The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 17, No. 6


25ยข June 1, 1987

[Front page:

While Congress holds hearings, Reagan escalates the CIA war--U.S. troops, out of Central America!;

Join together against the capitalists!--Reject the trade war hysteria against foreign workers!;

Goetz admits, 'My intention was to murder them'--Self defense is one thing, racist vigilantism is another]

Down with racism!

Trial shows Goetz is would-be racist killer: acquittal of Vincent Chin is an outrage.. 4
Prison strike in Mass.; No to police harassment of Latinos at MIT............................. 5

Anti-immigrant law protested...................................................................................... 6
Why the no-show for opening of 'amnesty'?............................................................... 6
Undocumented put under employers' thumb................................................................ 6
Palestinians win temporary relief from INS attack...................................................... 6

Trade bill pushes for job elimination............................................................................ 7
Capitalist overproduction crisis behind trade war........................................................ 7
U.S. companies want to poison the world.................................................................... 7
U.S. monopolies -- master of 'unfair trade'................................................................ 7
AFL-CIO hacks use trade war to stop fight for jobs.................................................... 7

Strikes and work place news:

Postal workers, fight back; Detroit carriers resist longer routes; S.F. clerks fight overtime; Two-tier wages and 3-tier employment must go; Ohio-Mich. Farmworkers win; GE strike; Work-to-rule at Boston transit; Roving pickets hit Morrell meatpacking.................................................................................................... 8
Windsor, Canada sit-in against plant closing; At Case IH cutting jobs isn't job security; Where's job security from last GM contract?; Picket at GM HQ against plant closings............................................. 9

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

Another action against CIA airline in Oakland: U.S. airlifts troops against Guatemalan rebels; Mexican rulers help U.S. war exercises; Lie of Nicaraguan drug running exposed............................................................................................................ 10
Reagan and contras murdered Ben Linder.................................................................... 11
Boston: 'Solid Shield' denounced; Contras suffer big defeat; Reagan arms Honduras with jet fighters; CIA orders bodies burned to cover its tracks; Cocaine frame-up --dirty trick from contragate; What Democrats had in mind with Boland Amendment.. 12
Boland law and legality of war on Nicaragua; Song: Contragate Rap......................... 16

Apartheid No ! Revolution Yes!

General strike against whites-only elections; Elections show racists won't reform themselves.................................................................................................................... 13

The World in Struggle:

Israel: Jewish and Arab students fight tuition hikes; Resurgence of student militancy in S. Korea.................................................................................................................... 14
Behind the present upsurge in Korea........................................................................... 15

May Day Celebrations1987 in the U.S........................................................................ 18
Around the world......................................................................................................... 20

While Congress holds hearings, Reagan escalates the CIA war

U.S. troops, out of Central America!

Join together against the capitalists!

Reject the trade war hysteria against foreign workers!

Goetz admits, 'My intention was to murder them'

Self defense is one thing, racist vigilantism is another

On the $35 billion hidden budget

The secret funding of war and terrorism

U.S. imperialism, get out of the Persian Gulf!

Reagan's dangerous gunboat diplomacy

News from inside Iran

Protests against the reactionary Iran-Iraq war


New anti-immigrant law met with protests -- May 5

Why the no-show for opening of the 'amnesty'?

Putting the undocumented under the employers' thumb

Palestinians in L.A. win a temporary reprieve from INS persecution

The trade bill pushes for job elimination

Behind the trade war -- capitalist overproduction crisis

U.S. companies demand the right to poison the world

U.S. monopolies are the masters of 'unfair trading practices'

How AFL-CIO hacks preach trade war to stop fight for jobs

Strikes and workplace news

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

[Graphic: Apartheid no! REVOLUTION yes!]

The World in Struggle

The Boland law and the legality of the war on Nicaragua

'Contragate rap'

Support the Nicaraguan workers' press!

May Day in the U.S.

May Day Around the World





While Congress holds hearings, Reagan escalates the CIA war

U.S. troops, out of Central America!

For several weeks now, Congress has been holding hearings to investigate the contragate scandal. Here, at long last, are the heroes of Congress in action, looking into the sordid story of the Reagan administration's wrongdoing in the war against Nicaragua.

And yet, at the very same time, the Pentagon is practicing an invasion of Nicaragua during the "Solid Shield'' war games in Honduras. As well, the CIA and the Pentagon have been arming the contras to the hilt, and the contras have just suffered yet more fiascoes in an attempt to escalate the war inside Nicaragua. The CIA has especially told the contras to hit "economic targets'' in a coldblooded attempt to starve the Nicaraguan people; this has included the murder of Benjamin Linder, an American engineer working to provide hydroelectric power to a small Nicaraguan village.

How can these two things be happening at the same time? What does it mean that the heroes of the Congressional investigating committees stand by quietly and respectfully as the war escalates? Why are they silent on the new atrocities by the CIA and the Pentagon?

The Hearings Don't Condemn the War, Only the Profiteering

They are silent, because the Democrats and Republicans are united on the need to vanquish Nicaragua. The Democrats are investigating whether the famous "Boland Amendment'' regulating aid to the contras was violated. But the Boland Amendment did not cut off Pentagon, State Department and CIA pressure on Nicaragua, it only regulated how to carry it out. The Democrats disagree with Reagan only on how to punish Nicaragua, not whether to do so.

Just tune in on the hearings. The contragate criminals are being treated as dedicated public servants and valued advisers. The conservatives invite them to give long speeches praising the contra war on Nicaragua. Robert Owen was even allowed to read a long gushing poem of praise to the contras and Oliver North. And the liberals beg the witnesses to recognize that the Democrats are patriots too.

The Democrats don't challenge the morality of the anti-Nicaraguan policy, just the profiteering and corruption and violations of regulations.

The Reagan Administration Is a Bunch of Liars

But the slightest questioning of the Contragate criminals brought new lies to light.

Reagan's handpicked Tower Commission had exonerated Reagan and blamed everything on subordinates. But former National Security Advisor McFarlane testified that Reagan had been briefed on the contra support efforts. This forced Reagan to change his story once again. Now, after months of presenting himself as a victim of amnesia, he now struts forward as the King and Supreme Sovereign of the country whose orders concerning foreign affairs are superior to supervision from all mere mortals.

But McFarlane's testimony was soon discovered to be a cover-up as well. McFarlane denied the existence of any illegal actions. But a 1984 memo from the late CIA director William Casey to McFarlane turned up. It outlined in advance the secret plan to finance the contras despite any regulations to the contrary.

Gen. Secord presented himself as a great patriot and lectured the investigators on the glories of the contras. But Secord turned out to be a profiteer. And so, it turns out, is Reagan's "national hero" Oliver North as well. They made free and easy use of the illegal funds collected for the contras.

Robert Owen, one of Oliver North's couriers, praised the contras up and down and described the main contra military leader Adolfo Calero as "an honest man." But a March 1986 memo from Owen turned up that pointed to the corruption of the main contra military leader, Adolfo Calero, and described his subordinates as "liars and greed-and power-motivated." Owen also had to admit that the contra umbrella organization was "a creation of the U.S." And this from the mouth of a diehard supporter of the contras.

And so it went.

Democrats Shrug Their Shoulders

Still, these revelations don't move the Democrats. After all, right from the start of the hearing, the chairman of the investigation, Senator Inouye, Democrat from Hawaii, declared that the object of the hearings was not to put Reagan on trial. Nor was it to condemn the contra war. Why, he stated, "Our concern in this inquiry is not with the merits of any particular policy, but with flawed policy-making processes." (New York Times, May 3.) Shades of the now-discredited Tower Commission report! The whole point was allegedly to advise the government to improve its policy-making processes.

So each time Reagan made a new declaration, the liberals shifted and turned. Even Reagan's boast that his foreign policy was above Congressional restrictions didn't galvanize our heroic investigators. Some congressmen said "maybe so," others "maybe not." After all, if repeated atrocities against the Nicaraguans don't bother the Democrats, why should anything else?

The Democrats are playing a waiting game. They want to pressure the White House a bit. But they also want to see just how effective the contras are. If the CIA can prop them up and have them score a few victories on the battlefield, then the liberals may vote some more funds for the contras. If they flop altogether, the liberals will ask the Reaganites to please use more effective means of putting the screws on Nicaragua.

Use the Hatred for the Contragate Criminals to Step up the Mass Struggle

But there are those whose opinion of the CIA war on Nicaragua does not depend on the fortunes of battle. There are those who take the freedom and liberties of Nicaragua seriously. It is up to the working class and progressive people in the U.S. to stand shoulder to shoulder with their class brothers in Nicaragua.

We cannot rely on Congress to do this. The very course of the Congressional investigations proves that Congress is only concerned with the policy making process over how to strangle Nicaragua. And it is shown by the escalation of the U.S. war buildup against Nicaragua alongside the hearings.

But the contragate crisis has its own momentum independent of the plans of the congressmen. The exposures that have come out are revealing even more of the disgusting network of thugs and drug-runners who Reagan has declared to be his "brothers." These exposures can and should be used to arouse the masses against the contra war. They should be used to encourage struggle against the entire imperialist system. If Senator Inouye and his fellow liberal congressman don't want to condemn Reagan at the contragate hearings, that is their badge of shame. The workers, youth, and progressive activists will carry out not only the condemnation of Reagan, but that of the warmongering parties called the Democrats and the Republicans.

[Photo: May 9 action against CIA airline in Oakland, California.]

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Join together against the capitalists!

Reject the trade war hysteria against foreign workers!

With a wave of chauvinist Japan-bashing and patriotic sermons about saving American jobs from "unfair'' foreign imports, Congress is moving to complete comprehensive trade legislation. On April 30, the House passed its version of the trade bill with the wholehearted endorsement of the AFL-CIO bureaucracy. This month the Senate is expected to pass another, similar version of the bill. The workers should support neither.

Despite minor differences in the bills, they both aim to bolster the U.S. monopolies in their trade war against the monopolies of other countries. But no matter which side wins in this trade war, the workers -- both in the U.S. and in other countries -- will lose.

Take a look at the key features of the House and Senate bills. In the name of making U.S. industry more "competitive,'' both bills contain measures to step up the capitalist concessions drive against the U.S. workers. In the name of combating "unfair'' foreign trading practices, they both have measures to force open foreign markets so the U.S. monopolies can reap greater profits off the workers of other lands. They are both bills to serve the multinational billionaires and no one else.

The U.S. workers must fight to defend their jobs and livelihood. But this is not a fight against foreigners. It is a battle against the capitalist monopolies who are plundering the workers in every country. Whether they live in the U.S. or Japan, in Europe or Mexico, workers all face the horrors of unemployment and plant closings, speedup and falling wages -- horrors brought on by the profit drive of the capitalist exploiters. The workers of all countries confront common problems and a common enemy. They must unite in a common struggle. The answer to the capitalist trade war is the class war of the workers against the capitalists.

U.S. workers, reject the trade war hysteria against the foreign workers! Build up the movement to make our "own'' monopolies pay for jobs or a livelihood! And support the struggle of the workers in every country!


* See more on trade war, page 7

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Goetz admits, 'My intention was to murder them'

Self defense is one thing, racist vigilantism is another

Take the case of Noah Roisten. Here is a young black man who fought off a savage racist assault at a Boston subway station. His was a courageous and straightforward act of self-defense. Yet Noah has been treated by the press and the police and capitalist authorities as a common criminal. Last February he was condemned to prison for 12-20 years.

Then take the case of Bernard Goetz -- New York's infamous "subway vigilante.''

A Racist Would-Be Killer

The evidence that has come out in his trial is clear-cut. No one laid a finger on Goetz. No one threatened him with violence. He was never chased, surrounded or cornered. And he made no attempt to walk away.

In short, the shooting by Goetz of the four young blacks in the subway was unprovoked and completely unjustifiable. It was attempted murder.

The motive for this crime is also clear. Goetz was known for his statements condemning all black and Latin youth as criminals; and he had been telling his neighbors that he was going to get "them." He carefully prepared for this, methodically purchasing guns and receiving training in their use. He even went without gloves in the winter to be able to grab his gun and shoot as quickly as possible when the opportunity arose.

No wonder that in his statements to police Goetz denies that he drew his gun in self-defense. The police video shows Goetz boasting: "My intention was to murder them."

Fighting Back Against a Racist Attack

In contrast to Goetz, Noah Roisten actually was the victim of thugs. Noah was attacked by racist hoodlums who beat him with a metal club. He first attempted to flee, but his attackers chased him down. Despite suffering severe internal injuries, Noah finally succeeded in pulling a knife and stopping his attackers. One of the racists, Hennigan, died of his wounds. His death was clearly his own doing. His girlfriend had testified in court that Hennigan had vowed "to get a n--r" earlier that night. When he went after Noah he was stoned on liquor and cocaine and was in a racist frenzy. Noah was guilty of nothing. He only did what he had to do to defend himself from a terrible beating.

But look how these two cases have been treated by the ruling class news media and the capitalist politicians.

Racist Gunman Made a "Hero"

Ordinary people fend off muggers and thugs all the time, and no big deal is made of it. Goetz, however, is not such a person. He has been singled out because he is a bloodthirsty racist. He is being lionized to whip up a lynch-mob spirit against black and national minority youth.

That is why the rich racists of this country have turned Goetz into their pet "hero." The TV and newspapers portray Goetz as a valiant crime fighter -- the Rambo of the Big Apple. And the capitalist politicians, from Ronald Reagan to mayor Ed Koch, have sung his praises.

Goetz' court trial will soon be over. If Goetz is convicted, we can expect to see years of appeals. But whatever the verdict, Goetz' wealthy and powerful boosters will go all out to paint him as either vindicated hero or crucified martyr.

Noah Made a "Criminal"

Meanwhile, Noah Roisten defended himself against a savage attack. But for this he was vilified by the press and the police as an ordinary criminal. No one among the rich and powerful spoke out in his defense. There were no TV interviews. No instant celebrity status. Even the black liberal politicians refused to say anything on his behalf. The case was simply too hot to handle, because it involved a young black man defending himself against a racist attack -- something which the capitalist establishment simply does not accept.

The judge in the case so much as admitted this in open court. Judge Mulligan stated that he realized that Noah was being beaten with an 18-inch metal club in a racially motivated attack. But despite all this he ruled that Noah responded with "excessive force." And the judge sentenced Noah to 12-20 years on the grounds that a heavy sentence was needed to "avoid racial tensions."

But, as Noah was being vilified and railroaded, workers and students organized and rallied for his defense, saluting his courageous stand of defending himself against racist violence.

Likewise, there have been repeated demonstrations in New York against the attempts to exonerate Bernard Goetz. This is because thinking workers and progressive people know the difference between racist vigilantism and a just stand of self-defense.

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On the $35 billion hidden budget

The secret funding of war and terrorism

Today there is a big hoopla about the two hundredth anniversary of the Constitution. It is an occasion for sanctimonious lectures about American democracy and freedom. But underneath all the fancy talk, the American government is just a dictatorship of the rich. The key decisions on war and peace aren't even announced to the people, to say nothing of being decided by the will of the majority.

The Iran-contra scandal has provided a glimpse of the reactionary foreign policy that U.S. imperialism carries out in secret. But it is merely the tip of the iceberg. There is, for example, the so-called "black budget"; these are secret funds whose very existence isn't announced to the people. Only two or three dozen congressmen even think they know how large these funds are and what they are used for. The "black budget" is the way that the government funds secret weapons systems, assassinations, military operations, and spy agencies. And no ruling class politician is even suggesting that these funds should be abolished.

Earlier this year Tim Weiner, a reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, investigated the "black budget." Precisely because these funds are secret, the figures he gave can only be regarded as rock-bottom minimums. (His estimate for the CIA, for example, appears far too low.) They are only those funds whose existence he could uncover from legal sources. But even the small glimpses of the "black budget" that he provided show the enormous size and scope of the behind-the-scenes activities of the U.S. government.

A Huge Secret Budget

Weiner found a whopping $35 billion annually spent on the secret operations of the armed forces and of the CIA and other spy agencies. This is about 11% of the defense department's current spending request of $312 billion. One out of every nine dollars spent on "defense" is secret. This is $10 billion more than the entire federal expenditure on education. The "black budget" is the fastest growing major sector of the federal government.

Ordinary defense spending is itself classified. A thick web of secrecy descends on the U.S. military plans to invade countries and slaughter the workers and peasants of other countries. But the "black budget" takes this a step further. Even the existence of these funds is hidden.

A Secret Weapons Arsenal

Half of the "black budget" is spent on the Pentagon. Most of this goes to research, development and procurement of weapons. Many of the plans for nuclear first strike and "winnable nuclear war" are financed through the "black budget."

For example, while Reagan talks about "zero options" and arms control, he is actively preparing to wage several world nuclear exchanges. The computerized communications system for a protracted six-month nuclear war and a follow-up nuclear exchange is being financed through the "black budget." (See last issue's article, Pentagon is spending billions to prepare World War 3...and 4")

Other major weapons projects are also hidden. For example, the development and production of "Stealth" bombers will cost at least $60 billion. Yet it is being financed through the "black budget," so that the government can continue to deny the very existence of these warplanes.

This budget is also the source of such "creative" warmongering as the multimillion dollar effort to train dolphins as underwater saboteurs.

Financing Behind-the-Scenes Wars

Of course, weapons are of no use unless they are used. Those budget-conscious Reaganites wouldn't think of leaving this huge investment (both open and secret) in death machines to rust.

The dirty war against Nicaragua is one of the more open examples of "secret" funds to terrorize and kill. The U.S. isn't at war with Nicaragua; U.S. diplomats sit in their embassy in Managua; and meanwhile the secret armies of the U.S. government bomb and kill, loot and rape.

And Nicaragua is not an isolated example. In the last six years it is estimated that the government has carried out over 50 military adventures around the world. From Afghanistan to Angola to Nicaragua, U.S. secret funds are at work funding murders, bombings, and local wars.

The military missions are usually carried out by the "Special Operations Forces." These are strike forces funded both by the regular military budget and by the "black budget" and comprised both of ordinary and secret units. These cutthroats often strike in secret while the U.S. government postures in public as "men of peace" who only have "contingency plans" but would never think of carrying them out. And while the Congress makes a show of ordering the CIA to report on its activities, all the CIA has to do is utilize the Special Operations Forces, since Congress has thoughtfully refrained from requiring these special forces to report their secret projects. The connection between the CIA and the Special Operations Forces has grown especially close recently in their joint work in Central America and elsewhere.

Financing the Terrorist Spy Agencies

The "black budget" provides at least three-quarters of the financing for the U.S. spy agencies. This includes the infamous CIA. It includes the giant National Security Agency. (Tim Weiner points out that a secret directive by Reagan gives the NSA legal access to every computer system run by any civilian branch of the government, including the IRS and the Social Security Administration.) And there is the National Reconnaissance Office. Not only are its funds secret, but the very existence of this agency is denied. This is useful in preserving the fraud of a "civilian" space program since one of the NRO's tasks is to run a system of military spying through satellites disguised as weather and research vehicles.

Through these spy agencies the U.S. government helps finance and direct local wars, spies on or "terminates" opponents of imperialist policy, and commits a thousand other crimes.

Several new military/spy groups have secretly been created under the Reagan administration. An "Army Special Operations Division" was started with an annual budget of $100 million. Another new group was "The Intelligence Support Activity" which has helped coordinate the contra war among other things. This group included such notables as Lt. Col. Oliver North and Major General Richard Secord, two big wheels in the Iran- contra scandal.

