The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 17, No. 12


25ยข December 1, 1987

[Front page:

Elections cancelled--In Haiti--revolution or tyranny;

Don't sacrifice for the stock market!;

Behind the Arias peace plan--Democrats fund the dirty war on Nicaragua;

Revisionist Eastern Europe is capitalist--Western-style reforms bring misery]


Reagan-Gorbachev summit......................................................................................... 2
Jesse Jackson backs Reagan's bombing...................................................................... 2
One year of Simpson-Rodino...................................................................................... 2
Chicago march defends immigrant workers................................................................ 2
Reaganomics gone bust............................................................................................... 5

Down with Racism!

Atlanta Mayor Young defends killer cops; Punish Howard Beach lynchers; Indians oppose racist attacks in New Jersey; NYC transit cops In racist scandal.................. 3

Strikes and Workplace News

Detroit Chrysler workers; NYC letter carriers; Western coal miners; Strike on Wall Street; Bitter fruits of GM contract; Michigan Blue Cross strikers............................ 4
Arizona pecan pickers; NYC bakery drivers; Oregon tree planters; Cannery workers; New Haven packaging workers................................................................... 5

Socialist revolution way out of racism........................................................................ 6
Revisionism, capitalism -- same tune against women............................................... 6
"Market socialism" = crisis-ridden capitalism............................................................ 6
Capitalism bleeds Polish workers................................................................................ 7
Foundry workers strike in Yugoslavia......................................................................... 7
Protest against austerity in Romania........................................................................... 7
Privatization -- another capitalist flop........................................................................ 7

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

Seattle march; Rally at Concord Naval Base; Protest at E. Mich. University; Humanitarian aid for Salvadoran army....................................................................... 8
More secret arms for contras; Sandinistas look to Mexican model; Panama's Noriega offered to be U.S. hit-man............................................................................. 9
From the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists..................................................................... 10
Nicaraguan plastics workers; dockworkers strike in Nicaragua................................. 10

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!

Berkeley rally against phony divestment; "Shaka Zulu" -- apartheid mini-series; Auto workers strike..................................................................................................... 12
Buthelezi murders black youth.................................................................................... 15

World in Struggle

Haitian regime to blame for terror............................................................................... 11
Philippines; Bangladesh.............................................................................................. 13
Iran; Lebanon; Italy..................................................................................................... 14

Elections cancelled

In Haiti--revolution or tyranny

Don't sacrifice for the stock market!

Behind the Arias peace plan

Democrats fund the dirty war on Nicaragua

Revisionist Eastern Europe is capitalist

Western-style reforms bring misery

The Reagan--Gorbachev summit:

The peak of nuclear hypocrisy

Jesse Jackson backs Reagan's bombing in the Persian Gulf

Chicago Workers' Voice editorial: One year of Simpson-Rodino

Chicago march in defense of the immigrant workers


Strikes and workplace news

Reaganomics gone bust

Socialist revolution - the way out of racism

'Market socialism' is crisis-ridden capitalism

Revisionism and capitalism - same old tune against women

Capitalism, not socialism, bleeds Poland's workers

Foundry workers strike in Yugoslavia

City hall burned in protest against austerity in Romania

'Privatization' - another capitalist flop

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

U.S.-backed regime is to blame for Haiti's right-wing violence


The World in Struggle

Elections cancelled

In Haiti--revolution or tyranny

The elections promised in Haiti have collapsed. The streets are scenes of terror by right-wing gangsters. But that's not the only story. There are also reports of the masses marching with machetes to beat back the reactionaries. Another big clash is shaping up in Haiti between those who want freedom and those who defend tyranny.

In February 1986 the Haitian people rose in an uprising against the dictatorship of Baby Doc Duvalier. To stop the revolution the U.S. stepped in at the last moment, spirited away the Duvaliers to France, and put in power the military regime of General Namphy.

The Haitian people have repeatedly tried to settle accounts with the Duvalierists. But because Baby Doc's military took power and protected the other Duvalierists, they were never uprooted.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and liberal capitalist politicians in Haiti promised that the way to change things in Haiti was not struggle in the streets but elections. As farfetched as it may look today, the fairy tale was told that Duvalier's generals were going to peacefully transfer power. Meanwhile Washington sent guns, bullets and other military aid to the Namphy dictatorship.

The elections farce has collapsed. The Duvalierist armed gangsters are again marauding in the streets. The army gives them protection and joins in the terror. Together they shout, "Long live the army!"

The lesson of the latest events, indeed of the last year and a half, is clear. So long as the institutions of the Duvalier tyranny remain, so long as Duvalier's army remains, there can be no democracy for the masses. Democracy can only come through struggle and another insurrection.

When the masses rise again, they should not stop with the exchange of Namphy for another exploiters' regime but they should go forward until the toilers are in power themselves. Only when the guns are in their hands can the masses defend their gains and march forward.

Workers in the U.S. should support the Haitian masses. And we must not forget that once again it is "our government' ' whose hands are stained with the blood of the Haitian people. The White House may grumble about the collapse of the elections, but it was the U.S. government which supported the Duvaliers for decades, which gave them aid to build up the police and military apparatus, and which has propped up the murderous Namphy regime.

U.S. imperialism out of Haiti!

Solidarity with the Haitian workers and peasants!

[Photo: Haitian masses rally against the Tonton Macoute thugs and against the brutal CNG (National Council of Government) regime of General Namphy.]

* For more on Haiti, see page 11.

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Don't sacrifice for the stock market!

Times of crisis reveal what is often hidden in normal times. That's what the stock market crash has done.

Bloody Monday has shown just how this vast land of over 200 million working people is held in hock to a gang of Wall Street speculators. If there's any question here, just look at what's been going on in Washington these days: Reagan and Congress joining hands to skin the working people to soothe the stock market.

Stock Market Demands Lower Living Standards

The stock market has been hit by a trillion-dollar shakeout. Now the scramble is on to shore up stock values.

This scramble has been joined by all the capitalist media and all the bourgeois politicians -- both Republican and Democrat. The trillion dollar question of the moment is "how to restore investor confidence?"

Their answer is nearly unanimous: To smooth the crisis on Wall Street will require a new round of squeezing the workers and the poor.

Business Week has even put a figure on just how much sacrifice from the people Wall Street needs. Prescribing wage cuts, tax hikes, and cut backs in social programs as the best cure, the BW scribblers are eager for lowering living standards by 7% "at a minimum." (Nov. 16)

The immediate focus is on the huge federal deficits. Financing the national debt is keeping interest rates up and putting pressures on the stock market. Wall Street is crying deficit reduction.

But surprise, surprise. The same corporate chiefs and investors demanding action on the deficit are also lobbying that nothing be done to cut into their tax breaks and other subsidies. After all, that might hurt profits and frighten the stock market.

So the capitalists have agreed that the working masses will have to be skewered with another round of budget cuts.

White House and Congress Do Stock Market's Bidding

Within days of Bloody Monday, the politicians in Washington were pledging to do whatever has to be done to calm the stock market. An emergency summit between the White House and leaders of both parties in Congress was called. On November 20 it came up with a bipartisan deficit reduction plan.

If passed next month, this bill will keep the across-the-board Gramm-Rudman cuts from going into effect. But the same "fiscal conservatism," the same "damn the masses!" spirit that created Gramm-Rudman inspired this agreement among Reagan and the Republicans and the Democrats.

The biggest victim of the agreement is health care for the poor, including a $2 billion cut in Medicare. This at a time when soaring costs are putting health care out of reach for millions. When infant mortality in the inner cities is climbing towards the levels of dirt poor Honduras. When AIDS continues to reap its grisly toll.

But the capitalists have their priorities. And treating the jumpy nerves of the investment bankers comes first.

The plan also cuts farm programs. To a large extent, these programs subsidize the wealthy farmers and agribusiness. They also provide a crutch for small and poorer farmers on the edge of going under.

But driving out a few tens of thousands of farmers is a small price for sending a soothing signal to the idle rich.

On paper, the deal calls for $5 billion in cuts for the Pentagon. In reality, the current budget has already scheduled a $10.4 billion boost for the military over the next year. This leaves the Pentagon with a $5.4 billion net gain. (Gramm-Rudman was scheduled to eliminate this increase.)

This too is said to be good for stock market "confidence"; war contracts are high profit.

The Democratic majority leader in the Senate, Robert Byrd, praised the agreement as "a good message to send to the markets." The Wall Street experts responded that it didn't go far enough. So talk is already in the works of sending more "messages" to the stock market at the expense of the working people.

Stock Market- Government Alliance

Oh, yes. We are told that this is a government "of the people and for the people." One of Reagan's favorite words is "freedom" (as in the "freedom fighting" contra mercenaries). The Democrats go one better and speak about "human rights" and the rights of labor and the poor.

But when push comes to shove, when the big bucks are on the line, our government leaders come down on the side of the dictates of the capitalists against the working class and oppressed.

Theirs is the "freedom" of the rich to impose their will on the poor, the "rights" of the exploiters to inhumanly exploit the working people.

In his work The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, the communist path-breaker Frederick Engels gave the U.S. as an example of the "brotherly bond between government and stock exchange." He pointed out that in a democratic republic the state remains in the hands of the capitalists.

This is realized "by an alliance between the government and the stock exchange." (He also noted the role of high government debts in effecting this alliance.)

Liberate Labor from the Stock Market!

The crash of '87 is helping to reveal this alliance to the working people. The working class must seize the time to pose sharp questions.

Why must we sacrifice any further for a handful of Wall Street sharks? Let us stiffen the fight against concessions, layoffs and cutbacks!

Why must we be saddled by the stock market's hop-and-fetch-it men, the political gangs of Republicans and Democrats? Let us workers build our own revolutionary movement that defends our own interests!

Why must we bend to the rule of capital that offers a future of "lowered living standards," crisis and ruin? Why can't those who produce take control of production? Why can't the majority, the working class in alliance with all who work, become the ruling power? Let us organize and struggle for the socialist revolution which can liberate labor from the stock market!

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Behind the Arias peace plan

Democrats fund the dirty war on Nicaragua

The Democratic Party politicians claim they are firm opponents of Reagan's dirty war against Nicaragua. Lately they have been big supporters of the Central American peace plan (Arias pact) as the alleged alternative to Reaganite aggression.

But behind this peace rhetoric they continue to finance the contras. On November 6, the Democratic-controlled Congress passed legislation providing $3.2 million to fund the contras. This is the second contra aid package approved by Congress since the Arias peace plan went into effect in August. In September, $3.5 million was allocated for the contra butchers.

"Don't worry," say the Democrats, the $3.2 million is just a pittance. Oh fine! Just a few million for murder and arson! In fact this is quite substantial aid. The $3.2 million is to fund the contras for less than a month and a half. This is equal to a rate of over $25 million over a full year, approximately the yearly allocation of Congress in 1984.

The Fraud of "Humanitarian" Aid

"Oh, but it's not military aid, just 'humanitarian' aid," cry the Democrats. Of course only cynical double- dealers like the Democrats could find something humanitarian in helping out such a gang of thugs. Maybe the Democrats would consider feeding and clothing Hitler's Panzer divisions as humanitarian, too!

Ronald "I'm-a-contra, too"' Reagan naturally welcomes such humanitarian assistance. After all, a White House official declared, "rebel forces had enough military supplies to continue fighting if they were only able to replenish stocks of non-lethal items." (New York Times, November 5) In other words, Congress had previously provided so much military aid that their present "non-lethal" aid will suffice to keep the war effort going.

The Fighting Escalates

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. While the Democrats pat themselves on the back for having allegedly cut contra spending to virtually nothing, the contra war has escalated. Since the Arias pact, the CIA has directed the contras to launch new offensives. The Reagan administration calls this essential for enforcing the Arias pact.

The Democrats don't care. They take the bows for having cut down the war, while in reality the war is stepped up.

Meanwhile it turns out that the Pentagon has found new ways to provide military weapons to the contras. In an accompanying article we discuss how the Pentagon leaves behind weapons and ammunition from its numerous exercises in Honduras to hand over to the contras.

Putting the CIA Back in the Picture

There was a time when the Democrats pretended to want the CIA out of the war against Nicaragua. But now the Democrats have abandoned the pretense of restraining the CIA. It is the CIA which will handle the new "humanitarian" aid voted by Congress, and the CIA is notorious for using "humanitarian" aid for weapons and ammunition. Indeed, it is interesting to note that Rep. Bonior (D-Mich.), supposedly a fierce opponent of contra aid, withdrew a proposal that would have put an international relief agency in charge of the funds rather than the CIA.

Stopping Aid -- By Giving Aid!

The Democratic Party leaders like House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas swear that this will be the last aid Congress grants the contras. Allegedly by voting for the "small" $3.2 million now, they were able to convince others in Congress to vote against future aid. But the Democrats have been threatening to cut off aid for years now. There was to be no more aid in 1987. And Wright promised no more aid after the September allocation. And so it goes.

Actually, Congress will be discussing contra aid again very soon. There may be a new debate the week of December 7 on a $30 million aid request. And then early next year after the Central American ministers get together to discuss the results of the Arias pact in early January, Congress will decide whether the Nicaraguan government has made enough concessions. They will consider whether more concessions can be obtained by funding the contras or whether such funding will cut short this process.

Ultra-Liberal for Contra Aid

Among those justifying their voting for contra aid on the grounds that this will block future aid is Detroit Democrat, Rep. George Crockett. Crockett, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is one of the most "radical" of the Democrats, particularly on foreign policy. But his vote for contra aid shows that even the ultra-liberal wing of the Democrats is incapable of a real fight against Reagan.

Republicans and Democrats -- Imperialist Partners

Why is it that the Democrats continually help Reagan's contra war? Both the Republicans and Democrats share the same basic goal of crushing the Nicaraguan revolution.

The only real objection the Democrats have to Reagan's Nicaragua policy is that they feel that more use should be made of diplomatic maneuvers and peace rhetoric. This is why the Democrats are so in love with the Arias "peace" plan. Clearly this plan is not stopping them from financing the contras with "humanitarian" aid. Meanwhile, under the banner of "peace" it demands that Nicaragua welcome back the contras and dismantle its revolution.

Workers and all progressive activists! We must rip the mask off our so-called friends, the Democratic Party liberals! One day they promote themselves to us as the greatest heroes of the movement against U.S. aggression in Central America. The next day they are back in the halls of Congress, stabbing us in the back. Building a strong movement against Reagan's war on Nicaragua requires a vigorous fight against the influence of the Democratic Party.

