The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 18, No. 5


25ยข May 1, 1988

[Front page:

Israeli state terrorism can't stop the Palestinian struggle;

INS tightens screws on the undocumented--Defend the rights of the immigrant workers!]


U.S. fleet, get out of the Persian Gulf.................................................................. 2
Supreme Court denies food stamps to strikers..................................................... 3
Kennedy's 'fat cat' immigration bill.................................................................... 3

Strikes and Workplace News

GE workers angry at job cuts; Rally at Oakland hospital; Auto executives get rich off layoffs..................................................................................................... 4
What's new at the office...................................................................................... 4
Picket at Chrysler's Jefferson Assembly............................................................. 5

Down with Racism!

Reagan's education chief vs. student protests..................................................... 5
Protests at Duke, Denison U. in Ohio; Georgia Southwestern; U. of Kansas..... 5

Apartheid, No! Revolution, Yes!

Shantytown protest at UC-Berkeley..................................................................... 6
Pro-Israelis out to divert anti-apartheid fight....................................................... 6

Salute the Brave Youth of Palestine

Reformist scheming holds back solidarity........................................................... 6
Israelis kill girl and blame Palestinians............................................................... 7
New U.S. pact props up Israeli military.............................................................. 7
New York primaries: candidates support Israel................................................... 7

Report from Kurdistan

The communist workers' underground................................................................ 8
Communist radio cuts through Khomeini darkness............................................. 9

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

Flashpoint in Honduras........................................................................................ 10
No to U.S. bullying of Panama! No to Noriega!................................................. 10
U.S. funds contras: $50 million more.................................................................. 11
What comes from Sandinista-contra pact?.......................................................... 11
Peasants vow not to sacrifice for Arias plan........................................................ 12
Government scabs at Nicaraguan sugar refinery................................................. 12

U.S.-USSR Afghan Accords

A cynical deal that fuels more bloodshed............................................................ 13
U.S.-Soviet collaboration vs. world's people...................................................... 13
Who are Reagan's Afghan 'freedom fighters'..................................................... 13

The World in Struggle

S. Korean strikes; Filipinos vs. U.S. bases; Argentine general strike; Mexican auto workers......................................................................................................... 16

Israeli state terrorism can't stop the Palestinian struggle

INS tightens screws on the undocumented

Defend the rights of the immigrant workers!

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

Iranian and Arab workers, not imperialist fleets will settle the accounts

Supreme Court denies food stumps to strikers

Kennedy's 'fat cat' immigration bill

Strikes and workplace news


Shantytown anti-apartheid protest at U.C.-Berkeley

Defenders of Israel try to sidetrack anti-apartheid struggle

Dropping the demand to stop all aid for Israel

Reformist scheming holds back solidarity with Palestinians

Israelis kill girl and blame Palestinians

New U.S. pact props up Israeli military

New York primaries: the candidates support Israel

The communist workers' underground

Report from Kurdestan

Communist radio cuts through Khomeini's darkness

Flash point in Honduras

U.S. imperialism, get out of Panama!

No to U.S. bullying! No to Noriega's rule!

Congress funds contras: $50 million more to strangle Nicaragua

What does Nicaragua get from the Sandinista-contra pact?

Peasants vow not to sacrifice their land and arms for the Arias plan

Government strikebreaking at Nicaraguan sugar refinery

The U.S.-USSR Afghan accords: a cynical deal that fuels more bloodshed

U.S.-Soviet collaboration against the world's people

Who are Reagan's "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan?

Support the Nicaraguan workers' press!

Falcons of Gaza

The World in Struggle

New strikes hit South Korea

Filipinos say "U.S. bases out!"

Argentina shut down by general strike

Nissan workers strike in Mexico

Israeli state terrorism can't stop the Palestinian struggle

The Zionists celebrated the 40th anniversary of the state of Israel, appropriately enough, with a murder. They killed a Palestinian leader, Khalil al-Wazir, in Tunis.

The 40-year history of Israel is a history of outrage piled on outrage against the Palestinian people. The Zionists stole their land, stripped the Palestinians of their rights, forced them into a subordinate status inside Israel and subjugated them as a colonized people in the occupied territories.

Now, in the midst of the Palestinian uprising, the Zionists are thinking up new ways to brutalize them. They have jailed thousands -- without a hearing, without bail, without a trial -- simply thrown them into detention camps. They have deported 20 in the last four months -- simply taken them to Lebanon and dropped them off. They have killed at least 150 Palestinians who were guilty of nothing more than demonstrating for their rights. They have beaten, maimed, broken the bones of hundreds.

The Israeli atrocities have not been limited to the home front. War planes have bombed refugee camps in Lebanon several times. And they have now organized yet another assassination abroad. Israel is notorious for such assaults, which are also conducted by their friends, the South African commandos.

Is This Not State-Sponsored Terrorism?

Israel's murder of Khalil al-Wazir took place in the early morning hours of April 16. An Israeli commando team landed in Tunis, entered his house, killed his bodyguards and then shot him down in front of his family.

Khalil al-Wazir, also known as Abu Jihad, was one of the original founders and a top leader of the PLO. The reason for his murder was pure terrorism -- to try and intimidate the Palestinian people by showing that their leaders can be gunned down anywhere, anytime.

For years now, Reagan has run a hypocritical crusade against "state- sponsored terrorism,'' always pointing the finger at governments the U.S. doesn't get along with. But when Reagan's buddies like El Salvador or Guatemala kill thousands with their death squads, or South Africa launches raids and murders across its borders, that is not terrorism -- oh no, that is just some unfortunate quirk. Likewise with the murder of PLO leader Khalil. The U.S. State Department issued a formal condemnation of the act, but refused to say who was responsible or to classify it as "terrorism," saying it wasn't sure if assassinating a Palestinian leader meets the definition of "terrorism."

Brutal Repression of Protests

The assassination produced an immediate and huge protest from Palestinians in the occupied territories. A general strike was declared, and thousands poured into the streets. The protests were especially strong in the Gaza Strip, where the PLO leader had lived during his youth.

The Israeli army viciously attacked the protesters. Fourteen people were shot and killed on April 16, the highest one-day toll since the uprising began in early December. Soldiers were making no pretense of shooting at the feet or firing warning shots; they simply blasted away straight into crowds of demonstrators.

Israel then clamped a curfew on the towns and refugee camps where protests occurred. An area containing 400,000 people, including the city of Nablus, was put under round-the-clock curfew.

To control the uprising, now in its fifth month, the Israeli Zionists keep escalating their methods of repression. Shooting and maiming demonstrators failed to stop the protests. Jailing thousands didn't stop the movement. Now deportations are on the increase again. The Israelis themselves say that deportation -- uprooting Palestinians from their homeland -- is a most extreme measure, designed to break the spirit of Palestinians. But every deportation generates a stronger protest against it.

The Struggle on Land Day

Despite the Zionists' savage repression, the last month continued to be a period of vigorous struggle.

March 30 was Land Day, commemorated as the day on which a number of Palestinians were killed fighting against Israeli land seizures in 1976. The Israeli government tried to block Land Day events by clamping a curfew on all of the occupied territories, cutting off traffic between them, cutting off phone service, and excluding journalists. In the week leading up to Land Day the zionists jailed thousands of Palestinians.

Despite this repression, the occupied territories, especially the West Bank, were rocked by huge protests on March 30. And in support of the protests, Palestinians living inside Israel staged another one-day general strike, this time combining it with huge demonstrations of their own.

In the weeks after Land Day the Israelis found new ways to try and suppress the movement. Journalists were constantly excluded from the West Bank and Gaza. The Palestine News Service was shut down along with some Arabic newspapers. In the aftermath of clashes between Palestinian youths and the army, soldiers blew up nearby houses, walls and orchards. Armed attacks and provocations were organized by Israeli settlers. And in Nablus the army continued to use its strange new orange gas against demonstrators; reportedly this gas has created miscarriages among pregnant women and has psychological effects including sleeplessness and nightmares.

Nonetheless the demonstrations and strikes continued. It was in this context that the Israeli government decided to pull off the murder of al-Wazir, a top PLO official, to try and intimidate the protesters. But the result was an even bigger surge of protest, bigger even than Land Day.

40 Years of Israel, 40 Years of Racist Oppression

On Thursday, April 21, Israel celebrated its 40th anniversary. The zionists had their festivities which the U.S. news media covered oh-so adoringly. Newspaper articles and radio/TV items went on and on about the so- called agony of Israel.

But where is the real agony of the 40 years of the Israeli state?

Forty years of Israel have meant 40 years of racist oppression of the Palestinians and the anniversary was no exception. The Israeli military imposed a total clampdown on the West Bank and Gaza. The 1.5 million Palestinians who live there were prohibited from entering Israel for the week. Curfews were placed on 23 towns and refugee camps, affecting some 450,000 people. And journalists were barred from most of the occupied territories.

Despite this massive show of force, Palestinians managed to find ways to resist. Youths threw a firebomb at a military patrol in Bethlehem. Elsewhere there was rock-throwing and the unfurling of the outlawed Palestinian flag.

The zionists can swagger about as much as they want, but the Palestinian people's spirit to fight for freedom remains undaunted!

[Photo: West Bank protesters battling Israeli soldiers.]

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INS tightens screws on the undocumented

Defend the rights of the immigrant workers!

On May 4 the amnesty provision in the Simpson-Rodino immigration control act expires. This amnesty was a flop. Barely half of the two million undocumented workers that the government now estimates are eligible have signed up for it. The Carnegie research group estimates that there are still 3-3.5 million workers without papers.

To put a good face on a bad failure, there is a move in Congress to extend the amnesty to November. But with or without the extra six months, they are keeping the amnesty's humiliating restrictions that have kept millions away.

The amnesty was a "humanitarian" screen for an anti-immigrant and anti-worker law. Now, as the amnesty is being folded up, the government is bearing down with the real business of the new law: it is turning the screws on the immigrant workers.

In Des Moines, Iowa, 17 workers at the Swift Independent packinghouse are on trial for using false documents. These are felony charges under the new law, with possible prison terms and heavy fines. They are being accused of using false documents to get hired in the face of the new employer sanctions.

