The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 16, No. 9


25ยข September 1, 1986

[Front page:

Down with Reagan's 'tax reform'! A promise for everyone, A gold mine for the rich;

Black people of South Africa fight on--Denounce the massacre of Soweto rent strikers!;

MLP,USA delegation in Nicaragua-- Shoulder to shoulder against the common foe]


Reagan's war on drugs; testing; military adventure....................... 2
Postal massacre inspired by right-wing ideas................................ 3
Rehnquist; Big Mountain resistance.............................................. 4
Noah Roisten; Boston schools; INS raids...................................... 5
Memorial for a fallen comrade...................................................... 5

Strikes and Work Place News:

Maine & Michigan paper mills; Phone workers............................ 6
Coal miners; New England railroads; Brooklyn Union Gas lockout; Houston trash collectors' wildcat; War industry strikes; California wineries......................................................................... 7
Guardian Glass; Caterpillar; Judson Steel; John Deere; Brach candy; USX lockout....................................................................... 8

'Tax reform': Working people; loopholes; rates cut...................... 9
Boston march against persecution of Tamil minority.................... 17
They're lined up behind the Democrats again............................... 19

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

No matter Congress' votes, CIA supplies contras.......................... 3
El Salvador: Huey downed; Phone workers; CIA unions; Vets protest contra aid............................................................................ 13
Contra 'recruiting': volunteer or else............................................. 13
African famine relief used for war................................................. 14
Senate backs $800 million for war on Nicaragua.......................... 14

CPI against oppression of women by Khomeini regime............... 14

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!

Botha vows to defend apartheid forever........................................ 15
Israeli Zionists rush to the aid of apartheid.................................... 16
Senate sanctions; 'targetted' to be a dud........................................ 16
Six months of Aquino rule in Philippines...................................... 16
CP of Philippines and the Aquino regime...................................... 18
Message from Portuguese Marxist-Leninist.................................. 18
World in Struggle: Japan; Pakistan; Bolivia.................................. 19


Down with Reagan's 'tax reform'!

A promise for everyone, A gold mine for the rich

Black people of South Africa fight on

Denounce the massacre of Soweto rent strikers!

MLP,USA delegation in Nicaragua

Reagan's war on drugs - more police measures against the working people

Drug testing in the workplace:

A new way to repress the workers

U.S. troops, out of Bolivia!

Military adventures in the name of fighting drugs

Postal massacre inspired by militarist and right-wing ideas

Oklahoma tragedy sparks anger

Post Offices are hellholes of speedup and overwork

No matter how Congress votes CIA supplies the war on Nicaragua


Strikes and workplace news

Under the 'tax reform'

The working people will still bear the burden of taxation

The fraud of closing the loopholes

Cutting the top rates - a gold mine for the rich

MLP Nicaragua tour:

Revolutionary workers arm in arm

With troops returning from battle against the CIA's contras

'Prensa Proletaria' on the MLP tour

With a peasant cooperative in Jinotega

U.S. imperialism, hands off Nicaragua!

Protest at the U.S. embassy in Managua

Lend a hand to the Nicaraguan workers' press!

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

Against the barbaric oppression of women under the Khomeini dictatorship

CP of Iran on women's liberation and the revolution


March in Boston condemns Sri Lanka prime minister

Stop persecuting the Tamil minority!

Six months of Aquino's rule

The CP of the Philippines and the Aquino regime

Every election is said to be the most important yet

They're lining up behind the Democrats again

Message from the Communist Organization - Workers' Policy of Portugal

The World in Struggle

Down with Reagan's 'tax reform'!

A promise for everyone, A gold mine for the rich

Reagan's tax reform is all but law, and the hype for it -- from both the liberal Democrats and the conservative Republicans -- has become deafening. We are told that this is an historic bill which will shift the burden of taxation off of the poor and working people, plug the loopholes used by the rich, and make the monopoly corporations pay for the tax cuts for 80 million Americans.

But the working masses are skeptical, and they have every right to be. The fundamental features of this bill include the tremendous reduction of the tax scale for the rich (to 28% from 50%, and from 70% just four years ago); cutting the top rate for the corporations (to 34% from 46%); and a general "flattening" of the income tax from fourteen to two steps so that rich and poor pay almost the same rates.

Such a change will hardly shift the tax burden off the working people. What is more, almost every economist and politician predicts that the storm over reducing the budget deficit will bring a new wave of taxes on the working masses in the next few years. The present tax reform begins to abandon the former pretext of a progressive structure -- which claims to tax the rich at higher rates than the poor. It is a step towards openly proclaiming the principle of taxing the poor at the same (or higher) rates as the rich. This is what the Reaganites, and the liberal Democrats with them, mean by a "fair" tax system.

The working people can expect no real, lasting relief from the politicians of the rich. The only serious weapon to beat back the offensive of the capitalist money-grubbers is the organization and militant struggle of the working masses themselves. A tax reform that will make a real difference to the working people, a tax reform that will actually shift the burden of taxation onto the capitalist monopolies and billionaires, requires building up a powerful revolutionary struggle against the capitalist class and their two main political parties, the Democrats and Republicans.

Workers should expose and denounce Reagan's tax reform throughout the factories and neighborhoods and use this work to build up a powerful, independent political movement of the working class.

--See page 9 for more on the 'tax reform' swindle

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Black people of South Africa fight on

Denounce the massacre of Soweto rent strikers!

The name "Soweto" has become synonymous with the struggle against apartheid. This past month the masses of this black township near Johannesburg again stepped forward to man the front lines of the fight against the racist Botha regime.

Apartheid means fascist terror against the black and other oppressed peoples. At the end of August the racists committed one of their most ghastly crimes. They gunned down in cold blood about 30 anti-apartheid protesters in Soweto and wounded over 100 more in a daylong rampage that was the worst since the infamous Sharpeville massacre of 1960.

But the masses have refused to cave in. They are meeting this bloodbath with militant actions.

Supporters of the Rent Strike Clash With the Police

The racist regime's orgy of murder took place on August 26 and began when the police opened fire on 300 protesters who gathered in support of rent strikers who were being evicted from their homes by the government. The anger of the masses boiled over into a rebellion. Street barricades went up to confront the racist security forces head on. Fierce clashes lasted through the night.

In the course of struggle the masses succeeded in wounding five police according to official figures. As well they wiped out one member of the hated black township council. The township councils are local governments composed of black stooges of the racists which administer the black townships for the white masters.

Despite suffering heavy losses on August 26, the masses of Soweto would not bow down. The next night the street barricades were rebuilt in many neighborhoods and new clashes took place. And the struggle inside Soweto received support from black and white students at a university in Johannesburg. On August 28, these students held a militant mass protest confronting the police and forcing a racist student to run for his life.

The Rent Strike Movement

The Soweto rent protests are part of a nationwide rent strike movement going on in over 30 townships and involving hundreds of thousands of renters. The masses are fed up with the rotten housing and outrageous rents.

But that is not all. The rent strike protests also have the aim of crippling the pro-racist township councils which are financed by the rent incomes.

As well the protests have raised demands for an end to the government's "state of emergency'' and government repression in general. The rent strikes are becoming merged with the overall political movement against the racist system.

Growth of the Student Rebellion Against Repression

Another powerful current in the August upsurge in Soweto was the growing revolt of the students against government repression. In July the racist authorities announced severe measures to clamp down on the students participating in the anti-apartheid struggle. The government instituted arbitrary expulsions of students, started an ID card system to help track the militants, and stationed security forces at the schools. As well the government expelled for the whole school year any student who did not meet their deadline for registering for classes. This measure was an attempt to break the months-long school boycott movement.

Immediately the students responded. The boycott movement continued to be widespread. Meanwhile students either burned or refused to carry their ID's. In August the student protests became particularly sharp in Soweto.

On August 4, students at the Naledi high school walked out of class to protest the confiscation by the security forces of a student's "military-style" jacket. (The racists are becoming so rattled that even "militant" clothes scare them!) In mid-August, black students held an angry demonstration, burning ID cards in the process.

By late August the students had had it up to their necks with the presence of security forces at the schools and at their daily drills in the schoolyard. On August 26th, 500 high school students protested against the military presence at the schools. The police opened fire on the demonstration killing one and wounding eight more.

The slaughter of the students coincided with the massacre of the rent strike protesters. The response of the enraged students was a total boycott of the Soweto schools the next day.

Glory to the Martyrs of the Soweto Massacre!

The continuation of the struggle in the face of the Botha regime's savagery shows that the martyrs of Soweto did not die in vain. Each time apartheid murders its opponents, more rise up to replace them. The memory of the Soweto massacre will undoubtedly help steel the growing revolutionary mood among the masses. The day will certainly come when the racists will see their bloodstained paradise swept away by the victorious insurrection of the masses.

Workers and anti-apartheid activists! The heroism of the masses of Soweto inspires us as well. We must step up the mass actions against apartheid and against U.S. support for it. We must scorn the capitalist politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, who lecture us that the issue is to help reform the racist regime and avoid revolution in South Africa. To hell with them! We must build up a militant movement, a movement that supports the struggle of the oppressed. True solidarity with the South African masses means organizing in support of the revolutionary smashing of the racist butchers.

[Photo: Students protest at a university in Johannesburg.]

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MLP,USA delegation in Nicaragua

Shoulder to shoulder against the common foe

(See pages 10-12)

[Photo: Armed peasant cooperativists and members of the MLP tour shout slogans against U.S. imperialism and for the unity of the working people of all countries, Jinotega, July 29.]

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Reagan's war on drugs - more police measures against the working people

In the last few months the Reaganites and the Democrats have been competing over who will become the greatest heroes of the "war on drugs." The Democrats are rushing to the front lines with an omnibus anti-drug bill this month. Meanwhile Reagan has declared that his own comprehensive anti-drug program will be ready for Congress this month.

Drug abuse is undoubtedly a serious problem in the U.S., and not only because of the lives lost and destroyed by it. Drugs and alcohol are foisted onto the workers to disorganize the working class movement, to lure workers into illusory escapism, to try to make them passive in the face of the growing takebacks, racism, and warmongering by the capitalists. Especially among the youth, where a spirit of rebellion is most pronounced, drugs and alcohol abuse are taking a heavy toll.

But the anti-drug programs of Reagan and the Democrats have nothing to do with helping the young workers get out of this problem. As with every other problem confronting the people of this country, they see no solution other than stepping up the repression against the working people. Their bipartisan program calls for more police inside the U.S., more police on the borders, and more U.S. military forces intervening in other countries.

More Police Hasn't Solved the Drug Problem

During the last number of years social benefits for the working people and poor have been slashed to the bone. On the front of drugs, the budget cuts have meant that public treatment centers are turning away in droves young people who are seeking help. The public treatment centers have had to eliminate 85,000 drug abusers from their daily rolls, a drop of a third from the number they could treat in the 1970's.

At the same time, spending for drug law enforcement has doubled in the last six years to over $2 billion a year. And now both Reagan and the Democrats want still more police.

The increase in police forces for drug enforcement has not led to a breakup of the big drug rings. Nor has it led to the jailing of people who get rich off trading in the ruined lives and deaths that can come from drug abuse. John Delorean walks the streets like an angel and the big kingpins of the drug trade are hardly touched.

But ordinary people trying out drugs for the chimera of momentary escape from this dog-eat-dog system are being thrown in jail left and right. Last year drug arrests soared 15%, with over 800,000 people apprehended. Recently in New York City, drug agents even began to seize the cars of people caught buying drugs.

Such is the hypocrisy of the war on drugs. People trapped in drug abuse are not to be helped, but thrown in jails. Working people are being persecuted. Meanwhile the rich who profit off the drug trade, and those high government officials and police officers who grab their own piece of the action, live like kings.

Build Up the Organization and Struggle of the Working Class

The solution to drug abuse is not repression against the masses.

Nor will drug and alcohol clinics, or other programs to help individual victims who have decided to make a change in their life, solve the problem. These programs are necessary, and the Reaganite program of cutting those programs shows the utter frivolousness of the capitalist claim to oppose drug and alcohol abuse. But these programs are only a bandage over a gaping wound.

As long as the conditions that breed drug and alcohol abuse exist, there will be victims. There must be struggle against the twin evils of unemployment and crushing overwork, and there must be struggle against the oppression and racism that leaves nothing but bleak prospects for a wide strata of the minorities. As the workers build up their organization and their revolutionary struggle against the capitalist offensive, the very process of organization and class struggle will dampen the illusions of hallucinogenic escapism. The class struggle will inspire the masses and the youth with new strength and new, revolutionary ideals.

And it is the achievement of working class rule and the ending of capitalist exploitation that will tear up by the roots the bases of mass drug and alcohol abuse.

This is not a simple answer that promises to cure the drug problem lickety-split. The Reaganite solution is so much simpler and faster -- put a policeman on every corner. But the Reaganite program leads only to more jails and to making the factories themselves into jails. It doesn't lead to a drug-free society but to a society without freedom. The path of the class struggle does not promise a quick fix but a protracted struggle, a struggle in which the working class transforms itself as it transforms society. It is longer and requires more effort. But it is the path that leads to a society in which people will be able to work without artificial drugs because they will see and feel that their work goes to benefit themselves, and not a handful of filthy rich parasites, and because their workplaces will not be miserable hellholes but workshops fit for valued and trusted human beings.

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Drug testing in the workplace:

A new way to repress the workers

The latest fad in persecuting the workers is compulsory mass drug testing at the work place. And there's President Reagan leading the pack.

In August Reagan declared that the most important front of his "war on drugs" is to create a "drug-free work place." And to accomplish this he threatened to order mass testing for Federal employees, at least those in "sensitive" positions. Why, Reagan and Vice-President Bush even took urinalysis tests themselves. Of course nobody said what the tests showed, but the symbol was clear. If even the President and Vice-President are willing to take the tests, why should anybody say no?

Reagan's Hypocritical Concern for Health and Safety

But what is the rationale for the testing? Reagan claims he only wants to nail drug abusers at the work place in order to protect the health and safety of fellow workers and those they serve. As he himself put it, 'The time has come to give notice that individual drug use is threatening the health and safety of all our citizens."

Such concern for the workers' health and safety from the mouth of Reagan is truly touching. When the air traffic controllers struck against the overwork that was leading to their own illnesses and to the endangerment of airplane passengers, it was Reagan who fired them. In fact, Reagan has stood behind the entire capitalist offensive of speedup and overwork at the work places across the country which is doing a lot to destroy safety conditions at the work places and to create dangerous conditions for the general population. In fact, these are major conditions that pressure some workers to seek an illusory escape into the world of drug and alcohol abuse.

But would Reagan consider alleviating these worsening conditions? Not on your life! Reagan wants to intensify the speedup and overwork. And here's where drug testing comes in. Drug testing is another means to intimidate and control workers, another means to force the workers to do what the capitalist employers desire.

A Means for Intimidating the Workers

Reagan, in calling for mass drug testing of government employees, spoke in heartwarming terms of counseling and treatment for workers caught by the drug tests. But the two practical programs which have been revealed so far -- one by the Justice Department and another by the Office of Personnel Management -- order firings in one way or another. And this is exactly the repressive nature of most plans that are being unfolded at the work places.

This makes mass drug testing subject to terrible abuse. After all, it is the greedy shop owners who will control the tests. Who is to say they won't rig test results to exclude militants from jobs or to fire militants who are working. The capitalists at Potomac Electric Power Co. already tried to implement a drug testing program under which any worker could be fired if he refused urine or blood tests or on the say so of a single, unverified test. The courts have temporarily blocked Potomac's program, but it's a good indication of how arbitrary and repressive work place drug testing programs can be.

As well, the usual tests do not show if someone is under the influence of drugs at the moment, which is presumably what would create an unsafe situation. Rather the tests show whether drugs have been used any time in the past period. A person who experimented with marijuana for the first time a few days earlier can get caught the same as an addict who is unconscious at the moment.

What is more, the tests (especially the inexpensive urinalysis which is used for mass testing at the work places) are completely unreliable -- at times indicating drug use by a nonuser and vice versa. In a study done in 1985, the Center for Disease Control found lab accuracy rates to be as low as 33 percent (Washington Post National Weekly, August 4, 1986) Someone drinking tonic water may turn up with a false positive for cocaine use. Someone eating poppy seeds, which are used in many breads and pastries, may show a false positive for.vise of opium derivatives like heroine.

Indeed, urinalysis has a race bias. Many dark-skinned people show a false positive for marijuana usage. No wonder Reagan is crusading for mass drug testing at the work places. He's found a new method of job discrimination.

Mass drug testing at the work places won't solve the problem of unsafe work conditions or create a safer world for the American people. But it can be used to intimidate the workers and to repress their movement. It is a new danger from the Reagan government, a danger the workers must oppose.

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U.S. troops, out of Bolivia!

Military adventures in the name of fighting drugs

In mid-July Reagan sent 170 U.S. soldiers into Bolivia on a two-month mission, ostensibly with the aim of leading raids on cocaine processing labs. The American soldiers maintain and fly the helicopters used in the raids, while Bolivian troops carry out the labor involved in physically breaking up the labs.

The Reagan administration claimed that this was on the invitation of the Bolivian government of conservative President Victor Paz Estenssoro. True, there was such a request, but as a Pentagon official told Newsweek, "We sort of told 'em what to ask for." After all, the Bolivian regime's back was to the wall, with its economy near collapse and with threats of U.S. aid being cut off. The Bolivian regime, however, hoped that it would get something out of the deal, such as some military equipment. And it may also have hoped that the open display of joint U.S.-Bolivian army action might serve as a warning to the rebellious working class.

The U.S. government is bragging that a month of raids has completely stopped all cocaine exports from Bolivia. But this is hardly believable. The authorities only claimed to have seized two cocaine labs, and at one of these places, the sacks of white powdery stuff turned out to be nothing but flour. Two other sites attacked turned out to be ordinary ranches. And what's more, there weren't even arrests of any drug kingpins. In fact the only arrest was of a 17- year-old youth who wandered into the vicinity of a cocaine lab just when the U.S. Black Hawk helicopters came roaring in.

In all likelihood, the drug traffickers themselves were well warned in advance. Besides the advance publicity surrounding the raids, the truth of the matter is that whole sections of the Bolivian military and government are intertwined with the lucrative cocaine industry.

Hypocrisy of the "War on Drugs''

But the whole idea of a Reaganite international "war on drugs" reeks of imperialist hypocrisy. The U.S. government has tried to use the drug hysteria to make outlandish claims about what they call "narco-terrorism," in other words, the idea that it is the left and revolutionaries who are involved in the international drug traffic. But the record shows otherwise. In fact, U.S. imperialism's closest friends abroad are the ones who have their hands deep in this deadly traffic.

While "Baby Doc" Duvalier was in power in Haiti, his father-in-law headed up one of the major dope smuggling rings in the Americas, and his son was actually arrested once while smuggling into Florida. But due to the U.S. friendship with Duvalier, his brother-in-law was "quietly" returned to Haiti to resume his place in the family business.

Today the CIA's contra mercenaries -- Reagan's "brothers" -- carry on drug smuggling to enrich themselves and to help finance their "liberation war" of slaughtering Nicaraguan peasants. Another friend of the CIA, the Afghan reactionaries who dominate the resistance to the Russian occupation, are known to operate large poppy plantations for heroin production.

U.S. Drug Agents Used in Counterinsurgency Operations

No, Reagan's "war on drugs" has nothing to do with stamping out drug trafficking. This is simply a pretext to increase U.S. imperialist military presence in Latin America: by introducing American troops directly into Latin American countries, it opens the way for counterrevolutionary armed intervention.

Indeed, the Bolivian operation is not the first time U.S. troops were sent into the area. For a number of years now, U.S. and Bolivian troops have engaged in joint training exercises in the Andes. And for years, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials have been stationed in various countries. And they have not solely been involved in breaking up drug operations.

