The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 17, No. 10


25ยข October 1, 1987

[Front page:

The peace pact doesn't defend Nicaragua;

Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists to tour the U.S.;

70th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia--No! To the capitalist system in the U.S.--No! To the present-day capitalist rule in Russia!--Stand up for socialist revolution along the path blazed by Lenin!]


New York: Build struggle against racist attacks.................................................... 2
Atlanta: Police caught murdering black man........................................................ 2
Pittsburgh: 600 march against racist brutality....................................................... 2
Chattanooga: Protest confronts KKK.................................................................... 2
Can a court full of Borks protect the workers?..................................................... 3

Ford guarantees jobs -- unless you get laid off.................................................... 3
GEN means guaranteed unemployment................................................................ 3
Union chiefs undercut Canadian Chrysler strike.................................................. 3

Why the solidarity movement should oppose the Central American pact............ 4
Democrats vote more money for contra killers.................................................... 4
Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninist on peace pact......................................................... 5
Help raise roof for workers' hall in Managua....................................................... 5
10,000 protest 'death train' at naval base............................................................. 6
Police can't stop angry greeting for contras......................................................... 7
Reagan and contras denounced in Los Angeles................................................... 7
ROTC building put under siege at UC Berkeley.................................................. 7

Gorbachev's band-aids for ailing state capitalism................................................ 8
Russian bus drivers strike..................................................................................... 8
The superpower missile deal: a double zero......................................................... 8
The working class is the force for change............................................................ 9
1917 Russian Socialist Revolution new to history................................................ 9

Thousands in Boston march for Haitian liberation............................................... 10
Korean Hyundai workers back on strike............................................................... 10
News from Iran: strike wave in brickyards; actions in revolutionary Kurdistan.. 11

The peace pact doesn't defend Nicaragua

Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists to tour the U.S.

70th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia

More assaults by racist gangs in New York City

Build the struggle against racist attacks!

Protest confronts KKK in Chattanooga

Atlanta police caught in the act of murdering a black man

600 protesters march against racist brutality in Pittsburgh

Can a court full of Borks protect the workers?

Ford contract guarantees jobs -- unless you get laid off

Why the solidarity movement should oppose the Central America pact

While they talk peace

Democrats vote more money for the contra killers

Chilo Tellez of MLP of Nicaragua on peace pact

Build the struggle against Reagan's dirty war in Central America!

Gorbachev's 'renewal': Band-aids for an ailing state capitalism

Russian bus drivers strike

The superpower missile deal: a double zero

From South Korea to South Africa

The working class is the force for change

The 1917 socialist revolution in Russia was new in history

Thousands in Boston commemorate Antoine Thurel

'May Haiti live for the new liberation!'

Korean Hyundai workers back on strike

News from Iran:

The peace pact doesn't defend Nicaragua

Official Washington is abuzz with "hope" about the Central America peace plan. Even Reagan says he supports it. For all the fuss, one might think an end to the U.S. aggression against Nicaragua is at hand.

Unfortunately, this is far from true. Our government is lying to us again when it talks about "peace." And a cynical game is being played against Nicaragua.

Reagan Keeps Beating the War Drums

Oh yes, Reagan says he will accept the peace plan. At the same time, he swears that he will never abandon his mercenary contra army, as the White' House pushes for another $270 million to help the contra mercenaries ravage Nicaraguan villages.

The U.S. economic blockade and military encirclement of Nicaragua remains in force. Last month, anti-intervention activist Brian Willson was run over by a munitions train in a show of Pentagon resolve that it won't be deterred in militarizing Central America.

Senate Republican leader Robert Dole talks glibly about assassinating Nicaraguan leaders and threatens Nicaragua with "a little three-day invasion."

The Reaganites say that all this war-making is really for peace. If there is any chance of Nicaragua being made to comply with the Central American peace plan, they argue, it will be through the force of contra arms and military threats.

What About the Peace Plan?

Meanwhile, voices in Congress are protesting that Rambo Reagan is putting the Central America peace plan in peril.

But will the peace plan really put an end to the U.S. government's drive to strangle Nicaragua? Not hardly.

The pact for a "strong and lasting peace" was signed in Guatemala City by the five Central American presidents in August. It is supposed to go into force November 7. The plan rests on the death-squad regimes of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala and was drafted by the pro-U.S. capitalists of Costa Rica. These are the same governments which have given the CIA-contra operation every type of assistance (military camps in Honduras and Costa Rica, weapons and training from the Guatemalan and Salvadoran military.)

The plan implies a promise to "request" that Washington stop arming the contras.

That, however, doesn't mean that the U.S. will ease up on the pressure. Even in words the plan does nothing against the Pentagon's militarization of the region. The U.S. economic blockade and military encirclement can remain in force. And Washington will debate how much aid it can give the contras without taking the blame for torpedoing the pact.

But for U.S. imperialism and its Central American flunkeys, the value of the plan is that it provides a diplomatic weapon. It means an escalation of the diplomatic front of the war on the revolution of the workers and poor in Nicaragua. Even Rambo Reagan recognizes this, despite his preference for his beloved mercenary army of killers, kidnappers and rapists.

Squeezing Nicaragua to the Wall

Unfortunately, the Sandinista government has agreed to this Central America plan. Over the last weeks it has taken dramatic steps to please its reactionary neighbors and their American bosses.

Among other things, the Nicaraguan government is giving the pro-contra forces inside the country free rein to produce the La Prensa newspaper and other CIA tools of disinformation. Cardinal Obando y Bravo, who has gathered the wealthy pro-contra sympathizers around his religious robes, has been put at the head of the "national reconciliation commission."

Moreover, the welcome mat has gone out for a number of criminals involved in contra terror. Also, the law has been retracted that allowed for the seizure of the property of those who flee the country to link up with the contra forces. And the Sandinista government has begun a unilateral cease-fire, giving Reagan's mercenaries a much-needed breathing space.

The Sandinistas hope that these concessions will help lift the ring of fire against them. So far, Reagan isn't impressed. He only demands more, denouncing every concession as a "sham."

Last week Reagan sent his special ambassador Morris Busby to tell the pro-U.S. governments that even if Nicaragua lives up to the Central America plan, that's not good enough. Busby carried a list of further U.S. demands, including that Managua must directly negotiate with Reagan's contras. The White House is also demanding new elections where the contra leaders not only can run, but the CIA has free room to finance them and oversee the results.

In short, Reagan wants a complete surrender. He wants to impose "freedom" at the point of a Pentagon bayonet -- "freedom" for the contras to rig up a new pro-U.S. Dictatorship.

Congress Votes More Contra Aid

Congress wants the same thing. Even the liberal "doves" agree that what's at stake in Nicaragua is defense of "U.S. interests." They too seek "freedom" for the pro-contra forces which will safeguard U.S. corporate and military interests.

But some feel that Reagan should be more patient with the Central America plan. They argue that more can be gained at the negotiating table than through more funds for the corrupt and discredited contras. That's why the Democratic leadership wants to postpone talk of long-term contra funding until after the November 7 deadline.

This doesn't mean that the Congress has finally backed off from supporting the contras. Far from it.

Congress has just rubber-stamped another $3.5 million in "humanitarian aid" for the contras. (The Iran-contra hearings showed just how useful such aid is for "humanitarian" army boots, vehicles and other tools of war.)

Jim Wright and Chris Dodd and other Democratic leaders said they wanted to avoid a "divisive" fight over this interim aid. But with this vote Congress signaled that it too wants to keep the contras as a reserve force to be put into action as needed.

After all, the peace plan may fall apart. Nicaragua may fail to move quickly enough in dismantling the gains of the revolution to please the overlords in Washington. Or maybe the Ollie North-type dirty tricksters will fabricate an incident to scuttle the plan.

If the plan unravels, the Democratic Party heroes can say they've done their best for a "peaceful solution." Then the haggling can begin again over contra aid -- over how many millions are needed to keep up the pressure by keeping the blood flowing in the Nicaraguan villages.

Now Is the Time to Act

The American working and progressive people want no part of this. We want a real fight against the dirty U.S. war on the workers and poor of Nicaragua. That's why we must not let all the chatter about the Central America plan take us off our guard.

This struggle has been brought closer to home with the murder of Ben Linder and now with the Pentagon's maiming of Brian Willson. The powerful mass actions in the San Francisco Bay Area in response to Willson's sacrifice can only help inspire the anti-intervention struggle across the country.

It should be noted that in every one of these actions there has been a sharp struggle over how to build the movement. This is a rift between the activists who want to act and those who want to beg. There are the masses who want to build a serious mass struggle against the interventionists; and there are those honchos who preach faith in the Congress and the Central America plan.

Now is the time. Let's take to the streets against Reagan's dirty war! Let's build the fight against U.S. imperialism's big power dictate! Let's defend the Central American people's right to self-determination! Let's support the revolutions of the workers and the poor!


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Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists to tour the U.S.


In November the voice of the Nicaraguan workers can be heard right here in the U.S. A leader of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MLPN) is coming to speak at public meetings in a number of cities. If you want to know the truth about the situation in Nicaragua today; if you want to show your support for the revolutionary workers and peasants; if you want to oppose our "own" government's dirty war on Nicaragua -- come out to the meetings.

Organizer of the Class Struggle

The MLPN is the party of the class conscious workers in Nicaragua.

During the struggle against the Somoza tyranny, the MLPN (then known as the Movement of Popular Action/ML) organized important strikes and built a toilers' militia that took an active part in the victorious insurrection.

Today the MLPN participate? in the fight against the dirty CIA-contra war on Nicaragua and works to build up the struggle against the internal counterrevolution of the Nicaraguan capitalists and landlords. The MLPN, and its trade union center called Frente Obrero, are organizing the workers in the workshops and the poor peasants in the fields. It is guiding the struggle of the masses to defend their class interests against the devastating effects of the economic crisis. And it is training the workers and peasants to stand independent of the petty-bourgeois Sandinista regime and to oppose its concessions to the exploiters.

Self-Determination for Nicaragua

Right now the U.S. imperialists are not just backing the contra murderers. They are also stepping up diplomatic blackmail around the regional Central American peace agreement. They are trying to pressure the Sandinista government to grant still more concessions to the counterrevolutionary, exploiters in the country.

The MLPN spokesman is coming to speak to the U.S. workers and activists to ask for support against this U.S. interference. The U.S. government has no right to dictate terms to Nicaragua. We must oppose our "own" government and defend Nicaragua's right to self-determination.

Today defense of Nicaraguan self-determination means support for the workers and peasants. It was they who fought and died to free Nicaragua from the Somoza tyranny. And they are the force that can stand up to U.S. imperialism and its friends inside Nicaragua.

The MLPN is organizing the workers and peasants for just such a struggle. It is answering the present imperialist-bourgeois offensive by stepping up its work among the masses.

Developing the Revolution Towards Socialism

This tour is being organized by the MLP,USA as a part of our work to build strong ties of solidarity between the U.S. and Nicaraguan workers and to encourage the fight against Reagan and his gang of imperialist war dogs.

