The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 17, No. 4


25ยข April 1, 1987

[Front page:

Demonstrate on April 25 against the Reaganite criminals!;

May Day! Workers of the world, unite]


KKK killed Atlanta children, government covers up...................... 2
New York police kill two black men............................................... 2
From campus to campus students fight back against racists; U. of Mich, and Jesse Jackson; Columbia U. rally against racist attack... 3

Constitution: We the people or them the wealthy............................. 4
Preacher-gate: Trouble in PTL empire............................................. 4
Judge bans school books that don't teach religion........................... 4

Fight back against attacks on immigrant workers............................ 5
Persecution of Central American refugees....................................... 5
Protest Simpson-Rodino bill............................................................ 5

Strikes and Work Place News

Watsonville cannery; farmworkers; Cudahy meat; Uretek chemical poisoning; immigrants unionize; Iowa beef; LTV retirees; Rohr aircraft.............................................................................................. 6
GM Pontiac; GM Flint; Detroit jobs rally; jobs protest; GM and Ford for concessions; UAW bosses; Protest at UAW convention... 7

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!

Mass actions defy emergency rules................................................. 9
Investment by any other name smells the same............................... 9
The CIA-Pretoria-Contra connection............................................... 9
Why is Israel pretending to oppose apartheid.................................. 9

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

Solid Shield: Practice for invading Nicaragua................................. 10
The CIA airline must go................................................................... 10
More CIA warfare against Nicaragua............................................... 10

Philippines: Aquino for all-out war on guerrillas............................. 11
Iran: Communism in the fight against Khomeini............................. 11
Portuguese M-L journal in its second year....................................... 11
Colombia: Government terror on Marxist-Leninists........................ 11

The World in Struggle

Spain: Workers against social-democratic regime............................ 12
Mexico: Rumble of workers' militancy............................................ 12

Demonstrate on April 25 against the Reaganite criminals!

May Day!

The Klan killed Atlanta's children - the government is still covering it up

Police murders show the need to struggle

New York police kill two black men

From campus to campus

Students fight back against racists

Jesse Jackson and the anti-racist struggle at U. of Michigan

Columbia University

Students and staff rally against racist attack

200 years of the Constitution: Does it defend 'we the people' or 'them the wealthy'?


Trouble in PTL (Pass the Loot) empire

Fight back against the attacks on the immigrant workers!

Supreme court ruling won't stop persecution of Central American refugees

Full rights for the undocumented!

Protest Simpson-Rodino bill!

Strikes and workplace news

April 25th Mobilization leaders trim their sails to the Democrats

[Graphic: Apartheid no! REVOLUTION yes!]

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

Reagan orders stepped-up CIA role

Aquino pledges all-out war against guerrillas

The red flag of communism in the fight against Khomeini

Portuguese Marxist-Leninist journal into its second year

Government terror against Colombian Marxist-Leninists

The World in Struggle

Demonstrate on April 25 against the Reaganite criminals!

On April 25, demonstrations are being organized in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Thousands are expected to hit the streets to protest Washington's intervention in Central America and U.S. support for the racist regime in South Africa.

These actions are taking place because great discontent has built up against Reagan's foreign policies. The Iran-contra scandal has fueled this anger even more. To class conscious workers and movement activists, it has confirmed the brutality of the Reagan administration. And to many other people, it has helped open eyes about the lying, hypocritical and criminal nature of the administration.

Outrage among the masses inspires resistance. April 25 is an occasion for progressive people to make their voices heard.

The leadership of the April 25 mobilization, however, promotes reliance on the Democrats as the answer to Reaganism. This is a dead-end road. But despite this official focus, the Marxist-Leninist Party holds that workers and activists should go to these actions and should raise there the banner of a militant struggle against the Reagan agenda.

U.S. Imperialism, Hands Off Nicaragua!

We believe that activists should go to April 25th with a strong protest against Reagan's contra war against Nicaragua.

Contragate has brought some of the seamy side of the contra war out into full public view. It has shown that behind the talk of democracy and freedom, Reagan's contra crusade has been built up with the support of tyrants and reactionaries around the world -- from Israel and Saudi Arabia to drug dealers and mercenary merchants of death.

But despite the contragate revelations, the war against Nicaragua goes on. The CIA and Pentagon continue the U.S. drive to strangle tiny Nicaragua and restore a Somoza-style dictatorship there.

Apartheid No! Revolution Yes!

The MLP stands for holding high the banner of struggle against the ugly alliance between the U.S. government and corporations with racist South Africa.

In recent months, the corporations have acted pious, with a flurry of "divestment" schemes. And with a package of meager sanctions approved last year, official Washington has also tried to appear squeaky clean.

But in fact, the U.S. imperialist alliance with apartheid remains intact. Look at the recent U.S. veto of a meager U.N. sanctions package. Look at ex-CIA chief Casey's efforts to organize South African support for the contras. Meanwhile, the corporate "divestment" is a complete sham, merely meant to fool the masses by changing a few signboards on operations in South Africa.

Down With the Entire War Drive!

Today Washington also beats its war drums in the Middle East. Warships are stationed near Lebanon and in the Persian Gulf. Support for Israeli oppression continues. But the liberal politicians are shamelessly silent when it comes to U.S. support for Israeli crimes in the Middle East. It is up to rank-and-file demonstrators to protest U.S. intervention in the Middle East. We should also raise our voices against Reagan's efforts to profit from and intervene in the reactionary Iran-Iraq war.

As well, we should denounce Reagan's Star Wars plans and the entire "first strike" nuclear buildup of the Pentagon, a buildup which has had the support of both the Republicans and Democrats.

Target Imperialism!

The crimes of U.S. foreign policy are not some aberration. They are not simply the frenzied schemes of the criminal who sits in the Oval Office today. Remember that U.S. foreign policy is a bipartisan effort. It is in fact the policy of the capitalist ruling class which lives off the exploitation of the working people, here and around the globe.

To build an effective struggle against intervention and war, the movement must target the system of imperialism.

No to the Capitalist Offensive of Hunger, Unemployment and Racism!

The protests on April 25 come at a time of anger not just against Reagan's foreign policies but also against the domestic crusade of Reagan and the capitalists. The flip side of aggression and plunder abroad is the oppression and squeezing of the working people here at home.

Reaganism is a scandal in every sphere of life, it is synonymous with everything backward and reactionary. Today across the country, there is anger against the renewed racist crusade against black people which has been inspired from the White House. There is ferment among immigrant workers and refugees from foreign lands who face official persecution. There is unrest against unemployment and plant closings, against homelessness, and against the capitalist concessions drive -- which are ruining the workers.

These streams of struggle are signs of life. They hold promise for the future. While the Reaganites want to turn the clock back, the working people want to move forward. But how is this to be achieved?

For An Independent Movement of the Working Class

Progress against Reaganism will not come by looking for favors from the Democrats and the trade union bosses, or by waiting for salvation from Jesse Jackson. No, it requires action by the working people themselves. Now more than ever, the issue is to build an independent movement of the working class.

* We must revive the militant spirit of the 60's and 70's. Strikes and job actions, militant protests and demonstrations are what's needed. These must be organized not just against the Republicans but against both parties of monopoly capital.

* Only when struggle is backed up by organization can it be sustained. We should work wherever the masses gather looking to fight, but it is essential that the point be driven home that the rank and file must build up independent, fighting forms of organization.

* In the course of struggle, the masses gain valuable experience. Struggle is indeed a great school for the toilers. But in order for the clearest conclusions to be drawn, an organized challenge against capitalist ideas and lies is essential. The big business press merely echoes what the capitalists and government want to befuddle the working people with. The class conscious workers and revolutionary activists must have their own press to spread revolutionary ideas and agitation.

It is along these lines that the Marxist-Leninist Party seeks to organize a vigorous and powerful struggle against the Reaganite offensive!


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May Day!

Workers of the world, unite

May 1 is international working class day. On this day, in each country, workers take to the streets to raise our class demands against the capitalist bosses. On May Day, all over the world, the workers' rallies demonstrate our common aims. They show our international solidarity against all exploitation and oppression.

This May Day we are confronted by a malicious crusade for blind patriotism against the "foreign" threat. Reagan and Congress, conservatives and liberals, corporate bosses and union bureaucrats -- they've all joined in. Whether waving the flag for trade war or spewing Rambo-style venom against "international terrorism," whether it's "buy American" or speak English-only, they are preaching the gospel of the "American way" against the "foreign" menace. They are evangelizing for racist hatred towards other peoples.

This dirty crusade is an attempt to split the U.S. workers from our class brothers and sisters in other countries. It is part of the capitalist offensive of concessions, racism and war. It is a danger to the working class movement and we must organize to fight it.

Don't Enlist in the Capitalist Trade War...

The trade war is heating up and "Make American industry competitive" has become the battle cry. Reagan threatens tariffs. Liberal Democrats push for legislation. And union leaders try to convince U.S. workers to side with our "own" bosses in competition with foreign workers.

But this is competition that only the monopolies can win. For the workers -- both in the U.S. and abroad -- it's heads the monopolies get concessions, tails the workers lose jobs. Nor does the competition stop at the border. From company to company, from plant to plant, the war to make "American industry competitive" pits worker against worker over who will cough up the most concessions.

...Fight for Jobs and against Concessions!

But the workers don't have to enlist in the capitalists' trade war. We can unite to fight back against the capitalists. Steel workers in Japan are marching for jobs. Auto workers in Mexico are striking against Ford. Protests against plant closings are hitting Detroit while anti-concessions strikes continue to spread.

May 1 is international working class day. Let us raise the banner of unity of the workers of every country and declare: No more concessions -- fight for jobs!

Defend the immigrants and Fight Racist Terror!

The chauvinist crusade is not only against workers in other countries. It is also aimed at persecuting immigrants and spreading racist poison against all the oppressed nationalities in the U.S.

These racist attacks are an affront to the entire working class. They are used to drive the black, Mexican, and other national minority workers into super-exploiting sweatshops and farms. They are used to build up a whole repressive apparatus -- from national ID cards to internment camps -- that can be turned against the workers' movement. What is more, they are used to divide the workers of different races and nationalities and to thereby weaken the workers' movement as a whole.

But a mass movement is emerging to resist the racist drive. On the border, workers and activists from Mexico and from the U.S. are organizing joint demonstrations to protest against the persecution of the immigrants. Black and white workers, students, and other progressives have joined together in anti-racist protests from Forsyth County, Georgia to Howard Beach, New York. The working class movement must stand squarely on the side of the immigrants and oppressed nationalities.

May 1 is international working class day. Let us raise the banner of unity of the workers of all nationalities and say: No to persecution of foreign born -- full rights to the immigrants! No to racist terror of police and racist gangs -- build the anti-racist movement!

Fight Imperialist Aggression

The chauvinist crusade is also for imperialist war on oppressed people of other countries. The Iran-contra scandal has exposed the hypocrisy of Reagan's cries against supposed Arab and Nicaraguan "terrorists." Whether it's the adventures of the CIA drug-runners or invading marines, the danger of "international terrorism" is centered in the White House. The U.S. government is not fighting for "freedom" but for the almighty dollar, for Middle East oil, for domination over Central America.

