anything more absurd be imagined! The racists have been drowning the anti-apartheid struggle in blood, resorting to every crime to hold on to their white supremacist paradise. But if the black and other oppressed masses just give up their struggle and obey every rule set down by the white minority rulers, the slavemasters are going to voluntarily free the slaves. Nonsense!

The ultimate aim of the talks, "power-sharing," is also a fraud. It promotes the pipedream of a government which serves the interests of both the oppressed, of whom the overwhelming majority are the black masses, and the racists. In practice, all "power-sharing" would mean is that a strata of black sellouts would be brought into the white power structure. They would get extra rights in return for selling out the struggle and helping to hold down the oppressed majority. The EPG plan turns out to be simply another plot to preserve the basic racist system with the addition of a few minor reforms.

The ANC Has Criticisms, But Is Interested

Unfortunately, the ANC is taking a conciliatory attitude toward the EPG plan. True they have voiced criticisms of it. And ANC leader Oliver Tambo has even denounced the underlying fraud of the plan, stating "A cancer [the racist rulers] cannot be its own cure."

But to date the ANC has not officially rejected the EPG plan.

Instead, Tambo and the rest of the ANC leadership are promoting their own illusions about the racists surrendering power voluntarily through negotiations. Their objection to the EPG plan is that the ANC wants negotiations with the government to begin before they declare themselves against the struggle of the black masses. Then, the ANC says, if things go well, a truce can be declared.

This stand is in line with the ANC's basic reformist orientation. The ANC has mountains of revolutionary rhetoric about overthrowing apartheid. But its goal for decades has been mere constitutional reform: the drawing up of a new constitution hand-in-hand with the apartheid rulers. Just last month in Harare, Zimbabwe, for example, the ANC reiterated their willingness to participate in a constitutional convention with the Botha regime. (Also see the article "On the strategy and tactics of the ANC of South Africa" in the September 1, 1985 issue of The Workers' Advocate.)

In fact, the EPG plan is one of the fruits of the ANC's constant appeals to Western imperialist governments, big Western corporations, and capitalist politicians. The ANC leaders know full well that revolution isn't on the minds of the Western governments and politicians. They present their plans to the Western imperialists as an alternative to "apocalypse" (revolution). Only the EPG plan did not provide the ANC leaders with any guarantees. They would have to risk their standing with the masses before seeing what deal would result from negotiations. In fact the ANC leaders themselves admit that one of the main reasons for not accepting the EPG plan is that to do so would discredit them among the fighting masses.

Another Plan Goes Up in Smoke

At present it appears that the EPG plan will fail. It is not only that the ANC has qualms about it. It also seems that the South African government is intent on killing or jailing the ANC rather than negotiating with it. And the brutal South African commando raid on the capitals of three African countries on May 19 appeared to doom the plan for the time being.

Nevertheless, such plans as the EPG plan remain the strategy of the white liberals in South Africa and various of the Western imperialists. They want Botha to end the revolution by broadening the strata of black leaders that get status under, and some material rewards from, the white minority regime. Meanwhile it is the task of the masses to liberate themselves and not just a thin upper strata. And only the revolutionary smashing of racist rule can bring this liberation.

The fox offers to guard the hen house

Buthelezi's new 'trade union'

As the May Day general strike showed, the South African workers are a force to be reckoned with by everyone. Why, even bantustan leader Chief Buthelezi, a well-known flunkey of the racist rulers, is now posing as a champion of the black workers' cause. On May 1, Buthelezi organized a rally of 70,000 people in Durban to launch his so-called workers' organization, an alleged trade union confederation, the United Workers Union of South Africa (UWUSA).

A Trade Union Center Without Unions

This "union" is a fraud from the word go. To begin with, the organization's leaders admit that not a single union is affiliated to the UWUSA.

But what about the 70,000 participants in the rally?

The "union's" leaders claim that these are workers who have joined as individuals. In fact, though, the rally consisted largely of followers of Buthelezi's reactionary tribalist organization, Inkatha, while thousands of others in attendance were peasants rounded up for the rally.

Moreover, the South African government helped produce the show, lining up 17 trains and 340 buses of the government-run transportation corporation so people could be shipped hundreds of miles to inflate the attendance figures. This fact, plus the glowing accounts of the new organization in the white ruling class press, show that this "workers'" organization enjoys the support of the racist slavemasters.

UWUSA's First Principle: Don't Fight Apartheid

The support of the racist rulers for the organization is not surprising considering the UWUSA's policy. While the South African workers are throwing their might into the anti-apartheid struggle, Buthelezi has declared that his organization stands against participation in political issues. Thus the first principle of the UWUSA is non-participation in the liberation struggle.

In fact, this nonpolitical stand is also a cover for Buthelezi's pro-apartheid politics. Thus one of the main slogans of the rally opposed sanctions against the Botha government.

UWUSA's Second Principle: Don't Fight the Employers

Buthelezi justifies this stand by claiming the workers must concentrate on work place issues only.

But will the "union" defend the workers' wages and working conditions? Not a chance. UWUSA official Simon Conco states that strikes "destroy the economy." And the organization is also on record against higher wages on the grounds that this threatens jobs.

A "Workers" Organization Led by the Capitalists

This "workers" organization is an employers' dream! In fact its president, Petras Nhlovu, is in a management position with a major white capitalist company. UWUSA official Simon Conco is a capitalist, and the union treasurer, Peter Davidson, is a businessman in the hotel industry. Buthelezi and his capitalist cronies taking up the defense of the workers is like the fox taking up the defense of the hen house

Buthelezi: Bootlicker of the White Minority Regime

The creation of this phoney workers' organization is Buthelezi's latest crime. His organization, Inkatha, is well known for attacking and even murdering anti-apartheid activists. As a bantustan leader, Buthelezi is a collaborator with apartheid's exiling of the black population to desolate "homelands." So it is no surprise that, internationally, Buthelezi is a good friend of Reagan and other imperialist backers of apartheid. This is why the imperialist press likes to promote Buthelezi as a "moderate," reasonable opponent of the racist system. In fact, it is precisely such "moderate opponents" who are the frontmen for Botha's suppression of the black people's movement. Support for the liberation movement requires opposition to the flunkeys of Botha and the exploiters.

Three more brutal raids on black Africa

On May 19 the South African racists launched military attacks against the capital cities of three neighboring countries. A commando raid destroyed an ANC office and residences in Harare, Zimbabwe. Warplanes bombed an alleged ANC target in Lusaka, Zambia. And soldiers attacked an ANC facility in Gaborone, Botswana. According to some reports, three people were killed and 15 injured.

Since the raids, Botha the aggressor has been boasting about his evil deeds and pledging to make more attacks in the future. Once again the "civilized" white rulers of South Africa have proven that they are nothing but bloodstained barbarians.

The Racists Hide Behind the Fraud of "Anti-Terrorism"

The South African racists have raised the tattered banner of "anti-terrorism" in a sorry attempt to justify their raids. What a lie! The very lifeblood of apartheid is systematic terror against the vast black majority of the population. Police murder, military occupation of the black townships, mass jailing, etc., etc. -- this is what keeps apartheid going!

But today "anti-terrorism" is the pet phrase of imperialists and aggressors around the world. According to Botha's warped logic, any opponent of his terrorist reign is a supporter of terrorism. There is no struggle between the racists and the oppressed majority, but simply between "anti-terrorists" and "terrorists."

Following in Reagan's Footsteps

The Botha regime has also sought to justify its attacks by comparing them to the U.S. raids on Libya. And for once the racists are telling the truth. If U.S. imperialism has the right to carry out military aggression anywhere it pleases, if only it claims to be "fighting terrorism," why shouldn't the white minority regime in South Africa? And just as the world will never be safe until U.S. imperialism is destroyed, so too no black African country in the southern part of Africa will be safe until the white minority regime is overthrown.

Reagan Feigns Disapproval

For its part, the U.S. has been trying to distance itself from these acts of naked aggression. The administration has frantically denied any comparison to its own raids on Libya. And Secretary of State Shultz has hypocritically called the South African raids an "outrage."

But actions speak louder than words. While feigning horror at South Africa's aggression, the administration has come out against even mild economic sanctions against the racists. Instead it has resorted to cosmetic posturing like recalling one U.S. military official from South Africa and expelling one South African military official from the U.S.

Furthermore, the Reagan administration gives as its reason for opposing the raids that the governments of Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe have been working to restrain the ANC. Reagan is hand-in-hand with Botha in working to destroy the revolutionary movement in South Africa.

The Front-Line States

To the shame of the governments of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, it is true that they have little to do with revolutionary struggle against the racist South African regime. The bourgeois governments of the so-called "frontline" states against South Africa are actually up to their necks in economic and even military agreements with the white racist regime. The meaning of the U.S. response is clear. The Reagan administration may utter a few words against the racist regime. But no matter what crime the Botha government commits, U.S. imperialism will not halt its all-around economic, military and political support for the apartheid rulers. Indeed, it is South Africa's ability to terrorize its neighbors that helps convince the White House and the State Department of the value, to U.S. imperialism, of backing the South African racists to the hilt.