Reportedly, this is one of the first such cases the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has brought to trial. But it's an ominous step. These 17 committed no crime other than working themselves to the bone in a packinghouse. Yet they face prison as "felons" because they were born on the wrong side of the border and the government has robbed them of their rights. This shows the anti-worker, discriminatory and police-state nature of the Simpson-Rodino law.

The new law is also putting the squeeze on refugees from Central America who have fled the U.S.-backed

death-squad regimes in their countries. There are hundreds of thousands of such refugees in Los Angeles alone. Because the vast majority came after the 1982 cutoff, few have applied for amnesty. Even less had applied for asylum as refugees because the INS systematically turns them down.

Then in the fall of 1986 employer sanctions came down. The number of asylum applications in the Los Angeles INS office jumped from 500 to 13,000. By applying, a refugee can get a temporary work permit. But by signing up they are also putting themselves at the mercy of the INS. So far 95% of the Salvadoran refugees who have applied for asylum have been rejected, making them subject to deportation.

During the week of April 30 to May 5, protests and marches are being organized in a number of cities across the country in defense of the immigrants. All workers and progressive people should lend a hand to these actions. Raise a voice against the roundups, deportations, employer sanctions, and all persecution and discrimination against the immigrants. Demand full rights for all workers, no matter their place of birth, no matter whether they have documents or not.


It's time to challenge the Reaganism of both the White House and Congress!

Solidarity with the struggles of the working people in Central America, South Africa, Palestine, and around the world!

Fight back against takebacks, unemployment and racism!

Away with the rotting capitalism of Reagan and Gorbachev!

For workers' socialism!

May Day Events



Saturday, April 30 6:30 pm 7 Temple Street Central Square Cambridge



Saturday, April 30 1:00 pm 18th Street and Union


Saturday, April 30 6:00 pm 615 W. Wellington



Saturday, April 30 7:00 pm C.A.M.P.

72218th Street



Friday, May 6 7:00 p.m. Marxist-Leninist Books & Periodicals 3232 ML King Way (old Grove St.) Phone 653-4840]

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

Iranian and Arab workers, not imperialist fleets will settle the accounts

The bourgeoisie is overjoyed. Hallelujah. American planes and missiles are sinking ships, burning oil platforms, and killing Iranians in the Persian Gulf. The news commentators linger lovingly over which ship is targeted in a grudge match, and how effective military high-tech is.

It isn't bad enough that two anti-people regimes, that of Iraq and Iran, are throwing their peoples into everlasting bloodshed. Now the Reaganite bloodlust is to be quenched in the Persian Gulf as well.

What is the American fleet doing in the Persian Gulf anyway?

It is there to play off one side against the other. For the State Department and Pentagon, perhaps even more important than who wins in the war, is that the U.S. fleet bomb and kill enough so that it projects an image of power. The State Department needs results in order to keep local Arab capitalists convinced that they should maintain alliances with the American superpower capitalists.

The U.S. military says it just retaliated for an attack by mines. Imagine that. A floating mine in an area packed with mines and war vessels blows up, and the Pentagon just knew who planted it and when. Absurd.

And if the U.S. navy had the right to retaliate for the mine, wouldn't Iran have twice the right to retaliate for the attacks on its ships and oil platforms?

No, it is not a matter of lawful retaliation.

Perhaps it is for peace?

But the Reagan administration has played first one side against the other in the Iran-Iraq war. One day it sells weapons to Iran, the next day it bombs Iranian ships. This is not a search for peace. These are the acts of a vampire living off the blood of other peoples.

Protection of commerce? Then why is only the commerce of one side protected, the friends of Iraq, and not the tankers going to Iran?

Or perhaps the current tilt toward Iraq is support for "moderation"? The U.S. government is now tilting towards Iraq, so Khomeini's regime is painted as the monster, while Saddam Hussein's Iraq is painted as "moderate" and "reasonable." But this just doesn't hold up. There's nothing more "moderate" in the Iraqi police state than in the Iranian police state.

Indeed, the Reagan administration's tilt toward Iraq comes just in time to whitewash the brutal crimes of the Iraqi regime against the Kurds and other peoples. There is nothing "reasonable" in Saddam Hussein's scorched earth policy against the Iraqi Kurds or in recent use of poison gas against the Kurdish town of Halabja.

Well, the news commentators imply, who cares anyway? The war is the result of mysterious religious passions and Middle Eastern fanaticism. It doesn't have anything to do with American capitalism which is oh so modern and refined.

No, this is a cover-up. Religion isn't at the root of the conflict. The Iran-Iraq war is a conflict between two capitalist dictatorships for regional power in the Persian Gulf. What's more, the United States, France, Russia, China, and other big powers are all fueling this war. They all profit from weapons sales, often selling to both sides in the war. And they are making use of the war to get their fangs deeper into this oil-rich region. Power-grabbing and profit- taking -- that's what the Iran-Iraq slaughter is all about. And American capitalism is an eager participant.

The day will come when the workers and peasants of the region will rise up against the capitalist powers which are preying upon them. There is more to these countries than savage rulers. This is an area on the verge of change and of revolutionary struggles such as the one that overthrew the hated Shah of Iran. The present bloodletting in the Persian Gulf is, in part, a desperate attempt to bleed the masses into submission.

In Iran, the Communist Party of Iran is organizing workers across the country. In the Iranian section of Kurdistan, it also has a force of peshmargas or armed fighters. It opposes the capitalist exploitation and the religious dictatorship, the Western powers and the Soviet revisionists. In Iraq there is indignation as well, and there are some sections of the left which are summing up the problems of their former struggles for freedom so as to develop a true communist alternative.

The Arab and Iranian workers and peasants are our class brothers. We have contempt for the chauvinist orgy of the American bourgeoisie. Its pride in the perfection of its missiles and radar and. jamming devices is the best exposure of its coldhearted, rotten nature.

The American fleet has no business in the Gulf. This is nothing but brutal power politics at the expense of the Arab and Iranian peoples. It heralds the threat of an even wider war.

And the U.S. intervention in the Persian Gulf is an attempt to get a cheap victory in order to inspire the Pentagon to new feats elsewhere. The U.S. government would like to wipe out the memory of its fiasco in Lebanon and its defeat in Viet Nam. It would like something to counterpose to being bogged down in El Salvador and to remove the frustration of the repeated defeats for the U.S.-organized contras in Nicaragua. It thinks a few dead bodies in the Gulf is just what the doctor ordered.

But we say:

U.S. imperialism, hands off the Persian Gulf!

Cheerleaders for imperialist military exploits, back into your holes!

Down with the Iran-Iraq war!

Freedom for the Iraqi and Iranian people from the capitalist dictatorships of Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini!

Freedom for the world from the gunboat intervention by the U.S. military and the other big powers!

[Photo: Demonstration in Chicago against recent atrocities of Saddam Hussein's rule in Iraq.]

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Supreme Court denies food stumps to strikers

On March 23 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is legal to deny food stamps to strikers and their families. Once again the highest court of the land has backed up government strikebreaking.

The ruling made the point of withholding food stamps crystal clear. "Denying such benefits" the ruling declared, "makes it harder for strikers to maintain themselves and their families during the strike and exerts pressure on them to abandon their union." In short, it is "legitimate" for the government to help the capitalists starve out strikers.

Government "Neutrality" -- A Disguise for Strikebreaking

But then the Supreme Court pretends this is not siding with the capitalists against the workers. Oh no, it is only upholding government "neutrality."

The Court ruling claimed that the food stamp restriction follows "the legitimate government objective of avoiding undue favoritism to one side or the other in private labor disputes." Granting food stamps makes "it easier for workers to stay on strike" and is, according to the Court, "undue favoritism" for the strikers. But denying food stamps is not helping the capitalists starve out the strikers. Oh no, that's "avoiding undue favoritism." Can you believe it?

This is the same kind of government "neutrality" displayed in Reagan's smashing of the PATCO strike, in calling put the National Guard to attack striking Phelps Dodge copper miners in Arizona, in the use of National Guardsmen against Hormel strikers in Minnesota and in the government's banning of the rail workers' strike against Guilford in Maine.

And what about the government providing tax credits for hiring scabs? The Targeted Jobs Tax Credit Program provides a tax break for companies that hire "long-term unemployed and disadvantaged workers." And sure enough the Cudahy meatpacking firm used this to hire scabs against its striking workers. Is this also government "neutrality"?

The Government vs. the Workers

The policy of starving workers and their families to break strikes and smash unions is the united effort of all three branches of the "neutral" federal government.

The executive branch, under the Reagan administration, proposed denying food stamps to strikers in an amendment to the Food Stamp law in 1981.

The legislative branch immediately passed the measure in a bipartisan vote of both the Republican and Democratic Parties in Congress.

Now the judicial branch has joined the parade. Although a district court declared the amendment unconstitutional in 1987, the Supreme Court reversed it and gave the stamp of approval to starving out strikers.

Only a small percentage of strikers ever received food stamps. But now, with the Supreme Court ruling, at least in one case strikers who have received food stamps since 1981 have to pay them back. For instance, in February 1987 the striking Canterbury miners in Pennsylvania and the Colt Firearms strikers in Connecticut were forced to post a $420,000 bond to keep receiving food stamps while waiting for the Court to make its ruling. Now most of that money will be forfeited to reimburse the government for the value of the food stamps provided to the strikers.

Obviously the government is not "neutral." It does not stand above the class struggle. Rather, it is a tool of the capitalist class for the suppression of the working class.

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Kennedy's 'fat cat' immigration bill


Now the gentlemen who brought us the curse of Simpson-Rodino anti-immigrant law are ushering a new discriminatory law through Congress. The liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy and the right-wing Republican Alan Simpson of Wyoming were the principal movers of the original Simpson-Rodino bills. Now they have gotten together again to reform the laws on legal immigration. And it has the same racist and anti-worker spirit.

A cruel feature of Simpson-Rodino is that even if an undocumented immigrant gains amnesty, his or her family can still be excluded. The new Kennedy Bill addresses the rights of immigrants who are already U.S. citizens. It is a small step towards barring legal immigration of their family members. It will remove the preference entry visas to many of the brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.