The tour is also connected to our Party's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia. Today capitalism has been restored in Russia, and its rulers not only exploit the Russian workers to the bone but they are also collaborating with the U.S. imperialists to strangle the Nicaraguan revolution. But the revolutionary trail opened up by the Russian workers back in 1917 remains a model for how to fight and defeat the exploiters. The light of Leninism and the workers' revolution has never been extinguished. It can be seen today in the work of the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists.

The MLPN has shown that the defense of the gains of the insurrection against Somoza requires deepening the struggle against the Nicaraguan exploiters and suppressing their attempts at counterrevolution. It requires carrying forward the revolution and marching forward towards socialism. Under the sword of the CIA-contra war and the imperialist diplomatic pressure, the struggle in Nicaragua is growing more difficult. But the MLPN has put its faith in the revolutionary capacity of the working class and is persisting on the path opened by the Russian workers 70 years ago.

This November come out and meet a spokesman of these principled revolutionary fighters. There is always the danger that the U.S. State Department will try to block such a tour. But the dates and locations of the meetings will be announced soon.

Down with the U.S. imperialist aggression against Nicaragua!

Defend the Nicaraguan right to self-determination!

Solidarity with the fighting workers and peasants!

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70th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia

No! To the capitalist system in the U.S.

No! To the present-day capitalist rule in Russia!

Stand up for socialist revolution along the path blazed by Lenin!

This year's celebration of the U.S. Constitution has had a hollow ring in the ears of the workers and oppressed.

We're told that the Constitution is the most perfect protection of our liberties.

But did it protect the PATCO workers when Reagan decided to crush their strike and to fire all of the air traffic controllers? Did it safeguard the Hormel strikers when the government unleashed the National Guard against them? Has it prevented Reagan from turning back the clock on the rights won by black people in the 1960's or stopped the racist murders like that of Michael Griffith in Howard Beach? Has the Constitution prevented Reagan from organizing the CIA war on Nicaragua, or from backing up the Salvadoran death squads, or from sending warships to trample on the people in the far-off Persian Gulf?


The U.S. Constitution does not protect "we the people" -- the rich and poor alike. It protects the status quo, the rule of the capitalists. For the workers, the poor, the oppressed nationalities, our rights are only those that have been won through struggle and are defended by struggle.

Lighting the Path Out of Misery

But this year there is another anniversary to celebrate. One for the workers. Not a eulogy for things as they are, but a celebration of progressive change. Not a glorification of resignation to oppression, but a celebration of the class struggle against it. This is the anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia.

Seventy years ago the Russian workers -- organized into their own working class party led by Lenin -- took to the streets in struggle. And they turned the world upside down.

Instead of a handful of rich rulers, the workers took power themselves. They used their workers' state to suppress the resistance of the exploiters and to protect democracy for the majority -- the workers, peasants, and all oppressed. They withdrew Russia from the imperialist bloodletting of World War I. They put a stop to the racist riots against the oppressed nationalities, banned discrimination and gave them self-determination. They began to put an end to economic crisis and unemployment. They began to build socialism and to cut away at the exploitation of man by man.

The socialist revolution of October 1917 demonstrated that it is revolution, not constitutionalism, that can end the misery of the masses. It showed that it is the working class that is the driving force for such revolutionary change.

Present-Day Capitalist Role in Russia Shows Need to Fight Revisionism

It was only when the Russian leaders flinched and stopped relying on the revolutionary drive of the working class that the degeneration of socialism in Russia began. They declared the revolutionary path of 1917 outdated, tearing the heart out of communism. Eventually capitalism was restored in Russia. And today the bureaucratic elite lord it over the workers.

This setback to working class rule shows that it is necessary to fight revisionism in order to uphold socialism. We must uphold the path of class struggle against all those leaders who would discard it, be they our "own" trade union bureaucrats and apologists of the Democratic Party or Russian revisionist big-shots who have consigned Leninism to historical museums.

But Today's Events Show Revolution Striving to Come Forward

The truth displayed in the October Revolution and Leninism has not, however, been extinguished. We can see the potential power of the workers in the strikes in South Korea, South Africa, and elsewhere. We can see the role of revolution as the force for change in the determined struggle of the toilers for revolution in Central America.

And the example of the October Socialist Revolution also teaches about how to prepare for revolution during the long, slow years that precede a revolutionary situation. It lights our path for organizing the workers to stand up independent of the Democratic and Republican parties of the capitalists. It teaches about the need for the working class to organize its own political party. It inspires the various mass struggles by showing how they help build up towards an ultimate showdown against exploitation and oppression.

This fall, while the capitalists sing psalms to the U.S. Constitution, let us turn our minds to the path of working class struggle and revolution. You who are on the picket lines, striking against the capitalists' concessions drive; you who are resisting racist attacks and protesting the immigration raids and deportations; you who are protesting the imperialist war on Central America and the racist regime in South Africa; you who are rising in struggle and fighting for a new life -- look to the path of working class revolution. Study its lessons. Spread its truth. Organize the workers after its example.

Today the working class struggle in the U.S. shows but the spark of the class struggle. But following the path of proletarian revolution we too --just like the Russian workers did -- can turn things upside down.

[Photo: Demonstration of women workers in Petrograd, Russia -- 1917]

Inside -- page 8 and 9

* 1917 socialist revolution in Russia

* Working class: force for change around the world

* Gorbachev's band-aids for ailing state capitalism

[Photo: Struggle against the 'death train' and other actions against the U.S. war in Central America--see pages 6-7]

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More assaults by racist gangs in New York City

Build the struggle against racist attacks!

Within the first two weeks of September alone, bat-wielding gangs of racist whites launched three separate assaults on black and Latino youth. On September 2, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, a gang of 20 whites chased and beat three young blacks on their way home from work at a local supermarket. On September 9th, 10 whites attacked five black and Hispanic youth who had gone to a park in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn to play basketball. The very next day, bats again went to work as five whites attacked a 16-year-old black who had been distributing Sears advertising fliers in Ozone Park, Queens.

Meanwhile, side by side with the increase in organized bashings of minority youth, the Howard Beach trial is unfolding. There is more than a little similarity between the recent wave of racist assaults and the white mob attack on three blacks in Howard Beach last December. Except that the recent victims walked away wounded -- but alive -- while Michael Griffith was killed by a car on the Belt Parkway where he had been chased by the bloodthirsty racists.

Despite these facts, the police could find no evidence, the Queens District Attorney could not prosecute and the courts could not hold the Howard Beach racists for trial! A storm of demonstrations and protest meetings refused to accept this cover-up. Suddenly, Cuomo was forced to appoint a special prosecutor, and "new evidence" led to numerous indictments and the current trial, nine months later.

Now the prosecutor, Hynes, is publicly insisting that he never intended to try the case as a racist attack. He will treat the death of Michael Griffith as an ordinary murder case. Meaning? The prosecution itself is throwing away the motive for the attack. Result? The defense lawyers and the racist media have a field day redefining the Howard Beach attack as a "confrontation" between two equally belligerent groups. At the same time, the media are now creating a furor over the fact that one of the blacks even had a knife which he took out (but never had a chance to use) in self-defense.

Imagine the hypocrisy! The same courts and media that made Bernhard Goetz into a hero for shooting down four unarmed black youth in cold blood are now damning the black victims in Howard Beach as villains looking for trouble because one of them reportedly displayed a knife. No doubt, if and when the racists come to trial for the current wave of racist attacks, the police, courts and media will say that the blacks were provoking the whites by wielding a razor-sharp Sears flier and concealing a basketball with intent to commit a felony!

It all boils down to this: The "long arm of the law" manages to shrink considerably when it comes to racist attackers and would-be murderers of blacks and other minorities. City Hall may shed a tear here and there before the cameras, yet embraces the racists in every practical way to prevent their effective prosecution. And the capitalist media strains every microphone and pen to evoke sympathy for the racists and smear the black victims.

This is why the attacks will not just go away -- why, in fact, racist gang assaults and police murders are on the rise. These vicious assaults may have been separated by time, space and participants, but they were linked by a common thread -- racism that is winked at, promoted and organized by the capitalist authorities from Reagan on down.

That is why it is futile to rely on the police, special prosecutors or the courts for an end to the racist attacks, or even to win justice for their victims. It is up to us to beat back the racist attacks. We must build an organized and militant anti-racist movement which confronts the racist authorities, thugs, and media at every turn. Only a united struggle of the black and working masses offers a real hope of justice and the prospect of stopping the racists in their tracks.

(Sept. 19 leaflet of MLP-New York.)

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Protest confronts KKK in Chattanooga


Hundreds of people protested against a KKK rally outside the Chattanooga, Tennessee City Hall on August 29. Bourgeois politicians and reformist church leaders had told people to "stay away" and "ignore the Klan." But the angry masses came out anyway. They raised banners condemning racism and the KKK. They lambasted the police and city officials for protecting the racist group. And they denounced a string of racist shootings by the police themselves.

Recently a young black man was shot in the stomach, his hands cuffed behind his back, for the "suspicious-looking" activity of walking his bike with a friend. The police made the ridiculous claim that he shot himself with a gun supposedly hidden in his trousers. Meanwhile, the Klan hailed the shooting as another terrific "law and order" killing. The KKK called their rally to support the police in this and some 30 other racist shootings. And the police returned the favor by surrounding the anti-racist protest with swat teams and mounted police. Towards the rally's end, the police charged into the crowd and arrested several demonstrators.

The collaboration of the city officials, the police and the KKK has become, all too obvious in Chattanooga! The black masses declared NO! to the racism, to the police shootings, and to the KKK.

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Atlanta police caught in the act of murdering a black man

On September 13, over 400 people poured into the streets of an Atlanta housing project to denounce a racist execution by the police. Although Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young is black, the racist terror against the black working people in the city has not stopped. This day residents of the Carver Homes housing project caught some of Young's "finest" in the act. The police had pursued a suspected car thief. They threw the black man to the ground, handcuffed him, and threatened to shoot. Residents had called out, "Don't kill him. You got him handcuffed. Don't shoot him." But as one policeman sat on his back the other went ahead and fired five bullets into his back at point blank range. As one resident put it, "He executed that man."

Mayor Young did nothing but have the police investigate themselves. Joseph Lowery, the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has called for the case to be reviewed by the city's Civilian Review Board. But tying up the matter in endless investigations and red tape won't stop the racist murders. The black masses want justice. They were right to come out in mass protest. More will have to be called, and the movement built up independent of the black misleaders.

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600 protesters march against racist brutality in Pittsburgh

On September 19, up to 600 people marched through a downpour in the Morningside section of Pittsburgh. They were protesting a string of attacks this summer on black people and their homes by racist gangs in this white enclave and in other Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

The demonstration was held despite interference by the police. In the week preceding the march, the police tried to intimidate anti-racists with rumors that an out-of-state hate group was on its way from Alabama or Georgia to disrupt the protest. The night before the march, policemen on night shift were issued their own cans of spray paint to supposedly "obscure racist slurs" that had been painted in the neighborhood. But the next morning there was only a partial covering of only a few of the slurs. Meanwhile even more racist filth appeared on sidewalks, stores and right across the door of the church where the marchers were to rally. As the activists gathered for the march about thirty racists, some wearing swastikas, hung behind the protection of the chief of police.