For example, two years ago in Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley the Peruvian government enrolled U.S. drug agents in its counterinsurgency operations against the Shining Path peasant guerrilla movement. In August 1984, the New York Times estimated that 70% of the eradication team's resources were channeled into counterinsurgency.

But with Bolivia, the U.S. military is for the first time directly being thrown into the actual anti-drug operations. It is part of a plan under consideration by the Justice Department which would provide $400 million to finance the U.S. military's participation in drug raids worldwide.

However, the U.S. imperialist campaign will not find it easy going. Washington may get one or another capitalist government to allow U.S. forces in, but the working people of Latin America are opposed. They know too well the nature of U.S. imperialism. Already in Bolivia, there have been protests by peasants, and on August 21-22, a general strike of the Bolivian working class raised the demand for the U.S. troops to get out.

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Postal massacre inspired by militarist and right-wing ideas

On Wednesday morning, August 20, Pat Sherrill, a part-time mail carrier, entered the Post Office in Edmond, Oklahoma and went on a shooting spree, killing a supervisor and 13 fellow workers and finishing by killing himself.

This was a crime against the working class and not an understandable, though misguided, act of a worker broken under the weight of capitalist oppression.

It is said that, the day before, Sherrill's bosses had reprimanded him and threatened to fire him. While it is certainly true that the U.S. Postal Service puts great pressure on its employees, we cannot say that Pat Sherrill was simply driven to his murderous rage by the oppression of the Postal bosses. After all, Pat Sherrill did not just kill his supervisor, he also killed 13 of his fellow workers. His case does not appear as one of a postal worker who just snapped and decided to take revenge.

More to the point, it looks like Pat Sherrill had come under the grip of some of the worst, reactionary influences spread by the American bourgeoisie. Sherrill was a militarist. He was a gun freak, surrounding himself with weapons and targets. He was really "into" the National Guard, where he was a weapons instructor. His military officers were full of praise for him. He surrounded himself with such magazines as the mercenary-glorifying Soldier of Fortune. The U.S. military establishment and culture are notorious for spreading the most reactionary, warmongering, racist and fascist ideas.

And Pat Sherrill's neighbors confirm that he was anti-people. They say he hated women and black people. And his murder spree shows that he did not like his fellow workers either.

Sherrill's murderous rampage was one of the worst mass murders in recent times. The last such massacre took place in San Ysidro, California on July 18, 1984, when James Huberty entered a McDonald's restaurant and opened fire, killing 21 and injuring 20 others. Like Pat Sherrill, Huberty too was a racist and militarist. And while we don't know about Sherrill, Huberty had been associated with neo-Nazi fascist groups. Guided by his racist and fascist ideas, he had expressly gone looking for Mexicans to shoot.

Ronald Reagan and the bourgeoisie make a big hue and cry about how terrorism from the left is allegedly the big danger threatening the people of the U.S. Of course they have a hard time proving this. But it is instructive that the two largest mass murders in recent U.S. history have been committed by individuals' under the influence of right-wing ideology. You won't find Reagan crusading against such "home-grown terrorism."

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Oklahoma tragedy sparks anger

Post Offices are hellholes of speedup and overwork

The tragic events at the Edmond, Oklahoma Post Office have again sparked discussion among postal workers around the country about the problem of overwork and harassment by the postal bosses.

While Pat Sherrill's murderous spree was based on his militarist and anti-people ideas and was only triggered by his latest clash with management, there have been other cases in recent years of postal workers who have been driven by their terrible working conditions to seek revenge against their supervisors.

Postal workers around the country grieve at the shocking deaths of so many of their fellow workers in Edmond, Oklahoma. Also shocking are the brutal conditions in the post office that lead postal workers to immediately think of the incredible pressure that the Postal Service management puts on its employees when they hear of a case like that of Sherrill.

Whether they work delivering mail, or as postal clerks, or at mail sorting and handling, the U.S. Postal Service is a true hellhole of speedup and overwork for the workers. The postal workers are constantly facing intimidation and harassment from the bosses. Postal workers are not surprised that people can snap under these terrible conditions.

In fact, not just postal workers but workers in many other workplaces can also understand this. It is not unknown in the workplaces of capitalist America that individuals are driven to the wall where they end up by taking revenge against bosses.

It has been reported that Vincent Sombrotto, head of the National Letter Carriers Union, responded to the Edmond events by raising the issue of overwork by the Postal Service management. What hypocrisy! After all, Sombrotto is head of a postal union. It is precisely Sombrotto and the other union chiefs who refuse to mobilize the workers to launch any serious struggle against the Postal Service. In fact, the refusal of the postal union bureaucrats to organize struggle against management has a lot to do with why workers look for individual courses of action.

Of course, this sort of action solves very little. Those among the workers who are class conscious or revolutionary do not advocate such a course. The history of the working class shows that the workers can fight capitalist oppression only when they combine their strength, only when they unite in organized struggle.

To stand up against Postal Service oppression, postal workers must take the path of organized struggle. And the treachery of Sombrotto and his ilk means that they must do it independently of the union bureaucrats.

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No matter how Congress votes CIA supplies the war on Nicaragua

Congress talks and talks, while the real business of capitalist government is conducted behind the scenes. This is nowhere true so much as on questions of war and peace.

Take the war on Nicaragua. This is an unpopular war. The working people regard it as a new Viet Nam adventure.

So what did Congress do. In 1984 it assured the people that military aid to the contras had been banned. And it passed legislation that supposedly prohibited the CIA from sending such aid to the contras.

CIA Aid Continued, Despite the Assurances to the People

But it now comes out that this was just an empty show. The CIA never stopped sending aid. It has been spending millions of dollars supplying the contras with helicopters, trucks, light aircraft, services, you name it. At this point, $50 million over two years is being admitted.

Furthermore, the CIA intends to go right on supplying this aid. Both the House and Senate have now voted $100 million in aid. But the CIA intends in the coming period to supply up to $400 million worth. This is the figure Senator Byrd (Democrat of West Virginia) gave in the Senate, a figure which he said he got from a U.S. embassy official in Honduras.

It Doesn't Take Much to Fool Those Who Keep Their Eyes Shut Tight

But how did the CIA get around the law banning such aid? And how does it now intend to supply four times the aid voted by Congress (and this on top of the aid voted by Congress)?

It just waved its hands. Abracadabra. It stated that it kept the legal title to the equipment it gave the contras. Therefore there was not any monetary value to its contribution. Why, it was just a loan between friends. And you wouldn't charge leasing fees to a friend, now would you?

This hardly even merits being called a pretext. It is simply laughing at Congress. But, the truth is, Congress wants to be laughed at. It laughed right along with the CIA.

If the Congressional bills banning CIA aid to the contras had been serious, if the financial limits in the present bills authorizing aid to the contras were serious, then Congress would enforce them. It would throw the officials who handed the illegal aid to the contras in jail on a variety of charges. There is hardly a lack of possibilities.

But Congress just sat back and smiled. During the Senate debate on contra aid, Senator Byrd raised the issue of the illegal CIA aid. But how did he do it? He proposed two amendments banning this type of aid in the future. In this way, he endorsed the idea that the aid was not illegal, but really was carried out through proper channels that had to be closed. And the Senate voted down his amendments, thus giving the green light to the CIA to do whatever it pleased.

For years the friends of the Democratic Party have been telling the antiwar activists to support the Democrats, to orient demonstrations and actions towards defense of the Democrats, to organize "peace votes" to elect Democrats, etc. And all the time the Democrats (and the Republican liberals as well) were just stringing the people along. Playacting in Congress while the CIA did what it liked.

For more coverage of Central America, see pages 13-14.

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Rehnquist's career as a racist bigot

Portrait of a Supreme Court Justice

The Reagan administration continues to lead the capitalist assault on the hard-won rights of the working people. The liberal apologists of this offensive continue to counsel the people that they should trust in Congress to hold Reagan in check. And when the Congressional hucksters get in line to rubber-stamp the outrages of Reagan, then we are told that "At least there's a Supreme Court"--that pillar of "impartial justice" which will allegedly restrain the reactionary fervor of the politicians.

But the whole system of capitalist "justice" in this country is stacked against the workers and the poor, and in favor of the wealthy and reactionary ruling class. The Supreme Court is no exception.

In fact, peek under all the judicial pomp and black robes of a Supreme Court justice and one will find a typical capitalist flunkey. Like most of the top judges in the country, they are drawn from among the high-priced legal hired guns for the corporations and bourgeois officialdom. And they are cut from the same racist and reactionary cloth as the presidents and senators who put them on the High Court.

Take Justice William Rehnquist, for example, Reagan's nominee for the new Chief Justice. A glance at the history of this man confirms him as a hard-core racist and lover of police-state measures against the masses.

Career of a Racist Bigot

William Rehnquist's most outstanding service for the ruling class was his decades of legal work on behalf of racist bigotry and Jim Crow.

Attorney for Jim Crow "Separate But Equal"

In 1952, as he launched his legal career as a law clerk at the Supreme Court, Rehnquist penned a memo entitled "A Random Thought on the Segregation Cases." This memo argued that the Jim Crow "separate but equal" doctrine was "right and should be reaffirmed."

This begins Rehnquist's long career of legal struggles against equal rights.

After completing his clerkship in Washington, Rehnquist moved to Phoenix and became an outspoken segregationist as a lawyer linked to Goldwater's right-wing Republican machine.

Thug Against Black and Hispanic Voting Rights

As chairman of the GOP's "ballot security," Rehnquist was personally involved in intimidation tactics to keep blacks and Hispanics from voting. At the recent Senate confirmation hearings, a parade of witnesses testified that in the elections from 1958 to 1968 Rehnquist would go from precinct to precinct in the poor neighborhoods bullying voters. His racist provocations erupted into shouting matches and physical scuffles. In the Bethune precinct of Phoenix the police had to be called in to protect Rehnquist from angry blacks who refused to be bullied by this two-bit racist lawyer.

"Opposed to All Civil Rights Laws"

In 1964 there were public hearings in Phoenix to discuss a bill that would allow blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans to use public facilities such as restaurants. Rehnquist jumped into the hearings as a private citizen to fight the bill.

This same year Rehnquist proudly wrote to a local newspaper that "I am opposed to all civil rights laws." And in 1967 he fought against any steps to integrate the Phoenix public schools.

Nixon's Hatchet Man Against the Mass Movement

Proving himself a first-class bigot, Rehnquist caught the eye of the Nixon administration, which in 1969 plucked him from his private law practice and brought him to Washington as assistant attorney general. In those days the country was being shaken by the revolts of the black people against discrimination and repression, as well as by the storm of struggle against the criminal U.S. war in Viet Nam. Rehnquist was just the type of political animal that Nixon's Justice Department was looking for to take up the club against the anti-racist and anti-war movements.

Rehnquist's "Qualified Martial Law" Against Anti-War Demonstrators

Soon after landing his job with Nixon, Rehnquist gave a speech to the Kiwanis Club in Newark describing those protesting the slaughter in Viet Nam as "the new barbarians" who had to be suppressed at all cost.

Rehnquist argued that the country may be underestimating "the danger posed by the new barbarians" (anti-war activists). He said "the original barbarians -- the invaders of the Roman Empire -- did not seem to pose a threat to the empire when they first appeared on the banks of the Danube.... We must be prepared, if necessary, to devote whatever energies are necessary... Disobedience cannot be tolerated," he concluded, "whether it be violent or nonviolent disobedience.... If force or the threat of force is required in order to enforce the law, we must not shirk from its employment."

In the name of "national security," Rehnquist pushed for the suspension of the rights of demonstrators under what he called "qualified martial law." In fact it was Rehnquist's office that planned the mass roundup of anti-war demonstrators during the May 1, 1971 protest in Washington, D.C. Thousands were indiscriminately rounded up and herded into a stadium without charges.

Rehnquist was one of the most outspoken defenders of the Nixon administration's infamous policy of unauthorized wiretaps, surveillance, and gathering files on progressive activists. He argued that such police-state measures were necessary government functions that were not a "violation of any particular individual's constitutional rights."

A Reactionary Pig Doesn't Change Its Spots

For his service as a Justice Department hatchet man against the progressive mass movements, Nixon rewarded Rehnquist with a seat on the Supreme Court. But underneath the black robes and all the dignified horse manure that comes with his position, Rehnquist remains the hardened bigot that he always has been. Just glance over his record as a Supreme Court Associate Justice.

* Since his days with Nixon, Rehnquist continues to rule in favor of every type of police-state measure for suppressing the masses that comes before the court. He is still a fan of such measures as domestic wiretapping and surveillance, no-knock police entries, use of illegally seized evidence in court, preventive detention and the death penalty.

* Rehnquist was one of two justices who ruled against the right of women to abortion that was legalized in the Roe v. Wade case of 1972. And only this summer he continued his campaign against women's rights in a decision on sexual harassment by employers. While recognizing the criminality of sexual harassment in words, Rehnquist also inserted a point on the validity of a defense based on employees allegedly provoking the abuse by the clothes they wear or their provocative manners, thus endorsing the classic subterfuge used by employers and women abusers to avoid charges.

Flaunting his segregationism,Rehnquist ruled in favor of tax credits for the openly white supremacist Bob Jones Academy.

Only the Mass Struggle Will Break the Reactionary Offensive

Last month the Senate judiciary committee voted thirteen to five in favor of Rehnquist's nomination for Chief Justice, with three of the eight Democrats joining the Republican majority. This came on the heels of the Senate confirmation of Manion to the federal bench. They confirmed Manion despite his well-known ties to the John Birch Society and his statements that the Ku Klux Klan is a "reasonable" organization.

Thus, with the Senate's help, Reagan is out to pack the federal courts from top to bottom with Rehnquists and Manions. This is another sign of the reactionary offensive that the capitalist class is unleashing against the working people. And it is another sign that there can be no illusions that the Congress or the courts will hold in check the Reaganite assault.

The sooner the working masses trample on such illusions, the more forceful and resolute the mass struggle will be to break the back of this capitalist offensive.


Resistance at Big Mountain continues

Several hundred Navajo families continue to resist their eviction from their homeland in the Big Mountain region of northeast Arizona.

This mass relocation was ordered by Congress twelve years ago to provide the energy monopolies access to the rich coal deposits beneath the Joint Use Area historically inhabited jointly by Navajos and Hopi. A phony land dispute was cooked up between the Navajos and the Hopi over the land. To settle the alleged dispute, Congress passed the Navajo-Hopi Land Settlement Act ordering the relocation of 15,000 Native Americans by July 7 of this year.

The Native people have stood firm in the face of threats and constant surveillance by the Bureau Of Indian Affairs police and the National Guard, menacing fly-overs by military helicopters and F-111 fighters, and the diversion of water away from those families who have refused to leave.

Meanwhile, the sellout leaders of the tribal councils are up to more dirty tricks. Doing the dirty work for Peabody Coal, Hopi tribal chairman Ivan Sydney recently requested that Navajo leaders come up with a plan for removing those Navajo who remain. Every kind of pressure is being put on those Navajo who are determined to stay.

The stand of those who are fighting the eviction has won broad support. In July, as the deadline for the mass eviction grew near, 1000 demonstrated in Washington, hundreds more protested in Los Angeles, while thousands converged in the Big Mountain area to support the struggle of the Native Americans against this brutal treatment by the energy companies.

[Photo: Native people take part in demonstration in Washington, D.C. against aid to the contras, and raise demands against forced relocations of the Navajo and Hopis.]

Noah Roisten held hostage for standing up to racism

(The following article is reprinted from the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA on August 12, 1986.)

Noah Roisten has now been in jail for over 14 months without trial, He has been held on a quarter million dollars bail and charged with first degree murder for the courageous act of defending himself against an extremely violent attack by armed racists.

On June 1 of last year Noah and his friends were attacked by the racists while asking instructions from a starter on the Red Line Platform at Park Street Station. Noah and his friends retreated upstairs to get a bus. After being briefly restrained by a starter, the racists chased after them. Two of the racists went after Noah with clubs as he waited for a bus. Noah tried to escape but finally pulled out a knife and turned on his attackers killing one of them, Joseph Hennagan.

In the last ten years nearly a dozen people have been murdered by racist gangs in Boston. Thousands of blacks have been assaulted by racists. A whole racist atmosphere has been encouraged by the rich and their politicians who organized the whole anti-busing movement. The police look the other-way when racists attack black people and for even the most violent crimes, racist thugs are only slapped on the wrists. And yet when Noah successfully resists the racists and gives them some of their own medicine, the police and the courts throw the book at him and hold him on a bail 10 to 100 times the bail set for similar cases. This shows how it is the government of the rich that encourages and protects racism.

Even since Noah was arrested, the authorities have been working to quietly railroad him to a long term in prison. Because Noah had no money, he was appointed a lawyer to "defend" him. The court appointed a lawyer who was working on the Angiulo case and this lawyer never even talked to Noah or appeared in court for over a year. In this way the government kept Noah on ice for a year.

Finally, after a year the court appointed another lawyer for Noah. This second lawyer never even bothered to look into the facts or even to ask Noah what happened. He visited Noah only to pressure him to accept the District Attorney's "bargain" -- plead guilty to manslaughter and take a sentence of 18 to 20 years in prison. Apparently the DA and the lawyer thought Noah would have been worn down enough by a year in jail that he would accept the deal. In this way the government hoped to put Noah in prison without any trial where its lies and support of racism would be exposed.

But Noah refused to buckle under. He insisted that he had done nothing wrong. He maintained that he had rightfully defended himself and that he wanted a public trail.

Noah's stand is a courageous one and important to the struggle of the masses against the racist offensive of Reagan and the rich. While the courts have been trying to railroad Noah into prison, the liberals of the Democratic Party and the bourgeois official "leaders" of the black community have refused to lift a finger in his defense. But Noah has not stood alone. He has received solid support from his family and the class conscious workers. Hundreds of workers, black and white, have participated in a fund-raising dance rally to raise money for Noah's legal defense. The Noah Roisten Defense Committee has worked hard to find a lawyer who will really defend him.

The outrageous persecution of Noah Roisten shows how the rich and their government are racist to the core. Noah can only be freed by developing a mass anti-racist movement in his defense. The Marxist-Leninist Party calls on workers and revolutionary youth to join in building this movement as part of a powerful struggle against the racist offensive of Reagan and the rich.

Noah is being held hostage by the government. We demand that Noah, who has no criminal record, be released without bail and the charges against him dropped.

While racist anti-busing chiefs applaud

Segregating Boston schools in the name of saving money

(The following article is excerpted from the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA, August 22, 1986.)

Last week Boston School Superintendent Laval Wilson announced plans to stop providing school bus service for students at seven high schools. The students would be issued MBTA passes and forced to take the T to school. Implementation of these plans has been delayed until the fall of 1987 by a squabble with MBTA officials. Nevertheless, Wilson and the school committee leaders remain determined to implement such a plan next year. Eventually they want to force all high school and middle school students to take the T to school.

Wilson claims that he wants to make this move to save money on transportation so that more money can be spent improving education for the youth. This is a crock. The real motive for this busing without buses is to speed up the resegregation of the Boston public schools and to drive more poor and working class youth out of the school system.

Actually, if Wilson wanted to cut non- essential costs to have money for better education, he need look no further than his own office. From 1983 to 1985 the number of administrators in the Boston school system increased by 100. Administrative costs rose 13 million dollars, twice the cost of the whole busing program. But of course Wilson would never touch his fellow bureaucrats.

Laval Wilson is a black sellout whose most important mission has been to put a black face on the dirty business of re- segregating the Boston public schools. And Wilson has been doing his job well.

First he tried to close or cut down most of the magnet high schools which are the most integrated in the system. He tried to close the Umana school in East Boston which is the only place in East Boston where black and white teenagers can go to school together. (Pixie Paladino [racist anti-busing demagog] has been trying to get it closed for 10 years.)