Along with this, the bill creates a new "independent" category of entry visas. Without regard to family ties, this new category will give preference based on proficiency in English, education, and skills required by the "national interest." About 10% of the half million legal immigrants every year would be put into this new category.

What is the purpose of this bill? At first glance it seems absurd. There are already over a million people on the waiting lists for family members to enter the country. And it is admitted that many of these -- especially from the Philippines, India, etc. -- have plenty of skills, training and English. Apparently that is what Kennedy and company is worried about.

By cutting into the number of family preference visas, they hope to cut into immigration from Latin America and Asia. This, they say, will make it more fair to the Irish, the British and other "traditional" sources of immigration.

Over the last decades the unity of families was supposed to be a first priority of immigration policy. Now that the overwhelming flow of immigrants are coming from Mexico or the Philippines, and not Europe, the racist rulers are having second thoughts about "family preference." The aim of Kennedy's new bill is to adjust it with a little "white race preference."

To top it off, the bill also has Kennedy's "fat cat" preference. It's not enough that the bill gives preference to Ph.D.'s and trained professionals. It also smiles on you if you are just plain rich.

It opens the door to citizenship for anyone who comes to the U.S. with a minimum of $1 million and puts it into a business. The senators explained that this way "we can get people who can come in and immediately be contributing members of our society." Just what we need, a few more bloated millionaires. As if the immigrant workers were some type of freeloaders. As if they weren't the ones who harvest the food and stitch the suits of our well-fed and well-heeled Senators.

At first the Senators called this an "investment preference." But as the jeers began about this "fat cat" clause, Kennedy and company changed the name to an "employment creation" preference. This is surely a new low in pampering the filthy rich in the name of ' 'creating jobs" for the poor.

Kennedy's bill already passed the Senate by a vote of 88 to 4. Now it is going to the House where a debate is expected over the $1 million minimum. It seems there are feelings in Congress that people worth only $250,000 might still be worthy of citizenship.

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Strikes and workplace news


[Photo: Thousands of workers rallied in Evendale, Ohio on February 27 in support of striking GE aircraft engine plant workers.]

GE workers angry at job cuts at end of strike

On April 7 a 51-day strike ended at GE's jet engine plant in Evendale, Ohio. Some 7,100 workers had been striking against GE's attempt to unilaterally impose a job consolidation plan and subcontract work to other, lower paying companies. GE's plan was to combine 84 job classifications into about 32, intensify the work of 80% of the work force, cut pay for at least 435 workers, and lay off at least another 650 workers.

Officials from the United Auto Workers and the International Association of Machinists agreed to allow GE to reduce job classifications down to 40. They convinced workers to return to work on the promise that GE had given a written guarantee that there would be no layoffs from job consolidations until 1991.

But only a week later GE announced it would lay off 350 workers by the end of April. And union officials have refused to call the workers back out on strike. They claim that these layoffs aren't covered by the agreement because the reduction is due to a lack of work and not job consolidation.

The workers are angry. They feel they were lied to by GE and by the union misleaders. Workers are preparing for the formal expiration of their contract on June 30. They hope that, together with the 70,000 workers at other GE plants, a united struggle can beat back GE's drive to eliminate jobs, transfer work to nonunion farmout shops, and combine jobs.

Rally held vs. heavy workloads at Oakland hospital

Health care workers at Highland Hospital rallied against increased workloads on March 16. Highland is Oakland, California's public hospital.

The rally was an angry response to the administration's announcement that patients would no longer be diverted to other hospitals even if there was not enough staff to care for them. Going along with Reaganite cutbacks, the director of the Health Care Services Agency declared, "We have to tighten our belt one more notch. We are asking the nurses to go the extra mile.'' That is to say, the county health care workers and the patients would be forced once again to bear the brunt of the government's vicious cutbacks.

But the rally by Highland workers showed they have no intention of speeding up. Several nurses denounced the attempts of the administration to further deteriorate patient care. "Patients roll through this hospital like it's an assembly line,'' said one nurse. "The hospital administration asks us to stretch some more. We're already stretched thin, and this isn't safe anymore."

Unfortunately the union hacks don't have the same enthusiasm to fight back. They are trying to channel the discontent into support for Democrats on the Board of Supervisors. Indeed, Supervisor John George showed up for the March 16 rally. But he only complained about bad administrators. He couldn't point at the real problem of funding cutbacks, because every cut at Highland has been sanctioned by the Board of Supervisors.

The rally showed the desire of the health care workers to fight back. It also showed that organizing that fight will have to be done independently from the union hacks and Democratic Party politicians.

Why did UAW leaders vote for Iacocca's millions?

Auto executives get rich off layoffs

Auto workers are suffering from mounting layoffs and plant closings. But it seems the auto capitalists are getting rich. The Big Three raked in $2.3 billion in the first three months of this year. Although car production has fallen, the profits are only slightly down from last year.

Meanwhile, the Big Three announced they had paid out about $507 million in various bonuses to their corporate executives last year. GM's head, Roger Smith, pulled in $1.7 million in salary, bonuses and stock options. Ford's Chairman Donald E. Petersen grabbed $3.7 million in salary and bonuses. And topping the list, Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca snatched up $17.9 million. That's about $8,608 an hour for a 40- hour workweek, if what Iacocca does can be considered work.

Last Year UAW Head Voted For Iacocca's Millions

Leaders of the United Auto Workers are hopping up and down, especially about the "obscene greed" displayed by Iacocca. But does this mean they'll fight the greed? Not likely.

UAW president Owen Bieber sits on the Chrysler board of directors. Last year he actually voted in favor of giving the Chrysler head a bigger bonus if Iacocca agreed to remain Chairman to 1991. And now, the UAW leaders are simply demanding four more seats for union hacks on Chrysler's board. Will that mean an even larger bonus for Iacocca?

There's Nothing "Fair" In Capitalism

Recently UAW vice-president in charge of Chrysler, Marc Stepp, declared that "since they ask us to go to a Japanese production system" -- that is, "team concept" speedup and job combination which leads to layoffs and plant closings -- "it is only fair for them to go to a Japanese compensation system" of smaller executive bonuses.

Oh that's real fair. Smaller executive bonuses in Japan have never stopped the cruel exploitation of the Japanese workers, nor has it prevented the Japanese monopolies from raking in fabulous profits. Transferred to the U.S. the "Japanese system" only means that tens of thousands of auto workers lose their jobs and stare starvation in the face. And to compensate, Iacocca would be forced to get by on only a few million a year. Poor man.

Chrysler Out for More Blood

The fact is that the high executive bonuses are being taken out of the hides of the workers through closing plants, eliminating jobs, and other concessions. And Chrysler wants more. It is demanding that UAW leaders be more active in spreading "modem operating agreements" to all its plants. And it is even demanding that Chrysler workers -- who are on the average 44 years old and suffer enormous health problems from decades of slaving for Chrysler -- be denied their present right to full retirement benefits after 30 years work.

If the UAW leaders would fight the "Japanese production system," fight the concessions to the auto companies, this would cut into the vast profits of the auto billionaires that fuel the high executive bonuses. But the UAW leaders would never think of that. They've studied the "Japanese production system" and are enraptured with the company-unionism that goes with it.

The UAW leaders won't fight. The auto workers must get organized on their own, independent of the UAW leaders. Then we can make Iacocca and the rest of the auto billionaires pay to meet the needs of the auto workers.

What's new at the office?

In their unquenchable drive for profits, the capitalists are using hi-tech equipment to turn modern offices into hellholes as bad as the industrial sweatshops. The average office worker is electronically spied on, sped up to a frenzied pace, subliminally manipulated, oxygen starved, penned in, and irradiated. Recent studies provide the following facts.

* Electronic spying: A survey by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) between 1982 and 1986 determined that out of 110 organizations, two-thirds were engaged in some form of computer surveillance, standardization or quota systems. The OTA says computer monitoring affects at least 20-35% of American office workers.

Computers are used to meter an employee's work time to the microsecond, track breaks and phone calls, or rank an employee's output compared to his fellow workers. Computers can track the number of keystrokes needed to write or revise.

High levels of tension and other ailments are the result for the clerical workers. As early as 1981, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that clerical work involving computers and video display terminals can produce a higher level of tension than air traffic control. A 1986 study by the Data Entry Management Association conservatively estimated that 66% of data entry operators suffer neck and shoulder pain; 47% have burning eyes; and 44% have blurred vision. Wrist and hand disorders are increasing as keystroke volume is raised.

* Speedup: In another move to improve office productivity, the capitalists have utilized pacing guidelines for common office duties. A worker is supposed to be able to staple in 2.9 seconds or open an envelope in 7.5 seconds. These guidelines are being used increasingly to organize office work on an assembly line basis. With this system more part- time workers can be used. And clerical workers are being reduced to piecework. The Wall Street Journal recently called office "pay-for-performance" schemes "one of the hottest management and labor trends around."

* Subliminal messages: The business capitalists are extremely interested in the new field of "motivation programming." Developed by Profit Technology in New York, computer software can flash favorable messages onto an employee's screen for periods as brief as l/100th of a second. Different subliminal messages are available: a worker may be subconsciously urged not to steal office supplies, or to work harder, or to sober up.

Systems have been devised through the office muzak system where workers can receive "brain compatible conditioning" -- special tones to promote relaxation or to produce alpha waves which are associated with quiet, meditative states. Such are the new systems to keep the slaves happy.

* Space consolidation: The modern office now consists of office furniture systems -- modular units locked together. "Space effective" offices can now accommodate many more office workers like sardines.

* Eliminating fresh air: During the early 1970's, a typical office worker could expect between 15-20 cubic feet per minute (cf/m) of refreshed air. But when the oil embargo hysteria hit in the late 70's, energy costs were cut drastically. Government agencies dropped the recommended air levels to five cf/m per worker. (Absurd since merely removing body odors requires at least six to nine cf/m per person.) The new office buildings became "fuel-efficient" -- hermetically sealed and stinky.