Despite the police attempts to assist the racists and disrupt the protest, the marchers sent their message loud and clear. Racist brutality won't be tolerated in Pittsburgh.

[Photo: Hundreds march in the rain in Pittsburgh outraged against a series of racist attacks, September 19.]

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Can a court full of Borks protect the workers?

Reagan has nominated Robert Bork to be a Supreme Court justice. And it turns out Bork is a first-class yo-yo. Bork opposes the rights of the people. In every case when he dissented from other judges, he either ruled in favor of business against "big government," or he ruled in favor of this same "big government" against the rights of the workers, or women, or minorities.

As the Senate debates Bork, there is article after article in the press on Bork's views. The liberal Democrats are telling us that the Supreme Court will strip all the rights of the people if Bork is nominated. Meanwhile the conservative Republicans are rubbing their hands with glee over the same prospect.

So it turns out that the rulings of the Supreme Court depend on accidents such as whether Bork is confirmed. And even if Bork is turned down, Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justice Scalia have more or less the same views anyway, and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has almost the same views, and the Democrats were happy to help Reagan put them on the Supreme Court. Reagan has appointed a large part of the federal judges, putting little Borks on the federal circuit and appeals courts everywhere.

Indeed, Democrat and Republican agreed with giving Bork a seat on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia. The politicians who today are shouting themselves hoarse against Bork themselves agree with appointing Bork to everything but the swing position on the Supreme Court. And they have collaborated with Reagan in putting Bork clones all over the court system.

What kind of protection for the rights of the workers is the Supreme Court when its decisions depend on whether the liberals are willing to mount a filibuster to stop the nomination of Bork? (The Democratic-controlled Senate is still a Reaganite Senate.) And what is modern "constitutional law" when everyone admits that it has only the vaguest resemblance to the actual Constitution itself?

Yes, surprise, surprise! Many liberals agree with Bork when he says that the Constitution doesn't actually grant various rights. They instead insist on "precedent," or previous Supreme Court decisions. They demand that Bork respect these "precedents." In short, the Supreme Court doesn't interpret the Constitution -- it interprets the opinion of the bourgeoisie and spouts it in a ''constitutional" guise.

The Supreme Court is no protection at all. The working class has only the rights it fights for. When the capitalists feel that they have to concede something to the masses, they may have their judges "discover" something in the Constitution. When the capitalists feel like taking rights away, it is easy to find thousands of hatchet-men like Bork who will insist that the "strict construction" of the Constitution denies these rights.

No illusions in a court system full of Borks. No illusions in the allegiance of the capitalists to a 200-year-old scrap of paper. Get organized to fight the capitalist class!

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Ford contract guarantees jobs -- unless you get laid off

Ford and the UAW leadership settled a tentative contract on September 17. They both have been glorifying it as supposedly guaranteeing the jobs of all the Ford workers. But the rank and file is skeptical.

Workers have hotly denounced the contract at a number of union informational meetings at the Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan where some 13,000 workers are now employed. It seems that the union leaders have been unable to show how the so-called "Guaranteed Employment Numbers" (GEN) program differs from the normal boom-bust layoff cycle in the auto industry. As one Rouge worker put it, "If the plant goes down, they're going to lay off anyway, and if sales don't (go down) we're going to work anyway, so what's the job security thing? A lot of mumbo-jumbo, that's all we're dealing with."

Workers at the Rouge, at Ford's Kansas City operation, at its stamping plant in Woodhaven, Michigan, and at other large plants are also opposing the concessions that the UAW leaders gave away to Ford. They are especially angry at the agreement to impose "team system" speedup and other job combination schemes.

Would there be such wide-scale disgruntlement with this contract if it really guaranteed the workers' jobs? No, this is a sellout agreement. GM workers should pay attention. GM is on a rampage of plant closings and layoffs.

And the UAW leaders' "model" job security won't do much to stop it. All the auto workers -- at GM, Ford, Chrysler/ AMC, and other companies -- must get prepared to wage determined mass actions to defend their jobs.

Below we carry an article exposing some of the rotten features of the Ford-UAW "Guaranteed Employment Numbers" program. This article is based in part on the September 16 issue of the Detroit Workers' Voice which was distributed to the Ford Rouge workers and helped to fuel their opposition.

Union chiefs undercut Canadian Chrysler strike


Ten thousand Canadian workers struck four Chrysler plants for several days. They won improved pensions, including limited protection from inflation for new retirees. But, unfortunately, the leaders of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) stopped the strike short.

A number of Chrysler plants in the U.S. had already been shut down due to parts shortages caused by the strike. And if the workers had held out Chrysler would have been completely closed down. But CAW president Robert White called the workers back before their full demands were met. The cost-of-living protection for the new pensions was capped at 6% and the old pensions were kept at small annual increases. What is worse, White traded the pension improvements for job- eliminating concessions to Chrysler. White agreed to work with Chrysler to cut job classifications, gut protective work rules, and grab other concessions at Chrysler's Canadian plants.

Workers in the U.S. and Canada face the same attacks by the auto billionaires. They also face similar company unionism by the union bureaucrats. The rank and file must oppose the feuding union sellouts in the two countries and link arms for a common struggle to defend their jobs and livelihood.

'Guaranteed employment numbers' means guaranteed unemployment

Ford has agreed with the UAW heads to a new "job security" program called "Guaranteed Employment Numbers" (GEN). But it seems that what is guaranteed here is more layoffs. Look at some of its features:

* The laid off are left out in the cold. There are more than 7,500 Ford workers who are presently on indefinite layoff. The contract does not give them jobs. Nor does it give them full pay and benefits.

* Guaranteeing Ford's right to lay off workers. GEN contains a giant loophole. According to a statement by the UAW leadership, the GEN "will lock in current job levels at all units in all locations, and will prevent layoff for virtually any reason except carefully defined volume reductions linked to market conditions." In other words, Ford can lay off as many workers as it wants to whenever it likes. It only must first complain of economic problems, such as a sales slump. Or put another way, you have "job security" until you're laid off. As the September 18 issue of the Wall Street Journal, an important mouthpiece of the capitalists, states: "Even some Ford officials privately say this won't significantly alter what they would have done otherwise."

As well, there are letters of agreement in this contract granting Ford the right to eliminate jobs at some particular plants. For example, there is a special agreement on the Ford Rouge assembly and stamping plants in which Ford agrees to maintain 1,500 jobs at the plants until 1992. But there are now over 3,700 workers at these two plants. This means the UAW leaders have agreed to let Ford eliminate 2,239 jobs at these two plants alone.

*Guaranteeing Ford's right to cut jobs. The contract allows Ford to cut jobs through "attrition." The only restriction appears to be that Ford must call back one worker for every two jobs it eliminates.

* Plant closings still allowed. Plants already closed, like the coke ovens at Ford Rouge, will not be reopened. And plants scheduled for closings -- such as the foundry in Canton, Ohio and the radiator plant in Green Island, New York -- will be allowed to close. There is a "moratorium" on plant closings in the contract, but there was also one in the last contract and the UAW leaders themselves have admitted that Ford got around that provision by selling off plants, etc.

After you wipe out all the jobs listed above, what's left of the "job guarantees"? But the sellout doesn't stop here.

*Concessions for plant-by-plant speedup and job combination. The UAW leaders have also agreed to help Ford cut job classifications, gut protective work rules, and impose "team system" speedup on a plant-by-plant basis. This can only lead to overwork and more job elimination.

Ford's key aim in these talks has been to split up the workers and make plant compete against plant over which will give up the most concessions. The UAW leaders have agreed to help Ford carry out this vicious attack. In fact, they are to set up joint Ford-UAW committees to propose concessions at individual plants to make them "competitive" with nonunion sweatshops.

Enough is enough! Ford has made billions upon billions off the workers. It's time the workers' needs were met. Say no to this sellout deal! Spread the word against this contract through every plant! Denounce the contract at union meetings! And use all this work to get organized independently of the sellout union bureaucracy! The workers must have real job protection. Get organized to fight for it!

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Why the solidarity movement should oppose the Central America pact

The U.S. aggression in Central America is unpopular with the working people.

But what should the solidarity movement demand? Should it stand up in favor of the Central American revolutions? Or should it support the Arias peace plan of the Central American regimes and the congressional Democrats?

We believe that the solidarity movement cannot support the Arias plan without trampling on the most basic principles, the most basic stands that many activists have stood for.

The Arias Plan Denies the Right to Self-Determination

The Arias plan denies the right to self-determination of the Nicaraguan people. Its whole premise is that Nicaraguan affairs must be arranged in a way acceptable to the neighboring reactionary governments. Nothing must be done that would upset the pro-U.S. death-squad regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and the "moderate" pro-U.S. regime in Costa Rica.

The Arias Plan Allows the U.S. to Dictate to Nicaragua

But actually it is the U.S. which will dictate to Nicaragua under the Arias plan. The pro-U.S. regimes in Central America will simply transmit U.S. dictates.

The various provisions in the Arias plan won't be interpreted according to what you or I or the Sandinistas think they mean. They will be interpreted according to the U.S. Congress, the U.S. State Department, and the Reagan administration. The Arias plan doesn't bind the U.S., but it requires the U.S. to support it if it is to work. It is aimed at persuading Reagan to relent by providing guarantees to the U.S. government.

The Arias Plan Aims at Strengthening the Nicaraguan Bourgeoisie Against the Toilers

The Arias plan talks a lot about democracy and freedom. And what's wrong with democracy? The workers and peasants need freedom in order to organize in their own right.

But there is one big problem. The type "democracy" that title Arias plan is talking about is Reaganite "democracy." It means dressing up the old pro-Somoza forces and the present-day bombers of health clinics and collective farms as the "democratic opposition." It means giving more and more concessions and privileges to the contras, to the murderers of the working people. It means flooding the country with newspapers and TV stations financed by the CIA and the Central American bourgeoisie. (Already the Latin American bourgeoisie is talking about financing a TV station for the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie, while the CIA gives subsidies to La Prensa and reactionary Nicaraguans.)

The Arias plan sooner or later means repressing the workers and peasants who would otherwise demonstrate with full anger against the profits and privileges of the bourgeoisie. Already the demands are being made that neighborhood committees be disbanded and that the Nicaraguan military be made over in the pattern of the other Central American countries.

The Arias Plan Legitimizes the Contras

Some people say that the Arias plan legitimizes the Nicaraguan government.

That is nonsense. The Nicaraguan government was already a recognized government, recognized in Central America and around the world and with full standing in international bodies such as the UN and the World Court. More importantly, the Nicaraguan revolution is recognized and supported by all progressive people around the world.

The Arias plan doesn't give any more recognition to the Nicaraguan revolution. On the contrary, it legitimizes the CIA's hatchet men, the bloodstained, murdering contras. It declares that the contras are equal to the revolutionary forces in El Salvador or the progressive opponents of tyranny elsewhere in Latin America. All "destabilizing" forces are morally equivalent -- that is the basic rhetoric of the Arias plan.