Now he is trying to eliminate the transportation system to integrated schools. Wilson and the School Committee hope to use the inconvenience and danger factors to force students to attend more segregated district high schools (or drop out of school). Is it any wonder that Wilson is loved and praised by James Kelly and Joe Caspar of the South Boston Information Center [segregationist nest of the racist anti-busing movement]? And while Wilson makes it harder for kids to attend integrated public schools the School Committee is, in accordance with a new state law, appropriating over $360,000 to provide transportation for the more segregated private schools.

The government of the rich in this country has always been opposed to integration of the schools. It does not want to give real equality to the black people. It fears that if the black and white youth go to school together that they may learn to unite against the rich. When the government was faced with the demand for integrating Boston schools, it set up busing in such a way as to encourage an anti-busing movement.... But the anti-busing movement was defeated and the government was left a certain amount of school integration in Boston.

The government's plans to resegregate the Boston public.schools can only be defeated by the mass struggle of the working people and the youth. This struggle is also closely linked with the struggle to defend the right to public education of all working class youth from the axes of the Reaganite budget cutters. Class conscious workers and militant students should prepare the people for struggle by exposing the racist and anti-working class, anti-poor people nature of the plans of Wilson and the School committee.

INS raids homeless immigrants in West L.A.

At 5:30 a.m. the morning of August 6, agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) rounded up and arrested 119 workers from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador on the grounds of being "suspected illegal aliens." Most were seized in West Los Angeles on Sawtelle, Pico and Olympic Boulevards, where around a hundred men gather daily to seek jobs as day laborers. About 30 others were arrested at two makeshift camps located underneath Interstate 405, the San Diego Freeway, near Sawtelle and Pico Boulevards.

Because they had no work but dirt cheap day labor, these workers were also homeless. They lived in these camps atop the embankments just four feet under the freeway. At one camp, the freeway's concrete foundation wall, painted sky blue, was posted with pictures and cartoons. Old mattresses and bits of ragged carpeting lay on the dirt "floor." One old battered television was hooked into the freeway lamps' power line.

Reports on the raid were accompanied by media hysteria about an "illegal immigrant colony" that was "believed to be the hideout for criminals in West Los Angeles." (Los Angeles Herald Examiner, August 6, 1986) But these freeway dwellers' only "crimes" were that they were immigrants, that they were poor and half employed, and that they were compelled to live in homeless squalor.

The plight of the homeless in this country is a scandal. The capitalist offensive has thrown millions into the streets without work or adequate housing. And all they get from the capitalists and the government is neglect and abuse. In California, the police keep themselves busy harassing the homeless for violating ordinances against sleeping on beaches, parks, and roadsides.

But in the case of the immigrant homeless they add insult to injury. Ninety-nine of those arrested were deported back to Mexico or back to the clutches of the death-squad regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala.

The whole working class should come to the defense of the poverty-stricken, the homeless, and the immigrant workers in the face of government brutality.

Memorial for a fallen comrade

The Chicago Branch of the MLP recently held a memorial meeting for comrade Jose Gonzalez. He was tragically shot to death on August 2 as he tried to stop a dispute among other young men. The Workers' Advocate, along with the Chicago Branch, mourns this loss.

Jose was a supporter of the Party for only a year. But he gave his all in the Party work. He started studying Marxism-Leninism and helped to build up a Party study group. He liked to talk with people, to interest them in revolutionary politics. And whether it was on the picket lines at the American Meatpacking strike, or on the street corners in the Mexican community, he distributed Party literature, encouraged the mass struggle, and tried to bring the masses to join the Party's contingents in demonstrations and to participate in the Party's rallies.

At the memorial meeting, the statement of the Chicago Branch stressed that, "Jose actively supported the work of the Party and demonstrated with deeds that he had taken the stand of the advanced workers in favor of revolution. His contribution was very valuable. We will miss his work and his friendship. For this reason we are holding this event to recognize his work and to remember together -- all of us who worked with him...


"Jose was a son of the toiling class. He lived the life of the toilers in Mexico and as an immigrant he lived the life of the most oppressed workers in the U.S. He was drawn toward Marxism-Leninism and revolutionary politics because of his life experience. He was drawn to the Party because of its consistent revolutionary work, its investigation and understanding of the problems of the working class, its unwavering stand with the workers against the capitalists. Jose was not interested in the reformists who are afraid to touch the system which causes so much oppression and misery. Our all too brief contact with Jose gives us heart to attract others like him.

"Jose had the courage to take a revolutionary stand; to put himself, as Marx said, 'on the side of history' and not against it. This is the way we remember comrade Jose -- marching with us shoulder to shoulder, forward against the oppressors, exploiters, imperialists."

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Strikes and workplace news

Strikers fight scabs and company thugs at Maine paper mill

[Photo: Boise Cascade strikers, Rumford, Maine.]

Over 1,200 employees at the Boise Cascade paper mill in Rumford, Maine are waging stiff resistance to scabbing and vicious attacks by police and private security forces. The workers have been on strike against concessions since July 1.

Rich Capitalists Demand More

Boise Cascade is the nation's top producer of printing paper. They own 14 paper mills throughout the U.S. High on the list of the Fortune 500 companies, Boise Cascade is definitely not in dire financial straits. Last year's profits topped $107 million.

But such high profits are not enough to quench the capitalists' thirst for more. Boise Cascade attempted to impose a "modern labor agreement" on its workers. The major features of their proposal includes: a company demand for job "flexibility" (workers could be assigned to any job); the company would determine all promotions and distribution of mandatory overtime (workers' seniority would account for nothing); Sunday pay would be reduced to time-and-a-half; and vacation days would be cut.

The "modern labor agreement" would also mean worsening safety conditions as workers would be forced to float from job to job. The paper mills are dangerous places of work due to the many chemicals used in production. Experienced workers are crucial to job safety. An example of this fact was provided in mid-August when eight scabs were seriously hurt in an explosion at the Boise Cascade mill.

Vicious Strikebreaking

To press their demands the paper capitalists have unleashed vicious strikebreaking. They have hired scabs to replace the striking workers and "security" guards from Special Protection Inc. of Oregon to protect the scabs.

These black-shirted storm troopers have attacked the strikers on and off company property. On July 21, for example, the private goons instigated a confrontation with strikers who were trying to stop the company from interviewing prospective scabs. The guards bashed strikers' skulls with three-foot flashlights.

Meanwhile, the local police have also been called out against the strikers. On the first night of the strike, for example, six strikers were arrested for spreading nails and broken glass in front of the plant gate. As well, two strikers have been run over by cars driven by panicky scabs entering the plant.

Workers Fight Back

But the workers have fought back and received the strong support of other workers in the city.

Even though pickets have been limited by the courts, the workers have been able to stop most scabs from entering, the plant. Workers have used such tactics as moving car caravans in front of the plant gates to block scab convoys from entering. At other times large numbers of workers have gathered a short distance away from the small picket lines and then rushed the gates to push back a convoy of scabs.

Most workers in the area simply refuse to scab on the strikers. It is difficult to be a scab in the little town of Rumford, Maine. Not only do the strikers post names of scabs at the plant gate but they also paint "SCAB" on strikebreakers' houses. Merchants in Rumford who refuse to display stickers supporting the strike are boycotted.

In strong solidarity with the Boise Cascade strikers, many workers have sent contributions to their strike fund. And on August 2, over 2,500 workers marched through Rumford in support.

The Boise Cascade workers have stood fast against company thugs. Workers everywhere should support their struggle.

Michigan paper workers on strike

In Kalamazoo, Michigan 1,800 paper products workers struck against three plants owned by the James River. Corporation on July 25.

In the past, James River paper workers have tolerated speedup, given 80% compliance to overtime requests, and have purchased stock options in the company. But this was not enough for the James River capitalists.

Their latest contract proposal calls for mandatory overtime and the elimination of the current health insurance plan. The new health insurance plan proposed by the company requires that the employees would pay a large part of their own health care costs even though they will only be receiving a 5.75% wage raise over the life of the contract. In addition, the company refused to discuss the workers' main concern: pensions.

The James River employees have had enough! They resoundingly defeated the company's insulting offer and are striking for their demands.

Phone workers strike 'Baby Bells'

Over 80,000 telephone workers struck against several regional telephone companies after contracts expired August At Northwestern Bell 11,000 workers struck in five states. Eighteen thousand eight hundred struck Mountain Bell in six states. Thirteen thousand Michigan Bell workers struck against the Ameritech regional company. And in New York, Massachusetts, and other parts of New England, 37,000 NYNEX workers struck for nine days.

This should have been a united strike bringing out all 308,000 workers at the regional telephone companies plus the 150,000 workers at AT&T. But the top bureaucrats of the Communications Workers of America allowed

AT&T and each of the seven regional companies to have separate contracts. Indeed, a number of regional companies were allowed to further split the workers up into separate contracts for each state. Meanwhile, the union hacks of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) forced thousands of telephone workers to keep on the job while their co-workers struck. As a result, the strikes were weakened and the workers were forced back to their jobs, sometimes within a few days, with concessions contracts.

Nevertheless, many telephone workers struck, frequently nonstriking workers honored their picket lines, and some concessions were beat back. One of the strongest centers of struggle has been in New York. On August 14, two thousand telephone workers rallied at the NYNEX headquarters on 42nd Street shouting, "No Givebacks!" "2% Won't Pay the Rent!" "Scabs Will Pay!" "Ma Bell, Go to Hell!" and other slogans. Meanwhile picket lines at various locations stood up to police harassment and kept nonstrikers from working. Below is an article based on the August 27 leaflet of the New York Branch of the MLP which denounced the proposed contract.


On August 18, the NYNEX strike was cut short. Workers were sent back to their jobs without ratifying or even knowing the full details of the tentative settlement.

This was no oversight by the CWA leadership. If the full story had been told while we were still out, we would never have gone back in.

We demanded NO GIVEBACKS! But this contract is full of givebacks, including -- yes! -- in medical benefits, which CWA local president Dempsey made so much noise about. We demanded job security. But this contract leaves the door wide open for job cutting and layoffs.

Spread the word! Vote NO! to givebacks!

The Wage Increase Is Really a Cut in Pay

NYNEX's profits rose 18.9% last year. The top executives got raises as big as 23%. But for those who do all the work a 2.5% raise the first year and a 1 % raise each of the next two years is supposed to be plenty.

On top of this, the cost-of-living allowance (COLA) has been capped at 5%, just as NYNEX had demanded before the strike. A capped COLA means a COLA which becomes useless as soon as prices start to soar -- for example, if oil prices shoot up again next year, as has been predicted.

This is on top of the fact that our COLA formula only gives us 0.65 points for each point of inflation. This means that if inflation goes up to 5%, the COLA only covers 3.25%. And with a cap, inflation could go up to 10% and the COLA will stay at 3.25%.

But even without a big rise in inflation, this wage and COLA package is a disaster. COLA is computed on the basis of the national cost-of-living index, which rose 1.6% in the last year. This would trigger a COLA rise of about 1%. But inflation in the New York metropolitan area for the same period was 3.7%. If these rates keep up for the next three years, this difference will eat up the 2.5%-l%-l% and more; we will actually end up 3 or 4% behind.

The "raise" in this contract is actually a cut in real wages!

Medical Benefit Givebacks

Cost containment measures have been introduced, including requirements for second surgical opinions and pre-certification for non-emergency hospital stays. These measures are already in use in some other health plans. They are a way to refuse people medical care. What they mean in effect is that you cannot walk into a hospital on your own two feet without written permission from the company, no matter what your doctor says.

The Fraud of Job Security

The job security provisions of this new contract are new variations of those in the old contract. Beyond that there are a few additional provisions, but with enough holes in them to drive a truck through.

Contracting out will continue. "Surplus" employees can quit, or they can get downgraded or laid off. According to a financial analyst at Prudential-Bache, NYNEX "hasn't locked itself into employment security. It has the flexibility to continue reducing the work force.'' If that is job security, who needs insecurity?

Harassment and Firings Will Continue

The Absence Control Plan? Passes without mention. The Codes We Work By? Ditto. Harassment and firings weren't on the negotiating table. Apparently the CWA leadership agrees that this is a management prerogative. And we get three more years of the same.

NYNEX workers went out on strike to fight against givebacks. The militant picketing and rallies proved we were ready to fight to win. But even though the strike was going strong, the CWA bureaucrats pulled the plug.

The final terms of the contract were worked out personally by CWA's international president Mort Bahr in a meeting with the chairman of NYNEX. But Bahr was not in this alone.

President Dempsey of Local 1101 is trying to sell the contract, saying New York did better than anyone else. This is a little like saying getting your pocket picked is better than getting mugged.

This is outrageous because the givebacks in telephone this year were not inevitable; they are the result of the CWA bureaucrats bowing down before management.

When the AT&T sellout came down, Dempsey was quick to point the finger at Bahr. But now he is eating his words and has even thanked Bahr for his "help.'' The 1101 Executive Board may talk a good fight, but when push comes to shove with management, they head for the exits as fast as anyone.

And what happened to the resolutions from the July 22 membership meeting? Resolutions about keeping the membership informed? Or the resolution about taking a vote before going back in? The local Executive Board does not want a serious fight against givebacks. It would rather tie the membership's hands so we can't fight ourselves.

But that is exactly what we need to do -- to fight ourselves,.whether or not our "leaders'' like it. And the starting point is to fight against accepting this contract. Whether or not we win the vote, fighting to reject the contract can be a rallying point for carrying on the fight against management during the next three years of harassment, work rule changes and job cuts by the company and procrastination, inaction and sellout by the CWA bureaucracy.

Spread the word!

Vote NO to givebacks!

[Photo: NYNEX workers on strike in New York City.]

Police attack Pennsylvania coal miners' picket

In Armstrong, Pennsylvania, 200 coal miners are continuing their yearlong struggle against the Canterbury Coal Company.

The strike began last year when the company unilaterally announced a 30% cut in wages and benefits.

Last month, the worst incident of the strike took place. Fifty miners with their wives and children were peacefully picketing to block the company from moving machinery out of the building. In response, dozens of state, county, and railroad police arrived armed with rifles and attack dogs. Helicopters with more police circled overhead. The police decided to clear the crowd and did so using cattle prods indiscriminately on women and children. Many people were injured.

In other mining actions, miners at Wyoming Fuel Company in Trinidad, Colorado, struck April 17 after the company proposed takeaway demands -- a "piecework'' plan tying wages to productivity, elimination of the pension plans, and cuts in vacation and sick days.

As with the Canterbury miners, Wyoming Fuel Company has brought police pressure against the strikers. But the workers have been steadfast.

Struggle on the New England railroads

The railway workers for the Maine Central Railroad (MCRR), the Boston and Maine (the B&M, including Boston commuter rail workers), and the Delaware and Hudson line are preparing for a new round of struggle against the vicious concessions drive of Guilford Transportation Industries (GTI). Their anger is rising over the arrogance of the GTI capitalists who are launching new attacks against the workers every day.

In the last two weeks GTI has announced the elimination of 750 jobs, announced a scheme to totally eliminate job classifications, and stated its intention to unilaterally impose a 20% wage cut on the Maintenance of the Way workers as the first step in cutting the wages of workers in all crafts. But the 4,000 workers who work on the three railroads have shown a great fighting spirit in their recent strike. It is only a matter of time before they answer this arrogance with a new strike.

The spring strike threatened to shut down freight service in the entire Northeast and badly shook the capitalists. But on May 16, Reagan rushed to their aid by ordering the workers back to their jobs for 60 days under the National Railway Labor Act. The railroad union bureaucrats caved in and even declared that Reagan's order was a victory. GTI quickly took advantage of the return to work to "lay off'' (should we say fire) 1,700 workers.

The workers grew angry. In the second week of July it is reported that the MCRR workers voted to resume the strike when the 60-day period ended July 20. The courts then stepped in to try and cool things off.

On July 11 a U.S. District Court ruled that GTI had used the layoffs to punish strikers and that all the workers had to be rehired. But they stipulated that GTI could lay off workers if they proved to the court that it was necessary "for business reasons.'' The top union leaders hailed this ruling as a great victory and the maintenance union leaders announced that they would not strike on July 20.

But "business reasons'' is just another way of saying profits. On July 16, the same day that the 1,700 returned to work, GTI asked for court permission to eliminate 750 jobs. As soon as July 20 had passed, the court said OK. And the union leaders agreed as long as the layoffs were "done in conformance with the contract''! Seven hundred and fifty workers went back out the door.

This treachery by the union leaders only whetted the appetite of the GTI capitalists for more concessions. So when July 20 passed without a strike GTI proposed the elimination of all job classifications in return for which the workers would receive 15% of the company's stock. When the workers rejected this invitation to slavery the miffed GTI capitalists announced plans to unilaterally impose a 20% wage cut on the maintenance workers as the first step toward wage cuts for all the workers.

Clearly GTI's "concessions fever'' is running at a very high temperature. It will not be cured by wheeling and dealing in the courts. Only renewing and expanding the strike begun in March and carrying it through in defiance of the back to work orders and cooling off period laws that Congress is cooking up can cure this fever and defend the workers.

The experience of the New England railroad workers shows that in order to fight the concessions drive of the rich we workers have to begin building our own independent organization. We need organization that is independent of the control of the sold out union bureaucrats and independent of both political parties of the rich. Only in this way can we overcome the treachery of the so-called friends of the workers and carry on our struggle.

(Based on an article in the August 1986 issue of the Boston Worker, newspaper of the Boston Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA.)

Brooklyn Union Gas locks out workers

On August 11, Brooklyn Union Gas company (BUG) locked out 2,300 workers who refused to accept a concessions contract. The spirited workers have held daily mass pickets through downtown Brooklyn.

They are protesting a 4% wage increase (the company's executive officers received a 30% increase) and severe cuts in medical benefits.

Houston trash collectors wildcat

[Photo: Houston trash collectors protest at City Hall.]

On August 18th, 550 city trash collectors in Houston, Texas began a wildcat walkout which lasted three days.

It is well known that Houston finances have been hit hard by the collapse of oil prices. But the city workers should not be forced to pay for this difficulty. The Houston city workers are already among the lowest paid public employees in the country. The capitalists, who have been reaping the profits, are the ones who should be forced to help the city out of trouble.

But Democratic liberal Mayor Kathy Whitmire didn't see it that way. Like the Reaganites, she took action against the city workers. She dismissed 159 trash collectors, imposed a 20% route increase, and slashed all city workers' pay 3% across the board. However, Mayor Whitmire herself received a pay increase to $115,000 per year. There is only one other mayor in the country who receives this kind of pay -- Coleman Young, the wage-cutting Democratic liberal from Detroit.

This was too much for the Houston workers to take. They walked off the job.

The leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) turned against the workers. After the union hacks assured the mayor that they did not sanction this wildcat, Whitmire proceeded to fire 97 strikers and hired scabs to replace them. With the help of the union officials the strike was broken.

The problems are not over in Houston. As in recent strikes in Philadelphia and Detroit, the Houston workers have learned a valuable lesson -- they can only rely on the working class, not the union bureaucrats and the liberals.

FMC war industry workers on strike

In Minnesota, 1,400 workers struck the Northern Ordnance Division of the FMC Corporation on July 28. The company makes guns and launching systems for the U.S. Navy.

The strike began after the workers rejected a company contract proposal to reduce the number of job classifications from 40 to 12. FMC claims the change would "improve flexibility and productivity." However, the workers see through this ruse. It would eliminate jobs and overwork those still employed. The workers want no part of it.

Strike at California wineries

Six hundred workers walked off their jobs at three California wineries on August 28. Workers at nine other wineries have rejected their companies' latest contract offers.

The 12 wineries involved in the job action produce half of all Californian wines (a $5.5 billion industry which produces 70% of the wine marketed in the U.S.).

Striking Colt workers mislead by UAW hacks

The strike by 1,100 workers at Colt Firearms in Hartford, Connecticut has entered its seventh month. The workers have faced scab violence, brutal police repression and company union busting, but they persist in their struggle.