Racists beat each other over the head

On May 22 hundreds of supporters of the ultra-fascist Afrikaner Resistance Movement tried to smash a meeting of the racist ruling party of South Africa, the National Party, in Pietersburg. The ultra-fascists took over the stage, preventing Foreign Minister "Pik" Botha from speaking. And in what these neanderthals must consider the acme of wit, they denounced "Pik" Botha as being "pitch black." An all-out brawl ensued and finally the police had to use tear gas to clear the meeting hall.

Two days later the "Movement" nazis were at it again. This time they tried to disrupt a meeting in the town of Ellisras featuring Louis LeGrange, the minister of law and order. Five were arrested. And the latest reports are that they are continuing to disrupt other meetings of Botha government officials.

My, my! How civilized! The racist ruling class never tires of telling horror stories about the alleged disaster that would befall South Africa if blacks came to power. Why, the racists claim, the blacks are just childlike savages who are incapable of grasping the sophisticated art of modern politics. All would be chaos, they assert. Thus the racists conclude, it is the "natural" role of whites to rule over the black majority.

But now we get a glimpse of how the white rulers settle their differences. They brawl like thugs.

Crisis in the Racist Ruling Class

The fisticuffs between the racists is a sign of the crisis gripping them in the face of the nationwide anti-apartheid upsurge. The regime has been unable to halt the revolt, and this failure has given rise to intensified squabbling among them. Things have gone so far that the South African Manpower Minister has accused the police of purposely allowing the ultra-fascists to raid the National Party meeting in Pietersburg.

The slavemasters are feuding over how to save the racist system. The National Party, which is now in power, is following a policy of ruthless suppression of the masses combined with token reforms. It is wielding the fascist stick in an attempt to beat the mass movement into the ground, while trying to step up its utilization of a thin strata of black sellouts.

Meanwhile the Afrikaner Resistance Movement denounces the Botha regime for caving in to the blacks, considering all even empty talk about reform to be going too far. These apartheid Rambos don't want to even pretend that blacks will have any rights in South Africa. Their stated goal is a completely separate state for whites which includes all the important industrial and agricultural areas.

The Revolution Will Win!

The fact of the matter is that neither faction of the racists has a solution to the crisis. The Botha regime guns down the oppressed one moment, invades the surrounding countries the next, and then swears it's for reform. And the anti-apartheid struggle only continues to grow. Meanwhile the super-racists pine for the old days when there were less empty promises to the oppressed. Of course, it was precisely these old days that created the conditions for the uprising of today.

Let the racists continue to bloody each other's noses. This will only create better conditions for the revolutionary victory over apartheid which will sweep away all of the scum.

A state of emergency in all but name

At the end of May the Botha government announced that it wants new "security laws." These laws will be amendments to the present security laws. They will give the Botha government all the powers it had under the state of emergency that ended a few months ago. But this will not be called a state of emergency. A rose by any other name has just as many thorns.

Who says Reagan's "quiet diplomacy" isn't working? Botha is learning. He is learning that he can whip and kill at will, so long as he doesn't say he is whipping and killing. He can have his "state of emergency," so long as he doesn't call it that. He can invade other countries, but he should follow Reagan's latest press releases and use the latest in "anti-terrorist" rhetoric.

And what's in a word anyway? After all, the original "state of emergency" didn't really give the Botha government any powers it didn't have before. All it signified was that the Botha government intended to step up its repression. And after the "state of emergency" was lifted in March, the Botha government actually stepped up its terror against the black people.

Today the Botha government says it wants the right to jail people for six months without even laying a charge against them. And it wants, in essence, all the rights of martial law against the protesters. But the Botha government has already been exercising the right to shoot down black people in the streets whenever it wants to show its power. The Botha government has already the right to charge any opponents of apartheid with high treason and put them in jail for decades. After decades of arbitrary violence against the black people, more fascist laws are hardly likely to stop the people's movement.

But the new laws show that any talk of an anti-apartheid movement within the confines of Botha's law and order is a complete fraud. It shows that the white racist regime has no intention of giving power to the black people as a gift. The black and other oppressed people of South Africa will have to seize power through revolution.

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Black Jews persecuted in Israel

The zionist state of Israel is based on racism against the Palestinian population, most of which has been displaced and whose existence as a nation has been denied. This racist lie underlying the zionist idea is so strong that it spills over into relations among the Jewish population. The latest outrage to surface is the attempt of the zionist government to throw out black Jews.

The zionist government, while throwing out Arabs, allows anyone who is Jewish to come and immediately get citizenship rights. Well, it turns out, not quite anyone. Seventeen years ago a group of black American Jews, forming an "African Hebrew" sect, went to Israel. The racist zionist authorities refused to grant them citizenship or any rights at all. It refused to recognize them as Jews either, insisting that they convert according to Israeli dogma.

Since then these black Jews have lived without work permits, without being able to get birth certificates for their children, without access to schools or medical benefits. Nevertheless, they lived on; they now constitute about 1,500 people in three communities.

Recently the zionist authorities decided to clear them out. On April 17, hundreds of soldiers arrested 46 of them in a pre-dawn raid at Rekovote, on a farm where the black Jews sometimes work as fruit packers. As well, several thousand soldiers with tanks.and other heavy arms blockaded the village of Dimona in which the blacks live.

The racist attack on these blacks recalls the hostile treatment which the black Ethiopian Jews, or Falashas, received when brought to Israel. They too were not given the rights of others. They were faced with the demand that, if they wished better treatment, they should abandon their religious customs, admit that they weren't Jews, and go through an official conversion rite according to Israeli dictation.

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U.S. Imperialism Get Out of Central America!


The Contadora trap against Nicaragua

The Contadora group gave an ultimatum to the Nicaraguan government. Surrender by June 6, or else. The Congressional Democrats, the Contadora group of pro-U.S. regimes, and part of the Reagan administration have rallied around this deadline. Either sign on the dotted line, they are telling Nicaragua, or else be declared an outlaw and accept the punishment you deserve.

This shows that the Contadora group is no alternative to U.S. aggression. It is not a force standing above the conflict between the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran peoples and U.S. imperialism. No, these pro-U.S. regimes of exploiters (Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Panama) are just as interested in strangling revolution as U.S. imperialism.

The Contadora group puts forward several demands on Nicaragua.

1. It calls for Nicaragua to be disarmed in front of the contras and the U.S. military threat. The Contadora proposals are based on the idea that Nicaragua's armaments must be outnumbered several times by the combined forces of its hostile neighbors in Central America and that no restrictions whatever are to be put on the U.S. military.

2. It calls for stopping any Nicaraguan support for the revolutionaries in El Salvador.

3. It calls for giving more and more rights to the counterrevolutionary forces inside Nicaragua, made up of the capitalists, big landowners, Catholic hierarchy, and other contra supporters.

4. It calls for amnesty for the contra mercenaries and their return to Nicaragua.

The vacillating Sandinista government has agreed to much of this program, as it corresponds to their plan of "political and economic pluralism" which demobilizes the masses and gives concessions, subsidies and cushy positions to the exploiters. But even the Sandinistas have had to balk at the military provisions, which amount to disarming Nicaragua while the contras are flooded with new arms. Thus, for the time being, Nicaraguan President Ortega has observed that "The United States wants to use the Contadora negotiations to make Nicaragua disarm and fall" and proclaimed that "Not one rifle will leave Nicaragua in any negotiation." (New York Times, May 12, 1986)

The Sandinistas are asking merely that U.S. support for the contras be stopped before they sign the treaty. Meanwhile the Pentagon has released a scenario that, if Nicaragua should sign the treaty, the U.S. would, on the pretext of Nicaraguan violations of the treaty, choose the moment to send 100,000 troops to besiege her. This is contained in the document "Prospects of Containment of Nicaragua's Communist Government, May 1986." So much for the idea that signing the treaty would end U.S. pressure on Nicaragua.

In fact, the Contadora ultimatum to Nicaragua has been the answer to the prayers of the Congressional Democratic leadership. They have been searching high and low for an excuse to approve a quadrupling of official aid to the contras to $100 million. They now say that their difference with Reagan is solely in timing: the U.S. should wait with part of the funds until the Nicaraguans can be pronounced "intransigent" in negotiations. Failure to sign on June 6 would be part of the proof of this "intransigence." The case is being presented as if Nicaragua would be the aggressor of the hemisphere if she does not fall into line and accept this treaty which her hostile neighbors, the ones with U.S. bases on their soils and U.S. State Department officials dictating their policy, have all agreed to.

But all progressive people must defend, not the rights of the various pro- U.S. regimes of exploiters in Central America, as the Contadora treaty does, but the rights of the workers and peasants of Central America. To defend in particular the revolutionary struggles of the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran peoples, the movement against U.S. intervention in El Salvador must condemn the Contadora fraud. Both the military and the political provisions of this treaty must be condemned. Without this it is impossible to conduct a consistent struggle against "our own" imperialist Republican and Democratic parties for they are brandishing this weapon of Contadora against Nicaragua.

U.S. court returns contra drug money

More on contra drug running

As part of its smear campaign against Nicaragua, the Reagan administration has repeatedly accused the Nicaraguan government of drug-trafficking, without however producing one shred of evidence to back up this claim. Meanwhile, evidence continues to pile up showing that in fact it is Reagan's counterrevolutionary ' "brothers," the contras, who are the ones up to their necks in drug-dealing. The Associated Press reported on April 11 that, "Investigators and American rebel supporters have told the AP the [drug] smuggling operations involved all the leading rebel groups, including the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN); the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance; the Nicaraguan Democratic Union and a smaller faction known as M-3."