The Arias Plan Does Not Stop the U.S. War Against Nicaragua

The Arias plan is being trumpeted as the end of the U.S. war on Nicaragua. This is simply not true.

Even the full implementation of the Arias plan would not require ending the U.S. embargo against Nicaragua and other fierce economic pressure. It leaves the U.S. free to starve the Nicaraguan people.

The Arias plan does not require removing U.S. naval forces from the coast of Central America or U.S. bases from countries neighboring Nicaragua. It leaves a gigantic force available to invade Nicaragua or support new mercenary forces at a moment's notice.

The Arias plan does not even require ending the contra war on Nicaragua. It only "requests" that the U.S. stop funding the contras -- and even then allows loopholes for "humanitarian" funding. Arias himself prettifies U.S. "humanitarian" funding of the contras under big words about ending "military funding." Shades of the notoriously ineffective Boland amendment!

And the Arias plan does not require closing down contra bases in Honduras and Costa Rica. It only requires that these countries "reaffirm their commitment" against being used as contra bases. This only requires them to step up their hypocritical denials of aiding the contras.

The Arias Plan Calls for Ending the Revolution in El Salvador

The Arias plan demands an end to the "destabilizing" of El Salvador and other death-squad regimes in Central America. It demands that the insurgent forces lay down their arms and believe in the promises of "amnesty" and "democracy." Meanwhile it says nothing about how the insurgent workers and peasants are to be protected from the death squads. And it says nothing about how workers and peasants are to compete "democratically" against the huge funds and apparatus of the CIA and the State Department.

But the Sandinistas Support the Arias Plan

Some activists hold that everyone must support the Arias plan because the Nicaraguan government has agreed to it. But just because the Sandinistas have been forced, under the pressure of the U.S. bayonet and of Soviet oil cutbacks, to agree to this plan does not mean that the solidarity movement must do so. Otherwise the solidarity movement would simply become another way of pressuring Nicaragua to surrender, another force demanding concessions from Nicaragua.

Support the Revolutionary Toilers of Nicaragua

And the Sandinista government is not the same as the Nicaraguan revolution, and it is not the same as the workers and peasants of Nicaragua. It is the workers and peasants who must have the final say on the regional peace plan. There is already some discontent among the masses and disagreement even among the Sandinista supporters. And the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua is leading a campaign against reorganizing Nicaragua according to the whims of Reagan and Arias.

Continue the Struggle Against Imperialism and the Bourgeoisie

The Arias plan will not bring peace to Central America. It is simply the diplomatic cover to U.S. aggression against Nicaragua. If the solidarity movement is going to continue to oppose U.S. imperialism, if it is going to continue to oppose the outrageous exploitation of the Central American workers and peasants, it will have to oppose the Arias plan.

For more on the Arias plan, see The Workers' Advocate Supplement of September 10, 1987 (which includes the official text of the plan) and The Workers' Advocate of September 1.

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While they talk peace

Democrats vote more money for the contra killers

The Central American peace pact (or Arias plan) is supposed to put an end to the CIA's contra war against Nicaragua. But the Democratic Party, the champions of the peace pact, have once again voted money for the contras. The Democratic-controlled House and Senate have just approved another $3.5 million for the contras.

The contras are being funded to ensure that Nicaragua makes enough concessions to the Reagan administration. The Democrats promise that they may cut off funding for the contras sometime after November 7, if the Nicaraguans can come to terms with Reagan and his puppets in Central America. Last year, when the Democrats voted for $100 million in military aid to the contras, they assured the world that this was the very last time they would fund the contras, come hell or high water. Now however we are in the era of the great peace pact. This is supposed to justify "stopgap aid" until the November 7 deadline in the peace plan. And it is supposed to justify continuing to fund the contras if the Sandinista government doesn't get a stamp of approval on November 7 from the neighboring pro-U.S. Allies.

The new $3.5 million in aid is supposed to last between the expiration of the $100 million in contra aid on October 1 and the new 1988 spending bills in Congress, expected to be enacted some time around November 10. So this money amounts to an annual rate of about $32 million per year. (And this is in addition to other blood money that the contras already are receiving. In August, Democratic Speaker of the House Jim Wright admitted that ' 'There is enough money in the pipeline already appropriated for any foreseeable needs of the contras well through November.") At one time this would have been considered a lot of money for murder and arson against the Nicaraguan people. But after years of the Democratic Party "restricting" or "eliminating" this aid, and after months of the Iran-contra investigations, and after the signing of the peace pact, $32 million per year is now considered a small amount, hardly worth mentioning. Why, the Democrats say, you should be happy that they didn't immediately pass Reagan's request for funding the entire year.

Of course, this money is supposed to be for "humanitarian" aid. Why it is considered "humanitarian" to fund the CIA's war on Nicaragua is a mystery that only the liberal Democrats can fathom. You would think that "humanitarian" would mean giving aid to the victims of the contras, but that's not how the liberals think. They pride themselves, however, on having attached restrictions to how this money is going to be spent. After month after month of testimony to Congress of how previous restrictions had no effect at all, the Democratic Party is ready to trust the Reagan administration again. Of course, Reagan wouldn't think of violating such restrictions. No, indeed. And of course the CIA and the thousands of little Ollie Norths running around wouldn't think of using additional secret funds to aid the contras. No, indeed. Why, the faith of the liberals in the CIA and Reagan is simply unbounded.

A Violation of the Peace Pact?

But in funding the contras, the Democrats are simply following in the spirit of the Central American peace pact. This pact itself talks of allowing humanitarian aid for the contras. And Arias himself, the author of the plan, has even held that it is a matter to be "discussed" whether the contras should continue to receive "food and supplies" even after a cease-fire. (New York Times, Aug. 12)

Indeed, Arias spoke to Congress just before it passed the contra aid. He puffed himself up and talked about "call[ing] on any powers intervening in the region to suspend military aid." (Associated Press, Sept. 24) Naturally he knew full well that Congress was debating funding the contras under the cover of "humanitarian" aid, not "military aid." That was OK with him.

The whole point of this "peace pact" is to use the threats from U.S. imperialism to force concessions from Nicaragua. The contras aren't the only form of U.S. aggression. But as November 7 approaches, the U.S. government is being careful to polish the contra bayonet.

Down With U.S. Aggression Against Nicaragua!

The new contra funding reveals the shameless imperialism behind the highfalutin words about peace and freedom in the new peace pact. Let us fight for a real end to U.S. aggression against Nicaragua! Down with the false friends of peace who vote for killing the Nicaraguan people! Let us organize the true friends of the Nicaraguan workers and peasants to fight against the imperialist politicians in the U.S. and to expose the real intentions of the Central American regional agreement!

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Chilo Tellez of MLP of Nicaragua on peace pact

At the end of September, The Workers' Advocate conducted a phone interview on the Central American peace plan with Comrade Chilo Tellez, Secretary General of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua.

Comrade Chilo described that the Central American peace accords have not created much excitement among the people.

"The Esquipulas accords [the peace pact] were not put forward to solve the grave problems that the people have. They are no more than an arrangement among the Latin American bourgeoisie, the Central American governments, U.S. imperialism, and the Sandinistas.

"But the Nicaraguan people, the toilers, are being devastated by the economic crisis. There is no say of the people in this. The national dialogue and negotiation process are only at the top.''

Sandinistas Concede to Demands Sought by the Bourgeoisie

Referring to the concessions being made by the Sandinistas, Comrade Chilo went on, "Thus we believe that the authorization to start up La Prensa, the amnesty for Central American counterrevolutionaries, the lifting of the censorship of the Catholic radio, the letting in of the counterrevolutionary priests, the repeal of the law confiscating the property of those who flee are things that the bourgeoisie wanted.

"All these concessions that the Sandinista government has made, including what has been accelerated earlier than required by the Esquipulas accords, have not been due to popular demand. But rather they have been due to negotiations that are being carried out behind the backs of the mass movement, behind the backs of the Nicaraguan people.

"The inclination of the Sandinista government to comply with the agreement is evident. However, on the part of Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica, it has not been fulfilled. There have not been simultaneous steps in these places to fulfill the agreement.

"With what the parties of the right have gotten out of the concessions, they are carrying out a series of activities -- not in the sense of mobilizing among the masses, but rather on the propaganda level. They have greater access to the radio. They have greater access to carry out their counterrevolutionary propaganda.

The MLPN Is Raising the Toilers' Demands

"The government has called for the beginning of the national dialogue for October 5. We, as a party, have put forward that the dialogue ought to be a democratic and popular dialogue where the grave problems of the people are set forth, including the fact that the workers are suffering as a result of the war. And in this sense we do not believe that a dialogue in Esquipulas is going to solve the problem of the war and peace, that it is going to overcome the economic crisis that the people face.

"The solutions do not come from there. We believe that there has to be a mass movement, a participation of the masses. We are putting forward an agenda to be posed in whatever instance, in whatever factory, in whatever workplace, in whatever political discussion. We are putting forward that this agenda is what must be discussed.

"So the points that we consider to be affecting the population are the following:

"1) The problem of the war and the struggle for peace.

"2) Struggle against the aspects of the economic crisis, the economic and material aspects of the war, and of the negative and deficient policy of the government in dealing with them.

"3) The right to self-determination for the Nicaraguan people and practical measures to secure it.

"4) Democratization of Nicaraguan society.

"That is what we are campaigning for among the masses.''

Comrade Chilo described that they are putting forward the economic and political demands of the toilers. He added that there should be discussion of "all the measures the government is taking so that the toilers can be clear that the Esquipulas accords are to the detriment of the gains achieved by the people through the revolution of July 19.''

In describing how the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua has agitated on this plan, comrade Chilo said: "We have put out a Prensa Proletaria, we have carried out some visits to the factories, and we are beginning other activities.

For the Restoration of "El Pueblo," the Workers' Paper

"We think that within this campaign, it is possible to struggle for the restoration of the daily El Pueblo. We believe that the present juncture permits this demand. And we are working on this. We are going to send to you the demands that we are putting forward so that there may be some activity related to this.

"We are linking this demand with the point that the opening of La Prensa denies the freedom of expression of the proletarian sector, of the worker sector.''

For Rights for the Workers

The Workers' Advocate asked, "We read much about the new rights for the right wing in Nicaragua. But is there an opening for the rights for the proletariat?''

Comrade Chilo: "This is what we are putting forward.... But the reality is that there, within the factory, they are cutting off trade union freedom. A little while ago, a comrade in Chichigalpa just got out of jail. He came out this Sunday after thirty days. He was jailed because of our work among the workers in Chichigalpa and in the San Antonio sugar plantation.

"When we are talking about democratic rights, we are seeking to restore the suspended right to strike and all the measures for the workers that have been suspended."

Speaking on the question of censorship on Prensa Proletaria, Chilo replied, "It was suspended. Already the censorship has been suspended. An issue of the paper has been prepared...."

And finally, in describing the situation among the masses with respect to political activity, Chilo explained:

"There has been a lot of apoliticization. Then there is the campaign of the Catholic hierarchy and of the right. They have access to propaganda through television. There is the pressure of the economic crisis and the promises that are being given around peace. The greater part of the population is being affected by the military situation. Thus, the people want peace....