Colt's Hartford plant is a leading supplier of firearms. It is the sole supplier of M-16 rifles to the Pentagon.

The company's "final offer" to the workers included a one-year wage freeze and concessions on medical benefits and union representation. The workers rejected the offer and went on strike. Colt began hiring scabs.

Unfortunately, the United Auto Workers (UAW) misleaders are undermining the workers' struggle. While launching ineffectual petitions, newspaper ads and "symbolic" protests, the union hacks have refused to call for mass pickets to block the plant gates. They have even tried to become the union representative for the 600 scabs now working in the plant! The way to win this struggle is not to represent scabs but rather to prevent scabs from entering in the first place!

In a similar situation, the UAW hacks are misleading the 650 workers who are on strike against LTV Vought Aerospace and Defense plant in Camden, Arkansas.

The Arkansas workers won their fight for union organization only a year ago. Now they are protesting the low wages and unsafe working conditions. They work with dangerous explosives in temperatures that reach over 100 degrees. Explosions have occurred. The workers are striking for safer conditions.

But the UAW bureaucrats are blocking the workers from taking militant mass actions to press their demands.

The Colt workers and their fellow workers in Camden, Arkansas are standing firm in their fight against concessions. But for their strikes to be successful they must separate themselves 4rom their union leaders' misguidance and develop mass tactics that use the strength of their numbers to shut down the plants.

Strikers resist police attacks at Guardian Glass

Four hundred strikers and their supporters fought scabs and law enforcement officials for several hours the night of August 7 at Guardian Glass in Carlton, Michigan.

Strikers were holding a mass picket to show their strength in the face of scab and company bullying. Five days earlier a striker had been ambushed and severely beaten by a scab. About 10 p.m., a few scabs started arriving for work. They drove at high speeds past the quarter-mile-long picket lines escorted by riot-equipped police and Nuckols security guards. The strikers and their supporters threw sticks, stones, picket signs and paint at them. Plant management, though, had shut the front gate, in fear of the strikers' mass picket. But one scab whose windshield had been smashed and splashed with paint turned and smashed through the gate, knocking it down.

The strikers began stoning the Nuckols security panel wagons and the windows of the reflective coating building across the road. The sheriff appeared from inside the plant and declared the scene a riot and told the picketers they had to leave. At about 10:30, riot- equipped sheriffs put on their gas masks and fired round after round of tear gas at the picketers. The pickets then charged at the police and guards who were inside the plant gate. The police shot at the pickets with rubber bullets and more tear gas canisters. One police car drove through the pickets, badly injuring one striker as he was caught and dragged under the car. The defiant strikers stayed past midnight despite a total of 150 rounds of tear gas shot at them.

A year ago the Guardian workers unionized into the UAW and have been trying to get the company's filthy rich owner Bill Davidson, who also owns the Detroit Pistons basketball team, to sign a contract with them. Bill Davidson recently bragged that of his 4,200 employees worldwide, only two to three percent of them are unionized. The Carleton workers struck May 15 when management imposed a swing shift and repeatedly violated seniority rights. Immediately Davidson began replacing the 350 workers with scabs. The bottom line is that he's trying to break the union.

On August 14, the strikers' sustained 17 unprovoked arrests. On August 18th, 100 strikers and supporters protested at the Monroe County Courthouse against the police attacks on their picket lines and to rally support for their struggle from workers in the area. The striking workers' eyes are being opened to the role of the state in helping the employers suppress the workers and violate their rights.

Workers reject Caterpillar's "final offer" and walk out

On August 1st, 12,000 workers went on a contract strike at Caterpillar's Joliet, Illinois parts plant. The workers overwhelmingly rejected Caterpillar's "final offer'' of a wage freeze, a cut in the cost-of-living allowance, a "compressed work week,'' and job-eliminating work rule changes. This contract was patterned after a contract that the UAW leaders had just shoved down the throats of 17,000 workers at other Caterpillar plants.

By August 15, the shortages of parts caused by the strike forced Caterpillar to close Illinois assembly plants in Peoria, Decatur, and Aurora. Although the Caterpillar bosses have continued to arrogantly stick to their "final offer," the strike is starting to squeeze them. The workers should stick to their guns and set a new, anti-concessions pattern for the industry.

Judson Steel workers get ready to fight concessions

(The following article is taken from a leaflet issued by the San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the MLP, August 1986)

The Judson Steel workers are fighting mad! When they finally got a look at Judson's '86 contract proposal they saw that the company was again taking an ax to their wages, benefits and conditions. The steel capitalists are looking to cut 80 cents an hour across the board, and to eliminate the COLA and any incentive pay. They want to take away the vacation bonus, one entire holiday, and to wipe out benefits for disabled workers. On top of this, the steel capitalists are demanding that the workers submit to mandatory overtime. They want to force the steel workers to slave even longer hours at less pay whenever it suits their profits.

This contract proposal follows close on the heels of Judson's campaign of harassment over work rules and absenteeism. In recent months Judson has attacked the steel workers with a flurry of threats and write-ups. They even suspended a worker for opposing the company's demand that he do the work of three people. Judson's owners are turning the screws on the workers right now in order to transform them into willing slaves -- slaves who will eat concessions at contract time.

The steel workers are not taking any of this lying down. As soon as copies of the proposal were posted in the plant, workers ripped them down and burnt them. Workers are denouncing Judson Steel and discussing how they're going to fight these attacks. The Judson workers want to hit the company with a strike! And they are entirely justified. Strikes and other forms of militant mass struggle are the only way to stop the concessions railroad. There must be no illusion that these concessions can be stopped by mere talking.

Judson is demanding that the workers make concessions so that it can "stay competitive." The USWA traitors, for their part, brazenly admit that giving concessions to the steel capitalists is their policy too. The January 17 statement of the Basic Steel Industry Conference, issued by the USWA leadership, elaborates way and means of giving wage cuts, benefit cuts and job combinations to the steel monopolies -- all in the name of "saving the steel industry." This is the same line of propaganda that Judson and the USWA bureaucrats used in 1983 to justify the millions in concessions they stole from the workers in that contract.

The workers must take matters into their own hands and organize the struggle themselves, independent of the trade union bureaucrats. This is a tall order but in the present situation it is the only way to ensure an effective fight against Judson's attacks.

Judson workers, prepare for struggle against concessions!

Strike shuts down all John Deere plants

Four thousand workers walked off the job at three John Deere plants in Iowa and Illinois on August 23. Deere employs about 12,000 workers at 14 factories, all of whom are covered by the same contract.

The strike included a parts plant and foundry. The parts shortages caused by the strike would have quickly paralyzed production at the other 11 facilities, so on August 24 the company announced it was closing all plants until the contract is settled. The workers are fighting for job security and against cuts in the cost-of-living benefits and the tying of wage increases to profits and productivity.

Workers reject concessions at Brach Candy

(The following article is based on a leaflet issued by the Chicago Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA, July 24, 1986.)

The Brach Candies' plant in Chicago is raking in the dough, but it still wants concessions from its workers. In July the company demanded enormous cuts in medical benefits that could make a family of four responsible for up to $4,000 a year in medical costs. For this takeback, the company offered a measly 10% raise over a four-year contract, a raise that won't even keep the workers up with rising prices.

The workers staunchly rejected these concessions on July 11. But Brach is still drooling for concessions. The rank and file must remain vigilant and prepare to wage a mass struggle to beat back the greedy capitalists.

Workers face a hard fight in USX lockout

[Photo: Steel workers picket at the USX plant in Gary, Indiana.]

The struggle of 44,000 steel workers against the giant USX monopoly is beginning its second month with no letup in sight.

Soon after the contract expired, several days of confrontations took place between hundreds of steel workers and scabs escorted by police at the Gary Works in Indiana, the Southworks in Chicago, the Clairton Works in Pittsburgh, the Minntac plant in Minnesota, and other plants.

The USX bosses tried to slip outside contractors into plants to continue operations, in some cases claiming they were only "management personnel." For example, at the Clairton Works nearly 200 scabs, with bedding and other provisions, were brought into the mill before the strike began. It turned out that these "supervisors" have been producing tar and benzene at the plant.

The steel workers responded by refusing to let anyone in or out of the mill for five days. USX retaliated by threatening court action and by refusing to pay the 1,000 workers at the mill the pay owed them for the last two weeks' work. On August 5th, 250 picketers massed at the payroll office to protest the robbing of their pay and vowed to defy any court action and continue their blockade of the gates. But the USWA hacks worked out a deal. They ordered the workers to stop barring the scabs and the USX bosses released the workers' pay.

At the Southworks in Chicago, the struggle heated up when USX began trying to ship out steel structural beams that had been produced before the strike began. On August 11; the police pushed aside picketers to escort a freight train into the mill. Two days later, when the train tried to pull out loaded with steel beams, the picket line succeeded in stopping it. The bosses of the railroad, which is owned by USX, promised they wouldn't try again. But later that night they broke their promise and again started pulling out with 39 cars loaded with beams. The handful of picketers called for reinforcements and the train was stopped. But the police waded in, arrested 27 picketers, and was able to escort the train through. On August 29th, 25 steel workers again blocked a train. But as many as 75 police pushed them aside.

Chicago Mayor Harold Washington has the image of a "friend of labor." But once again he has unleashed the police against the workers. The rank and file have begun to see the pro-capitalist nature of this Democratic Party liberal. But the union bureaucrats will never learn. While restraining the picketers, the United Steelworkers (USWA) hacks have been begging Washington to come down to the plant to show support for the strikers.

The USWA bureaucrats have been sabotaging this struggle at every turn. It was bad enough that they allowed the steel companies to split up their contracts so that the workers at each plant could get picked off separately. It was even worse that they have forced con cessions down the throats of the workers at Wheeling-Pittsburgh, LTV, National Steel and Bethlehem. All these concessions have whetted USX's appetite, and it has become so arrogant that it broke off negotiations and forced out the workers. And now the USWA hacks are undermining the picket lines to allow USX to carry out some production and to ship out its stockpiled steel. Their treachery knows no bounds.

The workers face a hard fight ahead. If they are to get organized to carry it forward, they will have to separate themselves from the union hacks and prepare mass actions to completely shut USX down.

[Photo: Steel workers picket at the USX plant in Gary, Indiana.]

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Under the 'tax reform'

The working people will still bear the burden of taxation

The Reaganites and liberal Democrats have tried to gather support for slashing the tax rates of the rich and the monopolies by throwing the working masses a bone. Personal exemptions and the standard deduction are to be increased. As well, the earned income credit (for workers who have families) will be strengthened in 1988. While some workers will still face tax increases, these changes may actually mean a tax cut for many working class families -- especially those who make under $20,000 a year.

But even if there is such a reduction it won't make up for the astronomical rise in taxes on the working masses over the last few years. In the past six years alone the income tax and social security taxes on a family of four living at the poverty line have grown from 1.4% to 10.4% of their income. Even if a worker at the poverty line were to get the maximum tax break that some prettifiers of the bill predict, he will face higher taxes than he did in 1979. And this is not to mention the suffering these workers continue to face from the slashing of government social benefit programs and the increase of user fees (and also wage and benefit concessions by the capitalists).

What is more, the tax reform increases some taxes and adds new ones on the workers. That 28% of the unemployed who manage to get benefits will get skinned twice. They not only paid into unemployment while they worked but they will now also have to pay income taxes on the full amount of unemployment benefits they receive. As well, many working expenses such as union dues, safety clothing, and tools will no longer be exempted from taxation.

To top it off, the crusade to increase taxes in the name of ''reducing the budget deficit" is aimed squarely at the working masses. There continues to be talk of increasing the income tax on working people by lowering the personal exemption and other measures which are in the new tax reform. And there are growing plans to create new sales taxes, excise taxes, and user fees -- which all hit workers the hardest.

In short, the present tax reform maintains the heavy burden of taxation on the working masses, and it also sets the stage for a new wave of tax gouging.

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The fraud of closing the loopholes

The House-Senate tax committee claims that it will make up for the tax cuts by plugging up the loopholes that have let the rich and the monopolies escape from paying their due.

One might ask why they didn't reform the tax system by simply closing the loopholes without cutting the tax rates? After all, the $300 billion they claim they will save over the next five years would go a long way toward restoring the social benefit programs.

But the answer is simple. The real aim of the bill is to cut the taxes of the rich and the corporations. The cut in tax rates is real, but the closing of the loopholes is largely a hoax.

In the first place, most of the loopholes are still big enough to drive a Mack truck through. And new ones have been added. For the individually rich the most used tax shelters are retained. And special tax breaks have been maintained or added for commodity investors, building rehabilitators, investors in low-income housing, monopolies in oil, steel, timber, airlines, utilities, solid waste, and other industries.

Typically when a loophole is closed with one hand, it is mostly given back with the other hand. Most trumpeted has been the elimination of the investment tax credit which is supposed to hit the steel, auto, and other basic industries the hardest. But the bill allows companies to use unused credit to offset up to 25% of its minimum tax bill. And special provisions have been included for many companies. For example, the government will simply hand the steel companies a check for $520 million, a cash payment for half of the unused investment tax credits they've accumulated.

Of course some corporations may receive some tax increase from closed loopholes. But you can bet they will have their tax experts working overtime to find new ways around paying taxes.

Indeed, the official estimations on how much money will be raised from closing loopholes is so dubious that even Senator Bob Packwood, one of the main authors of the tax reform, is skeptical. In a press conference on August 15, Packwood blasted as ''untrustworthy information" the official revenue estimates prepared by the staff economists of the Congressional Joint Tax Committee. (Wall Street Journal, August 18, 1986)

All in all, it appears that the tax reform will most probably create a general tax cut. And, as a result, it will cause a sharp increase in the budget deficit and another hurricane for slashing workers' social benefits and raising taxes.

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Cutting the top rates - a gold mine for the rich

According to the joint House-Senate tax committee, the cutting of tax rates totals a whopping $300 billion over the next five years. And its the rich and the monopolies who get the lion's share from the rate cuts.

A family of four making $200,000 gets a rate cut from 50% to 28%. This means they would reap a tax cut of about $25,000 in 1988. Of course how tax shelters are used could increase or decrease this cut, but we deal with that in a separate article. (See ''The Fraud of Plugging the Loopholes" on this page.)

The corporations also get their top rate cut -- from 46% to 34%. The Wall Street Journal, a major spokesman of the monopolies, points out, ''The lowering of the top corporate tax rate... stands to aid many companies in such high-tax industries as electronics, publishing and retailing. Other 'winners' in the tax bill include small businesses generally... and the life insurance industry...." (August 18,1986)

What is more, the corporations in capital-intensive industries (which are said to suffer the most from the closing of some of the loopholes) will actually end up with a tax rate cut down to 20%, the ''minimum" tax rate. Stephen Corick, a partner at Arthur Andersen & Co., another accounting concern agrees: ''For capital-intensive America, the alternative minimum tax will become the regular tax." (Wall Street Journal, August 20, 1986)

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MLP Nicaragua tour:

Revolutionary workers arm in arm

The workers and activists who took part in the MLP solidarity tour to Nicaragua have returned filled with enthusiasm and reports about the revolutionary struggle of the Nicaraguan working people.

This was not your typical sight-seeing tour. It was a working tour of demonstrations, meetings, and discussions among the Nicaraguan workers, peasants and soldiers. It was a militant and internationalist political action carried out jointly by our delegation and by the comrades of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP-ML).

This was a highly successful solidarity campaign. It brought the message to the Nicaraguan working people that the American working masses do not agree with Reagan and the dirty war of "our" government against Nicaragua, and that there are militant workers and activists in the U.S. working to build the mass struggle against this criminal aggression and for the defeat of U.S. imperialism.

Above all, the tour was a demonstration that right inside the U.S. there are Marxist-Leninist workers who stand shoulder to shoulder with the Marxist-Leninist and class conscious workers of Nicaragua in their courageous struggle to defend the aims of the Nicaraguan working class and carry forward the revolution.

The tour was also a rich learning experience. The Nicaraguan revolution is gripped in a complex and contradictory situation. Our delegation was able to see this situation up close, traveling around the country and engaging in countless discussions with the working people in the midst of the struggle.

This wealth of concrete information is a useful tool for combating the Reaganite lies and strengthening the solidarity movement with the revolution of the Nicaraguan workers and peasants. In the August 1 issue of The Workers' Advocate we began publishing preliminary reports from the tour. In this issue we carry further reports on:

* Our participation in a march of demobilized soldiers. This march showed the fighting spirit of the youth in the face of the U.S.-contra invaders. It also showed the internationalist attitude of the soldiers towards the American working people.

* A protest in front of the U.S. embassy. This protest brought out the two policies in the solidarity movement: on the one hand, pacifism and polite pleading with Reagan and Congress to reconsider their policies; and, on the other hand, militant denunciation and struggle against Reagan, the Democratic Party and the imperialist system that they represent.

* A visit to a poor peasant cooperative in Jinotega. This cooperative confronts both the CIA-contras who plague this region, and a vicious landlord who is starving these landless peasants. The struggle of this cooperative shows the determination of the toilers to defend their revolution. As well it shows the urgent necessity to carry the struggle forward against the hated exploiters and the compromising policy of the Sandinista government.

In future issues we will carry further reports from the solidarity tour.

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With troops returning from battle against the CIA's contras

[Photos: Troops from the front in the July 30 parade (left). A returning soldier talks to members of MLP tour about the revolution (above).]

On the afternoon of Wednesday, July 30, the MLP solidarity delegation joined the people of Managua in welcoming home soldiers returning from combat against the CIA's contras on the northern front. These fighters, who were being demobilized after their two years of military service, marched through the streets of the capital to be greeted by their fellow Managuans.

The soldiers were filled with the high spirit that comes from knowing that you are fighting for a just cause. They marched in their mud-spattered fatigues to drumbeats and firecrackers, greeting their families, co-workers and neighbors who lined the streets.

When we joined the parade, the soldiers embraced our comrades and said, "How good it is that our American brothers against Reagan are here to support us!" These young workers, fresh from battle against the U.S.-sponsored invasion of their country, showed a warm internationalist spirit toward our delegation of workers from the Yankee imperialist heartland. Like the working people we met throughout the country, these soldiers understood that the working people in the U.S. cannot be identified with the criminal war of the U.S. government, and that the masses of the two countries face a common struggle against Reagan and imperialism.

Like the people wherever we went in Nicaragua, the soldiers pressed us for political discussion. Some soldiers marched arm in arm with our comrades for several kilometers, enthusiastically discussing the revolution.

These battle-weary young workers in uniform enthusiastically proclaimed the determination of the Nicaraguan people to defend their revolution from the U.S. aggression at all costs. To a man, the soldiers were confident that they will never be defeated, that they will smash the aggression of the contras and the CIA (and if necessary, of the U.S. Marines) and that Nicaragua will be free. At the same time, amidst this common spirit of resistance, there were different shades of political consciousness.

Some were caught up in the euphoric ideas spread by the FSLN government itself. The spirit of these ideas is that the Nicaraguans, workers and capitalists alike, are one big family, who could live in happy harmony if only they were left alone by Reagan's contras. But others were more realistic and class conscious; they recognized that they were returning from the war front to take up the struggle on other fronts against the capitalist counterrevolution. Among these we met one soldier who said he was a sympathizer of the Marxist- Leninist Youth (JML, the youth organization of the MLPN).

For our part, we told the soldiers that we were with them in the struggle. The U.S. working class does not support Reagan's war, we explained, but opposes it as an unjust war for the rich, just as we opposed the U.S. war of aggression against Viet Nam. In the tradition of the mass struggle against the war in Indochina, we pledged that it is our task to work to build up a powerful mass movement against U.S. aggression in Central America. And the soldiers wished us luck in the struggle.

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'Prensa Proletaria' on the MLP tour

(The following article is taken from Prensa Proletaria, central organ of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP-ML), August 1986, No. 22, translation by the WA.)