A Haven for Swindles and Corruption

The entire military budget has always been a source of inflated profits for the defense contractors with their $7,000 coffee pots, etc. But since the "black budget" funds are completely unaccounted for by an outside source, they are a ready-made haven for every capitalist swindler and corrupt military officer. Several criminal cases of financial swindling have already turned up in connection with the Stealth bomber. A businessman convicted in one of the cases described how easy it is to make a bundle off of the "black budget," stating: "Nobody questions dollars, or anything like that."

This profiteering is not restricted to businessmen. Those military men who pose as i the biggest patriots are not averse to grabbing their share of the loot as well. Why should they protect the profits of the multinational corporations without getting their own super-profits as well? So the armed forces have been grabbing for their share, too. Corruption runs rampant in the Special Operations Forces. And the Iran-contra hearings have been bringing out the corruption among the super-patriots of the Reagan administration.

The capitalist politicians are not questioning the existence of the secret budget. At most, they worry about the rampant corruption of this system: they want more spying, more murders, and more death machines for the buck. But such corruption is just part of the system. Indeed, it undoubtedly contributes to giving the "black budget" a political base of support. There will never be a "clean" way to carry out dirty wars.

The "Black Budget" -- the True Story of American Constitutionalism

The revelations concerning the "black budget" expose the true nature of democracy under capitalist rule. It shows that while the capitalists talk about how "free" and "open" their governments are and laud the Constitution, in fact the real business is conducted behind the scenes and is stamped "top secret." It shows that while the capitalist rulers talk about "peace" and "freedom," they are actually building up the war machine and hatching one reactionary plot after another. The secret budgets and actions of the government are not a minor detail, but the huge and growing heart of the whole system.

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U.S. imperialism, get out of the Persian Gulf!

Reagan's dangerous gunboat diplomacy

The Reagan government is playing a dangerous game in the Middle East. The May 17 missile attack on the USSStark, which left the warship crippled and 37 sailors dead, shows how easily the U.S. military can become embroiled in the reactionary Iran-Iraq war. Yet instead of pulling back, Reagan is using the attack on the Stark to push deeper into the explosive conflict.

Immediately after the attack the White House declared the right to shoot any plane that appears to threaten U.S. ships. It stepped up warmongering shouts specifically against Iran. It not only proceeded with plans to have 11 tankers of Kuwait -- a close ally of Iraq -- fly the U.S. flag, but it also announced that U.S. warships will escort them. This brings U.S. sailors into the hottest war zones in the northern Gulf. The Reagan government also renewed demands that Oman and Saudi Arabia provide the U.S. military with land bases. And it is pressing other allies to cooperate more closely.

Reagan is obviously driving into the thick of this war. But why? It's not simply insanity or bloodlust. The interests of imperialism compel the White House to try to sink its claws deeper into the oil-rich region, no matter the bloody consequences. U.S. imperialism is a monster, squeezing the workers at home and stretching out its tentacles to grab up spheres of influence and to plunder the toilers all around the world. Oil from the Middle East is essential for the economies of many countries, and control of that region means greater influence in vast areas of the world. When Reagan declares that the government must protect "U.S. interests'' in the far off Middle East, he is talking about the dollar interests of imperialist plunder and domination around the globe.

The Tilt to Iraq

The attack on the Stark came from an Iraqi jet. But the White House started pointing its guns at Iran. Not only did the Reagan government declare that the Iraqi attack was an "accident'' even before the Iraqi government had a chance to utter a peep, but Reagan actually roared that "the villain in the piece really is Iran.''

Although officially neutral, the U.S. government is once again tilting quite far to the reactionary Iraqi regime. Reagan claimed that this is because Iraq has supported efforts by the U.S. and others to end the war. But if the Reagan administration is so desirous of peace, why, just a short time ago, was it neck deep in supplying arms to the reactionary Khomeini government? The U.S. government is not after peace. Rather, it is twisting and turning to find avenues for deeper U.S. influence in the region.

The Iran arms scandal has temporarily blocked the inroads the U.S. government was building into Iran. Meanwhile, the Soviet social-imperialists have been opening their own avenues in the region. For example, it was the Russian government that first made an agreement to protect Kuwaiti tankers. The White House scurried to offer its own help to Kuwait, and it's used the attack on the Stark as an excuse to dispatch U.S. warships to escort the tankers. These and other factors have pushed the White House to line up closer with Iraq for the time being.

The bloody Iran-Iraq war is reactionary on both sides. The Reagan government has spurred it on and is trying to use it to sink the claws of U.S. imperialism deeper in the region. U.S. workers have no interest in being the cannon fodder for Reagan's imperialist adventures. Rather the interest of U.S. workers lies with the revolutionary workers in Iran and Iraq who are opposing the war and organizing to overthrow their own reactionary regimes. Let us raise our voice in their support. Down with the reactionary Iran-Iraq war! U.S. imperialism, get your bloody hands out of the Middle East!

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News from inside Iran

Protests against the reactionary Iran-Iraq war

(Below we carry news from inside Iran showing the heavy burden that the reactionary Iran-Iraq war is placing on the people, as well as protests of the working masses against this war. It is reprinted from "Report," the bi-weekly newsletter of the Communist Party of Iran -- the Committee Abroad, No. 31, April 1987.)

Once again pressure has been mounting in factories and offices for the purpose of sending personnel to military training and to the war fronts. While the regime has had [some] slight success in imposing its policy on the personnel in state offices, in particular in the banks, it has meanwhile shown its incapability in factories and against the workers.

For instance, in factories such as Chit-e-ray, Chit-e-momtaz, Pars Metal, Off-set, etc., training courses have been said to be voluntary, but in Central and Sepah banks a number of personnel have already been sent to training camps. It is more than a month since the regime's announcement concerning the dispatch of 10-20% of the personnel in each productive center to the war fronts. The plan has not yet been put into effect in factories. The workers in Chit-e-momtaz have been pleaded with to "Come forward, it is only five days(!),'' but they have openly announced that they are not going and instead have put forward questions such as the implementation of the jobs classification plan.

The situation is the same in the case of the extortion of money for the war budget. In Central and Sepah banks, one or two days' wages have been forcibly deducted from every employee's wage. The workers have so far stood against contributions towards war expenses and in cases where this has been done forcibly, they have protested.

In Bella shoe factory and Benzekhavar, the workers have refused to take up military training or to make contributions. In Benzekhavar factory, the number of workers required to go on training is said to be 500-600.

In the last round of bombardments by the Iraqi planes, 30 cities in Iran were attacked. Some of these cities were continuously bombed for consecutive weeks. According to the regime's statistics, which is much lower than the real numbers, 8,000 people have been killed or injured. As a result of these bombardments, many cities have been completely destroyed., Schools, hospitals, residential areas, productive centers, etc., have been turned into heaps of rubble. At the same time the Iraqi cities were under the attacks of Iranian planes and the Iraqi people have been suffering similar hardships.

In this situation, people taking refuge in big cities has become a general phenomenon, the practical meaning of which is the loss of everything earned in a lifetime of hard work for hundreds of thousands of people.

In the course of bombardments, Tabriz (northwest Iran) was one of the cities which was attacked nearly twice a day. The city was almost deserted and productive centers were informally closed. Schools were closed from the beginning by the people themselves and the regime was forced to announce their formal closure.

The city's normal life was from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., after which the people were ready to leave the city for the nearby towns and villages. Shortages of petrol and transport services were a big problem in this situation and caused the increasing of fares up to four times their previous price. On top of this, the people suffered lack of accommodations during the night. Many families had chosen to live together in a small room.

During this period, the people in the city of Tabriz protested a few times against the reactionary war. Once, when the people were shouting slogans against the war and the regime, the Pasdars (regime's armed men) arrested a number of them, but released them a few days later.

The city of Tehran was in a similar situation. One of the problems which the people were faced with, on top of the others, was the lack of safety of schools. The regime had announced that the schools would remain open, but many people, who were well aware of the situation, did not pay attention and took away their children when they used to leave the city for the nearby towns during the afternoons.

Propaganda began over the building of shelters in schools, so that students could safely remain in schools under heavy bombardments. The cost was estimated to be 10,000 Tomans ($125) for a shelter for five people. Since the Ministry of Education had contributed all its budget towards the war expenses, the families were encouraged to pay for the cost themselves! It is interesting to know that the families themselves pay for repairs, water and electricity bills, chalk, paper, etc. Reports indicate that some money had been collected by the families, but recently the Education Ministry announced that 25% of it should be contributed to that department!

During the bombardments, the families of the political prisoners in the Tabriz prison protested many times.

Once, a bomb hit the prison and damaged parts of the prison. Two prison guards were, killed in this attack. The regime had promised to transfer a number of the prisoners to other cities. The situation is the same for the prisoners in other prisons. The prisons in the cities of Esfahan, Karaj, the Evin prison in Tehran, etc., have their searchlights on during the night and this doubles the risk of attacks and the danger to the lives of the prisoners.

In late January the people in the city of Zanjan marched against the Islamic Republic and demanded the immediate end of the Iran-Iraq war. The crowd was increasing in numbers every minute and this frightened the Pasdars. The armed men tried to disperse the crowd and during the march, they arrested 270 people. The angry people marched again in the afternoon for the release of those arrested. The unified move of the people forced the regime to release all 270.

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Trial shows Goetz is would-be racist killer

"Robbery has nothing to do with it.... It was all very coldblooded....'' "Pulling the gun would have been enough, but... I decided I was going to kill them when I saw his face.'' "My intention was to murder them, to hurt them, to make them suffer as much as possible.... If I was a little more under self-control,...I would have put the barrel against his forehead and fired.'' "They didn't die.... But I, in my heart, was a murderer.'' -- Bernhard Goetz describing his intentions to murder four black youth for the "crime" of asking him for $5 on December 22, 1984. (From the video and audio tapes played at his trial.)

The trial of subway vigilante Bernhard Goetz is winding down. The evidence presented proves, without any doubt, that Goetz is not some ordinary person who was a little overzealous in defending himself from some muggers. No, Goetz is a racist vigilante who rode the subways packing (in his quick draw holster!) an illegal 38-caliber pistol loaded with illegal hollow point bullets for "maximum stopping power."

Eyewitness testimony and Goetz' own admissions also prove that none of the four black victims ever threatened Goetz. As Goetz said, "What they said wasn't even so much as important as the look,...the body language...." (You see, one of the youths had a "smile on his face"!) And they were black and that's enough for a racist like Goetz.

Nor was Goetz ever surrounded. Witnesses testified that only one of the youths was really close to and spoke to Goetz. Two (perhaps three) of the youth were shot while sitting, running away, or even lying on the floor of the train. Darrel Cabey was shot in the back and paralyzed after Goetz said, "You seem to be all right, here's another."

All this is now in evidence. And all this evidence proves that the only threats, the only violence, the only crime -- came from Goetz.

But you would never know this from the news reports. Just like in the Howard Beach case, the real trial -- in court, in the media and in the capitalist politicians' statements -- is not against the white racist thugs, but against the black victims. The media treats Goetz like a courageous hero (some courage to shoot down four weaponless youth!) and hangs on every word of his sleazy lawyer, Barry Slotnick, better known for defending mob chiefs John Gotti and Joe Colombo.

The pro-Goetz campaign has nothing to do with standing up to muggers. People do this all the time without getting much attention. No, the bourgeoisie has hailed Goetz for two and a half years in order to promote his cowardly attempt at racist murder. The subway shootings are being used to declare open season on the national minority youth.

(Excerpted from May 25 leaflet MLP-New York.)

Down with anti-Asian, anti-foreign chauvinism!

The acquittal of murderers of Vincent Chin is an outrage!

Ronald Ebens, a supervisor in a Detroit auto plant, and his stepson Michael Nitz used a baseball bat to beat to death Vincent Chin, a 27-year-old engineer. As they murdered the Chinese-American Chin, Ebens and Nitz echoed the racist poison spread by the capitalists and the union chieftains to blame the Japanese (and Asians in general) for the high unemployment in Detroit.

This racist killing took place five years ago. On May 1, Ronald Ebens was acquitted of charges that he violated Vincent Chin's civil rights. This means that Ebens and Nitz will never spend a day in jail for this ugly murder.

Ebens and his lawyer claim that racism wasn't involved; Ebens bashed in Vincent Chin's head only out of a drunken rage. But three witnesses took the stand who had been at the bar where Vincent was killed and heard Ebens yell: "It's because of you little --- that we're all out of work" and other racist remarks at Vincent.

In their first trial (on state murder charges), the judge let Ebens and Nitz plead guilty to the reduced charge of manslaughter. They were sentenced to probation and a fine. In justifying this tap on the wrist, Judge Kaufman stated: "You don't make the punishment fit the crime: you make the punishment fit the criminal." And the judge took note of their professional status. In other words, since Ebens was a "respectable" supervisor, his stepson was an employed student (and, of course, both were white) it was OK for them to bash in the head of a Chinese- American.

This latest trial was a retrial of the federal civil rights charges. One factor in this trial was that it was held at a time when the anti-Japanese, anti-Asian trade war propaganda has been raised to a fever pitch.

Cincinnati, where the trial was moved at the request of Ebens' lawyer, has recently been a special target of this chauvinist propaganda campaign. Two major GM plants are scheduled to be closed in the area. Angry workers were organizing protests against GM when the trial began. But the UAW union chiefs and the Democratic Party politicians had been doing their damnedest to turn the workers' anger away from the GM capitalists and towards anti-Japanese hysteria.

It was in the midst of all this anti- Japanese, anti-Asian chauvinism, from Washington down to the UAW hacks in Cincinnati, that Ebens was acquitted.

This abortion of justice is a telling comment on the racist nature of capitalist justice. The Vincent Chin case also shows the urgent need for the workers to raise their voice against the racist scapegoating being pushed by the self-styled "leaders of labor" against Asian and other foreign workers.

What Happened in the Vincent Chin case?

June '82 -- Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American engineer, was taunted with racial slurs and blamed for the loss of jobs in the U.S. auto industry by Ronald Ebens and stepson Michael Nitz at a bar in Highland Park, near Detroit. Vincent and friends left the bar after the scuffle. Ebens and Nitz hunted for Vincent and found him in front of a nearby McDonald's. Nitz held Vincent while Ebens repeatedly clubbed him on the head with a baseball bat.

June '82 (four days later) -- Vincent dies from the beating.

March '83 -- Ebens pleads guilty and Nitz pleads no contest to reduced charges of manslaughter. Wayne County Court Judge Charles Kaufman lets both off with probation and a mere fine of $3,700 each.

Spring '83 -- One thousand demonstrate in Detroit in protest of the racist murder and the judge's decision to let the killers off the hook. Marches and protests also were held in Windsor, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

November '83 -- Under pressure, the federal government brings charges against Ebens and Nitz for violating Vincent's civil rights on the grounds that there was a racist motive in the slaying.

June '84 -- Jury convicts Ebens and lets Nitz off of civil rights charge. September '84 -- Ebens is sentenced to 25 years in jail but is immediately released on appeal.

September '86 -- An appeals court reverses the verdict on various technicalities.

May '87 -- Ebens is acquitted of violating Vincent's civil rights.

Prison strike in Massachusetts

On May 13 and 14, prisoners organized a protest strike at the Norfolk state prison outside of Boston. The simmering anger of the inmates over the rotten conditions and the racism of the prison officials boiled over when news spread through the facility that guards had beaten a prisoner.

A group of black prison activists, known as the African-American Coalition, called for a demonstration in the main yard. At 8:00 a.m. of the 13th, about 30 inmates gathered in the yard and began marching back and forth. They called on the other prisoners to join them in a strike, chanting "No work! No work!" They also were reported to chant "Attica! Attica!" in reference to the powerful 1971 prison revolt in Attica, New York. As well, the prisoners shouted "White and black solidarity!"

After lunch break, more than 200 prisoners -- black, white and Latino -- joined the strike.

The Prisoners' Demands

The prisoners put out a list of 16 grievances and demands. Part of these demands were against racism, including:

* Permission for a Black Solidarity Day to be held on May 23. While there had recently been an Irish-American day picnic, prison officials had refused to allow a day for Afro-American prisoners.

* An end to the discrimination against the black inmates by the classification board. (This board rules on the requests for transfers to lower security facilities.)

As well, they made general demands against mistreatment, repression, and the deteriorating conditions, including:

* An end to harassment and brutality by the guards.

* Cancellation of the new regulations for visitors, requiring three weeks notice and the visitor's birth date and social security number. And a stop to other harassment of visitors.

* An end to overcrowding. The Norfolk prison was built to hold 680 inmates but today 1,230 men are jammed behind its walls. This means that there are cases where six prisoners must live in a cell made for two. (A report on prisons recently revealed that Governor Dukakis, the liberal Democrat who has pushed stiff and mandatory sentencing, oversees the most overcrowded prison system in the U.S.)

Besides these demands, many prisoners also joined the strike in an effort to push for higher wages. Hundreds of prisoners work in the "Industries," where they make mattresses and wood products. The prison system sells these products for a healthy profit; but the prisoners are paid less than $1 an hour.

United in Struggle

To strengthen the unity of the struggle, the leaders announced that the prisoners' negotiating committee would include prisoners of all races and nationalities. This orientation hit hard against the divide and conquer racism of the prison authorities and their stooges.

Meanwhile, the inmate council, the officially sanctioned grievance committee, informed the authorities that they could no longer control the situation. So that evening the officials met with the prisoners. However, they only stonewalled to buy time as a special tactical force of 200 guards was being organized.

The next morning, all 1,230 prisoners are reported to have joined the work stoppage. The authorities were forced to shut down most of the operations of the prison.

A Ruthless Crackdown

But at noon, when the inmates returned to their units, the tactical force moved in. The units were locked up. The guards, acting real brave, ran through the units with dogs, banged on the bars with their clubs, and threatened everyone in an effort to intimidate the defiant prisoners.

Using a videotape of the day's events, the prison officials made up a list of 73 prisoners they considered to be the "troublemakers." The guards seized these 73 and forced them into a small yard where they were handcuffed and forced to lie face down on the ground. These prisoners were then shipped out to different prisons around the state (and some possibly out of state).

With this move, the officials hoped to cut off the head of the protest movement. Among these 73 were people with experience in the mass movements of the 60's. As well, there were veterans of the protest that stopped work for three months at the Norfolk prison in 1978.

Facing the ruthless terror of the guards, and with their leaders removed, the strike was ended.

All Protest Is "Illegal"

The demands of the Norfolk prisoners are simple and just. They are demands for basic human dignity. As well, their protest was peaceful and non- violent. Yet it still sent the prison authorities into a violent rage. They came down on the prisoners like Hitler's Gestapo.

When asked by reporters about the amount of force used against the protest considering its peaceful nature, Corrections Commissioner Michael Fair responded like a true nazi. "There's no such thing as peaceful demonstrations inside correctional institutions," the Commissioner fumed. "It is illegal to refuse to go to work. It is illegal to demonstrate around the facility. It is illegal to cause any disorder to the running of this facility."

Of course, bans on prison protests won't make them go away.

With the high unemployment and growing poverty, record numbers of poor and working youth are being crammed behind bars. Prison is the answer of the capitalist politicians and government officials to every social problem. Stiffer sentencing. More jails. More overcrowding. And to keep a lid on, the prison regime grows more repressive and dehumanizing.