Thus developed the "sick building syndrome" where employees are struck down by headaches, drowsiness, eye irritation, dizziness, and sore throats. Once a worker leaves his modern office, these symptoms disappear.

An EPA study determined that indoor air carries pollutant levels as much as 1,000 times higher than outdoors. Bacteriological investigators found that among modern office buildings examined recently, 35% have no fresh air at all and 64% have an insufficient supply of air. (Please note that covers 99% of new buildings.) Four out of ten ductwork systems are grossly contaminated with fungi, bacteria, fiberglass, dust and debris.

Business capitalists are saving money and enhancing profits by transforming the offices today into hi-tech sweatshops. Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well, running the modern offices.

But some capitalists have also become concerned that, despite all the hi- tech equipment, productivity is only slightly rising. The modern offices are plagued with low morale, absenteeism, high turnover rates, and increasing illness and injuries. It is no wonder that since 1980, workman's compensation claims based on job stress have more than doubled. They now account for 15% of all occupational disease claims. The rash of studies exposing the abuses in the offices, like the recent one by the OTA, are aimed at finding ways to more effectively use the hi-tech equipment to increase office productivity and the capitalists' profits.

Office workers have another answer to their plight. They are increasingly organizing into unions and carrying out strikes and job actions. It is such mass actions by the office workers themselves that can bring relief from office slave driving.

Picket at Chrysler's Jefferson Assembly


A picket line went up April 13 across from Chrysler's Jefferson Assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan. Shouting "Bring back the laid-off 1 Fight the job combination!" the hour-long protest voiced the anger building up in the plant.

Jefferson workers leaving first shift and entering second shift at the back gate were enthusiastic. Many paused to listen to the slogans and to a speech that condemned Chrysler's attacks on the workers and the UAW leaders' sellout. A few joined in shouting "No!" against layoffs and plant closings, concessions and job combination. A number declared, "This is really good" and "This is just what's needed." And a few voiced the need to shut down the plant if the workers are going to defend themselves.

As contract talks begin, the leaders of the United Auto Workers union have given up any thought of defending the laid-off or fighting Chrysler's speedup and slave-driving. In fact at Jefferson, Chrysler is ordering overtime work even while keeping over 800 workers laid off.

It's up to the rank and file to get organized on their own to fight back. That's what this protest was about. It was called by the Detroit Workers Voice together with a network of militants who work at or are on layoff from Jefferson Assembly.

(From the April 20 issue "Detroit Workers' Voice," paper of MLP-Detroit.)

GM workers protest layoffs and overtime

On April 8 about 150 workers came to Detroit to demonstrate against GM's layoffs and overtime. These workers are laid off from GM's Buick City plant in Flint, Michigan. Many of them have run out of unemployment benefits.

The workers first rallied at Solidarity House, the headquarters of the United Auto Workers union. The workers denounced the failure of the UAW big-shots to take any action to resist GM.

The protest then moved to the GM headquarters. The workers condemned GM for driving the Buick City plant nine and a half hours a day, six days a week, and some holidays while there are thousands laid off. The angry workers demanded an end to all overtime until GM brings back the laid-off workers.

(From the April 20 issue of "Detroit Workers' Voice," paper of MLP-Detroit.)

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Reagan's education secretary lashes out at student protests

Students are protesting and the Reagan administration is complaining.

William Bennett, Reagan's Secretary of Education, recently condemned student protests in a speech to a meeting of the Education Writers Association. He complained about "a rising tide of intolerance, left-wing intolerance of other positions." He accused students of using protests against racism and sexism as a ''trump card" to stifle the ''free exchange of ideas" on college campuses. And he whined that "The university ought to be the last place to give up the free marketplace of ideas."

Freedom of speech has become the Reaganite watchword. But this is "freedom" only for the conservatives, the racists, and their ilk to promote their poison and to attack the masses. Bennett wants no such freedom for the "left-wing" students. Rather he wants them punished. Look at some of the examples Bennett cited to explain his views.

Protest Against Racist Beating at the University of Massachusetts

A couple of months ago some 200 students staged a six-day sit-in at one of the University of Massachusetts' buildings while another 500 students demonstrated in support outside. They were protesting the racist beating of two black people following a dormitory party. The university administration eventually conceded to several of the students' demands.

Bennett was appalled at such compromise. He said the protesters should have been punished. No harsh words for the racist attackers, however. Such is Bennett's idea of freedom.

Opposition to Racist Harassment of a Black Professor at Dartmouth

Bennett also condemned recent protests at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Students had rallied against abuse and harassment of a black professor by four white students affiliated with the conservative publication the Dartmouth Review. The Review staff was already notorious for smashing shanties erected by students during a campaign against apartheid in South Africa.

After student demonstrations, Dartmouth officials suspended three of the racists and put one on probation. Bennett contended that the students were merely "criticizing" the professor and should not have been punished. Apparently racists should also be free to physically harass black people under Bennett's idea of "freedom of speech."

Reaganism Breeds Racism

Bennett's defense of the racists, and his condemnation of the anti-racist protesters, is not surprising. Reaganism and racism have been synonymous.

Bennett's speech merely concentrates the Reaganite agenda for the universities. Provide a platform for the KKK, for contra war criminals, for zionist butchers. Provide a recruiting ground for the CIA. Provide a training field for racism, exploitation, and imperialism. And stamp out all opposition to this onslaught in the name of "the free exchange of ideas."

Liberal Educators to Bennett's Rescue

But Bennett is not alone in this. He's got liberals singing the same song.

Bennett cited the president of Wayne State University in Detroit, David Adamany, in his defense. And quick to the rescue, Adamany declared, "It's important for those of us who don't agree with conservative speakers to stand up for their rights.... We need to protect free speech even when we disagree with it."

Of course the liberals' idea of "free speech" hardly differs from that of Bennett. After all, Adamany was the one who a while back tried to bar a Nicaraguan Sandinista speaker from Wayne State and then later defended bringing in a Nicaraguan contra leader to speak at the campus. Meanwhile, other liberal educators have frequently been the ones arresting and expelling anti-apartheid and anti-racist student protesters.

Both the Reaganites and the liberals are defending the "rights" of the racists and reactionaries. It's up to the progressive students to defend the rights of the black people, of the workers, and of the toilers in other countries who are being plundered by U.S. imperialism.

More black faculty demanded at Duke

Carrying placards declaring "End Racism at Duke" and "Diversify Duke -- More Black Faculty," over 500 students rallied on April 15.

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina has the reputation of being a school for the children of the southern aristocracy, of the wealthy and privileged generally. It comes as no surprise then that only about 2% of the faculty are black and most departments have no black faculty members.

A number of faculty members submitted a mild proposal to require each department to hire a black faculty member by 1993. But the proposal was rejected. Eight of the faculty members resigned from the faculty advisory council in protest. And students rallied to support them. They gathered 2,550 signatures, out of the school's 5,824 undergraduates, in support of the plan to hire more black faculty. And the rally on April 15 supported the same demand. The faculty advisory council has now agreed to reconsider the plan.

Rally against racist harassment at Denison U. in Ohio

Over 400 anti-racist students rallied April 11 at Denison University in Ohio. The students also called a boycott of classes to protest the ongoing harassment of black students and faculty. Shortly before the protest, four white students had yelled racist insults and pounded on the dorm door of a black student. This was just the latest in a string of racist incidents against black students at the campus.

Penn State students occupy building

On April 8 more than 150 students occupied a building for 15 hours at Pennsylvania State University. The students took the action after university administrators canceled a scheduled meeting to discuss the problems of racism on the campus. The university president, Dr. Bryce Jordon, did not want the meeting to be held publicly as the students had demanded. To break the occupation, Jordon called in the police. Around 90 students were arrested.

But shaken by the protest, 10 days later Jordon conceded to the public meeting. He also granted amnesty to students who had been arrested and agreed to hire a vice-president for cultural affairs for black students.

However the crucial issue of increasing black enrollment was not settled. Penn State has not met a court-ordered goal of increasing black enrollment to 5%. Jordon promised the university would try to recruit more black students and faculty. But he refused to commit more funds for that recruitment.

Building takeover at Georgia Southwestern

Some 100 students occupied a building at Georgia Southwestern College in Americus, Georgia the first week of April. The students demanded the firing of a white English professor who had used racist language to abuse a black student. The administration eventually agreed to suspend the professor.

4,500 students shout down KKK at U. Kansas

Once again the Ku Klux Klan reared its ugly head only to bang it into a wall.

On March 7 KKK members came to the University of Kansas in Lawrence. They were invited to speak by a racist outfit called "Slightly Older Americans for Freedom" at what was billed as a "free speech" forum.

But this did not sit well with most students. The week before the event students passed out red ribbons to protest. The day of the event 4,500 students showed up to oppose the KKK. Some 2,000 students packed the auditorium where they disrupted the event with nonstop singing, clapping, and shouting. Another 2,500 people demonstrated outside the auditorium.

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Shantytown anti-apartheid protest at U.C.-Berkeley


In a spirited response to the University of California's support for apartheid, 600 students and activists organized a shantytown protest on April 18-19. The action was called by the Campaign Against Apartheid. It also denounced other policies of the university in service to imperialism.

Rally at Biko Plaza

A rally was set for Biko (Sproul) Plaza. Just as it was about to begin, students, carrying several shanties from the dormitories, began arriving. The shanties had been built during the previous week at several dorms. They had served to mobilize support for the April 18 action.

At the rally speakers spoke out against the crimes of U.S. imperialism, South African apartheid and Israeli zionism. They denounced racism at UC. The ties and similarities between apartheid South Africa and zionist Israel were explained. UC's attempts to undermine the anti-apartheid movement through empty promises of divestment were denounced.

A speaker from the MLP declared that in reply to the crimes of the U.S. government, the times cry out for militant struggle. She made a point of denouncing the Democratic Party for its wholehearted support for imperialism. She described that even Jesse Jackson -- who many people think stands against war, racism, and Reaganism -- remains committed to the U.S. as world policeman and he opposes building mass struggles by the working people.