Since July 18, a delegation of the U.S. Campaign for the Nicaraguan Workers' Press has been here in Nicaragua with the aim of developing practical work of solidarity with MAP-ML and [its,trade union organization] Frente Obrero. This delegation brings together workers, students and popular activists from the U.S. who have been mobilized in the campaigns of solidarity carried out in the U.S. by the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA.

As part of the solidarity tour covered by the delegation we can point to the following activities: It visited the installations of the Metasa factory, where they met with the union leadership and with an assembly of the workers of this important metal industry of Managua. The delegation had similar activity at the Mauricio Duarte pig farm, where they learned about the trade union struggle in Nicaragua. With the workers of the rum factory of Chichigalpa, a small city in the West, they also carried out an intense discussion. As well, the delegation participated in the July 21 Inaugural Act of the Ninth International Anti-Imperialist and Anti-Fascist Youth Meeting.

The U.S. delegation took part in an act of protest in front of the embassy of their country, denouncing the imperialist war that American capitalism and its puppets impose on us, and giving expression to the class solidarity between the U.S. and Nicaraguan proletariat through their Parties, the MLP,USA and the MLPN (MAP-ML).

One of the most interesting experiences for the U.S. delegation was the visit to the peasant cooperativists of San Rafael in Jinotega. This is in a war zone where the armed peasants offered a warm internationalist greeting to the U.S. delegation.

In this way the U.S. working class demonstrates in practice how it concretely applies active and militant proletarian internationalism. The Nicaraguan proletariat joins with the revolutionary proletariat of the United States in the struggle.


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With a peasant cooperative in Jinotega

[Photo: Meeting in the schoolhouse, cooperativists tell the MLP delegation about their struggle against the hated landlord, Nicolas Gonzales.]

[Photo: Outside the schoolhouse at the Jinotega cooperative.]

Jinotega province is a mountain region of impoverished and remote villages. Spread along the Honduran border, it is also a war zone where the CIA mercenaries have been carrying out atrocities against the peasants. This is where the contras recently blew up buses with land mines, killing dozens of women and children, and where on July 28 they assassinated a number of other peasants and three European solidarity volunteers.

On July 29 we traveled to Jinotega's San Rafael valley. One of the high points of our tour was our meeting there with a cooperative of poor peasants that was recently organized by Frente Obrero, the trade union center of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP-ML).

The cooperativists showed us their brave determination to resist the terror of the contras. They also informed us about their bitter struggle to seize the land of the local landlord, giving a detailed account of the cruel exploitation they suffer at the hand of this tyrant and of the official neglect they face from the government.

This meeting with the cooperativists was a big experience for us. Their story spelled out in flesh and blood terms what the revolution of the Nicaraguan workers and poor peasants is all about.

An Armed Cooperative

The poor people of Nicaragua are the ones bleeding and dying as a result of Reagan's criminal war. We saw this at the cooperative where one peasant told us about his two brothers who were assassinated by the contras. The son of another cooperativist travelled back with us to the town of Jinotega -- he was on his way to the military hospital to see his friend who had been wounded in a contra ambush three days before our visit.

But the poor peasants are not only victims, they are also a heroic and vital force for defending and advancing the revolution.

Our delegation was greeted at the village by a formation of the cooperative's militia. This was an example of a truly popular militia -- a cooperative of field hands armed with AK-47s and prepared to fight to defend their village and their revolution. In much of the country, the FSLN government has disbanded this type of worker and peasant militias. However, in the war zones the government often still allows the peasant cooperatives to arm themselves.

The peasants of this cooperative had armed themselves conscious of the fact that this is not only needed to defend themselves and their families from the attacks of the contras, but also to take their place in the development of the revolution. As they explained to us, arming the organizations of the toilers is important for developing the political consciousness of the masses and giving the military struggle against the CIA- backed aggression a stronger worker and poor peasant character.

The Landless Poor Struggle Against a Landlord Tyrant

But the contras are not the only mortal enemies of these cooperativists. They are also locked in a fierce struggle against the rich exploiters.

These cooperativists are landless peasants who work the land of a hated landlord named Nicolas Gonzales. They work from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a starvation wage of 10,000 cordobas (about $8) a month, with no lodging, no meals, no benefits at all. This is even less than the government's paltry minimum wage laws^ which simply go unenforced. As the peasants described it, to work for this landlord is to sign your own death warrant.

The revolution has brought changes in the balance of the struggle between the peasants and the landholders: Somoza's sadistic reign of terror against the masses has been overthrown; the cooperative is armed in the face of the landlords' goons; the peasants have felt the strength of their revolutionary potential.

Nonetheless, because their energies have been hamstrung by the new government, and because the new government will not back up the peasants against this exploiter, Nicolas Gonzales still makes use of the age-old tools of landlord oppression. For example, he has driven out a number of peasants who raised demands against him by cutting off their access to the river. In despair, others have also been driven to work for other landlords.

Now the peasants have dug in their heels to confront this hated exploiter, and they have turned to Frente Obrero to assist them to organize the struggle. They have organized their cooperative to resist the landlord as well as to gain their other pressing needs such as electricity, running water and an adequate school.

Since January they have been organizing to take over the landlord's property. Over the last eight months they have exhausted all the legal means to press their demands for the right to the land that they work. The FSLN officials don't want to address the cooperative's grievances, and only under intense pressure have they taken steps to find some kind of compromise to quench the' peasants' thirst for the land. Recently the Sandinista's UN AG (association of middle and rich farmers and ranchers) wrote a letter to Gonzales in the hope he would do something to satisfy the cooperative's demands. But he only grew more arrogant.

To break the momentum of the struggle, the landlord falsely accused the cooperativists of killing three of his cattle. On the landlord's say-so the government officials jailed two peasants. The cooperativists are now working to demand proof of the charges from Gonzales, and they were planning a protest at the prison to demand the release of their comrades.

Meanwhile, the cooperativists had given final notice that they were going to seize the land at the end of the week. They hoped to take over as much as 2,000 manzanas (3,500 acres) of rich land which the landlord had allowed to go to rot. With this land they said they could put an end to their own desperate hunger, and they also expressed the hope that they could contribute to the revolution by helping to feed the rest of the working people.

What "Mixed Economy" Means for the Landless Peasants

The cooperativists stressed to us that their conflict with the hated landlord Nicolas Gonzalez was not an exceptional case. On the contrary, it is a common state of affairs for the poor and landless peasants. And, as the cooperativists pointed out, the government's agrarian reform is inadequate to deal with this problem.

The FSLN's agrarian reform has distributed the lands of the old Somoza clique and some of the lands of those who have fled to join the contras. At the same time it protects the properties of a great number of landholders whom the government dubs as "patriotic producers.'' The Sandinistas hope that if they protect the property of these bloodsuckers then they will be convinced to not go over to the contras, to take part in "national unity,'' and to make a contribution to the "mixed economy.''

But the case of the "patriotic producer'' Nicolas Gonzales is a good example of the absurdity of this Sandinista policy. Yesterday he was a sympathizer of the Somoza dictatorship. Today, at least for public consumption, he professes sympathy for the new regime. But as the cooperativists pointed out, the landlord Gonzales has squandered the resources of his lands. And behind the scenes they believe he is, like the other landlords in the region, at least a contra sympathizer if not an outright contra collaborator.

Moreover, a policy of "national unity' ' with the big capitalist landlords is also a policy of neglect of the rural poor. In effect it is a policy of attempting to reconcile the poor and landless with their historic class enemy -- the landholding rich. In fact, by government decree, on pain of three-year prison terms, the peasants are forbidden to take part in land seizures or other mass struggles to settle accounts with the landlords.

We asked the cooperativists about this decree in regard to their land seizure plans. They pointed out that they have an exceptionally favorable situation in that Gonzales has left most of his land idle, which means that it legally falls under the agrarian reform laws. While the government has refused to enforce the law in this case, the cooperativists think that nonetheless it would be difficult for the government to act against its own law. So the cooperativists did not expect any trouble, except maybe from Gonzales' goons who, of course, would be no match for the peasant militia.

Part of the Worldwide Struggle of the Working People

We met with several dozen cooperativists, including men, women and children in a hut that was used as a school house, and we had to cut off the discussion with the onset of darkness for lack of electricity. They pledged support for the struggle of the U.S. working class in the belly of the imperialist beast; and they stressed that their struggle is part of the worldwide struggle of the working people against the capitalist exploiters. We, in turn, proclaimed our commitment to return home to work in support of their revolution and against the criminal U.S. imperialist aggression, and we wished them every success in their land seizure planned for the coming Saturday. In the semi-darkness we sang U.S. revolutionary songs and they sang Nicaraguan ones, and together we shouted the slogans "Muerte al imperialismo yankee!" ("Death to U.S. imperialism!'') and "Viva la clase obrera!" ("Long live the working class!'').

Back in Managua, we were not able to find out whether the cooperativists were able to get their imprisoned comrades released. However, we received word via the radio that there had been a new round of clashes with the contras in the San Rafael valley on the day of the planned land seizure. This may have postponed the seizure for another day.

In any case, we know for sure that the poor peasants of Jinotega are in the midst of a very acute struggle against the counterrevolution. And we know that they are faced with a complex struggle to defeat the CIA-sponsored contra enemy, to settle accounts with the hated big exploiters, and to overcome the obstacles put in their path by the reformist government.

[Photo: At the Mauricio Duarte pig farm, the workers and members of the MLP delegation shout slogans of solidarity. The workers' union at the farm, is affiliated to the Frente Obrero (FO).]

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U.S. imperialism, hands off Nicaragua!

Protest at the U.S. embassy in Managua

Every Thursday morning American residents in Managua stage a protest in front of the U.S. embassy. A target of this Thursday's protest was the July 28 assassination by the CIA's contras of three West European solidarity volunteers. The MLP,USA delegation, along with comrades from the MLP of Nicaragua (MAP-ML), took an active part in the rally.

When we arrived, a group of pacifists, religious activists, reformists and would-be Marxists from the U.S. were gathered in a quiet vigil in front of the embassy gates. In soft and polite voices they pleaded for the Reagan administration to change its immoral policy and to give negotiations and peace a chance.

A hundred yards away our contingent was met by a leader of the American group who was accompanied by two Sandinista police captains. He protested that he didn't want to be associated with our "symbols" (visibly frightened by our red flags and banners and the hammer and sickle). He also pleaded that we should not burn the American flag (nervous about any militant protest). And he begged us to stop shouting slogans which might upset their quiet vigil, which by this time was just about over anyway.

We marched on the embassy under the banners of the Party and the solidarity tour and a big banner "U.S. workers say: U.S. IMPERIALISM, HANDS OFF NICARAGUA!" Together with the Nicaraguan comrades, we shouted slogans condemning U.S. imperialism, the terrorism of Reagan and the CIA, the Republican and Democratic Parties, and the Contadora regimes, who act as tools of the imperialist aggression. And we shouted in support of the Nicaraguan revolution and for solidarity between the working people of the two countries.

We finished the action by burning an eight-foot posterboard caricature of Reagan holding his two weapons against Nicaragua, the contra mercenaries and Contadora. As Reagan burned, the personnel in the embassy scurried about with their walkie-talkies and cameras.

The pacifist crowd was somewhat taken aback. Our action was not what the Thursday protests are supposed to be about. Even so, a number of activists from among the pacifist group took part in shouting slogans with us. And as we left the site, several activists from the U.S. and Canada came up to us to show their support for our action and to exchange addresses for future contact.

The sorry truth is that the FSLN's official policy is to hold in check militant denunciations of U.S. imperialism. That is why the government bars Nicaraguans from taking part in the embassy protests, knowing that among the masses the hatred for the U.S. imperialists is such that they won't show the same restraint as the American pacifists. In fact, the Sandinista police arrested one of the MLPN comrades who took part in the action with us as he left the embassy. They held him for several hours just to show their displeasure at this militant action.

There are hundreds of Americans in Nicaragua, along with even larger numbers of West Europeans and other foreign sympathizers of the new government. They come from various political currents: religious activism, social-democracy, and even reformism in "Marxist" colors (revisionism and Trotskyism). But none of them have a presence as revolutionaries and militant fighters against imperialism. Especially the Americans are portrayed simply as upright U.S. citizens with humanitarian concerns about the morality of the Reagan policy.

What it comes down to is that neither the FSLN nor its U.S. reformist supporters want to be too offensive to the imperialists. They want to keep everything within the bounds of their strategy of appealing to the sensibilities of the imperialists and, in particular, of appealing to the Democratic Party to put a stop to Reagan's escalation.

An important success of our tour was that it showed another stand of the American working people. In all its activities -- in the embassy protest, in our travels through the country, in our meetings with the workers, peasants and soldiers, and in the mass media -- the tour brought a revolutionary element to the solidarity movement.

This was something new: workers and activists from the U.S. taking a firm stand for the right to self-determination for the Nicaraguan people, free from any interference by our "own" imperialist government, whether through the CIA, the contras, or the Contadora plan; advocating a revolutionary struggle for the destruction of imperialism; and proclaiming solidarity with the workers and poor peasants of Nicaragua in their struggle to defend their revolution and carry it forward to the proletarian revolution and socialism.

U.S. congressmen and reactionaries come to Nicaragua to give solidarity to the newspaper La Prensa, the Catholic bishops, and other voices of the bourgeois reactionaries. The social-democrats and reformists come to show support for the reformist path of Sandinism. But ours was the first tour of a sizable delegation of U.S. Marxist-Leninists to build solidarity with the revolutionary workers and poor peasants of Nicaragua and their Marxist-Leninist Party (MAP-ML).

[Photo: Protest in front of the gates of the U.S. embassy in Managua, July 31.]

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Lend a hand to the Nicaraguan workers' press!


A keystone to working class organizing is the production of newspapers, leaflets, and other literature. The workers' press is essential if the revolutionary workers are to have an independent voice. It is a vital weapon for combatting the influence of the capitalists and opportunists and for organizing and rallying the masses. In Nicaragua, the workers' press is being built by the Marxist- Leninist Party (MAP-ML), with its Prensa Proletaria newspaper, with the bulletins of its trade union center Frente Obrero (FO), and other working class literature.

Any activist who has been involved with this work also knows about the tremendous sacrifices required in both labor and money for the production of working class literature. But in Nicaragua, there are amazing technical obstacles to the production of the workers' press.

Members of the recent MLP solidarity tour took part in some technical work at the Prensa Proletaria office and got a first-hand picture of some of these obstacles. Because of the U.S. blockade and the economic crisis, it is simply not possible to find in the stores of Managua such basic supplies as rubber cement, photo paper, or even a simple Allen wrench for the press.

Many supplies can be purchased outside the country, but they cost a fortune. A $30 box of photo paper, for example, would cost 37,500 Nicaraguan cordobas, which is about two month's wages for a worker. And unlike the Sandinista press or the reactionary La Prensa, the independent workers' press receives no subsidies from the state or the capitalists.

Only through big sacrifices and plenty of ingenuity have the comrades been able to keep the press going. It should also be noted that the materials that have been provided by the U.S. Campaign for the Nicaraguan Workers' Press have been put to good use. (The latest shipment was an inking roller and other critical parts for the press, which were delivered direct by members of the solidarity tour.) But the needs are still great.

All workers and anti-imperialist activists should lend a hand to the Campaign for the Nicaraguan Workers' Press. It is one way in which we can puncture Reagan's blockade. And it is a concrete means by which we can build political and material support for the Nicaraguan working masses and help ensure that the working class of Nicaragua has its independent voice for rallying the masses to defend and advance the revolution.

Send messages of political support and financial contributions to: [Address.]

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


Huey downed in El Salvador: Another setback for U.S. 'high tech' war

On August 18 the Salvadoran guerrillas dealt a blow to the U.S.-backed oligarchy's air war on the people by shooting another U.S.-built UH1H Huey helicopter out of the sky, killing the four men aboard. The chopper was downed over Morazan province, a stronghold of the guerrilla movement where there is heavy fighting.

As usual, the U.S. government tried to deny this victory of the revolutionary forces, claiming the vehicle fell because of mechanical difficulties. The fact is that U.S. imperialism and its allies are not invincible, but have suffered repeated defeats at the hands of insurgent peoples who are fighting U.S. aggression.

Veterans return medals to protest contra aid

On Thursday, August 7, more than 20 veterans gathered in San Francisco to return their Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars and other medals to the government in protest against the U.S. funding of the contra terrorists in Nicaragua. These veterans had received their medals during World War II, the Viet Nam and Korean wars. They refuse to support Washington's headlong rush towards a Viet Nam-style war of aggression in Central America.


Phone workers against the death-squad regime

For a year the Salvadoran telephone workers have been waging a determined fight against ANTEL (the national telephone company) and the Duarte government. The struggle began last September when ASTTEL (the telephone workers' union) participated in a one-day solidarity strike of public sector workers. In the year since, they have struck many more times, demanding higher wages and an end to the repression against their union.

Currently the workers are carrying out a slowdown and organizing meetings to plan their future tactics. They are demanding their back pay and the rehiring of their 20 co-workers fired during a strike this spring.

How the Struggle Has Gone

* The September one-day strike was part of last fall's public sector workers' fight for higher wages. A settlement in October resulted in about a 14% wage increase.

* In November the workers walked out again over the arrest of union leader, Humberto Centeno, and his two sons. The workers won the release of their leader, but remained on strike for 19 days seeking the freedom of the sons. National and international telephone service was shut down. Finally, the government sent in the National Guard to operate the phone service.

* On December 3, union activists were seized in reprisal for the strike.

* In January the General Secretary of the union was fired for participating in a demonstration against the government's U.S.-backed war on the Salvadoran people.

* On April 15th, 3,000 ASTTEL workers launched a 51-day strike for the payment of wage increases owed them since November.

* On April 19, the Ministry of Labor declared the strike illegal and threatened all those who did not return to work with firing or other punishment.

* After two more days on strike, at which point the San Salvador telephone buildings were surrounded by troops, about half of the work force returned to their jobs but refused to do any work. The 1,200 technical workers remained outside and picketed the installation for about two weeks, during which time six of them were fired.

* On May 30, the workers entered into negotiations with the company. The company responded by firing 12 more workers.

* On June 5, all the workers returned to work but they have been working at around 10% capacity.

* On June 16, the workers held a three-hour nationwide work stoppage in which 3,800 people participated. After this, some union members began receiving death threats and their families were manhandled by plainclothes agents. (So far some 25 telephone workers have received personalized assassination threats.) It can be noted that ANTEL is a state company headed by a military officer; this particular colonel even has family ties to the death squads and the "treasury police," notorious for torturing prisoners.

* On July 5, the technical workers successfully held a conference to make plans to continue their struggle for back pay and for the rehiring of those who have been fired. The government and ANTEL attempted to prevent this conference by sending the army, on the day before the meeting, to occupy the telephone offices and by threatening to fire any worker who participated in the meeting. They also sent spies to the meeting.

[Photo: Phone workers on the march in San Salvador.]

The Oligarchy Cannot Suppress the Workers' Movement

The telephone workers' struggle is part of an upsurge in the struggle of the Salvadoran workers' this spring and summer against the 1986 austerity program and against repression. The telephone workers'' persistence in the face of massive repression is an inspiring example. It shows that, even with its one million dollars per day in U.S. aid, its U.S. weapons, U.S. military training and CIA advisers, the corrupt Salvadoran oligarchy cannot snuff out the workers' movement. In fact the Duarte government is more and more at a loss for how to deal with the ongoing struggle of the workers.

Salvadoran workers fight CIA unions

Since the middle of 1984 the Salvadoran workers' movement has been on the rebound. Union coalitions have been formed. Several strike waves have broken out. Unions which were officially pro-government have been joining with opposition unions for struggle. Duarte's austerity program, imposed this January, has been met by more strikes, and the government's repression has been met by demands for the release of jailed trade unionists.