A Republican legislative aide in Washington questioned on the issue also admitted that, "The Republicans know there has been gun-running and drug-smuggling and that Adolfo Calero [head of the FDN, the main contra faction] and his family have their hands in the till." (Guardian, April 30,1986)

Of course the Reagan administration has known all along about the drug- dealing of Calero's FDN. It cannot help but know; the FDN is run straight out of the White House. Its adviser is Colonel Oliver North, who sits on the National Security Council, the highest intelligence body in the U.S.

The hypocrisy of the Reagan administration on this matter knows no bounds. While it shouts about drugs, it is its own mercenaries who are the real drug-dealers, and not the Nicaraguan government. It turns a blind eye to the drug trade when it is for a "good" cause, such as enriching the anti-people contra army. This is not to speak of the corruption in the capitalist police apparatus without which the drug trade would be almost inconceivable.

Confiscated Drug Money Is Returned -- On the Strength of a Note from the Contras

The 1983 case of the contras' cocaine-smuggling ring in the San Francisco Bay Area illustrates the U.S. government's attitude. According to the San Francisco Examiner of March 16 (hardly a left-wing source), "a major Bay Area cocaine ring helped to finance the contra rebels in Nicaragua." Alleged contra members were convicted of cocaine smuggling charges. One of the convicted men told a federal court that his profits belonged to the contras. Another said that most of the $500,000 he delivered to two Costa Rican-based contra outfits was from the cocaine trade.

The Examiner wrote that the court documents revealed the court had returned $36,020, which had been seized as drug money, to the smuggler, after he submitted letters from contra leaders saying it was really political money for the ' 'reinstatement of democracy in Nicaragua."

As well, it seems the lawyer of the contra smuggler claimed that the CIA had been involved in the contra drug trade. So what did the Reagan administration do about these courtroom exposures of the contra drug trade? U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello had the court records sealed on the grounds of "national security." Or, should one say, on the grounds of acute embarrassment to the Reagan administration?! So here it is. Straight from a court. As long as a drug merchant has an O.K. from the contras, (something like an excuse from one's parents for being late to school), he can get his drug money back. And there's no questions asked -- you wouldn't want to interfere with "national security," now would you? But if you happen to be a Nicaraguan worker or peasant, or a revolutionary activist, watch out! The Reagan administration will drag you through the mud as a crazed dope fiend, even though drugs are against every principle you have ever fought for.

Salvadoran workers take to the streets for May Day

[Photo: May First rally in San Salvador.]

This May 1, some 20,000 Salvadoran workers and students braved harassment by government troops and the threat of persecution to march through the "'streets of San Salvador. They denounced the Duarte regime and its backer, U.S. imperialism.

Construction workers, teachers, public employees, agricultural workers, and university students demanded that the government repeal the economic austerity measures it imposed last January. And they wanted an end to the six-year long war against the workers and peasants.

The wretched conditions forced on the toiling people by the government are radicalizing additional sections of the Salvadoran working class. This stand of the rank-and-file workers has put pressure on those unions led by "centrists" who had previously supported Duarte and who two years ago had signed a peace pact with the Duarte regime.

This year on May 1 these unions marched with the opposition to Duarte, side by side with left-wing unions sympathetic to the guerrilla movement. However, leaders of both center and left unions promoted various reformist plans to conciliate the clash between the regime and the people.

University students also took part in the May Day demonstration. They protested the U.S. government's directing and supplying of the oligarchy's war against the people by spray-painting the U.S. embassy with the slogan, "Yankee invaders out of El Salvador!"

Other supporters of the revolutionary guerrilla struggle, disguised in face masks, maintained a presence along the route of the march.

May Day showed the Salvadoran working people's sentiment to continue their fight against exploitation by U.S. imperialism and by "their own" rich exploiters.

On strike in El Salvador

On April 23rd, 3,000 telephone workers struck the state telephone company of El Salvador (ANTEL) demanding a wage increase and improvements in benefits. This is their second nationwide strike, in six months. (During last November's wave of political and economic strikes the telephone workers stayed off work for a whole month demanding the release of their arrested union leader, which they won, and of his two sons.)

The strikers are insisting that the company pay up on the wage increase provided by last November's contract, which the workers still have not received.

In their struggle the telephone workers are defying the government's no-strike decree. A Salvadoran labor court found the ANTEL strike illegal and threatened all employees who failed to report for work with punishment or firings. The workers have been reporting to their jobs but refusing to do any work.

The strike began by halting only local communications, but its leaders have declared that it could easily spread to disrupt international service and telex if the telephone administration refuses to meet the workers' demands.

A Four-Hour Nationwide Strike

Simultaneously with the telephone workers' strike, 50,000 city and agricultural workers in the National Union of Salvadoran Workers (UNTS) launched a four-hour nationwide strike against the government's austerity program. The 500,000-strong union coalition was formed to fight the severe economic measures imposed by the government last January, including the devaluation of the currency, a 50% increase in the price of fuel, and a series of sales taxes.

At the same time, the transportation workers are also on strike demanding the release of four of their union leaders who have been recently arrested.

These struggles show that the U.S.-backed Duarte regime not only exploits the workers to the bone, but is utterly repressive. Each struggle comes up against no-strike laws and includes demands for the release of arrested leaders and workers.

But these actions also show that nothing can stop the Salvadoran workers from resisting the attempts of the big capitalists and landlords to saddle them with the burden of the economic crisis.

Pentagon plans for Nicaragua: 100,000 U.S. troops

The more U.S. equipment and personnel Reagan pours into Central America, the more he denies that the U.S. is involved militarily. Why, these are all advisors, he pontificates. Why, the troops are just there for training, he sputters.

Now, however, the Pentagon has come out with its wish list for the future. It has circulated to Congress and reporters a document entitled "Prospects for Containment of Nicaragua's Communist Government, May 1986." This document envisages sending 100,000 U.S. troops to the borders of Nicaragua.

According to the document:

"The Army envisions a corps-plus commitment [100,000 troops]. The Navy commitment could range from several destroyers and hydrofoils plus associated patrol aircraft to several carrier battle groups and associated patrol aircraft.

"The Air Force would expect to deploy several squadrons of aircraft plus employ some long-range platforms [airfields] from CONUS [the continental U.S.] and develop a ground-based air interdiction system."

It diplomatically leaves open the question of invasion. But is one to believe that the Pentagon would ^tie down 100,000 troops and several aircraft carriers indefinitely, just waiting at the borders? Besides, 100,000 active duty soldiers is a larger force, proportional to the population involved, than the U.S. force in Viet Nam at the height of the U.S. aggression against Indochina.

Does this mean that the Nicaraguans better hurry to agree to a negotiated solution?

Not at all. The document is, in fact, the Pentagon view of what it would do in case of a negotiated solution -- in particular, if Nicaragua signed the treaty proposed by the Contadora group. The report decides in advance that Nicaragua won't live up to the treaty. In this way, the report declares the intention of the Reagan administration to use the pretext of alleged Nicaraguan violations of the treaty for massive aggression against Nicaragua.

Can one believe that, in this case, the Contadora countries -- Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and Panama -- would send their armies to shield poor Nicaragua? Or maybe the bloodstained armies of Honduras and El Salvador, out of sheer gratitude for all the concessions to them by the Sandinistas, would hurry to uphold the integrity of the Contadora treaty?

You would have to live on the moon to believe that. The only thing these pro-U.S. regimes will bombard the Reagan administration with is requests for more money and more cooperation in suppressing their own workers and peasants. As far as Contadora rhetoric goes, it's strictly "let the buyer beware." Indeed, the Contadora treaty, while treating Nicaragua's armaments as a big problem, lacks any restraint at all on the Pentagon.

This document shows that there is no appeasing U.S. imperialism. Nothing but a new pro-U.S. tyrant like Somoza ruling in Mangua, with a State Department advisor at his side to guide him, will satisfy the Reagan administration or or the congressional Democrats. There is no avoiding the hard struggle against the U.S. imperialist colossus. The only protection for Nicaragua against U.S. imperialism is mobilizing the Nicaragua workers and peasants in their own interests, arousing the revolutionary enthusiasm of the masses of Central American workers and peasants, and inspiring the anti-imperialist fervor of a mass movement in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world.

Do the Democrats oppose the contras?

Recently, the capitalist news media has been portraying the Democrats in Congress as heroic opponents of the CIA-led contras who are attacking Nicaragua. After all, didn't the Democratic-controlled House twice reject Reagan's $100 million proposal for aid to the contras, first on March 20, and again on April 16?

Behind the Voting in the House

A closer look at the House votes shows that the Democrats in Congress are maneuvering, not to stop the contras, but to try to justify their activities in the eyes of the American people, who are overwhelmingly anti-contra.

On March 20, when the House narrowly rejected the $100 million (222-210), the Democrats' chief argument against the aid was not that the contra war should be stopped. Nor was it that the CIA war against Nicaragua was wrong because it violated the self-determination of the Nicaraguan people.