But oppression breeds resistance. Across the country, the prisons are becoming powder kegs of revolt ready to explode. From Massachusetts to Texas, prisoners are struggling. This struggle deserves militant support from the workers on the outside. Such support can assist the prisoners to get organized on a firmer footing. It can also bring greater ideological clarity, linking up the movement behind the prison walls to the cause of the working class. It is the working class which can rally all the exploited and downtrodden for the overthrow of all capitalist tyranny and oppression.

In this spirit, The Workers' Advocate salutes the courageous protest of the Norfolk prisoners and the struggle of prisoners across the country against their unbearable oppression.

[Photo: Leaders of the Norfolk prison strike are held in a yard in the brutal suppression of the prisoners' peaceful protest.]

No to police harassment of Latino students at MIT!

On April 2, political activist Steve Fernandez was dragged off to the Cambridge police station by the campus police (CP) for not having his ID card. (The reason why Steve didn't have his ID was because the CP's had taken it away from him during the anti-apartheid protests last year.) On May 2, undergraduate student government president Manuel Rodriguez was arrested by the CP's, asked if he knew English, thrown against a police car, handcuffed, and called a "piece of shit," all for telling the CP's to stop being so violent in breaking up a party.

Are these incidents due to a couple of "bad cops," as some are saying? When Steve complained to the administration, Dean McBay told him he was "oversensitive." This was a polite way of telling him to shut up. And it shows that the administration stands by the CP's. The CP's are in fact nothing but an arm of the administration. Just last spring, the CP's under administration orders, tore down the anti-racist, anti-apartheid shantytown, arresting eight students.

If the harassment was just in Steve's "oversensitive" head, why did it spark widespread anger and a protest rally? Because political and racial harassment by the CP's? with the approval of the administration, are common occurrences for activists and minority students. In fact hundreds of students have been arrested on dozens of other campuses in the fight against racism and apartheid, and racism on the campuses is well known from the U Mass-Amherst to Berkeley.

This political repression and the very widespread racial harassment on the campuses these days reflect the increase of repression and racism throughout the cities, schools, and work places of America. The MIT corporation is run by the same big corporations who run the whole government and economy. Paul Gray and his CP's are dutifully carrying out the Reagan agenda, supporting apartheid and star wars, raising tuition beyond the reach of the vast majority, and re-segregating the campus. The CP's are specifically hired to help carry out this program and stifle any protest, whether against apartheid or police brutality.

The problem is not one or two rotten cops but the rotten capitalist System. Capitalism today is sliding into deep economic and political crisis. The billionaires are trying to stave off collapse with the brutal Reaganite offensive of squeezing every penny out of the working masses, inciting racism, and going to war. This is what stands behind the policies of the MIT corporation. Every progressive student must vigorously oppose the Reaganism of the MIT administration and its CP thugs.

(Reprinted from May 20 "Boston Worker," paper of MLP-Boston.)

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New anti-immigrant law met with protests -- May 5

On May 5, the Simpson-Rodino Immigration Reform and Control Act officially went into effect. The bourgeois media gushed that this marked a day of joy and gratitude for the undocumented immigrant workers. But for the immigrants and progressive people it was a day of apprehension, concern -- and militant protest.

Simpson-Rodino is a racist, anti-worker law. It offers only a limited number of undocumented workers a restricted "legal" status. At the same time, it builds up the INS's (Immigration and Nationalization Service) enforcement powers and military hardware. It institutionalizes discrimination against all immigrants. And it steps up the super-exploitation and terror against the undocumented workers.

Standing up in opposition to this anti-immigrant law, on May 5 activists in the U.S. and Mexico organized demonstrations, meetings and protests in defense of the immigrants.

In Chicago, 200 people picketed in front of the INS office at the Federal Building. "Workers yes! Simpson-Rodino no!" they shouted, "No deportations -- Full rights to the immigrants!"

Simpson-Rodino was also protested on both sides of the border at El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. The two marches came together in the middle of the International Bridge to symbolize the unity of the working peoples' struggle in the two countries.

Two hundred people rallied outside the INS legalization center in San Antonio, where the law was denounced as racist persecution of immigrants.

In Los Angeles, a noon demonstration marched through the streets to the Federal Building to picket INS offices. That evening, some 400 people, including many Latinos, also marched and held a rally. They demanded an end to deportations and to the separation of families under the new law.

Demonstrations and protest actions were also organized May 5 in San Francisco, San Ysidro (on the California border near Tijuana, Mexico), Denver, New York City, Philadelphia,Cincinnati, and elsewhere.

The largest protest was held three days before in Houston. On Saturday, May 2, over 1,000 people protested the Simpson-Rodino law and demanded asylum for Central American refugees. The protesters, mainly from Guatemala and El Salvador, were enthusiastically supported as they marched through the heart of Houston's refugee community.

Demonstration Against English Only

Also on May 2, over 125 protesters demonstrated in Philadelphia against the racist "English Only" campaign. Activists marched in pouring rain outside a conference of the U.S. English organization, which is spearheading a drive to make English the official language of the U.S., a code word for wiping out bilingual education, ballots, services, etc. The demonstrators defended the right of all nationalities to speak the language that they choose.

These protests organized around the country (and in Mexico) are a sign of the discontent and growing anger at the anti-immigrant offensive of the racist government.

[Photo:Picket at Chicago INS office against Simpson-Rodino law.]

[Photo: March of over 1,000 in Houston against deportation of Central American refugees.]

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Why the no-show for opening of the 'amnesty'?

On May 5, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) opened the doors of 107 legalization centers nationwide to launch the process of "amnesty" for a section of undocumented immigrants. The year-long amnesty program is the sugar coating that goes with the racist and repressive Simpson-Rodino immigration law that was passed last fall.

As the program got underway, the bourgeois media churned out story after story glorifying the alleged "generosity" of the U.S. government. Supposedly the government was opening its arms to several million "illegal" immigrants, who were said to be ever so thankful.

But the INS gave a party and no one came. In New York, where the INS centers are geared to process 1,500 applications a day, only 173 applicants turned up. Texas counted only 6,000 applicants for the whole state. In Chicago, where an estimated 300,000 are eligible to apply, only 1,000 people came in to the centers. The Los Angeles area, which is believed to have the largest number of undocumented immigrants, reported only short or nonexistent lines at its 15 INS centers.

Such a light turnout was far below the projections of the INS and left officials a little red-faced. What is shows is the extreme distrust immigrant workers justifiably feel toward the INS -- the government outfit that for years has hounded, arrested and deported them. Many want to wait and see, expressing fears that the amnesty program may be one giant sting operation, like others that the INS has employed in the past to seize and expel them.

Furthermore, the legalization provisions of Simpson-Rodino are highly restrictive and oppressive. One of the most hated features is the breaking up of families. For instance, if a husband came to the U.S. before the January 1982 cutoff and thus qualifies, his wife, children or parents who came after the cutoff are not eligible. As well, the application demands information about relatives of the applicant, which adds to the immigrants' apprehension regarding the use of this information for persecution in the future.

The low turnout on May 5 is an indication of what the opponents of Simpson-Rodino have been saying all along. Among other things, the amnesty is so restrictive and the persecution of the immigrants is so pervasive that only a fraction of the millions of undocumented will make it through the amnesty process. The rest will remain hunted and super-exploited as so-called "illegals." The only just demand is full rights for all immigrant workers in this country.

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Putting the undocumented under the employers' thumb

The Boston Worker, paper of the MLP-Boston, in its May 13 issue exposed the repressive nature of the new Simpson-Rodino immigration law. The paper points out that it is already weighing down hard on the immigrant workers.

* Undocumented workers who were hired on their present job before November 1986 are not required to show papers to prove their legal status so long as they don't change jobs. They will, however, have to show papers to get a new job. This provision will put millions of workers directly under the thumbs of their present employers like indentured servants. One Boston restaurant owner has informed his undocumented workers that all but the three most productive workers will be fired on June 1. He will let the three stay, providing that they submit to his every whim and work 70-hour weeks for near-minimum wage.

* The May 1 issue of the Boston Globe reported that the restaurant and hotel owners on Cape Cod had complained to the INS that if employer sanctions were enforced they would not be able to find enough people to work at minimum wage in their kitchens this summer.

So the INS told them not to worry because they wouldn't enforce the law until the vacation season was over! When the profits will be safe in the bank! Then the INS will come around to deport or chase off the workers.

* The law will mean stepped-up discrimination against all Latino, Caribbean and any workers with accents or whom the employers deem "foreign looking," even if they are U.S. citizens. (Among others, Puerto Ricans, who are U.S. citizens, report such discrimination.)

This discrimination is already showing up in unemployment statistics. During the last quarter unemployment among Hispanics increased while unemployment for all other categories decreased slightly.

Boston Worker goes on to point out that the capitalist politicians and the sold-out leaders of the AFL-CIO tell the American-born workers they should support the attacks on the immigrants because it will save jobs for American- born workers. This is a crock. Are the immigrants the ones carrying out automation, layoffs, and plant closings? No, it is the rich. Unemployment comes from the capitalist system of production for profit and is increasing even in countries where there is no immigration at all.

It is the ABC of workers' solidarity that letting the rich take away the rights of some opens the floodgates of abuse against us all. If the Reaganites succeed in driving down the immigrants they will be that much bolder in attacking the rest of the workers and poor. It is the duty of every thinking worker to stand up for the rights of the immigrant section of our class.

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Palestinians in L.A. win a temporary reprieve from INS persecution

Los Angeles -- On May 11, the judge hearing the U.S. government's deportation case against seven Palestinian men and a Kenyan woman dismissed all charges against the defendants. But the victims have only won a temporary reprieve. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) immediately refiled identical charges against the LA Eight, opening up the case once again.

A Case of Political Persecution

On January 26, the INS and police carried out early-morning raids in the Los Angeles area to seize the Palestinian activists. They were held for nearly three weeks in solitary confinement before being granted bail.

The victims were originally brought up on charges under the infamous McCarthy-era McCarran Act, for allegedly being members of an organization advocating the doctrines of "world communism." The proof for this was that they had publications of a Palestinian resistance group, the PFLP.

The government's attempt to persecute the LA Eight is part of a broader campaign against Palestinian and Arab immigrants who are opposed to the U.S. government's policies in the Middle East. This case was in fact the opening shot of a contingency plan designed by Reagan's INS to seize and intern thousands of Palestinian and other Arab residents in concentration camps and to deport many of them. The details of this plan were disclosed in February by Arab-American groups.

Outrage and Protest Put INS on the Defensive

The persecution of the LA Eight and the news about the INS plan sparked widespread outrage among Arab-Americans and other progressive people. A number of demonstrations were organized in many cities. Demonstrations against the anti-immigrant Simpson-Rodino law also took up defense of the Palestinian activists. This opposition helped to put the government on the defensive.

In line with the INS contingency plan, the government had asked for bail to be refused to the LA Eight. They arrogantly argued that their so-called evidence couldn't be shown in open court, but only in private to the judge. But the judge refused to go along with this.

Later, the government changed the charges against the victims. First, political charges against six of the eight defendants were dropped, although they remained accused of visa violations. Then, it changed the political charges against the remaining two. Now they were charged on a narrower provision of the McCarran Act that makes it a deportable offense to be affiliated with an organization that advocates or teaches the unlawful destruction of property.

Hypocrisy of the Reaganites

What a farce! Right-wing groups, such as the Nicaraguan contras or anti- Castro Cuban exiles, routinely organize terrorist crimes both here and abroad. But they are never charged by the government. Of course not; they have the full support of the CIA and other government agencies.

But when some Palestinian activists merely oppose the U.S. government's policies, they are to be seized, shackled, kept in solitary and expelled. Such is the outrageous hypocrisy which guides U.S. immigration policy.

During the trial, this was pointed out by the defense. As well, the defense had sought to question Gilbert Reeves, the assistant district director of the INS, who had signed the original arrest warrant. But he refused to show up, despite being instructed to do so by the judge. After this, the judge dismissed all charges against the eight defendants.

It could well be that the INS official didn't show up because the INS wanted to have the case brought before a different judge. The very next day, the INS filed identical new charges.

So the victims have won a temporary victory. But the persecution continues.

Fight the Persecution of Immigrant Activists!

The attack on the LA Eight has underscored the importance of fighting against the campaign against Arabs in the U.S. as well as against all efforts to persecute left activists among immigrants.

Moreover, this case has brought out the need for struggle against the anticommunist McCarran Act, which the government is increasingly making use of these days.

The Marxist-Leninist Party believes that in order to fight the persecution of immigrant activists, it is necessary to build up a strong mass movement. Unfortunately, the Committee for Justice to Stop the McCarran Act Deportations, which is organizing the defense of the LA Eight, is following a liberal policy which holds back the building of a fighting movement.

The persecution of the LA Eight and the anti-Arab campaign of the INS have sparked widespread anger and outrage. This should be used to build protest actions across the country, mobilizing among workers, immigrants and progressive people. But the Committee for Justice has not done so. As far as mass events go, it has called only for a handful of quiet vigils. Instead it has focused its program on appealing to the powers-that-be, with such things as telegrams to the INS, calls for a Congressional inquiry, appeals to the capitalist media, etc.

No matter what the outcome of this particular case, such a policy cannot build up an effective resistance to the political persecution of immigrants. For that, the mass struggle is what's crucial.

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The trade bill pushes for job elimination

"Saving jobs," that's what the AFL- CIO officials say trade legislation is for. But these claims are like those of GM Chairman Roger Smith. After announcing plans to close 11 plants and throw 30,000 workers in the streets, Smith declared that these measures would make GM more "competitive" and therefore would improve the "job security" of GM workers. Making U.S. industry competitive through job elimination -- that's one of the key elements of the proposed trade legislation.

Both the House and the Senate have stipulated that any company seeking temporary help from imports must draw up an "industrial adjustment plan" to become "more competitive." And the House trade bill requires that the president appoint a 16-member "Council on Industrial Competitiveness" to "develop strategies to boost productivity and performance of U.S. business." But "boosting productivity" is just another name for job-eliminating concessions like speedup, job combination, gutting protective work rules, and so forth. While "boosting performance" means improving profits out of wage and benefit cuts.

For years, anti-import campaigns have been used to throw U.S. workers into competition with workers in other countries. "Competitiveness" has meant forcing the workers to compete over which will take the most concessions. And this competition doesn't stop at the border. In the name of becoming more competitive, even workers in the same company are pitted against each other from plant to plant. Now "competitiveness" is being written into law.

Far from saving jobs, the current trade bill proposals aim to better organize the big monopolies' job-eliminating concessions drive against the workers.

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Behind the trade war -- capitalist overproduction crisis

Sometimes the capitalists admit truths to each other that they would prefer to keep hidden from the workers. Such is the case with the real issues that are being hidden by the trade war hysteria against "unfair" foreign trade.

"But all this emphasis on what is going wrong in the U.S. and in its relations with trading partners, especially Japan..." reports the March 9 issue of the Wall Street Journal, "tends to obscure a worldwide problem: Many major industries, all around the globe, are burdened with far too much capacity. 'Overcapacity is a worldwide problem, and it's getting worse,' says Lester Thurow, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology" (Wall Street Journal, March 9) The Journal goes on to show how overcapacity -- that strange disease of capitalism where the machinery and raw materials are in place for the workers to produce too much -- has extended into a multitude of industries and is threatening to drag the world into another depression. Citing a variety of sources, the Journal gives figures indicating the overcapacity problems in auto, steel, computers, semiconductors, farm equipment, construction equipment, textiles, oil, nickel, and even food and feed grains. (See figures below)

But wait a minute. Don't workers and the poor all over the world need food, clothes, and transportation? Of course they do. But under capitalism production is for profits, not to meet the needs of the toilers. This is not actual overcapacity and overproduction, but capitalist overcapacity.

When a profit can't be reaped, the capitalists close down factories, lay off workers, and try to increase the exploitation of those still working in the scramble to undercut competitors.

This is exactly what is going on right now in countries throughout the world. As plant closings grow in the U.S., double-digit unemployment confronts Western Europe, and Japan shuts down steel mills and faces growing unemployment for the first time in decades.

The current trade war is the product of the capitalist system -- a system so bankrupt that for the workers to produce plenty means their loss of jobs and impoverishment. The issue for the workers is not to join their bosses' competitive trade war. Rather, the workers must link arms around the world for a fight in their own class interests against the capitalist class. They must build up the movement against layoffs and the capitalist concessions drive. And inspire this movement with the desire to overthrow this entire rotten system and replace it with socialism, where production can grow to serve the needs of all instead of a handful of capitalist moneygrubbers.

Worldwide industrial overcapacity

The world auto industry has an overcapacity of 10 million cars and trucks. And that is expected to rise to 15 million units by 1990.

The world steel industry has an overcapacity of from 75 to 200 million metric tons, and " John Jacobson, an economist at Chase Econometrics, figures that only if the entire U.S. steel industry shut down would demand equal supply in the non-Communist world."

The world semiconductor industry has an equipment-use rate of only about 70%.

World farm equipment production has been slashed to 120,000 units a year, nearly half the 230,000 unit production in 1979.

The world construction equipment industry is working at only 60% of its capacity.

The world is glutted with oil. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is producing at only half of its 30 million barrels a day capacity. And 75% of the U.S. drilling-rig fleet is unused.

Food and feed grains are overproduced. The global surplus of food and feed grains is expected to surge to a 13-week supply this year, compared to the eight-week supply that is considered ample. The U.S. has more than a one-year supply of wheat, enough for both exports and domestic consumption.

(Wall Street Journal figures)

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U.S. companies demand the right to poison the world

U.S. monopolies are notorious for dumping tainted goods on other countries. Indeed, it is not uncommon for U.S. monopolies to take products that have even been banned in the U.S. for being dangerous and then selling them off to unsuspecting toilers in third world countries.

Now, with all the trade war hysteria, even measures enacted by other countries to protect health standards are being dubbed "unfair" trade practices. Recently, John Morrell & Company, the American meatpacking monopoly, denounced the 12-member European Economic Community for banning beef that has been fed growth hormones. "They say they are health standards, but they are blatant trade barriers," fumed Morrell's export chief Curt Beatty. (U.S. News and World Report, April 6)

U.S. monopolies care nothing about health standards when their profits are being threatened. For the almighty buck they won't think twice about poisoning people in the U.S. And in the name of combating "unfair" trade, they want the right to poison the world.

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U.S. monopolies are the masters of 'unfair trading practices'

The campaign for new trade legislation has been accompanied by a concerted effort to paint a lurid picture of the poor U.S. being victimized by the "unfair" trading practices of Japan and other countries. But when the U.S. monopolies engage in the same, and even worse practices, well that's apparently just "good business sense."

Take, for example, the issue of "dumping," that is the selling of goods under the cost to produce them in order to wipe out competitors. In the last 10 years, American companies have been proved to be dumping in 351 cases brought by European countries, Canada and Australia. (New York Times, May 12)

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Not only dumping, but giving away agricultural goods to subsidize the sale of other products, tying bank loans and foreign aid to agreements that the other country must buy U.S. goods, subsidizing loans taken by other countries to buy U.S. goods, and so forth -- these are standard operating procedures of the U.S. multinationals. Indeed, much of the proposed trade legislation is devoted to making the U.S. government more active in carrying out these and other methods of "promoting" U.S. exports.