The workers' interests do not lie with the contragate liars who are drumming up wars for imperialist conquest. Rather our friends are the oppressed peoples who are fighting for liberation from the imperialist yoke and capitalist and landlord slavery. The workers and peasants of Central America are standing up, arms in hand, against the death-squad tyrants sponsored by U.S. imperialism. The black masses of South Africa persist in heroic struggle against the U.S.-backed apartheid regime. Around the world the struggle builds. The working class must take its place in the solidarity movement with the fighting peoples against our "own" imperialist rulers.

May 1 is international working class day. Let us raise the banner of solidarity of the working class with the oppressed peoples who are fighting imperialism. Let us declare: U.S. imperialism, get out of Central America! Hands off the Middle East! Stop defending the South African racists! Solidarity with the fighting workers and peasants all over the world!

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The Klan killed Atlanta's children - the government is still covering it up

The government cover-up of the Atlanta child murders continues.

The killings began in July 1979. Over the next two years, 30 black children fell victim. The murders followed a pattern that was too regular and too grisly to be random crimes. All signs pointed to a campaign of terror by the KKK or some other racist gang.

Black residents set up armed patrols in Atlanta's housing projects. Black and progressive people in Atlanta and across the country marched and wore arm bands of solidarity with the victims. The people were angry with the police and government officials for failing to go after the murderers. Many suspected a cover-up.

Now their worst suspicions are being confirmed. New evidence has come to light that points to a gang of racist Klansmen for the mass killings. But that's not all. It also points to an elaborate government cover-up for the racist killers.

A cynical part of this cover-up was the frame-up of a young black man. In a kangaroo trial, Wayne Williams was convicted of two murders and blamed for the rest. But more and more facts are coming out exposing this naked injustice.

KKK Behind the Murders

At the time of the killings, the Georgia Bureau of Information (GBI) carried out a probe of the Sanders family. This probe showed that this family was linked to the National States Rights Party/New Order of the Ku Klux Klan, and that it was buildings private arsenal for the stated purpose of killing blacks.

The GBI received detailed information from a police informant linking the Sanders gang with the child murders. This information was backed up by a second informant (who was a Klan official), as well as by wire taps and witnesses.

* Klansman Charles Sanders boasted to the police informant: "See that black bastard? I'm going to get him. I'm going to choke the black bastard to death...." Sanders was pointing to Lubie Geter, a 14-year-old boy who was found strangled to death one month later.

* An eyewitness, Ruth Warren, was the last to see Lubie Geter alive. She saw him get into a car with a tall white man with a "conspicuous two-inch scar on his neck like jagged lightning." Carlton Sanders, patriarch of the Sanders family, has such a scar.

* The GBI tape-recorded a number of conversations of the Sanders brothers about hunting and killing black children. In one of these they discuss that after they kill 20 children they were going to start killing black women in hopes of starting a race war.

This is only part of the condemning evidence the police had against the KKK killers. The GBI probe, however, was kept top secret. Then, with the conviction of Wayne Williams, a GBI officer hurriedly destroyed the tapes and other evidence gathered against the Sanders gang.

Government officials from Atlanta up to Washington did everything they could to keep this information under wraps. Their chief concern was to check the flood of anti-racist struggle building up in Atlanta's ghettos and around the country.

But the cover-up wasn't complete. Two Atlanta police detectives, Aubrey Melton and R.C. McClenden, had taken detailed notes from the tapes and other evidence. Several months ago, a file of this information was sent anonymously to Wayne Williams' lawyers.

Wayne Williams Was Framed

This file, along with other new information, confirms that Williams was framed.

* The conviction of Williams was built around testimony from forensic experts about carpet fibers and dog hairs found on the bodies of the victims. Fiber evidence is known to be unreliable in the first place. Now it turns out that the Williams' family car, whose carpet fibers allegedly linked Williams to one of the murders, was not yet even in the possession of the Williams' family when the murder took place.

* Experts testified that dog hairs on some of the bodies could be those of Williams' German shepherd. But forensic experts with the GBI probe had earlier said that these same dog hairs could have come from the husky owned by the racist Sanders gang.

* Robert Lee. Toland was the state's star witness in the trial because he allegedly provided the motive. Toland testified that Williams despised "lower class blacks" and once proposed how, by eliminating young males, one could wipe out whole future generations of blacks. The owner of the ambulance service where Toland worked, Michael Bernhardt, pointed out on ABC's Nightline that Toland was a KKK member. And it was Toland, not Williams, who made the statement about killing young blacks.

Punish the Racist Killers! Free Wayne Williams!

What is being done about this new evidence? What is being done to punish the KKK terrorists? What is being done to free Wayne Williams, who has been rotting in jail as a hostage of the government cover-up? Nothing. The official cover-up continues.

The capitalist news media is keeping mum. The TV news has carried a few stories about the gaping holes in the case against Williams. But nothing about the role of the KKK. An exception was an ABC Nightline report last October that gave pieces of the new information. More came out on Canadian TV's Fifth Estate program. And Spin magazine gave a more detailed report. Otherwise the media has been silent.

Families of the victims are demanding that the investigation be reopened. City officials, however, refuse. When asked about the new evidence, Atlanta's present black mayor, Andrew Young, reportedly responded: "Don't cry over spilt milk." But it wasn't milk that was spilled. The blood of Atlanta's children is on the hands of the whole capitalist establishment, including the black officials, that covered for the Klan killings.

Meanwhile, there's not a peep from the Reagan government. No FBI investigation or anything else. The same government sends warships, marines and mercenaries against the people all over the world under the hoax of "fighting terrorism." Isn't the savage murder of 30 black children a truly revolting act of home-grown terrorism? Yes, but this is racist terror. This is right-wing terror against the workers and oppressed -- something which the government winks at if not directly encourages.

The case of the Atlanta child murders must not be allowed to rest. Wayne Williams must be freed. The KKK killers must be tried and punished. And the police and government officials who covered for the Klan must also be put on trial.

Justice for Atlanta's young victims should be made a banner of struggle for all working people. Atlanta is a shocking lesson in how far the police, courts and the rest of the capitalist authorities will go to protect racist killers. Let us use this to spur on the organization and struggle of the masses -- the mighty force against racist violence and oppression.

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Police murders show the need to struggle

New York police kill two black men

Two more black men, in separate incidents, have been killed at the hands of the New York City police. These latest murders have come during a rising tide of anti-racist feelings in the city. The murder of Michal Griffith last December by a racist lynch mob in Howard Beach provoked a wave of angry meetings and demonstrations.

The lynch mobs in police uniform have become the latest targets of protest. In Brooklyn and Harlem militant marches and rallies have been held to condemn the police killers. One of the victim's co-workers in transit held a meeting to discuss the racist attacks. And this has become the hot topic among the black and other working and oppressed people.

The resurgence of the mass anti-racist fight is the best reply to the lynch mobs, the killer cops, and the capitalist politicians and courts which protect them.

A 35-Year-Old Black Transit Worker Has Been Beaten to Death by New York City Cops

Wajid Abdul-Salaam, a transit worker, has been made out to be a drug-crazed burglar who died from his "drug-induced" exertions. But Abdul was no burglar.

Early on the morning of February 12 he was banging on the door of a home in Queens. Right on the 911 tapes, Abdul is heard in the background calling on residents to call the police. (Since when did burglars wake up a neighborhood crying out for the police?!)

Eight police arrived from the 112th precinct. Instead of helping this man in distress, the eight cops set on him. They savagely beat the 137-pound Abdul and hogtied him like an animal. An hour later, he was dead.

Abdul was killed by the police beating. That's why his wife, after seeing his badly bruised face, was barred from seeing the rest of his body. And that's why, despite all the cries about cocaine, a toxiscan at the hospital revealed no drugs.

Another Black Man Has Been Executed by the Police in Harlem

On February 28, Nicholas Bartlett was surrounded by eight police. The cops fired 10 times, pumping six shots into his head and chest.

Bartlett's murder came 48 hours after the acquittal of the cop who murdered Eleanor Bumpurs. (Eleanor Bumpurs was a 66-year-old black grandmother. In October 1984, the police cut her down with two shotgun blasts after they broke into her apartment to evict her for $357.80 in back rent.) The police union held a victory celebration after the acquittal. And all puffed up, the cops stepped up their harassment of blacks in Harlem.

Police claim that Bartlett, 27 with a wife and two children, had attacked a cop with a lead pipe and then "menaced" the eight cops with the pipe. Supposedly, this was connected to some earlier run-in Bartlett had had over police harassment.

But other reports indicate that he had no pipe. He was called racial slurs by the attacking police. And the cops opened fire when he raised his hands.

Either way, this is a coldblooded execution.

[Photo: Protest against the acquittal of the police officer who shot Eleanor Bumpurs, February 26.]

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From campus to campus

Students fight back against racists

Take notice. On campuses across the country, students are standing up to say NO! to racism.

Recent years have seen escalating racist activity on the campuses. The bigots have been encouraged by racist Ronbo in the White House, and they have grown bolder and more arrogant.

But the Reaganites and racists have been running amok too long. The students are mad. And now they are fighting back.

Over the last weeks, anti-racist students have been rallying at the Univ. of Michigan, Northern Illinois Univ (Dekalb), Purdue, Univ. of Texas, UCLA, Univ. of Massachusetts (Amherst), Tufts, Columbia and other campuses. Hundreds and thousands of students of all nationalities have been launching militant demonstrations and protest actions. In each case, they have been spurred to action by outrages against the black students: cross burnings, racist insults and death threats, beatings and other foul provocations.

The protests have targeted university administrators who allow these things to go on under their noses. Admistrators have also been encouraging the racists with their own racist policies. They have been steadily patching up the walls of discrimination that had been cracked (but never completely torn down) in the mass struggles of the 60's and early 70's.

The fight against South African apartheid has given this anti-racist upsurge extra fire. On many campuses, students were already in conflict with administrators who show their racist stripes by refusing the just demand to divest from South Africa.

When confronted by the ugly face of racism, you have no choice but to smack it down. And as the experience of the 60's showed, this demands a militant mass struggle. It demands fighting back whenever the racists come out of their holes to spread their poison. And it requires keeping the fire on the administrators and other front-men for the capitalist ruling class, the class which has unleashed this vile racism against the people.

Build a fighting anti-racist movement!

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Jesse Jackson and the anti-racist struggle at U. of Michigan

Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have been engaged in a major struggle against racism. It began in February after a series of racist outrages. This included a flier declaring "open season" on black students, and the airing of eight minutes of racist filth (KKK-type "jokes" about blacks) on the campus radio.

Hundreds of anti-racist students marched and protested. They raised a series of grievances against the racist setup at the university. But the administration turned a deaf ear.

On March 19, students took over the Fleming administration building and held it for 18 hours. They put forward a series of demands, including that the university live up to its promise of recruiting black students in proportion to their numbers in the population. This was a promise made at the time of the 1970 takeover of the same building, but which the university has never come close to complying with.

Jesse Jackson Arrives on the Scene

On the 23rd, Jackson flew in to negotiate. The university agreed to a number of things, including a pledge to "aspire" to live up to its earlier promise about black recruitment. Whether these agreements amount to much depends on whether the anti-racist movement keeps up the fire on the university.

