The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 18, No. 11


25ยข December 1, 1988

[Front page:

Faces change, same rule of the millionaires--Get Organized for Struggle!;

Defend the rights of working class women! Fight the right-wing anti-abortion crusade!;

3rd Congress of the MLP, USA--Fall, 1988]


Down with Racism!

'Stop the Klan' march in Philadelphia............................................................ 3
Protest vs. racist murder by skinhead gang..................................................... 3
Cree Indians fight for land in Canada............................................................. 3
GAO study: Simpson-Rodino discriminates................................................... 10

Strikes and Workplace News

Air conditioner strike; Uranium foundry strike; Garment workers organize; Homeless protest; Fight for jobs at Chrysler & GM in St. Louis; New Directions Movement -- UAW's loyal opposition; Anti-drug terror at USS-Posco............................................................................................................... 4
Detroit steel workers fight drug testing; Job injuries and illnesses increase... 5

Death to Apartheid in South Africa!

500 in torchlight march at Berkeley................................................................ 6
Blacks reject election charade......................................................................... 6
Anti-racism is 'treason' in South Africa......................................................... 6
Botha coddles racist killers............................................................................. 10

Demonstrations vs. right-wing anti-abortionists............................................. 5

Support the Palestinian Uprising!

Palestinian masses fight for freedom, PLO leaders seek big-power deal........ 7

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

Protest U.S. support of Salvadoran dictatorship............................................. 8
Upsurge in Salvador people's armed struggle................................................. 8
Differences in Salvadoran people's movement............................................... 9
Right-wing terror still stalks Guatemala......................................................... 9
It takes one to know one................................................................................. 9

The World in Struggle

Strike wave in Peru......................................................................................... 11
University employees strike in Mexico City................................................... 11
French strike wave hits cutback budget.......................................................... 12
Brazilian army murders striking steel workers............................................... 12
Workers protest in Trinidad and Tobago......................................................... 12


Faces change, same rule of the millionaires

Get Organized for Struggle!

Defend the rights of working class women!

Fight the right-wing anti-abortion crusade!

3rd Congress of the MLP, USA

How the Democrats sum up the elections

Let them eat gold!


Strikes and workplace news

From Boston to Seattle

Demonstrations confront 'Operation Rescue'

Death to apartheid in South Africa!

3rd Congress of the MLP, USA--Fall, 1988

---- Resolutions ----

Palestinian masses fight bravely for freedom--PLO leaders seek big-power deal

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

The World in Struggle

Faces change, same rule of the millionaires

Get Organized for Struggle!

The elections are over. New faces are moving into the White House and Congress. But the Reaganite offensive against the masses persists without letup.

No sooner were the voting booths closed, than the Reagan-Bush administration launched a series of executive measures against the working people. Random drug testing of four million truck drivers, railroad and airline workers. Rules to keep tens of thousands of elderly and disabled people from receiving their rightful Social Security benefits. Lawsuits to ban women's legal right to choose for themselves whether to have an abortion. Proceedings that threaten to foreclose on 80,000 of the poorest farmers. And the list goes on.

Despite his talk of a "kinder, gentler America," president-elect Bush is riding the Reaganite juggernaut. He has even declared that his first presidential initiative will be "budget cutting" -- that is to say, he plans to carry on the

Reaganite assault on the social programs for the masses. This is more "kindness" than the working people can stand.

Democrats Rush to Embrace Bush

And what are the Democrats up to? They are blanketing Washington with a feeling of warm, cozy "cooperation." The defeated Dukakis declares his ardent hopes for Bush and the Democrats "working together." Meanwhile, Jesse Jackson and the liberal Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell rush to intimate chit chats with Bush.

Of course there are disagreements. Why, the Democrats cry that Bush's plan to cut social programs isn't enough. They sternly demand immediate action to raise taxes on the working masses as well. No wonder Bush believes he can build a friendly relationship with Congress.

The Millionaires Won...

It is all too obvious that Reaganite reaction does not depend on Ronald Reagan being president. Rather, it depends on the desires of the capitalist class.

During the last eight years the capitalists have carried out an offensive of takebacks, racism, and warmongering. Reagan, as president, headed the offensive. The Democrats, in control of Congress, went along. Now there are new faces. But the capitalists are still on an offensive against the masses. And the liberals and conservatives, the Bush White House and the Democratic Congress, are joining capitalists' bidding.

...But the Masses Will Yet Have Their Say

Still, what happens in the next period is not simply a matter of what the capitalists put on the agenda. The working class, the black and Latino people, the working women, the homeless -- these people can also have their say.

In this issue of The Workers Advocate we report:

* on the workers' unity emerging in strikes against concessions in St. Louis;

* on the fight against Reaganite drug testing in the steel mills;

* on the militant actions against racist gangs in Philadelphia and Portland;

* on the thousands who came out into the streets to oppose the reactionary "right to life" movement;

* on the homeless people marching in Washington to demand relief

* on the mass protests against U.S. support for apartheid in South Africa and U.S. intervention in Central America. These struggles are a sign of the masses striving to find their own voice, to make their own agenda.

When more than 50% of the electorate doesn't bother to vote, that's a sign that the majority of the working people are not interested in Reaganism -- no matter whether the Republicans or Democrats are in the White House. What remains is to transform this mass discontent into organization. To turn the disgruntlement with both the Republicans and the Democrats into an independent movement, a movement consciously opposed to the capitalists and both their political parties.

The elections are done. The capitalists won. But the working masses are yet to have their say. When they do, when they get organized, when they stand to fight in their own class interests, they will turn this system upside down.

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Defend the rights of working class women!

Fight the right-wing anti-abortion crusade!

The "right to life" chieftains of the religious right have been puffed up with arrogance. They have had eight years of grooming and nourishment from the Reagan administration. They have gotten away with their crusade of intimidation, thuggery and bombings.

Now they were going to outdo themselves with "Operation Rescue" -- a nationwide campaign at the end of October to shut down abortion clinics in some 30 cities.

But lo and behold, thousands of people came into the streets to fight back against this attack. Boston was perhaps the high point. On October 22, the attempts of 125 "right to lifers" to shut down a women's clinic was foiled in a five-hour confrontation with twice the number of angry pro-choice activists. The next week, on the so-called "National Day of Rescue," 2,000 pro-choice activists rallied. The anti-abortionists fled town.

The TV and daily press hardly took note. But the most noteworthy thing about "Operation Rescue" was the angry opposition it received in Boston and elsewhere.

Whatever one's personal beliefs about abortion, it is essential to safeguard women's rights on this matter. A woman's option of abortion is a democratic right. And defending this option is all that more critical so long as working class and poor women suffer the present miserable conditions -- low pay, lack of housing, lack of day care, lack of medical services, etc.

What's more, as we know from all too recent history, limiting abortion rights would not mean stopping abortions. It would only mean a return to the days when women were maimed and murdered at the hands of back-alley abortionists. To the days when poor and working class women who have the least choices become the principal victims of this butchery.

What's at stake in fighting back against the "right to life" movement goes beyond the abortion question. It's standing up for the rights of women. And it's facing down a dangerous right-wing attack against all workers and oppressed.

The so-called "right to life" movement is a creature of the political and religious right wing and their wealthy backers. It makes use of an emotional "pro-life" appeal to recruit zealots for their right-wing agenda. Today these forces are zeroing in on abortion clinics. That's when they are not campaigning to impose religious indoctrination in classrooms. Or fighting against school integration. Or boosting Oliver North and his dirty war of rape and murder against Nicaraguan peasants.

Workers and progressive people cannot afford to take a tum-the-other-cheek attitude. This "right to life" attack has to be taken head on.

Sad to say, but the leaders of NOW and other bourgeois feminists have refused to take this stand. NOW leaders have urged against militant mass action. They have pleaded against pro-choice activists confronting the attacks of "right to life" reactionaries at the clinics. Instead, they counsel people to vote Democrat, to lobby and write Congress.

This essentially do-nothing attitude is dangerous. It is not as though the powers that be don't already know that a solid majority supports the right to choose. Opinion polls have shown this over and over. Nonetheless, politicians (both Republican and Democrat) and judges keep gnawing away at abortion rights. And the "pro-life" movement only grows bolder and more aggressive in its attack.

Keep in mind that the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision striking down laws against abortion came down in 1973. That is, it came in the wake of a powerful storm of mass struggle when millions took to the streets for their rights and against oppression.

Recent events in Boston and elsewhere show the importance of active struggle. Mass action is what can defend abortion rights. And it's what can prick the arrogant balloon of the "right to life" attack.

[Photo: Activists confront anti-abortionists in Buffalo, October 28.]

[Photo: Anti-apartheid torchlight march in Berkeley see page 6]

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3rd Congress of the MLP, USA

Fall, 1988

The situation after Reagan

Tasks of the class struggle

Tasks of the Party

Socialism -- liberation of the working class

Against the anti-socialist crusade of Gorbachev

Solidarity with those on the barricades of struggle worldwide!

Build up the world forces of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism!

See insert inside

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How the Democrats sum up the elections

The only thing more dreary than this year's presidential election is the night-after summation by the Democrats.

Like a drone, a section of Democrats are repeating the same story that they dredged up after the past two Reaganite victories. Dukakis lost, they say, because he was too liberal, too supportive of the workers, too friendly to black people. To win, they say, the Democrats must move more to the "middle," to the "mainstream." In short, they are claiming that the Democrats must be even more supportive of the capitalist offensive against the masses, must model themselves after Reagan himself.

Sam Nunn, the Democratic Senator from Georgia, put it this way: "The message is that the Democratic Party enjoys the confidence of the American people as long as it's in Congress, but not in the White House. We need to move the Democratic Party into the middle, where the American people are." And Charles Manatt, former Democratic Party chairman, argued: "Obviously, we have to have a more centrist message on national defense, on crime, on some of these 'family values.'"

The new-found hero of this wing of Democrats is Lloyd Bentsen, the vice- presidential candidate on the Dukakis ticket. Bentsen was put on the ticket to give the Democratic campaign a Reaganite tinge. His support for the contra murderers in Nicaragua, his ties to the oil billionaires, his stands against the workers and oppressed, were supposed to win Dukakis votes and, at the very least, deliver Texas. But Bentsen did neither.

This should give some indication that most of the "American people" -- that is the workers and poor, the blacks and Latinos, the working women and youth -- are not interested in Reaganite reaction, no matter whether it wears a Republican or Democratic Party face.

But Democrats care little about such facts. The capitalist class wants Reaganism. So a whole section of Democrats cross their hearts after every election and pledge once again to follow the "mainstream," to try to be better Reaganites than Reagan himself.

Liberals Defend "Traditional" Democratic Values -- Cooperation With Reaganism

Meanwhile, the liberal wing of the Democrats claim that the Dukakis loss demonstrates only mistakes in the campaign, not a rejection of the traditional values of their party.

A number of liberals jumped with joy when George Mitchell, the Maine liberal, was elected Senate Majority Leader. Teddy Kennedy, for example, hailed Mitchell's election as "a welcome signal that the liberal and progressive ideals of the Democratic Party have broad support among Senate Democrats from all parts of the country." Meanwhile, Patrick Moynihan declared that Mitchell's election "...says that our party is going to stay the party it has been...."

For his part, Mitchell joined in the praise of Lloyd Bentsen and expressed his hope that Bentsen would "play a very prominent role" as a spokesman for the Democrats. He then ran off to meet with president-elect Bush, gushing that Democrats "are heartened by the quality of the appointments" Bush had made in the economic area, and declaring that the Democrats await the new administration's initiatives with "interest and enthusiasm.''

In fact, a series of these liberals are rolling out the red carpet for Bush. Typical is the statement from House Majority Leader Thomas Foley, the Washington liberal. "The campaign is behind us," Foley declared, "it is a means, not an end. Americans are not happy with constriction, confrontation and gridlock. Working with the administration is the mandate of the public."

In other words, the liberals' talk of upholding the liberal agenda is mostly window dressing. Their real agenda is collaboration with Bush, it is building a bipartisan policy behind the Reaganite initiative.

What About the Left-Wing Democrats?

But then, what about the left wing of the Democratic Party? That's the wing that centered its hopes this year on the Jesse Jackson campaign. The wing that makes promises of reforms for the masses. The wing that unites various liberals, social-democrats, and other reformists (including a number who disguise themselves as "communists") in the perpetual hope of pushing the Democratic Party to the left.

The fact is that this left wing -- even while it talks of defending the "progressive values" of the Democratic Party -- has also become increasingly conservative.

There is no question that Jesse Jackson gained popularity among sections of the masses for his promises about jobs and justice. Jackson proved that he is good at the Democrats' "traditional" role -- making empty election-year promises of reforms to keep the masses from breaking from the Democrats and onto an independent path.

But it is also unquestionable that Jackson was able to rally most of the black bourgeoisie, various sold out union bureaucrats, and sundry liberals because his reform posturing was combined with a host of conservative stands. Jackson's calls for more repression and militarization on the drug issue, Jackson's backpedaling on Palestinian rights, Jackson's constant theme of finding "common ground" with racists and reactionaries, and so forth, kept him close to the "mainstream" of Dukakis and Bush.

In fact, following the elections Jackson has made a point of reaching out to Bush. He not only called to congratulate Bush for his election victory, he asked for and got a meeting with Bush to discuss areas where they share "common ground."

Jackson even provided a cover for Bush's disgusting racist campaign over the furlough of Willie Horton. Jackson suggested that Bush could prove he isn't racist, and is really only concerned with "crime," if he also opposed the parole of James Earl Ray, the murderer of Martin Luther King. And when Bush agreed, Jackson publicly praised him for using the White House to "send forth a moral tone" to the country.

Collaboration with Reaganite reaction -- that, in fact, marks Jackson's reform-spouting wing of the Democratic Party.

Opportunists Find a Cozy Democratic Home

Still, there are a series of opportunists who are prettifying Jackson and creating the illusion that the Jackson movement can make the Democratic Party useful for the cause of the working class and oppressed.

A number of revisionist groups -- such as the Communist Party USA, Line of March (LOM), the League for Revolutionary Struggle (LRS), and the Guardian newspaper -- disgraced themselves this year by following Jackson's lead in campaigning for Dukakis. They claim to be "communists" and "Marxist-Leninists." But they've become no better than liberals. Look at what these opportunists are saying.

Some of these groups admit that the masses are getting fed up with the Democrats. LRS, for example, notes that "This year's election revealed the deep alienation felt by millions... For does not matter if the Democrats or Republicans occupy the White House." And even though LRS itself backed Dukakis, it blurts out that "people are justifiably angry at Dukakis' conservative, timid and mismanaged campaign...." (Unity, Nov. 14)

Similarly, LOM, which also supported Dukakis, acknowledges that "Throughout the country, blacks are disgusted with the Democratic Party...." (Frontline,Nov. 21)

As well, some of these groups will hint at the rightward drift in the Jackson wing of the Democrats. The Guardian, for example, points out that "Jackson himself will be subjected to an increasing pull from the party's mainstream." And it admits that "The Rainbow Coalition, once Jackson's grassroots vehicle for building a political movement, may be deemed too radical and independent for his new circumstances as a top party leader." (Nov. 16) Similarly, LOM suggests "that the rightward pulls on his camp are growing as certain elements of the Democratic Party hierarchy (represented by figures like Bert Lance and Ann Lewis) have entered the Jackson coalition...." ( Frontline, Nov. 7) But do they conclude from this that Jackson's camp should be exposed or that a wedge should be driven between the masses and the reform-faking Democrats? Heavens no! They still push the illusion that Jackson can move the Democrats to the left.