No, the Democrats were simply arguing that, prior to escalating the contra war, the Reagan administration should use the tactic of pressing the Nicaraguan government to surrender the release of via the Contadora negotiations. This way, the Democrats reasoned, the responsibility for the war would rest on the Sandinistas' shoulders, not on Reagan's. If the Sandinistas refused to to give in to the U.S.-imposed demands when asked politely over tea, well then they were asking for more contra aid.

So after the Republican contra aid bill failed, the Democratic leaders promised to bring the $100 million to another vote right away on April 15.

At the April 15 and 16 proceedings, too, the Democratic Party showed its support for the contras. True, at first the House made an empty gesture of opposition to contra aid when it voted to tack the aid onto a spending bill which Reagan planned to veto. But Tip O'Neill explained that this was not because of any anti-contra fervor. On the contrary, it was simply to punish Reagan for violating a backroom deal he had made with Tip. It seems that when the Reagan administration began the absurd hysteria about an alleged Nicaraguan invasion of Honduras, the Democrats, instead bf ridiculing this hysteria, made a backroom deal with Reagan. It was fine, the Democrats agreed, to go hysterical against Nicaragua. But don't make it a partisan issue against the Democrats.

Reagan did blame the Democrats, and so Tip wanted to put Reagan back in his place. Bomb whoever you please, but make it bipartisan. This is what the Democrats wanted to get across to Reagan. The Democrats finally ended up proposing a complicated voting scheme. They would have three contra aid alternatives, two Democratic and one Republican, that were to be voted on as amendments. First the most liberal one, authored by Democrat Lee Hamilton, was to be voted on. If this failed, then the next one, the McCurdy proposal, backed by the House Democratic leadership, was to be voted on. And only if this too failed would the Republican Reagan bill be voted on.

What Were the Democratic Plans?

The most liberal Democratic proposal was that of Lee Hamilton (D-Indiana). Did it ban aid to the contras? Of course not. It provided $27 million in "humanitarian" aid, this time disguised under the euphemism of aid to "refugees." (Since the contras are based outside Nicaragua, they are all refugees. Besides, Congress has again exposed, for the one-millionth time, that the Reagan administration does anything it likes with the money.) In short, the most radical thing the Democrats could come up with was a retread of Reagan's proposal of the year before.

But the Democratic leadership really wanted the proposal of centrist Democrat David McCurdy (D-Oklahoma). This was a "compromise" with Reagan which is almost indistinguishable from Reagan's own bill. McCurdy's proposal also calls for $100 million in aid to the contras.

The only difference from the Reagan proposal is that part of the aid hinges on the "failure" of the Contadora negotiations. Under the pretense of giving the Nicaraguans a "fair chance," McCurdy's bill stipulates that only $30 million in "humanitarian" aid could be released to the contras at first, while $70 million in open military aid would be withheld for 90 days until Reagan could "certify" that peace negotiations had failed because the Nicaraguans were not bargaining "in good faith." As usual, the Democrats displayed a touching faith in the wisdom, good-heartedness and fair-mindedness of their commander-in-chief, Ronald Reagan. The House Democrats, the same ones who voted against Reagan's plan in March, were in favor of aid to the contras under one of these two Democratic plans presented in April. The House, with the backing of the Democratic leadership, was expected to pass the McCurdy plan for $100 million in aid to the contras.

The Republican Maneuver

The Democratic plan thus effectively prevented any new vote on the Republican bill. At the same time, a number of Democrats in the House were wavering between Reagan's proposal and the McCurdy proposal. Realizing this, the House Republicans decided to derail the McCurdy proposal. They did this by voting for the Hamilton bill, which they didn't want, but they knew that the Democratic leadership didn't really want it either.

As a result of this maneuver, the Hamilton bill passed overwhelmingly (361-66). And what did the Democrats, those alleged fighters against aid to the contras do, at the unexpected good fortune of the most liberal proposal passing?

Just as the Republicans expected, the Democrats were horrified. They quickly swept the Hamilton proposal under the rug. This left the way open for the Republicans to bring their own bill to the floor if they could get enough signatures on it to bypass normal House procedures. They counted on getting a section of the Democrats to sign. Now it was their turn to be embarrassed when they couldn't get enough signatures.

As a result, by a fluke, the parliamentary maneuvers of the Republicans (not the Democrats) temporarily killed any contra aid bill.

Since Then

Afterward the Congress turned its attention on forcing Reagan to reorganize the contras and clean up their image. The Congressmen have informed Reagan that the best way to get the $100 million in contra aid is to give the contras a new facelift, because aid to an allegedly "democratic" organization would be politically easier to justify than straight-up funding of a band of cutthroats who are hated by the American people. They are advocating that the contras be given a better image, as if it were possible to wage a dirty war against the people of Nicaragua by clean, wholesome means. Now that this reorganization (there is a new one every year) has been accomplished, and just in time for the expiring of the ultimatum from the Contadora group that Nicaragua had better sign on the dotted line by June 6, the stage is set for the contra aid issue to again be taken up in Congress.

True, in the meantime the contras have not had their new aid, not officially at least. But Congress knows full well that the temporary gaps in the funding during their debates will not seriously affect the contras. The contras are absorbing behind-the-scenes money from the CIA, private donors, other countries such as Israel, and from their own gun and drug trafficking. It has never been lack of funds that has been behind the repeated defeats of this bloodstained army of CIA puppets.

Clearly, the path of the Democrats cannot be the path of those who want to oppose the contra war. The friends of the Nicaraguan workers and peasants must build up an anti-imperialist movement of the ordinary working people of the U.S. We must not get bogged down in the cloakroom deals of Tip O'Neill and company but must oppose all the imperialist politicians, those collaborators with Reagan in dirty war against Nicaragua.

Secret funds and congressional hypocrisy

The bill to fund the contra war on Nicaragua has temporarily been stalled in Congress. Both the Republicans and the Democrats advocate quadrupling the funding to $100 million, but they are squabbling on the details.

But the contras aren't lacking for funds. The congressional bills only concern the public funds for the contras. The U.S. government has long used secret funds to carry out the CIA-organized war on Nicaragua. While the congressmen pose for the cameras, they have made sure to leave an open field for the secret funds. Behind the scenes, the government has simply been escalating the contra war through the back door, using CIA funds, redirected foreign aid, and private funds. Every year the congressional Democrats express surprise, indignation, and moral outrage about this secret funding; but they authorize it all the same.

CIA Funds

In mid-April, high-up officials in Washington admitted that the CIA had secretly handed over several million dollars to the contras over the last year. This money came from the huge multi-billion dollar budget of the CIA, even the size of which is secret. While Congress has noisy debates over this or that spending bill, it always ensures that the CIA has huge funds whose nature is not even admitted publicly, to say nothing of debated.

So CIA funds went to the contras despite an alleged congressional ban on CIA funding of the contras. The CIA had no trouble simply taking the money from its secret budget. When this small part of its assistance to the contras became known, the CIA thumbed its nose and just claimed that the money went to the contras' political body, the United Nicaraguan Opposition (UNO), and allegedly not to the contra armies, and so wasn't covered by the congressional ban. No congressman has proposed any step against the CIA for violating the alleged ban on funding the contras, thus showing the Congress fully expects the CIA to provide such funds.

In fact, these CIA payments were made with the knowledge of both Reagan and Congress. The CIA budget is subject to control of the Reagan administration. And the CIA claims that before making these expenditures, it notified Congress via its two intelligence "oversight" committees, as it is supposed to do according to the procedure mandated by Congress.

Redirecting Foreign Aid

The U.S. government also makes use of its connections with pro-U.S. regimes to supply aid to the contras. In various ways, these regimes are reimbursed for their aid to the contras.

For example, zionist Israel has been particularly enthusiastic to aid the contra war against Nicaragua. The Israeli government has long been a backer of Central American reaction. In the 1950's Israel sold arms to ex- Nicaraguan dictator Somoza. In the late 1970's it became a major supplier of infantry equipment to the fascist regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala. And, according to former Haifa University professor, Benjamin Beithallam, "When the CIA was setting up the contra organization in 1981, the Mossad [the Israeli intelligence agency] was also there, carrying out training and support for the first units." (Guardian, April 16, 1986)

The U.S. has made full use of its Israeli connections to conceal its operations in Central America. In 1981 the National Security Council suggested to private contra fund-raisers that they use a secret foreign arms source to supply the contras. The Reagan administration was particularly interested in giving the contras surface-to-air missiles in an attempt to shoot down Nicaraguan air traffic. As a result, contra fund-raiser John Singlaub supplied the FDN (the main contra military group) with over 30 SA-7 missiles from Israel. In order to conceal the U.S. and Israeli source of these missiles, the contras were not supplied with the U.S. Redeye missiles, but with Soviet-made SA-7's which Israel had captured in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon.

In a further effort to erase the tracks of the arms delivery, the transaction was made through Sherwood International Export Corporation of Los Angeles which, according to retired U.S. diplomat Wayne Smith, "is used frequently by the Company [the CIA]." He added that "The administration has used Sherwood before for weapons sales to the FDN." (Guardian, April 16, 1986)

In December of 1985 the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv named two Israelis as Sherwood's representatives in Central America. One was a former representative of the state-owned Israel Aircraft Industry and the other was a transport officer for the Israeli army.