But that's not what Jesse Jackson told the students. Jackson had the nerve to praise the racist U of M president Shapiro for defusing the situation. And he boasted that his role had been to help bring together Shapiro and the students. (See Detroit Free Press, March 29)

Jackson Says: "The Fight Against Racism Is the Wrong Agenda"

This is an amazing stand. Jackson keeps up a posture as a civil rights veteran and a champion of the black and oppressed people. One would think that he should then enthusiastically welcome the anti-racist struggle breaking out on the campuses. But no. That's not on Jackson's agenda.

Mark carefully what Jackson said in an interview with the Detroit News: "We've seen a rise in racial incidents. Still, the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry is the right cause but the wrong agenda. We've already fought those battles and made them socially unacceptable and illegal. This generation's agenda must be to fight together to stop a factory from closing, to stop farm auctions, to reduce tuition costs, to make housing and medical care affordable--the kids should be fighting on these solid agenda items.... This generation must not engage in racial violence. We must end economic and environmental violence." (Detroit News, March 29)

This is not a quote torn out of context, or a slip of the tongue. Jackson told the same thing to the anti-racist demonstrators in New York City fighting for justice for the victims of the Howard Beach lynch mob. Wherever the masses are hot for struggle against racist terror or discrimination, this has become his message to urge moderation and cool out the struggle.

Build the Anti-Racist Fight!

If you take the message at face value, the anti-racist struggle is not just a waste, it is harmful "racial violence," it is detracting from "solid agenda items." Of course, Jackson's argument is absurd from every standpoint.

Sure, reduced tuition is a good thing to fight for. But what value is it if you are driven off campus by racist thugs? Or the doors are closed by the discriminatory polices of the university? Sure, students should be concerned with the fight for jobs and cheaper housing. But they must also be concerned with the fight against killer cops who prey on young black workers, and against segregationists who deprive blacks of jobs and decent housing.

As Jackson admits, there's been "a rise in racial incidents." So obviously, the lynchers and racists haven't heard that the battle against them has already been won.

No, only by building a powerful anti-racist movement, by putting up a mass challenge to racist abuse and violence, can we drive the racists and bigots back into their holes.

The truth is, the anti-racist fight is the wrong agenda for Mr. Jesse Jackson. Especially, it isn't good for his bid for the Democratic nomination for president. After all, this requires gaining the trust of the big-time political brokers, the trade union chieftains, and other died-in-the-wool racists. For this, platitudes about the economy and the environment are just the ticket.

In fact, when Jackson talks about the fight against "economic violence," he doesn't mean organizing the struggle against the capitalists. He means lining up political favors among the pro-capitalist bosses of the AFL-CIO. And his talk about "stopping farm auctions" x is just your typical politicking to line up Iowa votes.

To build the anti-racist movement we must reject the counsel of smooth-talking Democratic candidates who try to convince us that fighting back against racism is in any way "the wrong agenda."

[Photo: University of Michigan students rally against racism on the campus.]

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Columbia University

Students and staff rally against racist attack

(Based on a March 26 leaflet of MLP-New York.)

A racist outrage at Columbia University. A brutal assault by a gang of racist white students against black students. But this racist assault has not gone unanswered. Hundreds of Columbia University students and employees have organized to express their anger.

In the early morning of March 22, this assault was instigated and provoked by a well-known group of racist thugs, including members of the Columbia football team and two fraternities. For weeks this racist gang, led by Matt Sodl, had subjected a black student, Mike Jones, to racial epithets and abuse. When Mike Jones confronted Sodl, Sodl and his cohorts jumped and beat on Mike Jones and a number of his friends, also black.

Some 30 white students then went on a rampage, shouting racist filth and attacking any black face they came across -- even black security guards who came on the scene. One black student was chased into oncoming traffic on Broadway. The racists ran up and down Broadway shouting vile racist chants and threatening to kill any black they encountered.

This brutal attack sparked immediate outrage across the Columbia campus. That very same Sunday over 250 black and other anti-racist students marched to the Sigma Chi fraternity to confront the racist scum and demand their expulsion. On Monday evening over 500 students and workers from Columbia and Barnard held a spirited meeting. They set plans for another demonstration to press demands for the expulsion of the racists and for improvements in the situation facing black students and staff at Columbia and its neighborhood, Morningside Heights.

Some people say that this racial incident should be kept quiet and not "blown out of proportion." But keeping things quiet only emboldens the racists who prefer to carry out their daily harassment and abuse of blacks away from the harsh light of exposure and condemnation.

No, we must not be quiet. The racist assault at Columbia must not be swept under the rug. Hundreds of students and workers at Columbia and Barnard have already been stirred into action. The mass meetings and demonstrations should continue and be strengthened. Militant mass struggle is the way to stop the racists in their tracks.

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200 years of the Constitution: Does it defend 'we the people' or 'them the wealthy'?

This year is the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. The capitalist politicians are planning a big hoopla for later this year. Reagan has already declared that the American Constitution is allegedly one of a kind for its emphasis on "We the People." Reality is different from these fairy tales. The 200th anniversary of the Constitution comes at a time when the only answer of the politicians for every social problem is more jails, more police, and longer prison terms. Already 3% of the male population of the U.S. is either in jail, or on probation, or out on parole, and the politicians are demanding more.

How can this happen under a Constitution that supposedly guarantees rights and liberties?

The Constitution Didn't Grant Rights, They Are Won in Struggle

The truth is that the Constitution has not been the source of the people's rights. The people won some democratic rights through the historic Revolutionary War of independence against British colonialism. The Constitution, on the other hand, was written to limit the rights of the toilers and guarantee the property rights of the wealthy. It gave so few rights that popular pressure forced it to be immediately modified by the passing of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, the well-known Bill of Rights.

Despite the Bill of Rights, the Constitution allowed slavery, one of the most diabolic and brutal means of exploitation ever seen. It was not the Constitution that freed the slaves, but the Civil War, including the mass participation of ex-slaves in the northern armies.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights allowed the exclusion of women from voting rights for one and one-half centuries. It was not the Constitution that gave the vote to women, but the mass struggle of women and the overall movement of the downtrodden.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights allowed property restrictions and other ways of keeping the working people from voting. Furthermore, under the Constitution labor unions were denounced as a "restraint of trade," and so were minimum wage laws and other labor protection laws. It was only the heroism of the workers in persisting in organizing that forced the politicians to reinterpret the Constitution. And even today Reaganite scholars are advocating that the Constitution should again be interpreted to ban labor protection laws and destroy all but company unions.

So when the preamble to the Constitution talked of "we the people," it really meant white, male, wealthy people. But "we the wealthy" doesn't sound so noble and praiseworthy, does it?

The Constitution Was Unpopular

The Constitution's defense of the wealthy was felt strongly at the time it was written. It (but not the Bill of Rights) was unpopular, and it had to be ratified through indirect elections railroaded through the states. The "founding father" John Marshall himself, an ardent backer of the Constitution and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court for 35 years, wrote in his "Life of Washington" that all the 13 original states of the U.S. accepted the Constitution only with "reluctance" and through "dread of dismemberment." Everywhere amendments were proposed. And he stated bluntly that in some states, although the Constitution was ratified, "a majority of the people were in the opposition."

The Constitution won anyway because at that time the majority of the toilers were small farmers. The small farmers, as tiny, independent, private entrepreneurs (petty-bourgeois), were disunited. They were disorganized, and they had no cohesive plan for governing the U.S. to counterpose to the Constitution. It would take the development of a militant working class for the toilers to find a champion who not only opposed injustices, but stood for a higher type of society, for socialist society.

Are Today's Laws Really Bound by the Constitution?

But even if the Constitution had been a more radical and popular document, it still could not protect the people any longer. This is because the laws and Supreme Court decisions of today are not based on what the "founding fathers" thought 200 years ago. That would be absurd.

Life in the 18th century was quite different from today. American capitalism has turned into a werewolf hovering over the world, and American society is in a state of decay. Furthermore, the politicians of today aren't interested in the "founding fathers" but in GM and GE and AT&T, in making profits, in dominating world markets, and in securing military bases around the world. The Constitutional doctrines of today have little to do with the ideas of the writers of the Constitution.

We the Working Class

The bicentennial of the Constitution is designed to make the working people love the chains that bind them. "Oh, what marvelous chains. How well crafted. How long they have endured. What wisdom in their every link."

But Reagan's talk of "we the people" is hypocrisy to hide the struggle between worker and capitalist. Today it is up to the working class to overthrow the heavy weight of millionaires and militarists and racists that weighs down the U.S. Just as the American Revolution made the U.S. into an independent country, today a new and greater revolution, a socialist revolution, is needed to win independence from hunger, exploitation, racism, and warmongering. This can only be accomplished through the class struggle of the toiling majority against the overprivileged minority. And this will put an end to the present Constitution that protects the privileged minority against the downtrodden majority.

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Trouble in PTL (Pass the Loot) empire

Contragate is exposing the depravity of the Reagan administration to millions of people. And now preacher-gate, the moral scandal in the PTL (Praise the Lord) TV ministry, is exposing the corruption behind one of the religious pillars of the bourgeoisie.

The pious Rev. Jim Bakker has been forced to step down from the head of PTL because of his adultery. Bakker had the audacity to say that he did it to help save his marriage. Can you imagine the outrage of the TV evangelists if it had been "Dr. Ruth" or the sex therapists who had prescribed adultery as the way to save a marriage? Why, we would never hear the end of the talk about Satan appearing in the guise of "secular humanist" therapists. But if you are a "man of God," anything is permitted to you.

There doesn't seem to be much relation between religion and morality.

But Bakker's adultery is the least of his sins. More important is that the TV evangelicals whip their listeners up with talk of God and Satan, promise them anything if only they pray, and then line their own pockets. Bakker and his wife have matching Rolls Royces and gold-plated plumbing. And PTL spent over a quarter-million dollars to help Bakker ensure the silence of a Massapequa Tabernacle (New York) church secretary, Jessica Hahn, about Bakker's sexual indiscretions. With all this cash, no wonder they hate the class struggle.

Why, the PTL is nothing but a $172 million dollar business empire. And preacher-gate is more like the merger deals on Wall Street than anything else. Here is Rev. Bakker worrying about a "hostile takeover" by competitors, such as Rev. Swaggert, only to be saved by a "white knight," Rev. Falwell.

If you want to be moral, if you want to help your fellow worker, then take part in organizing a united struggle against the capitalists. It is harder than praying, but it is a lot more effective.

Judge bans school books that don't teach religion

The religious extremists are seeking to turn the public schools into places of religious indoctrination.

Last year there was the outrageous Greeneville, Tennessee court case. It held that the children of fundamentalists should be excused in school from reading anything that went against fundamentalist prejudices. So down with Shakespeare, the theory of ocean tides, dinosaurs, equality with Jews, Muslims, and atheists, etc. etc. However, other children could still read about these things.

And this year in Alabama, in early March, U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand ruled that all children must be taught religious prejudices, no matter what their parents thought. He demanded that the Alabama school system must throw out several dozen textbooks that ignore what he regarded as the "religious aspects to significant American events." He then proceeded to denounce anything that didn't openly praise the old-time religion. He dealt with passages on the values one has, the experiences that shape one, etc. -- apparently these are all "significant American events" that must have their "religious aspect" pounded in.

Judge Hand had earlier upheld compulsory school prayer. He had written in that decision that "A member of a religious minority will have to develop a thicker skin if a state establishment [of prayer] offends him."