AIFLD -- the AFL-CIO's Contribution to the CIA

This has alarmed the pro-U.S. Duarte regime, which represents the interests of the corrupt Salvadoran oligarchy. It has responded with more repression. One of its tools has been the CIA-sponsored AIFLD unions. The Duarte government has increasingly sought to destroy the present unions by imposing AIFLD unions on the workers with bayonets.

AIFLD is the so-called "American Institute for Free Labor Development." Since World War II, the leaders of the AFL and the CIO (now merged in the AFL-CIO) have worked with corporation executives and the CIA to help destroy revolutionary unions around the world. AIFLD was founded after the Cuban revolution in order to step up this scab work in Latin America and the Caribbean. It began work in El Salvador in 1962.

The Workers Strike Back at AIFLD

Recently, the workers have launched several sharp struggles against the Duarte government's use of AIFLD.

Candy Factory Workers Defeat Attempt to Impose AIFLD Union

In early May, a struggle began at the Confiterias Americanas candy factory.

A sold out union official, who had been voted out by the membership, sought to form a new union with the backing of the company and the AIFLD- organized pro-government union, CTD. (CTD stands for "Democratic Labor Federation"; it was formed a year ago.)

After several meetings at which the workers demanded that the company cease to recognize the AIFLD union, 200 angry workers occupied the plant and held it for a month. The government threatened to call in the National Guard, but the disruption of production was so severe that the candy capitalists backed down. The workers won recognition of their original union as well as a wage increase and returned to work June 12.

Textile Workers at IUSA Strike Against AIFLD

On May 18, AIFLD tried to take over the union leadership at IUSA, the biggest textile plant in the country. AIFLD received only a handful of votes in the union elections, while a huge majority voted for the original union. Nevertheless the Ministry of Labor recognized AIFLD and declared the original union illegitimate.

On May 26 the workers struck and took over the IUSA plant. They demanded, among other things, the expulsion of the union leaders supported by AIFLD. AIFLD denounced the strike, declaring it "contrary to worker- management relations." The courts ruled the strike illegal, and the National Guard, which was blockading the plant, was ordered to clear out the workers.

Salvadoran Indians Denounce AIFLD

On June 10, ANIS (the National Association of Indigenous Salvadorans) denounced AIFLD for dislodging a cooperative of Indians from a farm which they had run for seven years at Sonsonate. The co-op is demanding the ouster of the AIFLD leaders who have taken over the farm. To do its dirty work, AIFLD is making use of a front organization which also uses the name ANIS. (AIFLD's "ANIS" was formed in 1984 by buying off some members of the original ANIS.)

AIFLD Scabs on the Telephone Workers

AIFLD is also collaborating with ANTEL (the national telecommunications company) to try to squash the determined struggle of the telephone workers. But AIFLD has made no headway in its attempts to build a scab union at ANTEL.

Hatred Mounts Against AIFLD

It can be seen that AIFLD's crimes are arousing the anger of the Salvadoran workers and peasants.

The Duarte government has been forced to resort more and more to direct union-busting activity through AIFLD because its old prop of support, the UPD (Popular Democratic Union), under pressure from its members, has been forced, for the time being, to work with the opposition. Thus the recent activation of the imperialist AIFLD is a sign of the weak position of the Duarte government.

Let Us Strike at AIFLD Right Here in Its Home Base

American workers, it is an outrage that organizations that speak in our name are being used to suppress the Salvadoran workers. This is yet another crime of the top union bureaucrats of the AFL-CIO. We must fight these bureaucrats and their policy of hand- holding with capitalist executives and the CIA. We must build an independent working class movement based on the class struggle. This is not only necessary for our struggle against concessions and poverty, but it is our internationalist duty to the Salvadoran workers and the workers of the world. The Salvadoran workers are doing us a good turn by fighting AIFLD, and it is our duty to aid them by striking at the AFL-CIO bureaucracy and AIFLD right here in its home base.

Contra 'recruiting': volunteer or else

The brutal CIA-organized war against Nicaragua has forced a number of people in the border areas to cross over into Honduras and become refugees. A number of them wrote a letter to Reagan, dated July 31, denouncing the contras for recruiting refugees by force and compelling them to go into battle. While writing to Reagan is an exercise in futility, the content of the letter was interesting. It stated that the contras were engaging in a terror campaign to force refugees to join them. It pointed to examples of refugees who have been tortured for refusing to join the contras. And it particularly pointed to coercion against Miskito Indian refugees.

Now that Congress and the Reagan administration are agreed on a new escalation of the war, the CIA has been leaking stories about its wish to expand the contras. The complaints of the refugees living in Honduras gives some, idea of how this will be accomplished.

Using African famine relief funds for war in Central America

The Reagan administration thinks that no cause is as sacred as that of war. So it is diverting African famine relief funds to the war on the Central American workers and peasants.

The Reagan administration's contra aid package was passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives and just recently by the Senate. It contains $100 million in direct aid to the contras and $300 million in "economic aid'' to build up Nicaragua's neighbors as U.S. bases for aggression. The $300 million of "economic aid'' was taken in large part from a $225 million Africa famine relief reserve and also from so-called "Food for Peace'' accounts.

The $225 million reserve was part of a $900 million bill passed in April 1985. This bill provided for African famine relief, and the reserve was to be used at Reagan's discretion throughout the 1985 and 1986 fiscal years. (The Democrats just love to pass bills leaving everything up to Reagan. They can then complain that he has frustrated their noble motives, while ensuring that their complaints are meaningless.) The Reagan administration just couldn't find any use for the money in Africa, and it also cited the need to cut the budget deficit. It turns out that it was reserving the money for a higher purpose -- aggression against Central America.

It should be noted that millions of people in Africa are still in dire need. Among other things, the rain ending the years of drought in some parts of Africa has been accompanied, as often happens after African droughts, by a plague of locusts. But whether spent in Africa or elsewhere, imperialist "famine relief'' has little to do with helping the people and a great deal to do with advancing imperialist foreign policy objectives.

What the Senate liberals want for Nicaragua

The Senate liberals claimed to be big opponents of contra aid. But why then did they collapse so fast and approve the contra aid bill in record time? Some idea of this can be seen by examining the speech of Jim Sasser, Democrat of Tennessee, in the contra aid debate.

Sasser tries to present himself as a noble warrior against militarism. He talks of an "illegal and immoral war'' against Nicaragua. He states that the "continued opposition of the American based on a deep and instinctive comprehension that the Reagan administration's policy is not what it appears to be.''

But what does Sasser have against this policy?

The Same Hatred for the Revolution

Sasser shares the goal of stopping the Nicaraguan revolution and competes with the Reaganites in rhetoric about "isolat(ing) the Sandinistas.'' He wants to "help the Sandinistas to self-destruct,'' to reinforce the position of the (currently suspended) pro-contra newspaper, La Prensa, and of the reactionary church hierarchy.

What difference is this with Reagan? The whole point of blockading Nicaragua and bleeding it to death is to create discontent and bring about its "self-destruction."

He Fears Reagan's Policy Won't Work

But Sasser believes that Reagan's way of doing it risks fiasco. He states: "On the face of it, the policy will not work. That is the central point at issue. No one from the administration or the other side of the aisle has offered an iota of substantiation for the idea that the contras are an effective fighting force or that they could ever become an effective fighting force."

How's that for high-minded and principled opposition to an "illegal and immoral" war. It is immoral because it won't work, and illegal because it will lose. However, if only it did work, well, we're all fighting for the same thing...

First Consensus, Then Invasion, vs. First Invasion, Then Consensus

So Sasser thinks that there must be negotiations first. Actually, this isn't really for the sake of coming to agreement with the Nicaraguans. It is mainly because "We must have the support of the Contadora countries and of our Western European allies." So Sasser is against a "lone-wolf military policy that is designed only to draw blood."

No, first negotiate in order to get a consensus with Western Europe and elsewhere to invade Nicaragua and not just pussyfoot around. As Sasser says: "...we should not embrace military options until diplomatic options have been exhausted. I remain convinced that the president will be able to achieve a consensus toward Nicaragua only if he... demonstrate(s) that the Sandinistas are unwilling to negotiate in good faith.

"Only after that is proved to the rest of the world can we expect any support for a military solution.''

In short, Reagan wants to keep escalating and create the consensus by the show of force. Sasser wants to create a consensus first, draw in the West European imperialist powers and the reactionary Contadora regimes, and then, if need be, use the military option without pussyfooting around. No mere "drawing blood." As the Democrats have preached year after year, the lesson of Viet Nam is supposed to be that you don't invade unless you are ready to go all out and win. (The only lesson the Democrats can see in the Viet Nam experience is how to help the Pentagon to win.)

A Difference in Implementation

So Sasser just differs in method with Reagan. And even this difference is, to a great extent, a mere difference in timing and implementation.

When two wides agree on what has to be done, and differ only in the details of how to do it, naturally they have a lot in common. In such a case, it would make no sense to jeopardize the common venture for the sake of details.

And that is what happened in Congress. The Democrats want to advise Reagan to carry out his goals more effectively. And so, despite all their huffing and puffing, they preferred to see Reagan get his way than to jeopardize the escalation of the bloody pressure against Nicaragua.

Senate backs 800 million for the war on Nicaragua

On August 13 the Senate gave the go- ahead for an $800 million escalation of the dirty CIA war on Nicaragua. It authorized $100 million in direct aid to the CIA-organized contras who are seeking to drown the Nicaraguan revolution in blood. It authorized an additional $300 million in "economic aid" to cement together the squabbling regimes of Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala into a war front against Nicaragua and the people's movements in El Salvador and elsewhere. And it smiled benevolently on the revelation that the CIA had recently given millions in aid to the contras despite Congressional bans and that the CIA intended to give $400 million more.

The Senate vote means that it realizes that the contras have failed in the past and so U.S. troops must step in even more directly. It is the authorization for an intense push by the Reagan administration to overthrow the Nicaraguan government by whatever means are necessary. The funds will be used to bring in heavy weaponry, provide Green Beret units as "trainers," escalate attacks on civilian and economic targets in an attempt to destabilize Nicaragua, and attempt "long-term" operations inside Nicaragua such as taking and holding territory, with the intention of providing a pretext for the Reagan administration to "recognize" a counterrevolutionary "government." This is the intention -- whether it will succeed is another question. The very need to provide almost one billion dollars for the next year shows that times have changed in Central America, and U.S. imperialism is in a frenzy.

The Senate Votes War on Nicaragua, We Must Declare War on the Capitalist Politicians

This vote, along with the contra aid vote in the Democratic House of Representatives, shows once again that the capitalist parties are enemies of the working people. They are parties of militarism and war that are dipping their hands in the blood of a new war in Central America. There is no crime they won't approve, no bloodletting they won't fund, if only it serves to suppress the working people in Central America or elsewhere.

As well, these votes show Congress doesn't reflect the will of the majority in the U.S., but reflects the different currents of opinion among the bourgeoisie. The war on Nicaragua is an unpopular war. At this stage, despite the barrage of chauvinism in the press and on TV, even bourgeois polls show large majorities against this war. Yet Congress votes for it. This is because the capitalists want this war, and Congress reflects their will.

And this vote shows that the Democratic Party has no opposition to U.S. imperialist aggression in Central America. The Democrats had one chance after another to block the contra aid. They had the votes in the House to block the contra aid altogether, and they simply wanted to put different conditions on the very same $100 million that Reagan requested. (And they ended up not even doing that.) They had the votes in the Senate to talk (filibuster) the contra aid bill to death, and they said it was more important to adjourn for summer recess on time. They had the votes; they had the ammunition to hit the Republicans with, including a new CIA scandal; and they had public support on this issue. And they cynically and deliberately let the contra aid bill pass. The liberals didn't even go through the motions of making horrified shrieks about being betrayed.

Many Democrats want to appear before the people as opponents of Reagan's militarism. But this is just a sham to keep the working people attached to capitalist politics. In fact, the Democrats simply disagree with the Reagan administration on details on how to strangle Nicaragua, and they themselves don't want to see the entire campaign against Nicaragua stopped because of these details.

Forward Against U.S. Imperialism

The Senate vote shows the necessity to step up the fight against U.S. imperialism. Let us build a fighting mass movement against the U.S. aggression against Nicaragua. This movement can only be based on the ordinary working people of the U.S. This is the force which genuinely opposes the aggressive wars and whose class interests are harmed by such wars. And, to be effective, such a movement must target both the contra parties, the Republicans and Democrats.

Down with the war against Nicaragua!

Down with the blood stained contras and all those who fund them!

For class struggle against the capitalist warmongers!

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Against the barbaric oppression of women under the Khomeini dictatorship

CP of Iran on women's liberation and the revolution

The July 1986 issue of Bolshevik Message, newspaper of the Communist Party of Iran -- the Committee Abroad, carried an article entitled "Women of a Revolution: A Look at Women's Struggle and Oppression in Iran Since March 8, 1979" by Zohreh Kyan. This article describes the vicious conditions oppressing Iranian women, analyzes causes of these conditions, and gives the stand of the CPI in defense of women's rights.

The article points out that prior to the February 1979 revolution, Iranian women suffered severe exploitation and the starkest political oppression under the reign of the Shah and, earlier, under his father. This meant that the women had as much, if not more, to gain from the revolution as the rest of the population. They were vocal and active participants in all spheres of the revolutionary struggle.

But as Iranian women were preparing for their first celebration of International Women's Day on March 8, 1979, rumors circulated that beginning the following week they had to again start wearing the black veil. This came in the midst of the revolutionary fervor of the people, who had just had a taste of their own strength in toppling the Shah's brutal dictatorship. The rumor justified the misgivings that many people had had from the start about the lukewarm pledges of the clerical leadership to defend democratic rights in general and the rights of women in particular.

The March 8 celebration turned into a demonstration of protest as tens of thousands of women poured out into the streets of Tehran in the middle of a heavy snowfall, chanting, "At the dawn of freedom, women's rights are amiss." Hezbollahs (at that time unofficial but fully organized bands of religious fanatics) drove vans into the demonstrators' lines, pushed women into gutters, and used obscenities to drive them away.

This was the first demonstration to be held against the repressive measures of the new government. It was a display of the force of the revolution and its democratic demands. And the government's treatment of the demonstrators was an indication of the methods it would use from then on against all revolutionary demands and protests of women, workers, students, nationalities, and religious minorities.

The Oppression of Women Under the Islamic Regime Today

As the Khomeini regime consolidated its power, it took further steps to subjugate women. Its Islamic constitution gave it a free hand to introduce reactionary legislation against women in the name of the Islamization of society.

Today women in Iran are subject to strict sexual apartheid. Not only are they forced to wear the veil -- a virtual mobile cage, but they are being pushed towards being essentially imprisoned in the house. In Islamic Iran, the article points out, all routes to meaningful social, educational, and recreational activities for women are being restricted by various means and regulations. There is an effort to leave them no outlet other than to take part in behind-the-scenes prayer sessions and religious ceremonies.

In an effort to stave off any protest against this situation, the regime periodically lets its agents loose against women under the pretext of the most minute deviation from the never specified standards of Islamic garb -- a streak of hair showing under the scarf, shoes with heels, the crime of wearing lively colors. The punishment depends on the sadistic whim of the persecutors, varying from flogging to being knifed, or dragged by the scarf behind a moving moped.

Bolshevik Message points out that the tactics of the bourgeoisie in Iran are designed to deal with a full-scale revolution of nationwide dimensions. They are aimed at forcing both a political and an economic setback on the revolution -- to drive people out of the streets and return the situation to "normal," and to thrust a much lower standard of living on the working class.

"Islamization" proved to be the easiest method to drive women out of the work force and back into the kitchen. With the withdrawal of all amenities, the closure of the few nurseries and child care centers which existed, with the reduction of feeding time for nursing mothers, and, recently, with totally segregating previously mixed work places, such as the Melli Shoe and Leatherwork complex, working conditions for women in general and working class women in particular deteriorated drastically. Those women who remain in the work force suffer difficult and humiliating working conditions.

The Iranian Left and the Struggle for Women's Rights

Bolshevik Message points out that, at least at the beginning of the new regime, few of the "opposition" organizations realized the significance of the struggle for women's rights. This involved the Mujahedeen and other petty-bourgeois organizations, including those who spoke in the name of "Marxism."

These petty-bourgeois organizations of the left failed to take up the defense of women's rights. Indeed, they identified any wholehearted defense of women's rights with the "immorality and decadence" of the Shah's regime. They evaded action on such burning issues as the question of the compulsory veil by declaring that such issues were "not the concern of working class women." In fact it was the Mujahedeen organization which cooked up the semi-veil which was originally taken up by the regime as the official Islamic outfit for women (before restoring the full veil). And instead of resisting every new encroachment of the regime on women's rights, these groups just issued statements declaring that no solution can be found till socialism is achieved!

The Communist Party of Iran Champions the Cause of Women's Liberation

Marxism teaches that the proletariat is the only supporter of real democracy and the liberation of women as part of it, and the course of events in Iran has proven this once again.

The Communist Party of Iran holds that without socialism the condition of women will not change irrevocably. But at the same time this proletarian party takes practical steps toward that goal. It works to overthrow the class and system that are responsible for enslaving women, and it fights to improve the conditions of women in the current situation.

A practical example of the stand of the CPI is the work of Komala, the Kurdistan Organization of the party. Komala uses its strength and popularity to campaign for the cause of Kurdish women. For example, its radio and publications, along with hundreds of agitators throughout Kurdistan, constantly point out the intolerable conditions of women and make them familiar with their rights as free, equal, and responsible citizens.

Komala's firm defense of women's rights has won it increasing support among the Kurdish women. Large numbers of women, nearly 80% of them from the working class, have joined the ranks of the professional revolutionaries of Komala, where they are educated, armed, and organized in mixed units to struggle alongside the men.

The stand of the CPI on women's liberation has been expressed in a recent article of Komonist, the central organ of the party. It states:

"We not only want the liberation and equality of women, but moreover, what we are aiming at is that in the future history of Iran, 'liberation of women' be associated with the name of the 'workers.' Tomorrow, every free Iranian woman who speaks of the history of her liberation must have spoken of the history of the revolutionary movement of the working class. This should be so, not only because at the moment the Iranian working class has the task of leading a mass revolution, but also for the simple reason that encroachment upon women's rights is a direct encroachment upon the rights of half of our class, and therefore direct encroachment upon the rights of our class as a whole."

* * *

(A fuller version of the article from Bolshevik Message on women liberation, as well as other material from the Communist Party of Iran, may be found in The Workers' Advocate Supplement of August 25, 1986, Vol. 2, No. 7.)

To contact the CP of Iran (The Committee Abroad) write to: [Address.]

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

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At the congress of the ruling racist party

Botha vows to defend apartheid forever

In mid-August the ruling National Party of South African president P.W. Botha held a special congress in Durban. As usual, Botha offered a few meaningless changes in South Africa's racist policies. But despite this thin veil of "reform," Botha pledged in no uncertain terms to maintain the racist apartheid system forever. And yet this is the man whom Reagan and Congress believe can be nudged to end white racism in South Africa!

Upholding the Separation of the Races

For starters, Botha upheld the Group Areas Act, promising to "cling fast to this cornerstone of our social system." The Group Areas Act is a cornerstone of apartheid racism. It mandates segregated zones for blacks and whites. And naturally all the best areas have been reserved for the white minority. Meanwhile the black majority is consigned to desolate bantustans and to shantytowns outside of the whites-only cities.

Extending the Bantustan Concept to the Black Townships

Continuing his defense of racism, Botha praised the bantustan policy. Since the creation of the bantustans, millions of blacks have been exiled to wasteland areas. In an attempt to keep the black majority from uniting, they are divided up on the basis of tribal origin. The racists have declared several bantustans "independent" although the black bantustan "governments" are no more than administrators for the white rulers.

But Botha, the "reformer," is not one to rest on his laurels. Thus he suggested that the bantustan policy be extended to the segregated black townships. Thus Botha asked "Why can black urban communities close to our metropolitan areas not receive full autonomy as city states."