For more news about Central America and the anti-intervention movement

-- See pages 8-10

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Revisionist Eastern Europe is capitalist

Western-style reforms bring misery

On pages 6 and 7, we carry articles on the crisis in the Soviet Union, Poland, Yugoslavia, and Romania. The Soviet bloc countries are currently facing serious economic and political problems.

The solution from the revisionist leaders today is more Western-style capitalist measures. But such measures only spell more disaster. Big cuts in the living standards of the working masses are in the works.

And what is to blame for this crisis? it's not socialism. These countries are not socialist but state-capitalist, run by wealthy ruling classes who lord it over and exploit the working people.

Things were different under socialism. The Soviet Union after the October revolution began to build socialism, and this resulted in big achievements in the lives of the working people. The Soviet Union was immune from the Great Depression. But the Soviet leaders turned away from Marxism-Leninism; bureaucratic degeneration set in and eventually capitalism was restored. This path has led the workers to disaster.

The solution to the crisis in the revisionist countries isn't more capitalism. Rather it's the organization of the working class for struggle and new socialist revolutions. At a time when we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the October revolution in Russia, the road of Lenin and the Bolsheviks remains as vital as ever.

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The Reagan--Gorbachev summit:

The peak of nuclear hypocrisy

The man who brought you the invasion of Grenada, the bombing of Lebanon, air raids on Libya and Iran, and the CIA-contra war on Nicaragua will meet next week with the man who continues the invasion of Afghanistan and the supplying of the Ethiopian regime's war against the Eritreans and Tigrayans.

The Reagan-Gorbachev summit begins December 7. And each, in turn, will proclaim to the world that he is the most for "peace." Why,.they even have a new arms control agreement to prove it. But no matter how many white dove feathers they put on, the fierce teeth of these bloody wolves are still gleaming.

Missile-Banning Hypocrisy

Take a look at the new agreement to "ban".medium-range nuclear missiles. The agreement almost fell through over verification procedures, until the Soviet officials compromised their demands. The U.S. imperialists demanded full time on-site monitoring of Soviet production lines. The Russian imperialists agreed. But in return the Russians demanded they be allowed to station inspectors outside a San Diego plant that produces ground-launched and sea-launched cruise missiles. The Reaganites refused. While the treaty bans the "ground-launched" cruise, it allows the "sea-launched" cruise. The Reaganites declared that inspection of the San Diego plant made no sense since the two kinds of missiles are identical.

But wait a minute. If inspection makes no sense for this reason, neither does the treaty. The U.S. imperialists can continue to build all the cruise missiles they want and just claim they are to be deployed at sea. Whether you're nuked "from the sea or from the land makes little difference to the masses. But such is the hypocrisy of this new "peace" agreement.

Of course the treaty doesn't even touch the big intercontinental nuclear weapons. Nor does it get rid of some 4-5,000 "tactical" nuclear missiles and warheads deployed in Europe. Nor do the British and French nuclear missiles go. Nor will it prevent U.S. plans to deploy super-cruise missiles with special nonnuclear explosive warheads which are supposed to be more accurate than the current cruise missiles. And both imperialist powers will continue to modernize their weapons arsenals and develop new instruments of mass murder.

What's the Summit About?

So if the new treaty doesn't stop nuclear warmongering, what's the summit about?

For Reagan it's a matter of cleaning up his act. In the wake of the Iran-contra scandal, Reagan's after a "symbol" to clean up his image in the U.S. As well, the U.S. imperialists want to help their warmongering allies in Western Europe appease the enormous anti-war movement that blew up against NATO's installation of medium-range cruise and Pershing II missiles. Since the arms control treaty doesn't stop the massive growth of the U.S. war budget or stop "star wars" development or affect the gargantuan stockpiles of nuclear bombs, it's a cheap sop from Reagan. But already the liberal Democrats are patting him on the back.

Meanwhile, Gorbachev wants to at least create the image that he is slowing down the arms race with the U.S. This is not because he wants Russia to stop militarizing or to give up its imperialist quest for spheres of influence. But if he can show that he's cut a deal with the Reaganites, it will help him in the faction fight within the Russian regime. And it might help open the possibilities to gain some Western technology and joint ventures with Western firms. An actual slowdown in the arms race might assist Gorbachev's plans to deal with the Russian economic crisis. But even if the new arms agreement is only a "symbol," Gorbachev wants and needs it.

The Russian leaders long ago departed from Marxism-Leninism and restored capitalism in the Soviet Union. Like the U.S. imperialists, their talk of peace has become a cynical game to pull the wool over the eyes of the masses while the real business of power politics goes on behind the scenes.

Fight the Wolves of War

As long as capital rules, all such "peace" treaties and summits become so much syrup to cover the bitter taste of exploitation and war. The U.S. and the Soviet Union are imperialist powers whose very existence depends on sweating profits out of their own workers while plundering the working people of other countries. Imperialist aggression and inter-imperialist war are the necessary product of the scramble over which of these wolves will rip the most flesh from the hides of the world's toilers.

For the class conscious workers and revolutionary activists the issue is to expose the "peace" hypocrisy. While opposing both superpowers, we who live here in the belly of the U.S. monster work to build the anti-war protests into a powerful mass movement directed squarely against U.S. imperialism. Such a movement is what is needed to resist every step towards war. And such is needed to help organize a revolutionary movement that can overthrow the U.S. imperialists and put this warmongering system in its grave.

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Jesse Jackson backs Reagan's bombing in the Persian Gulf

Reagan's bloody intervention in the oil-rich Persian Gulf recently got a boost from Jesse Jackson. Jackson has frequently portrayed his presidential bid as a "peace" campaign. But on October 27 he came out solidly in support of the navy's bombing of an Iranian oil platform. This bombing was another step in Reagan's drive to maximize U.S. imperialist gains out of the bloodletting in the Iran-Iraq war. Jackson's support for it shows that he -- far from defending the interests of the workers, oppressed, and downtrodden as he so often claims -- is out to defend U.S. imperialist interests. Jackson's basic policy is essentially no different from the other imperialist politicians from the Democratic and Republican parties.

Of course Jackson claims he's opposed to Reagan's "voodoo foreign policy." Why, he supported the bombing of Iran only because it was absolutely necessary to protect U.S. troops. "There may be division in this country over the Persian Gulf policy," Jackson declared. But, he continued, "There must be no division of our support for troops who are there." (Pittsburgh Courier, Oct. 31)

Yet the only reason U.S. troops are there, and in danger, is because Reagan sent them there. To "support" the working people who are being used as cannon fodder for Reagan's imperialist adventures should at least mean calling for them to be pulled out of the region. But does Jackson do this? On no. He calls for keeping U.S. troops there, at least temporarily.

Jackson emphasized, "At this point, we do not have the option of just walking away for if we do so we simply leave the whole Gulf open to be overrun in part by weapons that we or our allies supplied." (Ibid.) Overrun by whom? Evidently by the Khomeini regime (which the U.S. has supplied weapons to, although the U.S. has also supplied weapons to Iraq). But this means Jackson is supporting Reagan's current tilt in support of the reactionary Iraqi regime against the reactionary Iranian regime. He is even using Reagan's own arguments for drawing the U.S. deeper and deeper into the reactionary Iran-Iraq war.

Of course Jackson also called for a "multinational peacekeeping force" which would supposedly "reduce our troops back to a normal level while reducing the military presence in the region." But Reagan has also called for this. This is just a more sophisticated imperialist military pressure on the Gulf. What is more, reducing U.S. troops ''back to a normal level" means that Jackson wants to keep U.S. military forces in the region under any circumstances.

In short, while worrying that Reagan's policies may create another disaster like what happened to the marines in Lebanon in 1983, Jackson agrees that the U.S. should maintain a military presence in the Persian Gulf. Isn't this the typical stand of imperialists, that the U.S. should act as the world's policeman -- especially when oil is at stake.

Jackson's stand is similar to the concealed Reaganism of most other Democratic Party politicians. As Jackson strives to become a mainstream candidate for the presidency, he is more and more revealing that under the hymns of ''peace" his heart beats as one with the other coldblooded imperialist sharks.

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Chicago Workers' Voice editorial: One year of Simpson-Rodino

One year has passed since the Simpson-Rodino Immigration Reform and Control Act was approved by the U.S. Congress on November 6,1986. For the immigrants it has been a year of worry and concern. Should they go back to their country? Apply for the so-called "legalization"? Try to lose themselves deeper into the underground of the undocumented?

The effects of the law have already been felt widely. And those effects show that the Simpson-Rodino law is living up to its racist and anti-immigrant intentions.

Many immigrant workers have lost their jobs. Getting new jobs has been made harder because of the employer sanctions provision of the law which says employers must verify the legal immigration status of all workers hired after November 6, 1986. This has not only hurt the undocumented new hires but has increased the harassment and discrimination against all immigrants and against Latinos and other minorities.

In Chicago we have the recent example of the three Mexican workers in the western suburbs who were fired because they were undocumented even though they had been hired long before the November 6 deadline. Not only did they lose their jobs but the company didn't even pay them for the last days they worked! Intervention by Hispanic organizations finally got the men their paychecks, but not their jobs. This is just one example of the kind of abuse and exploitation that the Simpson-Rodino law is encouraging.

Only a very small number of the eligible undocumented have applied for the so-called "amnesty" or "legalization." In Chicago, as of November 1, only 50,000 out of an estimated 250,000 eligible immigrants had applied for the temporary legal residency offered in the first phase of the program. The reason for the low turnout is not simply "unfounded fear and distrust" as the INS and others are saying. There is a well-founded skepticism because of the fraudulent nature of the "legalization," its severe and complicated limitations, and the extremely high cost. For example: Application fee $185, lawyers $300 and up; medical exam $10 to $75; and even the "charitable" and "humanitarian" agencies charge up to $100 to help the immigrants fill out their applications.

People have been rejected for "legalization" because they were out of the U.S. for two or three days in the last year or because they got some kind of government assistance for their children (who are U.S. citizens). Families are facing being split up because some family members can qualify and some can't. Furthermore, in order to apply, the immigrant has to list all family members (including sisters, brothers, ex-husbands, etc.) and give their whereabouts -- which seems like turning your family over to La Migra to many immigrants.

Finally, the past year has seen a buildup of manpower and enforcement capability for the INS itself. More enforcement agents, more office support, more high tech equipment. The border with Mexico has been increasingly militarized. There have been more deaths on the border, and in the Southwest increasing deportation raids and harassment along the border are being reported.

The Marxist-Leninist Party, USA has opposed the whole anti-immigrant, racist offensive. The Chicago Workers' Voice has worked to expose the abuses of the Simpson-Rodino law and to promote every act of resistance and protest taken by the immigrant movement. We want to take this opportunity to again make clear our stand -- the stand of the class conscious and revolutionary workers: The immigrant workers in the United States, whether "legal" or "illegal," are a part of the U.S. working class for as long as they are here. The immigrant workers must have full political, educational, and economic rights. The struggle of the immigrants against racism, discrimination, harassment and violence is the struggle of all the workers.

(Reprinted from Nov. 6 "Chicago Workers' Voice," paper of the MLP-Chicago.)

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Chicago march in defense of the immigrant workers


Militant voices continue to be raised in protest against the racist and anti-immigrant Simpson-Rodino Bill and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

On November 6, there was a militant march through the Latino community in Chicago marking the first anniversary of Simpson-Rodino. The marchers shouted slogans against jailings, deportations, the INS, Simpson-Rodino and against Reagan.

The most popular slogan reflected the immigrant workers' stand of resistance to exploitation and persecution at the hands of the capitalists: "After so many years of feeding them, they want to deport us, but they won't be able to!" ("Despues de tantos alios de darles a comer, nos quieren deportar, y no se van apoder!")

The march was well received on 18th Street, where people opened windows, yelled slogans and raised fists. Car horns honked in support.

The MLP had a contingent in the march, raising a banner reading "Full Rights to All the Immigrants!" Voz Obrero, the Spanish paper of the Chicago Branch of the Party, was distributed widely.

At a rally after the march a call was given for more actions to fight Simpson-Rodino and the attacks on the immigrants. This includes protesting a new detention center being planned by the INS in Chicago.

All workers, both U.S. and foreign- born, legal and undocumented, should lend a hand to build such protests and the movement in defense of the immigrant workers.

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Atlanta's Mayor Young says killer cops 'performing their duty'

The campaign of terror against the black people of Atlanta rendered another man dead -- the fourth murder by police in six weeks.

On October 15, Lamar Bradley was cornered by police as they supposedly investigated a burglary. He was shot in the knee, but that bullet didn't kill him. Bradley died of a ruptured spleen. The Medical Examiner expressed bewilderment at this finding, claiming there was "no evidence of beating.'' No doubt we are supposed to believe Bradley's burst spleen was just another one of those "mysteries of nature.''

More likely one should look to the nature of the Atlanta police. They are on a racist spree of violence against the masses. It was just September 10 when Eddie Callahan was shot six times, execution-style with his hands handcuffed behind his back. Residents at the Carver Homes housing project saw this murder with their own eyes. Four hundred of them stormed out of their apartments and chased the cops from the scene. Since then there have been a series of demonstrations against the racist police.

Faced with the protests, one of the cops was indicted. But only for "involuntary manslaughter'' which carries a maximum sentence of only one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The other cop involved in Callahan's murder was completely exonerated of wrongdoing.

But even the one indictment "shocked'' Atlanta's black Democratic Party Mayor Andrew Young. Young immediately jumped to the defense of his police officers. He declared they are merely "performing their duty.'' Indeed they are -- to terrorize the black masses. Young is also performing his duty as a spokesman for the black bourgeoisie by betraying the black masses and trying to suppress their demonstrations, quiet their anger, and prove his loyalty to the ruling class. But the black masses of Atlanta have seen enough. They are coming out in protests not only against the racist cops but also against their defender, Andrew Young.

Howard Beach lynchers must be punished!

[Photo: Anti-racists rally outside Howard Beach trial courtroom, November 2.]

On November 2, a protest rally of over 300 people was held outside a New York courtroom. The demonstrators demanded heavy sentences for four white racists who are on trial for their part in the lynch mob attack on three black men in Howard Beach, New York last December. Among the demonstrators were the mother and brother of Michael Griffith, who was killed in the attack. The protesters also denounced the judge and the state's special prosecutor for failing to stop the defense attorneys from abusing in the courtroom the black victims of the attack. The defense attorneys have been trying to blame the victims for "provoking" the gang of white racists into beating them. A defense attorney called one of the victims an "animal" in a televised interview.