Far from being poor and victimized, U.S. imperialism is the master of "unfair" trading practices. In fact, the U.S. government has shown time and again that it will stoop even to military invasion to protect its foreign markets and carve out spheres of influence for the U.S. monopolies. Who can forget the U.S.-engineered overthrow of the Guatemalan government in 1954 to defend the investments of United Fruit or the CIA's involvement in the fascist coup in Chile to protect the profits of ITT.

The proposed trade bills have nothing to due with combating "unfairness." Rather they are aimed at strengthening the hand of the U.S. monopolies in the dog-eat-dog inter-imperialist fight for markets and spheres of influence.

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How AFL-CIO hacks preach trade war to stop fight for jobs

On May 3, over 2,000 workers marched through the streets of Norwood, a suburb of Cincinnati. The workers are burning mad against GM's plans to close its Norwood and Hamilton plants and they came out to protest. But the union officials, who had taken over control of the march, turned it into a rally for uniting with the U.S. monopolies in their trade war against Japan and other countries.

Workers from the Norwood and Hamilton plants wanted to organize a rally back in December to protest the plant closings. But regional officials from the UAW and state officials of the AFL-CIO opposed them and threatened that no one would come. The union hacks promised to provide money and other support if the workers would hold the rally later.

But when the workers agreed, the union bigwigs took over the whole affair. When the workers proposed slogans and banners like "Save the Norwood Plant," "Stop Plant Closings," and "Our Jobs Today, Yours Tomorrow," the union bureaucrats rejected them. The hacks claimed slogans were needed that would supposedly involve everybody, such as "Fair Trade." The union bigshots also barred militants from speaking and even allowed only one local bureaucrat from the Norwood plant to speak. They set up their own speakers-list of hard-core trade warriors. The march was converted from a protest against plant closings into what the union hacks called a "March for Fair Trade" in support of the House trade bill.

From the speakers' platform, on May 3, UAW Region 2A Director Charlie Bowling actually admitted that the UAW leadership would not fight against GM's plant closings. "We aren't able to save the plants," he declared. Indeed, GM wasn't even blamed for the closings. Instead, the finger of blame was pointed at foreign workers.

The union bureaucrats led a wave of chauvinism against Japanese and Mexican workers. Accompanied by racist calls to "Remember Pearl Harbor" and "Stand Up for America," union bureaucrats repeatedly called for the workers to support the capitalist trade war.

Howard Metzenbaum, liberal Democratic Senator from Ohio and a featured speaker, got to the heart of the trade war hysteria. While railing against "foreigners," he declared, "Let nobody kid you about this -- the American workers can outwork, they can out-sweat, they can out-compete any country in the world." In other words, the American workers should compete with the workers of other lands over which will accept the most overwork and worst conditions.

Such is the aim of the trade war hysteria being pushed by the union bureaucrats. They are sabotaging the fight to defend jobs against the U.S. monopolies. And they are trying to divert the workers' anger into support for our "own" monopolies in their competition against the foreign monopolies.

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Strikes and workplace news

The USPS is out for more concessions

Postal workers, get ready to fight back!

The United States Postal Service (USPS) made $304 million in profits last year. But with the opening of bargaining for postal workers' contracts, which expire July 20, the USPS demanded more takebacks from the workers.

"Wage restraint'' topped the USPS list,of demands. It wants to expand the two-tier wage system which was imposed on the workers in the 1984 contract. And it also wants the right to increase the use of the lower paid temporary employees (NTEs) and the part-time flexible employees.

At the same time, the Postal Service is intent on stepping up its productivity drive on the workers. While new, faster machines are added, the USPS management is also increasing quotas for mail- handlers and clerks, lengthening the letter carrier routes and adding more mail on their backs. The frenzied pace of the work is also worsening safety conditions. Health problems such as tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome are on the rise.

Yet the Postal Service is demanding, among other concessions, the right to increase overtime (by eliminating penalty overtime pay and cutting other overtime premiums) and it wants to cut down the number of paid sick days.

Reagan continues to threaten "privatization" of the USPS. And the Postal Service uses that threat as a club over the workers. It is out to prove that it can drive the workers into the ground just like GM and GE and the other big private capitalist exploiters. The workers must resist this drive.

The leaders of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) and the American Postal Workers' Union (APWU), who are presently bargaining with the USPS, claim they stand for "no takebacks." But, at the same time, they are dressing up the 1984 contract, which was packed full of concessions, as a victory. These bureaucrats can't be trusted. It's up to the rank and file to get organized on their own.

There are 600,000 letter carriers, clerks, and other postal workers in the NALC and the APWU. This is a powerful force when it is united and organized for mass struggle.

In 1970, the national strike of the postal workers defied the government's no-strike law, stood up to the use of the National Guard to break the strike, and forced the government to agree to a number of the postal workers' demands. The wildcat strikes in later years threatened to bring out a nationwide strike. This year too the workers must get ready for mass struggle to beat back the concessions drive and defend the livelihood and working conditions of all postal workers.

Carriers resist longer routes in Detroit

The Postal Service is trying to reorganize and lengthen the routes of letter carriers at Fenkell, Grand River, Jefferson, Fox Creek, Linwood, and other stations in Detroit. But resistance to the overwork has begun to break out.

When the Fenkell station was reopened last year, the Postal management tried to cut down the number of letter routes and lengthen the remaining ones. The letter carriers were already casing (sorting) and carrying as much mail as they could. They immediately protested the overwork and a persistent fight has developed. The carriers deliver only the amount of mail that is equivalent to the old routes and, each day, bring the additional mail volume back into the station. This resistance forced management to bring additional part-time flex carriers to the station to get the extra mail delivered.

Now similar struggles are emerging at other stations. The Postal Service is trying to speed up letter carriers by lengthening routes, by doubling and tripling the load of marriage mail (advertisement circulars) and in other ways. The development of resistance at a number of stations is a good sign that the postal workers won't take these attacks lying down.

S.F. postal clerks fight overtime

Clerks on the OCR (optical character reader) letter-sorting machine at the General Mail Facility in San Francisco have been pushed to the wall with long overtime hours since Christmas. Fed up with the overwork, they organized everyone in their section to refuse overtime. After several weeks of resistance, management was forced to hire a number of people to get the work done.

On the heels of this victory, the clerks went on to organize a fight against unsafe conditions. Fifty-four OCR clerks from all three shifts signed a petition that listed ten major unsafe conditions, including the constant speedup pressure from management, that they wanted solved. A delegation of ten clerks took the demands to the safety office. The clerks are now discussing further actions to press their demands.

In the Postal Service -- 2-tier wages and 3-tier employment have got to go!

Postmaster General Preston Tisch opened bargaining with a call for wage "restraint." In particular, Tisch and co. demanded the expansion of the two-tier wage system and the three-tier employment structure (of regulars, part-time flexes, and casuals). The Postal Service wants the right to expand the use of "casuals" (ninety-day temporary employees, NTEs, who make only about $5.00 an hour, get no benefits, and get no guaranteed hours of work). And it wants to increase the use of part-time flexibles (PTFs, who work flexible and often long overtime hours). The USPS especially wants to increase the use of PTFs hired after January 1985, who are on the lower tier of the wage scale.

Concessions Mean Big Profits

It is little wonder that the Postal Service wants to expand the two-tier wage and three-tier employment systems. They have been a gold mine for the USPS. According to the spring issue of the USPS magazine Postal Life, in 1986 the Postal Service saved $690 million by the "judicious use of casuals" and newly hired PTFs. They call this assuring a "proper mixture of workhours associated with regular employees, new hires, and casual employees."

While directly profiting from the lower pay, the Postal Service also uses the two-and three-tier systems to split up the workers and undermine their resistance to the attacks of management. Casuals have no rights and are put in constant fear of firing should they even consider resisting management's abuses. And the Postal Service plays the casuals against the PTFs and the PTFs against the regulars to undermine resistance and force through new measures of overwork and other takebacks.

The two-and three-tier systems hurt all of the postal workers. We must fight to completely eliminate the two-tier wage system (a concession in the 1984 contract), abolish the three-tier employment system, and raise all postal workers to the status of full-time pay and benefits.

Ohio and Mich, field workers win organizing drive

On May 16, a meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan to celebrate the signing of a contract between cucumber field workers and both the Heinz Co. and its subcontracting pickle growers in Ohio and Michigan.

Over 1,000 cucumber field workers at 14 farms got the contract shortly after winning their organizing drive. Although the seasonal workers were scattered all over Florida and Texas following the cucumber harvest, 80% responded to a mail-in ballot and 72% voted in favor of being represented by the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). More of the field workers might have won union recognition, but ballots were stolen in at least two towns in Texas. Efforts are now underway to organize the remaining 13 Heinz cucumber farms. As well, a drive has been started to organize the 1,800 workers at the Vlassic farms in Ohio.

The victory at Heinz comes on the heels of the successful completion of an eight-year organizing drive among Campbell Soup's farm workers in the mid-west. Through sharp struggle, including picketing of fields and mass marches on Campbell's headquarters and its bankers, the Campbell workers won a contract in February, 1986. That struggle gave impetus to organize other farm workers around the mid-west.

GE workers strike Ohio and NY plants

On May 9, some 200 workers at GE's Mahoning Glass Works in Niles, Ohio went on strike against the suspension of a worker.

Another strike involving 5,000 workers at GE's Schenectady, N.Y. plant ended May 12 after five days. GE had laid off 350 workers. And nearly 1,000 workers were bumped or transferred to other jobs, many suffering pay cuts and demotions. Officials of Local 301 of the International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE) called the strike to protest the grievances over transfers. Unfortunately, the union leaders did not also fight for the jobs of the laidoff. It will take independent organization of the rank and file to build the struggle against layoffs.

Work-to-rule action of Boston transit workers

Transit workers in the Boston repair barns are engaged in an overtime ban and a work-to-rule action. They are fighting the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) management's attempt to unilaterally change seniority rules for overtime and vacation in the Green Line barns and against seniority violations in other barns. The managers want the right to assign overtime and vacation on the basis of favoritism and what saves the MBTA the most money.

The struggle forced shortages on the Red and Green Lines. And management was shorthanded when trying to open the new Orange Line. But with the struggle starting to hurt the MBTA, union leaders tried to arbitrarily call off the workers' action. They promised management most of what it wanted while the issues were being submitted to binding arbitration. But so many workers denounced the sellout that the union officials were forced to backtrack and reinstate the overtime ban.

(Based on the April 21 issue of the "Boston Worker," paper of the MLP-Boston Branch.)

Roving pickets hit Morrell meatpacking

[Photo: Two thousand five hundred workers rally in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in support of Morrell strikers, May 11.]

The 750 workers at the John C. Morrell and Co. meatpacking plant in Sioux City, Iowa have been on strike since March 9 against renewed concession demands. On May 1, they sent 12 picketers to the Morrell plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 80 miles away. The 2,400 Morrell workers in Sioux Falls refused to cross the picket line and their sympathy strike has turned into a major fight itself.

By 10:00 a.m. the morning of May 1, Morrell was already on radio and TV advertising for scab replacements at the South Dakota plant. On May 4, the following Monday, hundreds of strikers arrived early at the plant to form a mass, picket line to stop the entry of scabs hired over the weekend. That afternoon, the company obtained a restraining order limiting the number of pickets to 25.

Hundreds of strikers defied the injunction and again gathered the next morning to prevent scabs from entering. In retaliation, the police went on a rampage arresting strikers and even injuring a passing motorist.

On May 6, the governor of South Dakota ordered the plant access road closed to strikers -- only scabs were allowed on it. That evening, the police shot tear gas into a crowd of strikers.

Large crowds of strikers have been fighting running battles with scabs and guards. Hundreds are spending the nights outside the plant to impede the movement of the scabs. They are joined during the day by hundreds more. Scabs and company trucks have been pelted by rocks. At one point, 28 troopers from the South Dakota Highway Patrol were called out in full riot gear.

The courts, citing the defiance of the restraining order, issued an injunction which demanded: 1) the union must call a press conference urging all strikers to stay away from the plant; 2) the union must call a meeting of the work force to explain the new order, and a tape recording of this meeting must be given to the court; 3) the union must organize a patrol to police its own members in a one-mile radius around the plant and prevent any strikers from assembling. Failure to abide by the injunction would result in fines of $25,000 a day.

How did the officials of the powerful United Food and Commercial Workers UFCW) respond? They capitulated on every point, claiming they couldn't afford not to! To replace the fight against scabbing, the union bureaucrats proposed a consumer boycott of Morrell products.

But the workers' fight continues. On May 11, clashes on the picket line occurred over the hiring of 400 scabs. Later in the day, a mass rally of over 2,500 meatpackers and their supporters was held. Electrical workers, paper workers and a 70-car caravan of Sioux City Morrell workers also participated. On May 18, another protest rally of about 1,000 workers was held.

Other meatpackers are also continuing their struggles. The 2,800 workers at Iowa Beef Processors have entered the seventh month of their strike. Some 850 meatpackers at the Patrick Cudahy plant in Cudahy, Wisconsin are in the fifth month of their strike against concessions. Meanwhile, workers at Superior's Brand Meats in Massillon, Ohio have organized several demonstrations against the layoff of 400 of the 500 workers. The company used half a million dollars in federal job-training funds to open a nonunion plant in Salem, Ohio and most of the work from the Massillon plant has been transferred there.

[Photo: Three thousand workers rallied in support of striking Cudahy meatpackers, April 12.]

Workers protest planned plant closing

Sit-in at Windsor auto parts plant

Twenty workers brought a stop to production with a sit-in at a steering wheel factory in Windsor, Canada on Friday, May 8. As they held the plant for several days, other workers came out to support them. At least 40 joined a picket line outside. The workers were outraged at the plan to permanently close the Sheller-Globe parts plant in mid-July. They also protested the robbing of many of the workers' severance pay and pensions.

On May 11th, 60 Windsor police in riot gear stormed the factory and arrested 19 workers. Right behind the police, a truck arrived to pick up parts to deliver to AMC.

Sheller-Globe is an American auto parts company. It has other plants, including two steering wheel factories, in the U.S. On May 4 it told the Windsor workers that their plant would close in mid-July. The shutdown was timed to rob the severance pay from 119 of the plant's 200 workers. They will be one to two months short of the five years of work at the plant that is required to qualify for severance benefits. Another 50-60 workers will get no pension because they are a month or two short of the ten-year work requirement.

Four years ago the workers gave Sheller-Globe concessions on the promise that it would keep the plant open. Now, after slaving six and seven days a week, often at 10 and 12 hours a day, the workers are being cast aside like worn-out socks.

The workers decided to fight. But the leaders of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union sold them out. A national rep of the CAW belatedly joined the workers' sit-in to counsel restraint. Then, following the police raid and meetings with the company and the Ontario Minister of Labor in Toronto, the CAW leadership announced it would not oppose the closure.

For sit-ins to be firm and effective they must be carried out independently of the sellout union bureaucracy.

(From the May 26 "Detroit Workers' Voice," paper of the MLP-Detroit.)

At Case IH: Cutting half the jobs isn't '100 percent job security'

Granting concessions to the monopolies has never saved jobs. But the United Auto Workers (UAW) bigshots are again trying to put this fraud over on the workers.

In mid-May the UAW leaders gave up more concessions to Case IH (the merged Case and International Harvester farm and construction equipment monopoly). In return, they got a "Guaranteed Employment Levels" (GEL) program. This is being hailed as a model for job security in the upcoming contract talks at Ford and GM. Indeed, UAW President Owen Bieber exclaimed that GEL is a "breakthrough toward achieving the union's 30-year goal of 100% job security for its members.''

If "toward'' really means "away from'' or if "100% job security" really means "50% job elimination," then Bieber might be right. But it seems he is lying, as usual. It's up to the rank-and- file auto workers to unite with the Case IH workers to denounce this sellout and to fight to make the monopolies pay for real job security.

Over Half the Workers Lose Their Jobs

GEL covers less than half of the 7,500 workers at Case IH. The UAW leaders agreed to exclude from GEL protection 2,400 workers at three plants which are scheduled to close outright by 1988. The UAW leaders also agreed to exclude 1,600 workers who are currently laid off at the plants that are to be kept open. Yet, the UAW hacks claim the elimination of these 4,000 jobs is "100% job security."

Concessions to Eliminate More Jobs

The agreed-to concessions will cut still more jobs. Not only is there a three- year wage freeze, but the UAW leaders have also agreed to increase mandatory overtime, to allow more farming out of skilled work to subcontractors, and to gut protective work rules and seniority rights allowing for greater job combination. This will mean further cutbacks from the 3,500-job "guaranteed employment level" and more slavedriving of those still working.

Cutting Two Jobs for Every Worker Brought Back

GEL itself provides for the job elimination. It stipulates that with the further erosion of jobs through "attrition," Case IH need recall only one laid off worker for every two jobs that are cut. If all 3,500 workers under GEL were "attritioned" out of their jobs (firings, retirements, sick leaves, etc.), then Case IH could cut down to around 1,750 workers -- that is, 23% of its present work force. How's that for "100% job security"?

And workers recalled from layoff can be laid off again anytime within a half a year of work. According to UAW Vice-President Casstevens the recalled worker is protected from some layoffs only after he is "paid for 26 pay periods in a rolling 52-week period.... "

"Almost" Job Security for Those Covered by GEL

Then what job security is there for the 3,500 workers who are covered by GEL? We have not yet seen the details of the agreement and can't say for sure. But statements from UAW officials indicate there may be problems.

For example, UAW leaders claim there is protection from layoffs for "almost any reason." And "almost" means that loopholes have been left to let Case IH off the hook. What is more, the agreement is only for three years, In short, it appears that the UAW leaders have agreed to eliminate the jobs of more than half the Case IH workers to get only three years of "almost" job security for the rest. This is outrageous.

Rank-and-File Action Against Plant Closings and Layoffs

The UAW leaders worked to split the Case IH workers, promising job security to a few plants at the expense of shutting down other plants. But the rank and file didn't accept this contract willingly. While workers from one plant picketed the negotiations, workers from another plant went on a wildcat strike just before the agreement was reached. And despite all the lying promises and splitting tactics of the UAW hacks, a total of 44% of the Case IH workers voted against the sellout deal.

Auto workers must learn from this experience. The Case IH agreement is right in line with Bieber's plan for "orderly job elimination," announced at the UAW convention. It is up to the rank and file to expose this sellout plan and to get organized independently of the UAW bureaucrats.

No to plant closings! No to layoffs!

Guaranteed jobs or full pay and benefits for the laid-off!

Get ready for a united strike against the auto billionaires!

(From the May 26 "Detroit Workers' Voice," paper of the MLP-Detroit.)

Where's the job security from the UAW-GM contract ?

In 1982 the UAW leaders claimed that giving up concessions for the Guaranteed Income Stream (GIS) would bring auto workers real job security. Then in 1984 Bieber hailed concessions traded for the "innovative" job bank as the ultimate in job security. So what do these "protections" mean today?

Recently workers from GM's Hamilton, Ohio plant -- which is scheduled to be shut down -- told us that only 33 of the plant's 2,200 workers qualify for GIS. As well, only 577 of the workers qualify for the job bank. And these workers can be kicked out of the job bank if they refuse any job, no matter how bad, that GM offers. The big joke at the plant is that it is easier for the workers to win the lottery!

(From the May 26 "Detroit Workers' Voice," paper of the MLP-Detroit.)