Judge Hand was overruled in the prayer case by the U.S. Supreme Court. So now he is back, trying even harder to force-feed Christianity. He is using the truly idiotic Reaganite argument that failure to mention Christianity is a religion in itself, the religion of not mentioning Christianity (this is what he calls "secular humanism"). So, he argues, the only way to separate church and state is to indoctrinate Christianity. And if non-believers, Christians with different beliefs from him, Jews, Muslims, and believers in the true separation of church and school are offended, they presumably are just going to have to develop "thicker skins."

It is quite possible that one or both of the Greeneville and Alabama decisions will be overturned by higher courts. These decisions would lead the way to stripping the schools of science books, much of English literature, etc. And the Reaganites need technical science in order to make profits and to wage wars.

But the promotion of religious fanaticism by the Reaganites won't stop. They are in favor of special schools to indoctrinate part of the children as future shock troops -- kept ignorant and frenzied against the "Satan" of strikes and protests. And they want "Christian values" and religious ideology in schools. It is just that the Reagan administration may perhaps not want this taken to such extremes that it collapses of its own weight.

It is clearer and clearer every day that we must either progress to socialism or fall back to a new Dark Ages. The capitalists have nothing to offer but a repetition of the religious fanaticism of the Middle Ages. Meanwhile the socialist proletariat is the bulwark against religious persecution and fanaticism. While rejecting religion, the enlightened worker unites with workers of all religions in the struggle to lead a better life.

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Fight back against the attacks on the immigrant workers!

The racist hand of the capitalist government is coming down hard on the Latino and immigrant communities.

* "English Only" measures are being pushed in states across the country. These proposals to make English the "official language" are aimed at making life even more difficult for all those whose first language isn't English. This includes wiping out bilingual education, as well as information on social services, voting, legal matters, etc., in a language that people best understand.

* The Reagan administration's "Alien Terrorist and Undesirables Contingency Plan" has recently come to light. In the name of "national security," this plan calls for wholesale roundups and deportations of immigrants from the Middle East in time of crisis. Detention centers are already being prepared for this purpose.

* In this concentration camp spirit, later this month seven Palestinians will face a deportation trial in California. They are being charged for advocating left-wing political views.

* New exposures are coming out of the FBI infiltration of the sanctuary movement that assists Central American refugees.

* In May the Simpson-Rodino immigration law goes into force. This new law will bring an avalanche of repressive measures against the immigrants. Among these, employer sanctions will drive the undocumented workers deeper into the underground economy of super-exploitation. They will also intensify job discrimination against all Latino and "foreign-looking" workers.

This many-sided attack on the rights of the immigrants is a challenge to all workers and progressive people.

The capitalist exploiters are up to their old tricks of scapegoating the foreign-born for unemployment, low wages and the other crimes of the capitalists themselves. And with each step to rob the immigrants of their rights, the government fashions new chains of repression against the whole working class.

But it is also stirring people to fight back. In recent weeks, protests have been growing against "English Only" measures, including a demonstration of thousands in Massachusetts. The struggle against Simpson-Rodino is also building up steam. A new round of protests against this racist law is being planned in cities around the country for May 5-9.

We cannot stand by and allow the capitalist rulers to trample on the immigrants. All workers and all anti-racists should join the fight to defend their rights. Because what the Reaganites and bigots dread most is the fighting solidarity of the working people. Native or foreign-born. Legal or undocumented. Speaking English, Spanish, Chinese or Arabic. Black, white or brown. And marching shoulder to shoulder in a single column of revolutionary struggle.

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Supreme court ruling won't stop persecution of Central American refugees

Under U.S. sponsorship, the governments of El Salvador and Guatemala are waging war against their own people. Death squads prey on the workers and political opponents. Troops trample on peasants and villagers who also face escalating air bombardments.

These wars have created mountains of human suffering, including hundreds of thousands of refugees to the U.S.

The U.S. government has victimized these refugees. Many have been deported only to be "disappeared" by the waiting death squads. Thousands of others rot in holding camps.

The FBI has also been running covert operations against the sanctuary movement which attempts to shelter Central American refugees. A number of sanctuary activists have been condemned to prison.

Denial of Asylum

The daily body counts in their countries is the clearest proof that Salvadorans and Guatemalans are coming to the U.S. to flee repression and death. But the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has refused them asylum.

The INS is requiring that they show "clear probability" that they will be killed, or tortured, etc., if they return home. But how is a poor refugee supposed to demonstrate the probability of being bombed or rounded up? Bring a notarized statement of intent from military headquarters or from a certified death squad?

No wonder that only 2.6% of applicants from El Salvador have been granted asylum. And only 1% of Guatemalans. The great majority don't bother to apply, living an underground existence as "illegals."

Supreme Court Decision Changes Little

On March 9, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that a refugee must only show "a well-founded fear" of persecution to be granted asylum. It ruled that the Reagan administration's "clear probability" requirement is violating the Refugee Act of 1980. And it also noted that it violates the United Nations Protocol on Refugees that the U.S. claims to abide by.

There is cheering about this ruling from a number of liberal and reformist voices. It could be said that this ruling shows up the inhumane and cynical treatment of the refugees. For those seeking asylum, however, it doesn't give much to cheer about.

Applications for asylum will still be judged by the same INS under the same Justice Department. They will decide whether fear of repression is "well-founded" or not. And Edwin Meese and company will still have power to deny asylum to anyone they choose, even to those found legally eligible.

Red Carpet for Dictators and Mercenaries

What's more, the Supreme Court ruling was over a case involving a woman linked to the Nicaraguan contras.

The U.S. government has always given the red carpet treatment to dictators, torturers, and other tools of its imperialist foreign policy. Asylum is almost automatic if you are Ferdinand Marcos or a bloodstained mercenary like one of Reagan's contras.

By ruling in favor of this woman tied to the contras, the Supreme Court is saying that the INS shouldn't change the rules of the game. It should stick to the normal hypocrisy. The welcome mat is supposed to be left out for corrupt tyrants, CIA assassins, gunrunners and drug smugglers, and others who may have "well-founded fear" of the people in their countries.

At the same time, the court has not infringed on the arbitrary power of Meese and the INS; they still can and will shut the door on the victims of U.S. policy and the capitalist tyrannies that it props up around the world. This means more Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees will be sent back to the killing fields which the CIA and the Pentagon have created in their lands.

Defend the Refugees!

There is no room for wishful thinking about the Supreme Court ruling. The FBI and INS will continue to use lies and dirty tricks to hound the refugees, just as the NSC and CIA use them to pursue the dirty wars in Central America.

Let us raise a militant fist of struggle in defense of the Central American refugees. Justice demands it. The struggle against imperialist intervention demands it. And it's a battle line of resistance to the police state measures the Reagan government is bringing down on all working and progressive people.

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Full rights for the undocumented!

Protest Simpson-Rodino bill!

Last fall, Reagan signed the Simpson-Rodino Bill (the Immigration Control and Reform Act of 1986) after the Democrats and Republicans joined together to push it through Congress. In May, the full force of this racist law will come down against the immigrant workers.

Employer sanctions will now be enforced against hiring undocumented workers. Spanish-speaking and "foreign-looking" workers are already getting a taste of the job discrimination and firings that sanctions will bring.

Document checks will be required of all new hires regardless of place of birth. Quick steps are being taken towards a national ID system-- a dangerous measure against all workers.

There are also reports of "illegals" who have wanted amnesty falling into a trap. They showed up at the INS office hoping to gain the legal status the law promises to those who can afford the high fees and make it through a tangle of restrictions. But they ended up simply turning themselves in for deportation. They had showed up too early to apply!

In fact, only a small part of the undocumented will get amnesty. And those who do get amnesty will face years of second class status: denied political rights and social benefits, and even denied the right to live with family members who fail to qualify.

The sold out leaders of the AFL-CIO supported this racist and anti-worker bill. Now that it is law they are posing as the immigrants' best friend. They are promising to make sure that Simpson-Rodino is enforced "without discrimination" and "abuses" against labor and the foreign-born.

This is rot. What are employer sanctions if not discrimination? They are robbing those immigrant workers who lack legal documents of the right to work. And it is an ABC of workers' solidarity that robbing the rights of some opens the floodgates of abuse against all.

Sure, a relative handful may gain a degree of legalization. But that doesn't change the spots of Simpson-Rodino. It remains a monster of oppression and abuse.

The attacks coming down under Simpson-Rodino have to be fought tooth and nail. All workers in this country, native and foreign-born, "legal" and "illegal," must be allowed full and equal rights. This demand is needed to defeat the employers' "divide and conquer" schemes against the workers. And it is a must to free the immigrants from abuse and super-exploitation.

Protests against the new immigration law are planned for El Paso/Jaurez, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities from May 5 to 9. All workers and progressive people should lend their voice to these protests.

Street demonstrations, picket lines and other mass actions are what can break through the climate of terror that the government is pushing on the immigrant communities. Let us organize and struggle to beat back the attacks on the immigrants and defend the rights of all workers.

Down with the Simpson-Rodino Bill!

Full rights for the immigrant workers!

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Strikes and workplace news

Watsonville cannery workers win partial victory

The militant 19 month-long strike is over at the Watsonville Cannery (now called NorCal) in Watsonville, California. On March 11, a march of 500 of the strikers militantly celebrated the hard fought struggle.

That day the workers agreed to a new contract that beat back most of the over 45 concessions demands of the company, granted amnesty to all strikers, let the scabs go, and rehired the strikers on the basis of seniority. However, not all of the workers may be recalled, at least immediately. As well, the workers did not win their demand to restore pay to the former $6.60 an hour level. The final settlement for $5.85 an hour is a major wage cut. But it is better than the company's original plans to cut pay to $4.75 an hour. What is more, the workers returned to work united, with their organization and fighting spirit intact, ready to carry forward their struggle in the future.

The strikers -- mostly Mexican nationality women -- resisted countless attempts at vicious strikebreaking. The company tried to run scabs, and the police and national guard were called in to arrest strikers and to suppress their mass picket lines. But the workers fought back with repeated mass picket lines and militant demonstrations through the city. They received strong support from other industrial workers, farmworkers, and students around California. The company was never able to get the plant fully operating with scab labor.

At the end of 1986 the Watsonville Canning Co. filed for bankruptcy and was eventually taken over by creditors, a consortium of growers organized into NorCal. At the beginning of March the new company offered a contract which met a number of the strikers' demands but eliminated medical benefits for the next three years for most workers. To put pressure on the strikers to accept this contract, the international leaders of the Teamsters stopped paying the $55 a week strike benefits. But the workers stuck to their guns and rejected the contract on Friday, March 6. The next Monday morning, over 1,000 strikers and their supporters showed up at the plant gates to block scabs from applying for their jobs. NorCal quickly caved in and agreed to pay medical benefits to all workers after 90 days.

Farm workers strike Washington orchard

In February, Pyramid Orchards near Wapato, Washington cut wages for tree pruners from $2.50 per tree to $1.75 per tree. The workers could not even get up to the minimum hourly wage at this low rate per tree. When the workers spontaneously stopped work in protest, the company raised the rate to $2 a tree. But after another day of work, and constant company harassment and abuse, the 60 workers went out on strike. Despite high unemployment, other farm workers have refused to scab on the strike. It is spurring on the organizing drive among the 225,000 farm workers and their families who labor in the apple and cherry orchards, vineyards, and asparagus and vegetable fields in the Yakima Valley of Washington State.