"Private" Aid

As well, the U.S. government makes use of so-called "private" aid to the contras, which is assisted in various ways by the government, such as by paying for transport or by looking the other way as the neutrality and gun- running laws are broken.

For example, on April 29 the State Department authorized a White House-supported anti-communist organization to send a large military helicopter to the contras. The UH-1B Huey helicopter, of the type used by the U.S. against Viet Nam, was bought by a wealthy right-winger in contact with the United States Council for World Freedom, headed by retired Major General John Singlaub.

It is precisely this type of "charity" to the contras that Congress approved in 1984 when it amended the Defense Authorization Act to allow the Defense Department to ship privately financed "humanitarian" aid to Central America aboard U.S. military planes. And, sure enough, the Huey helicopter is being sent to the contras as a "humanitarian" vehicle for "medical evacuations."

In this case Congress opened this new source of contra funding at the very moment it was posturing for the cameras that it had cut off Reagan administration funds for the war against Nicaragua.

Only the Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Is Real Aid to the Nicaraguan People

It can be seen then that the U.S. government is resorting to a number of hidden channels in its frantic attempts to stamp out the revolutionary flames in Nicaragua. The very Democratic congressional leadership that postures as the conscience of the government and the opponents of Reagan's militarism is quite aware of the secret funding and even passes additional bills to facilitate it. This shows that the activists in the movement against U.S. intervention in Central America must direct its fight, not in support of the Democratic Party playacting in Congress, but against U.S. imperialism as a whole. It must oppose the entire apparatus of U.S. aggression in Central America, and not the schemes of the Democratic Party to anoint this apparatus with the holy water of "humanitarian"hypocrisy.

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A wave of demonstrations against South Korean dictatorship:

Workers and students fight Chun's military rule and U.S. imperialism

News continues to arrive from South Korea of demonstrations nearly every day against the U.S.-backed dictatorship of Chun Doo Hwan.

Some of these have been the most militant since the mass upsurge of 1980 amidst which General Chun seized power six years ago. And what is even more interesting, the latest protests show that radicalized workers and students are openly demarcating themselves from the liberal politicians who have sought to dominate the movement against Chun.

All along, it has been the Korean students and workers who have done the most in terms of actually fighting the tyranny. The liberal politicians meanwhile merely begged Chun for reforms and, in addition, placed their hopes on convincing Washington to throw its support behind them. Now the students and workers are showing that not only are they the most determined opponents of the dictatorship, but they are also opposed to U.S. imperialism and to the weak-kneed politics of the liberals.

The May 3rd Battle in Inchon

The strongest single protest in the past month took place on May 3 in Inchon. A militant demonstration took place outside an auditorium where liberal opponents of Chun planned to hold one of their petition rallies for constitutional reform.

Before the liberals' rally began, thousands of laborers and students outside the auditorium began chanting slogans against Chun and also against the U.S. They demanded the ouster of the military dictatorship and denounced U.S. imperialism.

As the demonstration continued, it became more militant. When liberal leaders arrived for their rally, leftist demonstrators blocked the auditorium entrances and shouted slogans against the New Korea Democratic Party, the main liberal opposition party. As a result the politicians were forced to cancel their rally.

The workers and students continued their demonstration by burning an American flag. They also attacked and burned a local office of the dictator's own Democratic Justice Party.

The demonstration was attacked by riot police firing hundreds of tear gas canisters. The leftists responded with firebombs and rocks, and then engaged the police in hand-to-hand combat. Three hundred police were injured, over 100 of them so badly they had to be hospitalized.

Daily Campus Demonstrations

Since the street battle in Inchon, scores of other demonstrations have taken place, most of them on university campuses. Many of these protests were staged to commemorate the Kwangju rebellion, a major uprising against the South Korean dictatorship which took place six years ago May 18.

On May 14 more than 10,000 students participated in rallies and marches on 33 campuses throughout the country. Many of these actions were attacked by riot police. In one incident, students prevented liberal politicians from hypocritically paying homage to the victims of Kwangju, charging them with having collaborated in the crushing of the rebellion.

Then on May 15 clashes occurred on four campuses in Seoul alone. At Yonsei University 500 students staged a march, chanting "Down with imperialism!" When they were attacked by a force of hundreds of riot police, the students stood their ground and threw 150 gasoline bombs at the police in a battle that lasted more than an hour.

On the same day 400 students at Korea University burned effigies in military uniform representing U.S. imperialism. When riot police tried to enter the campus, the students battled them at the campus: gate for two hours before withdrawing to a barricaded library.

Anti-government and anti-imperialist demonstrations continued in the week after the Kwangju anniversary. On May 20, at Seoul National University, a student shouting "Go away U.S. imperialists!" set himself afire and leaped to his death from a two-story building. This set off a militant anti-imperialist demonstration on campus in which thousands of students battled riot police.

Then on May 21 a small force of students invaded a U.S. government office in Pusan. This office houses the U.S. Information Agency, the local U.S. consulate, and other American officials. The students trashed the offices, occupied them, and hung banners outside the window denouncing the Chun dictatorship and U.S. imperialism.

Liberals Cozy Up to Chun

While students and workers are getting more radical and militant, the liberal opposition has moved to distance itself from the emerging left. The liberals are concerned about keeping the opposition within the narrow confines of bourgeois constitutional reform.

The leftists have been openly denounced by Kim Dae Jung, one of the leaders of the New Korea Democratic Party and a favorite of Democratic Party liberals in the U.S. On April 29, Kim told reporters that the liberal opposition did not approve of the "radicalism and extremism of some militant students." And in early May, Kim, expressing astonishment at the new militancy on campus, said "We did not know that our students would express such radical remarks."

In the meantime, the liberals are holding cozy chats with dictator Chun Doo Hwan. On April 30 Chun spoke at a luncheon attended by Lee Min Woo, president of the NKDP, and some other opposition politicians. Chun promised that he would accede to the liberals' demand for direct presidential elections if the reform were to be drafted by the National Assembly. He also instructed the head of his party, the DJP, to meet with Kim Young Sam, another NKDP leader, to try and iron out some of their differences.

It is no wonder then that Korean activists denounce the NKDP liberals as opportunists eager to compromise with the military dictatorship. While the students and workers battle riot police in the streets, the liberals try to strike a bargain with the dictatorship. And no doubt, the radicalization of the masses impels the liberals even more towards cozying up to the dictatorship.

Welcome the Emerging Left in the Struggle Against Chun

For some time now, the forces which have received promotion as the opposition to Chun in South Korea have been the mealy-mouthed liberals like the NDKP leaders. Now we are hearing of the emergence of a different political stand in the South Korean movement, a stand which is more resolute against the tyranny and which recognizes the need to fight U.S. imperialism. This is welcome news indeed.

This development is taking place at the same time as the growth of widespread underground Marxist study circles among the student activists in South Korea, which we reported on last month. The activists are looking for theoretical guidance.

The leftward moving activists in South Korea are taking important steps. They are fighting the hardest against tyranny. They have made important links between the students and the working class. They have recognized that U.S. imperialism is an enemy and must be ousted. And they have taken steps to separate themselves from the liberals.

As of yet, we do not know of the crystallization of any distinct revolutionary trend in South Korea. But the cauldron is there. No doubt, there is much debate and discussion going on in the movement on the path forward. The task of building Marxist-Leninist organization -- to guide the development of a revolutionary working class movement -- is on the order of the day.

The working class in South Korea has grown tremendously in recent decades. It is not only held down by the mailed fist of military dictatorship but it is also ruthlessly exploited by capitalists -- both Korean as well as U.S. and Japanese. A revolutionary movement of the proletariat is essential to carry the struggle forward against the dictatorship, capitalism, and U.S imperialism.

[Photo: Students and laborers demonstrate against the Chun dictatorship and U.S. imperialism in Inchon, May 3. Voices were also raised against the role of the bourgeois liberals.]

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Shultz swears loyalty to Chun

The first week of May, U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz paid a visit to South Korea. In this visit Shultz went out of his way to indicate that the Reagan administration is not lessening its support for dictator Chun.

Shultz explicitly denied any comparison between Chun and Ferdinand Marcos, the corrupt dictator recently thrown out of power in the Philippines. He declared that Chun is "moving impressively in the right direction'' toward democratization.

What rot! Shultz did not of course mention the attacks of riot police against demonstrators, nor the hundreds of politicians placed under house arrest in the last few months. He did not speak of the thousands of riot police deployed surrounding all opposition political offices, or the hundreds of political activists pulled into police stations recently for "questioning."

Shultz also made a point of denouncing the "violence" of the radical opposition.

After the ouster of Marcos in the Philippines and Duvalier of Haiti, liberals in the U.S. applauded the Reagan administration. They spoke of a change in Reagan foreign policy. Shultz' reaffirmation of support for Chun shows that U.S. imperialist policy remains the same as ever.

Haiti and the Philippines did not prove that the U.S. government is now against right-wing dictators -- no, only collapsing ones. And in such cases, Washington only steps in to salvage the status quo from the threat of popular insurrection.

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May Day around the world

On May 1 workers around the world went into action. Workers denounced tyranny and repression; they protested the harsh exploitation of the capitalists; they condemned racial discrimination and national oppression; and they came out against militarism and reactionary war.