Indian community rallies against racist attacks in New Jersey

A racist movement is brewing in New Jersey. The latest victims singled out for attack are Indian residents of Jersey City and Hoboken, a working class area where several thousand workers from India live. The cowardly attacks are usually launched against lone males or females, who are easily identifiable in their traditional dress. The culprits in these attacks are youth who are attempting to organize a racist group called the "dotbusters'' (a slur against the forehead "dot" worn by some Indian women).

The racists were given a hand in their organizing campaign by the local capitalist press, the Jersey Journal, which printed a letter sent in by the group. Referring to the letter as their "manifesto," the group declared their plans of harassment and violence against the Indian community.

So far their racist attacks have led to the beating death of one young worker from a skull fracture. Four youth have been arrested. But mostly the police have been helping the racists. In one incident, two young Indians, threatened by a carload of "dotbusters," called the police -- only to be arrested themselves and further harassed by the cops while imprisoned.

The Indian masses are not taking these attacks lightly. Five hundred people poured into the streets of downtown Jersey City on October 11 to protest the attacks. They were joined by anti-racist masses from New York.

New York Transit police in racist scandal over false arrests

Justice in the U.S. is nothing if it isn't racist. More evidence of the institutionalized racism of the police and courts has recently come to light with another scandal in New York City.

It has been revealed that between 1983 and 1984 four cops of New York City's Transit Authority (TA) arrested scores of black and Latino men on completely fabricated charges. The TA gives their cops better evaluations the more arrests they make. So to up their scores these cops arbitrarily grabbed blacks and Latinos off subways and trumped up charges against them -- most often for such things as sexual abuse of white women or attempted grand larceny.

The vast majority of the victims of these outrageous arrests were prosecuted. There was an investigation of 145 cases that went to court. In 18% of them, the men were found guilty of the original phony charges. And, under pressure from the police and the racist court system, another 53% pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

All of these facts were known back in 1984 when there was an investigation by the TA's internal affairs section. But the investigation was covered up and the guilty cops were not touched. The information has only now come to light because a New York City policeman -- who while off duty in plain clothes was himself grabbed on phony charges by the TA cops -- has recently filed a federal lawsuit against the TA.

The facts speak for themselves about racist injustice in the U.S. First the TA encourages and rewards officers on the basis of the number of arrests they make. And who better to arrest than oppressed minorities. Then, although those arrested are up on phony charges, the courts convict 71% of them. Who says American justice is blind? Why, it's deaf, dumb, and racist to the core.

Now Mayor Koch and other city officials are acting shocked -- as if phony arrests to make an officer "look good" were some unusual phenomenon and not simply business as usual in the TA. They want another investigation. And they are renewing calls for the TA police to be put under the control of the New York Police Department. But this police department is itself notorious for racist harassment, arrests, and even murders against blacks and Latinos. Certainly he can't have in mind stopping the racist persecution. Perhaps the mayor wants to "professionalize" the police brutality and the cover-ups of the TA cops.

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Strikes and workplace news


Detroit Chrysler plant shut down in protest of unsafe work and job cuts

At about 6:00 p.m. on November 17, a car fell off the chassis line narrowly missing one worker. This has become a common occurrence at the Jefferson Avenue' assembly plant in Detroit. There have been two or three such near misses every month.

But this time the workers had had enough. They refused to go back to work. Foremen and union committeemen scurried around demanding that the workers get back on the line. Nobody moved. Word of the job action spread like wildfire. Workers from other departments came down to chassis to show their solidarity.

Two hundred angry workers confronted Chrysler management at a meeting in the cafeteria. They rejected 1 the bosses' empty promises to "look into the problem'' if the workers would return to the line. Everyone knows what the problem is. Chrysler cut the jobs of workers who used to clean up debris that piled up along the line and who took care of the grease and oil spills that add to the dangers. This "cost cutting'' is both job cutting and safety cutting. The workers demanded those jobs be restored before someone is crippled or killed.

Faced with this militant mass action, the management had no choice but to stop production and send the entire plant home for the night. The next day the management had made some slight changes in the way the cars are hooked up (adding an extra chain, etc.). They hoped this would appease the angry workers. But the workers still declared: "Restore the jobs!"

(From the Nov. 24 issue of the "Detroit Workers' Voice" paper of the MLP-Detroit.)

New York letter carriers resist Sunday work

At the end of October, letter carriers at the FDR, Lenox Hill and Gracie stations in New York City were treated to a rude surprise. Management had decided to try out Sunday delivery of the mail among the residential letter carriers. But the "experiment'' did not turn out as management had wished.

Word of the plan leaked out to the workers at the FDR station. They were outraged. Not only the letter carriers, who would be forced into the work, but also clerks and mailhandlers were seriously upset. In some cases union hacks were denounced for not having informed the rank and file earlier and for not organizing resistance. A wide debate broke out over how best to take action against the Sunday work.

The idea caught on of strictly observing safety rules. This was, in effect, a slowdown. On Friday, before the Sunday delivery, carriers on several routes returned later than usual from their trips. On Sunday too, workers continued to show their anger.

Suddenly management began singing a different tune. The "experiment'' became an emergency, one-time measure to deal with the high level of the mail.

(Based on Nov. 8 leaflet of MLP-New York.)

Sit-down blockades by western coal miners

On November 7, over 300 coal miners and friends rallied in Sheridan, Wyoming. They came out to support the 270 miners who have been on strike since October 1 at the Decker Coal Co. surface mine in Sheridan.

The rally took place four days after 53 strikers had been arrested at a sit-in at the Decker strip mine in Montana. The miners have organized several such sit-down blockades of the entrance to various Decker mines. In an earlier incident, the strikers blocked two buses full of scabs from leaving the Wyoming mine. Eighty-four strikers were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in that action.

The miners' staunch stand has gained them support from other workers. The railway workers, for example, are refusing to move cars along the rail beds leading from the Decker mine.

Meanwhile, 44 miners struck Big Horn Coal in Montana on October 6. Big Horn, like Decker, is owned by Peter Kiewitl and Sons, one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. These miners have only received one raise, of only five cents an hour, since 1982. Nevertheless, Big Horn unilaterally cut their pay by $1.25 an hour.

The Decker and Big Horn coal miners are not only fighting takebacks but for more job security. This is also the key issue in the underground miners' contract that expires January 31. Some 45,000 underground miners have lost their jobs since the last contract in 1984. While smaller companies are being run out of business, the biggest companies are eliminating jobs by switching production to nonunion mines or by leasing operations to other companies (most frequently the new companies were hastily created by the old companies). The current strikes foreshadow a showdown over job security in the underground mines next month.

Strike on Wall Street

The October 19 Wall Street crash has led to a wave of calls for more "belt tightening'' against the workers across the country. But the workers are not going along willingly. Indeed, on Wall Street itself some 1,100 clerical and other employees struck for several days in November against attempts to cut their medical benefits and for improved pensions.

Shouts of "Pension, pension!'' and"We want a contract!" rocked the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on November 10. Strikers blew whistles as a massive picket line was set up the first day of the strike. This is the first strike at the NYSE in 40 years.

The strikers are computer transaction reporters, secretaries, messengers, office personnel and maintenance workers. Over the past few years, working conditions and stress have increased dramatically as the brokers (some of whom make a million a year) try to keep pace with the record volume and chaotic conditions of the Exchange. It is the employees who take the brunt of the speedup.

Because of the stressful conditions, Exchange employees frequently "burn out" and have to retire before age 65 at reduced pensions. (Their pensions equal one-third of their final year's income If they make it to 65.) They are demanding that the retirement age be reduced from 65 to 55 with the pension equal to one-half their pay.

SUB pay cut while more plants close: Bitter fruits of the GM contract

Officials of the United Auto Workers (UAW) have hailed the new GM contract as a breakthrough in labor relations, a new high in labor-management cooperation. It's taken only a few weeks to show this "cooperation" is nothing but a plot against the workers.

The ink is hardly dry on the GM contract. But the loopholes -- agreed to by the UAW hacks -- are already in use to throw thousands of workers out of their jobs. The Framingham, Mass. assembly plant -- with 3,700 workers -- is being completely closed. And a shift has been eliminated at plants in Flint, Mi., Wentzville, Mo. and Oshawa, Ontario. None of these were previously scheduled for shut down. They were supposed to be "guaranteed jobs" according to the UAW officials. But GM pulled out the "lagging sales" loophole in the contract and the UAW leaders cried, "Yes master."

Of course the contract had already left some 40,000 laid-off GM workers out in the cold. Another 37,000 workers were guaranteed unemployment with the UAW hack's agreement to the "scheduled" closing of 19 plants. And the UAW leaders gave GM the right to eliminate another 30,000 jobs through attrition. But now, the supposedly "guaranteed" jobs are also beginning to be cut. And the UAW officials just roll over like puppy dogs.

Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB) Cut

And what about the protection for those being laid off? Well, there's so many layoffs, that GM has cut SUB by 20% for all workers with under 20 years seniority. And workers with less than five years seniority have had SUB cut back from two years to about 30 weeks.

Of course the UAW hacks are claiming that TRA (cash and job training under the government's Trade Readjustment Act) will save the day. But the government has refused to assist workers at 25 of the 32 plants that the UAW has applied for. At the seven plants where workers are to receive TRA assistance, the benefits replace SUB benefits, thus relieving GM from its obligation to pay the workers it has laid off. What is more, TRA is tied to claims that "imports" (and by implication, foreign workers) are the cause of the layoffs in the U.S. While TRA may help some workers, especially at a time when SUB is being cut, it doesn't help most. And its aim is to divert the anger of the workers away from GM and toward our class brothers in other countries.

The UAW leaders have left the workers to the tender mercies of the moneybags and their government. The result is enormous layoffs, cutbacks for the unemployed, and overwork for those who still have jobs. To defend themselves, the workers must reject the UAW chief's talk of "labor-management cooperation" and build a fighting movement based on labor versus management, based on class struggle against the capitalists.

1,000 rally for Blue Cross strikers


On November 14, over 1,000 workers rallied in support of the strikers at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan.

Four thousand Blue Cross workers were on strike from September 1 against wage freeze demands of the company. They confronted the company's strikebreaking, including the use of scabs, with mass pickets and solidarity actions like the one on November 14.

They also had to defy the threats of top UAW leaders to take over the Detroit local and put a stop to the mass actions. A number of UAW bigwigs sit on the Blue Cross board of directors and the efforts to hold back the strikers shows just whose interests they are representing.

After striking for two-and-a-half months, the workers agreed to a contract. They beat back the freeze attempts and won some wage increases. Although the contract stipulates that workers fired during the strike will be rehired, Blue Cross has announced layoffs which may threaten these strikers' jobs.

Pecan pickers strike in Arizona

The Mexican nationality workers at the Santa Cruz Valley Pecan Company won union representation in 1986. But since the election, the company owners have refused to give them a contract. In response, 40 workers went on strike on August 11 at the farm which is located south of Tuscon, Arizona.

The strikers have been threatened with firing and deportation. And the company recently called for an election to decertify the union. But the militant picketers are standing firm against the threats.

The staunch stand taken by the pecan workers has attracted a lot of attention. On October 10, they were joined on their picket line by 100 workers from other work places.

New York bakery drivers strike

On November 8, some 1,500 delivery truck drivers for Wonder Bread and Tastee Bread went on a contract strike in New York City. Their picket lines are being honored by the bakery workers. And although the companies are trying to operate with scabs, very little is being produced at the plants.

The companies are offering a small wage increase. But they want the workers, in return, to do extra work (like paper work and return trips to stores) without pay.

Tree planters and farm workers organize in Oregon

An organizing drive among tree planters and other farm workers is gaining momentum in Oregon. In the last year 1,250 workers, mostly Latinos, have joined a new union called the Northwest Tree Planters and Farmworkers United (known by its Spanish initials -- PCUN). At their recent annual convention it was announced that PCUN expects to have a contract signed by the end of the year with a grower who operates a small nursery. It would be the first contract ever signed between a union and a grower in Oregon.

Cannery workers strike for a contract

Since July 30th, 400 cannery workers at two plants owned by United Foods (the second largest U.S. frozen food processor) have been on strike. The workers are primarily women, most of whom are Latina.

The strikers in Salinas and Modesto, California have worked without a contract for one year. United Foods is trying to require workers to work 1,600 hours before they would qualify for any benefits. This would be equivalent to working full-time for ten months! However, the nature of the work is seasonal and quite unpredictable. Most of the workers would never qualify for any benefits. The company is also demanding that vacation time be cut by one-third. In 1986 the workers' wages were cut by $2 per hour.

New Haven packaging workers fight for union

On October 24, workers from American Packaging, Inc., and their supporters, rallied outside the plant as part of their drive to get organized into a union.

The workers earlier struck the API plant in New Haven, Connecticut for two weeks in protest over the firing of three workers for union activities. And they have filed for a union election.

The boisterous rally included textile workers, rubber workers, university employees and students from Yale. It demonstrated that the API workers are not alone.

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Reaganomics gone bust

Remember Reaganomics? The promise of a new day of prosperity for all.

The idea was, let the rich get rich. Don't worry about the workers, the unemployed, the poor. Because if the rich get rich enough plenty will "trickle down" to the rest.

So the workers have been fed a diet of concessions and layoffs. The workers' loss has translated into high corporate profits and in big bonuses and lots of stock options for the executives.

The tax structure has been shifted. The rich and idle pay less; the workers and poor pay more.

The federal budget also has been revamped. Social programs for the unemployed, for the poor, for the sick have been slashed and slashed again. Meanwhile, the budget and the federal deficit have been driven through the roof by a record peacetime military buildup.

Well, the rich got richer all right. But what did they do with all this wealth?

It sure didn't create jobs and prosperity for all. Industrial workers have been pushed into the service sector at half the pay. In parts of the country unemployment is still at depression levels. Poverty and hunger nip at the heels of tens of millions, with the growing army of homeless swelling into a national scandal.

No. The country's wealth was poured into a speculative frenzy. Profits sweated out of the workers fueled the wave of high-price bidding on the stock market, of trading options on stock options, of gambling on corporate mergers and takeovers.

Millionaires became billionaires as songs were sung to the wonders of Reaganomics.

But now the three-piece suit crowd is singing a different tune. They aren't quite so smug and cocky. There's mayhem on Wall Street. Almost overnight, one trillion dollars (one thousand billion!) in paper values was lost on the market.

The writing is on the wall. Reaganomics is self-destructing. Cracks are opening in the speculative sand castles built on the exploitation of the working people. Much deeper financial and economic crisis is looming.

Sooner or later the chickens will come home to roost as the workers and oppressed will settle accounts with those who have been riding on their backs.