150 picket GM headquarters against plant closings

The movement against plant closings and layoffs continued in May. On May 1, international working class day, 150 workers picketed at GM headquarters in Detroit. Then on May 9, about 250 workers attended a conference against plant closings in Flint. Further protest actions have been called for the coming months, including at the opening of the UAW's GM Bargaining Council Meeting on June 1 in Detroit At the rally at GM headquarters, many workers came from plants that are slated for closing this fall such as Detroit's Fleetwood body, Conner stamping, and GM's Norwood, Ohio plant. A Chevy worker came from as far away as Buffalo, New York. And Chrysler workers also showed their solidarity.

For two and a half hours the workers kept up a barrage of militant slogans: "Millions in executive pay, don't let them take our jobs away!" "No more whipsaw!" "Auto workers unite, get ready for a strike!" Workers also showed their contempt for the sellout policy of the UAW leadership by carrying handmade picket signs that declared,. "Concessions and trade war don't save jobs, strike the big three!" and "Bieber says, 'Orderly Job Elimination.' We say, STRIKE FOR JOBS!"

At the conference in Flint, the workers showed most enthusiasm for speakers who talked of taking militant action, like a national strike and a march on Washington, to defend jobs. The workers gave a standing ovation to the call: for solidarity with the Mexican workers and for fighting against the Simpson-Rodino anti-immigration law from a speaker who had just returned from a conference and May Day march in Mexico City.

Unfortunately, both the conference and the Detroit rally were dominated by a coalition of local union bureaucrats and other reformists, like the Workers World Party, who are trying to narrow down the movement and tie it to Democratic Party liberals.

The president of Local 15, Joe Wilson, tried to limit the Detroit action to begging GM chairman Roger Smith for a meeting to find an alternative to the closing of Fleetwood. But we all know that GM's only "alternative" is concessions and pitting workers at one plant against another.

The main theme at the Flint conference was to organize a campaign in the Michigan and Ohio legislatures to pass a temporary moratorium on plant closings, a bill sponsored by the liberal Democratic Party Congressman John Conyers. But we all know that the Democrats are more interested in helping the monopolies through trade war than in saving workers' jobs.

No, the only way to save jobs is for the workers to fight for them. This was the sentiment of the rank and file on May 1 as they repeatedly shouted, "GM, SHUT IT DOWN!" This is the sentiment that's been reflected in the strikes for job security over the last year at Ford's Hapeville, Ga. plant, at the Warren Tech Center, at the Delco plant in Kokomo, Ind. and at the three GM plants in Pontiac. This is the sentiment that's been shown by the thousands of workers who've come out for jobs rallies in Detroit and Flint and at the mass protest at the UAW Bargaining Convention in Chicago in April. It is this sentiment that must be organized into a powerful, fighting movement to defend the workers' jobs.


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


Another action against the CIA airline in Oakland


Oakland, California -- On May 9th, 250 demonstrators carried out another action to drive the CIA airline, Southern Air Transport, out of the Oakland airport.

Southern Air Transport is used by the CIA to ferry weapons and supplies to the U.S.-backed contras waging war on Nicaragua. Details of its dirty role have been brought out in the contragate revelations.

The May 9 protest was the third action organized by the Contragate Action Committee against the CIA airline. This action had a markedly militant character. This time, as before, the police blocked the demonstrators from going to the terminal building. But this did not go unchallenged. The activists stood up to the police with efforts to cross or do end-runs around the police lines.

A number of speakers also addressed the protesters, before and at the end of the action. This included a Viet Nam veteran who was active in the GI movement during the 60's. He had been the founding editor of FTA ("Fuck the Army") which was one of the prominent GI papers. Recalling the experience of the GI movement, he affirmed the importance of a militant stand against both the Republican and Democratic Parties; after all, it was the Democrats who presided over the war through most of the 60's.

In Guatemala, U.S. airlifts troops in war against guerrillas

On May 3 and 4, U.S. Army helicopters airlifted 300 Guatemalan troops into a remote part of that country to fight the guerrilla movement. The three CH47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters came from Honduras to make a dozen flights from near Guatemala City 120 miles north to a regional headquarters at Playa Grande.

U.S. Imperialism Has the Blood of 100,000 Guatemalans on Its Hands

The airlift, requested by Guatemalan president Vinicio Cerezo, is the most open cooperation between the U.S. and Guatemalan military in 10 years; but it follows from a long and bloody partnership.

In 1954 the CIA toppled the elected reformist government of Jacobo Arbenz and installed in power Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas who ushered in three decades of unspeakable atrocities against the Guatemalan people at the hands of pro-U.S. military regimes. In 1977 the U.S. government made a show of cutting off official military aid to Guatemala as it tried to pretend it had nothing to do with the wide-scale massacres of peasants that were going on. However, clandestine aid continued through a series of channels. In 1984 Reagan, with the approval of Congress, restored official aid alongside a scheme for elections.

Reagan and the Democrats Hail "Civilian Democracy" in Guatemala

In truth, the election of Cerezo in 1985 has only installed a civilian front man, behind which the military retains its power. But Reagan and Congress hailed the U.S.-engineered election of Cerezo as a big victory for "democracy" and "human rights." And now that there is a thin disguise over the brutal rule of the generals, the U.S. government is showering Guatemala with open military aid and friendship. In mid-May Cerezo held cordial talks with Reagan in Washington, and liberal Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) hosted a dinner for his delegation.

Guatemalan Toilers in Motion

The life of the Guatemalan masses has not changed under the Cerezo government. The government has refused to take action concerning the 35,000 people who have "disappeared" at the hands of the police and the army. And the murders continue. Even the extremely limited reforms promised by Cerezo have not been forthcoming. The rich and powerful continue to exploit and terrorize the working masses. And the economic crisis is placing an intolerable burden on the poor.

As Cerezo's promises turn out to be empty, discontent builds up among the toilers. The workers and peasants are turning to mass actions to press for their demands. Recovering from earlier setbacks, the guerrilla forces are again engaging the Army in the countryside. And strikes are developing with force in the cities. On May 6th, 40,000 striking government employees marched to the central plaza in Guatemala City to demand wage increases. The strikers included teachers and telephone, telegraph, hospital, mail and transport workers.

The unrest among the masses has the Cerezo regime concerned for its stability; that is why it is appealing to Reagan for help in suppressing the people. As well, Cerezo wants to show off that he is a loyal supporter of U.S. imperialism in the region.

The open entry of U.S. forces into the Guatemalan civil war comes as the latest escalation of U.S. military involvement in Central America. U.S. advisors are already in El Salvador backing up the war there against the revolutionary guerrillas. Meanwhile, the U.S. has surrounded revolutionary Nicaragua with a ring of fire, putting its CIA men and armed forces in Honduras and Costa Rica. These forces are also used against the domestic opposition in those countries. And now comes the airlift in Guatemala.

One more step in the new Indochina-style war being developed in Central America. One more reason for building up a 1960's-style protest movement here in the U.S. against another imperialist war.

Mexican rulers assist U.S. war exercises in Honduras

The left press in Mexico has revealed that, for the last year, U.S. Army helicopters ferrying troops and supplies to and from military maneuvers in Honduras have routinely refueled in Mexico.

Mexican papers reported that on February 23, for example, four U.S. Boeing Chinook helicopters landed at the civilian Heriberto Jara Corona airport in Veracruz. A U.S. embassy spokesman acknowledged that "four American helicopters did in fact land in Veracruz as part of the exercises in Honduras." The U.S. Defense Department mission at the embassy "processed a request and it was guaranteed...I would think by the Mexican defense department," said the spokesman. (In These Times, May 13-19,1987)

The Other Face of the Contadora "Peacemakers"

The Mexican rulers' support for the U.S.-Honduran maneuvers against Nicaragua shatters their pretense of standing for peace in Central America. Mexico is one of the original members of Contadora, a group of Latin American governments. The Contadora group has been involved in sponsoring negotiations on the war in Nicaragua under the pretext of seeking to end the U.S. military intervention there.

This posture by Mexico has been enthusiastically promoted by all sorts of reformist and opportunist forces. However, Marxist-Leninists in the U.S. and Nicaragua pointed out from the start that the Contadora group did not represent an opposition to the U.S. war against Nicaragua. Rather, Contadora has been only a diplomatic form for pressuring Nicaragua to capitulate to U.S. dictate. After all, the capitalist regimes of Mexico and the other Contadora countries are no friends of the Nicaraguan revolution. They exploit their own working people at home and fear that revolution anywhere in the region will inspire more revolutionary struggle.

Now facts emerge which show that the peace mask of the Mexican government has slipped. How can a force opposed to U.S. intervention be helping the transport of the very helicopters which are the instruments of the U.S.-backed war upon Nicaragua?

In the struggle against U.S. aggression in Central America, it is necessary to expose the two-faced diplomacy of the capitalist rulers of Mexico and the other Contadora countries.

CIA uses drug king to fabricate the lie of Nicaraguan drug running

In trying to justify his war against Nicaragua, one of Reagan's more sensational accusations against the Sandinistas has been that they are drug-runners.

The Lie

This accusation was first made in the summer of 1984, when administration- planted stories appeared in newspapers saying that top Nicaraguan leaders, including Humberto Ortega, minister of defense, were trafficking in cocaine with the help of the Soviets and Cubans.

This accusation was repeated by Reagan on March 16,1986, when he made a televised appeal for contra aid. In that broadcast Reagan showed a murky photograph and said, "I know that every American parent concerned about the drug problem will be outraged to learn that top Nicaraguan government officials are deeply involved in drug trafficking. This picture, secretly taken at a military airfield outside Managua, shows Federico Vaughan, a top aide to one of the nine commandants who rule Nicaragua, loading an aircraft with illegal narcotics bound for the United States."

Opponents of the U.S. war on Nicaragua have all along denounced these accusations as a lie. What's more, it was the opposite which was the case.

It is in fact Mr. Reagan's "freedom fighters," the contras, who have repeatedly been implicated in drug running.

Even the Wall Street Journal Admits It's a Lie

Now even the capitalist rulers have been forced to cast doubt on the Reaganite charges against Sandinista drug running. Jonathan Kwitny, a staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, did a follow-up investigation on Reagan's charges ("Doubts Rise on Report Reagan Cited in Tying Sandinistas to Cocaine," April 22,1987). What Kwitny found shows that this story, from the beginning, was one big fat lie. Naturally, the Journal, as the mouthpiece of the Wall Street billionaires, avoids such harsh words against their president, but that's the only possible conclusion from the facts it itself reports.

The Only Witness -- A Convicted Drug Dealer

The source for the story of Sandinista drug running turns out to be just one man, a convicted drug runner named Adler Barriman Seal. As a government informant, Seal related to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in June 1984 that he had flown a load of cocaine into Nicaragua and then out again. To implicate the Nicaraguan defense minister Humberto Ortega, Seal said he stopped at a military airfield. And he said that his contact in Nicaragua, Federico Vaughan, was an aide to Tomas Borge, minister of the interior.

It turns out, from Kwitny's investigation, that the airfield Seal says he landed at is in fact a civilian crop-dusting airstrip. As for Federico Vaughan, there was no "top aide" to the Sandinista leaders by that name, and there may be no such person at all. Furthermore, the DEA now admits that it has no evidence of any drugs coming out of Nicaraguan territory except for that one load flown by Seal in June 1984.

So Reagan's charge that "top Nicaraguan government officials are deeply involved in drug trafficking" boils down to' this: that one drug pilot, on one run from Colombia, made one stop in Nicaragua at an obscure airstrip.

A Frame-Up to Get a Lighter Sentence

But wait a minute. What was Seal doing in Nicaragua in the first place? Seal said he picked up the cocaine in Colombia. Why didn't he simply fly directly to the U.S.?

Kwitny's investigations revealed that Seal had a plan all along to frame the Sandinistas and to sell information about this to the Reaganites in exchange for leniency for his previous drug-running convictions.

Seal was facing a number of trials on drug charges and tried to make a deal with drug enforcement officials. They refused, so in March 1984 Seal went directly to Vice-President George Bush's office and offered to bring them evidence of Nicaraguan government complicity in the drug trade. They accepted Seal as an informant, and Seal's plane was fitted by the CIA with secret cameras.

Seal made his flight to Latin America and came back with a plane full of cocaine, some murky photographs, and a story of Nicaraguan government complicity. The Reagan administration leaked the story to the press shortly afterward, at a time when a contra funding bill was being debated in Congress.

Seal was well rewarded for his services. The DEA let him keep over $600,000 for his role in the Nicaragua deal, and got federal judges to drop the jail terms they had sentenced him to. In three cases Seal's sentence of a long jail term was reduced to a few months probation.

Part of the Terror Network

Seal was murdered last year, apparently by the Colombian drug lords he betrayed. That would seem to be the end of the story -- another sordid tale of drugs, murder and entrapment by a government informer. But the downing of Eugene Hasenfus' contra supply plane over Nicaragua and the emergence of the contragate scandal have opened up another side to this story.

It turns out that the frame-up of the Nicaraguan government was not the first time Seal worked with the CIA. Over the years Seal told many acquaintances of having made flights for the CIA. And though the CIA will not comment on these reports, more evidence is coming out about this.

Seal used to work for TWA, but he was fired in 1972 for smuggling explosives to Mexico. Seal testified that the explosives were for CIA-trained personnel trying to overthrow Fidel Castro in Cuba; the charges were dropped.

In 1982 and 1983 Seal told acquaintances about doing aerial reconnaissance of Nicaragua for the CIA. Some of the people involved in the contra supply network say that Seal was flying weapons into Central America, and flying drugs back to the U.S. And one pilot says he was recruited into the contra supply network by Seal.

When Eugene Hasenfus' contra supply airplane was shot down over Nicaragua, it turned out to be the same plane that Seal had previously owned, the plane in which he made his famous drug run from Nicaragua.

Without knowing the full details of Seal's career, the main outlines now become clear: Seal was a member in good standing of the U.S. imperialists' international terror network. Seal was a degenerate criminal, a crime prince who made more than $50 million smuggling drugs into the U.S. None of this, however, made him distasteful to the U.S. imperialist government. On the contrary, it made him all the more valuable.

Memorial actions condemn U.S.-contra war

The blood of Benjamin Linder is on Reagan's hands

On April 28 in a remote part of the Nicaraguan countryside, Benjamin Linder, an engineer from Oregon, along with two Nicaraguan co-workers, were murdered by the contras.

The contras ambushed Linder as he was busy at his work of supplying hydroelectric power to the peasants of the Cua Valley in Jinotega, near the Honduran border. Linder and his coworkers were attacked with grenades at a dam site, then machine gunned at point blank range.

Linder and his comrades joined the 16,000 Nicaraguan toilers and nine international solidarity workers who have given their lives in the struggle against U.S. aggression.

Linder's "Crime": He Brought light to Remote Villages

The contras targeted Linder's group because they were bringing in light, refrigeration and drinking water to the remote villages of the Cua Valley. The electricity served the region's night adult literacy program and provided refrigeration that was critical for the hospital.

Any step that improves the conditions of the masses is what the contra terrorists want to destroy in their crusade to restore a U.S. puppet dictatorship.

As Linder had pointed out, the contras have to resort to cowardly attacks on economic targets because they are without popular support and cannot take on the Nicaraguan armed forces. "Losing soldiers daily as they desert, the contras are desperate. Like any animal backed into a corner, they are fighting with all they have,'' Linder wrote his family.

Benjamin Linder was a courageous man. He knew that his life was in danger but refused to leave his work. As he told a friend last fall, "If I leave now, the contras have won.'' His refusal to give up was a final statement against the U.S. war on Nicaragua.

Reagan and Congress Are Behind These Murders

With Ben Linder's murder, you did not see the news media raising Cain over international terrorism. You did not find Reagan and the politicians in Washington screaming for retaliatory action.

That's because the contra hit men who ambushed Linder share responsibility for this murder with their commanders and treasurers in Washington, DC. After all, Reagan has declared these mercenaries his "brothers." And Congress has signed the checks that paid for the grenades and bullets. For this, both Republicans and Democrats are to blame.

What's more, the CIA is itself directly responsible for ordering the contras to hit so-called soft targets inside Nicaragua. Linder's murder is part of the implementation of this directive. And it is in the spirit of the guidelines in the infamous "murder manual" that the CIA wrote for the contras. The U.S. claims this manual was retracted, but facts tell a different story.

In a cruel twist of logic, Linder's assassins in the Reagan government blamed him for his death. They said that he put himself "in harm's way" by working in a "war zone." But who is it that has turned Nicaragua into a war zone? It is none other than the U.S. government and its mercenaries.

The contragate scandal has exposed to the whole world the U.S. government's leadership of the contra bands. The White House, the CIA, the military and the State Department are all knee deep in this dirty war.

Over the last few years, there was a lot of noise in Washington over "overt aid" and "covert aid," over "humanitarian aid" and "lethal aid." Contragate has brought out that the policy of support for the contras went on unabated, no matter what official Washington said in public.

And today, of course all the contra terrorism is sanctioned by Congress and considered fully legal.

An Attack on U.S. Solidarity With the Nicaraguan People

Linder's murder was not just another cowardly contra attack on nonmilitary targets in Nicaragua. It was also meant to strike a blow against solidarity between people in the U.S. and the Nicaraguan people.

Linder's murder was meant to deter Americans from going to Nicaragua to extend their solidarity with the Nicaraguan people, as thousands have done since 1979. The contras broadcast in El Cua that Linder's execution is an "example" to all future solidarity workers. Meanwhile, here in the U.S. the FBI steps up its harassment of Americans who have returned from Nicaragua.

Linder's Murder Spurs Actions Against U.S. Aggression

Instead of intimidation, Linder's death has spurred an outpouring of anger against the U.S. aggression. Memorial actions in over 25 U.S. cities condemned the aggression that has martyred Linder and thousands of Nicaraguan workers and peasants.

On April 29th, 1,500 people marched in Linder's home town of Portland, Oregon, where his father and brother denounced the U.S. government for his murder.

In Seattle, hundreds of activists marched May 1 and May 10 in and around the University of Washington. Linder graduated from there and had been an activist on campus. Commemorating Linder, they demanded that the CIA recruiters be barred from campus.

On May 1 a militant demonstration took place at the Salvadoran consulate in San Francisco. This action had originally been planned for the Monterey-Carmel area where Salvadoran president Duarte was scheduled to visit. When Duarte canceled on account of the action, the activists targeted the consulate instead. Linder's death three days earlier deepened the anger of the activists, who took over the streets of downtown San Francisco and flooded 200-strong right into the consulate.

Meanwhile, 12 American engineers immediately stepped forward to complete Linder's work in Nicaragua. And Nicaraguan co-workers are refusing to budge from their projects.

Avenge Ben Linder!

Ben Linder died at the hands of contras bought and paid for by "our own" government. Let us mark his death by stepping up the struggle against this government! Let us help the Nicaraguan workers and peasants to defeat the U.S. intervention!

[Photo: March at the University of Washington in Seattle salutes Ben Linder, May 10.]

Boston activists denounce "Solid Shield"


Last month, the Pentagon launched the largest military exercises to date in Central America. Called "Solid Shield," they are a joint rehearsal with the Honduran military for an invasion of Nicaragua.

Reagan has ordered these maneuvers. And no one's heard a peep from the Democratic bigwigs in protest. But in various parts of the country, activists have taken to the streets to condemn these dangerous war games.

On May 16th, 125 people demonstrated against "Solid Shield" in Boston. They rallied in South Station and marched to the Barnes induction processing building in South Boston. A large police presence there was confronted by a militant picket.

The MLP had a vigorous contingent at the protest. They sang a new rap song, the Contragate Rap, and led the shouting of militant slogans.