On to California Hall

At the end of the rally, organizers called out to put the shantytown "as close to Chancellor Heyman as possible." Demonstrators took off for California Hall, carrying seven shanties and shouting UC, USA of South Africa!

The administration had called in extra police from Lawrence Livermore labs to assist the Berkeley campus police in putting down the demonstration. Police barricades were set up across the entire front of California Hall. The demonstrators militantly marched up to the barricades shouting slogans, and lined up the shanties next to the barricades. An open mike was set up for students and activists to speak out.

Despite a driving rain, activists continued to rally at the shantytown through the evening. Forty activists stayed through the night. The shantytown served as a political rallying point. Students and activists engaged in discussions and exchanged literature on different political issues and trends within the movement.

UC Sends in Its Cops

The UC administration cooked up the most transparent excuses to remove the shanties. It said they were not in a "designated free speech area," that the noise was not conducive to study, and that they were an obstacle to blind students. At 5:00 p.m. on the second day, the administration sent in its police to tear down the shanties. Demonstrators denounced the police and shouted slogans against the administration.

Afterwards, students and activists met to plan a response. Campaign Against Apartheid put out a leaflet denouncing the attack and calling on students to keep up the fight.


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Defenders of Israel try to sidetrack anti-apartheid struggle

This spring, the anti-apartheid movement has revived at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. One prominent feature of this movement today is that it strongly denounces the oppression of the Palestinian people by the zionist state of Israel. In January, the Campaign Against Apartheid (CAA) organized a militant "BART alert" in support of the Palestinian uprising. Since then, hundreds of students have joined anti-apartheid protests which condemned both apartheid South Africa and zionist Israel.

This is quite a natural development for the anti-apartheid movement. There are many similarities between Israel and South Africa; in both countries the population native to the country is being denied its rights by a racist regime. What's more, the South African racists and the Israeli Zionists share many close economic and military ties.

It is a sign of the political maturity of the Berkeley anti-apartheid movement that it has taken such a forthright stand against Israeli oppression. In mainstream U.S. politics this is supposed to be a no-no.

In recent weeks, supporters of zionist Israel at UC-Berkeley have been trying to drag the anti-apartheid movement backwards. A group of Zionists launched an outfit called "Jewish Students Against Apartheid" in order to challenge the anti-apartheid movement's stand against Israeli oppression. They declared that the anti-apartheid movement should not oppose Israeli oppression. They lied about the ties between Israel and South Africa and they glorify Israel. The campus newspaper, The Daily Californian, has thrown its support behind the zionist attack. It carried a prominent article promoting the views of this group. And it didn't even bother to present the views of the anti-apartheid activists who support the Palestinian struggle.

However the anti-apartheid activists have replied to the lies and slanders of the zionists. CAA has put out a leaflet which gave a detailed explanation of "Why we support the Palestinian revolution." And these views have also been spelled out at anti-apartheid rallies and discussions.

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Dropping the demand to stop all aid for Israel

Reformist scheming holds back solidarity with Palestinians

For five months now the Palestinian people have been bravely standing up to the Israeli jackboot. Every day there are new exposures of the ugly and oppressive reality of zionist Israel, which has long been prettified by the American establishment.

One would think that this would be an excellent time to build the solidarity movement with the Palestinian struggle. No doubt it is a timely occasion to build up a fight against the shameful alliance between Washington and Israel.

But mass actions of solidarity with Palestine remain few and far between. Because of the Democrats' ardent support for Israel there has long been a refusal by many groups to oppose Israeli oppression. Now it has turned out these last several months that even prominent groups claiming to be anti-zionist are opposed to building a mass movement in support of Palestine.

A front-page article in the April 13 edition of the reformist Guardian newspaper sheds light on this. It is written by Hilton Obenzinger, a major leader of the Palestine Solidarity Committee. This article appears to express the views of the official Palestinian solidarity groups in the U.S.

Unity with Liberal Zionists or Ordinary Workers and Youth?

Obenzinger's piece begins by noting the increasing criticism of Israel. Well and good. But what he is excited about is not the ordinary working people, both Jewish and others, who are just coming to see the reality of Israel. Rather he is excited about liberal zionist "personalities" who are making critical remarks about Israel. He names the moviemaker Woody Allen.

But these are people who remain committed to support for Israel and for zionist ideology. They do not question the basically racist underpinnings of the zionist system. However, Obenzinger sees these liberal zionists as an example of the "fast" broadening of the "anti-occupation front."

So what's the consequence of this? Supporters of Palestine are being asked to place hopes in the liberal zionist forces. This is to replace building a movement against zionism on the shoulders of ordinary workers and young people. And to this end Obenzinger waters down the politics of the solidarity movement to what would be o.k. with liberal zionism.

What does this mean? It rips the heart out of any meaningful solidarity with the Palestinians.

Giving Up the Call to Oppose U.S. Aid to Israel

The solidarity movement has historically opposed U.S. support for Israel, which amounts to $3 billion a year in military and economic aid. Now the reformist leaders want to give this up. They have introduced the idea which Obenzinger calls cutting off U.S. aid "that supports the occupation." We have seen this slogan crop up in certain places around the country.

So the movement is now supposed to start figuring out how many millions go for the occupation and how many millions go elsewhere. Aid to Israel is to be divided into its pro-occupation and non-occupation (humanitarian?) components. In short, U.S. aid to prop up Israel per se is now legitimate.

But there is more. Obenzinger goes on to gush that "there is a rising call for the U.S. to assert real leverage against its 'strategic asset' instead of sending more teargas canisters and F-16s."

Not only are we to just ask for cuts in aid to Israel, but now we are to transform the U.S. government into playing a progressive role in the Middle East. Never mind that Israel has been for forty years an outpost of U.S. imperialism, never mind that support for Israel is a solid bipartisan issue. Now the hope is being created by the reformists that the U.S. can "assert real leverage" against Israel. What rot.

In reality this means support for the Shultz diplomacy in the Middle East. The reformists like Obenzinger are still critical of Shultz' refusal to deal with the PLO, but this is just a squabble over detail. They support the basic idea of a U.S.-brokered deal as the way forward for the Palestinians.

Crusading Against Ultra-Leftism

Obenzinger launches into a polemic against ultra-leftism. This is identified with a paid ad which appeared in the New York Times on March 13. This ad declared, "The time has come, end all aid to apartheid Israel."

In so far as it went, there was nothing wrong with what the ad said. The ad reaffirmed some of the basic stands of the solidarity movement. It condemned the zionist order in Israel, pointed to its similarity with South Africa, and called for a democratic and secular order in Palestine.

But to call this ad "ultra-leftist" just reveals how far to the right Obenzinger and his ilk have gone. The ad doesn't in fact call for support for a revolution in Palestine. It leaves aside the question of how the Palestinians are to achieve a democratic goal. No wonder then that the ad is signed by a host of reformist forces.

What's more, those who appear to be the moving force behind the ad can hardly be called ultra-leftist. It looks like the work of the thoroughly reformist Socialist Action and its fellow Trotskyists abroad. This group recently fought hard in the coalition for the April 30 demonstration in San Francisco that there should not be any demands raised on the Middle East. They didn't want to displease the labor bureaucrats and social-democrats in the coalition. Thus in their practical politics they won't press the Palestinian issue, but they try to cover themselves with a mild gesture like placing an ad in the New York Times.

For a Bantustan Solution

However, Obenzinger in the Guardian comes out flailing against the views in the ad.

What galls Obenzinger is the idea of dismantling the zionist regime in favor of a democratic and secular order. Instead he favors a Palestinian mini-state on the occupied territories. The New York Times ad criticized the idea of a mini-state, pointing out that this would be a bantustan solution. Obenzinger denounces this as an "idealist" and "voluntarist" impulse.

Instead we are supposed to be realistic. But this type of realism is asking the Palestinian people to seek a goal which would not amount to freedom. A mini-state in the West Bank and Gaza created through big-power brokering would be economically dependent on Israel and militarily under the thumb of both Israel and Jordanian reaction.

And Obenzinger makes it perfectly clear that big-power brokering is how he expects the mini-state to come into being. He emphasizes that the key issue before the Palestinian solidarity movement today is to build support for the PLO and its project of an international peace conference organized by the United Nations.

Everyone knows that the key powers in the UN are the U.S. and Soviet imperialists. It is these powers who the reformists believe are the hope of the Palestinians. And Obenzinger is not alone. In fact, his group reflects the views of the PLO leadership. The PLO leaders are pushing this view because they have long taken up a national-reformist course, giving up the revolutionary leanings which they had in the late 60's and early 70's.

In sum, the reformist orientation wants to make peace with zionism and it places hopes in imperialism. And it hopes that as a result of this deal, some crumbs will fall down on the Palestinian people.

We think that the solidarity movement will be dead in the water with these views. No steps backward! All true friends of the Palestinian people should keep up the fire at zionism and imperialism. Now more than ever when there is widespread doubt about Israel. And it is along this line that we should build a solidarity movement among American workers and young people.

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Israelis kill girl and blame Palestinians

A band of schoolchildren going for a walk on a pleasant spring day. They roam the hills near their home picking flowers and observing scenery. What could be more inoffensive, more innocent?

Only trouble is, these are schoolchildren of a zionist settlement on the West Bank occupied by Israel. Their walk occurs in early April, right in the midst of another upsurge in the Palestinian uprising. Every day there are clashes between settlers and Palestinians. The settlers routinely carry out provocative raids into Palestinian villages and the Palestinians resist by throwing rocks.

The Israeli teenagers themselves were schooled in the ultra-zionist mentality of the settlers, believing their walk to be part of "claiming our territory,'' as one girl put it. What's even more ominous is that the hiking group was organized and led by a right-wing zionist fanatic, a well-known provocateur named Romam Aldubi. Aldubi was such a reactionary that he had been banned from the Nablus area by the Israeli army because of a history of attacking Palestinians and provoking violent protests. Aldubi led the children with a submachine gun, and another armed guard also accompanied the group.