"It is necessary to develop activity to raise the mass spirit."

[Graphic and message:

Help raise a roof for a workers' meeting hall in Managua! Support the revolutionary workers of Nicaragua!

The revolutionary workers of the Frente Obrero (Workers Front) trade union center have set up a workers' meeting hall in an industrial zone of Managua. The Frente Obrero wants to complete the .roof over the building to create a larger hall for workers' to hold mass meetings. But they face a shortage of materials and funds for this roof because of Reagan's blockade and the economic problems gripping the country.

The MLP,USA is raising funds to help raise a roof for this workers' meeting hall. We invite all opponents of the U.S. war against Nicaragua to assist in this effort.

International solidarity is a powerful force. Concrete assistance such as this is one way of building links with the workers and poor of Nicaragua and Central America. It's their revolutionary movement, with the support of working people throughout the Americas and the world, that can best settle accounts with Reagan's mercenaries, the death-squad regimes, and all the reactionaries that are bleeding the people of this region.

Send contributions and inquiries and make out checks to the "Campaign for the Nicaraguan Workers' Press." Please designate "for the workers' meeting hall." (Address--Ed.)]

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Build the struggle against Reagan's dirty war in Central America!

'Death train' tracks torn up

10,000 demonstrate at Concord Naval Base

On September 5, demonstrators rallied 10;000 strong near the Concord (California) Naval Weapons Station and tore up the railroad tracks leading to it. Only four days earlier, Viet Nam veteran and anti-war activist Brian Willson had been run over by a munitions train. He had been taking part in a peaceful protest on the train tracks to stop the flow of U.S. arms to Central America. Willson lost both his lower legs and suffered severe head injuries.

The "Death Train" Was No Accident

Immediately after Brian Willson was maimed, the Navy officials tried to lay the blame on the activists themselves. They claimed that the train was going a cautious five miles per hour and that no one was in sight when it rounded the bend.

But the "death train" assault was no accident. The Navy officials had been fully informed of the track blockade by the protesters themselves. Two observers stood on the front of the train's engine. And a videotape of the incident showed that the train barreled through the protesters at 18 miles per hour, that the protesters were right out in the open, and the train's brakes were never applied.

Clearly the Navy authorities had been intent on terrorizing the activists. The U.S. government will stop at nothing to carry out its warmongering in Central America.

Protesters Tear Up the Track

The Navy's bloody crime against Brian Willson sent a wave of outrage throughout the area. A demonstration was called for September 5. This action was different from most other current actions in the area. It was not really organized by any group but was propelled by an intense spontaneous outpouring of sentiment. The news was spread wide by word of mouth and by people seeking out news of the actions by themselves. With just two days of preparation, 10,000 people showed up to condemn the assault on Brian Willson and demonstrate their determination to continue the struggle against U.S. intervention in Central America.

The most striking event of the protest was the tearing up of the tracks. Some 2,000 people participated in this. About 150 feet of track was torn up and the underlying track bed destroyed. During this militant action the demonstrators shouted the anti-contra slogan "No Pasaran!" (They shall not pass!" -- ed.). They sang "I've been working on the railroad," giving it new meaning. The tearing up of the railroad tracks and the widespread participation in this made the spirit of the activists soar.

There Were Those Who Opposed Militancy

Meanwhile the tearing up of the track took place despite the best efforts of the rally organizers to block it. From beginning to end, they pulled out all the stops.

Some people at the rally, including Willson's wife, argued that the activists should do nothing that would violate the pacifist philosophy of Brian Willson. But Willson's heroism in sitting down before the train did not mean that his views on tactics are correct.

Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson and pacifist singer Joan Baez also worked to tone down the demonstration.

A debate broke out among the demonstrators over whether to dismantle the track. Finally however many rank- and-file protesters got fed up and began to vote with their feet. A group of militants started to tear up the track. Quickly whole waves of protesters followed.

The rally organizers harassed the activists right as they worked on the tracks. They argued that "this makes us look bad, this will look bad in the press," which it would -- in the eyes of the Democratic Party politicians and the liberal bourgeoisie. They tried to scare the demonstrators with the threat that everyone would be arrested and beaten if the tracks were torn up. Some of the rally organizers walked the length of the action several times, each time proclaiming "the police are coming, everyone who doesn't want to get arrested should leave now." But the spirit of the demonstration remained buoyant.

Meanwhile the police hesitated to move in the face of the mass of angry protesters. It is reported that when some police cars did approach near the end of the action, disabled activists blocked the police cars.

The MLP Worked Among the Masses

Supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party played an active role among the rank-and-file demonstrators, took part in the debate and the militant action. There was also a Party banner and a literature table; 150 copies of The Workers' Advocate were sold and another 500 distributed; and the comrades handed out 3,200 copies of a leaflet.

The MLP leaflet condemned the murderous assault against Brian Willson, and declared that "The blood of Brain Willson is on the hands of Reagan and the Democratic Party." It supported the September 3 action of the Berkeley activists against the ROTC. And it stated that "We must not allow our anger to be dissipated by the Democratic politicians' talk of investigation (remember Contragate) or empty promises.... Their real Reaganite stand must be exposed and militant mass actions must be built up."


[Photo: Anti-intervention activists take matters into their own hands and tear up the tracks of the "death train," Sept. 5.]

Police can't stop angry greeting for contras in San Francisco

It was a night of fiery protest in San Francisco on September 9. Over 500 protesters condemned the U.S.-backed contras and resisted police goon squads. The mood was militant, fueled by outrage over the munitions train that ran over Brian Willson at a demonstration at the Concord Naval Weapons Station the week before.

Militant March Gathers Mass Support

It all began with a march on the club where the contras were to dine. "No Pasaran!" and "U.S., CIA, Hands off Nicaragua!" rang out as the marchers advanced through the streets.

The action picked up widespread support along the way. Cheers and raised fist salutes greeted the marchers from nearby residents. And several people left buses or cars to join the protest.

Resistance to the Police

The San Francisco police did not share this enthusiasm. The tactical squad tried to force the protesters out of the streets. But the demonstrators were not about to cave in. When the police managed to force them behind barricades, the activists kicked the barricades over and threw some of them into the street.

All the while the slogan shouting continued, with denunciation of the police added in. "Cops and contras go hand in hand!" and "Push the contras to the sea, Nicaragua will be free!" became the new battle cries.

"Run, Contras, Run!"

When the marchers reached the contra banquet, the struggle intensified. As contra supporters arrived, the anger of the protesters grew and the slogans became louder. As contra supporters walked down the street, they were pelted with old fruit. Rocks were hurled against the building in which they were gathering. As the contra lovers scrambled for the door, more slogans raged. "Run, Contras, Run!" and "Death to the Contras!" echoed in the ears of the contra scum. The protest kept up for an hour and a half.

Protesters Battle the Cops

At this point the police launched an all-out assault on the demonstration. Attacking from two sides, the cops beat protesters with their nightsticks, kicked them and shoved them into cars and walls.

The activists were forced to retreat. But they contested each foot. They took over major intersections and held them for a time against police attacks. The police thugs resorted to plowing into the demonstration with their motorcycles. The militants countered by spreading oil slicks in the paths of the motorcycles, up-ending a couple of cop cyclists.

A Militant Spirit

The demonstration and resistance to the police showed an increase in the tactical thinking of the activists. They were ready with rocks and fruit to hurl at the contra scum. They were not panicked by the police but retreated in an orderly way. They devoted themselves to stretching the forces of reaction as much as possible. At the same time the protesters were realistic in judging the gains they could make.

The police eventually succeeded in forcing the protesters away from the contra meeting. But their stand served notice that repression will not stop the movement against U.S. intervention in Central America.

Reagan and contras denounced in Los Angeles

The opposition to Reagan's contra war against Nicaragua is building! When Reagan arrived at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on August 27 to meet with the contra leaders, several thousand protesters came out to condemn "Conan" Reagan and his barbarians. This was one of the largest actions against U.S. intervention in Central America in the area in the last few years.

Two demonstrations were organized against Reagan: one around midday and another in the late afternoon. About 2,000 people turned out for each. The crowd of demonstrators included a large section of young activists and other fresh forces who are being drawn into the struggle against U.S. aggression in Central America. A huge picket line was set up near the hotel. Chants of "No Aid to the Contras!," "CIA, Out of Nicaragua!" and "El Pueblo Unido, Jamas Sera Vencido!" (The people united, will never be defeated!) rang out from the crowd of protesters.

Activists Oppose Pro-Contra Provocation

In the midst of the demonstration, a motley collection of about 90 pro-contra reactionaries attempted to disrupt the protest. They moved their counter-demonstration from in front of the hotel to the side, where the anti- contra protesters were located. "Here, get right in front!" ordered a pro-contra leader as he tried to regroup the contra lovers right in front of the mass picket.

A group of about 50 militants confronted these swine. When a group of Reaganite "Young Americans for Freedom" tried to barge into the demonstration, the activists shoved them back amidst shouts of "No Pasaran!" and "Young Americans for Fascism!"

Police and Reformist Leaders Save the Contra Lovers

The contra lovers finally had to be saved from the wrath of the protesters by the police. And helping the police rescue the pro-contras were none other than the reformist organizers of the demonstration. They had their monitors urge the protesters to quiet down, and they formed a chain around the reactionaries to protect them. The police and monitors then dispersed the angry activists.

Forward on the Path of Militant Struggle!

The reformist organizers wail about Reagan and the contras. But they oppose a militant struggle against them. Instead they advise the masses to put their faith in the phoney peace promises of the Democratic Party politicians. For instance the reformist chieftains at this protest pushed the "Arias plan," the latest scheme of the Democrats.

To hell with the timid reformists! Build the fight against Reagan's dirty war with militant mass actions!


At Univ. of California--Berkeley

ROTC building put under siege

On September 3, activists in Berkeley, California took to the streets in opposition to U.S. aggression in Central America. They were spurred by the news that activist Brian Willson had been run over by a munitions train during a protest against the U.S.-contra war on Nicaragua the day before at the nearby Concord Naval Weapons Station.

The brutal crime against Willson enraged the activists. On short notice several hundred protesters assembled the following night. Shouting slogans like "Nicaragua, El Salvador, U.S. Out!" they marched through the streets of Berkeley and on to the local campus of the University of California. Along the way, more people joined in.

The protesters proceeded to Callaghan Hall which houses the Naval and Air Force ROTC programs. One group smashed through the front door of the building and trashed the ROTC headquarters, a hated symbol of the U.S. military machine. Meanwhile the crowd of demonstrators outside cheered its approval. By the time the police arrived, the building was evacuated. Soon after this, the demonstrators dispersed.

During the mass movement against the Viet Nam war, ROTC buildings were raided and driven off campuses all across the country. The September 3 action at Berkeley was a fitting reply to the savage aggression of U.S. imperialism in Central America.

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Gorbachev's 'renewal': Band-aids for an ailing state capitalism

Gorbachev has launched a new program of economic and political reforms in the Soviet Union. This program is packaged with pretty words like openness, democratization, and renewal. This program is being widely discussed around the world. In this article we present how we revolutionary communists who oppose Soviet revisionism look at the new policies.