Uretek workers strike against chemical poisoning

[Photo: Strikers at Uretek plant in New Haven.]

Sixty workers walked out of the Uretek plant in New Haven, Connecticut on February 20. Uretek produces heavy duty clothes, parachutes, gasoline tanks and other army supplies for the Pentagon.

For some time the workers have been organizing themselves into a union to fight the long hours (up to 80 hours a week) and low pay (little more than minimum wage and no medical insurance until after five years of work). But recently the workers discovered that nearly half of them suffer from noncontagious hepatitis and other liver ailments caused by the improper use of highly toxic chemical solvents in the plant. The deadly plant conditions had been concealed by the company and by the government. This was too much. The mostly Hispanic workers walked out and set up picket lines.

The Democratic Party mayor, Biago Dilieto, dispatched police to break up the picket lines on March 5 and three strikers were arrested. Over 250 strikers and area residents rallied at the plant the next day in support of the strike.

Immigrant workers fight for union rights

On March 12, seventy-five strikers and supporters protested the arrest of nine picketers earlier that week in front of the Erimco plant in the San Francisco Bay area. The predominantly Salvadoran workers have been on strike since February 20 when they walked out to resist the firing of four fellow workers. The four had been fired the day after they had testified at a National Labor Relations Board hearing on holding a union election at the plant. The workers are demanding union rights and an end to harassment and firings.

Meatpackers rally in Sioux City, Iowa

Nearly 2,000 striking meatpackers from Iowa Beef (IBP) and John Morrell & Co. joined a solidarity demonstration against concessions and union-busting through downtown Sioux City on March 17.

Two thousand eight hundred meatpackers at IBP in Dakota City, Nebraska had been locked out since December 14. But in mid-March IBP offered an even worse contract (including a wage cut down to $7.45 an hour instead of a pay freeze), ended its lockout, and started hiring scabs. The IBP workers voted nearly unanimously to reject the concessions and to go on strike.

At John Morrell thirty-seven workers were suspended after they wildcatted on March 6 against the suspension of a fellow worker. The rest of the Morrell workers, 800 all together, went on strike March 9 in defense of the suspended worker and against concessions. These meatpackers had been working without a contract since February.

Food caravan for striking Wisconsin meatpackers

On March 7, a rally of 500 strikers from the Cudahy meatpacking plant greeted a food caravan from workers at Austin, Minnesota also joined the rally. The 850 Cudahy workers have been on strike since January 3 and face vicious strikebreaking by the company.

LTV retirees work for a strike to defend benefits, defy USWA hacks

[Photo: LTV retirees march on the Capitol in Washington DC, March 10.]

Retired workers from LTV are fighting to restore their pensions and to protect their medical insurance. In January, LTV used the pretext of Chapter 11 bankruptcy to dump.their three largest pension funds -- covering 60,000 retirees -- onto the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation. This has meant the saving of $2.3 billion for the LTV steel bosses and the slashing of thousands of retirees' benefits by hundreds of dollars each. LTV has also been trying to stop paying health insurance for retirees.

Last July, steel workers at LTV's Indiana Harbor Mill were mobilized by retiree picketing to strike for six days to protest the cutoff of medical insurance to the retirees. The strike began to spread to other mills and Congress ordered the temporary restoration of the insurance until May 15.

Many retirees believe the workers must again turn to striking to restore their pensions and defend other benefits. On March 16, over 300 retirees packed the United Steelworkers (USWA) local hall in East Chicago and decided to picket the Indiana Harbor Mill to begin working for another strike. The USWA local and international hacks vehemently opposed the retirees. They ordered the retired workers to wait on law suits and declared they would force working steel workers to cross the retirees' picket lines. But the retirees denounced the union hacks and 100 of them set up picket lines at the mill on March 19.

Twelve hundred LTV retirees demonstrated in Washington D.C. on March 10 demanding that the government restore their benefits. And earlier, more than 100 retirees from the shut down Aliquippa mill protested the union hacks' inaction at the USWA international headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Rohr aircraft strikers win pay increase

The militant strike of 8,000 machinists at two Rohr aircraft parts plants outside of Los Angeles ended after 10 days. The company gave up its demand to replace base pay increases with one-time bonuses. The workers won a 16% pay increase over two years; they maintained their existing cost-of-living program; and they won other improvements in benefits. This outcome was the result of the militant mass actions carried out by the strikers. They organized mass picket lines at both plants and battled company officials and police at the Riverside factory.

Three plants shut down in Pontiac, MI

9,000 CM workers strike in defense of their jobs

The 9,000 production workers at GM's Pontiac East, Pontiac Central, and Pontiac West plants went on strike for four days, beginning March 26. These workers, all in the same local of the UAW, are fighting against some 1,000 contract violations through which GM is eliminating jobs by subcontracting work, speeding up the lines, and undermining seniority protections. The workers are also outraged at GM's threats to close Pontiac Central.

GM Chairman Roger Smith announced last fall that part of the Pontiac Central truck assembly would be closed, eliminating 3,470 jobs. GM has also threatened to shut down the rest of the plant if the workers don't agree to a bunch of concessions including the elimination of most job classifications and the gutting of protective work rules and seniority rights. GM tried to force the Pontiac Central workers into a bidding war with workers at GM's Janesville, Wisconsin plant over which would give up the most concessions. The Pontiac workers overwhelmingly rejected this attempt to pit worker against worker, but GM has simply violated the contract and tried to impose the concessions piece by piece at all three Pontiac plants.

As we go to press GM has reached a settlement with the local UAW officials and the workers have just voted to return to work. But we have not yet received the details of the settlement.

Buick workers threaten strike

In a militant show of solidarity, GM workers from Flint joined the picket lines of the Pontiac strikers on March 16. There are 15,500 workers at the Buick City Complex in Flint. The Flint workers are boiling mad over issues similar to those taken up by the Pontiac workers. They complain that GM has laid off 1,000 workers at Buick City. But those still employed have to work long overtime hours while GM speeds up the lines and subcontracts out work from the plant to other firms. The workers are set to take a strike vote on April 5.

GM and Ford want more concessions

Ford Motor Co. raked in record profits of $3.3 billion last year. General Motors made $2.9 billion in profits, and this after setting aside $1.3 billion to pay for closing down 16 plants by 1989. GM rewarded its top executives with $169 million in bonuses and Ford paid bonuses of $167 million to its top brass.

So how do Ford and GM plan to reward the production workers whose concessions and overwork produced these vast profits? They're demanding more concessions of course. Speaking of the upcoming contract talks, Roger Smith recently declared, "I think what we've got to do is negotiate a cost-competitive contract," with ''cost-competitive wages." That means that GM wants to cut its workers' wages below the wage level at Ford. And, of course, Ford wants to cut its wage level under GM's. Enough of this! Let's unite the auto workers and strike together against these parasites for the wage increases and job guarantees we need!

UAW chief Bieber only wants a seat on the board at GM and Ford

The rank-and-file auto workers are going into action to fight the concessions drive and job elimination of the auto monopolies. But Owen Bieber, the president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), has another idea. He'd like to join the corporate executives to help manage the concessions drive against the workers.

Bieber laid out his idea of ''fighting" at the Skilled Trades Conference on March 3. Did Bieber criticize the auto giants for the plant closings and concessions offensive? Oh, no. His complaint was against ''the irresponsible management style and the (foreign) trade-based insecurity..." (Detroit News, March 3) In other words, only foreign competition is blamed for eliminating workers' jobs. The sole criticism of GM and Ford is that they are ''mismanaging" the fight against foreign competition.

So then, what is Bieber's plan for the contract struggle? He declared, ''The question we're going to ask the auto companies, and other employers too, is whether they intend to manage with us as workers and with the union [bureaucrats] fully involved in decision-making or whether they intend to go on managing around and against us." In short, Bieber is tired of being a volunteer advisor to help the auto executives destroy the jobs and livelihood of the auto workers. He wants to be fully involved in decision making, a seat on the board, a management job where he can directly administer the concessions drive against the workers.

Such is the sellout program of Bieber and the other top UAW hacks. The workers will have to organize the fight for jobs and against concessions without them. No, more. A conscious movement must be built against these traitors so that independent organization of the rank and file can be built which can block their treachery and advance the mass struggle against the corporate billionaires.

Protest rally called for UAW convention

The UAW Convention to set bargaining goals for the upcoming contract struggle begins April 12 in Chicago. A call has been issued in the name of ''Flint UAW Local Unions" for a ''mass protest rally" at the convention. It demands that the''hands-off policy [towards plant closings and layoffs] must be stopped." While implying opposition to the top UAW officials for turning their backs on the laid-off auto workers, the call avoids directly criticizing the top officials or even naming them. This is a weak stand considering how the top UAW leaders have been knifing the workers in the back.

Still, militant auto workers should come out to this rally. It is an opportunity to voice our outrage against the sellout bureaucrats. And we should not whisper, but voice it loudly. It is an opportunity to link up with other militants and develop work for rank-and-file organization that is independent of the union bureaucracy. It is an opportunity to mobilize for mass struggle against job eliminations and concessions. Only a tenacious struggle of the broad masses of the workers can put a break on the onslaught of the monopolies.

The Ford and GM contracts are up on September 14. We must prepare now for a strike by agitating, organizing, and unleashing job actions and mass protests. The top UAW bureaucrats won't do this. The local UAW bureaucrats, who are too timid to openly and directly denounce the top hacks, won't do this. It's up to us, the rank-and-file militants, to get organized.

3,000 auto workers rally in Detroit


On March 21, some 3000 auto workers came out to protest GM's plant closings and layoffs. The rally was held outside the hall of UAW Local 174 where workers recently rejected a new concessions contract in defiance of GM's threat to close their Livonia parts plant. Workers came to the rally from GM plants in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Chicago, Norwood, Ohio and elsewhere. They carried a variety of home-made placards denouncing UAW Chairman Roger Smith and Ronald Reagan, pointing to the historic Flint sit-down strike as a way to win, and demanding the wiping out of plant closings. They were in a militant mood and cheered most loudly when any speaker even hinted at a call for striking against GM to defend the workers' jobs.

Unfortunately the speakers hardly hinted at any kind of struggle. The rally was organized by some local UAW officials who are trying to limit the jobs struggle to minor reforms while keeping the workers tied to the top union bureaucrats and liberals of the Democratic Party.

John Conyers, a Democratic Party congressman from Michigan, was a featured speaker at the rally. He promised to submit legislation for a moratorium on plant closings to Congress. But he spent more time with a chauvinist lecture on the need to fight the foreign competition. Jesse Jackson was also a featured speaker. He said he'd support moratorium legislation. But he mainly denounced the investment of pension funds abroad, as if that was why GM is closing plants.

Victor Reuther, the brother of former UAW president Walter Reuther and himself a UAW executive board member until 1972, also spoke. He was strongly applauded when he decried concessions, whipsawing, and the loss of "traditional bargaining." But he couldn't bring himself to openly criticize the top UAW leaders nor to directly call for a strike against GM. Rather he, like the other speakers, echoed the chauvinist crusade of the top union hacks and the capitalist politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties. He centered the question of jobs on opposing foreign competition instead of organizing the rank and file for mass struggle against GM.