As the group came walking over the hills toward the Palestinian village of Beita, they saw a Palestinian farmer in his field. Aldubi immediately shot him. The group went on toward the village. They met another farmer, who came out to ask them what they were doing. He thought they might be lost. But before he could finish a sentence, Aldubi leveled his weapon and blew a hole in the man's stomach.

Aldubi then led the group right into Beita. Soon they were surrounded by a crowd of Palestinians. Then suddenly a woman appeared, a relative of one of the men who had been shot. The word was passed around that this zionist thug standing there with his submachine gun had just shot two people on the outskirts of the village. A hubbub ensued, in the course of which Aldubi began firing wildly into the crowd. One of his shots struck and killed one of the Israeli girls.

Aldubi himself was then struck down by rocks. His weapon was seized and smashed by the villagers. As for the schoolchildren, they were taken into homes by Palestinians and protected until Israeli authorities arrived to take them back home.

Cynical Hysteria

Immediately the story hit the world's press wires. "Israeli girl stoned to death by Palestinians.'' The picture was painted of a wild terrorist mob stoning to death an innocent girl. Stories spread portraying Palestinians as Khomeini- type fanatics whose religion and culture glorify the stoning of females.

In Israel the right wing had a field day. "These are the people you want us to negotiate with -- murderers of children," they said to the "liberal" Zionists and George Shultz. They called for far-reaching revenge.

The Israeli government turned the girl's funeral into a right-wing circus. Thousands of the most rabid Zionists attended, calling for the blood of all Arabs. Prime Minister Shamir gave a bloodcurdling speech, coupling brutal threats against the Palestinians with sobbing and tears for the victim.

It didn't take very long for the truth to come out. Aldubi was a follower of the ultra-zionist fascist Kach party of Meier Kahane and a known provocateur. His "innocent walk" was in fact a raid designed to incite a violent reaction. And it came out that Shamir, as he cried over the girl's grave, was in full knowledge of these facts. But he suppressed them, and broadcast instead that the girl had been killed by the villagers.

Even after the facts came out, Israel still carried out a state-run pogrom against Beita. The Israeli army itself had released the basic facts about how the girl was killed, but the same army moved in and arrested anyone who was around the melee at the time the girl was killed. All of the neighboring houses were blown up by the army. The most prominent people in the village were deported to Lebanon.

All this brutality was carried out -- it should be stressed -- while the army itself was in full possession of the facts, that the villagers were in no way to blame for the girl's death. But the facts do not matter to the zionist gangsters. The complete cynicism displayed by Shamir and the Zionists in this case show the total depravity of Israeli zionism. There is no limit to the pretexts it will reach for in order to carry out more repression, more state terror against the Palestinians.

Is this all that much different from such an event like the fire in the German ' Reichstag (parliament hall) in the early 1930's which the Nazis organized and then framed the communists for as an excuse for repression? Not really.

[Photo: Palestinian women have no fear in face of "iron fist'' of Israeli occupiers.]

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New U.S. pact props up Israeli military

The whole world sees the oppressive character of the zionist state of Israel. But that does not faze the U.S. capitalist rulers. The Reagan administration marked Israel's 40th anniversary by signing a new friendship pact with the Israeli government.

Because signing the pact right at this moment highlights support for Israeli brutality against the Palestinian uprising, the Reagan administration tried to keep this event low-key. When Reagan signed the agreement, there was no ceremony, no TV cameras, and no reporters. The document wasn't even given to reporters except on specific request.

Reagan's attempt to play the pact down doesn't mean much. The content of the pact is what matters. Besides reaffirming Washington's traditional political support for Israel, it also furthers U.S.-Israeli military cooperation. It formalizes a Joint Political Military Group to handle "combined planning, joint exercises, and logistics;" a Joint Security Assistance Planning Group and a Joint Economic Development Group. These institutions will deal with the $3 billion in economic and military aid with which the U.S. props up Israel each year.

In Israel Prime Minister Shamir was overjoyed to get this reaffirmation of U.S. support. Despite his squabbles with Secretary of State Shultz, he declared that "this is the most friendly administration we have ever worked with."

While Shamir may have found Reagan to be his favorite U.S. president, in fact U.S. support for Israel has always been a bipartisan project. And just last week, the Democratic presidential candidates again emphasized their support for Israel during the New York primary. All of them, Dukakis and Gore as well as Jesse Jackson.

This is no small quirk of policy. In fact, the Israeli regime is an outpost for U.S. imperialism in the Middle East. It is a regime aimed at helping the U.S. preserve its imperial influence in this oil-rich region and to preserve capitalist exploitation from the revolt of the exploited toiling masses.

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New York primaries: the candidates support Israel

While Palestinian youth faced Israeli machine guns with no more than rocks and their desire for freedom, an orgy of love for Israeli zionism smothered the presidential primaries in New York.

Republicans Denounce Palestinian Rights

George Bush came to town howling for Israel. Although it's the Israeli troops who are smashing bones and shooting down protesters, Bush denounced the Palestinians. He shrieked that an autonomous Palestinian state would threaten American and Israeli security. "That will not bring peace to the Middle East. That's nonsense," he declared.

Now, when a U.S. "politician talks about a "Palestinian state," he is speaking only of some sort of bantustan- type set up where the Palestinians would still be under the control of the Israeli or the reactionary Jordanian government. But apparently even this is too much for Bush. The vice-president's vision of Mideast peace seems to be the peace of the graveyard, a peace based on burying the Palestinian struggle.

This is, of course, what the Reagan administration thinks. But faced with the heroic uprising of the Palestinian people, Reagan has returned to the "Camp David" policy of negotiations begun by former Democratic President Jimmy Carter. Reagan has Secretary of State Shultz crisscrossing the Middle East trying to convince the Palestinians to give up their struggle in return for vague promises to start negotiations for a Palestinian state.

Bush didn't have to worry about such diplomacy. He was in New York to stake out positions that he hopes will rally pro-Israel votes against the Democrats. Praising Israeli zionism and denouncing Palestinian rights seemed to fit the bill.

Dukakis Joins the Chorus

But Bush had trouble distinguishing himself from Democratic front-runner Michael Dukakis. The Massachusetts governor didn't even bother to grumble about Israeli excesses against the Palestinians. He proudly put himself at the front of the "Salute to Israel" parade down Fifth Avenue. He basked in the pro-zionist glow.

Dukakis had no trouble staking out his pro-zionist ground. "I wouldn't negotiate with Arafat," he declared. And "I wouldn't encourage Israel to negotiate with Arafat," unless the PLO leader accepted Israel's right to exist with secure and internationally recognized borders. The governor also stressed that he is "not committed" to an independent Palestinian state.

Dukakis showed no embarrassment that he had placed himself right beside the Reaganite warmongers. After all, the Democrats have long been the staunchest defenders of Israeli zionism. And while campaigning in New York, the point for Dukakis was to distinguish himself from Jesse Jackson.

Did Jesse Jackson Defend the Palestinians?

It was left to Jesse Jackson to defend the Palestinian struggle. Unfortunately he was not up to the task.

Jackson was pressed to defend his much publicized meeting with PLO leader Yasir Arafat in 1979. On the April 10 CBS news program Face the Nation Jackson did justify the meeting. But not as a gesture of support to the Palestinian struggle. Rather he stressed the meeting was an action in defense of the Israeli government. "If we cannot talk with Israel's enemy, we cannot neutralize Israel's enemy and thereby increase Israel's security." The meeting with Arafat, Jackson said, was "for the sole purpose of challenging him to change his posture."

Jackson did not forget that convincing the Palestinian masses (and not just the reformist Arafat) to give up the struggle against Israeli tyranny requires promising the Palestinians their own state. He continued to stress that if he were president, he "would dispatch my Secretary of State, as Shultz has been dispatched now" to hold out the promise of negotiating a Palestinian state.

At the same time, Jackson stressed he would not pressure Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians. Why, he would not even consider cutting part of the $3 billion in yearly U.S. aid to Israel. "Just saying, we'll threaten and we'll cut aid, that's too harsh an approach.... Carter didn't threaten to cut off aid. He offered aid as encouragement.... He did not threaten to make Israel hurt. He offered to make Israel more secure. And that would be my approach." (New York Times, April 16)

Some reformists have suggested that Jackson had to say these things to undercut zionist pressure in the New York primary, as a necessary political expediency. Flipflopping on his stands is hardly a defense. But the fact is Jackson has held these views all along. From early in his campaign Jackson's official campaign literature stressed, for example, "America has a special relationship with Israel which must be preserved. America helped to found Israel, and American aid helps keep Israel strong." (See "Creating Justice in the Middle East," Jesse Jackson '88 campaign issue brief.)

Now how can someone glory in the founding of Israel, and still say they are for Palestinian rights, when Israel was founded by taking away the Palestinians' land, by expelling them and denying their rights? And how can someone glorify keeping Israel strong, and still say they are for Palestinian rights, when Israel has remained strong by exploiting Palestinian labor and by waging a series of wars to occupy more Palestinian territory such as Gaza and the West Bank? And how can someone want to preserve America's "special relationship" with Israel when that relationship is to insure an outpost for U.S. imperialist control of the Mideast? These matters don't seem to bother Jackson. Indeed, he stressed in the Michigan primary that his Mideast policy is based on realizing that "we have interests there...industrial interests." (Detroit Free Press, March 21)

As long as Mideast policy is based on defending U.S. imperialist interests, as long as it is based on preserving the "special relationship" of U.S. imperialism and the Israeli zionist government, as long as it's based on ensuring the "security" of zionist tyranny, then all talk of defending Palestinian rights becomes empty talk. It becomes a fraud for the deception of the Palestinian masses and the workers in the U.S. who wish to support them.

Such is Jackson's policy. The workers cannot support it. Instead of negotiations for U.S. interests we must declare: U.S. imperialism, get out of the Middle East! Instead of negotiations for the security of the Israeli zionist government, we must declare: Support the Palestinian uprising! Solidarity with the revolution for a democratic, secular Palestine!

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The communist workers' underground

Report from Kurdestan

Today's Iran is giving the world one of the most brutal examples of capitalist tyranny. Lumpen gangs and storm troopers called "revolutionary Islamic guards" have been unleashed against the working people. The scope of mass executions and the use of torture against the left wing and other opponents has outdone the Shah and his infamous CIA-trained SAVAK.