The defenders of capitalism all rub their hands in glee with Gorbachev's reforms. No matter that the Soviet leadership dresses up the reforms as "socialist renewal," it is plain for most people to see that Gorbachev's reforms are capitalist in character. Thus, the professors and columnists say, this is proof that socialism has failed and even Moscow has to borrow from capitalism.

But they are wrong. The Soviet Union is not going from socialism to capitalism. It is already one kind of capitalist society, and Gorbachev is adjusting it into more traditional capitalist forms.

The Soviet Union capitalist? Is that what we said? Yes indeed. Although once socialist, the Soviet Union has long since become a society split between a working majority and a ruling minority. It is a society with a state-capitalist economy, where the ruling class is a bureaucratic elite which lives off the labor of the workers.

Like all capitalist countries, Soviet state-capitalism too is gripped by economic crisis. Gorbachev's reforms are aimed at dealing with the economic crisis which has reached desperate proportions. Gorbachev is trying to package his program in revolutionary colors, but this is simply to make his program palatable to the Soviet working people. He needs this because his plan to make Soviet capitalism more efficient runs roughshod over the livelihood of the working class.

Socialism Was Destroyed in the Soviet Union

With the October revolution in 1917, the working class came to power. The workers transformed old Russia. They overthrew the Russia of capitalist and landlord exploiters. Ordinary, working people took upon themselves the task of running society. They began to build a new, socialist society. And in that course, many great achievements were accomplished. The socialist Soviet Union attracted the attention of the exploited working people around the world.

Of course the Soviet workers and communists didn't build a new society from scratch.

A new society comes out of the old. The Soviet Union inherited many negative features from the past that could not immediately be done away with. Meanwhile, the revolution was not allowed to develop unhindered. The revolutionary government was faced with bitter civil war and struggle against an imperialist blockade. Many of the revolutionary workers gave their lives in battle. The Soviet working people had to rescue the country from the economic disaster caused by the First World War and the civil war. They had to make herculean efforts to lift the country up from its relatively low level of economic development.

The Soviet communists blazed a path against these difficulties. They mobilized the power of the working class in confronting the difficulties. But along this complex way, the Soviet communists also had to make zigzags and painful compromises.

These steps added to the pressures upon them, but they did not imply that socialism was fated to decline. No, the decline of the Soviet Union began when, in the mid-30's, under pressure from world capitalism, Soviet leaders gave up the revolutionary class struggle and departed from Marxism-Leninism. We have described this elsewhere with respect to international policy. But the same also took place in domestic affairs.

The Soviet leadership gave up reliance on the working class and declared the class struggle over. It abandoned the struggle to maintain and enliven working class rule. It gave up the struggle to hold in check the growth of bureaucracy. A process of bureaucratic degeneration set in. Eventually this led to the loss of all socialist character and the restoration of capitalism. At least by the time of the reforms of the mid-50's, the Soviet Union had become a state capitalist society.

Soviet Revisionists Admit Entering "Pre-Crisis" Conditions

Everything has not been smooth sailing for Soviet state capitalism. It has been faced with periodic economic crises. And over the years, the government has made various efforts to deal with them. All these efforts have amounted to giving the Soviet economy more and more traditional capitalist features.

Today the Moscow leaders say that by the beginning of the 1980's the Soviet economy had entered another critical stage. This is generally described as acute economic stagnation and even as a "pre-crisis" state.

Through the 1970's, various structural problems had accumulated in the Soviet economy. There were serious problems in agriculture. The Soviet Union used oil revenues from the period of high oil prices of the 70's to buy grain from abroad. But food shortages remained. As well as shortages in other goods. There was also the problem of failing to modernize the means of production; the country was falling behind in technology. And in many spheres there has become a major problem of quality of Soviet goods.

Gorbachev's Economic Program

Gorbachev's program of perestroika (renewal) aims at dealing with these economic problems. What it boils down to is giving more play to capitalist market relations and seeking economic collaboration with the West.

* Under state capitalism, Russia has maintained in form some features of the centralized planning apparatus established under socialism. But this no longer has anything socialist about it. The revisionist planning apparatus is not only heavily bureaucratized, but capitalist forms have been developed under this bureaucratization.

Today this planning apparatus has become grossly inefficient and the Soviet leaders admit that it is unable to deal with the vast economic problems of the Soviet Union. To deal with these problems, the Soviet regime cannot of course restore socialist measures. This would require destruction of the power of the bureaucratic elite, something that calls for a new socialist revolution. Thus the Moscow leadership sees no option but to reduce further the scope of state- capitalist planning and, on a wider scale than earlier reforms, to let the different industries and firms compete against one another.

Gorbachev does not plan to get rid of the central planning machinery altogether, but it is envisaged that it will take a shape closer to what exists in most capitalist countries today. It will become a matter of pushing certain industries, such as electronics, computers, and biotechnology. Thus it will become closer to the MITI apparatus in Japan or the military-industrial complex in the U.S.

* Wider competition will mean that industries and firms must completely fend for themselves. Subsidies are to be given up. Firms are to function on a pay-as-you-go basis, determining their own product, wages, output, etc. The immediate result of these policies will be to kill off "inefficient" plants on a large scale. This is admitted.

* Joint ventures with foreign capital are to be introduced. These are not measures forced by circumstances on a young revolutionary regime, but signify the closer integration of Soviet capital with other international capital.

Thus, an important element of Gorbachev's reform is collaboration with the West. This will mean that a whole section of the Soviet workers wilt be jointly exploited by Soviet and international capital.

Make the Workers Pay, Enrich the Managers and Engineers

What do Gorbachev's reforms then mean in class terms?

The working class will shoulder the burden of the economic changes. There is a big ideological campaign going on against the workers. They are denounced as drunks, shirks, and layabouts. There is a hue and cry that a big problem in the recent period has been wage leveling, that production workers make too much, that they draw pay without working. This is in fact a big lie aimed to cut workers' wages. It is similar to the cry in the U.S. that the working class has too high a standard of living and must become "more competitive."

Side by side, there are complaints that engineers and managers are making too little. Thus accompanying calls for wage cuts for workers are proposals to increase pay for technical and managerial strata. Gorbachev hopes to bribe this strata in order to make them the social base for his reforms.

Besides wage cuts and speedup, the wiping out of subsidies and the elimination of plants will mean more unemployment and layoffs. This has already begun. There are promises held out that "millions of new jobs" will open up, but this is so much hot air.

The Soviet regime is also planning to drop food subsidies in meat and dairy goods, which will double the price of these foods. There are promises of compensating wage increases, but that can hardly be believed when they are talking about wage cuts with the other side of their mouth!

The Meaning of Glasnost

Alongside the economic program of perestroika, the policy of glasnost is being advertised as a program of openness and democratization. What does this really mean?

First, the promise of wider democracy is being held out to draw support from the workers. You give us wage cuts and tighten your belts, we'll give you factory elections for managers, we'll let you have more news about what's going on, etc. In essence, this is not too different from what U.S. trade union hacks advocate -- that the workers should give up concessions in exchange for allegedly greater say in management.

But the promise of democracy is one thing, the reality is just various empty forms to foster labor-management collaboration.

Glasnost is also aimed to settle differences within the ruling bureaucracy itself. The Gorbachev wing seeks to use openness to bring out the problems associated with those sections of the ruling class who are opposed to the reform program. The Soviet bureaucracy is caught up in an acute internal struggle.

Finally, glasnost will also allow a bit more space to pro-Western elements, who are part of the privileged strata. This is a concession to the West to get more from the West in return.

Hastening the Development of the Gravediggers of Russian Capitalism

The Gorbachev reforms are not a settled question. The Soviet bureaucracy is going through internal conflict. It is not clear how things will turn out in the end.

If they do get carried through, Soviet capitalist society will become closer to Western capitalist societies with the exception that ownership remains in state hands, at least in the early stages. Russia will become closer to what already exists in Yugoslavia and China.

And there's the rub. Whatever the Soviet rulers gain in immediate economic efficiency, this will not mean solving the crisis of Russian state capitalism. As in China and Yugoslavia, the cost will be greater social differentiation and class conflict. The society will be marked by unemployment and inflation, by the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

And the working people will not sit by idly and take these assaults on their livelihood. Already some strikes and protests are breaking out. The workers of the Soviet Union face many difficulties in organizing their struggle. There is no independent working class organization. There is the problem of breaking through the demagogy of the ruling class which rules in the name of socialism. There is the problem that factions of the ruling class will try to mobilize the workers on their side.

Nevertheless, it is only the proletariat which can find the way out. The class struggle is essential for working class progress. In the course of this, the Soviet workers will once again build class organization, they will build a new proletarian party. And there will again be a new proletarian revolution.

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Russian bus drivers strike

Reports are appearing about Soviet workers being dissatisfied with Gorbachev's economic reforms. The capitalist press often tries to explain this with the claim that Soviet workers are "conservative" opponents of change. But the truth is, Gorbachev's reforms mean stepped-up capitalist exploitation for the working class and this is what the Russian workers don't like.

One of the main changes Gorbachev wants is to introduce pay-for-performance, i.e. wages tied to quantity and quality of output as opposed to uniform salaries. This is over and above piecework which exists on a large scale in the country.

Details of the new wage policy are not clear, but where the new system is being implemented, it is apparently leading to serious cuts in pay. Soviet workers are putting up a just resistance to the new policy. Over the last few weeks, there have been reports of some workers' strikes and protests in the Soviet Union.

Bus drivers in Chekhov, an industrial town south of Moscow, went out on strike. This was recently reported in the weekly Moscow News, but no date for the action was given.

On the morning of the strike, "there were no buses in the streets of Chekhov," the newspaper said. "People had to walk to get to work. There is no other transport in the city. Only at noon did they find out that the bus drivers had refused to start working."

The strike was provoked by wage cuts due to a shift to pay-for-performance. Management estimated the monthly pay loss at 10-20 rubles, but workers said it was at least 50 rubles. In a country where average monthly pay is 200 rubles, this amounts to as major wage cut.

The bus drivers also protested the old and decrepit condition of the buses, the shortage of decent housing, and the lack of a lunchroom at work.

Higher government officials arrived in town 90 minutes after the strike began. The manager of the bus operation was reprimanded. And apparently the previous method of pay was restored. The rapid response of the Soviet authorities indicates they are nervous about worker discontent.

There have also been other reports of workers taking action against wage cuts resulting from new policies. Demonstrations have taken place in a number of factories, including the Kama River truck plant, the Soviet Union's largest diesel engine plant.

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The superpower missile deal: a double zero

Hallelujah! Washington and Moscow have reached a tentative arms control agreement. A Reagan-Gorbachev summit may soon take place. The people of the world are supposed to rejoice. We are supposed to breathe easier that the threat of nuclear holocaust has eased a bit. And who knows what may follow...?

But wait a minute. Even the politicians and media admit that even if this agreement is implemented, it will only have the "most marginal" effect on the gargantuan stockpiles of nuclear bombs amassed by the imperialist big powers.

The so-called "double-zero" agreement is over medium-range nuclear missiles, those with ranges between 310 and 3,200 miles. The U.S. will get rid of 420 warheads, while the Soviet Union will scrap 1,565 warheads.