"Leftists must,'' the Guardian declares, "lend support to Jackson's efforts to move the Democrats to the left.'' (Nov. 16) And why should leftists do this? Because, Unity says, "Jackson can rally disaffected voters with a message of hope and optimism. Jackson's 'New Directions' platform represents the future of the Democratic Party.'' (Nov. 14)

But this is not advice on how the working class can further its cause. Rather it is advice to the Democrats, to this party of monopoly capital, to this party of collaboration with Reaganism. The opportunists are counseling the Democrats about how to bring the disgruntled working people back into the fold. They have simply become little advisors for how the Democrats can better hoodwink the working masses.

[Photo: Jesse Jackson finds "common ground" with the new capitalist chieftain, George Bush.]


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Let them eat gold!

Shortly after his election victory, George Bush held a state dinner for Mexico's president-elect Carlos Salinas de Gortari. It is reported that at this dinner the two capitalist politicians ate truffles covered with edible 14-carat gold. At previous state dinners it had become common for Reagan to serve ice cream sprinkled with edible silver shavings. Apparently, Bush has done his boss one better.

Such is the decadence of our ruling class. While millions, suffer, homeless and hungry, our rulers gorge themselves on silver and gold. This reminds one of Marie Antoinette, the French queen back in 1789. When told that the peasants were starving because there was no bread, she replied, "Let them eat cake." It seems Bush's advice is to "Let them eat gold."

The French masses answered their tyrant with a revolution. That seems a good solution. Bush and Salinas, eat your gold now and remember the fate of Marie Antoinette. Perhaps history does have a way of repeating itself after all.

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'Stop the Klan!' march in Philadelphia

The Ku Klux Klan, the U.S. League of White Christian Patriots, and racist skinheads called a "white power" rally at Independence Park in Philadelphia for November 5. But it was anti-racist protesters who held the day.

Frightened by the wide anti-racist mobilization, the racist gangs canceled their rally. Still, 1,000 anti-Klan, anti-racist demonstrators turned out anyway to picket in front of the federal building. They denounced the collaboration between the government and the Klan, and kept up a torrent of slogans against the racist gangs.

After two and a half hours, the activists decided to take their protest wider among the people of Philadelphia. They charged into the street -- only to be surrounded by hundreds of police. The police demanded a permit to march. The activists loudly shouted back "March! March!" and pushed up against the police barricade. The police had to relent, and the protesters began a two-hour march through the streets of Philadelphia.

The demonstrators shouted spirited slogans and raised placards against the racists and government. At a major intersection downtown, some protesters set fire to an American flag. Several police jumped in to make arrests. The activists loudly protested the arrests and shouted "Cops and Klan work hand in hand!" Despite the pouring rain, the protesters found that everywhere they marched they got enthusiastic support from the masses.

Mayor Goode Tries to Block Anti-Racist Protest

The Reagan government, through the National Park Service, tried to put a stop to the anti-racist protest. It put pressure on the anti-racists to call off their demonstration if the Klan would do likewise. Park and FBI officials actually dined with the Klansmen and, later, held a joint press conference with the racists. The officials suggested that racists actually have "peaceful intentions," shown by their agreeing with the government's advice to "postpone" the white pride rally until the anti-racist movement "subsides."

At the same time, the Democratic Party administration of Mayor Wilson Goode also tried to prevent the anti-racist protest. Claiming there would be an ugly confrontation, Goode asked the National Park Service to deny rally permits to both the Klan and the anti-racists -- as if those who fight racism are as much a problem as those who spread racist filth.

Goode's police department also put pressure on the anti-racists. But they refused to cancel their protest. Their determination frightened the Klan. And when the racists fearfully canceled the white power rally, Mayor Goode was johnny-on-the-spot to call on everyone to stay home and "ignore the Klan." Goode argued that, since the Klan weren't going to rally that day, there's no need to build anti-racist protests.

Goode's antics show that the Democrats, and the black bourgeoisie which nestles in that party, is as much opposed to the mass struggle against racism as Reagan and the Republicans.

But there were reformist leaders of the November 5 protest who tried to cover up for the Democrats.

The nationalists of the African People's Socialist Party claimed to be the original leaders of the protest. But they ended up directly trailing Goode. They issued the slogan "Don't Demonstrate on November 5!" and condemned those who were demonstrating against the racists as "Ku Klux Communists."

Meanwhile, the reformist Workers World Party refused to utter a peep against the Democratic mayor. They actually covered up Goode's attempts to stop the demonstration by putting all the blame on the federal government. So, while they participated in the protest, their role was to try to keep the anti-racist movement handcuffed to the Democrats.

The trotskyist Spartacist League, for its part, while shouting against the Democrats, tried to put a damper on militant action. When activists were breaking away from the picket line to confront the police over marching through the streets of Philadelphia, the Sparts called on protesters to, instead, attend a tame indoor rally. Their paper, Workers' Vanguard, tried to cover up their timid stand by reporting that a section of activists were "driven inside by the rain." (November 18)

Despite the antics of the reformists, the march was an important action in building up the anti-racist movement. The Philadelphia Committee in Support of the MLP took an active part. It did widespread agitation calling for the march. It urged opposition to the racist gangs, to the Reaganites, and to the Democrats as well: "We need to oppose the racist vigilante groups. We need to fight Reaganite racism...[and] we must fight the Goode Democrats and Park Service bureaucrats who embrace the Klan...." The contingent formed by the Philadelphia Committee encouraged the fighting spirit of the masses on the picket line and in the march.

[Photo: Anti-Klan marchers in Philadelphia burn U.S. flag and effigy of Reagan.]

Hundreds protest racist murder by skinhead gang in Portland


On November 18, over 300 people marched in front of Portland City Hall. They were outraged at the murder of an Ethiopian man by members of a racist gang of "skinheads" in Portland, Oregon. The demonstrators shouted over and over, "Racism no, freedom yes!" and "Death to the Ku Klux Klan!" About 100 people also came out to a protest held in Seattle, Washington against the racist murder.

Five days before, members of the "East Side White Pride" beat three Ethiopian immigrants with baseball bats. One of the blacks died shortly after. This unprovoked attack was another in a string of attacks by the racist youth gang against blacks, Chinese, and other minorities.

Encouraged by the racism of the Reagan administration, Tom Metzger -- former California Klansman and leader of the White Aryan Resistance -- has been trying to build a racist youth movement among skinheads and punk rockers over the last few years. Racist skinhead gangs, generally composed of only a handful of racist terrorists, have sprung up in a few cities.

But their outrageous gang attacks have provoked even stronger opposition, including among other skinhead youth. A group called "Skinheads Against Racism" joined other anti-racist youth in the November 5 anti-Klan protest in Philadelphia. And at the recent Portland march a circle of youth, who described themselves as "punks," declared they were joining the anti-racist protest to show that a lot of punkers and skinheads oppose the racist gangs.

Cree Indians fight for their land in Canada

On October 15, the Cree Indians of Lubicon Lake set up roadblocks on the highways entering the 4,000 square miles of their traditional hunting territory in Alberta, Canada. They declared they would not recognize the authority of the Canadian government or courts over their land.

The Cree took action after suffering decades of abuse and exploitation at the hands of the capitalists and the government.

As far back as 1933 the Lubicon Cree appealed for legal recognition of their rights to their ancestral homeland. The government refused. Instead, in 1970, Alberta officials opened the Cree lands to capitalist exploitation of the rich oil and timber resources. Three hundred and seventy oil wells were drilled by dozens of oil companies. In recent years, oil worth $1 million a day has been pumped out of Lubicon land, with the Indians receiving nothing. Forest and wildlife that the people depended on for their livelihood were destroyed. The Indians were driven deeper into poverty.

At last, fed up with the capitalist robbery, the Cree decided to take matters into their own hands. They blockaded the roads. And other native people, workers and students poured in to help man the barricades.

The government went into a frenzy to defend the capitalist profiteers. It dispatched a large force of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), including helicopter sharpshooters and SWAT teams with dogs, machine guns, shotguns and chain saws. The police attacked the blockades and arrested 27 protesters.

At the same time, the government offered a concession. Alberta Premier Donald Getty granted the Cree people control over 79 square miles. He also held out the promise of negotiations over the status of the much larger remaining territory and over some compensation for the millions of dollars of resource wealth that has been stolen from the native people.

Of course this lying capitalist politician is not to be trusted. But his concession testifies to the strength of the mass movement and the correctness of taking a confrontational course. Decades of appeals to the capitalists' courts produced nothing. It is by relying on their own struggle, and by arousing the support of the masses of Canadian working people, that the native Indians can fight for their just demands.

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Strikes and workplace news


Carrier Air Conditioning workers on strike

At midnight November 10, over 2,200 workers struck the Carrier air conditioning company in Syracuse, New York. Workers who walked out of the plant were greeted by a large crowd of cheering co-workers. The strikers immediately set up a picket line in front of the factory. They have maintained around-the-clock picket lines at every plant entrance.

In 1985, the Sheet Metal Workers International bureaucrats agreed to stick the workers with wage and benefit cuts of $3.62 per hour. This time, instead of restoring the cuts in basic wages, Carrier wants to pay lump-sum bonuses. As well, Carrier is demanding harsh penalties for absenteeism. The workers have had enough. They called the contract "an insult" and "a slap in the face." Their attitude was exemplified by a sign at the contract vote -- "Last, best and final offer -- same old shit! "

Uranium foundry workers strike

More, than 600 workers walked out in a contract strike October 7 at a uranium foundry in Fernald, Ohio. They are fighting against radiation poisoning and attempts to cut their medical benefits.

The foundry transforms uranium into compounds used in reactors producing plutonium for nuclear warheads. Owned by the federal government, the plant has been managed by Westinghouse Electric Co. since 1986.

The Department of Energy recently admitted that it deliberately underfunded pollution controls at the plant. As a result, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least 298,000 pounds of uranium have been discharged into the air since the plant was opened in 1951. As well, some 12.7 million pounds of radioactive waste were buried in pits that leaked into the Great Miami River, contaminating water supplies for Dayton and Cincinnati.

After protests of the dangerous pollution, the federal government began a 10-year, $500-million building program to upgrade the plant. But to help pay for the "rising costs," it wants the workers to give up concessions including cuts in their medical benefits, job combination, work rule changes, and other unsafe, productivity measures.

It is not bad enough that the workers are forced to produce the material for imperialist nuclear war. It is not bad enough that the government's admitted to poisoning the workers for over 35 years. But now the workers are supposed to pay for cleaning up the mess. Incredible!

At the USS-Posco mill:

"A drug-free environment" or terror against workers?

At the plant gate dozens of workers are met and taken to interrogation rooms. They are grilled for hours. They are allowed no representation. They are questioned and questioned again on the same points to confuse them into different answers. Refusal to cooperate is considered proof of guilt. Some workers are suspended and quickly taken from the mill before they can even pick up their belongings or tell other workers what is going on.

Is this a World War II film about Nazi atrocities? No, this is happening today at the USS-Posco steel mill in Pittsburgh, California.

In mid-November, USS-Posco began what it calls an "investigation into drug use" and property theft. Drugs are, of course, harmful and dangerous. But this campaign has nothing to do with helping workers overcome drug abuse. Rather, this is a crusade of harassment and intimidation aimed at terrorizing workers into submitting to USS-Posco's regime of speedup and job elimination.

Presently workers are being pushed to the wall with 16 hour days and 13 days of work in a row. Anger has been mounting. So to head off any resistance, the company launched a campaign of terror against the workers. USS-Posco hired a private investigation agency, employed spies among the workers, and began a sweep of interrogations and arbitrary suspensions. It is estimated that as many as 150 workers have been interrogated so far. Many have been told they are suspended, with pay, until the investigation is complete.

Such is the fruit of the "war on drugs" launched by Reagan and the Democrats. The connection of president-elect Bush with the Nicaraguan contra drug runners is covered up. But ordinary workers are harassed and suspended without a shred of proof of any wrong doing. Police-state type attacks against the masses, not solving the drug problem, is the heart of Reagan's "war on drugs."

(Based on a report from the MLP-San Francisco Bay Area Branch.)

Justice for janitors


Janitors in Atlanta, Georgia are getting organized. The 1,300 building janitors, who are mostly women, have dubbed their struggle "Justice for Janitors." They have launched a boycott campaign against the biggest hotel chain. It is owned by John Portman, a millionaire real estate developer. Mr. Portman pays his janitors so poorly that many of them are forced to also go on public assistance.

Meanwhile, about 1,300 workers forced the magic kingdom of Disney World in Orlando, Florida to recognize their union. They join another 9,000 workers that had already won union rights.

On October 25, the University of Cincinnati clerical and support staff also voted for union representation. The largely female work force of 1,200 is demanding equal pay for women.

Garment workers get organized

After a year-long struggle, workers forced SoHo garment company in New York City to contract work from unionized plants.

SoHo is a $30 million-a-year blouse company. Traditionally it gets all of its products by subcontracting to small nonunion sweatshops employing around 600 workers. Many are undocumented immigrants.

Last year workers at one of the shops struck. Defying threats of deportation and strikebreaking, the workers forced the sweatshop to recognize their union. After further struggle, SoHo agreed that all 600 contracted workers must have union rights.

Homeless protest in Washington, D.C.

On November 7, more than 2,500 homeless people and their supporters marched on the Capitol. They demanded decent, affordable housing for the three million homeless people in the nation. Shouting "Housing Now!" hundreds of demonstrators sat down in the middle of Constitution Avenue. Police arrested 377 of the protesters.

For weeks before, homeless people carried out daily rallies in the Capitol rotunda and sit-ins in Congressional offices. More than 200 were arrested in these actions.

Chrysler workers in St. Louis fight for jobs

In October, 3,200 Chrysler workers waged a two-and-a-half-week strike at the St. Louis Assembly Plant II in Fenton, Missouri. In 1985 the strike of these workers won back a number of job classifications that had been eliminated in an earlier "modern operating agreement." This time around the workers were fighting the loss of jobs due to the outsourcing of work to mainly nonunion sweatshops.

After the last model change over, the workers came back to the plant to find the cushion line gone and 100 jobs eliminated. Chrysler also declared plans to outsource its panel assembly which will mean even more layoffs. As well, Chrysler has been increasing "insourcing" -- that is, contracting out jobs inside the plant such as the inspection of small parts, janitorial work, and some skilled jobs.

The local and national UAW leaders claimed that outsourcing is a "national issue" that can not be fought at the local level. Instead, they agreed to a a new local contract that was restricted to safety issues, the use of part timers, and vacation time.

The workers overwhelmingly rejected the sellout. But the UAW leaders forced them to vote again. Workers came to the meeting with homemade picket signs such as, "You said no once, they didn't believe you meant it, just say no again!" When it was announced that the rank and file had again rejected the contract, shouts broke out of "Down with Bieber!" (the UAW president). Local hacks who called for a "yes" vote were booed. And one worker declared, "We are hostile to the international for not backing us. The company and the international are sleeping together."

The union leaders turned around and forced still a third vote. This time they apparently stuffed the ballot box and forced the rank and file back to work. Due to their militant fight some gains were made on the issues of health and safety and some "curbing" of insourcing.