What's more, on top of these "normal" methods of extreme capitalist repression, the mullahs are waging a religious inquisition. "Infidels" are stoned to death. Vials of acid are tossed in the faces of women for failing to wear the veil.

But there is something else going on in this land of death and terror. Iran is providing an example of the amazing resilience and courage of the oppressed and exploited. The bourgeois liberals and petty-bourgeois groups may be gripped with impotence and despair. The working class, however, has shown bold initiative. And the Marxist-Leninist communists are in the center of the workers' revolutionary underground.

This winter a medical team of the MLP travelled to the mountains of Kurdistan on the Iran-Iraq frontier at the invitation of Komala, the Kurdish organization of the Communist Party of Iran. There it visited Komala's mountain camps. These are bases for what's known as Komala's "open organization": hospitals and clinics, radios, and Komala's peshmargas (armed communist fighters). Much of the work of this open organization provides support to the secret, clandestine organization rooted among the workers and toilers. This workers' underground is the backbone of the revolutionary movement.

A member of the MLP team prepared this report based mainly on discussions with comrades involved in the underground organizing in Kurdistan. Similar work is underway in the rest of Iran. It is most advanced in Kurdistan where there are armed peshmarga forces and other favorable conditions.

The Regime Unleashes Terror

By the summer of 1981, the Khomeini regime had unleashed a holy terror against the left forces. Thousands were executed and many more thousands were rounded up and imprisoned. This put the left organizations to a severe test. The repression was particularly ferocious. At the same time, there were a number of additional reasons for the extent of the setbacks to the left forces.

First of all, there was lack of vigilance towards the regime. Some, like the Tudeh Party (pro-Soviet) and the Fedayeen majority (Castroist) carried this to the point of criminal cooperation with the regime in cracking down on the left, but this still did not save them from the blows of reaction. Others, like the Fedayeen minority, were by this time taking a more honorable stand and opposed the regime. But they were too late as their vacillations had opened a breach in their security. And these organizations were also to a large extent broken.

Then there was the question of which class forces on which to base the struggle against the regime. The populist views prevalent in the left downplayed the independent organization of the working class.

This was also connected to a tendency to view revolutionary organization as being detached from the life and struggles of the workers. There was a wrong conception of the relationship between the organization and its mass base, tending to reduce the revolutionary to something of an isolated guerrilla.

These views hampered the building of stable organization in the factories and work places, organization that would have been much more difficult for the Islamic guards to dislodge. This helps to explain why an organization such as Peykar, which was hostile to the regime but which was also influenced by Maoist and populist ideas, was hit so hard by the terror.

Communist Organization

How is it that Komala and CPI have been able to stand up to the blows of the Khomeini tyranny? The answer lies with their working class policy.

Along with the Union of Communist Militants and other Iranian Marxist-Leninists, Komala undertook a criticism of populism which had shown its impotence in the revolution. This criticism was part of the process that led to forming of the CPI in 1983.

Komala was a revolutionary organization that combatted illusions in the Khomeini regime from the outset. At the same time, some of the populist ideas about organization and its class basis also had their impact on Komala, and the comrades had suffered blows because of this. As Komala cast off these ideas, the center of gravity of its politics shifted to organizing the working class itself as the force for revolutionary change. In 1982-83 there was an extensive discussion on communist methods of work, and the work was reorganized.

Stress was now placed on building stable organization in the work centers and neighborhoods. The clandestine organization was no longer viewed as a rearguard for the armed peshmarga forces outside the city; the political work of this organization was now given its own importance. And the security of the organization became rooted in its political work. Security was no longer viewed as principally a technical matter; safe houses and security techniques alone could not guard the organization from being isolated and attacked. The security of the organization also required the spread of communist politics in the midst of the life and struggle of the masses.

Linked to the Workers

The exceptionally savage repression has imposed severe limits on the scope of the organizational work. There are a number of party functions and structures, which today are either impossible or require too great a risk, that will become both possible and essential as the mass upsurge gains strength and the regime loses its grip. At present the underground party is many small units, or cells, based in the work places and workers' communities.

The recent growth of capitalism in Kurdistan has brought the wage laborers together in the factories, work shops, fields, and workers' districts. The communists are making use of these natural connections among the workers to build their units. One obstacle is that many Kurdish workers travel to do seasonal work in brickyards or construction projects across Iran. But the units can maintain a degree of continuity, as the workers often travel together in large groups.

To avoid exposure to the regime, big meetings are impossible; even small formal meetings can be dangerous; and a unit may have few if any direct links to other party organizations. That means that a party unit has to be ideologically and politically equipped to take initiative and carry out the work on its own.

Part of the guidance for this comes from Komala's radio Voice of the Revolution. It broadcasts special programs about the tasks of the underground activists in the cities and villages, as well as coded messages and directives to particular units and activists.

There is also a system of clandestine literature. The underground produces dozens of special pamphlets on Marxism-Leninism and the policies of the Party. The Party's papers are reprinted in miniature for greater security. And cassette tapes of the literature are distributed for the workers who can't read. Direct organizational links between the Party units and other militant workers also have to be restricted and require a lot of care. But that doesn't mean that the units shut themselves off. Quite the opposite.

The units operate within wide and loose networks of the militant workers. They are also in the midst of the mass struggles: the conflicts at the work place; the demands of villagers for water or other needs; the mass actions against conscription and the Iran-Iraq war; or the protests against the persecution of women.

This bond with the life and struggles of the masses becomes the Party's best defense. Every worker who stands up for his or her rights or every mother who protests against the forced conscription of her son becomes identified with Komala. This makes it that much harder to strike at the communist organization itself.

Shielded by the Open Work

The clandestine work is reinforced by what's known as the open organization, which gives Komala an open face among the working people.

The armed peshmarga forces play an important role in this political work. Special peshmarga teams (known as city units or village organizing groups) hold mass meetings to consult with the workers and villagers and popularize the views of the communists. Such meetings are held right under the nose of the authorities: in a neighborhood that the peshmargas temporarily control, or sometimes in a brickyard or other work place, or in the village square or local mosque.

These armed units also reproduce and distribute literature. Still, the spread of the literature only goes so far given the repression and the high level of illiteracy. This means that the widest sections of the people know the views of Komala by way of the radio.

All of this makes the work of the police that much harder. A piece of communist literature doesn't expose the local organization because the passing peshmargas have given it to everyone. Knowledge of Komala's politics doesn't reveal contact with the underground because it is broadcast over the airwaves with hundreds of thousands of daily listeners.

May First in Sanandqj

The influence of the communist underground was demonstrated in the May First actions in the major Kurdish city of Sanandaj last year. The workers' general assemblies and trade unions played an important role.

The metal workers union is an independent and militant union, the first such union that has gained a degree of legal status from the regime. Militant metal workers took on the task of organizing May First celebrations. They rallied other workers, including tailors and bakers who have been saddled with unions imposed by the regime.

A committee was set up. Speeches and a workers' play were prepared. A workers' guard spent the night in the union hall to safeguard against bombings or other attacks. The night before May First the workers climbed a hillside on the outskirts of the city and set tires on fire in the shape of a huge "11" (May First comes on the 11th in the Iranian calender). Meanwhile, the underground issued a May First leaflet and the armed peshmargas distributed May First literature in the city and neighboring villages.

Thousands of workers came out to this meeting, which became a real workers' holiday. The music of Komala was played. Banners were raised "Long Live May 1st!" and "Workers of All Countries, Unite!" The workers shouted "Long Live Socialism!"

A general meeting of textile workers also decided to hold a May First celebration. The management said that there could be no cookies served and no speeches made because of a religious holiday (Ramadan). But the vast majority of the 500 workers in the mill came out to celebrate the day of their class with cookies and militant speeches.

At the same time, women in Sanandaj held a meeting under the guise of a birthday celebration. Speeches were given, songs were sung, and funds were raised for Komala. From this meeting a street demonstration was launched that took the regime by surprise.

Thousands of workers took part in many other May Day meetings throughout the city, as well as in six nearby villages.

This open display of defiance was unprecedented in Khomeini's Iran. Its impact was felt throughout the country. It was another signal to the Iranian people that it is the workers' communist underground that is paving the way for the open struggle -- the new uprising -- that will bring liberation from their present hell of exploitation, tyranny and war.

[Photo: Recording a program in the sound room at Komala's radio "Voice of the Revolution." The radio provides guidance and transmits coded messages to the underground activists.]

[Photo: Komala's heavy 120 mm. mortar pounds "enemy" position in military exercise.]


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Communist radio cuts through Khomeini's darkness

During its recent trip to Kurdistan, the MLP medical team spent several days at the mountain camp from which the Communist Party of Iran (CPI) and its Kurdish organization Komala prepare and transmit their radio broadcasts. The MLP team prepared the following report.

* * *

Khomeini and the mullahs have tried to put Iran in a cage. They have built a fence of terror against all literature, all media, all culture that doesn't glorify their dictatorship of religious bigotry and capitalist exploitation.

However, they can't fence off radio waves. The radios of the communist workers reach all corners of Iran and Kurdistan. Each day hundreds of thousands of listeners tune in. They hear the news of the struggle and receive the views of the revolutionary communists from the radio "Voice of the Communist Party of Iran" and from Komala's "Voice of the Revolution."

The radio camp is made up of tents and small cement block buildings wedged in a steep mountain valley for protection from shelling. The transmission equipment has been broken down and carried across the mountains by mule pack without ever missing a daily broadcast. It has been pieced and patched together since the original components were confiscated from the regime in the early days of the revolution. Nonetheless, the radio broadcasts a powerful signal for 10 or more hours a day. And the programs are quite professional.

The radios are a tool of revolutionary organizing. The programming is aimed at educating, mobilizing and organizing the working people against the Khomeini regime and the exploiters.

Half of the daily programs are news reports. Our team sat in on one of the weekly meetings where the entire staff of the radio gets together to review the breaking news stories. The comrades read dozens of reports of workplace actions, village protests and other struggles of the workers and toilers. Most of this information comes from messages from the underground organization.