But even after "double-zero," there will remain in Europe some 4-5,000 U.S. "tactical" nuclear missiles and warheads. There will remain the U.S. sub- marine-launched weapons. As well as French and British nuclear missiles. The U.S. is also planning to deploy super-cruise missiles with special nonnuclear explosive warheads which are supposed to be more accurate than the current cruise missiles.

No one says that the arms race is over. In fact, the imperialists continue without letup with their ongoing plans to constantly modernize their weapons arsenals and develop new instruments of mass murder.

When all is said and done, the superpowers continue to have nuclear stockpiles that can destroy the earth many times over. The current agreement cannot give the world's people much ease of mind.

Reaganites Remain Fierce Warmongers

The U.S. government remains warmongers of the first order. In fact, a nuclear first-strike against the Soviet Union has been, and remains, U.S. policy. As part of this, the Reagan administration is committed to the Star Wars program.

Now the Reaganites are crowing that since they got the Russians to concede to "double-zero," it proves that they were right all along in putting hundreds of billions into the war budget. This is supposed to be one of the key lessons of the arms deal.

What does this mean? It means that U.S. imperialism remains committed to expanding its nuclear stockpiles, its warmongering capacity. Washington is committed to global nuclear superiority, so that it can keep the nuclear sword hanging over the world.

So why has Reagan agreed to this present arms deal? Not because it means a threat to the Pentagon war capacity. No, it is for the sake of cleaning up his image after the disastrous Iran-contra scandal. For Reagan it is a small sop. But already, liberal politicians are patting him on the back as a man of peace and great statesman.

The U.S. has also agreed to this arms deal to appease public opinion in Western Europe. NATO's decision to install the medium-range cruise and Pershing II missiles five years ago was immensely unpopular. It gave rise to an anti-war movement across Western Europe. This movement drew millions into struggle and put many of the West European imperialist governments on the hot seat.

Gorbachev Remains a Militarist Too

The Gorbachev regime has made a series of concessions in order to agree to "double-zero." At the moment, it appears that the present Moscow leadership wants a slowdown of the arms race with the U.S. This is related to its program of rescuing the Soviet Union from its economic difficulties.

But this doesn't make Gorbachev a peace hero. The present-day Soviet Union is no longer socialist but a capitalist country. Like the U.S., the Soviet Union depends on a huge military arsenal to enforce its will over other peoples.

Just as the U.S. has its "dirty wars" in many far-flung places, the Soviet rulers oppress Afghanistan, back up the war of the Ethiopian regime against the Eritreans, Tigrayans, etc. And Russian militarism remains in force in Eastern Europe.

What's more, for the sake of an arms agreement with the U.S., and to open the way for technological collaboration with the West, the Russian rulers are also willing to barter off the fate of other peoples.

Superpower summits are not just about haggling over weapons; they always include "regional conflicts" on the agenda. And there is a long history of the Moscow revisionists agreeing at such summits to use their influence to curtail and stop revolutionary struggles. During the current round of talks, the Soviet Union has been putting pressure on Nicaragua to reach a compromise with U.S. imperialism.

Fight Imperialism With Revolutionary Struggle!

The revolutionary Marxist-Leninists oppose U.S. imperialism, not for the sake of its rival superpower, but for the sake of opposing all the capitalist powers.

It is an illusion to think that the U.S., Soviet and other capitalist regimes can abandon militarism. No, these are regimes of exploiters. When such regimes go to war, they go to war for the sake of the profits of the exploiters, for the sake of their spheres of domination over other peoples.

To eliminate aggressive war, we must overthrow the ruling classes in whose interests wars are waged. The working class the world over has to rise up to smash the warmongering fiends. It is the proletarian class struggle and the socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism which is the real force against imperialist war and nuclear holocaust.

To fight against the threat of nuclear war, we shouldn't chase illusions about achieving peace through big-power deals but take up the arduous work of building up the revolutionary working class movement.

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From South Korea to South Africa

The working class is the force for change

South Africa and South Korea are two of the world's "hotspots" in today's headlines. What's making things so hot in these places? What's the energy source?

It's the miners, the auto assemblers, the textile operators, the transport workers. It's the working class, out on strike, in the streets, fighting for a better life.

The wealthy rulers would have us believe that the working class is no longer the force it once was. The "old" ideas about the working class supposedly can't hold water in this modern, complex era. To prove it, well-paid experts and university professors have buried the working class a thousand times over.

But open the paper, turn on the TV, and squeezed in among stories about the Pope, Reagan, Madonna and other royalty, there's the international working class going into action.

Truth be known, the "old" ideas of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin about the working class are the only way to make head or tail of world events.

In the years since the time of Marx and Lenin, the class of wage slaves has grown into an international giant. Especially in Latin America, Asia and Africa, the spread of multinational corporations and capitalism has been uprooting the small farmer, the handicraftsman, the tribesman. In their place have risen armies of wage workers.

The waves of strikes in South Korea and South Africa are showing what a powerful force these workers are. They are taking on GM, Ford, Hyundai, Anglo-American and the other conglomerates. And they are challenging the brutal regimes in these countries -- regimes that are pillars of U.S. and international capitalism.

A Revolutionary Class

Oh yes, the bourgeois critics may concede that the workers may be able to mount strikes for better pay and conditions. But, they argue, Marx and Lenin were wrong: the working class is not revolutionary.

In Iran, for example, we are told that the "revolutionaries" are the priests and Islamic zealots. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the 1979 revolution, the political strikes of the oil field and other workers played a critical role in toppling the tyranny of the Shah. The working class, however, had little organization. This allowed a new regime of exploiters to come to power -- a new tyranny which wraps itself in the name "Islamic revolution."

Today, the revolutionary Iranian workers are emerging as the most stubborn fighters against the Khomieni regime. Look at the organizing work of the working class party, the Communist Party of Iran. Look at the strikes in the factories. Look at the partisan warfare of the toilers in Kurdistan.

Or take the Nicaraguan example. There, we are told, the men who made the revolution are middle-class romantics sporting $3,000 designer eyeglasses. What we aren't told is that it was the workers, the field hands, the poor who made the insurrection that overthrew the Somoza dictatorship.

Today it is the working class, with its Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (formerly Map-ML), that poses the revolutionary alternative to the compromising and bureaucratic policy of the Sandinista government. The Marxist-Leninist workers are organizing the masses for struggle against the CIA war, against the capitalist exploiters, and towards the triumph of socialism in Nicaragua.

Not only in Iran or Nicaragua, South Africa or South Korea. Wherever the struggle is raging against racism, imperialist domination, tyranny and hunger, it's men and women of labor who power the engines of the fight. And it's the working class which can rally all the exploited and oppressed for revolutionary change.

An International Class

Some bourgeois critics may even begrudge these things in far off and less developed lands. But what about closer to home?

Next door in Canada the strike movement is on the rebound. Recent strikes of postal and railway workers have put the scare in the Reaganite Mulroney government. The suppression of the strike movement is the number one hot political issue in Canada. And the lid is only being kept on by the betrayal of the trade union chieftains.

In the U.S. too the strike movement is beginning to revive. This is despite the massive layoffs and plant closings. Despite the brutal strikebreaking of the companies and the Reagan government. Despite the dirty pro-concessions treachery of the union officialdom. The bitter strikes of the mid-western meat-cutters or the International Paper workers are signs that the workers in this country have had enough and are headed towards struggle.

What is urgently needed now is hard work to spread class consciousness. To build a strong movement the workers need to be aware of their class position.

This means challenging the domination of the capitalist parties, especially the smooth-talking Democratic politicians who have the nerve to speak in the name of "labor." It means cutting through the web of class collaboration and Democratic Party politicking spun by the union chieftains and other reformist forces. It means rejecting the racist and chauvinist "America first" propaganda aimed at pitting the American workers against the workers of other lands.

The workers in this country too can and will rise in struggle for their independent interests. They can and will become aware of their power for making revolutionary change. They can and will join with the workers from South Africa to South Korea in the common struggle against all oppression and exploitation and for a new socialist world.

[Photos: South African gold miners took part in the August strike that shook the apartheid regime (above). South Korean workers on the march (below).]

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The 1917 socialist revolution in Russia was new in history

The October Socialist Revolution in Russia was something new in history. The working class seized power. And for the first time it held onto this power against the frenzied resistance of the exploiters. For the first time the working class began to actually build socialism, a new system where the economy was geared to the needs of the toilers instead of the profit hunger of capitalist parasites.

How did this come about?

The February Revolution

In 1917 the Russian workers, peasants and oppressed nationalities suffered under the brutal tyranny of the tsarist monarchy. They had no rights at all. Their organizations were banned. They were terrorized by the tsarist police and KKK-type gangs. Unemployment, inflation and food shortages ravaged the masses. And the Tsar, seeking imperialist domination of other countries, sent the toilers to die on the fronts of World War I.

The spirit of rebellion grew among the masses. In February they rose up and overthrew the hated tsar.

However, the Russian capitalists, in a coalition with the opportunists who tailed after them, grabbed power for themselves. They too, like the Tsars, dreamed of imperialist plunder and continued to send the toilers into the war. They protected the capitalist exploitation of the workers. They collaborated with the monarchist landlords to suppress the peasantry.

Although the masses had won some democratic rights in the revolution, even these were unstable because the capitalists connived with the monarchist generals in persistent attempts at counterrevolution. The plight of the masses grew worse.

The Working Class Had Its Own Party

But the working class had its own political party, the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin. Through over a decade of arduous underground work under the Tsar, the Bolsheviks had organized in the factories. They fought off attempts of the opportunists to abandon the independent stand of the working class and to liquidate the Party. And in 1917, although still small in numbers, they had preserved the Party and its ties with the workers.

When the workers anger boiled over in February 1917, the Bolsheviks were the foremost group leading the actual fighting of the workers, spearheading the insurrection against the Tsar. Even at this stage of the revolution, when it was still merely democratic and not socialist, they guarded the independence of the working class. They reinforced the class instinct of the workers to distrust the capitalist politicians. And they prepared the workers to use the overthrow of the Tsar as a stepping stone to go further, to fight for the socialist emancipation of the working class.

After February, the majority of the working class was caught up in the euphoria of victory over the Tsar. They believed in the vision of class collaboration set before them by the opportunist parties, and they let the opportunists hand over more and more power to the capitalist provisional government. But the Bolsheviks didn't lose heart. They continued careful explanation and organizational work. This immensely strengthened the working class as bitter experience turned it toward renewed struggle.

Economic strikes grew into political strikes. Peasant seizures of land from the landlords spread across the country. The soldiers lined up with the workers Committees, called Soviets -- that had sprung up in the factories during the February revolution -- spread wider. They were elected by the workers in the factories and the peasants in the villages. Increasingly won over to the Bolshevik stand, the Soviets became centers for revolutionary political action. Demonstrations swept the cities raising the banner of "All Power to the Soviets!"

In October (in the tsarist calendar, but in November by current reckoning) the Russian working masses rose up in a new insurrection. They overthrew the capitalist government. They took power away from the exploiters; they took power into their own hands.