Fruits of Reaganomics

If you are among the poorest one-tenth of the population, or if you are a worker earning $30,000 a year, you will pay 20% more in federal taxes in 1988 than you did in 1977. On the other hand, if you were among the richest 1% of the population, your tax bill will be 20% less.

By the end of 1988, 80% of families will have smaller incomes than they did in 1977 (adjusted for inflation). Meanwhile the wealthiest 10% will make 16% more. And the income of the top 1% will have grown by 50%.

(Figures from a report of the Congressional Budget Office released last month.)

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Socialist revolution - the way out of racism

Racism is said to be something inherent to human nature, something that's always been and always will be. The experience of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia exploded this mythology. In the days when Soviet Russia was on the road of working class socialism it gave concrete proof that racism and national oppression were neither natural nor inherent. It showed that these blights of the human condition could be swept away along with the rule of the capitalists and landlords.

Nature of the Beast

Where the beast of racism raises its head, let us follow its tracks.

The Ku Klux Klan has been attempting to launch a campaign of public organizing in central Maine. Follow their tracks, and the KKK's efforts lead right to International Paper, Boise Cascade and other mills and employers in the region who are out to break the unity of the workers in a number of bitter strikes.

Racist hoodlums, are nurtured in segregated neighborhoods like Howard Beach or South Boston. And the tracks of this segregationist violence lead to the real estate brokers and other businessmen who profit from it.

Racism also comes in more subtle guise. But in one way or another it leads back to the needs of the capitalist exploiters.

It's a wedge for splitting the common struggle of all who work. It's a lever for holding down wages and super-exploiting black and other oppressed workers. It's a battering ram of political reaction against the working class and progressive movements.

But what happens when the workers and oppressed rise in a common revolutionary struggle? What happens when the mill owners, real estate barons and the rest of the exploiting classes are overthrown? What happens when the capitalist government, with its machinery of police oppression, is smashed up and replaced by the power of the workers and oppressed?

This is just what came about in the workers''revolution in Russia.

Workers' Revolution liberated the Oppressed

The old Russian empire was a prison of nations. Less than half the empire was made up of the Russian nationality. Over a hundred other nationalities were oppressed and humiliated. The races and nationalities were pitched against each other in bloody clashes. The Jews were subject to segregation and massacres comparable to the horrors suffered by the black people in the old South. And KKK-style gangs, known as the Black Hundreds, unleashed racist terror.

The revolutionary workers and their Marxist party, the Bolsheviks, raised the banner of struggle against all oppression. They opposed discrimination based on language or race. They demanded the right of nations to self- determination.

At the same time, they spread the internationalist spirit of the fighting unity of all the workers. They brought the workers of different races and languages together in common organizations for a struggle against their common oppressors.

This protracted work of the conscious workers bore fruit when the revolutionary crisis broke out. The upheaval of the oppressed nationalities became one of the currents of the revolutionary torrent that overthrew the tsar and then the capitalist government. At the same time, the success of the socialist revolution ensured the liberation of the oppressed.

The nations were granted the right to self-determination and a voluntary union of free nations was formed. And the ground was cut out from under the Black Hundred gangs, the anti-Jewish terror, and all types of national strife.

Racism, bigotry and ignorance were forces that had kept the Russian capitalists and landlords rich and powerful. But now they were stripped of their wealth and power. Now those who would fan race hatred were no longer winked at and encouraged by the police and authorities. Now they were confronted by the power of the aroused, conscious and enlightened workers.

From Shanghai to Harlem, the October Revolution became a pole of attraction for the oppressed peoples. Because in socialist Russia they could see that the formerly downtrodden nationalities had gained much more than the mere formal and hypocritical declarations of "equality under the law" that exists under capitalist governments such as the U.S. As well, they could see that the struggle to build a new socialist world had created among the working people an amazing level of trust and solidarity across racial and national lines.

Revisionism Brings Racism in Its Wake

Unfortunately, the socialist revolution in Russia has been reversed. And along with the rise to power of the bureaucratic capitalist elite, racism and national egotism are once again rampant in the Soviet Union. (Under Gorbachev's glasnost, there are even "historical societies" going public in Moscow and elsewhere that glory in the past shameful history of national oppression in the time of the tsars.)

All anti-racists, all those opposed to racist violence and discrimination, should study the experience of the socialist revolution in Russia. Because there we have a positive example of how the beast of racism can be hunted down and wiped out.

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'Market socialism' is crisis-ridden capitalism

Today the revisionist Soviet Union is in the clutches of serious economic crisis. Gorbachev himself speaks of "stagnation" and Russian writers describe the situation in worse terms.

A big campaign has begun against "centralized planning" and in favor of giving more play to "market forces." This fad is described by many as "market socialism."

The revisionists say that the Marxist-Leninist idea of central planning is bankrupt. It only causes inefficiency, lethargy, and chaos. It has to be given up in favor of letting the market run free, letting enterprises fend for themselves with workers' wages and jobs depending on the drive for profits.

Much of the Western media eagerly applauds the capitalist reforms in Russia. This crusade has also been joined by reformist forces in the U.S. and elsewhere who are going ga-ga over Gorbachev's perestroika. For example, recently the opportunist Guardian weekly wrote an article called, "Where have all the old dogmas gone?" Its purpose was to trample on a number of basic Marxist concepts. On top of the list was the idea of central planning.

Stupid Arguments

Some of the arguments from bourgeois and reformist writers against planning are really ridiculous. They scribble their propaganda as if there were something inherently wrong with economic planning. But planning is done even by the capitalists. The myth of unrestricted free enterprise is just that -- a myth long ago buried by the growth of monopolies.

In fact, the U.S. bourgeois press themselves will sometimes complain about how other capitalist economies like Japan are doing better because they use planning in this or that economic sector, like high technology.

Forgetting the Difference Between Socialism and Revisionism

But more to the point, when the bourgeois and revisionist writers describe the failure of central planning, they mix up planning under socialism with the planning system as his existed under the revisionist system. They don't distinguish between revisionism and socialism. They consider the present-day Soviet Union as still a socialist country.

But many will even admit that central planning opened the way to major economic progress in Russia in the 20's and 30's. So it did indeed. The planned economy under socialism kept the Soviet Union immune from the ravages of the Great Depression.

It wasn't central planning that got the Soviet Union into trouble. It was the departure from socialist ideas. It was the giving up of the mobilization and organization of the working masses. It was the fostering of a bureaucratic strata detached from the masses. Eventually bureaucratization led to the restoration of capitalism, albeit in a state capitalist form.

Under state capitalism, Russia has maintained a centralized planning apparatus. But it no longer has anything socialist about it. It's not only thoroughly bureaucratized, but capitalist forms have been developed. Many "market socialist" ideas are already in place.

The whole debate between "central planning" and "market socialism" in Russia today is a debate within the framework of a state capitalist society. In the Soviet Union a class of wealthy bourgeois rulers is in power. It no longer conceives of a society based on the cooperation of the working people for the benefit of the working people. Only in a society without exploiters and based upon cooperation can you speak of socialist planning.

Look at the Wonders of the Capitalist Market

Today hosannas are being sung to the glories of the capitalist market. But this is not some untested animal. You can see its wonder-working power across the "free world." From the ghettos of England and America, from the streets of New York to Calcutta to Mexico City, you can see the real results of private initiative, of the capitalist market system. It means mansions and Mercedes Benzes for a few, misery and hunger for the many.

But more to the point, the "market socialist" model has already been implemented in certain revisionist countries. And what has been the result?

Look at Yugoslavia

Take a look at Yugoslavia. This country adopted "market socialism" in a big way back in the early 1950's. Here agricultural production is nearly totally private. There is only a small amount of state ownership in industry and finance. The wages, working conditions and job security of the workers depend on how their enterprises fare in the dog-eat-dog capitalist market.

Like Gorbachev's fancy rhetoric about revolution and working class renewal, the Yugoslav system has been covered over with pretty slogans. Yugoslavia is supposed to be a society based on workers' self-management councils. But in reality this has just meant the enterprise managers lord it over the workers in the factories.

The end result is clear. Yugoslavia is a society marked by severe differentiation and conflict between rich and poor, between developed regions and undeveloped ones.

Inflation rages at over 100%. The conditions for the masses are desperate. Fourteen percent of the work force is officially unemployed. Many leave the country to seek work elsewhere. The country has a huge foreign debt of $20 billion. Interest is paid out through ever-increasing austerity measures.

The workers do not lie down and take these attacks. They are increasingly going out on strikes. (See article on page 7.)

There are also acute national divisions. The republic of Slovenia has a per capita income of $4,000, twice the national average and ten times that of the poorest region, Kosova. National oppression has been intensifying. The demands of the Albanians in Kosova against national subjugation are met by more and more police repression.

These are not some Yugoslav peculiarities. They are the inevitable consequences of "market socialism," i.e. capitalism. This is what Gorbachev's reforms will bring about.

For the Russian workers to get out of the crisis, they don't need "market socialism." They need a new socialist revolution.

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Revisionism and capitalism - same old tune against women

A famous world personality has recently penned the following gem of wisdom. Bear with us while we take you through a somewhat lengthy quote.

"...over the years of our difficult and heroic history, we failed to pay attention to women's specific rights and needs arising from their role as mother and homemaker and their indispensable educational function as regards children. Engaged in scientific research, working on construction sites, in production and in the services and involved in creative activities, women no longer have enough time to perform their everyday duties at home -- housework, the upbringing of children and the creation of a good family atmosphere. We have discovered that many of our problems -- in children's and young people's behavior, in our morals, culture and in production -- are partially caused by the weakening of family ties and slack attitude to family responsibilities. This is a paradoxical result of our sincere desire to make women equal with men in everything."

Who do you think wrote this?

a) Ronald Reagan.

b) General Pinochet.

c) Margaret Thatcher.

The answer is none of the above. The words are from Mikhail Gorbachev's new book, Perestroika. But of course the ideas are common to capitalist reactionaries like Reagan, Thatcher or Pinochet.

Decades ago, in the wake of the October revolution, the Soviet Union made great strides forward for women. Women were a big part of the revolutionary movement. And in building the new socialist society, women were mobilized into the running of the workers' state and in many fields of social and economic activity. They were not to be condemned to narrow lives inside the four walls of their homes. As well, the Soviet Union began to take socialist steps to lift women out of household drudgery and in developing childcare on a wide scale.

But socialism in the Soviet Union is no more. Abandonment of socialist ideas and capitalist restoration stopped the forward march in women's conditions. Yet still, many of the gains established under socialism, such as the wide role of women in many spheres of social and economic life, could not be turned around so easily.

But now the Gorbachev leadership seeks to turn the clock back.

Like typical capitalist reactionaries, he wants to pin the blame for social problems in present-day society on weaknesses in family life. If only women were to pay more attention to the family, things would be oh-so much better. Here in the U.S. we hear many similar arguments, that the problems of education and youth are not due to the capitalist system we live in but because of the breakdown of family life, because of women working, etc. And the right wing is fond of the ' 'traditional" roles in which the family is solely women's responsibility and neither men nor social services should play a role.

And Gorbachev writes, "we are now holding heated debates in the press, in public organizations, at work and at home about the question of what we should do to make it possible for women to return to their purely womanly mission."

What does this mean in practical terms? Gorbachev does not spell that out in the excerpts from the book that we have seen so far. However, it is widely reported that the capitalist economic reforms Gorbachev is planning will mean huge layoffs. Millions are to be laid off in the coming years. At the same time, there is no talk yet of providing any unemployment relief. Perhaps what's behind the new concern for women's "purely womanly mission" is that the revisionist leaders plan to put large numbers of women at the head of those being laid off.

As well, there are plans to cut back on childcare facilities as part of general cutbacks in social services and benefits.

These things have nothing to do with socialism. They are a travesty of the Marxist program for women's liberation. It is capitalism plain and simple.

(The quotes from Gorbachev's book can be found on page 79 of the Nov. 9 issue of U.S. News and World Report.)

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Capitalism, not socialism, bleeds Poland's workers

On November 29, a referendum is being held in Poland.

In this vote, the Polish people are being asked to accept "two to three more years" of economic hardship. But don't think that the state-capitalist bureaucrats who rule Poland aren't fair-minded. Oh no. In exchange for sacrifice, they promise the Polish workers "sustained improvement in the standard of living" the long term, that is. Oh yes, they also promise a widening of political rights.

In the referendum, however, the Polish people don't have a choice. They can't reject the plans for economic belt- tightening. No, their vote is merely to recommend at what pace a new set of Western-style economic reforms are to be phased in.

And for this chance for a "national conversation" with their rulers, the Polish people are supposed to jump for joy. However, there's no reason to believe that this referendum will be any cause for celebration. The new reforms only spell disaster and ruin for the masses.

Everyone admits that what is in the works are new price rises and lower wages. As well, there are many new social cutbacks. Government subsidies to housing, public transit, health services, cultural events and entertainment will be cut. Factories which are considered inefficient will be shut down, laying off many workers. The number of layoffs could end up being very large.

For the Polish workers, who've already endured big cuts in their living conditions, these new proposals mean a turn for the worse.

What's to Blame for All This?

Now comes the crucial question. What's to blame for these new austerity measures -- socialism or capitalism?

The capitalist TV and press here in the U.S. have an easy answer for this: socialism, of course, they shout to the skies. They use the Polish crisis as one more chance to write long treatises about the "historic failure of socialism."

But wait a minute. These very same gentlemen tell us that the proposed reforms being considered by the Polish government are to expand traditional capitalist institutions in Polish society. The reform package includes less government intervention in the economy and more private enterprise. It includes plans to make government- owned companies more "competitive." It also calls for the introduction of a commercial banking system. And even a stock market -- the second one in the Soviet revisionist bloc (Hungary was the first).

Of course these are all capitalist measures. In fact, American workers should easily recognize the ideas behind the Polish reform program. In essence, it's the same as Reaganomics: let the corporations have fewer government regulations, cut down social benefits for the working people, make industry more competitive through takebacks, etc. And the result will be the same type of human cost: high unemployment, the devastation of industrial centers, and severe cuts in the living standards of the workers and poor people.

Poland Already A Capitalist Society

The latest economic reforms aren't the first capitalist measures being adopted in Poland. Poland is already a capitalist country.

True, Poland calls itself socialist and its leaders speak in the name of the working class,, socialism and communism. But for the Polish revisionists, the ideas of socialism and Marxism- Leninism are mere slogans -- they have thrown away its revolutionary content and turned it into something stale, dead, and bureaucratized.