The May Day battles in South Africa, El Salvador and Mexico were especially noteworthy, and we have covered them in separate articles. In this article, we report on May Day actions from elsewhere around the world.

* Paraguay: A workers' rally was held in the capital Asuncion which attracted over 1,000 demonstrators. This was another sign of the ferment shaping up in Paraguay against the 32-year-old dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. And it showed that the workers are eager to put their imprint on the anti-dictatorship struggle. Police attacked the demonstration with tear gas, water cannons and nightsticks.

* Chile: Pinochet placed Santiago under military occupation to prevent any May Day demonstrations. Nonetheless 300 protesters did gather in downtown Santiago. They were immediately attacked by police and so then withdrew to slum areas where the toilers threw up barricades to stop the police.

While the workers were demonstrating in the streets for the overthrow of Pinochet, liberal opposition leaders were trying to arrange an electoral scheme that would continue to give the army a leading role in the government. Gabriel Valdes, president of the liberal Christian Democrat Party, was.quoted as saying, "There is no anti-institutional attitude here against the armed forces as happened in Argentina." And Armando Jaramillo Lyon, leader of the Republican Party who is also president of the center-right opposition coalition, the Democratic Alliance, said, ''We have to conduct the democratization together with the army." This shows the importance for the working class to organize independently of the liberal bourgeois opposition.

*Guatemala: Workers and peasants marched in Guatemala City in the first May Day demonstration there since 1980. In their May Day march the toilers demanded land reform and the prosecution of brutal military officials.

*Poland: Anti-government rallies were held in many cities. An unprecedented police presence kept the opposition rallies away from official May Day parades. In Warsaw 5,000 people gathered in an opposition rally. When attacked by hundreds of riot police, the crowd chanted ''Gestapo." The influence of the pro-Western capitalist Solidarity organization among the Polish workers showed that the workers still face a struggle to develop a revolutionary stand.

*Japan: May Day demonstrations in Japan combined celebration of May Day with denunciation of the "free world" imperialist leaders meeting in Tokyo for their economic summit. The Japanese government mobilized massive security forces for the economic parley and surrounded every demonstration with hundreds of police.

Another theme taken up by leftist demonstrations was opposition to the "new nationalism" being promoted by the Nakasone government. The day before May Day was celebrated by the government as the 60th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Hirohito. The Nakasone government used this occasion to try to revive the nationalistic spirit of Japanese imperialism. These celebrations were countered by a number of leftist demonstrations. Here too the government responded with massive repression. Four demonstrations on April 30 were surrounded with 30,000 police, and at some demonstrations every person who entered the rally site was searched by police.

*Puerto Rico: Teachers staged an island-wide one-day strike demanding higher wages, better medical insurance and better working conditions. Five thousand of the teachers held a rally in front of the governor's residence in San Juan.

*Philippines: The trade unions held a May Day rally in Manila as they have in past years. But this year's rally was a marked contrast to previous celebrations which had a militant character. With the fall of the dictator Marcos and the taking of power by the liberal regime of Corazon Aquino, this year's rally was unfortunately a much tamer affair.

The left trade union movement has suffered from the policy of conciliation with liberalism that is a serious problem of the Filipino left. It has adopted a tailist stance towards the Aquino regime. In fact, the trade union leaders -- to their shame -- even invited Aquino to be the featured speaker at the workers' rally. And Aquino, as a true-blue capitalist liberal, urged the trade unions to exercise "restraint" even as she announced the lifting of some of Marcos' decrees against trade union activity.

Still, the demands of the workers were not completely stifled in this rally organized on the basis of conciliation with the liberal government. Many workers in the May Day parade opposed the wage freeze which the Aquino government, in coordination with the IMF, is planning to impose as part of a nationwide austerity program. As well, a common chant among marchers in the parade was "Down with American imperialism!" A large contingent of workers from the U.S. naval base at Subic Bay carried signs calling for U.S. bases to get out of the Philippines. There were also chants and signs condemning the U..S. attack on Libya.

Thus in country after country, International Workers' Day showed the combativeness of the workers, their eagerness to battle against reaction and exploitation. And it also brought home the essential need for organization of the working class in its own class interests, independent of bourgeois liberals and reformists.

[Photo: The working people take to the streets of Tokyo and confront police to protest celebrations for Emperor Hirohito, April 30.]

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The May First battle in Mexico City

(The following report is reprinted from a leaflet issued by the Chicago Branch of the MLP, USA, May 15, 1986.)

On May 1, President Miguel de la Madrid stood on a balcony of the presidential palace in Mexico City overlooking the official government parade and declared, "We are seeing the unbreakable faith of the Mexican workers in national independence and sovereignty." At the same time, contingents of workers in the official parade from the Electrical Workers Union (Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas), the Department of Agriculture and Water resources (SARH) and Tepepan yelled anti-government slogans. And 20,000 police struggled to keep a lid on the oppositional demonstrations in hours of protests that left at least 150 people arrested and more than 100 wounded. There were also confrontations in other cities around Mexico.

The PRI [the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party] is waving the flag of national unity and national independence to try and prettify the fact that the Mexican bourgeoisie is driving the Mexican toilers to the wall with price increases, wage freezes, and layoffs as they implement their austerity plan. This plan is supposed to help pay off the incredible debt owed to U.S. imperialist banks and to salvage the Mexican bourgeoisie's own profits from the effects of the bitter economic crises. The Mexican workers and peasants are supposed to forget about the class struggle and rally to the side of the rich in these hard times. But the events of May 1 this year are another example of the lie of "national unity" and the growing discontent among the Mexican toilers.

May 1 -- A Day of Protest and Class Struggle

For the past three years International Workers Day (May 1) has seen increasing protests and disruption of the official government celebration.

This year the government went all out to smash the protests of the workers, peasants and youth. Some 20,000 police, including uniformed, undercover, special forces, mounted, etc., etc., were on duty. Many thousands were stationed at the plaza (Zocalo) in front of the National Palace to protect the official celebration of the PRI/CTM (Confederacion de Trabajadores Mexicanos -- the government-organized unions), but they couldn't stop workers from inside the CTM unions from raising slogans protesting the austerity program and demanding wage increases, price freezes and cancellation of the debt to the imperialist banks.

There were at least three oppositional marches in Mexico City -- made up of contingents of striking workers, unions that have broken with the CTM, organizations of students and youth, and revolutionary activists. These contingents, made up of forces belonging to a number of political trends, including reformists, are commonly referred to as the "Independents." These demonstrations also raised slogans for wage increases, against price increases, and for the cancellation of the debt. They were met by police attack dogs and billy clubs. Large numbers of the demonstrators fiercely resisted these attacks, sending a number of policemen to the hospital. The PRI was so desperate to stop the protests that it was reported that busloads of workers and peasants from outside Mexico City who were trying to join the protests were detained at the outskirts of the city by detachments of police.

A contingent of 800 seamstresses from the September 19th Union who had held their own march earlier in the day were also blocked from joining the Independents by the riot police. These seamstresses are an especially militant section of the workers' movement.

The September 19th Union was formed by workers from the giant garment factories in the Tlalpan district of Mexico City. This zone was destroyed in the earthquake of September 19, 1985. Instead of mounting rescue operations to dig out the workers buried by the quake, the army cordoned off the area, preventing rescuers from entering, so that the machinery and other "valuables" would not be stolen!! An unknown number -- estimated to be many hundreds -- of the mainly women workers were killed. To add to the atrocity, the rubble was bulldozed and trucked away so that no bodies were recovered. Therefore, no death certificates were ever issued and the families have been denied insurance and other benefits.

The September 19th Union is demanding that the government and the capitalists pay damages to the dead workers' families and to the injured workers, that the workers be compensated for their lost wages and be given recognition of their union organization and improvements in working conditions and wages.

The battles fought on May 1 give us a glimpse of the potential of the workers' movement in Mexico and the growing anger of the masses against the capitalist government of the PRI and U.S. imperialism.

[Photo: Riot police in Mexico City confront workers protesting against the PRI government during the PRI's official May Day march.]

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Marches and rallies in the U.S. mark

100th Anniversary of May Day, International Working Class Day!

This May 1 marked the centenary of the 1886 general strike of the working class in the U.S. for the eight-hour day, the date which became celebrated by the workers of the world as the international working class holiday.

Once again this May Day, workers from all corners of the globe came into the streets to show that they are a force to be reckoned with. They declared their determination to fight the tyranny of the exploiters and voiced their class solidarity with the working people of all countries. In South Africa there was an unprecedented general strike of 2.5 million workers, and from Mexico to Chile militant workers clashed with the capitalist police.

In the U.S. too, May Day was celebrated by the Marxist-Leninist and revolutionary workers. The events were not as large as in some other countries. But the occasion of the 100th anniversary of May Day was used to set before the working class the tasks it faces in the struggle against Reaganism and the capitalist offensive, and to spread the spirit of class struggle that inspired the workers in the 1886 general strike.

The MLP carried out a month-long agitational campaign leading up to the May Day events. A special May Day issue of The Workers' Advocate was distributed widely in work places, workers' neighborhoods, schools, at protest actions and elsewhere. This May Day agitation was linked up with important struggles such as the anti-apartheid movement in San Francisco, the defense of Noah Roisten in Boston, who is being persecuted because he actively resisted a racist attack^ and the fight against concessions in various shops.