A Socialist New Life

The working class ruled the country through the Soviets. They united the poor peasants and other toilers around the working class through a system of Soviets of Workers' Delegates, Soviets of Peasants' Delegates, etc. This was a dictatorship of the proletariat.

It was the rule of the workers against the resistance and sabotage of the filthy rich capitalists. The suppression of the exploiters was essential to ensure the broadest possible democracy for the working masses. The Soviets organized the toiling masses and brought them directly into the administration of state affairs. They were not congressional talk shops, but organs of revolutionary rule. They combined legislative and executive power.

The Soviet government immediately took a series of measures against the imperialist war. It withdrew Russia from the imperialist bloodletting. It called on the workers of every country to overthrow their "own" exploiters, to turn their guns against their "own" imperialist bourgeoisie, and to liberate themselves through revolution.

It liberated the Russian peasants from the yoke of the landlords as the revolution spread to the countryside. It banned discrimination against the oppressed nationalities and granted them the right of self-determination. It legislated equal rights for women and fought to achieve this equality in practice.

The Soviet government embarked on the road of socialism. Having broken the power of the capitalists it step by step took over the factories, the mines, the land and all of the large-scale means of production from the ownership of the rich. The economy began to be run to benefit the working people instead of for the profit of the capitalists. Over the years unemployment was eliminated, economic crisis was conquered, and agriculture took big steps on the road of collectivization. The Soviet Union was the only major country to be immune from the onslaught of the Great Depression of the 1930's.

This was an earth shaking change. All previous revolutions replaced one set of exploiters with another. The October Socialist Revolution put the working class in power. It began to eliminate the exploitation of man by man.

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Thousands in Boston commemorate Antoine Thurel

'May Haiti live for the new liberation!'

Workers in Boston were recently moved to demonstrate their sympathy with the toilers of Haiti by the death of Antoine Thurel, an immigrant from Haiti. Antoine, a local cab driver, burned himself to death August 31 on the steps of the Massachusetts State House as a protest against U.S. support for the Haitian military regime. Thousands of working people have come out to remember Antoine and to protest against the Namphy regime in Haiti.

Antoine Wanted a "New Liberation" for his Homeland

Antoine had lived in exile for 17 years. When Duvalier was overthrown, Antoine had hopes that Haiti would now see liberation. But recently he had become upset at the massacre of peasant demonstrators by Tontons Macoutes, and by the government's savage repression of the opposition. Recently Antoine's daughter, who lives in Haiti, was beaten and threatened with death by the Macoutes.

Antoine left behind a placard with a message written in Creole which explained his action. His message denounced the Haitian regime as "a product of the CIA," and said, "I want to offer myself in holocaust for the complete liberation of my country." Antoine expressed the hope, "may Haiti live for the New Liberation."

Thousands Commemorate Antoine's Protest

Antoine's dramatic death reinvigorated the movement against U.S. imperialist interference in Haiti. The day after his death 200 Haitian immigrant workers held a meeting to discuss how to build the protest movement in Boston.

Then on September 4 over 2,000 people, both Haitian and U.S.-born, attended Antoine's funeral service. The crowd was so large that it overflowed the hall in which the service was held; people were massed in the lobby and outside on the sidewalk and in the street.

For three hours, 50 speakers praised Antoine. They condemned the Haitian regime headed by military strongman Henri Namphy, and also condemned the U.S. government for propping it up with military and economic aid. After the service, 500 people escorted Antoine's casket through the streets of Boston in a one-and-a-half hour march to the cemetery. The marchers carried banners, shouted slogans, and sang revolutionary songs.

Like a typical liberal hypocrite, Boston Mayor Ray Flynn showed up at the funeral to express his "sympathy." This was after the mayor's office had spent days trying to dissuade the Haitian community from holding a funeral march through the streets of Boston. In his remarks at the funeral, Flynn said not a word against the Haitian regime or the dirty role of U.S. imperialism. But despite Flynn's opposition, the masses honored Antoine with a militant funeral march.

On September 12 another demonstration was held at Government Center in Boston to protest Reagan's support for the Namphy dictatorship.

At this rally a comrade of the MLP,USA delivered a speech which said in part, "Now is the time to speak the truth about Haiti. This was Antoine's deepest wish...

"Today Haiti is in the flames of struggle, lighting up the sky for all workers to see. The Haitian workers and peasants are saying no to Reagan, no to Namphy, no to the Tontons Macoutes. They do not want fake elections to put in some new set of exploiters; they want to uproot the whole system of exploitation. We class conscious workers in the U.S. are 100% behind the Haitian revolution. Every time you strike a blow against Reagan and the corporations, you help our fight too. We say, Victory to the Haitian workers and peasants! Down with U.S. imperialism, enemy of all workers!"

[Photo: Militant funeral procession for Antoine Thurel in Boston denounces the military regime in Haiti and its U.S. imperialist backers.]

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Korean Hyundai workers back on strike

[Photo: Striking Hyundai workers march through Ulsan led by forklifts.]

This summer, the workers in South Korea battered their employers in the largest strike wave in that country's history. In September the number of factories on strike declined, but the workers at Hyundai Heavy Industries resumed their strike.

In mid-August Hyundai had capitulated to the workers' demand for a new trade union elected by the workers. The new union immediately entered into wage negotiations with Hyundai, with a deadline of September 1. The workers demanded an immediate wage increase of 17%.

But Hyundai refused to budge from a maximum 11% raise. On September 1 the workers carried out a slowdown throughout the shipyards operated by Hyundai Heavy Industries. But Hyundai management, headed by the billionaire Chung Ju Yung, still refused to meet the workers' demands.

So on September 2 the 20,000 workers went out on strike. They staged a massive march through Hyundai's "company town" of Ulsan, driving forklifts and trucks right through main streets. They rallied outside city hall, where they chanted anti-company slogans. The workers repeated their demands for a wage raise and then marched into the city's sports auditorium for a massive rally.

The next day, September 3, workers held mass pickets outside the company yard. Overnight, angry crowds had surrounded city hall again, burning cars outside and smashing the building's windows. The government used this as an excuse to raid union headquarters the next day and arrest a number of strike leaders.

Government Crackdown

On September 4 police raided the Hyundai workers' strike headquarters and arrested 100 strikers. At the same time police raided the strike headquarters of Daewoo workers in Pupyong and arrested 100 of the Daewoo strikers.

The government charged Hyundai strikers with arson and vandalism, while the Daewoo workers were charged with hostage-taking. When the strike at Daewoo first started, workers took over the administration building. They seized some of the company executives and forced them to get down on their knees and publicly apologize for their authoritarian behavior. The Chun regime is quite upset about this "violation of social order."

Meanwhile, the government also threw a dragnet around student activists, liberal lawyers, and anyone it could identify as a political activist interested in the labor movement. Hundreds were arrested. While forced to accept the strike movement as a fact of life, the government is desperately trying to keep it confined. It is extremely worried about the workers' movement getting mobilized into the movement against the Chun dictatorship.

This new crackdown, in turn, is generating a new series of political protests on college campuses. Demonstrations broke out the first day of the fall semester.

At the end of September, the Hyundai workers' strike was reported to have wound down. But as we go to press, the shipyard workers have again downed tools, upset over a wage agreement between the company and the union leadership.

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News from Iran:

Strike wave in Iranian brick yards

( Reprinted from "Report," No. 37, Aug. 15-30. "Report" is the biweekly newsletter of the Communist Party of Iran -- The Committee Abroad.)

In mid-June, a wave of strikes began in brickyards on the outskirts of the cities of Tabriz and Bookan, over a raise. The strike followed the decision of the Ministry of Labor to keep the level of wages as the year before.

The workers in a few brickyards in Tabriz demanded 200 Tomans ($1 equals 100 Tomans) for every 1,000 bricks produced. But they only managed to impose part of their demands on employers; wages increased from 150 Tomans to 175 Tomans daily.

In Bookan, 50 brickyards went on strike. The dispute began in two brick-yards and after only two days spread to all other brickyards. At this stage the suppressive forces of the regime attacked the workers and arrested five of them. But the strike went on for a week. The workers' representatives held negotiations with employers and the representatives of the Ministry of Labor. At the end, the workers could only get a small amount of increase in their wages.

During the course of these strikes, the Voice of the Iranian Revolution (the radio of Komala) declared its support for the striking workers in Bookan and in a statement called on the workers in the city of Tabriz, in the cities in Kurdistan and in other cities in Iran to support the struggle of these workers.

(Reprinted from "Report, No. 37.)

Since the beginning of March 1987, we have been witnessing the widening of the struggle in Kurdistan in different arena -- from the people's everyday resistance to the reactionary policies of the Islamic regime, to the workers' movement and the armed struggle. Protests include opposition to the reactionary Iran-Iraq war and the Islamic Republic, struggle against forcible dispatch to the war fronts, and against raiding the villages and putting them on fire. It involves holding large numbers of workers' gatherings on the occasion of the 1st of May, in particular in the city of Sanandaj, and widespread workers' protests in brickyards. All these indicate the spread of the struggles in Kurdistan.

In the arena of the armed struggle, Komala Peshmargas have managed to carry on a large number of planned operations in different areas from northern Kurdistan to the southern parts. Recent attacks on the regime's forces, including the capture of many of its bases, has forced the Islamic Republic into a defensive position. Carrying on operations inside the cities of Sanandaj, Saghez, Baneh, Mahabad,... heavy attacks on the regime's military columns in the outskirts of the cities or along the main roads have been parts of the Peshmargas' military activities. Below are reports of some operations:

On July 9, the Peshmargas entered the city of Sanandaj and, in a confrontation with the regime's forces, inflicted a defeat on the regime. For an hour and a half confrontation went on with heavy firing from both sides. The regime's forces were taken completely by surprise and suffered damages and casualties. The exact number is not at hand. A large amount of ammunition fell into the hands of our comrades and they left the city. This was the second operation inside the city of Sanandaj during one week.

On July 1, the regime's forces began a large attack on some of Komala Peshmargas in the area of Divandareh. The regime, which had suffered many defeats in recent weeks, gathered its forces from the Sanandaj, Saghez and Divandareh areas, hoping to compensate for its continuous defeats. But our comrades put up a firm resistance in a five-hour conflict. Not only did the regime fail to disperse the Peshmarga units, it lost a number of its own troops. Fifteen men were killed and a few injured. In this battle, two of our comrades lost their lives. Some ammunition fell in the Peshmargas' hands.

On July 8, some units of Komala Peshmargas entered the city of Bookan and brought the city center under complete control. They carried on their operation in two stages: first they attacked the regime's base in the city and then became involved in a conflict with reinforcements arriving at the scene of the operation. Throughout the operation, the people helped the Peshmargas by informing them about movements of the regime's personnel. While the conflict was going on in the central parts of the city, some units of Peshmargas distributed leaflets in other parts and conducted discussions with the people about their struggle, exposing the regime's policies. After a few hours, all the Peshmargas left the city unhurt and returned to their bases. In this operation, at least 15 of the regime's men were killed or injured.

[Graphic: In revolutionary Kurdistan]

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