In reality, Poland is a country with a capitalist "mixed economy," with some parts of the economy in the government sector and others in the private sector. Poland's state sector is no more socialist than is the U.S. Post Office or Amtrak.

The real question in Poland or the U.S. isn't "public sector" versus "private sector." It is a question of what class rules. In Poland, as in the rest of the revisionist countries, the workers are an exploited class. The rulers are made up of a class of bureaucrats, managers and even private capitalists.

The Imperialist Banks Demand Austerity

And finally, there is another powerful institution behind the proposed reforms in Poland today. No one can charge this institution with socialist tendencies, for this one is the World Bank.

A few weeks ago, the New York Times pointed out that the World Bank has been urging Poland to speed up the pace of economic change and to enact tough austerity measures. Poland owes some $35 billion to the Western banks, and the capitalist bankers want to squeeze their tribute out of the sweat of the Polish working class.

The Polish revisionists expect the workers to swallow the bitter pill without complaint. But they will not have their way. The Polish workers have a tradition of struggle against the revisionist authorities.

Of course this struggle is not an easy one. Besides the repression by the state, the workers also have to contend with forces like the banned Solidarity Union leaders. These elements do have mass influence among the workers but they are not for building the class movement of the Polish workers. Rather, they want to tie the workers' struggles to the coattails of the Catholic Church, to Western imperialism, and to capitalist ideas generally.

In organizing their struggle, the Polish workers need to be clear about what it is they are fighting against, and what it is they need to fight for. It's not a question of organizing against socialism but against state capitalism parading as socialism. It's a question of organizing not for a different type of capitalist society, but of waging a struggle for working class power, for a socialist revolution.

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Foundry workers strike in Yugoslavia

Skopje, Yugoslavia. Thousands of foundry workers marched on the regional parliament of Macedonia and forced it to pass emergency legislation restoring wage increases. The workers had been promised pay hikes, but these were rescinded when the federal government declared a wage freeze November 15.

Enraged, the foundry workers of Skopje massed in the streets on November 17. They demonstrated against the wage freeze and other new austerity measures. Then over 5,000 workers marched on the regional government headquarters. The Macedonian parliament went into emergency session and hurriedly passed a law restoring the wage hikes and even increasing some of the raises. The lowest paid workers had their wages doubled, and other workers also received raises.

Yugoslavia claims to be socialist but it is just another country ruled by revisionist overlords. The country's economy is capitalist. And capitalist exploitation -- no matter what label it goes under -- inevitably leads to workers' struggles.

Austerity Measures to Appease the IMF

The federal government's austerity measures of November 15 were just the latest attack on Yugoslav workers. Yugoslavia is in the throes of acute economic crisis. Like a typical capitalist government, it makes the workers pay. The austerity measures are also meant to appease the International Monetary Fund, the enforcer for the world's capitalist bankers. The government is trying to refinance Yugoslavia's foreign debt of $20 billion.

Last February the government also declared a wage freeze. But this was largely undermined by strikes which occurred in 1,000 enterprises. Local managers were forced to give scheduled wage hikes despite the official freeze.

The latest wage freeze was accompanied by outrageous price hikes on basic foodstuffs and other necessities. Prices were raised on flour and bread (33%), cooking oil (50%), milk (100%), sugar (170%), gasoline (37%), coal (62%), electricity (69%), rail transport (61%), etc. Prices on many products and services were doubled or nearly tripled.

Massive Capitalist Corruption

While the government carries out savage austerity measures against the workers, government officials and enterprise managers live high. Besides high salaries, many of the wealthy also pad their incomes through corruption. Recently the Yugoslav press reported on "Agrogate," the biggest Yugoslav financial scandal since World War II.

Agrogate concerns a financial scam operated by Fikret Abdic, the head of the state-owned Agrokomerc food processing company. Abdic issued $400 million of worthless promissory notes and sold them to dozens of state-owned banks. Abdic, a high official in the ruling revisionist party, used the money to build up a personal empire for himself and close relatives.

Now that the scandal has been exposed, Abdic and 70 other top officials have been forced to resign. But the exposure of Agrogate shows something of what the revisionist bourgeoisie is up to behind the scenes while it demands sacrifice and austerity from the workers.

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City hall burned in protest against austerity in Romania

In mid-November, Romanian workers in the city of Brasov rose in protest against austerity measures imposed by the Ceausescu government. Enraged by wage cuts and energy shortages, they took to the streets and stormed and burned the city hall. Reports indicate that while many protesters were arrested, the wages that had been cut were restored.

The Romanian people are going through a difficult winter. Romania owes $5.5 billion to the Western banks and the capitalist loan sharks have been calling in their credit slips. In response, the revisionist government has launched austerity measures that mean acute food and fuel shortages. As a result of lack of heat, workers are freezing in their homes.

While the masses suffer, the Ceausescu government is notorious for being corrupt. Family members of the revisionist chieftain enjoy many high positions in the regime, with all their accompanying perks and privileges.

In the face of the workers' unrest, the ruling revisionist party appears to be in crisis. An important party official gave a public statement warning the regime against resorting to more repressive measures. He raised the specter of the country sliding into wider unrest like Poland a few years back.

The authorities may squabble over the use of the carrot or the stick. But they can't wish away the class struggle.

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'Privatization' - another capitalist flop

For years now, Reagan and his cronies have sung the glories of private enterprise. Economic stagnation and crisis, they've claimed, are due to government regulations. The capitalists are too tied down by minimum wage laws, safety rules, and environmental regulations. If only business were allowed to run free, then you would see what capitalism can really do.

We've had seven years of Reaganomics. And the toll of Reaganomics is a well known story to workers.

The glories of private enterprise are sung not just by U.S. politicians like Reagan and Kemp. These days/it's also the rage in the revisionist countries like China, Russia, and Poland.

In Western Europe too, this has been the fashion among the capitalist governments. Many enterprises which used to be owned by the government have been sold off to private capital. It's called "privatization." This is usually accompanied by huge propaganda campaigns about how government ownership -- or socialist ownership as it's lyingly called -- is inefficient. Only private initiative by corporate profiteers can turn things around, they say.

At least 55 government companies in Britain, France, West Germany, Scandinavia, and Austria have been privatized since 1980. Two thousand other companies are marked for sale over the next three years.

Privatization is promoted by the rich to boost capitalist efficiency. In most cases, the capitalists seek to destroy gains in labor contracts that workers had won through struggle. They want to let the private owners teach the workers a lesson, rather than directly doing it in the name of the government. And the propaganda in favor of privatization is handy at a time when there is tremendous clamor against the very idea of socialism being realistic.

The governments also demagogically try to line up consumers in favor of privatization by promising better services. But privatization is not going like the fairy tale they've been telling the people.

Privatization Goes Sour in Britain

A recent story in U.S. and World Report points out that in Britain, the Thatcherite privatization crusade has gone sour.

Three years ago the telephone company, British Telecom, was sold to the private sector. But today the company is being "bombarded with complaints about slow maintenance, ancient equipment, and soaring charges."

The magazine also reports that "another of Thatcher's much vaunted privatizations, British Gas, has been accused of gross overcharging. Natural gas now costs more in Britain than in any other big industrialized country -- 20% more on average than in the United States."

True, these are particular examples. But even these examples puncture the Reaganite myth that private corporations are somehow inherently glorious.

Of course this doesn't mean that state-owned corporations in capitalist societies are any better. Under capitalism, public sector companies. exist not to serve the working people but to serve the capitalist economy first and foremost. And they are run on capitalist lines, with capitalist executives and the exploitation of their workers. Just ask the postal workers about what it's like in the U.S. Postal Service. To get socialism, political power must be in the hands of the working class. Then state ownership means something quite different from capitalist public-sector companies.

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


800 march in Seattle against U.S. intervention

[Photo: Part of the Seattle demonstration against the U.S. war on Nicaragua.]

In Seattle 800 people demonstrated against U.S. intervention in Central America on November 14. The organizers of the demonstration wanted it to simply "Celebrate the possibilities of peace in Central America" and support the Arias plan. In this way, they supported the current plans of the Democratic Party and the Reaganite State Department to dress up ultimatums to Nicaragua as the path to peace. But among the mass of protesters, despite illusions in the Arias plan, there was support for direct slogans against the U.S. trampling of the Central American people.

The MLP did widespread work for the demonstration. There was a campaign of leafleting at work places, left events, the University of Washington, and so forth. This brought a number of people to the action, including some postal workers.

For example, at a conference for anti-intervention activists organized by pacifists, the MLP helped raise questions about the Arias plan. A workshop led by Salvadorans criticized the Arias plan, basically stating that the plan won't work due to the reactionary nature of the U.S. government and the death-squad regimes. Our comrades assisted in creating an atmosphere debunking the plan. Moreover, our Party went further and explained why the Sandinistas signed the accord; we showed how it followed from their vacillating politics and what the consistent proletarian forces were in Nicaragua. This created a stir. In some circles, it is OK to see and oppose Reagan's blackmail against Nicaragua, and even the blackmail from Arias, but it is something else again to criticize the Sandinistas for making concessions to this blackmail and to show the petty- bourgeois vacillating nature of their politics.

The demonstration itself showed a bit more political life than has been usual in Seattle for a while. Political discussion was more vigorous. The opportunists were as dead as usual, but the demonstrators were undaunted.

Our Party had a significant contingent. As well, a sizable number of demonstrators gravitated to the Party's slogans, and some took picket signs. The official leaders of the demonstrators wanted simply to dress up the Arias plan, with slogans like "Peace Plan Yes, Contra Aid No, Ronald Reagan Has Got To Go," as if the supporters of the Arias plan in Congress weren't themselves voting for contra aid. The demonstration monitors and leaders had a lot of trouble trying to float this slogan in the face of the more militant atmosphere created by slogans initiated by the Party. Our Party put forward some basic movement slogans like "U.S.-CIA Out of Nicaragua" and "No death squads, no war, U.S. out of El Salvador"; this type slogan predominated during the march. As well, one-third of the marchers also took up "Reagan, Congress hands off Nicaragua" and "Peace will come when the U.S. goes." And about one-fifth of the marchers joined in with "Reagan, Arias -- hands off Nicaragua."

Our Party had a nonsectarian policy. The slogans were carefully designed to fit in with the level of the activists and help move them forward. We approached activists from various groups with our chant sheet. Some groups expressed interest, but backed out. For example, one group liked our slogans but backed off from them because the group was participating in the official coalition for the demonstration and so did not want to offend the right wing of the movement.

The coalition monitors and leaders tried repeatedly to oppose the militant slogans.

At the end of the march a Democratic congressman, Mike Lowry, gave a speech. Basically he wanted to line up campaign workers for his upcoming try for a seat in the U.S. Senate. On the other hand, he didn't want to say anything that would destroy his respectability as a "moderate." But he was faced with some heckling, such as the slogan "No dialog with the contras." He failed to impress the demonstrators.

All in all, this demonstration was another sign of a new ferment in the movement in Seattle recently. This ferment is still very weak and tentative and for sure the fundamental situation in the movement has not changed. But this hint of a fresh breeze provides new space for revolutionary work among the masses.

500 rally at death train base in California

Five hundred people rallied at the Concord (California) Naval Facility on November 14. They came to condemn U.S. aggression in Central America. Among their ranks were several groups of high school students, many at their first or second demonstration, and the majority of whom were women.

It was here, at the Concord naval base, that on September 1 activist Brian Willson was run over by a munitions train, severing off the lower part of his legs. A few days later 10,000 people responded by holding a mass rally at the naval facility and tearing up large sections of the railroad tracks. Since then a number of other demonstrations have been held at this site.

Protesters Resist Police Intimidation

The November 14 action was held in the face of stepped up efforts by the authorities to intimidate the protesters. A week before, the cops broke the wrist of an activist. On November 14, besides the open police presence, plainclothes police were scattered throughout the crowd.

At one point the police tried to stop activists from setting up huts representing a village similar to those where the poor of El Salvador live. But the protesters refused to be bullied. For an hour and a half they tussled with the police in defense of the village. As one shack was tom down, the activists set up a new one. After the second shack was destroyed, the police more or less retreated. It is reported that the third shack stayed up.

The Conflict With the Reformist Misleaders

The militancy of many activists was opposed by pacifist-to-the-core monitors. They literally pulled people away from the shacks if they were fighting the police, pushing, shoving, or resisting in any way. These monitors used the slogan "That's stupid" to anyone resisting the police. They backed up the police. But they repeatedly claimed that the demonstration was their own and so anyone who went against their wishes was "pirating" the demonstration and allegedly didn't belong.

This conflict was also reflected in discussions at the event. A section of activists want to hold actions that go beyond the timid limits set by various reformist and pacifist leaders. For example, some pacifist leaders denounced as "violence" such mass action as the tearing up of the railroad tracks following the Brian Willson incident. Even though pacifist views have influence on many of the rank-and-file activists, there is a vigorous trend that rightly defends the tearing up of the tracks and that is quite sick of passively submitting to arrest.

MLP Takes Part

The MLP had a small contingent. Supporters of the MLP carried out revolutionary agitation, supported the stand of militancy, and carried out discussions against putting a pacifist stranglehold on the movement, on the role of the monitors, etc. They also had many discussions on the Arias peace plan. Most demonstrators supported this plan, but were receptive to discussion.

Eastern Michigan Univ. students march against contra aid

[Photo: Eastern Michigan University, November 18.]

On November 17, students at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti held a spirited protest against U.S. intervention in Central America.

The protest, organized by a group of campus activists, began with a march of about 15 people through the campus to the student center. "USA, CIA, Out of Central America!" and "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Contra Aid Has Got to Go!" were shouted along the way. Several people joined the march along the way and it helped attract students to a noontime rally at the student center.

The march continued after the rally.

The ranks of the protesters had more than doubled and the slogan shouting intensified. A second rally concluded the protest. Here the students also targeted apartheid in South Africa. In particular they declared their intention to oppose the school administration's plans to build a golf course associated with South African golfer Gary Player.

Supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party participated in the activities, encouraging the slogan shouting, distributing The Workers' Advocate, and advocating a militant, anti-imperialist direction. Much discussion focused on the Arias plan. While many students were attracted to its promise of ending the war against Nicaragua, skepticism is growing.

The Eastern Michigan students are adding their voice to the nationwide opposition to Reagan's barbaric foreign policy.

'Humanitarian' aid -- for the Salvadoran army

In mid-November, a bipartisan Congressional group called the Arms Control and Foreign Policy Caucus revealed yet another scandal in Reagan's Central American policy. It turns out that the bulk of U.S. "humanitarian" aid to El Salvador has been used for the counterinsurgency war against the rebellious workers and peasants. The caucus reports that three-fourths of a $429 million aid package to the Duarte regime went to the Salvadoran military.