But the fight against outsourcing is not over. Workers immediately began a petition drive demanding that the national contract be reopened to stop the outsourcing.

(Based on recent "Detroit Workers' Voice," paper of MLP-Detroit)

GM workers protest outsourcing and team concept

On October 14, some 500 workers held a rally inside GM's assembly plant in Wentzville, Missouri. With placards and banners made from stock material, they demonstrated against outsourcing and team concept, and they supported the strike at the St. Louis II Chrysler plant.

GM has been outsourcing repair work and other jobs. It has declared that it intends to cut the work force by 9% each year over the next three years. In addition GM announced it is preparing to outsource the cushion line which will cause 150 workers to be laid off.

Wentzville workers are especially opposed to the system of speedup and job elimination known as the. "team concept." Every Thursday there are "team meetings" held at 1:00 p.m. But instead of going to these meetings, as many as 500 workers have been holding weekly protests for over a month. These rallies are held in front of the union plant chairman's office to denounce him for supporting the "team concept."

(Based on recent "Detroit Workers Voice," paper of MLP-Detroit.)

"New Directions Movement" - UAW's loyal opposition shows its sellout colors

During the recent Chrysler strike in St. Louis, the UAW's "New Directions Movement" showed its true colors.

Over the last year, New Directions concentrated on a fight to get Jerry Tucker elected director of the UAW's Region 5. During Tucker's campaign, New Directions postured as being a militant opposition to the top UAW leadership. It denounced the UAW leader's support for concessions to the auto billionaires. It particularly decried the team concept and outsourcing.

But as soon as Tucker won the Region 5 election, he went right to work to help the international UAW leaders break the strike at Chrysler's St. Louis II plant and to sabotage the fight against team concept at GM's Wentzville plant.

When Tucker showed up at the Wentzville local union meeting, many workers expected him to support the Chrysler strike. But instead, Tucker announced that he was the one who had taken outsourcing off the bargaining table at Chrysler's St. Louis plant because it was a "national issue." In short, he supported the stand of the UAW international leadership against the demands of the Chrysler rank and file.

GM workers then demanded to know where he stood on "team concept." Tucker declared that he supports both the team concept and outsourcing. After all, he argued, GM needs to stay "competitive" with Korea. He went on. to preach to the workers that rallies don't do any good. And he demanded that the rank and file stop harassing the UAW plant chairman for supporting the team concept. At this point, the rank and file got fed up and started booing Tucker.

(Based on recent "Detroit Workers' Voice," paper of MLP-Detroit.)

Job injuries and illnesses increase

The capitalist productivity drive in the work places is taking its toll on the workers.

The Federal government just reported that last year more than six million workers suffered on-the-job illnesses or injuries -- an increase of 400,000 from 1986. Some 3,400 workers died from on-the-job injuries.

Occupational sickness is growing especially fast. About 190,000 workers suffered new illness for the first time in 1987, a jump of 39% over the past year. A majority of the new cases involved either skin diseases or repeated trauma. Trauma cases include such things as noise-induced hearing loss and conditions like carpel tunnel syndrome that cripples wrists and hands.

Even while the capitalists are driving the workers to an early grave, they are forcing them to pay larger and larger sums to obtain medical benefits. A survey by the Hay/Huggins Co. revealed that the amount an average worker has to pay each year for family coverage in a corporate medical plan is five times what it was in 1980 -- jumping from about $97 to $484. Of course many workers can't afford it. And many other workers get no medical benefits at all from their company.

Detroit steel workers fight drug testing

Workers at Great Lakes Steel (GLS) near Detroit are putting up a fight against the company's new drug testing policy. Leaflets have been spread widely. The mill has been plastered with stickers. And over a hundred signatures have already been turned in on a petition that demands a vote on the testing policy and the reinstatement, without penalties, of all workers who have been fired as a result of drug testing.

The GLS management has been on a campaign of testing and firing workers since the first of the year. The company claims that it wants to make the mill safer by eliminating drug use. This is just a smokescreen. In fact, over the last decade 12 workers have been killed at GLS because of the unsafe working conditions. Not one of these deaths was related to drug use. Rather, it's the company's productivity drive that has created increasingly unsafe working conditions.

The company's real aim in drug testing is to create an atmosphere of fear in order to impose its productivity drive on the workers. The company hopes to use the fear of being sent for testing to stop the workers' resistance to job combination, job elimination and forced overtime.

Union Hacks Do the Company's Dirty Work

The local leaders of the United Steel Workers (USW) have refused to lift a finger to fight the testing. In fact, they are helping the company. These hacks were recently elected on the promise to "bring the union to the workers." But in August they entered secret negotiations with the company to write an agreement on drug testing. In November they signed the agreement behind the workers' backs and imposed it throughout the mill.

This agreement allows the company to test with "cause." But the definition of "cause" is so vague that a supervisor need only accuse a worker of drug use to have him or her tested. Even though these tests are notorious for giving false positives, a positive test results in immediate firing. And, of course, GLS disallows tests that clear a worker if it comes from an outside agency, no matter how reputable.

Fired workers are only allowed back on the job, if they accept "disciplinary rehabilitation" in which a second positive test would result in firing. In this case, the workers could even be denied the right to appeal through the union. Of course, refusal to take a test is considered proof of guilt. One worker has already been fired because the company claims she refused to take a drug test.

MLP Active in Organizing the Resistance

Supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party have been in the forefront of the struggle to defend the fired workers and stop the testing. Since August four separate issues of the Detroit Workers' Voice have come out against drug testing and a network of militants has spread them widely among the rank and file. As well, posters and stickers has gone up around the mill. The present petition campaign was initiated by Party supporters.

The Party teaches that drugs are harmful and dangerous. But it also fights the Reaganite claims that drug abuse can be solved through firing workers and police persecution of the masses. Through the Party's work many misconceptions about drug testing have been cleared away, the dirty role of the union hacks has been exposed, and the rank and file are finding the way to stand up to the company's intimidation.

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From Boston to Seattle

Demonstrations confront 'Operation Rescue'

Sixty counter-demonstrators faced off against the 30 anti-abortion zealots in front of a women's medical clinic at Western and Diversey in Chicago. "Right to Life, your name's a lie, you don't care if women die,'' the counter-demonstrators cried. "Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate!''

On October 29, confrontations like this took place across the country, as the right-wing anti-abortion coalition Operation Rescue launched its "National Day of Rescue'' aimed at shutting clinics that perform abortions in some 30 cities.

In Raleigh and Chapel Hill, North Carolina and other cities pro-choice activists organized escort services to keep clinics open. Elsewhere there were sharp confrontations, including in Boston, Seattle, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, Buffalo, and Providence, Rhode Island.

There are reports from a number of clinics where angry pro-choice activists outnumbered the anti-abortionists and defeated attempts to keep people from the clinics. Boston was the scene of some of the most successful actions.

Operation Rescue Chased Out of Boston

A crew of 125 "rescuers'' hit Boston clinics on October 22. They were met with a militant counter-protest more than twice as large. For five hours, through pouring rain, the pro-choice activists shouted slogans, beat pots and pans, and blew whistles, drowning out the religious and patriotic caroling of the anti-abortionists. The usual pro-choice slogans were shouted, and they were also given a more militant edge: "Back alleys, no more! Abortion rights for workers and poor!'' and "1-2-3-4, open up the clinic door! 5-6-7-8, we don't want your fascist state!"

This counter-action was a shock and a setback to Operation Rescue. They were aware that NOW and Mass Choice were not going to challenge them at the clinics. If you called NOW's office, they were telling people not to counter-protest at the clinics. Better to avoid confrontation, NOW said, and wait for a placard-holding event on the 29th.

The next week Operation Rescue took no chances. After all, there was a good chance that NOW's plans for a tame placard-holding line along Beacon Street might give way to an even worse rout of the anti-abortionists at the clinics.

Instead, Operation Rescue packed up for Providence, Rhode Island, where they staged a surprise attack on a clinic. But here too they were met by 80 angry demonstrators. Meanwhile, over 2,000 pro-choice demonstrators gathered in Boston.

The MLP played an active role. In the weeks before, through leafleting and discussions, they took the struggle to Boston area factories, schools and communities. They worked to overcome the roadblocks set up by NOW, Mass Choice and others catering to the Democrats and the Dukakis campaign. They did their part to raise the militancy of the October 22 showdown and encouraged confrontation against the Reaganite "rescuers" at the clinics.

At the big rally of October 29 the MLP's leaflets called on activists to come out to denounce Oliver North on November 2. This infamous contra-gate criminal was to speak at Boston College for the tidy fee of $25,000. The pro-choice activists were in a fighting mood. The appeal against North was taken up with enthusiasm. The protest against North became the next big fight against the Reaganite reactionaries.

[Photo: MLP in the midst of Boston confrontation with "Operation Rescue."]

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Death to apartheid in South Africa!


Battle looms against repressive crackdown at UC-Berkeley

500 in torchlight march against apartheid

A big fight is looming at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. The administration has drawn up changes in the Student Conduct Regulations: banning shanties and other "unauthorized structures"; limiting demonstrations to Biko (Sproul) Plaza; and banning overnight protests.

These new rules came out within days of the October 26 Torchlight March organized by the Campaign Against Apartheid. The rules are the UC's latest attempt to purge the campus of militant protest.

What happened at this torchlight march that sent the administration into such a frenzy?

Torchlight March

The action was a protest against the UC Regents' refusal to divest stocks in companies doing business with apartheid. It was also a response to a rash of racist attacks at the university. The CAA called the march under the slogans "UC/USA out of South Africa!" "Support the revolution in South Africa!" "End South Africa/Israeli collaboration!" and "Fight racism on campus!"

At the rallying point, speakers called to build up the anti-apartheid and anti-racist movements on campus. The UC was denounced for its links with apartheid and for its refusal to listen to the demands of the minority students. A speaker from the MLP called for building up a movement that won't be diverted by the pathetic sanction maneuvers of the Democrats in Congress or by fake divestment schemes like the one pulled off by the UC Regents.

After the rally the activists took to the streets. They lit up large wooden torches and began nonstop shouting, "Revolution yes! Apartheid no! Death to apartheid blow by blow!" and "UC/USA out of South Africa!''

Three times the protest poured into dormitory courtyards, rallying students to join the action. The march grew to 500 strong as it wove through the streets of Berkeley.

In high spirits the marchers returned to Biko Plaza. A CAA speaker denounced the administration for trying to quiet the anti-apartheid movement and called on the students to build the struggle independent of the capitalist politicians.

The torches were turned into a bonfire on the plaza. Denounced and burned were effigies of South African Prime Minister Botha, UC Chancellor Heyman, Israeli Defense Minister Rabin, and a capitalist pig representing the imperialist interests that grow fat off of racism and apartheid. As the flames grew, the cry rang through the plaza: "Apartheid in South Africa, bum it to the ground!"

The Crackdown

Five days later the university sent CAA a threatening letter about the use of torches and the bonfire, demanding to meet those responsible. The CAA activists were unmoved. They responded with a letter that concludes:

"Our position remains: Get the money out of South Africa. We will not be budged by half-page ads about phony divestment and the deceit of the UC administration, nor by its use of bureaucratic curtailment of protest. We still remember clearly how 10 students were harassed for two years for protesting apartheid before the internal hearings were dropped; and all this after the courts could find no cause to prosecute. It is clear the UC remains solid in its support for apartheid. Torchlight marches are not a crime. Apartheid is the crime! "

Indeed, why were the officials making such a fuss about torches and bonfires now? After all, this was the third such torchlight march in three years. The only reason was that it was a part of a general crackdown on militant protest. This was borne out by the proposed new campus rules a few days later.

The hazard the administration is worried about is the fires of student protest. Why confine demonstrations to the plaza, if not out of worry that marching to the dormitories might arouse too much interest? Why ban shanties, if not to ban this well-known symbol of militant student protest?

The planned restrictions have stirred up a hornets' nest of opposition. The CAA and other activists are not about to bow down. They are taking the fight against these new rules seriously. A powerful protest movement on campus can't be built by knuckling under to the dictates of the reactionaries. Rallies and other protests are already underway.


Blacks reject election charade

In October black activists in South Africa organized a campaign to mobilize opposition to Botha's municipal elections.

These elections were organized as usual along segregated lines: whites voting for white councils, and blacks for theirs, etc. But while a few blacks who support collaboration with the white racists took part in the elections, the overwhelming majority rejected them.

Despite the restrictions of the state of emergency and laws against calls for election boycott, the boycott campaign was successful. The government bragged that up to 30% of the blacks living in some townships voted. They say this shows the masses are coming to accept the South African system. But ridiculous as that official figure is, in fact, fewer than 5% of blacks voted nationally.

The gulf between the black masses and the apartheid regime is not about to narrow. Not when the black people have sacrificed so much blood to overthrow the hated racist system.

[Photo: Anti-apartheid activists in South Africa denounce fraudulent elections of October 26.]

Anti-racism is "treason" in South Africa

Of late President P.W. Botha in South Africa has been trying to polish up the image of his apartheid regime. He undertook a diplomatic initiative recently, wooing neighboring black African regimes with words of peace and promises of prosperity. And he has released a handful of political prisoners.

Botha likes to pose for the Western press as a "moderate" who is leading South Africa to a "reformed" apartheid. But a leopard can't change its spots. Two of the released prisoners are dying of terminal illness. And they have all had innumerable restrictions placed on what they can do with their "freedom."

Repression Continues

The truth is that Botha's government is carrying on with repression of the anti-apartheid movement. The latest atrocity was the conviction for treason of some prominent black opposition leaders. Through these convictions, the South African establishment has shown that opposition to apartheid, even the nonviolent kind, is considered to be treason.

The charges in the recent trials stem from the massive rebellion that spread across South Africa in 1984-85. Unable to punish all of the black masses involved, the government settled on certain individuals to persecute, to serve as an example to intimidate the masses.

Most of those recently convicted are leading members or supporters of the United Democratic Front (UDF), a reformist anti-apartheid organization formed in 1983. At the time of its founding, as the masses' enthusiasm for battling apartheid was reaching a crest, the government was not able to suppress UDF. The racists also tolerated the existence of UDF because of its reformist politics.

But today, when the state of emergency has forced mass actions to a relatively lower level, the government is trying to crush all opposition out of existence. Last winter Botha banned UDF from carrying on any political activity. Now he has convicted its main leaders of treason.

Court Rejects Nonviolence as a Plea of Defense

The UDF defendants protested to the very end of their trial that UDF was a strictly nonviolent organization with no plan for overthrowing the government. They insisted their activity was limited to organizing demonstrations against rent hikes. But this cut no ice for the racist judge (there was no jury), who laid down the law that "treason does not require violent acts." So on November 18 the judge found four of the defendants guilty of treason.

The judge showed "leniency" toward seven other defendants, however. He accepted the defense argument that, as local activists, they had no national conspiracy. So he only convicted them on the lesser charge of "terrorism." Of course terrorism, like treason, carries a maximum penalty of hanging. (The 11 defendants are all scheduled for sentencing December 5.)

Although this was the longest and most celebrated trial, it's by no means the only one. Other convictions of activists of several other groups were handed down. And scores of other anti-apartheid activists have already been hanged.