The marchers, reflecting bitter anger against Reagan and disgust with Congress, shouted: Reagan, Pentagon, Hands Off Nicaragua! Reagan, Congress, Hands Off Nicaragua! In the spirit of internationalist solidarity, they shouted: Down with Reagan's Contra War! Support the Workers and Poor!

When the microphone was open for speeches, a supporter of the MLP who was on the solidarity tour to Nicaragua last summer spoke. He talked about the workers and poor peasants of Nicaragua fighting and sacrificing, and emphasized the need to fight here at home against U.S. imperialism.

Contras' "big offensive" is already in retreat

On May 10, the Nicaraguan people scored an important military victory over Reagan's contra invaders.

In a 36-hour battle near Las Amacas, close to the Honduran border, Nicaraguan soldiers destroyed a contra camp which had been the command post for an area under contra control. Fifty- two contras were killed and 800 were chased back into Honduras.

A spokesman for the FDN, the main contra group, admitted that the contras were forced to retreat from this area.

In the last few months, there has been a lot of swagger by the contras and their American backers about a big spring offensive. Of course, this offensive hasn't really had much to boast about other than cowardly acts like the murder of American volunteer Ben Linder, attacks on power pylons, etc.

But the smashing of their base on May 10 may have broken the back of the spring offensive altogether. Because the contras have failed to hold this territory, they have been unable to establish a land bridge from their Honduran bases to supply their units to the south and southeast. And now the rainy season is beginning, which makes things much worse for them.

Reagan arms Honduras with jet fighters

On May 12 the Reagan administration announced it will provide the Honduran government with ten F-5E advanced jet fighters and two F-5F trainers. This $12 million gift to the hosts of the CIA's anti-Nicaraguan contras is another dangerous step in the development of the U.S. war in Central America.

U.S. and Honduras Rehearse an Invasion of Nicaragua

The U.S. and Honduras are now carrying out their largest joint military exercises to date, in which they are rehearsing an invasion of Nicaragua. Fifty thousand U.S. troops are involved in the maneuvers, code-named Operation Solid Shield. The Honduras part of the exercise, Pegasus '87, is deploying 7,000 U.S. marine, army, navy and air force personnel on Honduras' Caribbean coast, near the Nicaraguan border.

During the exercises the U.S. is introducing its jet fighters and Airborne Warning and Control Systems aircraft (AWACS) into Honduran skies for the first time, as air cover for the ground and sea maneuvers. When the training exercises are over, Honduras will have its own advanced jet fighters for real strikes against Nicaragua.

A Pretext for a Direct U.S. Attack on Nicaragua?

Besides beefing up the militarization of Honduras, the supply of F-5E fighters may have a more immediate aim.

The Reagan administration has repeatedly threatened that if Nicaragua gets advanced military aircraft, that would be sufficient reason for U.S. strikes against Nicaragua.

By giving F-5E planes to Honduras, Reagan wants to force Nicaragua to respond. (Presently Nicaragua has no jet fighters.) Of course, Nicaragua has every right to get any kind of aircraft it wants. It has been encircled by huge military forces, both of the U.S. and its Central American reactionary allies. This ring of fire is not for having chats over coffee with the Nicaraguans but for only one reason: military aggression.

Reagan ups the ante against Nicaragua, and if Nicaragua responds in self-defense, that becomes reason for U.S. aggression. This is the criminal logic of the Reaganite warmongers!

But one can't expect reason from the likes of the U.S. imperialists. It is no secret that for some time the U.S. government has been looking for a pretext with which to launch a full-scale invasion of Nicaragua.

The workers of the U.S. must be vigilant. With the "Solid Shield" war games, with the awarding of F-5E fighters to Honduras, with the renewed campaign to drum up public opinion behind the contras, the Reaganites are up to no good.

[Photo: Demonstration in Honduras against the U.S. military presence and the CIA's contra army.]

CIA ordered the bodies burned to hide contra-supply network

Two ex-contra leaders (Eden "Commander Zero" Pastora and his top lieutenant Carol Prado) have declared that the CIA ordered the mutilation of corpses after a U.S. contra-supply DC-3 crashed in Costa Rica three years ago. Seven men died in the crash. To prevent their identification, the CIA ordered the bodies burned and mutilated, including pulling the teeth and taking out the jawbones. A CIA spokesman, Kathy Pherson, would only say that "That is not the way we do our job." Presumably she meant that "Talking about this is not the way we do our job," since it is hard to see why the agency which put out the famous murder manual for the contras would see any moral scruples in defacing dead bodies. Can they love dead bodies more than live ones?

Cocaine frame-up -- dirty tricks from contragate

Congress is carrying on hearings on the contragate scandal, but this hardly means that the U.S. government is going to reform itself. Over the last few years there have been many break-ins of offices of groups opposed to U.S. policy in Central America. And the cover-up continues, with harassment of opponents of the CIA war against Nicaragua.

In mid-May the government began trying to arrest the two journalists, Tony Avirgan and Martha Honey, who had exposed the CIA-contra plot to bomb the U.S. embassy in Costa Rica, kill U.S. ambassador Lewis Tambs, and blame it on the Sandinistas, thus fabricating a pretext for an invasion. These two journalists have also launched a lawsuit against a number of government officials and contras in connection with a series of bombings and other murderous acts.

So the U.S. government has responded with a crude plot. When one of the journalists' secretaries, Carmen Araya, went to fetch a parcel at the post office, she found that she was being set up. The parcel had the return address from "T. Borge, Managua, Nicaragua." T. Borge is one of the Sandinista officials who the Reaganites pretend is dealing in drugs. (See accompanying article on the collapse of this Reaganite lie.) The package was immediately seized by local narcotics agents who opened it, and lo and behold found a lot of cocaine and a letter asking Honey and Avirgan to sell it for them.

The police arrested Araya. They also arrested one of the lawyers of the "Christie Foundation," which is working with Honey and Avirgan on the lawsuit against the government.

No wonder the press is rehabilitating Nixon. This is not only an example of justice, Reagan-style, but of dirty tricks, Nixon-style. You can get rid of your opponents by mailing them drugs and intercepting it. But don't wait for Congress to get indignant over this new contragate scandal. It is too busy praising the long years of service of the various contragate criminals.

What did the Democrats have in mind with the Boland amendment?

One of the main points of the Iran-contra hearings in Congress is whether the Reagan administration violated the Boland Amendment's restrictions on backing for the contras.

It was in December 1982 that Congress first passed the famous Boland amendment restricting the use of funds against Nicaragua. Then, as now, Reagan's aggression against Central America was highly unpopular. The Democrats paraded the Boland Amendment before the American people as the end of Reagan's dirty war against Nicaragua.

But the war escalated anyway. The Iran-contra scandal has revealed that the contras continued getting U.S. funds, and the Reagan administration continued to direct these murdering, drug-running, Somoza-loving fiends.

In fact, the Boland Amendment was designed with a thousand loopholes. It allowed the continuation of the war against Nicaragua, but only restricted it somewhat. The "will of Congress" was not to help the Nicaraguan people, but to nudge the Reagan administration to combine diplomacy with force in attacking Nicaragua.

If the Reagan administration has violated the Boland Amendment anyway, it is only a sign of how crude this gang of militarist adventurers is. It shows that bloodthirsty war and counterrevolutionary diplomacy is not waged in a clean, sanitary, well-reasoned fashion.

Reagan's new excuse for violating the Boland Amendment is classic. Allegedly nothing can restrict the will of the President. The Reaganites have put forward that he, as King Reagan, can do whatever he pleases, simply because he is President. They have made a great discovery that foreign policy is allegedly the exclusive concern of the President. This is not so much directed at Congress as at the masses: they shouldn't forget that their only right is to be cannon fodder for whatever the Pentagon and the White House cook up.

And once again Congress has been happy to extend the hand of friendship to Reagan. The congressmen and investigators have regarded Reagan's new baloney as a serious point. They have begun serious deliberation on Reagan's absurd quibble that references to any "agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities" don't apply to the White House and its agencies. Why, there is even supposed to be doubt that the highest U.S. intelligence body, the National Security Council, is an "agency or entity involved in intelligence activities." Congress would prefer to surrender on one point after another than to do anything that would jeopardize the pressure on Nicaragua.

The history of the Boland Amendment shows that the only thing that can provide support for the Nicaraguan people is the struggle against imperialism and solidarity with the revolutionary struggle. It shows that the "bold" language of liberal resolutions are just a snare for the innocent. It shows that anything that subordinates this solidarity to the maneuvers of the liberals in Congress is nothing but real aid for the military buildup and diplomatic offensives of U.S. imperialism.

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[Graphic: Apartheid no! REVOLUTION yes!]

General strike against whites-only elections

In early May, millions of black workers and students rose up in protest against the May 6 whites-only elections in South Africa. Apartheid always means suffering for the black and other oppressed masses. But here was an added insult: the spectacle of the white ruling class picking its latest whip hands while the black people, the vast majority, are not even allowed to vote. Across the country, the oppressed "voted'' in the streets against this charade.

Massive Workers' Strike

The biggest protest was a two-day general strike on May 5 and 6. Organizers estimate that 85% of the black urban work force took part. And in the hotbeds of struggle in the Cape region, like East London and Port Elizabeth, virtually all black workers participated in the strike and continued it for a third day.

There were dramatic results. The commuter trains and buses which carry the black wage slaves to work in the white cities were nearly empty. In major cities like Johannesburg, businesses were forced to close. The united power of black labor had again brought the wheels of South African industry and commerce to a grinding halt.

Students Join In

Thousands of students also joined in the general strike, boycotting classes. In fact student protest against the racist elections went on for the whole week before the general strike. On April 30th, 300 students at the University of Witswatersrand in Johannesburg held a demonstration to denounce the elections and to celebrate May Day. Riot police broke up the action with tear gas. But the militant students refused to be intimidated.

On May 4th, 3,000 white, mixed-race, and black protesters rallied on the campus. The police charged the demonstration, hurling tear gas and beating demonstrators. The students fought back by hurling rocks at the racist cops. One hundred and twenty arrests were made in this confrontation.

Meanwhile at the University of Cape Town, students and police clashed for four straight days at the beginning of the month. At the University of the Western Cape, black and white students also clashed with police on April 30. And it was during this student protest in the Cape that the police for the first time used birdshot against white students.

Rebellion in Durban Townships

As well, the masses in the townships around Durban went into action. Burning barricades were set up in the streets. And on several occasions the oppressed battled the police.

The Black Masses Will Abolish Apartheid

The two-day general strike shows the potential strength of the black working class. Today they can paralyze South African society to protest the slave masters' elections. One day they will rise up at the head of all the insurgent people and smash the whole racist setup.

The whites-only elections show the racists won't reform themselves

On May 6, the racist South African rulers held their elections travesty. Only whites, who number about five million, could vote or run for office. Totally excluded was the vast majority of the population, the 26 million blacks, along with another four million mixed-race and Asians. This is the ugly reality behind the trappings of "democracy'' in South Africa.

In these elections, the ruling National Party consolidated its control of the white chamber of parliament. (There are separate, powerless chambers for mixed-race and Asian people.) Racist South African President P.W. Botha, leader of the National Party, boasted that the elections were a mandate for his party's policy. Meanwhile the super-racist Conservative Party gained ground in the elections as well. The Progressive Federal Party (PFP), the main liberal party among the supporters of white minority rule, lost several seats.

In these elections, there was no party standing for majority rule for South Africa. Those whites opposing white minority rule were represented not by the parliamentary parties, but by student demonstrations, the anti-conscription movement, and other protest actions.

The Western imperialist press and others are upset with the results of the elections because they expose the myth of the gradual abolition of apartheid under racist rule. South Africa is not headed for a gradual readjustment that will leave the black masses satisfied to toil forever for the benefit of rich overlords. Instead both the ruling classes and the masses are preparing for a big confrontation. The added parliamentary seats for the National Party and the growth in votes of the ultra-racist Conservatives has brought home the truth that the racist rulers will defend themselves through fire and sword. Only the revolution of the oppressed can end the racist system.

The Racists Remain In Crisis

While the elections have shown the bankruptcy of expecting the racists to reform, this does not mean that all is well among the white ruling class. Botha and co. want to keep white minority rule forever. But his euphoria over the elections cannot hide the crisis gripping the South African rulers. Botha's party may have won a few more seats in parliament. But the powerful struggle against apartheid continues to pound away at the apartheid system. And this struggle has set the ruling class feuding over how best to preserve white rule.

The election campaign was a major exposure of the rifts developing among the racists. The ruling National Party ran on a platform of harsh repression against the anti-apartheid movement combined with some empty promises of reform. While Botha talked of reform, he emphasized that the National Party would do nothing to seriously alter the racist system. His main campaigning consisted of launching military raids on neighboring countries and displaying the big stick against the black masses at home. But the National Party has in fact failed to quell the struggle. Indeed its repression and false promises have poured oil on the fire of revolt.

An Ultra-Right Split from the National Party

The failure of the National Party to crush the anti-apartheid masses led to a section of this party splitting away a few years ago, in 1983, to form the Conservative Party. The Conservatives' election campaign claimed that the National Party was not brutal enough in their repression. They denounced even the phony reforms of Botha to be heresy against apartheid tradition. They boasted that they stood for the original apartheid program of the National Party, and they advocated exiling all blacks to separate states.

The Liberal PFP and the New Nats

Meanwhile the liberal PFP advocated that what was needed were some reforms in inessential features of white minority rule. In this way they hoped to pacify the masses while preserving white minority rule and the profits of the white bourgeoisie. The PFP has influence among those whites who do oppose minority rule, but its strategy is to advise the racist National Party on how to avoid revolution.

And the election was highlighted by still another split in the National Party, this time from its more liberal wing. Some of the so-called "New Nats'' ran as independents against National Party candidates. The New Nats admitted to many points of agreement with the National Party, including support for the big stick of the "state of emergency'' and opposition to "one-man, one-vote.'' This is not surprising considering that only a little while ago the New Nats were major figures in the National Party. On the other hand the New Nats complained that the National Party refused to develop enough ties to sellout elements among the black people. They also moaned that the Nationals were unwilling to abolish some of the present apartheid statutes in favor of a more subtle form of segregation.

Clearly the elections campaign demonstrated that the white ruling class was groping for some way to turn back the struggle against apartheid.

Decline of the Vote for the National Party

Botha has tried to create the impression that the election results show everyone is behind his National Party. But this is not true. The results confirm the splintering of opinions among the racists. True, the Nationals gained seven seats and now control 133 of the 178 parliamentary seats. But the popular vote of the Nationals has been steadily declining. In 1977 they got 66% of the vote. In the 1981 elections they got 57%, and this year they only got 52%.

The Conservative Party ultra-racists took away a good deal of the normal National Party vote. And even though the so-called "reformers" of the PFP and the New Nats did not win many seats, they too made trouble for the National Party. For example, New Nat Denis Worrall only lost by 39 votes to government minister Chris Heunis who, prior to the elections, had been widely considered as the successor to President P.W. Botha.

The election results have also, for the time being, caused a new squabble between the racists and their loyal lackey, Chief Buthelezi. Buthelezi is afraid that Botha won't now give enough sops to black sellouts like himself. In particular he is worried that a "power-sharing" scheme to install Buthelezi as a black front man for the racists in Natal province will be blocked. This is why Buthelezi says he is "totally appalled" at the election results.

The election results have by no means done away with the crisis among the racists. And the further development of the struggle is bound to cause further crisis.

Elections Show That Revolution Is Necessary

The elections show once again that there is no way that the racists are going to gradually abolish their own system. The racists aren't becoming more reasonable, but are preparing for a big showdown.

The Reaganites, however, are supporters of the racist system. So after this election they began pontificating that the problem was not South African racism, but sanctions. They excused Botha for stomping on the black masses, claiming that this was only because the anti-apartheid solidarity movement around the world and the token American sanctions allegedly forced the South African racists further to the right. With this rhetoric, the Reaganites try to give their own support for the racists an "anti-apartheid" cover.

But the solidarity movement with the struggle in South Africa must not aim at the fraud of softening the heart of the racists, but at supporting the revolutionary movement against the racists. Throughout the election, the apartheid lords complained bitterly of the world condemnation of apartheid. The elections show the need to step up the pressure on South Africa.

The elections also showed the absurdity of the idea of the Democratic Party liberals that sanctions will convince the racists to gradually do away with apartheid-. The Congressional liberals themselves say that their aim is to avoid revolution in South Africa. In reality, they merely want to nudge Botha toward some minor reforms because they recognize that repression alone hasn't ended the anti-apartheid struggle. For this reason, the liberals support only mild sanctions, so as not to help burn down the whole racist edifice in South Africa.

The real lesson of the elections is not that putting pressure on the racists is futile. It is that a true stand against apartheid means supporting the revolutionary struggle of the black and other oppressed masses.

Photo: Rally of striking transport workers in Johannesburg.]

[Photo: Black and white students demonstrate against apartheid in Durban, South Africa.

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The World in Struggle


Jewish and Arab students protest tuition hikes in Israel

This May saw the appearance of something unprecedented in Israel: a mass struggle by Jewish and Arab students protesting together against a hike in tuition fees. The event is all the more encouraging when one considers that the raise in tuition affects only Arabs; the Jewish students actually received a cut in tuition. Nonetheless, they demonstrated in support of their fellow students.

The student demonstrations were triggered by a decision of the Israeli cabinet on May 17. University students are currently faced with high tuition costs -- $1,380 per year. The cabinet's solution: raise tuition to $1,550 for any student who has not served in the Israeli armed forces, and reduce it to $1,050 for those who have.

This decision was nothing but a thinly-veiled racist attack on Arab students, of whom there are 4,000 among Israel's 75,000 university students. Israeli law demands universal compulsory military service from all Jewish youths. Arab youths, on the other hand, are not required to serve in the armed forces, and very few of them volunteer, since it means being used as cannon fodder against their own brothers and sisters in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon, etc. So the cabinet decision means in effect that Arab students would now pay 50% more in tuition than Jewish students.

The very next day Israeli campuses erupted in protest. Many students wore badges around campus saying "$1,550: Second Class Citizen." And some Arab students wore yellow badges similar to the ones the Nazis forced Jews to wear. At Hebrew University in Jerusalem there was a mass rally of 2,000 Jewish and Arab students. The protesters chanted slogans: "Equality to Jews and Arabs in education!" "Down with a racist society!" "Stop the apartheid policies!" "No, no, fascism must go!" The protests were so unprecedented that the administrations of Hebrew University and Haifa University announced they would not carry out the cabinet decision.

The attempt to discriminate against Arabs in college tuition is however only the tip of the problem. Israel was established by the zionist bourgeoisie on the basis of national oppression of the Palestinian people. Millions of Palestinians live in forced exile. Those within Israeli territory are forced into second-class citizenship at every turn. Like apartheid in South Africa, zionism fosters a racist, segregated society.

It is refreshing to hear of Jewish Israeli youths lending support to the struggle of Arab students. It would be all the more welcome if it were to prove to be a step towards more such developments. The united struggle against discrimination in education needs to be taken forward to a struggle against the entire oppressive system of zionist rule. A democratic and nonreligious Palestine, where Arabs and Jews have equal rights, is essential to end the national oppression of the Palestinian people.

[Photo: Two thousand Arab and Jewish students protest against tuition hikes at Israeli universities.]