The jobs rally showed that the auto workers are becoming increasingly restive to wage a real fight to defend their jobs and more and more angry against the betrayal of the top UAW leaders. But it also showed that there is a "loyal opposition" within the UAW bureaucracy which is trying to narrow down the jobs fight to minor reforms and keep the rank and file under the control of the union bureaucrats. To build the rank and file struggle, the workers have to organize independently of them.

Jobs protest at GM headquarters

Two hundred workers held a spirited protest at GM headquarters in Detroit on March 27. Workers came from as far as Chicago and Fairfield, Ohio to join Michigan workers in protest against GM's plant closings. During the two-and-a-half-hour rally, the workers repeatedly chanted militant slogans like: "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Roger Smith has got to go!" and "9000 fighting back! Support the strike in Pontiac!" At one point a worker arrived fresh off the Pontiac picket line and was greeted with wild cheering. When another jobs protest was called for May 1, the workers again broke into cheers.

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April 25th Mobilization leaders trim their sails to the Democrats

Today the Reagan administration is in crisis over contragate. Disgust with the two-bit actor in the White House has grown. In this situation, there is widespread sentiment among working people for building a militant struggle against Reaganism.

But unfortunately, the leaders of the April 25 Mobilization do not stand for such a fight.

* Contragate has exposed so many dirty deeds by the Reaganites. But the Mobilization leaders are silent on denouncing the contragate criminals. You can only take such a craven position if you trail behind the Democrats. After all, to the Democrats it would be out of place to go after Reagan for his contragate wheelings and dealings. You're not supposed to offend the hallowed institution of the capitalist presidency. Rather, you're supposed to help restore trust in it again.

* Nothing is said about the criminal policies of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East. How can you be silent when U.S. warships are waving the red, white and blue in that region? Only because liberalism in the U.S. has a shameless love affair with Israel, no matter what atrocities are committed by the Zionists against Palestinians and other Arabs.

* And nothing is raised about struggle against the whole Reaganite offensive. Anti-racist actions may be taking place around the country, immigrants may be protesting INS persecution, but these concerns aren't reflected by the April 25 Mobilization. And the fight against exploitation is nowhere to be seen. You can ignore all this only if you're afraid that this might give people a hint of the need for struggle against Reaganism all down the line.

Indeed, all this takes place because the April 25 leadership is dominated by labor bureaucrats, liberal church officials, and reformist forces -- who support the Democratic Party. To bring this bloc together, the organizers have worked to narrow down the politics of the April 25 protests.

They, not only acknowledge this, but boast of it. We are told the leadership of the actions is great because of its alleged broadness. But what this "broadness" mainly seems to mean is that 20 or so labor union chieftains and other liberal "personalities" have signed the appeal. In exchange, the politics of the demonstrations have been tailored to what is acceptable to this trade union officialdom and the "left" wing of the Democratic Party.

The Democrats Are the Other Face of Reaganism

The unmentioned theme of the April 25 Mobilization is to back up the Democratic Party.

Of course, the top Democratic politicians like Senate Majority Leader Byrd or Speaker Wright won't be there. They don't want to associate themselves with protests, and if they came, they'd only be an embarrassment.

But there will be mouthpieces for the "left" wing of the Democratic Party. Jesse Jackson, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, is to be the featured speaker in Washington. Such people will spout some militant-sounding rhetoric, but they remain committed to restoring mass confidence in the Democratic Party.

Indeed, all kinds of promises are again in the air, that with Reagan in trouble, the Democrats will be our salvation. This is a lie. Certain Democratic Party politicians may be posturing tough but the truth is the Democrats do not stand for a fight against Reaganism.

After last November's election of a Democratic majority in the Senate, we were told, now things would change.

There have been hopes for a fight against Reagan's cutbacks and growing poverty in the country. But all the Democrats offer is a trade war and plans to raise taxes.

And take the recent vote for releasing $40 million in funds for the contras. It passed with the help of 14 Democrats.

And what about the stand of those Democrats who voted against the contra aid bill? The liberal Dodd bill asked for $300 million to prop up the pro-U.S. regimes in El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica, which are all part of the U.S.-directed ring of fire against Nicaragua. And a week ago, virtually the entire Senate voted for a Costa Rican "peace" proposal whose essential content is to get Nicaragua on its knees by getting political rights for the contras. This is not an alternative to the contra war, but a complement to it. After all, what can be the value of a proposal which is agreed upon by 97 Senators, including not just the liberals but even the extreme right-wingers?

And so it goes down the line.

It should not be forgotten today that for the last six years of Reagan the Democrats have been loyal collaborators of the Reagan agenda. The Reaganite offensive has in fact been a bipartisan assault on the working people by the capitalist exploiters.

For a real struggle against Reaganism, we must target both the Republicans and Democrats.

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[Graphic: Apartheid no! REVOLUTION yes!]

Mass actions defy the emergency rules

Since December, the South African racists have unleashed another brutal crackdown on the anti-apartheid movement. There are even more "emergency" rules than before, and almost everything is now illegal. The racist atrocities are being hidden through a government-imposed news blackout. All protest has been banned. Meanwhile, even according to the racists themselves, the police have gunned down 716 people in the last year alone.

This stepped-up reign of terror has been a serious obstacle for the anti-apartheid struggle. But the black and other oppressed people are bravely fighting on. This past month several public demonstrations were held in defiance of racist tyranny.

National Detainees Day

The biggest protest occurred on March 12. Protesters nationwide demanded the release of the thousands of detainees who have been rounded up during the government's "state of emergency." In Johannesburg, following a rally, demonstrators boldly marched in the center of the city. The racist authorities responded in typical fashion: the riot police opened fire with tear gas and dispersed the crowd.

Black Miners Rally

On March 1st, 15,000 mine workers held a rally in the black township of Soweto. It was called to prepare for possible strike action. The miners want better working conditions in the mines. They also pledged to step up their participation in the struggle against the apartheid system.

Black Transit Workers Strike

On March 13th, 16,000 black transport workers in Johannesburg went on strike and crippled the state-controlled distribution network. It was still going strong at the end of the month.

Commemoration of the Sharpeville Massacre

As well, the masses have not forgotten the massacre of March 21, 1960 where 69 unarmed people were murdered by the regime during a peaceful demonstration at Sharpeville. Many actions were planned. At the University of the Western Cape in Capetown, for example, students commemorated the anniversary of this infamous massacre. As well, slogans were raised condemning the present-day crimes of the racist system.

The Battle in the Townships Continues

And besides the demonstrations, the armed actions in the black townships have continued this year. The black people are launching attacks on the racist police and troops. There is an ongoing low-level guerrilla warfare.

As well, the militants have had forced on them a growing battle with the pro-government forces of so-called "moderate" Chief Buthelezi and other sellouts. Most recently, Buthelezi's thugs have gone on a murderous rampage against anti-apartheid activists in the Durban area. On March 17 the bodies of seven teenaged black activists were found outside KwaMashu, and funerals for activists have also been attacked.

The failure of the "state of emergency" to cool things off shows the strength of the liberation movement. Moreover, it should be remembered that the news blackout has eliminated most news of the struggle. But even the little news that leaks out shows that the struggle is paving the way for the revolutionary downfall of apartheid and the entire system of white racist rule. Revolution yes! Apartheid no!

[Photo: University of Cape Town students protest on National Detainees Day, March 12.]

Investments by any other name smell just the same

Over the past half year, GM, IBM, Coca-Cola and a number of other U.S. corporations have announced the sale of their holdings in racist South Africa. Last month Dow Chemical and Xerox followed suit.

But in nearly every case, these "divestments" turn out to be cheap tricks. The companies continue to sell their products in South Africa. Often they simply turn their South African operations into "independent" companies run by their former branch managers.

How to Fake Divestment

Take the example of Xerox. They sold their holdings to a South African firm called Fintech. But Xerox admits it will continue to sell products in South Africa.

Dow, meanwhile, refuses to say whether it will still be selling its products in South Africa.

Such maneuvers are typical. The U.S. corporations make licensing agreements with South African firms. IBM boasted that it would sell more computers to South Africa under the new agreement than before. And, the last anyone heard, GM was negotiating a buy-back agreement allowing it the right to resume ownership of South African operations once things cool down.

These companies didn't shut down South African operations. Operations continue, often under harsher conditions than previously. The profits continue to roll in, but under a different corporate name. And the capitalists proclaim "we are pure, we have washed our hands of apartheid"!

The capitalists are making a mockery of the just demand of divestment.

UN Secretary-General Condemns Fake Divestment

The fakery is so blatant that last month even the secretary-general of the UN, Javier Perez de Cuellar, felt compelled to issue a report denouncing it. He pointed out that U.S. corporations that have "divested" are still carrying out activity in South Africa indirectly through arrangements with South African companies. He said that often the companies increase the exploitation of the black workers during this process.

However, the UN is far from being a staunch opponent of the racist regime in South Africa. It habitually turns a blind eye to the violation of the "mandatory" sanctions it proclaimed years ago.

The Capitalist Politicians Aid the Phony Divestments

The politicians are using the fake divestments as an excuse to abandon the promises they made to end investments in companies tied to South Africa.

For example, Michigan passed a divestment law for pension investments. This divestment was to spread over several years. Now Michigan has announced it has already achieved substantial divestment. It did this, however, without selling a single dollar of stock. It simply declared that GM and other corporations had divested, thus giving a certificate of approval to GM's continuing business with South Africa.

For the anti-apartheid movement, one thing is clear. The capitalists and their politicians are standing on the side of the racists. Their talk about being "concerned" is a fraud. The solidarity movement must target the capitalist gentlemen if it is to achieve anything. It is the working class, the anti-racist youth, and other progressive people who really want the success of the liberation struggle in South Africa.

The CIA-Pretoria-Contra connection

ABC news reported in February that then-CIA director William Casey went to South Africa last March to line up South African aid for the U.S.-backed contra war against Nicaragua. South African pilots were to fly supplies to the contras in return for Reagan's continued opposition to any serious sanctions against South Africa. Here was the CIA organizing the contra army in secret while the U.S. government claimed that it had nothing to do with it. The Tower Commission claimed that the problem with Oliver North and Poindexter was that they circumvented the CIA. The Tower Commission claimed that the CIA would provide professional operations free from the scandal of contragate. But in fact the CIA is up to its neck in contragate. From its then-chief Casey, to field officers in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras, the CIA is nothing but a band of hitmen.

Why is Israel now pretending to oppose apartheid?

In the middle of March, Israel claimed to the world that it was reducing its military ties to racist South Africa. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres declared that this showed the Israeli rulers were "against apartheid" and opposed to "any sort of discrimination."

But this "anti-apartheid" gesture of the Israeli government is a complete fraud. It is simply designed to take the heat off from the worldwide public outrage at Israel's close alliance with the racists while leaving this partnership intact. In particular, the token anti-apartheid sanctions passed last year by the U.S. Congress require the Reagan administration to report on world arms sales "with a view toward ending military assistance with countries engaged in that trade." The new Israeli plan allows the Reagan administration to continue arming Israel to the teeth while Israel arms South Africa to the teeth.