The Supreme Court refused to give clemency to the Sharpeville Six scheduled for hanging. These blacks had been convicted of killing a black sellout official several years ago. The Botha government stepped in to replace the hanging sentence with 25-year prison terms. This was supposed to be a sign of Botha's large-heartedness, but the Sharpeville Six were convicted in a case where the government merely claimed that these people were part of the big crowd in which the sellout was justly executed.

The racists' onslaught against popular organizations is not limited to judicial persecution and judicial assassination. They also use extra-legal means. Right-wing terrorists are currently on a rampage against opponents of apartheid, bombing and burning their office buildings, etc.

When you have a system which considers all opposition to be treason, reformist hopes such as those upheld by UDF leaders are a pipe dream. The racist rule can only be smashed up through revolutionary struggle of the oppressed people.

Botha coddles racist killers

Recently a far-right racist went on a shooting spree and killed a number of black people on the streets of Pretoria, South Africa. The mild response of the Botha government to this outrage showed up once again that there are two standards of justice in South Africa.

Racist Politics Spawn Racist Murders

The racist gunman, Barend Strydom, is a former police constable and is known as a member of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, a neo-fascist organization that uses a three-legged swastika as its symbol. Strydom also claims to be a leader of the White Wolves, a right-wing terrorist organization that claims responsibility for a number of urban bombings, including attacks on anti-apartheid organizations.

On November 15 Strydom appeared on the streets of Pretoria with a handgun and began shooting black people. Before being subdued Strydom killed six and wounded 17. The shootings occurred near the courtroom where 19 blacks were on trial, charged with treason for anti-apartheid political activity.

At his court hearing the next day, the court merely committed Strydom to a month of psychiatric testing.

What an outrage! The government runs assembly-line hangings of blacks, legally murdering people for the sole crime of talking against apartheid. But a white man, a racist diehard, who shoots down blacks in broad daylight on the streets of the capital is sent to the hospital and may get off with an insanity plea.

A Fig Leaf of Reform

Worried that the mild response to Strydom's murders might touch off black unrest and further international isolation, the Botha government came out with another announcement the next day.

It announced the banning of a racist organization, the White Liberation Movement of South Africa. While many anti-apartheid organizations have been banned, this is the first pro-apartheid organization to be banned. But this doesn't mean that Botha, the chieftain of repression against the blacks, has now become a fighter against racist murderers.

The White Liberation Movement is a tiny group, practically unknown, and not directly implicated in Strydom's murders. It was merely a convenient scapegoat.


Meanwhile the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, a relatively large, influential racist group, and the one which appears to have something to do with Strydom's violent acts, remains untouched by the government. Nor did the government take any action against the White Wolves, despite rumors they are plotting to kill President P.W. Botha himself.

The government will not touch those organizations because they are part of the racist consensus of white minority rule. The Strydoms and ultra-racist gangs are merely the unofficial storm troopers of racist apartheid. Together with the murders and beatings of the army and police, they enforce the whole system of racist rule. They must all be overthrown by revolution.

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3rd Congress of the MLP, USA--Fall, 1988


While the capitalists were debating whether to have Bush or Dukakis preside over the Reaganite offensive against the masses, there was another discussion taking place. This was a discussion about how to organize the working masses to fight back against the capitalist offensive.

The Party of the communist vanguard, the Marxist-Leninist Party, has just held its 3rd Congress. A Congress is the highest forum of the Party. It is where the delegates, activists who have carried out the dedicated work of organizing a revolutionary trend among the American workers, gather to sum up the Party's work, to set the basic orientation for the next period, and to elect the Central Committee.

While in the presidential elections Bush and Dukakis addressed the concerns of the bourgeoisie, from a "flexible freeze'' on benefits for the masses to how many nuclear weapons are needed for imperialist war, the 3rd Congress discussed the struggle at the work place against job combination and speedup, for safety and higher wages, the struggle against unemployment. It discussed the struggle against racism and imperialism, and combating the disintegration of the anti-apartheid movement as our comrades have done at the University of California at Berkeley.

While Bush and Dukakis sang hymns to the pledge of allegiance, waved the flag, and debated how much to promote racism and how much to emphasize the chauvinist crusade against the foreign workers, the 3rd Congress denounced U.S. imperialism and made plans to build Tip the international solidarity of the working class; it sent ardent solidarity to the revolutionaries all over the world -- whether in Palestine or South Africa, Central America, or in Eastern Europe, anywhere workers are rising in struggle against exploitation and oppression. The Congress discussed in particular the state of development of the anti-revisionist movement and sent its fraternal greetings to the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist parties or groups around the world.

While Bush and Dukakis could offer the working masses no hope for the future except more belt tightening, more taxes, more cuts in social benefits and more prisons, the 3rd Congress of our Party discussed bringing the revolutionary perspective of socialism to the masses, showing how the future will bring the prospect of the working class becoming the ruling class and building a society where the fruit of our labor goes to those who toil. The 3rd Congress condemned the fraud of "socialism'' in the present revisionist societies Tn the Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe. And it inaugurated a deeper investigation of the historic problems that led to the degeneration of the Soviet Union from socialism to what it is now, a state capitalist country steeped in exploitation of the workers and trampling on the oppressed nationalities.

While the presidential elections offered nothing but a choice between two capitalist parties, and promoted the fraud that pulling a lever on a machine to choose between two millionaires is the highest form of democracy conceivable, the 3rd Congress discussed mobilizing the masses into becoming a real force to change history through taking part in building a party of the working class, a revolutionary party that can organize and lead the working class in struggle against the capitalists, a party true to the aspirations of the working class.

The Congress paid special attention to the problems of the present period of stagnation in the mass struggles. It reviewed the work of the Party in linking up with the flurries of struggle that take place even in such a period of ebb. These struggles do not lead to big breakthroughs at the present time, but they provide the basis for keeping the Party implanted among the masses and for building up a pro-Party trend among the workers and activists. The Congress also reaffirmed that special attention has to be paid to organizational questions, collective methods of work, and Party-building in order to ensure.a balance between the different fronts of work and the maintenance of revolutionary perspective in the face of the crush of petty details of minor struggles.

The Congress dealt with the problem of reformism and the trade union bureaucracy. It showed that besides the outright do-nothing reformists, who get discredited among the masses disgruntled with their condition, reformism also has a left-posturing wing, whether in the trade union bureaucracy or the mass movements. The verbal leftism of these reformists doesn't change the nature of their stand as capitulation to the bourgeoisie. Whether in the anti-apartheid movement or the struggle against concessions or the movement against U.S. imperialist intervention, without opposing this left-posturing reformism, no struggle to build up a movement truly independent of the capitalists is possible.

Today the bourgeoisie is gloating about the victory of Reaganism in the election. But they are afraid that a gust of wind will upset their economic house of cards. Meanwhile the Congress showed the unity of the Party around the path of steadfast revolutionary work. Even today, in harsh conditions, there exists a small core of class conscious workers and activists who adhere to the path of Marxism-Leninism and socialist revolution. As the cracks multiply in the edifice of Reaganism, the working class will eventually separate itself off from the bourgeois parties and enter upon the path of revolutionary struggle in full force. It will rise up, tortured by capitalist deprivation, sick of incessant imperialist wars, and confident that it can run society itself. The Congress took upon itself the task of preparing the conditions for this day.

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---- Resolutions ----

The situation after Reagan

What should the working people expect with Bush moving into the White House while the Democrats continue to control Congress?

Although Reagan will no longer be president, it is clear that the capitalist class has decided to continue on the road of Reaganite reaction. This is a bipartisan policy of capitalist assault on the working masses and poor. It is setting the stage for a new upsurge of mass struggle, for a profound battle between the working class and all the oppressed masses against the capitalist exploiters.

The last eight years of Reaganism have spelt disaster for the masses.

All the talk of "making America great again'' is at the expense of the working masses at home and abroad.

Flag-waving patriotism and chauvinist harangues against foreign workers have fueled a gargantuan war budget and an imperialist drive against working people in countries spread around the globe.

At home, the capitalists have striven to deny all rights to immigrants, for "English only" chauvinism, for segregation and racist terror, for "anti-abortion" assaults on the rights of working women.-The capitalists are trying to split up the workers as they drive the whole working class toward poverty and hunger through concessions and takebacks, cuts in social spending and rising taxes.

Above all, Reaganism has deepened the class polarization throughout the society.

While the rich have filled their vaults, poverty and homelessness have spread wider and wider. While the big bosses have raked in unprecedented profits, wages have been driven down, layoffs have mounted, and those still working have faced a hellhole of speedup, job combination, harassment and unsafe conditions. While the corporations have gotten huge tax breaks and fat military contracts, and the banks have hauled in big interest payments from budget deficits, the social programs for the masses have been slashed to the bone.

The growing schism between classes is piling up the inflammatory material for a social explosion. And such an explosion, such a struggle of class against class, is the motor for change. Although for the moment the mass rebellion has been held in check by a number of factors, the anger of the masses grows and the gap keeps widening between the workers and poor on one side and the capitalist exploiters on the other.

It cannot be predicted when the mass upsurge will break out. But break out it will. And this is the force that can turn the tables on the capitalists.

The social factors making for class battles are not going away.

Bush will continue the offensive against the masses, because it is based on the consensus of monopoly capital.

Reaganite reaction is not just the product of the right-wing fringe, of "moral majority" lunatics. No, it has meant high profits. It has got the backing of the capitalists as a class. It has become the new mainstream politics of the bourgeoisie. That is why it is supported not only by the Republicans but also the Democrats, not only by the White House but also the Congress. It is a bipartisan offensive of the capitalist class against the working class and the oppressed.

Of course the capitalists are not blind to the discontent growing among the masses. That is why the elections saw Bush posturing about a "kinder, gentler America" while Dukakis wrung his hands about "compassion." But this is kindness on the cheap, compassion by the penny. It is an attempt to diffuse the mass discontent by talking about social needs, but without spending money or cutting profits. It is an attempt to appeal to the masses even while the offensive against them persists.

The capitalists are set on staying the course. This was shown, back before the elections, in the Iran-contra scandal. This was the first crack in Reaganism, exposing the depths of its corruption and filth. But the Democrats helped to paper over the crisis quickly. A few "loose cannons" were removed, but unity was restored behind mainstream officials who could be trusted to stick to the policy of the big monopolies. The presidential elections -- where Dukakis along with Bush promised to maintain the basic policies of the Reagan regime -- only verified the capitalists' determination to stick with Reaganite reaction.

But Reaganism is a crisis waiting to happen.

Despite the capitalists' joy over the high profits, over Reagan's "unprecedented recovery," the signs of economic crisis are showing up throughout the system. Plant closings, farm foreclosures, and business failures mount. Five hundred savings and loans institutions have already gone bankrupt. Meanwhile a collapse of-the international banking system is threatened by the prospect of major defaults on foreign loans. Last year's stock market crash on Wall Street was simply a warning that Reaganite "prosperity" is only a house of cards waiting to tumble down.

The Reaganite policy that the capitalists have united behind has temporarily held off economic depression. At the expense of the masses. By intensifying all the contradictions of capitalism. By preparing the way for even more devastating crisis tomorrow.

The capitalists are headed for crisis. The working class, and with them all of the oppressed and downtrodden, must get organized for the class struggle against the capitalists.

Tasks of the class struggle

The 3rd Congress of the Marxist-Leninist Party calls on all militant workers, all anti-racist fighters, all opponents of U.S. imperialism to join with the Party in the work of organizing and strengthening the class struggle and the mass movements.

Discontent among the working people is widespread. There is a smoldering resentment among the masses. As of yet it has not burst into an open struggle. Nonetheless, although still generally weak and localized, we have seen repeated flare-ups of resistance and protest.

Over the last period we have seen a stiffening of the workers' opposition to takeback contracts and other concessions. There has also been stirrings of a protest movement against plant shutdowns and layoffs in the auto industry and elsewhere. The homeless have also taken initial steps to organize and struggle.

We have seen a wave of protests on college campuses against racist bigotry and discrimination. The bitterness of the oppressed nationalities against racist violence and police abuse erupted this past summer in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and again in Shreveport, Louisiana in September.

We have also seen continuing actions against apartheid in South Africa and against U.S. intervention in Central America. A series of angry protests broke out against Oliver North and other contragate criminals and against the dispatch of more U.S. troops to Honduras last spring.

In general the mass struggles are not sustained. They burst out only to subside again. Thus the overall class struggle remains low.

The class struggle by nature has its periods of ebbs and flow. However, in the present ebb much more could be accomplished in terms of organizing and mobilizing the masses in preparation for the next upsurge if not for the sabotage of the reformist leaders.

The trade union chieftains have joined hands with the corporations to squeeze more out of the workers in the name of competing for jobs against the foreign workers. At every turn the black politicians and other reformist misleaders barter away the struggle of the impoverished black and other oppressed masses in. favor of token gestures and cushy positions for a few. To make sure not to embarrass the imperialist politicians of the Democratic Party, the social-democratic and pacifist leaders of the anti-intervention movement have even called off actions.

This past year the Jesse Jackson campaign rallied together a large number of the reformist forces. This campaign was used to sidetrack the mass struggle, to turn the heads of the workers and activists with illusions that great things were to be expected out of the '88 elections. In the end this campaign exposed itself for what it always was -- a campaign to rope in the discontented behind the capitalist politics-as-usual of Dukakis and the Democratic Party.

When the mass struggle threatens to or becomes sharp, we have often seen the emergence of a more militant and radical-sounding reformism. This happens in the fight against concessions and plant closings, where a section of trade union leaders can sound militant and uncompromising only to leave the struggle in the hands of the union bureaucracy. We have also seen it in the anti-intervention and other movements, where part of the reformist leaders will strike a militant pose only to ensure that the fight doesn't break out of the bounds of the imperialist pacifism of the Democratic Party. These trends serve to keep the struggle from breaking out of the reformist confines and as a buffer to keep the workers and activists from revolutionary politics.

This situation places important tasks before the Marxist-Leninist Party and the revolutionary workers and activists. The times cry out for organizing the class struggle.

We must link up with the discontent and growing anger of the workers and oppressed. We must give it a clear voice and strive to steer it in a revolutionary direction. We need to make good use of every flare-up of protest and resistance to spread the revolutionary standpoint and to build organization.

We need to encourage every step towards political independence, not just in name, not in a rainbow that begins and ends inside the Democratic Party, but based on a real fight of the workers and exploited against the exploiters and the Democratic and Republican Parties of monopoly capitalism.

We need to seek ways to overcome the limits imposed by the reformist leaders. Means must be found to bring the stirrings and protests among the workers out of the confines of the trade union bureaucracies. The anti-racist and anti-imperialist actions need to sweep aside the sabotage of the reformist misleaders.

We need to lift the mass struggle out of the capitalist framework. Consciousness of the need for revolutionary change, of the need for the overthrow of the exploiting minority by the exploited majority, is an essential part of developing the mass struggle. It helps break the struggle from the reformist grip and bring it out from the shadow of capitalist politics-as-usual.

Tasks of party building

The experience of the last period shows the importance of the working class political party for the orientation and guidance of the class struggle. In this difficult period of ebb, it has been the Marxist-Leninist Party which has upheld the path of working class independence and class struggle. The 3rd Congress calls on all revolutionary-minded workers and militant activists, all those who wish to strike a real blow for the emancipation of the proletariat, all those who not only wage the current struggles but who wish to direct them to accomplishing the historic mission of the working class, to join together with us to build up revolutionary organization and first and foremost the Marxist-Leninist Party itself.