Resurgence of student militancy in South Korea

Last month a volcano of protest erupted in South Korea. The occasion for the protests was the anniversary of the Kwangju rebellion of 1980. In that rebellion, residents of the southern city of Kwangju rose up against the military regime which was then consolidating power. The people successfully drove the forces of repression out of the city. The rebels held power in the city for nine days.

May 18 was the anniversary of the uprising, and in the preceding week there were massive protests across the country. The target of the protests was the U.S.-supported dictatorship of General Chun Doo Hwan, who came to power in 1980. Chun heads up a government of iron-fisted repression, which allows free rein for ruthless exploitation of the Korean workers by local and foreign capitalists.

This year's Kwangju anniversary protests turned out be particularly intense and went on for days. In April Chun had scrapped talks with the liberal opposition for constitutional reform. This exposed the bankruptcy of the liberal promises of peaceful change. And the radical students seized this opportunity to organize militant actions against the dictatorship, in which they successfully mobilized tens of thousands.

Massive Police Mobilization Fails to Stop Student Protests

For the week before May 18 Chun put all 120,000 members of the police force in South Korea on full alert. Every policeman in the country was mobilized into riot control. But even though the police were able to dam up the protests to some extent, they did not prevent them from occurring.

The student demonstrations began on May 11. But the first large action was on May 14, when 10,000 students protested on 34 campuses. Their demonstrations were attacked by 40,000 policemen, who arrested a total of 2,000 students. At Chunnam University in Kwangju 1,500 students clashed with riot police while chanting "Punish the masterminds of the Kwangju massacre!" This massacre had occurred when army paratroopers retook the city of Kwangju in May 1980 from the rebels, killing hundreds.

Again on May 15 about 10,000 students demonstrated on 29 campuses. Students and police clashed on campuses in Seoul and Kwangju.

Police Try to Bottle Up Protests

Unable to stop the storm of protests, on May 16 the police switched tactics to simply trying to bottle up the demonstrations and keep them confined to the campuses. On the morning of the 16th riot police backed by armored cars surrounded all the university campuses. The city police were backed up by reinforcements trucked in from rural areas.

The students organized demonstrations again on the 16th. Columns of students formed up on campuses in Seoul and other cities and then tried to break through the police lines to carry the protests into the cities. Running battles were fought as the students charged at police lines chanting "Down with the military dictatorship!" and "Down with the violent police!" At Seoul National University 1,000 students fought a standing two-hour battle with the police. While the police fired tear gas at them, the students responded with gasoline bombs and rocks and shouted "Drive out U.S. imperialists who support military dictatorship!"

It is noteworthy that the police were desperate to keep the student protests separated from the working masses in the cities. In fact the government is trying desperately to keep the radical students away from the working class, for they know that the linkage between radical students and a heavily exploited, dissatisfied working class could spell their doom.

For their part, the most advanced students recognize the need to link up with the working class. Many students go directly from the campus student movement to factory jobs, to assist in organizing the working class for struggle. Recognizing the dangerous implications of this, the Chun regime last year made it illegal for job applicants to lie about their past experience and education on job applications. This was a response to the fact that, to get into the factories, radical students do not list their academic credentials when applying for jobs.

Clashes on May 18

Sunday, May 17 was a relatively quiet day; there were only two events of note. Police in Kwangju attacked a photo exhibit of victims of the Kwangju massacre. The exhibit opened on May 16 and quickly became a center for displaying anger against the military dictatorship. The exhibit was run by mothers of the 1980 victims, but this did not prevent the police from saturating the exhibit with tear gas.

In another event, 500 radical students formed up in downtown Seoul for a demonstration, but were immediately attacked by riot police. The students hurled rocks and bricks at the police and charged at them with sticks.

But if the 17th was "quiet," the 18th more than made up for it. Throngs of protesters battled police all across the country. Several policemen were set afire by firebombs thrown by the demonstrators as the students tried to break out of the campuses and march in the streets. The police charged at the students in waves and fired volleys of tear gas and pepper gas.

The slogans of the demonstrators called for a new government. Reflecting different levels of consciousness, some protesters called for the removal of Chun and immediate elections, while others yelled, "Overthrow the dictatorship by revolution!" In many demonstrations the students shouted, "Bring down the regime!" At rallies speakers called for the fall of the government and called on protesters to follow the example of the Kwangju uprising.

Demonstrations continued into May 19, when 8,000 protested on 39 campuses. At Kyunghee University in Seoul 300 students battled the police for two hours, hurling rocks and shouting "Down with dictatorship!"

At last report near the end of May, Korean students were still organizing more actions against the Chun dictatorship.

[Photo: Demonstrators defy police charges and tear gas as they prepare to burn dictator Chun Doo Hwan in effigy.]

Behind the May events in South Korea:

While the liberal opposition cringes, radical students cry, 'Down with the dictatorship!'

In May radical student activists in South Korea again went on the offensive against the dictatorship of Chun Doo Hwan. This is a refreshing development. During the fall and winter, the liberal capitalist opposition had managed to cool down the mass struggle. And voices in the U.S. media began to boast that the liberals had defeated the emerging radicals in South Korea.

In this article we review some of the events preceding the recent demonstrations. We will see how talks between the liberals and the Chun regime ended in fiasco, creating a vacuum which the radicals stepped into. At the present time, militant student protests have again emerged as the most visible opposition to the dictator. Of course, the balance between the liberal and radical trends is far from settled. The liberals enjoy support from sections of the capitalists and will make new efforts to regain the center of opposition activities.

A number of important stands divide the liberals from the student leftists. The leftists follow a policy of militant confrontation against the forces of the dictatorship, as opposed to the meek hand wringing and begging by the liberals. The radicals also target U.S. imperialism as a force propping up the Chun tyranny, while the liberals hope to beg the U.S. government to switch its support over to them. As well, in contrast to the liberals, the radical students do not call for constitutional revision. They demand that the present regime should be pulled down. Many among them openly call for a revolution against Chun.

It is the radical position which holds the greatest potential for building an effective movement against the tyranny. We applaud every step gained by them over the liberals.

The Charade of Negotiations

For some time, the Chun regime went through a charade of negotiations for constitutional reform, pretending to democratize the regime. The liberals waxed enthusiastic about this process.

The liberals united around the New Korea Democratic Party (NKDP) focused their demand on a revision of the election system. Presently elections take place indirectly through an electoral college which heavily favors Chun's party, the Democratic Justice Party. Chun agreed in words to negotiate revision of the constitution.

While talks went on, the NKDP also tried to organize mass demonstrations to pressure Chun into making concessions. A section of people were taken in by the promises of reform, so the NKDP for a while was able to mobilize some mass support.

For example, on March 3 the NKDP organized a "grand march against torture and for democratization." This was an attempt to exploit the outrage against police torture that came up in late January and February after the police murder of Park Jong Chul, a student activist. About 10,000 people showed up for the protest -- college students, politicians, Buddhist monks, and businessmen on their lunch hour.

Chun Is in No Mood for Any Demonstrations

But to the tyrant Chun, talks with the liberals was one thing, but demonstrations -- even ones dominated by liberals -- was quite another. Before the March 3 rally could get going very well, mobs of police charged in. There were 25,000 riot police, and they waded in with clubs and shields and gas masks, lobbing tear gas grenades ahead of them. The liberal protesters, unprepared for such a confrontation, either scattered or were badly beaten.

However, the NKDP's leader, Kim Dae Jung, exulted in the pacifist nature of the rally. He said, "We intended to have a peaceful rally and we did. Last time, on February 7, even though most people kept a peaceful attitude, some students' attitudes were radical. But now I think our moderate and nonviolent attitude has taken root. I am confident that in the future we can have a peaceful rally to get support, especially middle- class support." At the February 7 rally the police had similarly tried to disperse the demonstrators, but crowds of student activists refused to accept this and fought a battle with police.

This illustrates well the NKDP plan: mobilize "middle-class" elements, by which they mean professionals and businessmen, to pressure the Chun regime into electoral reforms. And make sure to exclude student radicals, who are seen as an obstruction to the liberal scheme.

Unfortunately for Kim, Chun refused to be pressured into change. And the well-to-do elements Kim is so anxious to mobilize have not been enthusiastic about going into the streets repeatedly to get their heads bashed.

So after March 3 the liberals were not able to organize any sizable demonstrations, and initiative began to pass back into the hands of the student radicals. For example, on March 20 students at Seoul National University held a rally of 600; when police swept onto campus to disperse it, the students responded with rocks and firebombs.

Liberals Go Into Crisis

The NKDP's plan of pressuring Chun into change began to fall apart as Chun refused to budge in negotiations, and his riot police refused to allow the supporters of NKDP to organize any public displays of support for the reforms they wanted.

The NKDP went into crisis. In early spring the president of the party, Lee Min Woo, agreed to certain of Chun's proposals in the negotiations. But the main ideological leaders of the party, Kim Dae Jung and Kim Young Sam, refused. In early April the NKDP split, and the Kims founded a new party, the Reunification Democratic Party.

Chun Spurns the Liberals

Chun took advantage of the split to declare that the opposition was in chaos and the Kims intransigent, and so he was cutting off negotiations. On April 13 Chun declared the end of negotiations. He said there will be an election late this year, but it will take place according to the old electoral-college system. "Constitutional reform" would be put off until after the 1988 Olympics to be held in South Korea.

At the same time, Chun launched a new crackdown on the opposition. He surrounded Kim Dae Jung's house with 500 riot policemen, who have been stationed there since. The police built a wall around Kim's house to prevent him from talking to newsmen. And Chun arrested another NKDP legislator for the crime of advocating reunification with North Korea.

Radical Students Take Center Stage

This situation invigorated the student radicals. With the liberals at an impasse, the radical students decided to seize the opportunity and push forward a renewed wave of militant protest.

Immediately after Chun's April 13 announcement, student leaders set in motion plans for protests on April 16. The night before the protests, Chun's police raided 32 campuses and confiscated tons of literature and protest placards. Nonetheless there were large demonstrations on the 16th involving 32,000 students at 24 campuses. The main slogan was "Down with dictatorship!" On some campuses the students fought pitched battles with the police.

This protest took place right in the middle of Student Uprising Week, an annual celebration in South Korea that commemorates the 1960 student rebellion that overthrew dictator Syngman Rhee. Another protest took place on April 19 at the culmination of Student Uprising Week, at a ceremony honoring 200 students who died in the uprising. After the ceremony, over 1,000 students moved into the streets chanting "Overthrow the military dictatorship through a people's revolution" and "Drive out the Americans." Police launched waves of tear gas at them and savagely attacked the students, after which many were arrested.

Student radicals followed this up with a demonstration on April 23 in honor of Park Jong Chul, the student killed by police torture in January. In an action quite different from the pacifist prayer meetings organized by the liberals, 700 students fought police for three hours at Seoul National University. On the same day, anti-government protests were organized on 14 campuses.

And then came the May protests marking the anniversary of the Kwangju Uprising.

Linking Up With the Workers Is Vital for the Future of the Movement

The radicalized Korean students have shown great courage and determination in their fight against the Chun dictatorship. They are an inspiration to opponents of tyranny around the world.

The militant actions by the students can successfully hit hard blows against the tyranny. But by themselves the students are not enough to bring about revolutionary change. For that, they have to link up with a class that has numbers, that occupies a vital position in society, and that has the capacity to carry out a revolution.

That class is the proletariat of the cities and countryside. And in South Korea, the working class has grown by leaps and bounds in recent decades. This class is severely exploited by the capitalists and the dictatorship harshly suppresses its efforts to organize. It is a volcano waiting to blow up.

Just as the liberals look towards mobilizing the businessmen and professionals, the most advanced students already look to the working class. There is a strong current among them to link up with the workers.

Thus in South Korea, there is already a trend that stands for militant struggle against tyranny. And there are budding efforts which have the potential of forging a revolutionary movement centered around the working class. This is the road towards a new future in South Korea, without tyranny, U.S. imperialism, or capitalist exploiters.


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The Boland law and the legality of the war on Nicaragua

The dirty war against Nicaragua has aroused the wide-scale hatred of the workers and progressive people in the U.S. and around the world.

It is also illegal. It violates a number of American laws and international treaties which the U.S. has subscribed to. This includes the charters of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. This includes the Constitution, which gives Congress the responsibility for declaring war -- but then again, Congress doesn't want to do anything that would put in question the Pentagon's right to wage undeclared wars. There are the laws against allowing war to be waged from the U.S. against countries the U.S. isn't at war with, and there are numerous laws against large arms sales without Congressional notification. The U.S. has even lost a World Court case brought by Nicaragua. And of course there are the laws against the drug running that is widely used to finance contra activities.

Nevertheless the war continues. This shows the bankruptcy of relying on capitalist law and order, whether it is domestic laws, the U.S. Constitution, or international laws. Capitalist law is meant to regulate disputes between the capitalists and to enforce the capitalist rule over the workers and peasants. These laws are not intended to restrict the capitalists. And, on any serious question, the capitalist agencies will not enforce them against themselves.

The Democratic House (and now the Democratic Senate) has always had many laws it could use against the CIA intervention in Central America, if it wished to. For that matter, it could simply cut the purse strings. But it does not wish to do so. For this reason, it instead engaged in the pretense of passing the Boland Amendment. With the Boland Amendment, the Congress told the White House that Congress was not going to enforce any of the laws and treaties against Reagan's war on Central America. It declared that only the Boland Amendment would place restrictions on it. And the Boland Amendment itself was toothless and had no penalties.

The passage of the Boland Amendment thus served only to pressure the Reagan administration to put more intelligent pressure on Nicaragua and not rely solely on force. But it also consisted of a go-ahead for military pressure and for preparations to drown Nicaragua in blood. Congress simply didn't want the Reagan administration to blunder into arousing all Central American into revolution; it wanted Reagan to look more seriously into subverting the Nicaraguan revolution from within; and it wanted Reagan to take care to mobilize American allies into the ring of fire around the Nicaraguan people.

This explains the numerous loopholes in the Boland Amendment. Congress didn't stand up righteously against an immoral, unjust, undeclared war. This was the "will of the people" but it wasn't the "will of Congress." Instead, in the various forms in which the Boland Amendment was passed each year, it often provided funds for the undeclared war against Nicaragua. It was not designed to help the Nicaraguan people. It was only intended to ensure that the pressure on Nicaraguan was a bipartisan effort.

The Original Boland Amendment -- December 21,1982

The first Boland Amendment was in the Defense Appropriations Act of 1982. It stated that:

"None of the funds provided in this Act may be used by the CIA or the Department of Defense to furnish military equipment, military training or advice, or other support for military activities, to any group or individual not part of a country's armed forces, for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua, or provoking a military exchange between Nicaragua and Honduras."

Note that at this time the Reagan administration claimed that the military intervention against Nicaragua was solely for the purpose of preventing weapons from reaching El Salvador. The Boland Amendment did not restrict any funds from being used for this purpose, and this was no accident.

It also did not restrict any money from going to the armed forces of Honduras or other countries neighboring Nicaragua. It was a green light for turning Honduras and other nearby countries into armed bases against Nicaragua.

And it only restricted the CIA, not other intelligence agencies.

The Defense Appropriations Act of December 8,1983

The next year, the Boland Amendment actually authorized $24 million for military operations in Nicaragua. Nothing like a green light! On the other hand, it also strengthened the prohibition on all other money. The prohibition looks quite strong, except that there was no thought given to enforcing it -- and it didn't cover the first $24 million. It stated that, during the fiscal year of 1984:

" more than $24,000,000 of the funds available to the CIA, Department of Defense or any other agency or entity of the United States involved in intelligence activities may be obligated or expended for the purpose or which would have the effect of supporting directly or indirectly military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua by any nation, group, organization, movement, or individual."

This appears to outlaw funding (beyond $24 million) for "direct or indirect" support for armed operations inside Nicaragua "by any nation, group, etc." However, here too things are not what they seem. Congress did not intend to cut off the money for the work of building up the infrastructure for aggression against Nicaragua, work being carried out by a particular nation (the U.S.) and a particular organization (the U.S. armed forces). Money continued for U.S. overflights of Nicaragua, for intelligence work to map out the plans for subverting Nicaragua, for having warships stand off the coast of Nicaragua, for turning Honduras into an armed base against Nicaragua, and for the continued carrying out of annual U.S. military exercises directed at Nicaragua. After all, Congress was presiding over a massive buildup of the U.S. armed forces, including the Special Operations and Rapid Deployment Forces, and this buildup was not aimed at protecting countries like Nicaragua, but bullying them.

The Defense Appropriations Act of October 13,1984

This year the Boland Amendment takes, on the surface, the strongest form it ever took. It repeats the language from the previous year, but without the $24 million loophole. Of course, it still didn't prevent the U.S. military from arming Nicaragua's neighbors, putting warships off Nicaragua's coasts, carrying out war games directed at Nicaragua, etc.

The Intelligence Authorization Act of November 14,1985

And the other loopholes would quickly appear again. This time the Boland Amendment forbids various funds -- except as specified in other, secret acts of Congress. And it exempted so-called "humanitarian assistance."

It states funds may be "obligated and expended during fiscal year 1986 to provide funds, materiel, or other assistance to the Nicaraguan resistance to support military or paramilitary operations in Nicaragua only as authorized in Section 101, and as specified in the classified Schedule of Authorizations referred to in Section 102, or pursuant to Section 502 of the National Security Act of 1947, or to Section 106 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1986...."

It also states that "Nothing in this act precludes: (1) administration by the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office established by Executive Order 12530 of the program of humanitarian assistance to the Nicaraguan democratic resistance provided for in the Supplemental Appropriations Act 1985, or (2) activities of the Department of State to solicit...humanitarian assistance...."

Note that the bill even speaks the language of the Reaganites, referring to lovers of the ex-dictator Somoza as the "democratic resistance."

Intelligence Authorization Act of October 16,1986

This is regarded as the end of the Boland Amendment. Congress authorized a huge $100 million for the contras and openly authorized the CIA's role. However, strangely enough, the way the bill is written, one could hardly tell it wasn't the same as before. It just adds one new clause -- that anything goes if it is "pursuant to a provision of law specifically providing such funds, material or assistance."

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'Contragate rap'

Now raise your fists

And march your feet

We got a little rap

For the street

Revolution yes, contras no



Here's a little story

I'd like to relate

'Bout Rambo Ronnie

Of Contragate.

Turkey neck Reagan

Dribbles and moans

Says Ollie North

Did it all alone

Never mind these lies

Here's the truth and more

They sold these guns

For the contra war

Revolution yes, contras no



Squirm like a worm Reagan

We all know

You're a contragate criminal

Wherever you go.


They fall in line

Say Ronnie Reagan

Didn't do a crime

To chill our anger

At contragate

The Democrats say

It was just a mistake.

It's a "we the people"fraud

A democracy sham

It's the filthy rich

That rule the land

Revolution yes, contras no



His "freedom fighters"

Have a high price

They look like scum

From Miami Vice

"Freedom fighters":

A Reagan lie

Wherever they go

Workers die

Revolution yes, contras no



Nicaraguan people

Showed the way

For a militant fight:

Mass struggle the way.

Somoza's history

We do tell

The revolution sent you

Straight to hell

Nicaraguan workers

Fight across the land

To smash the rich

And their contra bands

Revolution yes, contras no



So workers of the world

Let's unite

Against the imperialists


So workers of the world

Let's unite

Against the imperialists



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Support the Nicaraguan workers' press!