Aiding Fascist Butchers

The immense U.S. support for the Duarte regime is a crime. And it is a particularly cynical crime to directly aid the Salvadoran military under the guise of humanitarianism.

Reagan likes to boast about how "democratic" the Duarte government is. But in fact Duarte is just a front man for the fascist terror of the armed forces and the paramilitary death squads. Over the last several years, tens of thousands of government opponents have been gunned down in "democratic" El Salvador.

In August, Duarte supposedly pledged himself to end the terror by signing the Arias peace plan. Since then nothing has changed. The prominent human rights activist Herbert Anaya Sanabria was assassinated. There has been a police roundup of trade union and peasant cooperative members and a trade union office was ransacked. The government also continued its aerial bombardment of the civilian population, recently hitting a child care center at a refugee camp.

A Tyranny "Made in the U.S.A."

This tyranny has always received the utmost support of U.S. imperialism. Whole military battalions have been trained and the regime has been armed to the teeth. The police too have received massive U.S. aid including another $7 million since the Arias plan took effect. The CIA has helped build up the death squads. The recently uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars of "humanitarian" aid to the military is just another sordid chapter of U.S. support for the reactionary Salvadoran oligarchy.

In fact, not only did three-quarters of the "humanitarian" aid go to the Salvadoran military, but much of the remaining one-fourth of the aid package also went to help bolster the repression of the people. It went to "improve" the police and court system. Another portion went to so-called land reform. This "reform" has historically been little more than a cover for military operations in the countryside similar to the "rural pacification" program during the Viet Nam war.

Congressional Hypocrisy

While a Congressional caucus has exposed the fraudulent "humanitarian" aid, this does not mean that Congress has become the friend of the Salvadoran masses. It is Congress which allocated the aid in the first place. It is Congress which has given several billion dollars over the past few years for the death- squad regime. It is they who just gave another $7 million to the Salvadoran police.

The caucus report does not demand an end to support for Duarte. It just recommends that some aid go to improving the conditions of the people. Congress is concerned that the Salvadoran military has been unable to crush the armed guerrilla movement and that demonstrations are growing even in the capital, San Salvador. So they want to throw the masses a few sops in the hopes of pacifying them. The caucus wants to preserve the fascist regime, but with a few reforms.

Moreover, the caucus has just shown that the bulk of U.S. humanitarian aid is used for repression. Yet it still is going to fund the same old system of aid. Evidently the gentlemen and ladies of Congress now want us to believe that -- this time -- the Reagan administration, the CIA and the Salvadoran generals will really use the aid to benefit the people.

Revolution, the Only True Aid for the Masses

No, the salvation of the people of El Salvador does not lie with the U.S. Congress. It can only come through the revolutionary struggle to smash the Salvadoran oligarchy and the chains of U.S. imperialist domination.

More secret arms for the contras

Another link in the secret contra aid network has recently come to light. A U.S. Army audit report made public in early November revealed that a quantity of guns, ammunition and other items were left behind in Honduras following Exercise Blazing Trails '86, a U.S. military exercise involving 10,000 Army reservists and National Guard members operating in Honduras and Panama.

So what happened to these weapons? There are two explanations. The Pentagon's version is it was an accident caused by the "inexperience" of the forces involved. This is the "Gee, I didn't know we were supposed to take our guns with us! " explanation.

The other explanation is that the weapons were purposely left behind for someone's use. Now who could that be? According to the Iran-contra hearings' testimony, the Aguacate air base in Honduras used for U.S. training exercises also happened to be used by the Nicaraguan contras. Aguacate was also used by Ollie North and the CIA to shuttle supplies to the contras. My, my, what a coincidence! Now guess who wound up with the missing weapons?

But do not worry about the Reagan administration's endless methods of secret contra supply. Congressional watchdogs are hot on their trail. Rep. Boxer (D-Calif.) is demanding an investigation. And who is to carry out the investigation? The Department of Defense. Yes, the armed forces who carry out massive war games in Honduras to threaten Nicaragua are to investigate whether they aided the contras. What a joke!

This affair is typical of how the Democrats "fight" the dirty war against Nicaragua. They are constantly expressing surprise and outrage over being hoodwinked by the Reaganites, and constantly displaying renewed trust and faith in the Reaganites to become angels. The fact is that Congress wants to be hoodwinked -- so that pressure on Nicaragua can continue while the Democrats posture as men of peace. The Democrats can talk about how they stopped the funds to the contras, while the supply of guns and ammunition continues to flow.

Sandinistas look to the Mexican model

The Sandinistas insist that the Arias plan will bring peace and internal reforms to Nicaragua. And what will the result be? In a recent interview Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega stated, "The experience in Latin America that is closest to our conception is the Mexican experience." (New York Times, Nov. 11)

It can be recalled that the Mexican government is concerned with stopping the spread of the revolutionary contagion in Central America before it reaches Mexico. Yet it is the Mexican experience that Ortega finds interesting.

Mexico is ruled by a bureaucratic party, the PRI, or "Party of the Institutionalized Revolution." It speaks in the name of the revolution, but it represents the bourgeoisie. It comes down with police and troops on strikes and demonstrations of the left-wing masses whenever the struggle gets serious. It gives some rights to the open pro-American Reaganites of the PAN (National Action Party), another party of the Mexican bourgeoisie. And it is notorious for maintaining itself in power by rigged elections and voting fraud.

Oh yes, PRI is a nationalist party of the bourgeoisie with occasional bouts of anti-U.S. rhetoric. This does not mean it is anti-imperialist or progressive. It allows the exploitation of cheap Mexican labor by multinational corporations. It harnesses the Mexican economy to world capitalism. But it covers capitalist rule with nationalist phrases, and it squabbles with the U.S. bourgeoisie over the division of the fruits of the barbaric exploitation of the masses.

The "Mexican experience" is that of usurping the fruits of the popular revolution in favor of the local bourgeoisie. And the Mexican government is presently imposing one austerity measure after another on the masses. See the article "What the workers and peasants face on Mexican independence day" in the October 20 issue of The Workers' Advocate Supplement.

Presently Nicaragua is being bled white by the criminal CIA-organized contra war. But look at the Mexican experience. There the masses are being squeezed to the wall by the local bourgeoisie and the U.S. imperialists even though there is no contra war. The unemployment and hunger and despair are growing day by day. The tyranny of the stock market (both U.S. and Mexican) and of debts to world capitalism are forcing one wage cut after another, one price hike after another, one devaluation after another on the masses. If a pause In the contra war (and this pause has yet to be seen) is bought at the price of following the Mexican experience, then the misery of the Nicaraguan people will continue.

The Sandinistas are a petty-bourgeois force that vacillates between the revolution and the bourgeoisie (both Nicaraguan and foreign). The Arias plan is designed to push them further toward the bourgeoisie. If the Sandinistas succeed in coming close to the Mexican experience, it will mean that they have severed themselves completely from the revolution. But the path forward for Nicaragua is the carrying forward of the revolution, the path advocated by the class conscious workers rallying around the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua.

Panama's Noriega offered to be U.S. Hitman

For some time the Reagan administration has been denouncing General Noriega, the dictator of Panama, as an anti-American fighter, and the reformist and revisionist forces have been praising Noriega for the same thing. But the report of the Iran-contra committees reveals that Noriega had offered to the Reagan administration the help of the Panamanian government in carrying out murder and sabotage inside Nicaragua. (New York Times, Nov. 19) What an anti-imperialist hero this Noriega is! A contra in his heart and anti-American Panamanian nationalist rhetoric on his lips!

Noriega's offer to help slaughter the Nicaraguans meant continuing in the footsteps of previous Panamanian governments that had helped support the CIA's contras.

The Iran-contra report only alludes to Noriega's offer, in order to keep the details of the U.S. terror network secret. Indeed, that any of this information was released at all is probably only due to the present squabble between the U.S. government and Noriega. Noriega has not followed every whim of the U.S. government closely enough, so both the Reagan administration and the Congressional liberals are out to get rid of him. They want a more pliable Panamanian government.

Meanwhile Noriega, in order to hide his repression of the Panamanian students and workers and his pro-imperialist stands, has been spouting anti- U.S. phrases. And now Panama's National Assembly has voted to ask the Panamanian government to suspend the visas of American soldiers and start negotiations to get the U.S. Southern Command out of Panama altogether. It would be a good thing if this were done, of course. U.S. troops have no business in Panama, and they serve to put pressure on all Central America. But the Panamanian masses can hardly put any faith in the stands of the Noriega government, which is motivated only by its present squabble with the Reaganites.

The real anti-imperialist force in Panama is the workers and toilers. As the article in the August 1 issue of The Workers' Advocate declared: "Where do the interests of the Panamanian workers lie? Neither with U.S. imperialism nor Noriega's dictatorship." They must develop their own revolutionary movement. And they must continue their struggle against exploitation and against Noriega's police-state measures. This is the only path that will lead to Panama becoming a real bastion of anti-imperialism and to improvement in the conditions of the masses.

The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists on the crisis of Sandinism and the Arias plan

During the last week of November, The Workers Advocate held a telephone interview with comrade Isidro Tellez (Chilo), general secretary of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua. He discussed a number of the factors in the class struggle currently taking place in Nicaragua.

Comrade Chilo pointed out that international and domestic reaction is following a complex strategy. Reaction is seeking to tear away the broad democratic victories of the people which were won with the overthrow of the Somoza dictatorship in 1979.

Reaction has managed to reconstruct and consolidate the bourgeois army which was smashed by the people in the popular insurrection of July 19, 1979. It has about 15,000 armed reactionaries with the support of the U.S. army.

This army's staff is made up of prominent leaders of the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie. This includes Alfonso Robelo, who was one of the authors of the capitalist program of national reconstruction adopted by the new coalition government right after the insurrection.

One of the first tasks of the Sandinista front was to repress the most advanced of the left, the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists. In 1980 El Pueblo, the daily newspaper of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (formerly MAP-ML), was forcibly closed down. And at the present time Sandinism has resisted turning over the machinery and dismantled equipment, even though the free circulation of El Pueblo has been authorized once more. Even though the repression of the left in general has slowed down, Sandinism has taken care to not leave the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists in peace.

Meanwhile, as comrade Chilo pointed out, La Prensa, the daily financed directly by the CIA and European social-democracy, is publishing freely.

The comrade explained that the petty- bourgeois program of Sandinism has gone into crisis because the bourgeoisie is demanding a bourgeois program. The reaction is demanding takebacks.

One of the gains now being threatened is improvements in health care. There is now a great discrepancy between the demand for health care and the capacity to handle it. Instead of making the capitalists pay for the costs of improved health care in Nicaragua, Sandinism is following a policy of supporting extraordinary profits and incentives for the bourgeoisie.

Comrade Chilo pointed out that in this time of crisis in Nicaragua, the discontent among the masses is rising. The dissatisfied mass is striving with all its might to change the situation. Three different political forces are operating among the masses, each trying to win them over to a particular class program. These are the bourgeoisie, the petty-bourgeois Sandinistas, and the Marxist-Leninists. The economic situation of the masses will depend on the relative strength of these forces.

The bourgeoisie wants to disperse the masses' motion and use their energy for its own ends. The Sandinista petty bourgeoisie continues to try to achieve a social pact between the exploiters and the exploited. The Marxist-Leninists work to organize the proletariat, to channel its motion into revolutionary forms, with the aim of getting out of the crisis.

The bourgeoisie has enormous international forces at its disposal to help it secure its aims. Over the last several weeks, Christopher Dodd and Senator Dole, Republicans and Democrats, Alan Garcia [the social-democratic president of Peru], the Canadian foreign minister and others have been to Nicaragua to help the pressure of the right wing against the revolution.

There is the possibility of a new pact between the bourgeoisie and the Sandinistas, although this hasn't taken place yet. Sandinism has recognized Reagan's mercenaries [legitimizing them] as a belligerent force, and is now already in dialogue in relation to a cease-fire. The mercenaries' leadership has been pushing its position and the negotiations are proceeding in spite of the fact that the Sandinistas promised the people they would not engage in a dialogue with the contras.

In this sense, the counterrevolution has gained important space. It has gained other concessions like the coming out of La Prensa and Radio Catolica. The bourgeoisie is manipulating the critical economic situation of the masses, in complicity with revisionism, in order to push a reactionary union leadership in the ranks of the workers' movement.

[Graphic portrait.]

Nicaraguan plastics workers declare for class trade unionism

(Reprinted from Sept. "Prensa Proletaria." Translation by WA staff.)

Thursday, August 21 of this year, union elections were carried out at the enterprise Sacos MACEN, the sole processing factory for polypropylene and bag manufacturing, which brings together a little more than 500 workers.

The elections were carried out in a relatively orderly manner, despite some isolated sectarian actions by the official forces in this type of event and in spite of the intrigues of the bureaucracy to try to threaten or influence the decisions of the workers. For example, the manager of human resources at the enterprise, Yamilet Bonilla, member of the Committee of the Base at this factory, was publicly denounced by some workers to whom he offered to give zinc engravings for their homes, if they voted for the candidates promoted by the Sandinistas.

Despite these maneuvers and pressure, the workers were firm in the choice of the candidates who, according to the workers' criteria, meet the requirements to represent them in the Union Leadership Council.

By virtue of a curious trick, the candidates for general secretary who did not get sufficient votes will remain, nevertheless, in the order of the voting, in other posts of the Leadership Council.

Elected as General Secretary of the union was the worker Armando Quezada, who obtained a high proportion of votes in his favor, surpassing the official candidates. Armando Quezada presented a Plan of Struggle which caught the attention of the bases [basic workers] who gave it their endorsement.

The workers at MACEN are demanding from the enterprise and from the new Union Leadership Council the attainment of demands considered very important in the area of union independence in the face of the administration, democratization of the union, participation in the military tasks of defense, negotiation of a new collective agreement, medical service for the workers, support for the education of adults at the enterprise, improvement of transportation, revision of the standards and readjustments in the agreement on the cost of living, rescue of the democratic function of the Trade Union Assembly, etc.

The Committees of Struggle of the Workers of MACEN have issued calls to the workers of this enterprise in order to intensify the organizational tasks around the unitary and class interests of the workers' movement and of the workers at MACEN in particular. The MACEN Committees also have declared that they will follow the Plan of Struggle of the new Union Leadership Council and will work in such a way that the workers' demands at MACEN will be an everyday reality at this enterprise.