The proletariat needs its own political party not just for electioneering under the system of bourgeois rule. Political independence from the bourgeoisie and its Democratic and Republican parties cannot be reduced to just running some candidates in the elections, but above all resides in the conducting of the revolutionary class struggle in all its manifestations. A Leninist party is intimately linked to the strengthening and uniting of the various streams of mass protest and struggle.

The very importance of Party-building gives rise to the severity of the struggle over liquidationism.

In the present time of ebb in the mass struggles, the work to maintain the Party and to imbue the conscious workers and revolutionary activists with party spirit is difficult but decisive. The low level of the mass movements puts a straitjacket on the emergence and training of large numbers of new revolutionary-minded activists from live political experience. Meanwhile the bourgeoisie uses all its spokesmen to advocate that the workers, the oppressed nationalities and others should fall behind one or the other capitalist party.

The reformists -- some of whom, such as the revisionists and trotskyites, claim to be communists -- provide a left-sounding echo of the bourgeoisie. We are in a period of fashionable liquidationism or mockery of Party spirit. Party-building, as well as revolutionary spirit in general, is denounced as dangerous "leftism," "sectarianism," outdated, etc. (Meanwhile various anarchistic or semi-anarchistic groups denounce party- building as "conservative," "confining" or "authoritarian.") Instead the reformists rely in one way or another on the bourgeoisie, from seeking cushy positions in the labor bureaucracy to living off the largesse of the bourgeois foundations and liberals.

But the working class and progressive activists have immense revolutionary potential, and they have given rise to a core whose dedicated and painstaking work has maintained the revolutionary organization.

Over the years of the ebb the MLP has been maintained by the steadfast efforts of class conscious workers and revolutionary activists in and around it. This work brings to the fore various tasks.

It is necessary to devote special attention to maintaining links with the masses.

During the period of ebb, there is a spontaneous tendency for the connection between revolutionary organization and its base among the working masses to be broken off. But over these years the Party has shown that it is possible to maintain this connection. This requires linking up with the various flurries of struggle that occur even at present. This is crucial to maintain the links of the Party with the masses, and it is crucial to preserving the Party's character as a party of struggle.

In this work, special attention has to be paid to building the Party at the factories and work places. The struggle against the capitalist offensive gives rise to a number of actions and outbreaks of discontent. But communist work at the work places does not at all mean concentrating all the attention of the workers on economic questions. It is necessary to strive to bring the workers into all the political movements and questions of the day.

Attention must be paid to building up the pro-Party trend.

Besides the Party, the working class and the mass struggles give rise to a whole network of diverse organizations. But in the work in the various struggles and among these organizations, it is necessary not to lose sight of the task of building up the revolutionary trend itself among the workers. It is necessary to develop the pro-Party trend of workers that don't just support this or that particular struggle, but that support the socialist revolution and who assist the building up of Party organization. The building up of this trend is decisive for the development of stable links among the masses, and it provides an immense strengthening of the mass struggles.

It is essential to pay attention to Party organizational work.

The drag of the present period, and the individualist atmosphere promoted by the bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeoisie, necessitate paying close attention to maintaining collective Party methods. As well, the limited nature of the present-day mass struggles results in pressure towards narrowness and one-sidedness. There is also the pressure of large amounts of work to be done by few hands. It is necessary to maintain revolutionary perspective and a proper balance in the work and not simply get bogged down in details of practical work.

It is necessary to carry forward theoretical work.

The proletarian revolutionary movement is based on the consciousness of the masses, and theory has always been vital to the spread of communism. Today there are many burning theoretical issues. There are the controversial questions of theory and tactics in the world movement. There is the summation of the experience of the struggles in the U.S. and the world movement. There is the repudiation of traditional fashionable views that have turned out to be snares and illusions. There is the study of the roots of revisionism in the communist movement, and of such questions as the reasons for the capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union. And this theoretical work of the Party must be carried out in connection with the permanent tasks of imbuing the masses with revolutionary theory.

A special role falls on the workers' press, of which the Party press, from leaflets to the national journal The Workers' Advocate, is the model and guide.

This press gives the working class its voice and fights the capitalist lies. It provides a focus and a platform for political and economic agitation and also for theoretical discussion. The work of supporting it and building it, of carrying it forward despite the numerous obstacles put in its way by the ruling bourgeoisie, helps organize the workers and inspire Party spirit. It provides a powerful and easily understandable link between the Party and the masses.

Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the American Communist Workers Movement (Marxist-Leninist), the predecessor of our Party.

It was brought into being on May 12, 1969 by a group of activists from the upsurge of the 1960's. From their experience in the struggle against the war in Viet Nam, in the fight against racism, in the workers' movement, in the women's movement, etc. they became convinced of the need to use Marxism-Leninism to orient the struggle.

They saw that the "Communist" Party of the USA had become revisionists who trailed the bourgeoisie. Rebuilding a truly communist party had necessarily to be an anti-revisionist struggle. They also saw that the other existing groupings were unsatisfactory, and called for the revolutionary anti-revisionists to unite into a single Marxist- Leninist party for the whole country.

In the years that followed, the ACWM(ML) and its successor, the Central Organization of U.S. Marxist-Leninists, lived through many difficulties. There were grave setbacks as well as victories. But these organizations never gave up their stand for revolutionary Marxist-Leninism, their participation in the mass struggle, their efforts to create a truly communist party, their efforts to unite the working class for the socialist revolution, and their uncompromising opposition to revisionism. It is their work that gave rise to the founding of the Marxist-Leninist Party on January 1,1980.

Let us continue this work as the way to prepare for and hasten the inevitable waking of a new spirit of struggle among the working masses!

Socialism - liberation of the working class

The decade of the 1980's has been one of increased wealth for the rich and increasing cutbacks and difficulties for the masses. Meanwhile the economy totters on the edge of a new and devastating crisis.

The capitalists have only one word to say in response: the workers must sacrifice.

Why do things get harder as wealth increases? Why does the economy totter while abundant factories, farms, and workers to run them exist? Why can the capitalists think of nothing better to do with the huge resources of modern technology than divert them into one war after another and the perfection of ever more devastating means of mass slaughter?

It is because society is divided into parts, into exploiters and exploited, one of which lives at the expense of the other. The capitalists, the wealthy, not only make fantastically more money than the working majority. But more, their money is made off the labor of the working masses. The deprivation of the masses is needed for the wealth of the rich. The concessions of the workers, the backbreaking speedups, the wage cuts, and the layoffs are needed to line the pockets of the privileged.

As long as society is split into the privileged who rule and the poor who work, nothing fundamental can be solved. Just so long will every event have two sides, with the misery of many the prerequisite for the wealth of the few. Just so long will every promise of "compassion" be nothing more than a sly slave owner's trick. Just so long will dog-eat-dog competition and frenzied anarchy make a mockery of rational planning.

But out of the economic development under capitalism itself, the material basis for a new society has arisen. Large-scale production has become the predominant means of production. This inevitably raises the question of why a small handful of wealthy parasites, trading one firm versus another in "leveraged buyouts," should control huge enterprises which are sometimes larger and more powerful than the governments of many countries. Since most production is the product of the cooperation of thousands and tens of thousands of workers, why shouldn't the fruits of this production also be in the hands of the workers as a whole?

This is no utopian dream. Humanity has reached the stage where the exploitation of person by person can be eliminated. The rule of a handful of exploiters over society is outdated. The economic basis exists for the working class to become the ruling class, and then to go on to abolish the division of society into classes altogether. The goal of a communist society, a society without classes and class oppression, without a ruling class, without an oppressive state apparatus, has become the goal of revolutionary workers around the world.

Communist society goes through several phases. The lower phase of communism is socialism, where classes still exist. The working class becomes the ruling class and step by step expropriates the bourgeoisie. It heals the wounds left by capitalism, expands production, and prepares for the abolition of all classes. This is a period of struggle, of the dictatorship of the proletariat, where the working class transforms itself in the process of ruling, the process of reconstructing society and the management of production, as well as in overcoming the resistance of the bourgeoisie. It leads to the higher phase of socialism, communism, the classless society.

Socialism is not just based on some new morality or the spread of a humanitarian idea. Not only does the advance of the economy make socialism possible, but it demands it. Huge problems such as pollution cannot be solved by capitalist competition between firms, but require cooperation over whole countries and continents.

Socialism is based on the achievements of modern science and engineering technique. It is based on the development of large-scale production. And it is based on the highest product of modern production -- the modern working class itself.

The growth of productivity long ago reached the point where it is possible for everyone to have a cultured life. Only capitalism, to preserve itself, must preserve ignorance. As long as the exploiters rule, they must keep the mass of workers enslaved mentally as well as economically. The capitalists need to spread technological knowledge, but they seek to preserve the repulsive sludge of past centuries, including religious fanaticism and chauvinist fervor, including racial oppression and denigration of women. Meanwhile communism not only makes possible the spread of enlightenment and knowledge about the world among the masses, but it requires it for its very existence.

Today public relations men of the exploiters have unleashed a big campaign against socialism. They blame the stagnation and ills of the capitalist economies on central planning and high wages. They present the existence of the state sector of the capitalist economies as "socialism," and then blame the failures of state capitalism on socialism. They point to the failure of revisionism, which they trumpet as the failure of "Marxism-Leninism." Meanwhile the revisionist state capitalists under Gorbachev and other revisionists in turn want to learn modern Western methods of exploitation just at the moment that this system totters in the face of a new crisis.

But socialism is not state capitalism, where the state owns many of the means of production but the state is still controlled by the rich. Nor is it the welfare state, where the capitalists try to keep the class contradictions from breaking out by handing over a few bucks to the starving. No, it is the rule of the working masses over society. It is the mobilization of the former hungry and laid-off masses into the real makers of history. It means that they themselves will remold society so as to eliminate exploitation and its offshoots: from racism and sexism to militarism and tyranny.

The Paris Commune of 1871 was the first time the working class took power in its own right, but it only lasted 71 days before it was drowned in blood by the French bourgeoisie.

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 was the first major experiment in building the rule of the working class. Working under difficult conditions, in a backward country, and faced with the intervention of one imperialist power after another, the Bolsheviks led the working class to set forward upon the path of reconstructing society.

The later degeneration of the Bolshevik Party into revisionism, and the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, cannot wipe out the great accomplishments of this period any more than the fall of the Jacobins in the French bourgeois-democratic revolution of the end of the 18th century could stop the inevitable downfall of feudalism and absolute monarchy. The French Jacobins were the major revolutionary party of their time. Their fall led ultimately to the restoration of the French monarchy for decades before the next major European revolutionary wave half a century later. Yet the feudal monarchies were doomed all the same. Today it is the turn of capitalism. It is outdated and obsolete. The immense setback to the revolutionary working class movement from the decay of the Soviet Union has only prolonged the crisis-ridden life of capitalism, but it cannot wipe out the communist movement.

The working class, when it is class conscious, must be revolutionary. To achieve its goal of emancipating humanity from exploitation, it needs not just militancy, but a revolutionary perspective. The conviction must spread that the working masses can and must run the economy themselves, and do it better than the capitalists. The conviction that a new society can be built, a society that will permanently eliminate the scourges of capitalism.

The Marxist-Leninist Party calls on all class conscious workers and revolutionary activists to join us in building the working class movement as a revolutionary movement. This means coming out as an independent force on every issue against the bourgeoisie, and its liberal and conservative wings. It also means work in favor of socialist revolution, study of the principles of socialism, and criticism of capitalist society as a whole. The reformist version of "socialism" as just welfare-ism or as the state sector under capitalism must be opposed. The revisionist corruption of socialism must be exposed. As part of this, our Party has embarked on a major study of the experience of the Soviet Union, both its revolutionary accomplishments and the reasons for its fall.

Meanwhile the capitalists are frantically seeking to balance one economic measure versus another. Should interest rates go up or down? Is the stock market too high or not high enough? Is the burgeoning budget deficit too big or is it spurring on the economy? Should the hundreds of bankrupt savings and loans companies be allowed to collapse or saved through the infusion of billions of dollars?

But a time will come when they will wake up and find that there is no stock market, no profit margins, no rate of return on hoarded dollars. Factories and farms will remain, but not stock certificates and positions as over-privileged overseers. The toilers will have risen up and reconstructed the world on a new and better basis.

Against the anti-socialist crusade of Gorbachev

The state capitalist countries of Russia, China and Eastern Europe are led not by communists but by revisionist betrayers of Marxism. Today these countries are in acute crisis. In this situation Gorbachev in the Soviet Union is heading up a new offensive to exorcise the revolutionary ideas of Marxism-Leninism.

Gorbachev's campaign and the crisis of revisionism are being used by world capitalism for a massive assault on the very idea of socialism.

They want to demoralize the working class and strip it of its revolutionary aspirations. They want to bury the idea that it is possible to build a society without exploiters and the profit motive.

Let all revolutionary and class conscious workers stand up against this crusade. This is an essential battle for building up the self-confidence of the working class for the fight for socialism and the communist goal of a world without classes.

The capitalists and Gorbachev are all singing the praises of profit and markets. But what does the profit system hold for the workers? Just look at what has taken place during eight years of Reaganism. We have been treated to many a song about the glories of capitalism and we have seen what it has brought: fabulous riches to the Wall Street speculators on one end and the spread of homelessness and begging on the other. And the economy is on the edge of collapse, threatening ruin for tens of millions more.

The revolutionary Marxist-Leninists uphold the fight for workers' socialism.

The proletariat has been fighting for socialism for over a century. And it will keep this fight going until a world without exploitation is ushered in.

The 1917 Socialist Revolution in Russia was a milestone in this struggle. It set up workers' power and saw the launching of a powerful effort by the proletariat to wipe out capitalism and build a new society. Despite great difficulties the working class made major strides forward. Working class rule smashed up the old Russia of exploitation and backwardness and brought it into the modern age. But in the mid-30's the Soviet leadership abandoned the revolutionary path and socialism fell into a decline. A privileged bureaucracy stopped the forward march of the workers, and the Soviet Union degenerated into a state-capitalist society. The decay of the Soviet Union shows that it isn't Marxism-Leninism but abandoning it which brings disaster to the working class.

Under the leadership of Brezhnev, Soviet state capitalism was driven into a deep economic crisis. Soviet revisionism has therefore come forth with Gorbachev's platform to find a way out of this malaise.

His program of perestroika is merely a capitalist rationalization of the economy. It seeks to introduce more Western-style capitalist features with the enterprises acting more like private capitalist corporations. For the Soviet workers this translates into wage cuts, layoffs and speedup.

Meanwhile glasnost is promised as democratization. The revisionists want to soothe the workers that in exchange for economic hardship they will get more say-so in the society. But this is an empty promise. To the extent it means anything, it is a policy to move towards more of a Western-style bourgeois democratic setup. This would allow some means through which conflicts among the ruling class and the privileged strata can be better handled. But for the masses, glasnost amounts to a lot of empty talk while in reality an increase of police power is threatened by the Gorbachev regime.

Gorbachev's reforms will only widen the gulf between the Soviet toilers and the rich and privileged.

For the Soviet masses, they mean a big attack on their living and working conditions, while they promise increased wealth for bureaucrats, managers, and private capitalists.

But perestroika is leading to worker resistance. Already strikes and demonstrations have broken out in places. For the international working class movement, this is an encouraging development. It is the working class which holds the potential of lifting the Soviet Union out of the morass of revisionist state capitalism.