The Nicaraguan working people need our help against U.S. imperialist aggression. The MLP is organizing material aid through the Campaign for the Nicaraguan Workers' Press. In defiance of Reagan's blockade, the Campaign is sending much needed printing materials and supplies to assist the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP/ML) and its Workers Front trade union center to build the workers' press. Send letters of support and contributions to: [Address.]

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May Day in the U.S.

To mark International Workers' Day, the Marxist-Leninist Party organized spirited demonstrations in Chicago and New York and meetings in these cities as well as in Seattle and Oakland.

The New York demonstration marched for three miles through a working class neighborhood in northern Manhattan. The Chicago march went through the Pilsen area, where many Mexican nationality workers live. Militant slogans rang out in opposition to the Reaganite offensive of exploitation, racism and war. Voices were raised in solidarity with the struggles of the workers abroad -- from South Africa to Central America.

The marchers were warmly greeted by the workers in both actions. Thousands of people took leaflets in English and Spanish. Many raised fists and shouted in encouragement.

In the Chicago demonstration, many people along the streets took picket signs and held them up as the march went by. A speaker in the demonstration periodically gave a short speech explaining the goals of the May Day event.

At the May Day meetings, there were speeches and discussions on burning issues of working class internationalism and the struggle against the Reaganite capitalist offensive.

May Day Call Spread Among the Workers and in Mass Actions

Throughout April, the MLP carried out a wide-scale campaign of agitation in preparation for May Day. Calls for May Day were distributed in tens of thousands to factories, communities and schools.

As well, they were taken to activists in the midst of several demonstrations. They were passed out at workers' demonstrations against plant closings in Detroit. They were carried to anti-racist protests. And to actions against the U.S. war in Central America, such as the large April 25 demonstrations in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.

At the Washington demonstration itself, some 15,000 May Day leaflets were distributed. Many people remarked that they were glad to see something on May Day.

A Day of Proletarian Internationalism

In the work around May Day the MLP emphasized the need for an active stand of internationalism.

Today Reagan, the capitalists, the politicians and the labor bureaucrats are on a vicious offensive to spread chauvinism. They spread hysteria against immigrants and have passed the draconian Simpson-Rodino Law. They spew out the trade war hysteria that workers in foreign countries are taking away jobs. They wave the red, white and blue and justify military aggression in Central America and the Middle East.

While many reformists have trimmed their sails in the face of this chauvinism, the Marxist-Leninists upheld the call "Workers of the World, Unite!'' On May Day they stood up to defend the immigrant workers; they denounced trade war hysteria against foreign workers; and they raised their voice against imperialist war.

In Chicago, workers and activists have been organizing to defend the undocumented immigrants. The May Day actions of the MLP called out "No to Simpson-Rodino! No to deportations!'' And at the meeting there, there was extensive discussion about how to wage the fight against the anti-immigrant attacks. (The speech given there, "Working class internationalism and the immigrants,'' has been reprinted in the Workers' Advocate Supplement, May 20, 1987.)

Down With the Contragate Criminals!

May Day 1987 also came at a time when the Reagan administration has been rocked by the contragate scandal. The revelations from this have opened the eyes of many about how the capitalist government really conducts its foreign policy, behind all the public lies and declarations.

May Day demonstrations called out for struggle against the contragate criminals and the dirty war on Nicaragua. And at meetings, participants discussed how to use the aftershocks of the contragate scandal to push forward the revolutionary movement.

The Proletarian Party Is Essential

In the U.S., where May Day was born, the labor bureaucrats trample on the tradition of May Day. Here it falls on the shoulders of the Marxist-Leninists to carry forward the banner of International Workers' Day.

May Day helps to bring out important lessons about the character of the proletariat and its struggle, and especially the need for the working class party.

Once again this year, the MLP's May Day events served to explain to workers and activists about the importance of the party. At the meeting in Oakland, the speech and discussion focused on this question. This discussion used the experience in the mass movements in the Bay Area, the treacheries of the reformists, and the struggle of the MLP for a revolutionary policy, to underscore the need for consciously building and supporting the revolutionary working class party.

[Photo: May Day meeting in Seattle.]

[Photo: MLP takes message of May 1st, International Working Class Day, to the streets of Manhattan.]

[Photo: May Day demonstration in Chicago.]

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May Day Around the World

On May 1st, workers around the world took to the streets in a day of spirited marches, demonstrations, and strikes.

In 1886, May Day originated in Chicago as a day of militant working class struggle, during the historic struggle for the eight-hour day. A few years later, a worldwide gathering of class-conscious workers in Paris chose May 1st as a day to mark international working class solidarity.

Since then, every year workers rally on this day to raise the banner of struggle against exploitation, tyranny and war.

In this issue we carry reports on May Day actions in many countries.

Standing Up To Hunger, Reaction and Imperialism

The May Day struggles show that workers everywhere are fighting against a ferocious capitalist offensive.

Workers' wages are pushed down and inflation cuts their value even further. Jobs are cut and those still working are sweated harder. Factories close down even as workers' need for food, clothing, and shelter remain acute. The workers everywhere are being pushed to the wall. And they are fighting back. Demands for better wages, for jobs, and against overwork were seen in all the May Day actions.

On May Day workers did not limit their concerns only to economic issues. They stood up against tyranny and dictatorship, against racism and national oppression. Workers organized illegal actions against Pinochet fascism in Chile. In Argentina and Uruguay, where the rule of generals has been replaced with liberal regimes, workers raised demands against allowing the murderers and torturers of yesterday to go scot-free.

Faced with international economic crisis, the imperialist sharks of the rich capitalist countries are seeking their pound of flesh from the oppressed countries. The burden of huge foreign debts is being placed on the shoulders of the workers, the peasants and the poor. And so on May Day, workers from Brazil to Colombia, from Ecuador to the Philippines, raised protests against this cruel imperialist yoke.

May Day actions also denounced militarism and war. In Europe, there were slogans against nuclear warmongering. And in Central America, there were voices raised against the dirty U.S.-Contra war on Nicaragua.

The Need for Class Independence and the Socialist Perspective

May Day showed the fighting spirit of the workers. It showed the huge potential that lies in the world army of labor. But it also showed that workers acutely need clarity on how to fight for their class interests.

On May Day, workers showed that they dream of a new world. In times past, when the revolutionary movement for socialism has been strong internationally, workers in their millions have marched under the communist banner. Revolutionary Marxism guided their struggles, both the day-to-day struggle and the fight for the socialist goal.

But today, all too often the workers' movement is dominated by reformist political trends, from social-democracy to pro-Soviet and other revisionism.

And the demands raised in many of the May Day actions showed the harmful influence of this reformism.

Reformism guts the heart out of the class struggle. Thus, for example, in fighting the burden of the foreign debt, there were many calls for a moratorium and other half-hearted measures, when what the workers need is calls to scrap these unjust burdens altogether. And in fighting reaction and tyranny, the need for revolutionary struggle was replaced with calls for tinkering with the bourgeois constitutional structures.

Behind the reformist schemes is the treacherous policy of hitching the workers behind this or that capitalist party.

While this policy was veiled in some countries, in others the reformists openly allied with rotten bourgeois forces in joint May Day events.

But the reformists did not go unchallenged. Around the world, there are Marxist-Leninists and other revolutionary-minded workers who worked to combat the reformists and to organize the working class under the banner of class independence and revolutionary struggle. In Iran, in Nicaragua, in Portugal, in the U.S. and other places, revolutionary communists held aloft the red flag of class struggle and socialism.


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One million workers marched in Spain's May Day celebrations, which came amid a continuing wave of strikes against the austerity policies of the social-democratic government of Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez. Just before May Day, postal workers joined the strike campaign which has already seen walkouts over the last two months by airline employees, rail workers, miners, steel workers, construction workers, and longshoremen. May Day rallies denounced the massive unemployment in Spain, which now stands at 22% officially.

A hard-fought strike has been going on at a state-owned steel plant in the small town of Reinosa in the north of Spain. The Reinosa workers struck to protest the government's plan to eliminate 463 of the plant's 2,500 jobs. On April 16th, 700 Civil Guards moved into Reinosa with 16 tanks to suppress the workers. The Guardsmen went on a rampage, wounding and arresting dozens. A worker died later from wounds inflicted by the Guards. On May 7 a one-day work stoppage was held in the north of Spain in memory of the worker, Gonzalo Ruiz Garcia.

At the end of May, shipyard workers fought an eight-hour battle with police who attacked a demonstration against layoffs in the shipyards.


This spring, Poland is seeing renewed ferment among the workers, as the revisionist government has begun to impose a new round of price hikes.

The revisionists held their official May Day celebrations where they sang their own glories, no matter that they are enemies of the workers. Meanwhile, workers tried to launch illegal May Day demonstrations in the streets of many cities, but were viciously attacked by mounted police and water cannons. Unfortunately, the protesting workers remain under the influence of the reformist, pro-Western imperialist leaders of Solidarity. As well, in the current period this trend, while agitating that "something must be done'' against rising prices, has opposed determined mass actions.

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Thousands of workers marched in the streets of Manila waving banners and denouncing President Corazon Aquino's economic policies.


Millions of workers participated in the May Day events. A major theme of the parades this year was protest against the growing unemployment.


Tens of thousands of workers rallied in a Bangkok park to denounce economic conditions and press for the rights of laborers.

Sri Lanka

Here the regime of President J.R. Jayewardene banned May Day activities. Under the pretext of the threat of violence, he halted public transport, banned all rallies, marches and gatherings, and deployed 1,000 police throughout the capital.

But the only violence turned out to be from the government itself. Police and army troops fired on a rally defying the ban and killed two marchers.

The Sri Lankan regime is in the midst of a massive military campaign against the oppressed Tamil nationality. Using the excuse of a few violent attacks on civilians that the government blames Tamil guerrillas for, the regime has turned the northern peninsula into a war zone. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of Tamil civilians have been murdered in recent days.

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South Africa

May Day actions were banned by the racist government. But workers nevertheless managed to hold a number of actions in defiance.

A rally of seven to ten thousand workers was held in a stadium in Athlone outside Cape Town. In the Lenasia township near Johannesburg, officers with whips and guns broke up an indoor meeting of an Indian youth group. Police stopped 30 men going to a rally in the township of Ravensmead who wore T-shirts saying "May Day is Ours.'' When they refused to disperse, they were whipped and one arrested.

For the first time, May Day was a legal holiday in South Africa, but obviously the apartheid regime will not allow the workers to celebrate it.

Close to 10,000 attended the biggest rally ever organized in South African-occupied Namibia.

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A million people marched in May Day demonstrations here. In addition to economic demands, the toilers protested against the right-wing death squads that have killed over 100 workers and leftist activists this year. The death squads are linked to the military and police apparatus of the Colombian government headed by President Virgilio Barco.

In February, they murdered the commander of the EPL guerrilla movement, armed wing of the CP of Colombia(ML). In March, death squads killed some leaders of the agricultural workers' union in the Uraba region, the hub of Colombia's huge banana industry. In protest the agricultural laborers of Uraba went on strike. Right-wing terrorists then blew up their union hall. But the laborers persisted, shut down banana production, and forced the government and the plantation owners to recognize their union.

The last week of April protest strikes shut down the oil-producing city of Barrancabermeja northeast of Medellin. The strikes came after a death squad attack on three well-known leftists. Then on May 6, two gunmen murdered a 14- year-old girl who was the only witness to the attack on the leftists. Her funeral was attended by 20,000 people and was marked by another two-day strike.


May Day here came in the midst of a miners' strike against the government's privatization schemes and the loss of thousands of jobs. May Day demonstrations also demanded that the government cancel upcoming war games with the U.S.

The announcement that the government would hold war maneuvers with the U.S. was a national scandal in April. The defense minister was forced to resign. But he was replaced by the president of the U.S.-Bolivian Chamber of Commerce, and the war games scheduled for May were not canceled. The maneuvers included 300 U.S. troops helping construct a new military garrison in the jungle zone north of La Paz (not far from the-border with Peru, where peasant guerrillas operate).

This spring there have been continuous demonstrations against the worsening economic conditions in Bolivia. The central labor federation began a campaign for wage increases and labor reforms on March 18. The country's peasants supported the campaign by blocking roads. The campaign developed into a mass hunger strike in late March; the hunger strike included 5,000 people in early April.

Most of the country's mines went on strike April 20. President Paz Estenssoro dispatched troops to the countryside to prevent miners from coming to La Paz for the May Day demonstrations. The huge May Day march in La Paz denounced Estenssoro for this, and at last report the miners were still planning to march to La Paz.

The miners are being decimated by Estenssoro's privatization schemes. COMIBOL, the state mining corporation, has reduced its work force from 32,000 to 7,000 in the last two years. The government has not paid workers the unemployment and severance pay they were promised. At the same time, private sector jobs have disappeared; private mining companies cut their work force by 8,000 last year, and the number of jobs in manufacturing was cut in half in 1986.


Leading up to May Day, telephone workers in Mexico staged an eight-day strike, ending on April 16 with a wage increase that went beyond the government's proposed wage hike standard. Then during the week of May Day 150,000 textile workers were out on strike. This was the first industry-wide strike of textile workers in 25 years. The strike closed 10,000 shops. The strike ended on May 4, with a 20% wage increase settlement.

One to two million workers participated in the official May Day march in Mexico City organized by the CTM (Mexican Labor Congress). The CTM labor bureaucrats, who are supporters of the ruling PRI party, worked frantically to keep any leftist presence out of the parade this year and to crush any independent demonstrations. Even so the march was interrupted once by a delegation of workers which stopped right in front of President de la Madrid's heavily guarded reviewing stand. The workers shouted, "The poverty of the people is caused by bad government'' and "If inflation goes up, we'll bring them down from the balcony.''

Some separate marches did take place, although due to massive police pressure they were not able to link up with the main march. One march painted the walls of the U.S. embassy with slogans denouncing U.S. imperialism. There was also a militant May Day march in Oaxaca, where teachers have been holding mass demonstrations for months.

In all May Day events the Mexican workers denounced the high prices and low wages confronting them in everyday life. They also demanded a reduction of the work week to 40 hours from the current average of 48. While the workers' standard of living is declining, the Mexican capitalists are rolling in dough: the stock market index has risen 90% this year while employment has declined almost 7%.

El Salvador

On May Day workers held marches in the country's four major cities -- San Salvador, Santa Ana, San Miguel, and Usulutan. In these demonstrations the workers demanded the resignation of President Napoleon Duarte.

May Day in El Salvador occurred in the midst of an upsurge in the workers' strike movement and also during a resurgence of guerrilla activity. Since January there have been 28 strikes involving 45,000 workers and dozens of demonstrations involving over 50,000 people.

The reactionaries in El Salvador are frantically trying to keep a lid on the mass movements. Death squads have killed 35 workers in the last few months. And the military tried to quash May Day events by issuing a warning to workers to stay away because the marches "may turn violent.'' Military units posted along roads arrested many rural laborers traveling to the cities for May Day events.

Nonetheless, thousands of people defied the military and showed up to express their hatred for Duarte. Then, to cap off the May Day celebrations, on May 2 leftist guerrillas attacked a military base in southeastern Morazan province and broadcast news of it as "a greeting to the heroic working class.''


A May Day march of 20,000 in Tegucigalpa, the capital, demanded the ouster of U.S. troops and contras from the country. The marchers burned effigies of contras while the U.S. prepared for its largest military exercises ever in Central America. There was also a march of 5,000 in San Pedro Sula.


Here May Day coincided with a strike by 130,000 public sector workers, especially road workers and teachers, demanding a $40 per month wage increase. May Day marches supported the strike. The marches also demanded an end to the ongoing repression of the government headed up by President Vinicio Cerezo. Cerezo came to power last year with promises that he would eliminate death squad murders. But the repression continues, and Cerezo recently launched a new military campaign against Indian peasants.


Here too the May Day demonstrators demanded that the country's government cancel upcoming war games with the U.S. The May Day march in Quito was a unified march of all union federations. Its major economic demand was a general increase in wages.

This comes in the midst of a rise in the workers' struggles this spring. Following the earthquake of March 5, President Febres Cordero announced a series of austerity measures. He said they were made necessary to pay for earthquake relief, but of course he did not explain why the austerity measures were directed at the toilers instead of the rich. To protest the "earthquake austerity'' a general strike was held on March 25. This was very successful and was followed by another on April 29.


May Day came in the midst of a revival of mass struggles this spring.

This began with student protests in March which took the country by surprise. Deteriorating economic conditions for the masses fueled the protests. President Jaime Lusinchi endorsed harsh police measures against the student demonstrations in Merida and Caracas including the use of shotguns and tear gas, One hundred students were jailed.

In the May Day demonstrations the workers protested Lusinchi's austerity measures and the burden of foreign debt payments. But right after this, on May 4, the government raised bus fares some 400%. Enraged, the masses took to the streets and seized some 50 buses in Caracas, burning some of them and setting up street barricades.

On May 7 the workers, students and tenant organizations held a march of 20,000 through downtown Caracas protesting the rising cost of living. One column of the march was made up of shantytown residents with the banner, "We are poor people; they are starving us.''


May Day arrived here soon after the revolt of army officers opposed to the prosecution of military men involved in the torture and murder of leftists during the "dirty war'' of 1976-83. President Raul Alfonsin made a big show of "defending democracy'' and said he got the rebellious officers to surrender without making any concessions to them. But since then it has become clear that Alfonsin plans to grant amnesty to the torturers and murderers.

Hence one of the major demands of May Day marchers was for punishment of the officers.

More recently, the Argentine parliament has passed the "due obedience'' bill, which excuses most of the officers' actions on the grounds that they were following the orders of their superiors. Alfonsin supported this bill.

Meanwhile, Alfonsin's government is not holding up its prosecution of leftist guerrillas for their activities in the 1976- 83 period. On May 19 a court found a former leader of a guerrilla group guilty of kidnapping and murder, and sentenced him to life in prison. Alfonsin's prosecutors are planning a whole series of trials against leftists, while dropping plans to prosecute the military officers who tortured and murdered thousands.


May Day marchers in Brazil protested foreign debt payments and called for agrarian reform.

The agrarian crisis is especially severe in northeastern Brazil, where reactionary landlords frequently kill peasant organizers. On May 7 starving peasants invaded the town of Quixelo and seized a ton of foodstuffs from stores and warehouses.

This last year the workers in Brazil have waged a growing number of strikes, propelled by rocketing inflation and falling real wages. The government officials and military are locked in internal squabbles over economic policy. They are unable to agree on any common economic policy, except to make the toilers pay.


In Chile there were illegal May Day protests in many cities. Police attacked demonstrators with tear gas, water cannon and clubs. The workers threw up barricades in Santiago's barrios, and guerrillas blacked out the capital. Workers in poor districts took over food stores and distributed food to the unemployed.

Uruguay and Peru

In Uruguay a May Day rally of 70,000 in Montevideo demanded the repeal of the amnesty granted to military torturers for their crimes during the 1973- 85 period. The demonstrators also denounced the economic policies of President Julio Sanguinetti.

May Day demonstrators in Peru expressed support for striking oil workers.

Costa Rica and Panama

May Day demonstrations by workers and peasants in Costa Rica and Panama raised economic demands against impoverishment along with the demand that U.S. imperialism keep its hands off Central America.

[Photo: May Day 1987 in Mexico City: 100,000 workers from independent unions against the PRI government's austerity program.]

[Photo: CIA's contras are burned in effigy at May Day demonstration in Honduras.]

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