How kind of Mr. Botha! Since taking power in 1948, the National Party has tried to force all blacks into the "homelands." But much of the black population resisted. The population of the black townships near the cities swelled as blacks sought to live closer to the white cities where they worked. But have no fear. If the black people will not go to the bantustans, Botha will bring the bantustans to the people! He will ensure that the segregation of the black townships becomes more complete and official!

Phoney Election Reform

While Botha openly defended the pillars of apartheid, he also donned the "reform" mask. For instance, he mentioned the possibility of having blacks vote in national elections, a novelty in South Africa. Of course the black votes will not be to endow their representatives with power. No, such votes will be to see what black sellouts will get to hold empty talks with Botha, or serve on powerless "advisory" bodies.

This "reform" is a mockery of the just demand of the black people for "one-man, one-vote." Indeed Botha has previously stated he will never agree to this simple democratic right.

Botha Calls for More Brutal Repression

And what if the black and other oppressed people continue to oppose the fate charted for them by the racists? Then Botha will further step up his bloody repression.

The National Party congress took place right in the middle of the brutal repression and mass arrests of the present "state of emergency." But the white racist gentlemen saw nothing wrong with that. Instead they proclaimed that the fascist "state of emergency" regulations would continue indefinitely.

Stepping Up Aggression Against the Neighboring African Countries

Nor are the arrogant racists content to dominate the black majority in South Africa itself. They are intent on dominating as much of Africa as possible. Whistling in the wind, they boasted that they had "not even started to use our muscle and capabilities" against their neighboring countries which Botha accuses of harboring anti-apartheid guerrillas and supporting sanctions against South Africa.

Actually, the bourgeois nationalist governments of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, etc. have repeatedly come to accommodation with the South African racists at the expense of the liberation struggle. But this hasn't ensured peaceful relations between these countries and South Africa, as white minority rule can only be backed up by continual aggression against the black majorities inside or outside South Africa.

U.S. Imperialism Supports White Minority Rule

The National Party congress proves once again that the South African rulers are diehard fascists. They are sworn defenders of white minority rule. They won't even give up the apartheid system of racial separation, which is only their latest form of white minority rule.

Nevertheless all the U.S. imperialist politicians preach support for Botha in one form or another. The Reaganites go so far as to paint South Africa as a bastion of democracy and a land of plenty for the black workers, albeit with some minor flaws. Meanwhile the liberal Democrats unleash tirades against the racists. But they end up joining the Reaganites in merely token sanctions. Their idea is that, with a little nudging, the racists will reform themselves. And they promote this as an alternative to their greatest fear: that a "radicalized" black majority will rise up in revolution to smash up apartheid and white minority rule.

But the recent National Party congress, with its pledges to keep oppression forever, highlights the bankruptcy of the fairy tale of reforming the racists. It drives home the truth that only the overthrow of the racist regime can end apartheid.

Israeli Zionists rush to the aid of apartheid

In early August a high-level Israeli delegation arrived in South Africa to renew a long-term trade agreement. It is reported that Israel and South Africa secretly discussed how Israel could help South Africa circumvent the halfhearted economic sanctions against South Africa that are being discussed by various capitalist countries. To do this Israel would act as a middleman to keep trade flowing between South Africa and the governments adopting sanctions.

It should be noted that the Reagan administration and the European capitalists are not innocents in all this. In fact they have repeatedly used Israel as a middleman to continue secret support for hated tyrants and butchers; the U.S. government tells the world that it has ended its support for these regimes while the secret funds keep flowing. Israel has long been used, for example, to redirect American aid to death squads and butchers in Central America, from the Guatemalan military to the late Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua and now to the CIA-organized contras.

The Israeli visit was a welcome development for the South African racists. All over the world South Africa is being condemned. The Botha regime is being rocked by the upsurge of the black and other oppressed peoples. The racists are mired in a severe economic crisis. And now there are various sanction plans being floated; weak and "symbolic" as these sanctions are, they do require a bit of effort to circumvent. And who steps forward to embrace the white slave masters but zionist Israel.

The fact is that Israel has long been a shameless supporter of South African apartheid. And why not? Just as South Africa exists through the enslavement of the native black majority, so Israel exists through the subjugation of the Palestinian population. The Botha regime exiles blacks to bantustans while the Zionists have forced the majority of Palestinians into the occupied territories and the neighboring countries. Vicious racism is a hallmark of both societies. Both countries are notorious for carrying out military aggression against other countries at will. They are true partners in crime.

It is also notable that Israel is racist towards black Jews as well as Palestinians. At the same time as the Israeli diplomats scurried to South Africa, the Israeli police and army were involved in imprisoning and throwing out black Hebrew sects that had been living in Israel. The Zionists are raising their hands in mock horror at the religious beliefs of these sects, while the fanatic orthodox (but non-black) sects are given government ministries in Israel, are burning down bus shelters which have pictures of women with too revealing clothes, stoning cars and buses which run on the Sabbath, etc. And when Israeli spokesmen rant against the black Hebrew sects, they engage in typical racist hysteria about alleged plots of "American blacks" to take over Israel.

Israeli support for South Africa helps show the true nature of Israel. The Zionists and U.S. imperialism portray Israel as a bastion of democracy and civilization in the Mideast. But Israel's love for the racist butchers further demonstrates that this is just a myth.

Senate sanctions: Expressly 'targeted' to be a dud

On August 15, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill of mild sanctions against racist South Africa. In the course of passing this bill, the senators huffed and puffed about how they supposedly find apartheid intolerable. In fact if hot air could destroy apartheid, then the bourgeois politicians would have no trouble bringing the Botha regime to its knees. But for all the rhetoric, the Senate bill offers only a timid slap on the wrist for the white slave masters in South Africa.

Indeed the sanctions bill was carefully constructed so as to avoid serious blows to the South African capitalist rulers or to U.S. business interests connected with South Africa. Republican Senator Lugar, whose proposals served as the framework for the bill, boasted that the legislation was designed to "target sanctions" in such a way as to avoid doing real damage to the South African economy. "We are not seeking a scorched-earth policy" against the racists, he added. This, presumably, is reserved for Nicaragua, the liberated zones of El Salvador, and Libya. Whereas, for South Africa, Lugar is proud that he has devised a way to have "sanctions" that are designed to do nothing.

Furthermore, this bill provides a certain amount of aid to South Africa. It subsidizes grain sales to South Africa. And it appears that the Republicans may take its passage as the signal to start a campaign that it replaces and cancels all city and state sanction laws. If this goes over, the bill may yet become known as the Pro- Apartheid Act of 1986.

The Bulk of U.S.-South African Trade Is Unaffected

Thus while the bill restricts this or that aspect of U.S.-South African trade it insures that the bulk of trade is unimpeded. The bill does have a number of restrictions on South African products coming into the U.S. but still most South African exports are unaffected. The unaffected South African exports presently amount, in dollar value, to two- thirds of all South African exports.

Meanwhile U.S. exports to South Africa are hardly touched at all. Oh sure, there are lots of words about restrictions. For example there is a ban on exporting U.S. oil and refined petroleum to South Africa; but there are presently no such exports anyway! There is nothing wrong with adding legislative force to the lack of such exports, but it is a fraud to call the temporary recognition of the status quo a "sanctions" bill.

The Sale of Grain to South Africa Is Subsidized!

Indeed, the bill even has special provisions to help subsidize the export of U.S. grain to the racists. What harsh sanctions! This is a real scandal, particularly as grain is presently one of South Africa's sore points, due to years of drought followed by locusts.

The other major aspect of the bill is an alleged ban on new investments. This is a fraud from the word go. Due to the mass uprising in South Africa and its crisis-ridden economy, the capitalist sharks are not, at this time, much interested in investing in South Africa. Meanwhile the bill does nothing about the U.S. investments already in South Africa. And the "ban" is full of exceptions for short-term trade credits and for reinvesting profits supposedly made in South Africa back into the South African subsidiaries of American firms.

Senator Lugar Advocates That It Overrides All Local Sanctions

Finally, this bill may contain a major scandal. Senator Lugar, the architect of this bill, claimed during the Senate debate that this bill raises the question of "federal preemption" and thereby "supersede(s) or preempt(s) all State and local laws" on the subject of sanctions or divestment. He suggested that it would be up to the courts to decide, for example, whether "Rhode Island might be able to continue enforcing its [divestment] law." (See the Congressional Record for August 15, S11817-8)

An amendment to the Senate sanctions bill which preserved certain local rights on this subject was defeated. Another amendment was proposed which gave states and localities up to 90 days after the passage of the bill to cancel certain local laws concerning apartheid without penalty under federal law. This amendment passed. The very putting forth of this amendment suggests that other senators take Lugar's claim seriously or agree with it.

If Lugar's doctrine of cancelling local sanctions holds, then the Senate sanctions bill has really gone to the limit in aiding South Africa in the name of "sanctions" against it. True, many local sanctions themselves look like something the cat dragged home (for example, denying government contracts to firms doing business with South Africa -- but only applying to small contracts, not the big lucrative ones). But what a fraud for the bipartisan Congressional "sanctions" bill to eliminate local sanctions! And what an attempt to hamstring the solidarity movement with the struggle in South Africa, seeing how much that movement has dealt with local divestment and sanctions!

Helping Save the Racist Regime Stave Off the Revolution

Since the Senators obviously did not intend to bring harm to the racists one might wonder why they even bothered with all their sanctions hoopla. For one thing, they want to try to take the steam out of the solidarity movement in the U.S. But, as well, they are also afraid that the black masses will eventually overthrow the racist regime if the racists do not carry out some more minor reforms to placate the oppressed. As liberal Congressman Solarz said in the House debate on sanctions: "Our interests are in preventing the radicalization of the black majority and the emergence of a new government hostile to our interests."

What kind of "sanctions" are designed to prevent the radicalization of the black masses? Solarz gave the answer as he added that "sanctions are designed not to bring the government of South Africa to its knees but to bring the government to its senses."

Thus the capitalist politicians merely want sanctions as a way to help prod the racists to "see the light" on how to save the racist system. This is why for all the mountains of "anti-apartheid" rhetoric, the Senate can only produce a mouse of a bill.

The Liberals Come to Terms With the Reaganites

This bill represents the combined efforts of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. This Senate bill now has to be reconciled with the House sanctions bill (the Dellums bill, passed by accident in the House because almost no one was present for the vote). It is expected the result that comes out of the House-Senate conference committee will basically follow the Senate version. The exact wording may determine such things as whether the bill overrides local sanctions.

Down With the Two-Faced "Anti-apartheid" Heroes in Congress

Anti-apartheid activists! We must rip the mask off the capitalist politicians, liberal and conservative alike, who have put forward these botched abortions as real "sanctions." We must base the solidarity movement firmly on support for the struggle of the oppressed in South Africa. We must stand in support of the revolutionary movement of the black and other oppressed masses, not for the bipartisan Democratic and Republican goal of "preventing the radicalization of the black majority." We must stand for the overthrow of white minority rule, not for helping "the government of South its senses." We must stand for a real fight against the South African government, and its American supporters and would-be advisers. And as part of this, we must expose the playacting of the political fakers in Congress.

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March in Boston condemns Sri Lanka prime minister

Stop persecuting the Tamil minority!

On July 28, students and political activists in the Boston area came out for a demonstration against the prime minister of Sri Lanka, R. Premadasa, who was in town to address a conference on housing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Boston Branch of the MLP took part in the protest and earlier had issued a leaflet calling on workers to support the demonstration.

The demonstrators condemned Premadasa for the repression carried out against the Tamil nationality in Sri Lanka and against anyone sympathizing with the Tamils' struggle against national oppression. In particular, protesters demanded the release of a Tamil former MIT student, Ram Manikkalingam, who has been held for months by the police in Sri Lanka.

The protest also denounced the MIT university authorities for using the excuse of a "conference on housing" to wine and dine Premadasa. Besides being prime minister, Premadasa is also minister of housing and construction, but his main achievement in this field has been to supervise the bombardment of homes belonging to Tamils.

Premadasa and his president, Jeyawardene, are veritable South Asian Reaganites. Besides being notorious for oppressing the Tamils, their United National Party (UNP) is a conservative party respected among bourgeois and imperialists for its policy of "no negotiations" with striking workers. The UNP government has crushed several strikes since coming to power, enabling the Sri Lankan capitalists to keep workers' pay close to the minimum wage of 74 cents a day.

On July 4 Premadasa sent heartwarming greetings to Reagan and his "Lady Liberty" celebration. Premadasa pledged to cooperate with Reagan in a common struggle against "terrorism." Of course what this means is that Premadasa is determined to step up the police-state repression carried out against the Tamils and the Sri Lankan left, and to cooperate with Reagan in his worldwide counterrevolutionary activities.

The Boston demonstration against Premadasa helped expose the reactionary Sri Lankan regime among American workers and students.

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Six months of Aquino's rule

The new regime is not delivering what the Filipino masses yearn for

On February 25, the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines collapsed. The liberal leader Corazon Aquino, who had been cheated in the elections, was put in power by a military revolt led by those who had been among Marcos' closest supporters. Acting as midwife was the U.S. government, which had reluctantly decided that its longtime friend in Manila had to be replaced.

The Filipino masses greeted the fall of Marcos with joy. Meanwhile, the new regime adorned itself with slogans of "revolution" and "people power." There was a widespread hope that the evils of the old order would now be done away with, although not everyone fell under the spell of the liberal sweet talk.

There was good reason to be skeptical about Aquino, for there was nothing revolutionary about her regime. Indeed the liberal opposition to Marcos had emerged precisely to prevent the anti-Marcos struggle from growing into a revolution.

And the new regime was not one based upon the masses. The rule of a single tyrant had fallen; but the new regime merely signified that the Filipino capitalists and landlords had temporarily reconciled their internal conflicts to again rule as a class.

The Aquino regime can now also be judged by the record of her first six months in power.

A Regime of Liberal Compromise with the Military

The core of the new regime is an alliance of the liberal bourgeois politicians with the military.

The main civilian posts are in hands that enjoy the full confidence of the Filipino bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism. Vice President Salvador Laurel, an avidly pro-imperialist politician, is Foreign Minister. As for those who hold the key economic posts, a U.S. government official remarked that they "spoke Reaganomics, something that George Shultz, U.S. Secretary of State, could readily appreciate."

Meanwhile, the reactionary military establishment occupies a central place in the new regime. When the Marcos regime was about to collapse, the military establishment -- aside from a handful -- abandoned him in favor of a deal with the liberals. Today Marcos' old crony and Defense Minister, Juan Ponce Enrile, continues in his old post, and General Fidel Ramos, the former head of the brutal Philippine constabulary, heads up the armed forces.

Finally, a number of social-democratic politicians have also been thrown in. Because they were known as crusaders against Marcos, these people provide a reformist image for the regime and help to deceive the masses about the true nature of the new regime.

The Limits of Aquino's Reforms

Since coming to power, the new regime has carried out a few reforms.

These include the release of 500 political prisoners, granting certain democratic legal rights, and mothballing the Bataan nuclear plant.

But these reforms barely scratch the surface.

There still remain over 500 political prisoners in provincial jails. Despite the scrapping of Marcos' constitution, some fascist laws still remain on the books. Workers' and peasants' struggles continue to face repression.

Meanwhile there are promises to redress human rights abuses under the old regime, but they just remain promises. While a Presidential Committee on Human Rights has been appointed; with the social-democrat Jose Diokno at the head, the regime also included in it Brigadier General Soriano, who was for 11 years the legal adviser of Marcos' crony Enrile. And Enrile and the military bigwigs have made it clear that they will not support any prosecution of their men.

Clearly Aquino's measures cannot damage the strength of reaction. In fact, a central theme of her rule is reconciliation. Even the restorationist actions of Marcos loyalists are treated with kid gloves. For example, when Marcos' crony Tolentino launched an attempted coup in July, which received the support of several hundred officers and troops, the government merely tapped the military men on the wrist. True, the coup attempt was pathetic, but still it was an effort to launch a pro-Marcos rebellion.

What is more, Aquino's reforms are all being carried out extremely legalistically and from above, so as not to allow any mass mobilization. As in the days before Marcos fell, the liberals fear bringing the masses into motion. For example, after Aquino scrapped the Marcos constitution, she wouldn't even allow an elected Constituent Assembly. Instead she handpicked a Constitutional Commission, with a respectable and bourgeois composition. She even gave five seats to Marcos' Labor Minister Bias Ople. She also awarded one to the reactionary Trade Union Congress, which had been an instrument of the old regime.

Finally, certain of Aquino's measures, while being painted as reforms, are merely a reshuffling of political and economic privileges among the ruling class factions. This is the case, for example, with the replacement of Marcos' local officials with Aquino's new appointees and with how they are carrying out the takeover of property holdings of Marcos and his cronies.

All told, Aquino's reforms can merely scratch the surface of the evils of the old regime. She can only go this far, and no more, because her policy is not to break reaction but to reconcile with it. After all, the regime owes its very existence to a deal with the military.

Capitalist Property and Profits Remain Sacrosanct

Under the Marcos regime, the workers and peasants were brutally exploited by the capitalists and landlords. Poverty and unemployment were widespread. With Marcos gone, the toilers hoped for change.

But the regime has been big on promises and short on any measures to improve the conditions of the masses. In its economic policies the regime promises aid for the urban and rural capitalists, but the working people are asked to meekly wait for improvements to trickle down through the compassion of the exploiters.

The regime cannot really do anything in this sphere because it is a capitalist regime -- committed to capitalist property and profits. The regime will not touch exploitation. It will not touch the estates of the landlords. And it will not support the toilers in their struggles.

When 10,000 Long Distance Telephone workers went on strike, the reformist Labor Minister ordered them back to work. To their credit, the workers defied the order.

Behind Nationalist Rhetoric, Subservience to Imperialism Continues

The Marcos regime was backed to the hilt by U.S. imperialism. This reinforced anti-imperialist feeling among the Filipino people. To posture before the masses, the Aquino regime puts on a show of nationalist rhetoric. Even longtime loyalists of Washington like Salvador Laurel have learned' how to talk this way.

But in fact the regime remains subservient to imperialism. Aquino has assured the imperialist bankers that all the $26 billion in foreign debts that Marcos incurred will be paid. And while there are a few grumblings over this in her government, the complainers envisage nothing more than "selective repudiation" of debts incurred in unprofitable projects.

Meanwhile, the regime continues to support the U.S. military bases staying in the country. Aquino herself is mum about the future of the bases. She merely pledges to review the bases when they come up for renewal in the early 1990's. But Laurel, Enrile and the generals are firm that the privileges for the Pentagon must continue for decades into the future.

For its part, the U.S. and other Western imperialists have taken a friendly attitude to the new regime. There have been pledges of imperialist assistance; and while the U.S. isn't willing to shower Aquino with money, it has had the IMF and World Bank take a soft line towards Manila's requests.

For Washington, the number one concern is that the new regime prove itself in the war against the armed insurgency that has developed in the Philippines over the last two decades.

Behind Peace Talks, a Military Offensive

Indeed the military question is a central one for the new regime. One big reason the liberals wanted Marcos out was because they felt he could not deal with the challenge of the guerrilla movement.

The Aquino regime has taken a crafty approach to the armed insurgents. It has offered negotiations and proposed a cease-fire. The aim of this policy is to destroy the strength of the armed left.

Aquino wants to use promises of reform tomorrow in order to get the rebels to surrender today. Aquino herself is candid about what she hopes to do. She says that her calls will win over "those who found themselves joining the rebels to escape abuses under the Marcos regime." She admits that some "won't come out until they see our proposals." And her view towards "the hardcore" is that "they will never give up. We may not be able to win them over but we can isolate them. Our policies will do that." In other words; get as many of the rebels to surrender, and then isolate and crush those who holdout.

Meanwhile, as the liberals talk peace, the army has been on a brutal offensive against the guerrilla movement.