Soviet workers should use the opportunity of the turmoil of the current changes, and of any weakening of the bureaucracy that may take place, to organize; but the workers cannot support Gorbachev. Nor should they side with the pro-Western dissidents who, with their own status as a privileged sector and with Western imperialist help, are being given a louder voice. The issue for the workers is to rebuild their class movement and prepare for a new socialist revolution.

A revolutionary proletarian party is vital to organize the class struggle against the state-capitalist regime and to steer clear from the demagogy of the pro-Western liberal and reformist forces. The Soviet workers' future lies in returning to the socialism of Marx, Engels and Lenin that was the original vision and practice of the Russian revolution.

On a world scale too, Gorbachev's revisionist crusade means increased pressure on the world revolutionary movement.

To ease the pressure against them, and with their eyes on new loans and investment from the Western imperialists, Gorbachev has organized Soviet diplomacy to help out imperialism in various hot spots around the world where revolution is brewing. Moscow has stepped up attempts to reach a conciliation with apartheid South Africa and Zionist Israel. It is backing up the treacherous Arias plan in Central America. In all these places, it urges the working people to pin their hopes on reformist pipe dreams and give up struggle.

Soviet revisionism's new attempts to collaborate with Western imperialism under Gorbachev do not mean that the Soviet Union has stopped being one of the two imperialist superpowers. Moscow remains a militarist bulwark. It uses its military machine to guard over what it considers its sphere of influence and it is also one of the world's largest merchants of death: Soviet weapons are used worldwide to rain death on the masses, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Ethiopia and Peru.

Soviet revisionism under Gorbachev has also launched a renewed theorizing against Marxist-Leninist ideas.

He has dropped the revolutionary phrase mongering of the Brezhnev years in favor of promoting open class collaboration, reformism and pacifism. Gorbachev promotes the incredible lie that all the world's problems, such as war, starvation, environmental pollution, racism, etc. can now be solved by class collaboration among the rich and poor.

No! The path of human progress remains the path of class struggle and revolution. Only struggle can defend the interests of the masses, and only revolution can open up the prospect of a world without misery, tyranny and oppression.

The 3rd Congress of the Marxist-Leninist Party calls on all revolutionaries the world over to stand up against the Gorbachev revisionist campaign. We say that revolutionaries need to return to the revolutionary communism of Marx, Engels and Lenin. We must join together to build up the forces of world communism against Gorbachev and all the revisionists.

Solidarity with those on the barricades of struggle worldwide!

As we come near the end of the decade of the 80's, Reagan and Bush say the world is in an unprecedented era of democracy, prosperity and peace. Meanwhile Gorbachev says that the rich and poor can work together to solve the problems of starvation and misery.

While that may be the self-satisfied view from the summits of power in Washington and Moscow, to the workers and poor at the bottom of society, there is a different picture.

When we look around the world we see that regimes of tyranny and torture remain a huge burden on the working people. And we see that it is the power of wealthy capitalists that stand behind fascism and death-squad reaction. We also see that the capitalist exploiters everywhere are responsible for poverty and suffering for billions of people.

But that is one side of the picture. We also see in every comer of the globe that the working people continue to stand up and fight. There are strikes, demonstrations, armed insurgencies and popular upheavals. The power of workers, peasants and youth in mass struggle is seen over and over again.

As the 20th century comes to a close, the class struggle remains very much in force. In country after country the working class shows that it is the powerful locomotive pushing history forward. Indeed, it is the working class, rallying around it all the exploited masses, that represents the hope of a new world for the downtrodden people of the globe.

The Marxist-Leninist Party sends its revolutionary salute to all the workers and oppressed on the barricades of struggle throughout the world.

CENTRAL AMERICA remains in upheaval. The last decade has seen a titanic battle of the toilers against the exploiters who are backed up by the money and guns of U.S. imperialism.

In El Salvador and Guatemala, Washington and the local generals have thrown everything against the people. But the masses have stood defiant. Today a new upsurge is gaining momentum in El Salvador.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has been trying its utmost to throw back the Nicaraguan revolution. It has unleashed a two- track policy of contra aggression and internal destabilization through diplomatic pressure such as the Arias "peace plan." The petty-bourgeois Sandinista government has tried to reach a compromise with imperialism by conceding more privileges and rights to the internal counterrevolution. In the face of a difficult situation, and a serious economic crisis, it is the workers of Nicaragua who remain the hope of pushing the revolution forward. The Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua is waging a courageous struggle to organize the revolutionary movement of the workers and poor peasants.

In a year of uprising, the PALESTINIAN people of the West Bank and Gaza have shown their unyielding determination for freedom. In the face of savage military brutality by the Israeli military machine, the Palestinian people have stood up with their fists, placards, rocks and firebombs.

Meanwhile, in SOUTH AFRICA, another bulwark of racist oppression, the black people's fight for liberation simmers under the state of emergency. Neither prison and torture nor bullets and the whip can keep down the next wave of revolt which is building up among the oppressed masses.

In other parts of the globe, too, the forces of tyranny and military rule are being battered by powerful blows of the people. From Chile to Bangladesh military dictatorships are being shaken. The toilers of Iran fight the Islamic dictatorship of the mullahs. In that struggle, the Communist Party of Iran is playing a crucial role in organizing the independent movement of the working class.

From the old centers of capitalism in Europe and North America to the urban centers of the oppressed countries, capitalists are trying to squeeze the workers harder.

The fight against concessions and capitalist austerity is growing.

While the capitalists crow about prosperity, billions of people in the oppressed countries have gone through a decade of depression. The imperialist bankers and the IMF have been pushing the toilers to the wall. In the face of this, the working class and poor have repeatedly risen up.

We salute the workers everywhere who stand up against the austerity drive, the drive for wage cuts and speedup. We salute those who are fighting the depression conditions from North Africa to the Philippines to Mexico.

The present time has also seen a worsening economic crisis in state capitalist EASTERN EUROPE. Giving the lie to the socialist label in these countries, the workers are being hit by wage cuts and overwork. Now the winds of perestroika from Moscow threaten to squeeze the workers even more. In the face of this workers are driven to revolt. Strikes have broken out from Poland to Yugoslavia to Russia.

In many a corner of the globe workers and toilers are in motion. There is yearning for radical change. Sometimes, the working people are able to bring down despotic regimes, as in Haiti or the Philippines, but the fruits of struggle are seized from the masses by factions of exploiters. To forestall the schemes of the bourgeoisie, the workers need to build their own independent revolutionary movement. They have to fight for their own class demands. They have to put the stamp of proletarian goals and methods of struggle in every social upheaval. Through all the twists and turns of struggle, the workers have to uphold the socialist perspective. Because the goal of a world without exploitation is a great force for the mobilization of the downtrodden masses.

For these reasons the revolutionary movement requires proletarian parties based on Marxism-Leninism. We send our salutations to all those militant activists worldwide who are working to build up the working class vanguards.

The Marxist-Leninist Party condemns "our own" ruling class, the U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie, for being the No. 1 backer of world reaction. Republican and Democrat alike, they back up racist Israel and South Africa. They back up the death squads, contras, and military tyrants. They stand behind the IMF and austerity regimes. They work to undermine the workers' struggle in state capitalist Eastern Europe and channel it into a battering ram for Western-style capitalism.

The class conscious workers of the U.S. will do our part to support the struggles worldwide by building up the revolutionary movement here in the belly of the monster. And we will build up the solidarity of the U.S. workers with the oppressed of the world!

Build up the world forces of Marxism-Leninism!

The working class is a powerful force on the world stage. The working class is the force with the greatest power to confront the world capitalist onslaught of exploitation and oppression.

Wherever the exploited and oppressed masses rise up the workers show their strength. Miners, auto workers, shipbuilders, textile workers and other proletarians are found on the front lines of struggle.

This can be seen in the black revolt against apartheid; in the clashes against military tyranny from Chile to South Korea; in the mass upheaval against hunger and capitalist austerity from state capitalist Eastern Europe, to North Africa, to Latin America.

Moreover, the most advanced sections of these struggling workers are impelled towards revolutionary ideas. They frequently raise appeals and demands against capitalism and look towards the ideas of socialism and Marxism-Leninism.

To make their struggle organized, conscious and systematic the workers need to organize their own revolutionary vanguard. They need their Marxist-Leninist communist party.

Unfortunately, the majority of the parties calling themselves communist are communist only in name. In reality they are-revisionist parties that laud state monopoly capitalism in Gorbachev's Soviet Union, in China, Cuba or elsewhere. They have betrayed the working class, socialism and Marxism-Leninism. They are bourgeois reformist parties tied to the capitalist liberals, the bourgeois nationalists and the corrupt trade union bureaucracies.

Moreover, there is presently a deep crisis among a number of those parties that once fought against Soviet and Chinese revisionism. They call themselves Marxist-Leninist and anti-revisionist. But many of these organizations -- the CP of Brazil, the CP (Reconstructed) of Portugal, the CP of Spain (ML), among others -- are in the hands of opportunist leaderships. They adhere, despite certain secondary reservations among some, to the wrong orientations being put forward by the Party of Labor of Albania.

The opportunism of these leaderships undermines the class independence of the workers. It strengthens illusions in the capitalist liberals and social- democrats in the guise of fighting the conservatives and reactionaries. It preaches petty-bourgeois nationalism that blunts class consciousness and leads to support of even reactionary nationalist rulers such as the strongman regime in Panama. (The Party of Labor of Albania takes this to the point of support for the militarist tyrants in Turkey and Ethiopia and the Islamic dictators in Iran.) This opportunism engages in petty bourgeois democratic scheming for a supposedly perfected democracy under the rule of the exploiters (through constitutional reform, electoral combinations behind the capitalist liberals and social-democrats, etc.). It slurs over the tasks of preparing the workers and exploited masses for revolution and socialism.

This opportunism must be confronted forcefully and openly. For over five years now, the leadership of the CP of Spain (ML) and others have demanded that the problems in the anti-revisionist movement must only be addressed quietly, behind closed doors, away from the eyes and ears of the rank-and-file communists and workers. This approach has proven worthless. Worse, it has proven to be a shield under which the opportunist corruption has grown deeper and for the leadership of the CP of Spain (ML) and others to themselves slide further into the opportunist marsh.

The urgent task of the day is an open struggle for the revival of international Marxism-Leninism. This is a hard and complex struggle that must be waged on a number of interconnected fronts.

The open discussion and polemic over the burning issues facing international Marxism-Leninism needs to be unfolded. The problems confronting the movement will not go away by closing our eyes to them. Only the open discussion allows the communists and revolutionary workers to make a conscious assessment of the issues at stake which are so critical to their struggle.

The criticism of Soviet and other currents of revisionism must be deepened. Revisionism exerts a heavy weight against the revolutionary movement. The history of revisionist betrayal (including the anti-Leninist orientation set down at the 7th Congress of the Communist International over 50 years ago) has left mounds of ideological debris that still must be cleared from the Marxist- Leninist path.

The theoretical work must be pushed forward in order to root the movement in the fundamentals of Marxism-Leninism. The theory of Marx, Engels and Lenin is the only theory that is consistent with the working class struggle. Much work is needed to combat the bourgeois and revisionist distortions of Marxism. The Marxist-Leninist viewpoint on the basics of working class tactics, on the revolution, on the socialist transformation of society, etc., needs to be revived as the guide to the revolutionary movement.

Marxism-Leninism means nothing if it is not connected to a revolutionary stand in the class struggle. It must be linked with the mass upheaval against the capitalists, against the reactionaries, against the racists and militarists who exploit and trample on the workers and poor. It must be used to champion the independent interests of the proletariat and to liberate the working masses from the influence of the bourgeois liberals, social-democrats and other reformists. It must be used to bring the mass struggle out of the capitalist framework and to train the masses in the perspective of the socialist revolution.

International solidarity must be strengthened. The Marxist-Leninists and revolutionary workers of different lands must reach out to each other, build links, and develop mutual support. Proletarian internationalism is a powerful weapon on the side of the Marxist-Leninists and the working class. Their struggle is international. It is strengthened when they combine their efforts, launch joint campaigns, and closely collaborate.

In a number of countries around the world there are revolutionary Marxist-Leninist parties or groups. Wherever they are struggling the left-wing Marxist-Leninist forces deserve the ardent solidarity of all communists and revolutionary workers.

As of yet the steps that have been taken by these forces towards the revival of international Marxism-Leninism are limited and uneven. Nonetheless, they show that the struggle for revolutionary Marxism-Leninism is an objective trend in the world.

Their efforts are in the direction that confirms to the demands of the class struggle that is shaking one country after the next. They are in the direction that can bring the class conscious workers and revolutionaries engaged in struggle to Marxism-Leninism.

The MLP,USA is committed to working shoulder to shoulder with the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists of all countries for the rejuvenation of the international movement and its consolidation on the principles of Marxism-Leninism. Our Party is the contingent in this country of international Marxism-Leninism. It is one column of the worldwide march of the Marxist-Leninists, revolutionaries, workers and oppressed towards revolution and socialism.

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Palestinian masses fight bravely for freedom--PLO leaders seek big-power deal

As the year comes to a close, the uprising of the Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza continues its drama. The upsurge is now going into its second year. Day after day braving the guns and clubs of the Israeli troops, the Palestinian people have shown that no amount of repression can put down their desire for freedom.

The year of uprising in the occupied territories has also been a year of exposure of the real character of zionist Israel. It has again shown that behind all the talk of democracy lies a regime based on the subjugation of an entire people.

The uprising has proved to be a new challenge to all Palestinian activists and leaders. It has demanded that answers be provided as to how the struggle should be carried forward.

In particular it has been a crucial test for the PLO leadership. The PLO leaders however have demonstrated their bankruptcy. At the recent meeting of the Palestine National Council in Algiers, the PLO leadership confirmed again that it does not have any revolutionary answers. Their response to the uprising has been to go further along the reformist path of seeking a capitulationist deal with Israel and its U.S. imperialist backer.

But it has not taken long for this path to again be shown as a hollow promise for the Palestinian struggle.

The Algiers Declaration

In Algiers, the PLO advertised that "moderation" has triumphed. The Council again called for international negotiations over the fate of the Palestinians, this time explicitly stating that these talks should be based on UN resolutions which include recognition of Israel.

The Council also added a declaration of independence for a Palestinian state. This was merely a militant-looking disguise for the recognition of Israel. In reality, it meant affirming stronger than ever that a mini-state for the Palestinians is the goal of the PLO. And even the declaration of independence is less than what it appears, because the PLO leaders also included the desire for a confederal relationship with the reactionary kingdom of Jordan.

Arafat said after the Algiers meeting was over, "Our political statement contains moderation, flexibility, and realism." He added, "The ball is now in the American court." In sum, this was a strong signal to Israel and U.S. imperialism: Look, we aren't interested in revolution, we want a deal.

The Israeli-U.S. Response: No Dice

But once again, the attempts by the PLO leaders have been spurned by the powers that be.

In Israel, both the main political parties, Labor and Likud, dismissed the PLO appeal and said this was no reason to talk to the PLO. They remain as intransigent as ever against any concessions to the Palestinians.

The U.S. indicated that it was a good first step, but demanded that the PLO must bend even more. And then Washington showed its arrogance further by announcing that Arafat won't be allowed to address the UN General Assembly in New York. This was blatantly against the U.S. government's obligations to the UN,, and Washington was willing to risk worldwide criticism of this stand, even from most of its allies. But the U.S. was determined that the whole world knew where it stood.