On May 1, the MLP held a spirited demonstration from Cambridge's Central Square into Boston. This was followed on May 3 with marches in working class neighborhoods in New York City and Chicago. A crowd of people from Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood gathered in a park to listen to speeches and, to watch a skit about the general strike for the eight-hour day in 1886 and the current struggle in the U.S. against concessions and Reagan's militarism.

On the night of May 3, militant meetings were held in Seattle, Chicago, and New York City and on May 4 in Oakland. The meetings were fired up with the singing of revolutionary songs, some taken from the May Day issue of Struggle magazine. And there were other cultural performances such as a skit on the fight against unemployment, dramatic poetry readings, and a presentation of revolutionary speeches from the 1886 movement for the eight-hour day.

The speeches at the meetings led to lively discussions which continued through the night.

One of the themes was the lessons of the May Day general strike in 1886 for the present struggle against the capitalist offensive. Such lessons as the necessity to fight the trade union bureaucrats and liberal politicians to build up the class struggle of the workers stood out particularly sharply in Chicago where the opportunists attempted to make the celebration of the May Day centenary into an orgy of class collaborationists (See accompanying article on this page.)

Another theme emphasized at the meetings was the importance of rallying the U.S. workers to take an internationalist stand. Speeches on important current struggles -- such as against the racist South African regime (including in Oakland, where a vigorous discussion took place summing up the anti-apartheid battles at Berkeley); against Reagan's bombing raid on Libya, and for building up the solidarity movement with the Nicaraguan workers and peasants and their revolutionary vanguard, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua -- brought home the proletarian internationalist spirit of May Day.

The meetings also stressed the importance of building the Marxist-Leninist vanguard of the working class to organize the class struggle. One speech delved into the history of the struggle against Browderism in the formerly revolutionary Communist Party USA. It explained how the most resolute opponents of Browder, who were expelled from the CP as "left-wing sectarians," were undermined in the fight by not being able to break out of the framework of the wrong orientation given at the 7th Congress of the Communist International. This speech demonstrated how our current struggle to defend Marxism- Leninism from the distortions of revisionism is a most essential struggle for the building up of the revolutionary vanguard of the working class. (Two of the speeches given at the May Day meetings -- "Lessons of the May Day General Strike for the Fight Against Concessions" and "Workers of All Countries, Unite!" -- have been reprinted in the May 20, 1986 issue of The Workers' Advocate Supplement.)

This year's May Day campaign was a decided success. It helped the MLP work to tie itself deeper among the working masses and to educate the workers in the spirit of the class struggle and proletarian internationalism, in the true spirit of May Day.

[Photo: Chicago]

[Photo: Seattle]

[Photo: Oakland]

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Class struggle vs. reformism at Haymarket celebrations

In Chicago last month, a series of events took place marking the centenary of a milestone in the militant history of the working class movement: the 1886 May 1 general strike for the 8-hour day.

The centenary provided a picture of where the different forces stand who today lay claim to champion the workers' cause. A number of events represented separate political trends. These ranged from musty lectures by liberal and social-democratic professors, to the MLP's militant demonstration in the working class Pilsen district. In the events of May 4, the date of the famous Haymarket Affair, both the reformist and revolutionary trends made a showing.

The May 4 Rally at the 'Tribune'

To mark the Haymarket centenary and to show solidarity with the striking Chicago Tribune pressmen, a noon rally was organized in front of the Tribune offices. Several hundred people took part, including a group of Hormel strikers from Minnesota, and other workers and activists. However, the reins of the rally were held tightly by the bureaucratic trade union officialdom and their reformist colleagues.

The leaders did their best to conduct business-as-usual reformist trade unionism. Far from the fighting spirit of the class struggle that Haymarket represents, the leaders put on a big show of class collaborationists Disgruntled Tribune stockholders were given the microphone, along with capitalist politicians, including a Democratic Party alderman.

The class struggle isn't quite what it used to be, one rally organizer explained, because now the workers have a city government that is allegedly "sympathetic to the workers' problems." After all, today Harold Washington, big time Democratic politician and darling- of the social-democrats and reformists, now sits in the mayor's office.

Harold Washington Leads the Police March

But speak of the devil, where was the good Mayor? Why didn't he come out and show the workers his "sympathies"? Well, it turns out that he was otherwise engaged.

That same afternoon Mr. Washington was showing his solidarity with the notorious Chicago police, leading several thousand of "Chicago's finest'' in their annual St. Jude Police League March and Mass. These are the same police (of course with the Mayor's approval) who last January attacked the picket lines at the Tribune, beating on strikers and their supporters. And these are the same police who marched in the capitalists' anti-worker commemoration of the Haymarket Affair -- the May 7 "Law and Order Parade,'' sponsored by the police union and the Haymarket Square Businessmen's Association.

It turns out that at the very moment that the reformist chieftains were preaching about the change of heart in city government, city government was busy making it clear that nothing has changed. From the Mayor's office down to the men in blue, city government remains a faithful tool in the hands of Chicago's rich and powerful capitalists against the working people.

The March to Haymarket

Meanwhile, back at the rally at the Tribune, the so-called "Communist Party'' (pro-Soviet), the Trotskyists, and other reformists who claim to be socialist or Marxist, were showing what reformist cringing is all about.

This was the centenary of Haymarket, a day to honor the revolutionary legacy of the Haymarket martyrs, to proclaim the militant stand of the working class, and to voice solidarity with the workers of all countries. But these reformist liquidators had left their "Marxism'' and "socialism'' at home. They didn't utter a peep that might be an obstacle to cuddling up to the trade union bureaucrats.

This was particularly striking when the march was formed up to go over to the site of the old Haymarket Square. This march would have been a washout, a limp shuffle across the top of Chicago's Loop. After all, one must not offend the sensibilities of the Democratic politicians and the "sympathetic'' city government.

However, a militant contingent organized by the MLP had its impact. Under a red banner and with red flags flying, militant slogans rang out: "Fight concessions now!", "Jobs or livelihood for the unemployed!", "Down with racist attacks!", "Full rights for the immigrants!", "Apartheid in South Africa, bum it to the ground!", "U.S. imperialism, hands off Nicaragua!", "Down with Reagan! Down with the Democrats! Down with the capitalists! Victory to the working class!", "Long live May First, international working class day!", and "Workers of all countries, unite!"

A good part of the march became a spirited working class protest, as numerous strikers and other workers took up some of the militant slogans.

Why the Union Chiefs Complained About the Marxist-Leninist

That night, WBBM radio carried an interview with one of the union chieftains at the Tribune. The questions and answers were focused on complaints against the Marxist-Leninist Party. The thrust of his complaints was that their red banner and militancy were out of place at the rally and march, and that the Marxist-Leninists were allegedly intruding.

Such is the outlook of the union bureaucrats. For them it is never an intrusion for the Democratic politicians and other capitalist mouthpieces to come to a workers' rally; but for militant workers to take a fighting stand against the capitalists, now that's out of place.

These labor chiefs and their reformist friends want the workers to forget the lessons of Haymarket. Like our present union leaders, the old leaders of the AFL were tied to class collaboration. Therefore they accomplished little for the eight-hour movement except to eventually betray it altogether.

On the other hand, it was the revolutionary-minded workers who had the necessary energy, desire, and vision to rally the working class to a powerful struggle. It was no accident that the May 1 strike was most successful in Chicago where it was led by the workers who raised red flags and shouted their hatred for the capitalists. The employers understood this connection all too well. That is why they hung the Haymarket martyrs and unleashed a lynch mob spirit against all revolutionary-minded workers, whom both the capitalists and the AFL leaders of the day branded as "alien" to the workers' movement.

Anarchist Antics

During the days of the centennial, Chicago was also visited by a variety of anarchist groups and individuals from around the country. They were present in a number of events, and a few of them came to the May 4 rally at Haymarket Square. By anarchists, we mean the type with the capital A, the black flags, and typical mindless slogans such as "Fuck authority!"

Trotting around with the anarchists were the Maoists of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, a group which mixes the liberal petty bourgeois ideas of Maoism with a good dose of anarchist phrases. The RCP was particularly enthusiastic for the detached, harebrained activities of the anarchists, such as the "'hit-and-run' disruptions'' in Lord & Taylor and other fancy department stores, where the anarchists knocked things off shelves to watch the fancy shoppers gasp. (See Revolutionary Worker, May 5,1986)

The RCP even accepted the anarchists' claim to being the heirs to the Hay market martyrs, saluting the anarchists for allegedly "upholding the revolutionary tradition and iconoclastic spirit of the martyrs.'' (Revolutionary Worker, May 12, 1986) But this claim just won't cut the mustard.

It is true that Parsons, Spies and the others called themselves anarchists, (but also revolutionary socialists). But despite the anarchist label, while they clung to various tenets of anarchism or anarcho-syndicalism, many of their ideas were much closer to Marxism. This was not uncommon in that epoch of the world working class movement, when the revolutionary workers in a number of countries were still in the process of drawing clear lines of demarcation in favor of proletarian Marxism and against petty-bourgeois anarchism.