An Empty Gesture

The decision supposedly ends any new arms contracts between Israel and South Africa. But it does not nullify the current arms sales contracts which are estimated to be as much as $500 million annually. The new policy also contains loopholes which allow the present contracts to be extended for several years. Besides, Israel's arms deals are usually secret and new contracts could be made without public knowledge. The new Israeli decision of course will do nothing to affect non-military commerce with South Africa.

Israel -- Arms Supplier of South Africa

The Israeli government's military support for apartheid is notorious. In any given year, as much as half of Israel's arms exports go to the South African racists. Israel has supplied light arms to South Africa. It has helped develop the armored personnel carriers which are used to suppress the rebellions in the black townships. It has aided South Africa in producing a new fighter jet. And Israel is helping the racists develop nuclear weapons as well.

Israeli Zionism and South Africa -- Racist Brothers

The Israeli aid to South Africa is no accident. Indeed Israeli society has many striking similarities to white minority rule in South Africa. While the South African rulers have exiled millions of blacks to desolate bantustans, Israel was built through the forcible expulsion of the native Palestinian population. South Africa and Israel both carry out savage terror against the black people and the Palestinians, respectively. And the racist apartheid theories are echoed in the zionist doctrines of clerical exclusiveness and the alleged inferiority of the Arab peoples.

Israel and South Africa -- Friends to the End

Today, as apartheid is being condemned everywhere, even apartheid's best friends are trying to clean up their image. But nothing can hide the fact that the Israeli Zionists are the brothers of the South African racists.

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


'Solid Shield' - More practice for invading Nicaragua

The Democrats strut before the people telling them how their newest congressional shenanigans are sending a signal to the White House about the end of contra aid. Meanwhile they do nothing as Reagan prepares the forces for further military action against Nicaragua.

The Reagan administration has been building up its forces in Honduras. It recently announced its plan for a simulated invasion of Nicaragua by U.S. troops and other war exercises on Nicaragua's borders. Fifty thousand U.S. soldiers are scheduled to participate in Operation Solid Shield.

The maneuvers are based on a scenario where Honduras asks for help in fighting Nicaragua along their common border where the contras are stationed. And sure enough, the maneuvers are timed to coincide with new contra actions ordered by the CIA.

The Solid Shield training exercise is designed to practice assembling sizable U.S. land, sea and air forces at a moment's notice to attack Nicaragua. It will also help construct the necessary facilities in Honduras to support the U.S. forces.

A large section of the soldiers and marines will be located in Honduras for several days. As well, parallel exercises will take place at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and on the island of Vieques, off Puerto Rico. U.S. forces can attack Nicaragua directly from the U.S.

Reagan's National Security Adviser Carlucci has also drawn up plans for a naval quarantine of Nicaragua. There are contingency plans with respect to Cuba too. So U.S. troops will stage a practice evacuation of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba.

All this is fine with the Democrats. The Democrats have never lifted a finger to discipline the Reagan administration officials who continually keep repeating that if the contras aren't funded sufficiently, then Reagan may invade. They are letting the preparations for a possible invasion go on unimpeded.

But the progressive and working people of the U.S. have a different idea. Solid Shield is an arrogant game of brinkmanship. It is a brutal show of force by our "own" bullying U.S. government against our fellow workers in Nicaragua. Down with Solid Shield! Down with U.S. invasion plans against Nicaragua!

The CIA airline must go!


Five hundred protesters denounced the presence of the CIA airline at Oakland airport on Feb. 28. They militantly struck at this symbol of U.S. aggression against Nicaragua which is involved in supplying the contras. Speakers from the sponsoring coalition declared their intention to run the CIA airline out of Oakland.

The action began at a parking lot at the airport. It then marched to the air cargo area. The demonstrators defied police warnings and proceeded to march to the front of the terminal building. They made a mock "delivery" of "cocaine and blood" to the CIA airline office right in the face of the police, spilling flour and tomato juice all over the front of the airport building.

As well, our Party spoke in front of the terminal, declaring that: "Our movement must be built outside of what is acceptable to the imperialist parties. If it is acceptable to the imperialist parties, then there will be nothing in it that will have any meaning for the workers and peasants of Central America. Because what is acceptable to imperialism is the continued plunder of the land and labor of the masses. Period."

Against the Contras

On March 20, Nora Astorga, Nicaragua's UN ambassador, spoke at the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. Early that day the bourgeois press announced that the contras were planning a demonstration against Astorga in front of the church.

A number of activists decided to organize a "counter-picket" against the contras. But the organizations which claim to be "left" but bow down to the Democrats opposed the counter-picket. CISPES, the pro-Soviet "Line of March" group, the SWP, and other reformist groups directly opposed the action and said people should only go in and hear Astorga. The Nicaragua Information Center and CISPES, in particular, did their best to wreck the counter-action. They threatened it physically, they demanded it move to some ridiculous location, and they told everyone they could to not join it.

Nevertheless a handful of activists persisted and confronted the 150 contras who turned up. They shouted counter-slogans that prevented the contras from being able to spread their filth freely against the Nicaraguan revolution. Many of the people who came to hear Astorga, and who had been told to leave the contras in peace, joined in the shouting of anti-contra slogans as they waited in line to get in to the meeting.

Detroit march against U.S. intervention


Three thousand people marched through downtown Detroit on March 29 protesting U.S. intervention in Central America. The MLP took an active part. The Party carried a big red banner that declared, "U.S. Imperialism, Hands Off Nicaragua!" Many demonstrators joined in the shouting of anti-imperialist slogans led by the Party. When the event was nearly over, a handful of Nazis attempted to rally near the protesters. But some 75 demonstrators chased them off shouting "Nazis, go home!" and "Run, Nazis, Run!"

More CIA warfare against Nicaragua

The people hate the contras because they are murderers and thugs who are trying to restore tyranny in Nicaragua. But for congress, the main problem is that the contras are simply not effective. And to most congressmen of both the Democratic and Republican stripe, this simply means that contras have had "few successes in the field" and do not appear to be a "viable" force. So, to justify more military aid to the contras, the CIA and the Reagan administration are pressing the contras for some battlefield results. To help provide these results, the U.S. is massing troops in Honduras (see the article on operation "Solid Shield".) As well, the CIA has stepped up its supply of military information to the contras. It now admits that it provides the contras with detailed information and blueprints on dams, bridges, electrical substations, port facilities and other civilian targets. Many of these installations were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other U.S. agencies in the 60's and 70's when the late U.S.-backed dictator Somoza ruled. Now the armed forces want to blow them up.

This CIA-guided sabotage is also being portrayed as "clean" and "humane," because it allegedly diverts the contras from their normal murder and rape. Actually, the main issue is that the CIA fears the contras will lose in any other fight. These contra mercenaries are so hated that, even with hundreds of millions of dollars in secret aid, and with the CIA leading them by the hand, they are still afraid to face the armed Nicaraguan people. In any case, besides being a crime in itself, this economic sabotage is simply part of the usual contra attacks on health clinics, farm co-ops, and other economic targets, and their usual killing and terrorizing of economic personnel.

Congress hasn't interfered at all. And the Reagan administration has been allowed to claim the CIA role does not violate any U.S. law as long as the CIA itself does not actually perform the last step. Why, it's just ordinary diplomatic courtesy to help blow up parts of another country with which the U.S. officially has diplomatic relations.

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Reagan orders stepped-up CIA role

Aquino pledges all-out war against guerrillas

Since the expiration of the ceasefire on February 8, war has resumed in earnest in the Filipino countryside. The Aquino government has come out with bared fangs in favor of a policy of total war against the guerrilla insurgency. Military atrocities against unarmed villagers are again hitting the headlines. Meanwhile, the guerrillas have successfully carried out a series of hard-hitting blows against the Filipino military.

The current armed insurgency in the Filipino countryside began at the end of the I960's. Its roots lie in the severe oppression of the poor peasants and rural laborers by wealthy landowners. The Marcos dictatorship tried to crush the struggle but it failed. Today a liberal government has replaced Marcos. But since it cannot eliminate the underlying social conditions -- because it too is a regime of the exploiters -- the guerrilla movement continues.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has stepped up its demands for an upgrading of the war against the rebels. The Reagan government apparently gave the Aquino government a year in which to try out its deceptive "peace" policy towards the guerrillas. But now that this policy has failed to get the armed rebels to surrender, the Reagan administration is pushing for an all-out bloody counterinsurgency war.

For her part, President Corazon Aquino is responding with enthusiastic agreement. The Filipino liberal bourgeoisie is once again showing its credentials as an ardent defender of the wealthy ruling class and of U.S. imperialism against the workers and peasants.

U.S. Intervention Is Being Stepped Up

Newsweek magazine reports that Reagan recently authorized a mufti-million-dollar operation by the CIA against the Filipino insurgents. And Newsweek asserts that this CIA plan had the full approval of Aquino. Under this plan, CIA agents are to launch covert political activities in the Philippines. And the plan also authorizes overflights of Filipino territory by U.S. planes to gather intelligence. (See the March 23 issue, p. 7)

Meanwhile there are also reports that some 7,000 U.S. Marines have recently been added to the troops at the big U.S. bases in the Philippines.

Also in mid-March Reagan sent a bill to Congress asking for $260 million in military and economic aid to the Philippines for the upcoming fiscal year.

At the same time one of the top U.S. spokesmen, Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage, gave a speech in which he denounced Aquino's "pacifist" policies. Armitage characterized Aquino's policies as wishful thinking and lacking in rigor, and criticized her for lacking a comprehensive counterinsurgency plan.

Aquino Bares Her Fangs...

In response, Aquino came out barking. But of course, not against U.S. imperialism. She gave a bloodthirsty call to arms at the graduation ceremonies at the Philippine Military Academy on March 22.

Aquino acknowledged the failure of her peace policies and called for all-out war against the rebels. Of course Aquino blamed the collapse of peace talks on the leftists, accusing them of being "insolent."

Aquino also opposed the idea of dealing with the social and economic roots of the armed peasant insurgency, a theme she had made a lot of demagogy about over the last period. She thundered, "The answer to the terrorism of the left and the right is not social and economic reform but police and military action." Of course, she only wages war on the left. The rightist opposition to her gets only lights taps on the wrist, even though it has organized at least three major coup attempts against her government.

Aquino boasted that the leftist insurgency would be defeated by the end of her five-year term in office, telling the military: "I want this victory."

Then, in a pot shot at Armitage, Aquino criticized the slow delivery of U.S. military aid. She said, "I have asked our military ally for the hardware to achieve these objectives, and they have given us advice instead." Thus today Aquino is competing with the Pentagon in declaring who is the most rabid anti-communist, who is the most rigorous in war plans, and who is the most determined to deploy the Pentagon's hardware.

...While Still Making Feeble Reformist Gestures

Nevertheless this stand does not mean that Aquino has completely given up on mouthing off about reforms. That continues, although it has become more meager than ever.

Take the example of land reform. Today Aquino says that she does not believe in reform as "the answer." Nonetheless she is making some pretense of redistribution of land. Basically, her plan is to sell off Filipino government properties to private owners and use the proceeds to buy some land from the landlords and then sell it on the installment plan to landless peasants.

Under this plan the landlords get their money up front, while the peasants must pay and pay for years. And there is no word yet as to what properties will be sold. For example, Aquino has pointedly refused to discuss the question of her own family's huge plantation, where 40,000 Filipinos live on the edge of survival.