Israel does not feel the need to concede anything to the Palestinians today. It thinks that its repressive policy of "Iron Fist" is all that is required. The zionist state was founded on deprivation of the Palestinian people and it has run rampant against the Palestinians ever since.

For its part, the U.S. government is Israel's diehard backer. This is not some minor aberration of policy, but part of U.S. imperialism's world system of alliances and sphere of influence. Israel is a key outpost of U.S. imperialism in the strategic Middle East.

Along with affirmation of its strong support for Israel, one of the signals the U.S. wants to send to the PLO today is that it must capitulate further. U.S. imperialism wants the PLO leaders on their knees, until it is thoroughly satisfied that there is nothing in the PLO movement which could threaten Middle Eastern stability.

That's the reality, no matter what pipe dream Arafat considers to be "realism." What this whole affair underscores is that to get freedom for the Palestinians, you need revolutionary struggle. One year of uprising has mobilized more strength among the Palestinians than a decade of PLO declarations and diplomatic hobnobbing with bourgeois governments.

Behind the PNC Declaration

The PLO leaders cannot provide a revolutionary program for the struggle because they have long committed themselves to reformism. In the late 60's they tended to follow a generally revolutionary policy. But they gave this up, and since 1974 they have been pursuing a policy of national reformism. When they have carried out armed actions, these have not been part of a broader revolutionary strategy but merely something to pressure Israel and imperialism for a seat at a negotiating table.

At the heart of the turn towards national reformism lies the fact that the PLO leaders have come to represent the interests of the Palestinian bourgeoisie. They have become wealthy and privileged themselves, and a big gulf separates them from the masses of Palestinians under Israeli oppression and in the refugee camps in the neighboring countries. The Palestinian bourgeoisie has no interest, nor the heart, for a prolonged revolutionary struggle. It merely seeks a corner where they can set up a bourgeois regime of some sort, no matter that this will not bring liberation to the Palestinian masses.

Treacherous Role of Arab Bourgeoisie

A great deal of diplomacy went on among the Arab bourgeois and reactionary regimes to prepare the PLO's Algiers declaration. And it found strong backing also from Gorbachev, the chieftain of Soviet revisionism.

In October, Arafat joined in a summit meeting with King Hussein of Jordan and Mubarak of Egypt. The summit called for a Palestinian mini-state in confederation with Jordan. Later Arafat went to call on Saddam Hussein of Iraq to seek his approval.

The Arab bourgeoisie wanted the PLO's capitulationist declaration because they are desperate for an end to the uprising. They worry that the longer the upsurge continues the greater the chances that it will spill over into their own countries. They are concerned that the U.S. is complacent over the situation and want the U.S. to agree to a deal.

And the Arab bourgeois have a lot to worry about in their own countries. They are all sitting on powder kegs, with the masses oppressed by tyranny and exploitation. Indeed, only last month, the toilers of Algeria revolted against the austerity policies of the government.

But the PLO leaders do not share a common outlook with the Arab masses, they share a common stand only with the Arab bourgeoisie. Thus, for example, in Algiers the PLO leaders effusively praised the Algerian president. They said not a word in solidarity with the masses who died in battle against the government's troops.

The Movement Needs a Revolutionary Policy

But the people who fight in Palestine are the class brothers and sisters of the toilers who fought in Algiers. They are the poor, the unemployed and the workers. It is the downtrodden who are the backbone of Palestinian struggle.

A revolutionary policy for the Palestinian movement has to essentially be a class-based policy. It means rooting the movement consciously on the needs and interests of the toilers. It means consciously forging an alternative to the national reformism of the bourgeoisified PLO leadership. It also means seeking support from working people in the neighboring countries. It means attempting to make links with Jewish workers in Israel who are discontented with exploitation and the fascist rule of the zionist bourgeoisie.

A revolutionary policy must continue the orientation to fight for the overthrow of the zionist regime. It must fight for a democratic and secular Palestine as the first step towards the full liberation of the toilers from capitalism. This will not come in a day, but in the final analysis this is the only realistic path if the Palestinian masses want to achieve real liberation.

The PLO leadership banks everything on big-power negotiations and building ties with the Arab bourgeoisie and imperialism. Instead of revolution against Israeli zionism, negotiations for a mini-state is their present goal. They say anything else is unrealistic. But what have they got for their "realism"? They have abandoned one position after another, and still neither Israel nor the U.S. will deal with them. The PLO leadership's response so far has been to further tone down their demands -- the mini-state is to be confederated with Jordan.

Still, under some circumstances, if pressed by the fear of a widening mass upsurge, Israel and the U.S. may perhaps eventually agree to some sort of reformist solution with the PLO. Perhaps even a mini-state. But what would this amount to? This would only amount to a South African-style bantustan. There would be very little freedom for Palestinians in such a state. They would remain economically dependent on Israel and they would be held down by military force both from the Israeli and Arab bourgeois rulers.

The year-long Palestinian has shown that there is deep yearning for revolutionary struggle. What is needed now is a revolutionary orientation and a proletarian leadership. That is the real challenge to open up the future.

[Photo: Palestinian youth stand off against Israeli occupiers.]

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


Upsurge in people's armed struggle in El Salvador

The armed workers and peasants of El Salvador have launched a new nationwide offensive. In September alone, the first month of the offensive, the anti-government insurgents report killing or wounding over a thousand soldiers, the highest monthly total in the last eight years of civil war.

Once more the Salvadoran people have shown that no amount of repression can halt their struggle to liberate themselves from the brutal yoke of the Salvadoran exploiters and the American multinational companies. In this so-called "democracy," tens of thousands of the workers, peasants and activists have been slaughtered by the army and the death squads. Tens of thousands more have been forced to flee the country. And this wholesale terror is backed by hundreds of millions of dollars of aid from Reagan and Congress, with the CIA and the Pentagon instructing the death squads and the military in current American operating procedure.

The Guerrillas Strike

The first big clash of the new offensive was the September 13 attack on the El Paraiso military base where the U.S. trained Atlactl battalion was stationed. The guerrillas killed or wounded some 300 soldiers and heavily damaged the base. The assault was coordinated with a dozen other attacks on the regime's forces across the country.

These actions were a big setback for the pro-U.S. regime. The government was planning to begin major anti-guerrilla operations on September 16. It had to cancel these plans and lick its wounds.

The attack on El Paraiso was only the first salvo, however. On September 22, the rebels destroyed a military communications center in Corinto. On October 4, an army garrison in central Usulutan province was stormed.

Two days later, the capital city of San Salvador, and its surrounding area, were under attack. Several hundred guerrillas opened up on fascist troops in Zaragoza, ten miles south of the capital. The next day rebel rocket-grenades hit the National Assembly building. As well, guerrillas inside San Salvador began to carry out attacks on U.S. officials and military advisors and members of the Salvadoran oligarchy.

On October 31, rebel forces launched a daring raid on the National Guard headquarters in San Salvador. The government admitted suffering 42 casualties. This was the first daylight attack in San Salvador in five years. The following day another six soldiers were killed near San Salvador during a guerrilla attack on an army post and bridge.

Throughout the Country

Meanwhile, actions continued throughout the country. In early October, the popular forces occupied the town of Atiquizaya in the far western region, burning the local bank. On October 18, a hundred rebels severely damaged three large processing plants of the rich coffee barons in Usulutan province.

In several battles, the rebels showed the ability to mass large forces and attack major government outposts. They have even been able to carry out successful attacks in and around San Salvador, the seat of government power. Moreover, the guerrillas were able to extend their operations to the far western part of the country, an area that had been dormant for some time.

Revolution Is the Path Forward

The new guerrilla offensive, along with the strikes and protests of the last few months, are the latest phase of the popular upsurge in El Salvador. The protracted revolutionary struggle has thrown the brutal regime into crisis and torn apart the ruling Christian Democratic Party. This crisis has not made the Salvadoran reactionaries any more good-natured. With the decay and collapse of the corrupt Christian Democrats the bourgeoisie is turning to open rule by ARENA, the party of the death squads. The hopes of the Salvadoran people lie not in the promises of the Arias plan that the bloodstained Salvadoran murderers will agree to become friendly lambs, but in building up the revolutionary struggle until the barbarous tyranny and the death squads are crushed underfoot. Only revolution can free the oppressed from the Salvadoran exploiters and their U.S. backers.

Down with the Salvadoran tyranny and U.S. imperialism!

Salute the heroic upsurge of the Salvadoran people!

[Photo: Column of Salvadoran guerrillas with prisoners captured during the recent offensive.]

Nationwide protests vs. US. support for Salvadoran dictatorship

In mid-October protesters across the country took to the streets to condemn U.S. intervention in El Salvador. Events were held in some 60 cities. At many actions, activists also condemned the U.S. contra war against Nicaragua and other crimes of U.S. imperialism.

At the Pentagon

One thousand five hundred activists from across the country marched on the Pentagon. At this nerve center of the U.S. war machine, protesters blocked parking lot entrances with sit-ins, forcing the rerouting of Pentagon traffic. Police swooped in to break up the protest, arresting over 200 people.

San Francisco

In San Francisco, 1,500 people marched from the longshoremen's union hall to the Presidio army base. Many new activists participated, helping to give a militant spirit to the events. Hundreds of activists participated in blocking off a street around the base, setting up large shanties across the road. It took police an hour and a half to reopen the street. The shanties demonstrated the miserable conditions facing the Salvadoran toilers. Activists also used them to block the entrance to the Golden Gate bridge for an hour. About 125 arrests were made in these actions.

Los Angeles

Seven hundred demonstrators rallied at the Westwood Federal Building in Los Angeles. Then they marched to a military recruitment and training center. Some forced their way into the compound, attempting to break up military exercises. The police busted 39 people.


In downtown Chicago, 500 protesters marched. Police arrested 18 people when activists blockaded Michigan Avenue. Another 500 marched in Seattle. They stopped at the local Democratic campaign headquarters where the activists put on a skit critical of Dukakis.

Hundreds also marched in New York City, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Detroit, Portland and elsewhere.

Reformists Bow to the Democratic Party

The mid-October demonstrations were organized by a coalition of reformist groups. For some time, they had been reluctant to hold demonstrations of any sort for fear of causing embarrassment for the Democrat's presidential ticket of Dukakis/Bentsen. And when the reformists organized demonstrations in October, they were half-hearted and their official literature usually whitewashed the Democrats.

The reformists generally promoted the "Arias peace plan" favored by the Congressional Democrats, although this plan is nothing but an attempt to pressure the Salvadoran people into giving up their revolutionary struggle in return for empty promises. The Arias plan also legitimizes the CIA-backed counterrevolutionary forces attacking the Nicaraguan people, but this too was covered up by the reformists.

The U.S. reformists also organized a U.S. tour for Ruben Zamora. Guillermo Ungo and Ruben Zamora are two leaders of the FDR who oppose the path of revolution and promote "politically" winning over the U.S. Congress and the Salvadoran bourgeoisie. Zamora and the advocates of reconciliation with the death-squad bourgeoisie paint their capitulation in pseudo-militant and pseudo-Marxist phrases. Nevertheless, many activists were open to criticism of their reformism.

In LA, at a forum for Zamora on October 18, two Salvadorans spoke critically of his plan during the question period, and compared it to the historical disasters that faced the movements in Guatemala and Chile. A supporter of the MLP also spoke, and a leaflet was passed out denouncing U.S. intervention and specifically criticizing the illusions promoted by Ungo and Zamora. In San Francisco also, comrades had a good reception when they passed out literature at the Zamora tour. Meanwhile, the Workers' Advocate Supplement for October reprinted a statement from a group involved in the urban struggle in El Salvador which opposed the strategy of Ungo and Zamora.

Work of the MLP

The MLP participated in the mass actions in order to provide support for our Salvadoran class brothers. It took part in reformist-led mass actions, supporting the militancy of the rank-and-file activists. In these actions, our Party put forward the path of anti-imperialism, opposition to both Democrats and Republicans, and solidarity with the revolutionary struggles of the toilers.

As well, the Party carried out its own activities. For example, the Boston Branch of the MLP organized a campaign in late September against U.S. intervention in Central America. Several thousand leaflets were distributed in the workplaces, communities, campuses, and at movement events. The campaign culminated with a demonstration on September 30 under the slogans "Not a Penny for the Contras! Not a Penny for the Salvadoran Death Squads! "

[Photos: Detroit demonstration condemns U.S. intervention in Central America; MLP action in Boston, September 30.]

Right-wing terror still stalks Guatemala

Despite the Reagan/Bush administration's claims that Guatemala is now "democratic," terror still stalks the country. Before the present Cerezo government came to power in 1986, there was 16 years of outright military rule. The police, army and death squads killed or "disappeared" an estimated 140,000 people. Cerezo was supposed to be the model of how to achieve civilian rule and democracy without revolution. But time and again Cerezo has proven to be a mere figurehead while the generals still do as they please.

At first the number of murders declined after Cerezo took office. But recently there has been a big increase in right-wing political murder, kidnappings and torture. According to one group of observers, the assassination of government opponents reached 75 in September alone as compared to "only" 33 a month at the beginning of Cerezo's government. (See New York Times, Nov. 13) This group states that the actual number of murders is much higher because the group's figures are based only on government reports.

The upsurge in murder comes in the wake of an attempted military coup in May. The army high command put down this uprising of dissident army officers. But at a price. In return Cerezo refused to punish the coup organizers, extended the power of the generals over internal security, and beefed up the military budget. In short, Cerezo gave a green light for the new wave of terror.

The Reagan/Bush administration proudly claims that it has brought "democracy" to Guatemala. It promises, if the military budget is just made large enough, to bring similar blessings around the world.

But Reagan and the right wing aren't the only ones backing bloody repression in Guatemala. Look at the Democratic-controlled Congress. They hardly utter a peep over the murder of Guatemalan toilers and activists. Instead the Democrats vote millions of dollars of aid to the Guatemalan murderers and hundreds of millions of dollars total for the pro-U.S. death-squad regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. This shows the reality behind Congress' talk of "democracy" and the real intentions behind the "Arias peace plan" that it backs. The Cerezo government in Guatemala is presumably just about the best that could be expected if the workers and peasants gave up their struggle in return for Congressional promises and the Arias plan that it favors.

[Photo: As troops march by, Guatemala City demonstrators protest "disappearances" at the hands of the military.]

It takes one to know one

Recently a letter was sent to the White House complaining about the crimes and corruption of Reagan's "democratic" contras. According to Newsweek magazine (Nov. 7, page 7) the letter pointed to the contra high command's "massive corruption and... grave abuses of human rights." It said that millions of U.S. aid dollars were "disappearing into private bank accounts." The top contra boss, Enrique Bermudez, was also accused of organizing violent attacks on rival contra commanders, including machine-gunning one after a quarrel.

These gangster activities of the CIA's contra henchmen have been revealed countless times before. The Reagan/Bush administration dismisses such accusations as fabrications cooked up by Russian agents, the Sandinistas or subversive nuns. That would be a little difficult in this case, however. It turns out that the letter was written by contra commanders who had fled to Miami.

Of course these ex-commanders are no choir boys themselves. They were some of the main contra field commanders, leaders of the slaughtering of civilians and the burning down of villages. But they don't want to see their own throats cut by Bermudez.