Nicaraguan dockworkers strike

As we go to press we have just received word that some 400 Nicaraguan stevedores (port workers) went on strike.

The strike, at the end of November, lasted three days. It met stiff repression by the Sandinista government including arrests of strikers and the use of reservists and prisoners as scabs. The Frente Obrero, the trade union center of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua, took an active part in the struggle. Rigo Parrales, an FO militant, was among those arrested by the government.

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U.S.-backed regime is to blame for Haiti's right-wing violence

On Sunday, November 29, elections were to have been held in Haiti. But they have been canceled.

The terrorist henchmen of Haiti's overthrown dictator, Baby Doc Duvalier, went on a rampage to disrupt elections throughout the country. They roamed through the streets of Haiti, indiscriminately shooting men, women and children. Polling centers in the capital were turned into slaughterhouses. Even foreign journalists were shot and some killed.

And what was the role of the military junta in all this? This regime has ruled Haiti since the fall of Duvalier and was supposedly in charge of the transfer of power to civilian rule. But it gave no support to the election council and instead helped the Duvalierist anti-election campaign as much as possible. In fact, many of the armed groups terrorizing Haitians were in uniform. And, whether in uniform or not, the terrorists raised the slogan, "Long live the army. Down with the electoral council.''

But even if the elections had been held, they would have been a farce. That's because General Namphy and his army are in control of Haiti. They keep the terrorist goon squads of Duvalier under their wings and together they rule Haiti through terror.

If you wanted to run in these elections, you had to turn in thousands of names, making these people potential targets of right-wing terror. This and other restrictions made it impossible for the militant left to run candidates. So besides conservative politicians, some liberals and reformists were the only ones in the running.

The liberal and reformist politicians promised change through the elections. But they ignored the fact that in Namphy's Haiti, Duvalierism was never uprooted and it was always doubtful whether elections would be held at all. What's more, it was also plenty clear that if anyone took office, he would have to be a front man for the generals.

The elections were planned because a section of the Haitian exploiters who were shut out of power by the Duvaliers wanted their share in the spoils of office. And the imperialists of the U.S., France and Canada backed up this plan to ensure capitalist stability in the face of a militant mood among the Haitian people. The U.S. poured in millions of dollars in military and police aid to the Namphy regime under the hoax that the military was carrying out a transition to democracy.

But all along, General Namphy only grudgingly conceded to the idea of elections. Namphy and his buddies were kingpins in Duvalier's brutal dictatorship. Earlier this summer Namphy tried to scrap the government's electoral council altogether. Two liberal candidates have since been murdered, one of them openly by the police. In the weeks before the elections, the streets of Haiti became the scene of violent attacks by groups of armed men. The terrorist attacks all wear the telltale signs of the military and police apparatus.

Duvalierists Burn Down Election Headquarters

On November 3 the national election headquarters in Port-au-Prince was burned to the ground. This happened just hours after the national election council banned a dozen associated of the Duvaliers from running as presidential candidates.

This ruling is in accordance with Haiti's new constitution, but of course the rich reactionaries in Haiti do not care a fig for that scrap of paper. Duvalier's friends had previously threatened war against the elections council if it dared to ban them from running.

Despite this warning, the government provided no protection to the election council. But those who attacked the election headquarters, on the other hand, appeared to have received the blessing of the government if not its direct assistance. At midnight a large force of armed men sealed off the street around the headquarters, evacuated residents from the area, and proceeded to burn down the headquarters building. Police and fire vehicles stayed clear of the area.

At the same time, other groups of armed men sprayed machine gun fire into another elections office and burned down a store belonging to one of the members of the electoral council. Machine guns were also fired into the homes of some other candidates.

The next night brought another round of arson attacks against election officials, who all went into hiding and made desperate appeals for the Namphy government to provide them with protection. But Namphy did not even bother to reply.

Then on November 5 arsonists attacked one of the main printing plants involved in producing paper ballots for the elections. Fire at the plant destroyed tons of ballot paper. And the next morning the homes and offices of other presidential candidates were sprayed with machine gun fire.

Namphy Again Shows His Respect for the Constitution

The rightist violence has continued daily. Meanwhile, in mid-November, Namphy declared himself commander- in-chief of the military. According to the constitution, this appointment was to be made by the elected president. But Namphy isn't about to take chances: he's made it clear that no matter who's elected he'll remain at the head of the armed forces. And that's where the real power will remain in Haiti.

But When the Masses Resist...

Finally at the end of the month, the masses began to take action against the rightist death squads. Barricades were set up in the neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince to stop the marauding thugs. Several clashes broke out. The people were successful in killing several of the rightist attackers, who included among them members of the Tontons Macoutes, Duvalier's old secret police.

Finally the government was moved to action, showing exactly where it stands. The authorities warned that the people should stop blockading the streets. The Interior Minister, Regala, warned that the army wouldn't tolerate people taking law and order into their own hands.

Just imagine! For weeks, when the death squads ran roughshod across Haiti, the regime didn't say anything. But as soon as the masses stand up and defend themselves, the generals come out with dire threats.

Revolutionary Struggle Is Needed to Clear Away Reaction

The militant fighters among the toilers in Haiti were boycotting the election. Justly so. Indeed, Duvalier was not overthrown through an election, but by the mass struggle. And only the carrying forward of the mass struggle to another popular uprising can sweep away the Duvalierists and the military machine of the exploiters.

The army can't bring about a democratic change. The liberal politicians' dream of a Western-style bourgeois democracy in Haiti is a mirage, merely meant to spread illusions. In fact, with their pipe-dream of elections they only prevented the masses from preparing themselves to settle accounts with the Duvalierists and the military. In Haiti, democracy that means any real rights for the masses can only come as a revolutionary democracy of the workers and peasants.

Today, in the wake of the collapsed elections, the situation in Haiti is tense. The clash between the Duvalierists and the military on one side and the masses on the other can only intensify. Meanwhile, the bourgeoisie in the Caribbean and in the U.S. are worried. The government of the Dominican Republic next door has massed thousands of troops on the Haitian border. And there is talk of U.S. military intervention.

But let it not be forgotten that the U.S. government is no friend of the Haitian people. It propped up the Duvaliers for decades and it has backed up Namphy's brutal regime. The Haitian masses must settle accounts with their oppressors. And the working people in the Caribbean and North America should support a rising of the Haitian toilers.

[Photo: A month after Duvalier's fall, Haitians in the streets protest the military regime.]

[Photo: "Down with Duvalier, the Macoutes, the army! Long live the people!'' Haitians in Miami celebrate the fall of Duvalier, February '86.]

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Berkeley rally hits phony divestment

At noon on November 18 more than 500 people rallied in Biko (Sproul) Plaza at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. The protest was organized under the slogans, "Fight UC's phony divestment. Support revolution in South Africa."

This was one of the biggest anti-apartheid demonstrations lately and marks something of a revival of the Berkeley movement in solidarity with the people of South Africa. It was sponsored by the newly reorganized Campaign Against Apartheid organization. C AA has set itself the goal of organizing a renewed mass movement against UC's support for apartheid.

In the spring of 1986, there were the big shantytown actions on the campus. This was a strong anti-apartheid upsurge which demanded that UC divest itself of all stocks in companies doing business in South Africa. The administration met the movement with police attacks and then set in motion a phony divestment scheme. With their promises, the authorities succeeded in undermining the movement for the time being.

But as the CAA in its leaflet for the November 18 rally points out, "To date there has been no divestment from any of the biggest corporate sponsors of the South African regime. Instead the UC has stalled and pretended that the fake pullouts that many companies are engaged in are legitimate excuses not to divest from them. Corporations such as IBM, GM and Coca-Cola have set up 'independent' companies in South Africa, which often hide behind new names. These companies continue to sell their products, receive critical supplies from them, and have special licensing and financial arrangements to funnel profits back to the parent company."

The CAA points out that the university's embrace of these flimsy pretenses shows its loyal support for the racist system. CAA connects this support for apartheid squarely to the "university's total dedication to the business and military interests of the imperialist system we live under. When it comes to managing nuclear war research, training recruits for the CIA, maintaining the system of discrimination against black and minority students, and crushing anti-apartheid protest, the UC administration likes to be first in its field."

Demands of the Campaign Against Apartheid at UC-Berkeley

(Below we reprint the demands being issued by the Campaign Against Apartheid at the University of California - Berkeley.)

Our general demand is that UC break all ties with apartheid and end all support for the racist Botha government. We make these demands as an act of solidarity with the revolution in South Africa. We also see the need to oppose racism here at home and in the UC system. Our specific demands are the following:

1. Immediate divestment from all companies doing business in South Africa. This includes companies which have orchestrated fake pullouts (GM, IBM, etc.).

2. Immediately end all campus recruiting by companies doing business with South Africa.

3. Immediately stop all other UC business with these companies.

4. Remove all UC regents and department advisory board members who sit on the boards of or are representatives of companies doing business with South Africa.

5. Drop all charges and cease all proceedings against the 10 students charged with participating in the shantytown protests. Stop the persecution of anti-apartheid activists.

6. End all of UC's racist policies, which are reflected in the low retention rate for black and other minority students, the near omission of black and other minority professors, and the university's racist campaigns against the local youth on the south side of campus.

'Shaka Zulu'-- Apartheid mini-series

In recent months, there have been protests in several cities against U.S. television stations broadcasting Shaka Zulu, a mini-series imported from South Africa. This program is being shown by stations affiliated with the Fox broadcasting network, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the right-wing billionaire from Australia.

Apartheid Regime Helped Make the Program

Progressive people around the world are generally agreed on the need for a cultural boycott against South Africa. Anti-apartheid activists have protested South African rugby teams that tried to tour the U.S. and other countries. Even a number of liberal entertainers have refused to play in Sun City, a Las Vegas-style entertainment complex in South Africa.

Protesters have condemned Shaka Zulu for violating the cultural boycott.

The broadcasters of the mini-series have tried to argue, through full-page newspaper ads in some places, that the series was produced by a private company independent of the South African government. But they hide the fact that the South African government gave the producers $3 million to help with production costs. The production was a lavish spectacle with mass scenes, entirely filmed in South Africa.

And what is more, the series was first aired in South Africa itself, by the government-run South Africa Broadcasting Corporation. If Shaka Zulu was a program offensive to the racists in any way, it would have had no chance of being aired by the government's TV network.

But it isn't offensive to the white supremacists. It is an insult against the black people.

"Shaka Zulu's" View of History Is Suspect

Protesters against Shaka Zulu have also raised the charge that the series is historically inaccurate.

The series claims to tell the life story of Shaka, a Zulu chieftain who amalgamated diverse tribes into the Zulu nation in the 1820's. The "realism" of the mini-series can be judged from such things as the use of the supernatural to explain Shaka's life story.

For us, the issue isn't one of praising tribal society or glorifying tribal wars of the 19th century. However, the miniseries goes out of its way to exaggerate the violence that occurred in Shaka's military campaigns. Every effort is made to paint Shaka as one of the most bloodthirsty, psychotic tyrants in history.

A Message to Preserve the Status Quo

The point of these exaggerations is not too difficult to figure out. They are meant to depict the black people of South Africa as barbarians who cannot be entrusted with the rule of a nation. They are meant to push the racist message that the white supremacists must continue to rule, to hold in check the murderous, anti-human instincts of the blacks.

Shaka Zulu is designed to cover up the most basic facts about South Africa today. The black masses are violently oppressed by a white racist minority, not a black tyrant. This racist regime is the biggest perpetrator of violence against the masses in South African history. It rules through murder, beatings and jailings.

The black masses despise apartheid.

What violence the black masses use they use quite justly, to fight the violent racist regime which is armed to the teeth. And where there is violence among black people, it is either black lackeys of the government attacking anti-apartheid fighters or the black masses fighting back against such sellouts.

The revolutionary struggle of the masses, which can only fight force with force, is essential for the purpose of liberating the oppressed people of South Africa.

Auto workers strike


Black workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant in South Africa recently ended a nine-week strike. They were fighting for pay raises of five rands ($2.50) per hour. The company had initially responded to the workers' wage demands by firing all 2,800 workers.

But the workers stood firm in their strike. Not a single worker returned to work despite management inducements and pressure.

In the end, the company gave in, reinstated all the workers and agreed to some wage raise. There are no details available to us of the pay agreement, though.

Army Mobilized Against Rent Strikers

In mid-November, it was reported that the South African racist regime was preparing to move thousands of troops into the black township of Soweto outside Johannesburg.

The army action is aimed at breaking a rent strike by township residents that has been going on since June 1986. The strike has been going on to protest huge rents for shoddy housing, to demand better services, and as a method of struggle for political rights. The sellout township authorities have been trying to evict the residents. And now it appears they are to get the direct support of the army.

There are no further reports on the army action yet. But the Soweto masses have a proud tradition of resistance to apartheid. It is unlikely that the army will get their way without another round of battle.

Apartheid rewards Buthelezi for murdering black youths

In South Africa, the reactionary nature of Zulu chief Gatsha Buthelezi only gets worse by the day. Buthelezi is Reagan's idea of a genuine black South African leader. He is a darling of conservative politicians in the U.S. This is because he hates the struggle against the racist regime and seeks a cozy deal with the apartheid slave masters.

Buthelezi is praised as a "moderate" leader, unlike anti-racist "hotheads" and "radicals." But if there's anything moderate about Buthelezi, it's only his softness towards the racist regime. There is nothing moderate whatsoever about his attitude towards the ordinary black people.

Buthelezi's Death Squads

Buthelezi's political party, Inkatha, has been busy murdering dozens of young black activists outside the city of Pietermaritzburg. Inkatha has been carrying out a gangster-style recruiting campaign in the schools. Any youth who refuses to join is beat up and forced to leave school, since all the schools are controlled by Inkatha.

Youths who stand up to this bullying and declare their enthusiasm for the anti-apartheid struggle are marked for death by Inkatha vigilantes. So far this year dozens of youths have been murdered by these right-wing death squads, most of them in Edendale, a black township near Pietermaritzburg.

The apartheid police are supporting the Inkatha terrorist attacks. Inkatha is allowed to arm itself, and the police turn a blind eye to its atrocities.

But teen-age youth in Edendale are not accepting Inkatha's attacks lying down. They are organizing to defend themselves against the vigilantes and the township police.

Buthelezi Gets Rewarded

Buthelezi's services have not gone unnoticed by the South African racist establishment. Buthelezi recently teamed up with the apartheid government in a new Joint Executive Authority overseeing KwaZulu and the Natal province.