What's more, Parsons, Spies and co. were guided by a profound proletarian instinct; therefore their actual practice was a rupture with the worst dogmas of anarchism. Unlike the anarchists, they closely linked their revolutionary appeals to the practical movement of the working class. They became important figures in working class history precisely because of their success in organizing the eight-hour day fight as part of building up the revolutionary workers' movement against wage slavery.

But none of this can be said of our present day anarchists. They revel in petty-bourgeois self-indulgence. They are allergic to proletarian forms of organization and mass struggle. And they sneer at such things as the fight against the capitalists' concessions offensive and the entire practical struggle of the working class as being allegedly worthless for organizing the class struggle. Because they consider the concerns of the masses as vulgar and trifling, they disdain any idea of linking up with the masses of workers for the struggle against capitalism. And these are only some of the anti-proletarian features of anarchism.

Of course, this is not to say that there aren't youth who genuinely hate the capitalists and who might be taken in by some of the anarchists' violent language against the ruling class and its reformist lackeys. But, as a trend, these modern-day anarchists are as far removed from the true legacy of the Haymarket martyrs as they are removed from the working class movement.

As for the RCP, their attraction to the anarchists is just another sign of their Maoist liquidationism. It is another sign of their retreat from the hard work of organizing the class struggle in favor of delighting themselves with frivolous activity of petty-bourgeois despair.

Uphold the Legacy of the Haymarket Martyrs

The MLP carried out wide work in Chicago's factories and communities for the May First centennial. It worked to spread the true lessons and legacy of the May First struggle with thousands of pieces of literature, with a militant demonstration and meeting, with its contingent in the May 4 march, and other activities.

Despite all the best efforts of the union chieftains and their reformist friends, apart from the silly antics of anarchists, the fighting legacy of the Haymarket martyrs is being carried forward today by the Marxist-Leninist and militant workers. This is the legacy of steadfast revolutionary work to organize the workers for the class struggle.

[Photo: MLP contingent in May 4 march.]

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The World in Struggle


Haitian liberals stand in the way of the continuing struggle

The Haitian masses continue to carry out strikes and other mass actions. The first week of May the toilers of Fort Liberte carried out a general strike that shut down the city's shops, businesses and schools. The masses marched through town with red banners and blocked the main thoroughfare with piles of logs. Participants in the demonstration said the government still does not listen to their complaints, that they still have no electricity or clean drinking water.

The April 1986 edition of The West Indian Voice focuses on the inspiring struggle of the toiling people of Haiti. It covers the upsurge which forced out the tyrant Duvalier and it reports on struggles which have erupted since. As well, the newspaper carries several articles explaining the role of the church, the army, and the liberals. These are very helpful in understanding the current situation in Haiti. Below we reprint the article on the role of the liberals, followed by a postscript which updates the exposure of the liberals.

The new regime has shown itself determined to preserve as much of the institutions erected by the Duvaliers as possible. It wants to keep the status quo intact -- the machinery of repression; severe restrictions on liberties for the masses; the extreme poverty and backwardness for the toilers alongside riches and privileges for the Haitian bourgeoisie, their representatives and friends. The regime has been utterly silent towards the demands of the masses for relief from the plight of joblessness that grips 50% of the work force and to the blight of poverty and ignorance left in the wake of the Duvalier tyranny.

Thus, from going after the Macoutes and other hated symbols of Duvalier's tyranny, the masses are now squaring off for a direct onslaught against the new regime. The people have been bombarding appointees to the new regime with demonstrations, forcing their "resignations." With every passing day during March, the anger of the masses has focused directly on the junta and its cabinet. They are demanding that the entire regime be scrapped from Lt. General Namphy on down.

But the bourgeois liberals of Haiti and, if you may, various "reformed" Duvalierists have come out against this legitimate demand of the masses. These liberals and church leaders are the forces that the international media attempted to portray as the soul and conscience behind the mass upsurge that toppled Baby Doc.

This includes Hubert de Ronceray, a former official under the Duvaliers up to a few years ago, but who fell from grace with the regime and became one of its critics. And it includes the leaders of the Christian Democratic Party of Haiti (PDCH) and of the Social Christian Party, among others.

They all consider themselves candidates for the presidency of Haiti. From this perspective of wanting to head up the machinery of exploitation and repression, these liberals have joined the bishops in rebuking the masses for continuing their demonstrations and pressing their demands for relief from poverty and for the prosecution of Duvalierists for the crimes they have committed.

De Ronceray has declared "we need the military in the government to give us peace and stability" and is "advising people to not criticize the junta even if it is not satisfactory to them."

Sylvio Claude of the PDCH has declared that chaos will continue so long as "they leave opposition elements like himself" without an appointment in the new regime (and, he should have added, a share in the spoils of office to boot).

Michel Roy, General Secretary of the Federation of Unionized Workers, has added his voice to the liberal chorus. Cheerfully admitting the dire plight of the masses of toilers, he goes on to admonish the workers that "this is not the moment to start asking for things." According to M. Roy, the "National Government Council must be given at least one year to arrange and organize the country."

Far from being a voice for the masses, these forces have all along represented the liberal capitalist opposition to Duvalierism and, needless to say, their own ambitions. Duvalier's tyranny endured in good part because it struck an alliance -- though sometimes an uneasy one -- with the bourgeois ruling classes of Haitian society and successfully appeased their appetites.

At the same time Duvalier's tyranny was such that it also tended to stifle the voices of all but its closest adherents. The presence of some of these liberal capitalist forces and of the church in the anti-Duvalier struggle was encouraged by U.S. imperialism as a means to keep tight reins on the mass upsurge and ensure a stable, nonrevolutionary and pro-U.S. orientation in the post-Duvalier era.

The passage of events now presents the challenge for the Haitian workers and toiling masses to break free of the influence of these bourgeois liberal forces of the Haitian exploiters. Such forces have shown themselves to be unwilling and incapable of dismantling the tyrannical apparatus left virtually intact with the departure of Baby Doc. Nor are the liberals willing or able to challenge the status quo, to deliver the essential reforms needed to raise the masses from the depths of poverty and backwardness to which they have been driven.

This can only be brought about by continuing the revolutionary mass upsurge. The experience and bitter lessons from the course of events will strengthen the class struggle and lead to the development of independent organization, championing and fighting for the demands of the working class and toiling masses.


Postscript by the The Workers' Advocate: Following an April 26 demonstration at Fort Dimanche which army troops fired upon, killing eight demonstrators, General Namphy's government came under intense pressure from the masses. Liberal politicians tried to take advantage of this by putting themselves forward as critics of the regime.

For example, Gerard Gourgue, the liberal member of Namphy's first junta, declared in a radio interview that the government had lost all credibility. And Hubert de Ronceray said that the government has proven it cannot govern.

However, these liberals' criticism of Namphy was soon exposed as nothing but hot air. Rockefeller Guerre, a former parliament member and later a critic of Duvalier, called for a general strike on April 28 to protest the April 26 massacre. Gourgue and de Ronceray would have nothing to do with this, and de Ronceray openly denounced it.

Meanwhile, the morning of the scheduled general strike on April 28, Namphy filled the streets of Port-au-Prince with the Leopards, the elite military unit which is replacing the Ton-ton Macoutes as the principal fist of state repression. Terrified, Guerre went on radio and called off the general strike.

It can be noted that the pro-Soviet revisionist leaders who have returned to Haiti are shamelessly trailing along with the liberal policy in Haiti. They too offer some mealymouthed criticism of Namphy but oppose any determined struggle against the military junta. Rene Theodore, head of the revisionist so-called United Party of Haitian Communists, recently cautioned against seeking Namphy's removal, saying "I see no alternative."

[Photo: Demonstration of Haitian workers and youth approaches Fort Dimanche, notorious dungeon of the Duvaliers, before being attacked by the police, April 26.]

Bolivian working class helps teachers win a victory

In March and April school teachers in Bolivia staged a nationwide strike for higher pay. In this strike the teachers won the support of the working class as a whole and were able to win pay increases.

The teachers struck at the beginning of the new school year in February. They were demanding an increase in their pay of $15 per month.

On April 8-9 the Bolivian Workers Confederation (COB) went on a nationwide general strike in support of the teachers. In the capital city of La Paz, crowds of workers confronted riot police who attacked them with tear gas; the workers responded with rocks. President Paz Estenssoro went into a panic and threatened to impose a state of siege as he did last fall, when COB leaders were sent into exile in remote villages.

The strike finally ended on April 20. The teachers received a retroactive increase of 50% for March; an increase of 52% for April; 72% for May; and 132% for June. These increases are large, but they are less than what they appear on first sight; one has to remember the high inflation rate that has clobbered workers' paychecks in Bolivia.

Still, the teachers' victory shows something of the power of strike action and the solidarity of the whole working class.

Brazil teachers strike

Teachers in Brazil have been waging large-scale actions against President Jose Sarney's austerity program, which imposes a wage freeze on employees.

On April 1 all of the teachers in Rio de Janeiro state -- 140,000 of them -- went on strike, and at last report the strike was continuing. On April 17 all of the 1,000,000 school teachers in Brazil went on a one-day strike to back up their demand for a pay raise.

Sarney continues to promote his austerity program as a big success, but the working people in Brazil do not see it as a success for them.

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