After the February 25 change in regime, the soldiers went back into the countryside to harass the people. But this time they did it not as partisans of Marcos but with yellow ribbons on their rifles (yellow being the color adopted by the Aquino forces).

Massive force has been thrown into a number of areas. In April during battles in the Cagayan Valley, 3,000 troops, supported by seven helicopter gunships and four Tora-Tora planes, were deployed against an estimated 100-250 rebels. Thirty civilians were reported to be mowed down by helicopter fire.

The guerrillas have defended themselves against the attacks of the army. They have replied with a number of punishing blows of their own.

Meanwhile the military is working on elaborate counterinsurgency plans. One proposal involves setting up "integrated town security and defense plans" in every village and town, through which local officials, priests and businessmen are to be recruited into a vast spying network.

The Present Situation Is Merely a Lull

One may ask, if Aquino has done so little, why hasn't the situation exploded yet? Why is it that, besides some fierce clashes between guerrillas and troops, the Philippines is relatively calm today? After all, until six months ago this country was being rocked by strikes, demonstrations and rebellion. And it wasn't that the masses just wanted Marcos out as an individual -- they were fighting for real changes in the society.

The answer partly lies in the fact that the regime still has the image that it seeks real reforms. And the rest of the answer lies in the fact that the leadership of the Filipino left -- of the militant unions, the mass organizations, and even the guerrilla movement -- has been in the hands of those who have strong illusions in the liberals and reformists, the very liberals and reformists who are today the ministers and advisers of the Aquino government. Today this leadership is acting to restrain the mass movement.

Nevertheless the situation is uneasy. The Aquino government is not delivering what the masses yearn for. It merely begs for more time. In the meantime, the masses get more and more restive. Scattered strikes and protests take place. A large movement against the U.S. bases has taken shape. The guerrillas are forced to defend themselves.

Meanwhile, all is not well in the ruling coalition. The military has not been particularly eager about Aquino's attempt to talk the rebels into giving up. They prefer a more straightforward policy of brute force. While the military, leaders still stand with the liberals today, they are also threatening that the liberals had better not go too far. Some officers have even threatened to lynch the reformists in the government who they consider to be "communists."

In the midst of all this, Defense Minister Enrile is playing a central role, building up his support within the military and among the most right-wing of the bourgeois politicians.

The right hopes to push Aquino even more to the right. If the liberal and reformist project to stabilize the country fails, the right will not hesitate to bring to power a regime more to its own liking. Of course, as in every major turn in Filipino bourgeois politics, Uncle Sam will be consulted on the proper timing for such an event.

When all is said and done, the situation in the Philippines is very much in flux. This is merely a lull before another storm inevitably breaks out.

[Photo: NPA guerrillas prepare for a battle, 1985.]

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The CP of the Philippines and the Aquino regime

For more than a decade the Communist Party of the Philippines has been at the center of the movement in the Philippines. Besides influencing the mass struggles of workers, peasants and youth, the CPP has been the guiding force behind the vigorous guerrilla movement of the New People's Army. As events have unfolded, our party has noted both successes of the CPP/NPA as well as discussed its ideological and political problems. The problems in the CPP's line have hurt the strength and orientation of the revolutionary movement that it has built up in the Philippines.

Earlier this year when Marcos fell, the CPP was surprisingly on the sidelines. The party appeared to be paralyzed during the crisis that brought Marcos down and saw the coming to power of the liberal Aquino regime.

This has provoked a good deal of discussion in the left, both in the Philippines and the U.S., about the role of the CPP in this year's events and its tactics towards the new situation. We have been observing problems in the contemporary tactics of the CPP, and upon seeing recent documents of the CPP, our concerns have been confirmed.

The May 1986 issue of Ang Bayan, newspaper of the Central Committee of the CPP, carries an article "Party conducts assessment, says boycott policy was wrong." And it also has additional articles which spell out the CPP's current tactics.

These articles are a step backwards for the CPP, although they flow from its longstanding ideological problem of conciliation towards the liberal bourgeoisie.

The CPP legitimately raises the question of why the party was on the sidelines in February, but its conclusions are wrong. Instead of looking critically at their past policy and moving towards a truly independent and revolutionary policy, the CPP reinforces its tailism towards the liberals. Thus, even while the CPP/NPA knows enough not to completely capitulate before the blandishments of the Aquino regime, its policy of "critical support" for the regime holds back the work that is necessary to lead the toilers forward.

In the upcoming issue of The Workers' Advocate Supplement, we will examine the views of the CPP in more detail.

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Every election is said to be the most important yet

They're lining up behind the Democrats again

1986 is a mid-term election year. All the House members are up for re-election, as well as a third of the Senators.

These elections have not created much interest or excitement. The Republicans are running on a platform of continuing along the glories of Reaganism. Meanwhile, this being an election year, the Democrats aren't short of promises. But they offer no reason to expect any alternative to the warmed- over Reaganism that has been their specialty over the last six years.

Still, the trade union bigshots of the AFL-CIO, the bourgeois black organizations, and the social-democrats are trying to rouse the workers, minorities, and youth to get behind the Democrats. 1986, they say, offers a unique opportunity. There is a chance to seize the Senate majority away from the Republicans. Then we'd have a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress, and Ronald Reagan will finally face a real challenge.

Oh yes. And the coming of the messiah is no doubt just around the corner too.

And what about the liquidationist left -- those who drape themselves in socialist and communist colors but abandon the independent interests of the working class? Among them, too, hope rests eternal in their breasts that the Democrats will usher in a new day.

Already the pro-Soviet revisionists have begun to echo the appeals of the Democrats for the November elections. As the elections approach, the chorus is no doubt going to get louder among other liquidators.

November the Key to Fight Reaganism, Revisionists Say

The pages of People's DailyWorld, the newspaper of the pro-Soviet Communist Party, USA, are already full of articles campaigning for the November elections.

At the end of July the CPUSA held a special national convention. One of the main themes of this conference was summed up in a banner that hung on the wall: "Defeat the Reaganites in November.''

In the August 1986 issue of the CPUSA's theoretical journal, Political Affairs, James Steele, secretary of the Political Action and Legislative Department of the CP, declares that "The 1986 elections will be this year's key battleground in the struggle against Reaganism, for peace, jobs, equality, trade unionism and democracy."

As for the goal in the elections, the CPUSA focuses on what it calls "electing a peace majority in the Senate." Of course, this is merely a euphemism for electing Democrats. And that isn't left vague either. For example, the People's Daily World in its July 31 issue carries a list of all the Senate races and the candidates the CPUSA favors. And they are all Democrats.

In their theoretical pronouncements, the CPUSA will often speak of "independent political action," of course telling you that this is taking place within, not outside, the two-party system. But when it endorses Democratic Senate candidates, does the CPUSA even pretend to judge these candidates by their stands? Far from it. Its criterion for support is simply that they be Democrats. For example, in the Alabama race against the Reaganite Jeremiah Denton, they endorse Representative Richard Shelby. They admit he's a conservative, but CPUSA gives us the fairy tale about how he's "begun edging to the center." Clearly, for the CPUSA, "independent political action" is anything within the bourgeois parties they wish to put an "independent" label on.

The CPUSA is the official pro-Soviet party in the U.S. The Line of March organization, which publishes the newspaper Frontline, is another pro- Soviet revisionist outfit. It tries to have a more revolutionary veneer, even being more militant in its support for Soviet imperialism. But on the issue of this year's elections, Frontline once again reveals that it is a mere shadow of the CPUSA.

In its August 18 issue, Frontline carries a lead article "Democrats fake Aim at Reagan -- and at November." It too considers the November elections as a significant event in the battle against Reaganism. It writes, "The outcome at the polls could substantially blunt the initiative the president has enjoyed for six years on a number of fronts." And instead of speaking in euphemisms about a "peace majority," Frontline is more unabashed about openly pointing to the need for, and speculating about, the chances of electing a Democratic majority.

A New Paint Job for the Democrats

Of course, both CPUSA and Line of March know that you can't expect people to buy the Democrats on the grounds of reputation. They know that the Democrats have a shameful record in the fight against Reaganism.

The way they get around this is simple. They lie. They both promote the myth that, no matter what happened earlier, in the last months the Democrats have been fiercely challenging Reaganism.

Thus, James Steele writes in Political Affairs, "The sharpening legislative and mass struggles of the past eight months confirm this assessment. They are shaping the political landscape in a way favorable to achieving precisely such a shift in Congress. On arms control, sanctions against apartheid, trade policy, affirmative action and the farm crisis, the administration finds itself more and more isolated."

Frontline echoes this myth. It writes, "Signs of life have been spotted in the Democratic Party. On a whole range of issues -- from contra aid to arms control, from the Rehnquist nomination to South Africa sanctions -- Congressional Democrats have challenged Ronald Reagan's agenda more forcefully in the past months than at any time in his presidency." And it goes on to heap praise after praise upon the Democrats.

Have the revisionists taken leave of their senses? In recent months, the Democrats have just emerged from a veritable orgy of collaboration with Reagan. They just joined together to approve $100 million in aid for the contras!

Of course it is also true that in the last few months, the Democrats have squabbled with Reagan over this or that issue. But that has taken place during all the last six years. And all along, the Democrats have collaborated with the Reaganite program on all fundamental issues. And this remains true even for the recent period.

True, there have been debates over contra aid and South Africa sanctions. But in neither case has there been any disagreement with goals, simply over how best to achieve the same goals. And in these issues, the common goals have been counterrevolution in Nicaragua and how to save the racists in South Africa from a revolution.

The disagreements in domestic questions are no different.

And this goes to the heart of the matter. Electing a Democratic majority to the Senate is no solution to the evils of the Reaganite offensive. During Reagan's six years, the Democrats have had a majority in the House, and it is with Democratic support that the Reaganite programs have been approved. In the Senate the minority Democrats have acted no differently.

What the reformists in the left cover up with their illusions is the fact that the Reaganite offensive is the bipartisan policy of the capitalist class. Both conservative and liberal politicians of the rich are agreed upon the essential features of this drive.

Thus, the way to challenge Reaganism is not to perpetually hunt for differences between Democrats and Republicans to rally around, but through a class struggle against the capitalists. It calls for building an independent movement of the working class, based on organizing the working class and oppressed in actual struggle.

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Message from the Communist Organization - Workers' Policy of Portugal

To the National Executive Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA


The 2nd Assembly of the Communist Organization "Workers Policy," held the 5th and 6th of July in Lisbon, received with great satisfaction the message of solidarity from your party. It is for us a big stimulus to know that, in the difficult conditions of the major metropolis of imperialism, communist comrades are fighting daily to organize the working class for revolution.

We follow with appreciation your serious work of criticizing the opportunism accumulated over the years in the communist movement and in the international Marxist-Leninist trend. We look forward with interest to the new theoretical and political contributions of the MLP to the great common cause of building a new international communist movement, faithful to the revolutionary line of Marxism-Leninism.

Hoping that the ties between our two organizations continue to be strengthened, in the interest of the struggle against capitalism, imperialism and revisionism, accept, comrades, our warm greetings and sincere wishes for good work.

The 2nd Assembly of the OCPO

[Photo: Banners of the Communist Organization/Workers' Policy of Portugal supporting the strike struggles of the workers; denouncing imperialist aggression against Libya, Grenada, Nicaragua and other peoples; and opposing the political police apparatus of the capitalist regime.]

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The World in Struggle


Japanese protest U.S. nuclear warships

On August 24, protests were staged in a number of Japanese cities as a fleet of American warships made port calls. The largest action was in Sasebo near Nagasaki, where 8,000 people marched through the streets denouncing the U.S. government and the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty. In the port of Sasebo, scores of fishing boats and other small boats filled with anti-nuclear demonstrators surrounded the battleship U.S.S. New Jersey as it sailed into the harbor. Hundreds of protesters on the boats chanted slogans against the imperialist warship. Protests also took place in the ports of Kure near Hiroshima and Yokosuka near Tokyo.

Although the Pentagon refuses to confirm or deny it, it is widely assumed that at least some of the ships were carrying nuclear weapons. This would violate a Japanese government policy developed in the 1960's to appease the anti-war movement of that time: official policy prohibits nuclear weapons from being produced, owned or introduced into Japan. But to get around this prohibition the Japanese and American governments have developed a mutually satisfactory arrangement. The Japanese do not ask if the ships have nuclear weapons, and the Americans do not say.

In this way the Japanese imperialists maintain their military alliance with U.S. imperialism while maintaining a veneer of nuclear pacifism. This veneer has been wearing very thin recently, however, as the Nakasone government has been aggressively promoting militarist ideology as part of its "new nationalism.''

Progressive people in Japan are denouncing their government's imperialist hypocrisy. The recent protests show that, despite the government's "see no evil'' policy, the ordinary people in Japan can see clearly what is behind the "friendly visit'' of imperialist nuclear warships.

Upsurge in Pakistan

[Photo: Security police turn their backs and run from angry demonstrators in Karachi, Pakistan, August 15.]

The third week of August the toilers of Pakistan rose up in a week long storm of protest against the brutal regime of General Zia ul-Haq. The masses stormed police stations and jails, banks and railway stations. They tore up railroad tracks and threw up street barricades. At least 25 people lost their lives in sharp clashes with the police, while the masses themselves killed four policemen.

The immediate cause of the upsurge was the Pakistani government's crackdown on the liberal opposition led by Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto had been organizing a series of demonstrations demanding new elections and the end of Zia's rule. But on August 14 Zia's prime minister ordered Bhutto's arrest, followed by the arrest of more than a thousand opposition political leaders.

The toilers of Pakistan responded with strikes, protest marches, and other demonstrations against the government's repression. The protests were most militant in Bhutto's home province of Sind, where in the rural areas peasants destroyed jails and released some of the imprisoned political leaders. In Karachi, the major city of Sind, the workers and poor took to the streets and fought pitched battles with riot police, sometimes surprising them by answering the police shotguns and rifles with firearms of their own.

Bankruptcy of Bhutto's Strategy Exposed

Bhutto was arrested for insisting on calling opposition demonstrations on August 14, Pakistan's independence day. With this call Bhutto was trying to come forward as the staunchest defender of Pakistani nationalism. But the Zia regime was adamant that it alone can monopolize the banner of nationalism, and so it prohibited Bhutto's demonstrations.

Bhutto has based her strategy against Zia on the hope of fomenting a split between Zia and his civilian prime minister, Mohammad Khan Junejo. She has been calling on Junejo to dismiss Zia and supervise new elections which she expected to win. Thus it came as somewhat of a rude surprise for her when Junejo ordered her arrest.

What Bhutto's appeals to Junejo meant was that she hoped to work out a deal with a section of the capitalists, landlords and generals of Punjab province, who comprise the core of the Pakistani ruling class. But they were not swayed by her appeals to dump Zia and rally to her side.

Reagan Supports Zia While "Protesting" Bhutto's Arrest

Bhutto has also hoped to convince U.S. imperialism, which staunchly backs the Zia dictatorship, to switch its support to her side. In the struggle against Zia, she has worked hard to prevent the masses from taking a militant stand against imperialism. While the toilers in their demonstrations sharply denounce Washington, chanting slogans like "Bye-bye Zia, bye-bye Reagan,'' Bhutto will have none of that. She has even silenced elements in her party who criticized the U.S. The U.S. State Department is very pleased with this; as one U.S. diplomat said recently, "I'll give her credit; she's really turned the anti-U.S. rhetoric around.''

In gratitude for her role in undermining the opposition, the State Department officially condemned Bhutto's arrest, but that is as far as it went. The U.S. continues to support the myth of the Zia regime gradually evolving towards democracy, and it regards the recent repression as simply a minor wrinkle.

U.S. imperialism backs Zia because the Pakistani government is a bulwark of imperialism in the region. In particular, Reagan regards Pakistan as a crucial "front-line state'' against revolution and in Washington's superpower rivalry with the imperialist Soviet Union. It is through Pakistan that the U.S. funnels hundreds of millions of dollars to the reactionary Afghan groups who dominate the opposition to the oppressive Russian occupation regime in Kabul. Presently Pakistan is among the largest recipients of U.S. aid, and Reagan is proposing a new four-year $6 billion aid program this fall. Thus while mildly "protesting'' the arrest of Bhutto, the U.S. will not do anything to offend Zia.

A Crying Need for the Toilers to Cast Aside Liberal Treachery

In line with begging the exploiters and U.S. imperialism, among the masses Bhutto promotes a pacifist policy. She is opposed to militant struggle against the dictatorship. Before her arrest Bhutto bragged that 150,000 "doves of peace'' were fully mobilized, ready to pressure the government on her behalf. After her arrest, however, these "doves'' did not materialize. Instead those in the streets protesting the repression were militant proletarians and poor peasants.

The real fighters against tyranny in Pakistan are the exploited and downtrodden, the wage slaves and dirt-poor peasants. What is needed to carry their struggle forward is that they must cast aside the undermining activity of the liberal bourgeois opposition and rise up with their own independent stand.

The history of Pakistan since it was formed in 1947 has seen the ruling class imposing one dictatorship after another. And this history also has shown that the workers and peasants of Pakistan have a deep striving for freedom and democracy -- they have repeatedly taken to the streets in militant struggle. The Pakistani masses helped to bring down the military dictatorship of Ayub Khan in the late 60's and they rose up against the tyranny of Benazir Bhutto's father's regime in the 70's.

But because the toilers have been unable to forge their own independent revolutionary policy and organization, they have repeatedly had the fruits of their struggle stolen by this or that section of the exploiters. Today as the Pakistani masses heroically confront yet another tyranny, the times cry out for them to forge their own independent path.

Bolivian miners against the state of siege

On Friday, August 29, workers in Bolivia went on a one-day general strike to protest the state of siege declared the day earlier by the right-wing government of Victor Paz Estenssoro.

Under the state of siege, 162 union and left leaders were arrested, a hundred of whom were to be sent to remote detention camps. Political and union activity was banned; travel between cities prohibited; and a midnight to 6:00 a.m. curfew declared.

The call for the 24-hour protest strike was issued by union leaders who escaped arrest and were in hiding. All the country's 20,000 miners at 23 state- owned mines struck. Other factories were also shutdown.

The government had issued its state of siege in order to crush the struggle of the tin miners, who have been fighting the government's plans to close down most of the country's tin mines.

Tin is one of Bolivia's principal exports. Tin prices have been cut sharply this year by the world economic crisis. And the capitalist government has decided to have the miners bear the burden of the crisis. Seven thousand miners have already been dismissed. Plans announced early last week to shut down more mines will mean throwing out at least 8,000 more.

For weeks now, the miners have been taking militant action against this assault. The mining towns of Oruro and Potosi were paralyzed. And last week, 7,000 miners and their families set out on a 150-mile march from Oruro to La Paz, the capital. But when they got within 40 miles of La Paz, the state of siege was imposed and soldiers arrived to stop the march. March leaders were arrested; air force planes swooped overhead to frighten the workers; and the army began to load them in trucks to send them home.

Besides being directed at the miners' struggle, Paz Estenssoro's state of siege comes at a time of widespread ferment among the workers and peasants. Paz Estenssoro is driving the Bolivian workers into grinding poverty with his austerity policies. He insists that workers bear the burden of repaying foreign bank loans and making up for the collapse of world tin prices. He has laid off thousands of workers, frozen wages of public employees, and raised gasoline prices.

Only a week ago, on August 21 and 22, Bolivian workers carried out a two- day general strike against the austerity policies of the government. The strike also raised the demand for the immediate departure of U.S. troops now in Bolivia ostensibly for an anti-cocaine drive. (See article on page 2 about the use of U.S. troops in anti-drug campaigns in Bolivia and elsewhere.)

Paz Estenssoro hopes that repression will crush the working class rebellion. But this is quite unlikely. Only a year ago, his regime had declared another state of siege to put down working class unrest. But the workers rebounded from that setback. And they will again.

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