Meanwhile, the militant peasants in the Philippines have not been too impressed by this gesture. With each new outrage from the Aquino government -- whether it was the massacre of peasant demonstrators in January or the latest war cries from Aquino herself -- illusions in the liberal bourgeoisie are weakened. And the toilers are faced with the inevitable conclusion that struggle, not reconciliation with the regime, is the only just response.

Stand Up Against the Growing U.S. Intervention!

For workers and activists here in the U.S., the signs of increased U.S. involvement in the Philippines are ominous. They show that U.S. imperialism is opening up yet another major front of counterrevolutionary intervention. Washington is stepping into yet another unjust war in Asia.

It is time to raise our voices against imperialist intervention in the Philippines.

[Photo: Peasants march on Aquino's presidential palace to protest her refusal to carry out land reform.]

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The red flag of communism in the fight against Khomeini

If one only follows the U.S. media, Iran is merely a country of religious fanatics in power and of mindless masses who follow the clerical calls to sacrifice themselves on the war front with Iraq. Reagan or the Democrats, Dan Rather or John Chancellor -- they'll all tell you the Iranian revolution eight years ago was an unmitigated disaster.

Not true! The Iranian revolution was a powerful people's uprising against a hated U.S.-backed dictator. It was a just struggle to overthrow the Shah. But the revolution was hijacked. The toilers fought, but the clerical faction of the exploiters seized power. And bit by bit, the toilers' gains were wiped out and a ferocious tyranny was imposed. A tyranny with a religious face, but a tyranny of capitalist exploiters just the same.

Iran is not just a country of oppression. There is resistance to the Islamic regime of Khomeini. There is resistance based among the workers, peasants and rural laborers.

There are different political forces in this opposition. But the trend that represents the brightest hope for the Iranian toilers is the trend of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, the trend of communism.

Reagan and Khomeini both bitterly hate communism, but there is an active communist movement in Iran. This is not the sold out pro-Soviet revisionist Tudeh party, but the movement around the Communist Party of Iran. The emergence of the CPI was an achievement of the revolution.

The CPI has organized an armed movement of the toilers in Iranian Kurdistan, where the Kurdish masses have held aloft the banner of open struggle against Khomeini for eight years. And in the rest of Iran, the CPI is rebuilding communist cells in the heart of the developing working class resistance.

The CPI stands for organizing the toilers independent of the bourgeois liberal and reformist opposition. It trains the workers and other toilers in the spirit of class struggle. While organizing the toilers for overthrowing the Islamic regime, the CPI stands for carrying the revolutionary struggle forward to socialism and the rule of the working class.

The Marxist-Leninist Party stands in solidarity with the Communist Party of Iran. We send our red salute to the valiant fighters for the communist proletariat in Iran.

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Portuguese Marxist-Leninist journal into its second year

1987 marks the beginning of the second year of the publication of the journal Politica Operaria (Workers' Policy), which is put out by the Communist Organization-Workers' Policy of Portugal.

The journal Workers' Policy has now come out in eight issues so far. In all its issues, it has covered a wide range of material -- including commentaries on Portuguese politics and on developments in the trade unions and in the Portuguese left; polemics against social-democracy, pro-Soviet revisionism, and other opportunist forces in Portugal; criticism of international revisionism; and developments in the revolutionary movement around the world.

Its January-February issue, for example, has articles on the capitalist nature of Gorbachev's reforms in the Soviet Union, criticizing the 9th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania, reviewing the developments in the Portuguese left, etc.

Workers' Policy is a Marxist-Leninist group working to rebuild a truly communist party in Portugal. Its roots lie in the revolutionary left which emerged as a force in the midst of the revolutionary upheavals of 1974-76, with the overthrow of the fascist dictatorship. It emerged out of a struggle in the Communist Party (Reconstructed) for the revival of Leninism against petty-bourgeois democratic conceptions.

Workers' Policy is active in promoting a theoretical debate in the Portuguese left and in the international movement; it stands for Leninism against the legacies of the right turn that took place at the 7th Congress of the Communist International. Its militants are active in the working class movement and in the fight against repression by the capitalist regime, today in the hands of the social-democrats.

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Government terror against Colombian Marxist-Leninists

The Barco government is striking out with terror tactics to put a brake on the revolutionary movement of the Colombian workers and peasants. Its latest victims include Comrade Ernesto Rojas and his companion Alonso Correa.

Ernesto Rojas (Jairo Calvo) was the commander of the Popular Liberation Army, which is the armed wing of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist- Leninist). He was also a leader of this party. In early February, Rojas and his companion were kidnapped. Their bodies appeared with the torture marks typical of the brutal methods used by the Colombian regime to eliminate revolutionaries and political opponents.

The workers and peasants of Colombia are carrying on a guerrilla movement against the exploiters and the regime. Among the guerrilla forces, the EPL has gained much prestige among the people for its courage and revolutionary spirit. And Comrade Rojas was a major figure in this armed movement of the toilers.

The vile assassination of Comrade Rojas was clearly an attempt on the part of the government to strike a blow at the revolutionary guerrilla movement. The Workers' Advocate condemns this crime. And we send an internationalist salute to the communist militants of the CPC(ML), to the fighters of the EPL, and to the revolutionary workers and peasants of Colombia. We stand with you in our common struggle against the bloodthirsty bourgeoisie and imperialism.

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The World in Struggle


Workers in the street against Spain's social-democratic regime

In Spain the social-democratic government of Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez continues to be besieged by mass discontent. The nationwide strike of high school students has ended, and now the focus of struggle has passed on to the working class.

A number of strikes have broken out in the past month, all of them directed against austerity programs sponsored by the Gonzalez government.

Coal miners in Asturias province struck 30 mines on February 26 to protest the government's plan to close mines the government considers unprofitable. The miners set up barricades across roads. They were supported by local shopkeepers, who shut down their shops in sympathy. The government plans to eliminate 2,000 coal mining jobs in the next two years -- this at a time when Spain's unemployment rate is already 21%!

Coal miners took their protest into Madrid the first week of March. There public sector professional employees were also engaged in strikes -- doctors, university teachers, and employees of the national mint. These diverse sections have all received inspiration from the struggle of the high school students, who forced the government to back down on some of its cutbacks in education.

The last week of March, the coal miners' struggle was supported by a general strike throughout the province of Asturias. One-third of all Asturian workers stopped work on March 24. In several places, including the provincial capital of Oviedo, striking coal miners clashed with police.

Government workers in health and public transport were also planning to strike during the last week of March. And university students went on a week-long boycott of classes to demand the abolition of entrance examinations and increased government spending.

A Militant Demonstration Against U.S. Militarism

Recent weeks also saw a revival of the anti-militarist ferment among the Spanish masses.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger visited Spain the third week of March. This brought about renewed anti-war protests, as tens of thousands came out to protest the U.S. military presence in Spain.

On the day Weinberger arrived, 50,000 people marched from Madrid to the Torrejon Air Force Base 15 miles outside the capital. Torrejon is a joint Spanish-American air base where 72 American F-16's and 4,500 American troops are stationed. At the end of the march several hundred demonstrators engaged the Spanish police with rocks; the police responded with water cannon.

Last year there were huge demonstrations against Spain's continued membership in NATO. Gonzalez pushed through a referendum to stay in NATO. One trick he used to confuse the Spanish people was to promise that U.S. troops would be taken out of Spain, if the people voted to retain membership in NATO.

The occasion of Weinberger's visit was again used by Gonzalez to posture that he opposes the continuation of the massive U.S. military presence. But reportedly Gonzalez and Weinberger discussed a deal whereby American troops would be withdrawn from Torrejon, closely adjacent to the capital, but moved to remote bases. And the number of troops might be reduced. But Spain would continue to function as a major air, naval, munitions and communications center for the U.S.-led Western imperialist war bloc.

Social-Democracy Stands Exposed

The rising unrest among the Spanish working people today again helps to expose the pro-capitalist nature of social-democracy. The Socialist Workers Party of Felipe Gonzalez claims to be a working class party and to stand for socialism. But the social-democrats are carrying out the same policy of austerity, cutbacks, layoffs, and militarism that avowedly capitalist governments carry out elsewhere. Social-democracy is a capitalist force, an enemy of the toilers.

The growing struggles in Spain today show that the demagogy of the social- democrats is wearing thin. This is also a blow at the illusions promoted by the revisionist Communist Party which has long preached support for the social-democrats. Today the CP leaders are mouthing off as militants, but this is merely a pose before they strike another deal with the regime.

For the Spanish workers to take the road of struggle against certain government plans is an important step. But it is only a first step. To carry forward the struggle for its own interests, the Spanish working class has to make a conscious break with the social-democrats and the other reformist forces.

[Photo: 50,000 demonstrators march in Madrid against U.S. military bases and Spain's participation in NATO.]

The rumblings of workers' militancy in Mexico

Hard on the heels of the recent student strike at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City, some large strikes have broken out in Mexico. The Mexican workers are striking to defend their livelihood in the face of ruinous inflation and the austerity drive of the government.

Ford Workers Shut Down Auto Plant

Eight hundred fifty workers at the Ford plant in Hermosillo, northern Mexico, walked out on strike March 2 demanding a 70% wage increase.

The Hermosillo Ford plant just opened last November and is one of the most modern auto plants in the world. It produces the Mercury Tracer for export to the U.S. But while producing vehicles for U.S. consumption, these Ford workers are paid between $104 and $113 a month. This is not only less than 10% of what American auto workers make, but is even lower than what Ford workers make in Mexico City.

At last report the workers had halted production at the plant, forcing a loss of 100 cars a week.

Electric Utility Workers Walk Out

On March 1 the electric utility workers in Mexico City -- 36,000 of them -- stopped work, demanding a 23% wage hike and an end to government intervention in the electrical plants. Immediately blackouts and power shortages began to occur in different sections of the metropolis. Workers tried to prevent supervisors from taking over their work during the strike, but the government sent in the army to enforce the strikebreaking.

The electrical workers received wide support. On March 3, a huge demonstration, hundreds of thousands strong, was held in Mexico City to support the strike. It brought out more than 200 unions, as well as students and residents of working class neighborhoods.

A few days later, the government, scared by the workers' militancy, declared the electrical workers' strike illegal.

Teachers in Struggle

In early March, teachers in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas went on strike seeking higher wages and an end to attacks on their union. Many teachers have gone to Mexico City to raise their demands. On March 9, the strike in Chiapas was banned by the government.

Scrap the Debt!

In recent struggles, especially in the huge March 3 demonstration, Mexican workers also demanded that the government stop interest payments on Mexico's $100 billion foreign debt.

This is a just demand. In fact, the workers should fight so that not just the interest but the entire debt to the imperialist bankers be scrapped. The workers should not pay for the debt crisis.

The bankers of the big capitalist powers are demanding their pound of flesh from the Mexican toilers. And the Mexican capitalist government uses the foreign debt to justify more and more severe assaults on the living standards of the toilers. In recent years, the people have been confronted with sharp rises in the prices of essential goods and services, and at the same time unemployment has been rising.

The hungry and downtrodden workers and peasants of Mexico are not about to take these attacks lying down. They are beginning to awaken. The huge volcano of capitalist misery south of the border is rumbling. The capitalist exploiters -- both north and south of the border -- who live off the sweat and blood of the toilers will be forced to pay.

[Photo: High school students in Mexico City march in support of striking utility workers.]

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