So it seems that the CIA's contras not only murder the Nicaraguan people, but they also shoot each other when squabbling over the division of the spoils. Yet protecting this pack of dogs from the retribution of the Nicaraguan people is what Reagan and Congress regard as the measure of "democracy" in Nicaragua.

Differences in Salvadoran people's movement

In the recent upsurge in El Salvador, the masses are hammering away at the regime of the Salvadoran exploiters.

But even as the fighting proceeds, the Salvadoran activists face serious questions of strategy and tactics.

When differences on these questions surface, it is often presented by the reformists that the issue is simply whether negotiations in general are ever acceptable or not. Ever. That isn't the point. There are very specific issues that are at stake. One issue is the aim behind the particular proposed negotiations, and what the fighting masses are being advised to ask for. Another issue is what can realistically be expected from the bloodstained regime in El Salvador.

And a vital issue is the relationship of these particular negotiations to the two-track policy of U.S. imperialism for subverting the revolutions in Central America -- brutal CIA and military intervention combined with the smiling facade of diplomacy and "democratic" phrase-mongering.

The real questions concern such issues as whether to strive for a revolutionary victory, whether to maintain the class demands of the workers and peasants, and what attitude one has to the liberal blandishments of U.S. imperialism.

Ungo and Zamora Vs. the Revolution

Among the leaders of the Salvadoran movement are reformists like Guillermo Ungo and Ruben Zamora. They are among the top leaders of the FDR, a political coalition presently still linked with the main anti-government armed front, the FMLN. For the last year, Ungo and Zamora have been trying to sow pessimism about the prospects of the armed liberation struggle and of a revolutionary victory. Their idea of broadening the support of the struggle has been lobbying the U.S. Congress and appealing to the Salvadoran bourgeoisie. They have been trying to win support by trading away the toilers' demands against exploitation and poverty.

This knife in the back of the armed workers and peasants is also displayed by a recent statement by a high-ranking FDR leader, Jorge Villacorte. Villacorte contends that "the commandantes [of the FMLN] will find that if they don't want to be isolated, they'll have to change. There's an isolation of the classical Marxist idea of a military victory and a government of the workers and peasants." (New York Times, Oct. 26) Leaving aside, for the moment, whether the FMLN leadership really does have classical Marxist views, Villacorte is clearly ridiculing the idea of a revolutionary overthrow of the death-squad regime. He also opposes the very thought of a revolutionary power of the working masses.

Pipe Dreams

What alternative do the reformists offer? They claim that salvation lies in a compromise between the masses and the bloodstained tyrants. In this compromise the workers and peasants are to abandon their guns and their demands against exploitation and be satisfied with a few reformist politicians getting seats in the government. The toilers are to be satisfied with the promises of death-squad commanders, the millionaire exploiters, and U.S. imperialism to show some mercy. Apparently the long years of struggle have all been a mistake, due to "classical Marxist ideas." Presumably, if only President Arias of Costa Rica had just come along a decade earlier and offered to mediate, everything could have been resolved.

Ungo and Zamora would have the toilers believe that the bloodstained murderers will work hand in hand with the relatives of their victims to create a just society. This would mean accepting the myth that the executioner and the "disappeared" have common interests. It means having faith that progress can take place through polite chitchats with the leaders of the death squads. They are willing to trust in the reasonableness of the death-squad colonels and of the American capitalist politicians. What a disgrace!

This is what Ungo and Zamora call a "political solution." For them, a government of the workers and peasants isn't a "political solution." They share with the cynical bourgeois politicians the idea that only betrayal is true "politics."

Ungo and Zamora have formed a legal bourgeois opposition, the Democratic Convergence, and are running Ungo in the upcoming presidential elections. This is not to help the armed insurgents. Instead, as Zamora explained, they are running in the elections "to politically mobilize the people around the idea of political settlement." (Guardian, Nov. 2)

Behind the FMLN Diplomatic Tour

Although Ungo and Zamora take aim against the armed struggle, the main leaders of the FMLN have been letting this pass in silence. They have been trying to ride two horses at the same time.

In October two of the top FMLN guerrilla leaders, Joaquin Villalobos and Leonel Gonzalez, launched their own diplomatic tour with the aim of ending the armed struggle short of revolutionary victory. The two FMLN commanders met with representatives of the Latin American bourgeoisie to explore the possibilities of compromise with the Salvadoran regime.

Over the FMLN's Radio Venceremos, Villalobos explained the reasoning behind the diplomatic tour. He stated that there was a "highly explosive situation, in the middle of the decomposition of the [government's] power bloc and the failure of the counterinsurgency plan imposed by the United States.'' Thus, Villalobos concludes we must "lower the cost of the explosion instead of generating greater bloodshed.'' According to the opportunist paper Frontline, he called for a coalition government between the people and the reaction. (Frontline, Nov. 7, p. 11)

This is consistent with the statements of other FMLN representatives in the U.S. Like Villalobos, they point to the elements of revolutionary crisis rapidly accumulating in El Salvador. But they conclude that these may give air opportunity to settle the issue by compromise. In the name of avoiding bloodshed, they propose to leave in place the cause of the bloodshed in El Salvador.

But in that case, what is the point of carrying out the recent FMLN offensive? According to FMLN commander Gonzalez, speaking over Radio Venceremos: "We will increase our military activities to convince the Armed Forces High Command, the Reagan administration and the oligarchy that we are stronger and more united, and that any plans to defeat us will only extend the war. Therefore, a dialogue or negotiations must be immediately organized.'' (Guardian, Nov. 2, p. 15)

In short, he cherishes the hope that the High Command, the oligarchy, and even the Reagan administration becoming reasonable. Such illusions are the opposite of the clear-sighted realism needed to direct the revolutionary struggle of the toilers.

Other Views

In the current upsurge, these reformist views are by no means unanimous. The revolutionary declarations common in the Salvadoran movement show the strivings of the mass of activists for a revolutionary overthrow of the regime. Often even advocates of seeking an accommodation with the death squad regime surround such statements with talk of the social explosion coming in El Salvador and the possibilities of revolution. Otherwise they would have a rather small audience.

There has also been some open criticism in the Salvadoran movement of the plans of Ungo and Zamora (see the accompanying article on the solidarity movement in the U.S.). This has taken place both in El Salvador and during Zamora's recent tour of the U.S.

The activities of Ungo and Zamora constitute a direct campaign against those who refuse to disarm in the face of the regime. As well, the FMLN leadership has been harsh against various voices of the left. This shows that reformism itself means disunity and splits in the movement. The unity of the movement in El Salvador, and of the solidarity movement in the U.S., can only be restored on a realistic platform, the platform of revolutionary struggle, the platform of uncompromising struggle to overthrow the bloody regime and its U.S. imperialist backers.

[Photo: Activists protest U.S. intervention in El Salvador outside the Presidio army base in San Francisco, October 15.]

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The World in Struggle


French strike wave hits social-democrats' cutback budget

Since September France has been rocked by a wave of strikes. Large sections of public sector workers took to the streets to back up their fight against the government's latest austerity budget.

At first the major force in the strike wave was the hospital workers and nurses, fighting against underpay and under staffing of hospitals. At the close of November, urban transport in Paris came to a near standstill as strikes broke out in commuter rail services, parts of the city subway, and some bus services as well. The government ordered the military in to move suburban commuters into the city. But they could transport only a few people and the rush-hour road traffic into the city remained in a state of near-paralysis.

Nurses Hold Mass Marches

The strikes began on September 16, when workers at state-owned TV networks walked out, shutting down the stations. They were followed on September 29 by 200,000 hospital workers all across France. On the day the strike began, some 40,000 nurses demonstrated in Paris.

After that the nurses held weekly demonstrations in Paris for the next six weeks. On October 6 some 50,000 marched; on October 13th 100,000; and on October 20 more than 80,000. These marches were joined by other public sector workers going on strike -- teachers, transport workers, auto workers, etc. Many of the participants were immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, or the Mideast.

Issues in the strike were pay and working conditions. For years the nurses have seen their salaries decline in purchasing power from inflation. Hospitals are chronically understaffed, forcing nurses to work long hours and take on extra workloads. Nurses were enraged when the new social- democratic government of Prime Minister Michel Rocard came out with its 1989 budget -- instead of answering their demands for cost-of-living adjustments and increased hiring, the budget actually cut health care spending. This was part of a whole set of austerity measures which sought to hold wages down and cut social services.

The angry nurses formed a Coordinating Committee which organized and led the national strike. The strike involved tens of thousands of nurses all over France and especially in the Paris area, despite the fact that only 5% of the nurses were unionized. The nurses' mass demonstrations were the backbone of the other strikes of public sector workers.

Strikes Disrupt Government Services

The government's austerity plans impelled other sections of workers into action.

Many postal workers joined the strike wave in October and early November. Post office personnel at eight of the main sorting centers in the Paris area struck for two weeks, and postal truck drivers also struck. All postal sorting centers elected Coordinating Committees representing both union and nonunion postal employees.

Ground crews for Air France struck at Paris and some provincial airports, canceling many flights. Public transport was shut down in Lyon, Nantes, and Valenciennes. Traffic was snarled in Paris as subway and bus drivers went on frequent wildcats. Teachers held rotating strikes, and Social Security clerical workers shut down some regional centers. Social workers and customs employees also were on strike for awhile, and some Renault auto plants were shut down.

By late October the mounting strikes and demonstrations forced the government to make some small concessions to the nurses. The nurses' Coordinating Committee accepted these and called off the national strike. Some regional strikes and demonstrations continued into November, however. And at the end of the month, a new flashpoint of strike action emerged as transit workers paralyzed the Paris transport system.

[Photo: Ten thousand French workers demonstrate on October 18 demanding higher pay.]

Brazilian army murders striking steel workers

[Photo: Brazilian steel workers defy troops sent to suppress their strike.]

In Brazil a massive strike wave swept through the state-run sector of the economy in early November. More than 500,000 workers, half of all federal government employees, were on strike. They fought for higher wages, seeking some relief from this year's 900% inflation.

Trying to suppress the strikes, Brazilian President Jose Sarney won over a section of the trade union bureaucracy to a "social pact" with the government and capitalists. The union bureaucrats pledged to hold down wages in return for promises of price restraints. But inflation continued to rage, and workers continued to demand mass action.

The 18,000 workers at the state- owned steel mill in Volta Redonda, outside Rio de Janeiro, joined the strike wave to demand restoration of their cost-of-living payments. The government had suspended their cost-of-living escalator payments as part of Sarney's austerity program. The steel workers also demanded reduction of the workday from eight to six hours.

On November 10 some three thousand workers massed near the plant gate and occupied the plant to prevent soldiers from operating it. This threw the government into a frenzy, since this one plant produces one-fifth of Brazil's steel production. The army's commander in chief ordered soldiers to repress the strike.

Workers vs. Military Terror

On November 11 the army attacked with 800 soldiers backed up by tanks. Workers and soldiers clashed at the gates, with the workers using sticks and stones against the soldiers' rifles, machine guns and bayonets. Eight workers died and scores were wounded.

This was one of the worst cases of military repression since the end of military rule three years ago. But the workers were not stunned into submission. They marched into the town of Volta Redonda and smashed up army and police vehicles. And the day after the massacre, tens of thousands of steel workers and supporters gathered in the streets to denounce the killings.

Workers all across Brazil were enraged by the killings. The strike wave took on new strength as petroleum refinery workers stopped work on November 11.

Then on November 15, in nationwide municipal elections, the ruling party, the liberal PMDB, suffered a serious rout. Parties of the reformist left won the mayoralty of Brazil's largest cities and came in a close second in many other cities where they had never done well before. Meanwhile, as another sign of the growing polarization of Brazilian society, some right-wing parties close to the old military regime and the big landowners also gained positions. President Sarney's "approval rating" in polls is now down to 5%.

In the face of this development, the Brazilian bourgeoisie is discussing the need to put more openly right-wing parties in power and/or to bring back military rule.

Promises of New Constitution Stand Exposed

Just last month a new constitution went into effect in Brazil supposedly guaranteeing the "unrestricted" right to strike. But when workers try to exercise their "unrestricted" rights they get massacred. And when the workers show their dissatisfaction with this, then the bourgeoisie begins discussion of scrapping the constitution altogether. This is, however, the inevitable result of a constitution arrived at in agreement with the generals, the capitalists and landlords, a constitution which guarantees the military a crucial role in running the country.

Such are the wonders of the "democratization of Latin America" that Reagan and the State Department praise so much. The truth is, workers will win their rights only when they smash the power of capitalist reaction through revolution.

Workers protest in Trinidad and Tobago

Thousands of workers demonstrated on October 21 against the austerity measures of the government of Trinidad and Tobago. The demonstrators chanted "IMF must go!"

The government recently devalued the currency and announced plans to lay off 25,000 government employees. Unemployment is up to 22% and the government is cutting back services.

The demonstration also protested privatization. The government is selling off enterprises to private capitalists as a way of supposedly solving its economic crisis. But this only means shifting the crisis onto the workers, as they are fired or suffer wage cuts when the enterprises are sold.

Strike wave in Peru

On December 1, Peru was shut down by a one-day general strike called to protest the government's austerity policies. The Ministry of Labor had banned the strike and declared that two days' pay would be deducted from all who stayed away from work. Still, large parts of the economy, including mining, textile and banking, were paralyzed.

This was the latest act in an ongoing struggle by the Peruvian workers. The government is controlled by the social-democratic APRA party headed by President Alan Garcia. Garcia routinely tries to talk tough against the International Monetary Fund, but in practice his economic policies are run according to IMF austerity guidelines.

In September Garcia announced a new austerity plan that included a devaluation of the currency and a ten-day lifting of price controls. Inflation rocketed up. In the past year inflation has grown to over 1,000%. Prices of basic goods have multiplied two to five times.

Another part of the new austerity plan was cancellation of labor contracts that exceeded the government's new lid on wage increases. This included the contract won by mine workers after a one- month strike last July and August.

To protest the new austerity plan, Peruvian workers organized an earlier general strike on October 13. Garcia declared the strike illegal and had the police arrest hundreds of union leaders beforehand. During the strike police also beat up a number of union leaders.

Miners' Strike into Second Month

Then on October 17th, 60,000 copper miners went on strike to recover their canceled contract, demanding wage increases and cost-of-living payments. The miners were soon joined by 100,000 workers in textiles, food processing, electrical, clerical, and other industries. And on October 28th, 30,000 bank workers went on a 24-hour strike.

The miners have now stayed out for a month and a half. The last week of November saw a series of demonstrations, marches and a massive hunger strike. The miners are also seeking the release of their union leaders arrested by the police.

It was the miners' week of action that formed the backdrop to the latest general strike.

University employees strike in Mexico City

On November 1st 20,000 non-teaching employees of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) went on strike. As their old contract expired, the university administration made them a paltry offer of a 10% wage raise -- this at a time when inflation so far this year is 48%! And previous years' inflation and currency devaluations have practically destroyed workers' wages, cutting their buying power to one-fourth of what it was 12 years ago.

To back up their demand for higher wages the UNAM workers have organized mass support actions. On November 4 the workers, with more than 60,000 supporters, marched through downtown Mexico City and camped in front of the National Palace. Then on November 11th 18 universities in Mexico were shut down by 24-hour strikes in support of the UNAM strike. And at last report plans were being made for a national university strike the last week of November.

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