Buthelezi is the top administrator of KwaZulu, a "homeland" for blacks scattered throughout Natal province. Now he has joined the racist rulers of Natal in a joint administration to suppress the black masses. The new administration does not mean any political rights for blacks; it simply allows Buthelezi to rub shoulders with the white racists and learn better methods of repression.

This type of collaboration between the racists and sellout blacks is the model of "power sharing" that many liberals in South Africa and in the West advocate. Such a plan will not mean power for the black masses. It will only mean a greater role for black sellouts in keeping the black people of South Africa in chains.

[Photo: Anti-apartheid fighters in South Africa fight back against attacks by rightist Inkatha thugs.]

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The World in Struggle


Filipino masses demand: U.S. bases out!

[Photo: Demonstrations mount at the U.S. embassy in Manila demanding "U.S. military bases, out of the Philippines!"]

The Pentagon's bases in the Philippines are in the news again.

The U.S. government has been stepping up military efforts to back up the Aquino regime. In reply, Filipino workers, youth, and poor farmers are out in the streets, demanding that the U.S. get out. A month ago, insurgent forces killed three U.S. soldiers outside one of the American bases.

There are two large U.S. bases in the Philippines -- Clark Air Force Base and Subic Bay Naval Base. Clark alone has 9,600 servicemen, and in the surrounding area there are tens of thousands of Americans resident in a regular U.S. colony. The base towns are notorious cesspools of corruption, drugs, and prostitution.

Why do the Filipino people hate the U.S. military bases so much?

Bases Are Bulwarks for Reaction

The bases are relics from the days when the Philippines was an outright colony of the United States. They remain a constant symbol of Washington's continuing domination over the country.

And in the life of the Filipino people, the U.S. bases are strongholds on the side of the exploiters and tyranny in the Philippines.

For example, during the years of the Marcos dictatorship, the U.S. bases stood as a permanent symbol of the huge military support given by the Pentagon to Marcos. When Marcos was finally brought down, the U.S. used Clark air base to take Marcos out of the country and to provide military support to the generals' rebellion which helped Corazon Aquino to power.

In the recent period, the U.S. has been stepping up its aid to Aquino's regime which has inherited Marcos' counterinsurgency war. The Pentagon is providing Aquino with helicopter gun- ships, armored cars, guns and bullets. As U.S. intervention in the Filipino war expands, the bases will undoubtedly play a bigger and bigger role in the reactionary war against the Filipino workers and peasants.

Aquino's "Neutrality" on the Bases Is a Fraud

Meanwhile, Aquino is trying to maneuver to maintain the bases. She came to power with a pledge of neutrality on the bases, claiming that she would respect the popular will on whether the bases stay or go. She pledged that a referendum would be held on the issue before agreeing to extend the bases' lease beyond 1991. But now it comes out that Aquino is secretly maneuvering to get the lease extended.

The New York Times of November 10 reports that at a recent conference of Southeast Asian countries the Philippine foreign minister, Raul Manglapus, spent his time lobbying other countries to support the continued presence of the bases. Manglapus tried to win support for the bases from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Aquino's ploy, as the issue heats up in the Philippines, is to plead regional security -- that she personally doesn't like the bases, perhaps, but other nations in the region have asked her to keep the bases! But she didn't get public commitments of support; the other pro-Western governments in the region support the bases but they have similar reservations about coming out openly in support of U.S. imperialism's armed forces.

For workers here in the U.S., the issue is clear-cut: We must stand up against "our" government's oppressive policies in the Philippines. We should support the anti-imperialist struggle of the Filipino working people. We too should join the Filipino masses to demand: U.S. imperialism get oat of the Philippines!

Aquino's 'people power' uses death squads against the people

Since the last right-wing coup attempt against her in August, Philippines President Corazon Aquino has stepped up her war against the left. Aquino is trying desperately to show the Filipino exploiters and U.S. imperialists that she is just as efficient as any right-wing general at stamping out the struggles of the workers, peasants, and poor.

Besides using the military against the guerrilla movement and the police against strikers and demonstrators, Aquino has played a prominent role in launching rightist death squads against the people.

Death Squads Appearing in Manila

A few months ago, Aquino praised the right-wing vigilantes in the city of Davao as model anti-communist fighters. Davao is the area where the most ferocious death squads operate.

The Aquino regime has now stepped up the police and death-squad assault against poor people inside Manila.

Police have begun making regular sweeps through Manila slums. They arrest anyone they regard as suspicious. This includes many new residents who have been forced to flee their homes in the countryside because of right-wing persecution and grinding poverty.

Also, the military has begun organizing vigilante squads in Manila neighborhoods. Their role is to spy on and disrupt organizations such as labor unions, student organizations, left-leaning religious groups, and neighborhood improvement associations. The neighborhood groups are active in the sprawling Manila slums, where they fight for minimal public services such as water.

Major Romeo Maganto, the vigilantes' organizer in Manila, says the groups will be used to augment police patrols and as neighborhood spies. Children, he says, will be used as spies and police couriers.

But the vigilantes won't limit then- work to just spying. On November 10, Nemesio Prudente, president of the Polytechnic University in Manila and a prominent human rights advocate (and suspected by the police of being a supporter of the insurgents), was attacked by gunmen. One person in his car was killed and three others, including Prudente, were wounded.

Thus the Aquino regime continues its rush to the right, its steady evolution into an El Salvador style death-squad regime. The liberal rhetoric gets thinner and thinner, while the sharp fangs of reaction come out more and more.

The reformist forces in the U.S. who rushed to glorify Aquino's "people power" when she came to power should hang their heads in shame. The Filipino masses need revolution, not liberal illusions in the Aquino regime.

[Photo: Right-wing death squads in training.]

'Siege of Dhaka' against dictator

In November, opposition to the rule of General H.M. Ershad in Bangladesh erupted into a new wave of mass revolt. As we go to press, the country has been put under a state of emergency in the face of a threatened 72-hour general strike. The capital and other major cities are under curfew, opposition activists are being rounded up, and a blackout has been imposed on political reporting in the press.

General Ershad is a military dictator who came to power through a coup in 1982. For years he ruled through martial law, brutally putting down mass movements fighting against tyranny and poverty. Last year, his regime donned a civilian face through elections boycotted by most of the opposition. But the Ershad government remains in essence a military dictatorship.

Earlier this year a movement grew rapidly against Ershad's plans to militarize local governments. But that movement was cut short by catastrophic floods which inundated the country. Now the movement is back, stronger than ever; the people have been enraged further by the government's corrupt and inefficient handling of flood relief.

The latest wave of struggle emerged on November 1 as thousands of protesters demonstrated outside government offices around the nation. They demanded the ouster of Ershad. Hundreds were injured as the protesters fought baton-wielding police.

Siege of Dhaka

After this the opposition called for a "siege" of the capital, Dhaka, to begin on November 10 and to continue until Ershad resigned.

In the days leading up to November 10 there were numerous marches and rallies in Dhaka.

But then Ershad lashed back. He banned the November 10 action and ordered the police to break up protests in the city. On the 9th thousands of police and troops spread throughout Dhaka. They arrested 1,100 opposition political leaders. All trains and buses into the city were stopped, to prevent protesters from flooding the city.

Nonetheless on the 10th, tens of thousands of demonstrators shut down the capital. Shops were closed and the streets deserted except for groups of protesters marching noisily through the center of the city. As riot police attacked them with clubs and tear gas, the protesters fought back, hurling bricks and homemade fire bombs at the police. They also set fire to cars and buildings. As the police were overwhelmed, they switched to the use of firearms; at least three people were killed by police gunfire.

The struggle continued the next day. Among other things the protesters ransacked and burned an activities center of the U.S. Information Agency.

By the third day protests declined in Dhaka, but there was a battle between protesters and police -- with gunfire on both sides -- when demonstrators attacked and burned the home of one of Ershad's political associates. Meanwhile, protests broke out with new force in other cities. In Mymensingh, north of Dhaka, protesters damaged dozens of buses on the streets, and burned several government buildings.

Ershad declared himself victorious because he had not been forced to resign. But he may have spoken too soon.

New General Strikes

The weekend of November 21, the opposition launched a nationwide general strike, and violent protests broke out anew. On the 23rd, riot police broke up an opposition rally protesting an order barring the press from printing reports and photos of strike violence.

On Tuesday the 24th, another general strike paralyzed the country. Businesses and offices were mostly shut. Thousands demonstrated in the streets of' Dhaka.

Another general strike was planned for the last weekend of November. Leading up to it, there have been daily demonstrations and marches. The government responded first with a 30-day ban on meetings and demonstrations in the capital city. And then came the state of emergency.

The Toilers Need Their Own Revolutionary Alternative

The workers and peasants of Bangladesh, a country of nearly 100 million, are among the poorest in the world. They also have a tradition of struggle. The ideas of strikes, demonstrations, land seizures, general strikes and even armed struggle are familiar to large sections of the toilers.

Precisely because the downtrodden masses are so prone to taking to the streets, the exploiters have put Bangladesh under dictatorial rule through most of its recent history.

It is not surprising then that movements against dictatorship, such as the current struggle against Ershad, receive widespread support from the working people. The workers know they need democratic rights to organize their struggles.

However, the leadership of the current movement is not in the hands of those who represent the interests of the toilers. The opposition coalition, which ranges from reformist parties to outright rightist ones, is made up of sections of the Bengali bourgeoisie which have been shut out of political power by General Ershad. In fact, the main bourgeois opposition parties were themselves once in power during the 1970's. And their regimes were also marked by oppression and misery for the masses.

The toilers cannot rely on these politicians to lead them to liberation. No, while they must take part in the current upsurge, they have to fight to organize themselves on an independent class basis. They have to clear the way for a revolutionary alternative in the interests of the workers, peasants, and all the poor.

Until that is done, the bourgeois opposition will only use the workers' and peasants' sacrifices to set up parliamentary regimes that inevitably decay into new dictatorships. The toilers must of course use any space won in the struggle against tyranny, but they cannot limit their aims to those of the bourgeoisie.

[Photo: The people of Bangladesh demand that General Ershad be brought to justice.]

Brickyard workers strike in Iran

According to recent issues of "Report," bi-weekly newsletter of the Communist Party of Iran's Committee Abroad, workers' strikes have been taking place in dozens of brickyards in several parts of Iran. A number of these strikes have taken place on the outskirts of the city of Tabriz in northern Iran.

Brickworkers Strike Near Tabriz

"Report" No. 39 (Nov. 1-15) describes one of the strikes in the area of Whaygan outside Tabriz. Here workers managed to impose their demands on the owners of the brickyards through a solid and widespread strike.

The level of wages had been announced as 150 Tomans ($1 equals 100 Tomans) per 1,000 bricks and protests formed against the set rate.

At the beginning, protests were dispersed, disorganized and therefore ineffective. But soon after, facing the employers' silence, the workers elected four representatives and formulated their demands: a raise from 150 to 180 Tomans, provision of necessary utensils, and payment of transportation to and from the brickyards.

The strike began despite opposition from a number of the workers who feared expulsion and other consequences. During the dispute, the striking workers prevented trucks loaded with bricks from going to the market. To get more out of their strike, a general assembly was held in each brickyard and a representative was chosen.

Under the workers' pressures, the employers agreed to negotiate with the workers' representatives. During the meeting, the employers tried to lure the representatives with promises, but they did not succeed. After each meeting, the representatives reported to the workers' assemblies. During the negotiations, one of the representatives who had tried to convince the workers to agree to the employers' offer of 165 Tomans for every 1,000 bricks was dismissed by the workers and another one was chosen instead.

In the second round of talks, the employers were forced to increase their original offer. The rate of wages was determined at 170 Tomans. Besides, the workers managed to impose strike pay and get a sum of money for tools and materials such as cover for finished bricks. The strike ended after a week.

During the strike many meetings and assemblies were held in which the workers discussed the common problems they were facing, the methods of standing against the employers and of carrying on with the strike. The Voice of the Iranian Revolution (the Radio of Komala [Kurdistan section of CPI -- WA]) was extensively listened to by the workers, in particular programs concerning the struggles in brickyards and the directives it gave to the striking workers.

Komala's armed fighters among brickworkers in Kurdistan

As the above item from "Report" shows, the Communist Party of Iran has used its radio programs to help guide the brickworkers ' struggles. But this is just one of the means used by the communists in Iran to explain their views to the workers. A news item in "Report" No. 38 from October also describes work by Komala's armed fighters among brickyard workers in Kurdistan.

In early July a unit of Peshmargas entered a few brickyards in the area of Bookan in order to talk to the workers about their work conditions and their struggle. In a few gatherings held, the workers discussed their problems and the difficulties they have been facing in their struggle for better work conditions and the threats from brickyard owners. The Peshmargas talked about the gains of the recent strike, the necessity of holding general assemblies and of building more solidarity with the workers in other production units.

[Photo: Revolutionary fighters (Peshmargas) of Komala, the Kurdistan section of the Communist Party of Iran, in a mountain village.]

60,000 Lebanese workers march against hunger

A five-day general strike brought Lebanon to a standstill in early November. The walkout was the most extensive in decades, with shops, schools, banks, restaurants and other businesses shutting down on November 5. All newspapers were forced to stop publishing, and all airline flights were stopped.

The strike was called to protest soaring prices which are ravaging workers' wages. Today Lebanon has an inflation rate of 400%, and the country's currency has lost over 80% of its value. Unemployment is reported to be 45%. The poverty in Lebanon has gotten so bad that malnutrition has reappeared and people even try to sell parts of their bodies, such as kidneys and corneas, to hospitals.

The general strike also called for an end to the war that has been ravaging the country.

The high point of the strike came on November 9, when 60,000 people marched through the streets of Beirut chanting "No to hunger, no to the war!" Workers came from both West and East Beirut and met at the Green Line which separates the Muslim and Christian sectors. Here the workers joined forces in a display of class unity across religious lines.

A general strike and wildcats in Italy

Rome, November 25. Italian workers across the country downed tools today. The general strike was called to protest the government's deficit-reduction plan, which calls for increased taxes on salaried workers.

The strike was called by the three trade union federations, associated with the Christian Democrat, social-democratic, and reformist "Communist" parties. The union bosses -- with their mentality of not hurting the capitalists -- limited the strike only to a few hours. But the fact that they called this strike action at all, the first in three years, indicates that they are feeling pressure from the rank-and-file workers.

Indeed, there are reports that recently there has been an explosion of wildcat strikes in Italy. These have involved all kinds of working people, including forest rangers and pharmacists. Dozens of strikes have been launched by new local labor groups independent of the national federations.


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