There is also stress on news about the struggles of the workers and oppressed around the world. The meeting planned reports on the Palestinian uprising on the West Bank and on a strike by Brazilian gold miners. The main source of world news in these remote mountains comes from monitoring radio reports. They also make use of the working class press from other countries that is sent in, The Workers' Advocate included.

The other half of the program is regular features to popularize the politics of the Party. These vary with the needs of the struggle. In summer, when the seasonal workers have gone to the brickyards and construction projects across Iran, and when the Komala peshmargas (armed communist fighters) are most active, Komala radio pays close attention to the day-to-day workplace issues and the operations of the fighters.

In winter, when workers have more time for study, more stress is put on education. The weekly program Lessons of Marxism was presenting, for example, a popular exposition of Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program.

On Fridays, the weekend in this part of the world, the radio presents short stories, poetry and songs. These programs are on working class and often international themes: for example, on the life and songs of the militant American working class organizer Joe Hill.

The comrades explained that the cultural broadcasts are especially popular because the mullahs have attempted to purge Iran of all poetry or songs that don't fit their morbid religious doctrine. Songs are banned for having a woman's voice or even a happy or uplifting spirit.

We asked if it was a danger to listen to the communist radio. It was pointed out that in most of Iran there is some risk. However, in Kurdistan if the regime were to jail listeners of Komala's radio they would wind up jailing most of the population. It is part of the fabric of society that the Islamic guards can do little about. Workers even make demands in their employment contracts that lunch breaks coincide with Komala's radio programming.

A major function of the radios is to serve the underground. They are a means to guide the clandestine cells of the CPI and Komala. There are two weekly programs Directives to the Urban Party Activists and Directives to the Rural Party Activists that address the special tasks of the underground work. Moreover, at the end of every broadcast, the radios transmit coded messages to the comrades in the underground across the country.

The communist radios are a sharp thorn in the side of the Khomeini regime. The radios have been the target of bombs and shells. And the comrades wage a daily guerrilla war against the attempts of the regime to jam the signals. The underground monitors the signals during every broadcast and communicates back if frequency changes are needed to foil the jamming. The communist workers keep winning these skirmishes of the airwaves.

[Photo: Part of the meeting of the radio staff to discuss news reports and the programming for the coming week.]

[Photo: Communications work at the radio camp.]

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Flash point in Honduras

In early April 2,000 students marched on the U.S. embassy in the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, setting embassy offices on fire in the midst of a three-day outburst.

What Caused It?

The protests began on April 6, the day after Honduran businessman and reputed drug trafficker Juan Ramon Matta was arrested in Honduras and turned over to U.S. authorities. Reagan administration officials have seized on this to dismiss the demonstrations as support for drug dealing.

But in fact the basis of the protests lies in the longstanding hatred of the masses against U.S. domination of Honduras and the Honduran rulers who serve the U.S. interests. This antagonism has sharpened in recent years. A major issue is the U.S./contra dirty war against Nicaragua. The masses oppose the presence of the U.S.-backed contras in Honduras. They resent the use of Honduras for U.S. military bases and war exercises aimed at threatening Nicaragua. As well, they despise the big influx of U.S. aid to prop up a tyrannical regime that uses death-squad terror against its opponents. This is why one of the slogans of the April protests was "gringos out of Honduras."

The students also denounced the extradition of Matta to the U.S. This was not because they support drug dealing. They were angry because it was another symbol of arrogant U.S. dictate. The whole affair was ordered by Washington although it was in blatant violation of Honduran law. (There isn't an extradition treaty between Honduras and the U.S.) The Matta incident just happened to be the spark that set off an explosion that had been building for some time.

The Struggle Erupts

The protesters first took to the streets on April 6. They rallied in front of the Honduran congress building. The U.S. was denounced along with Honduran president Azcona. A U.S. flag and the Honduran constitution were burned.

The next night the U.S. embassy was stormed and set ablaze. Demonstrators also torched 25 cars of embassy personnel. In this action the students braved fierce repression. Security guards and riot police lobbed tear gas grenades and fired on the crowd with short-barrel shotguns. At least five demonstrators were killed and another ten wounded. The students managed to disarm several security guards during the clash.

The next day Azcona declared a state of emergency which barred street demonstrations, gave police the right to imprison people without trial, and expanded police powers to search premises. Yet the militant actions continued. One hundred schools and both universities in Tegucigalpa were closed as students left their classrooms to participate in the street protests. The demonstrators flipped over cars, smashed shop windows, and skirmished with the riot police.

Who Really Has An Alliance With the Drug Lords?

Meanwhile the U.S. misinformation machine launched its slander against the protesters. Attorney General Meese attributed the demonstrations to drug trafficking while State Department spokeswoman Ellen Bork announced, "We think it is terrible that Hondurans would show their support for a notorious drug dealer by attacking a U.S. government building."

This is the height of hypocrisy. It is not the Honduran toilers but U.S. imperialism which works hand in hand with the drug lords. Every day there are new revelations about drug money used to finance the contras and how the Reagan administration looked the other way at Panamanian dictator Noriega's drug running because they wanted his help in the contra war.

If the Reaganites want to find the supporters of drug pushing in Honduras they can start with their pals, the Honduran military. News reports in the U.S. and Honduras have tied the military to drug rings. On April 7 the Honduran paper El Tiempo listed the minister of defense, the director of military intelligence, the armed forces chief of staff, and the head of the navy as among those involved with narcotics trafficking. Top Honduran military officials are also known to have been befriended by Matta.

It appears that a big reason that Matta's arrest was ordered by the Reaganites was to undercut criticism of the ties between the Honduran military and the drug runners. In fact, according to a Honduran government official, the Honduran officers directly tied to the drug kingpins were the most anxious to carry out the arrest orders so they could prevent further exposure of their drug activities. Thus the Reaganites whitewash the real friends of the drug dealers and blame their crimes on the anti-regime protesters.

And Throughout Central America

With their struggle, the Honduran masses are taking their place alongside the other toilers of Central America fighting against their U.S.-backed reactionary regimes.

In mid-March, tens of thousands of workers in El Salvador went on strike to protest the arrest of the head of the telecommunications union by the Duarte regime. Duarte was forced to release the union leader.

In Guatemala, a three-week strike of 5,000 health workers lasted into March. The strikers received backing from another 10,000 workers who held round- the-clock protests at the National Palace.

These strikes and demonstrations breaking out are showing the potential power of the masses. The time will come when the revolutionary struggle sweeps away the tyrannical regimes in Central America and U.S. imperialist domination once and for all.

[Photo: Honduran protesters burned U.S. flag and cars at American embassy in Tegucigalpa, April 7.]

[Photo: The peoples of Central America are fighting against the reactionary U.S.- backed regimes in their countries. Here students in San Salvador confront Duarte's police in a march demanding increased funding for the university.]

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U.S. imperialism, get out of Panama!

No to U.S. bullying! No to Noriega's rule!

From Reagan to the liberal Democrats in Congress, the bourgeois politicians have been clamoring for the removal of General Noriega, the Panamanian dictator. Noriega was once in the good graces of the Reaganites. He was on the CIA payroll, and the White House and Congress kept quiet about his ties to the drug lords and his plundering of the Panamanian treasury.

But Noriega's offers to help the U.S./contra war didn't go far enough to suit Reagan. Other squabbles also arose. So the U.S. government has unleashed a campaign to bring to power a more servile government made up of bourgeois opponents of Noriega. This bourgeois opposition is only interested in the orderly exploitation of the Panamanian workers and has little support among the working class and the militant opponents of Noriega's rule.

How Reagan "Aids" the Panamanian People

The Reagan administration and the Democrats have tried to dress up U.S. efforts as freeing Panama from dictatorship. Imagine that! The State Department strikes a blow for freedom by imposing a government of its flunkeys on the people. What imperialist arrogance!

In order to bring down Noriega, the Reagan administration has taken measures to cause a financial crisis in Panama. The latest step has been that Reagan ordered all U.S. companies in Panama to stop paying taxes and other payments to the government there. The financial crisis has caused great hardship for the Panamanian working people who have been forced to go without paychecks for weeks on end. Thus not only does the U.S. want to impose a flunkey government on the people, it wants them to bear the burden of this "noble" cause.

Reagan Slips on a Banana Republic

By starving the masses, the Reaganites hoped to foment discontent against Noriega. There were boasts that the financial crisis would bring Noriega down in a few days. Just another change of government in a Central American "banana republic."

But the master plan unraveled. True, strikes and protests broke out among the workers. But in the main the masses were just trying to get money to live on and showed little interest in supporting the bourgeois opposition. As well, Noriega found ways to pay a number of workers and the mass actions decreased.

As the weeks dragged on with Noriega still around, the U.S. government contemplated more desperate means. The State Department developed plans to kidnap Noriega. Meanwhile, as a show of force, 1,300 marines were sent to join the thousands of U.S. troops stationed in Panama.

The new shipment of marines has been a debacle in itself. First one American marine was shot dead by another. Then there was the infamous two-hour marine firelight against 50 alleged invaders of a U.S. fuel depot. Unfortunately for the "leathernecks," not a shred of evidence has yet been found that these phantom invaders really existed.

The Panamanian Bourgeois Opposition Splits

Meanwhile, the bourgeois opposition in Panama became panicky. U.S. economic measures had not removed Noriega but were ruining the Panamanian economy. The bourgeois opposition was also being branded in the eyes of the people as a pawn of Washington.

This led to a split. A group critical of U.S. sanctions, called the Popular Civic Movement, broke off from the main bourgeois opposition coalition, the National Civic Crusade. It came out against sanctions in favor of alternative ways of deposing Noriega. Recently-deposed Panamanian President Delvalle, whom the U.S. is now backing as the "legitimate" ruler of Panama, also came out against sanctions. They engaged in big talk about not letting the imperial capitalists of Washington and Moscow determine the fate of Panama. They were running scared in the face of the Panamanian people's tradition of wrath against the crimes of U.S. imperialism.

But were Delvalle and the bourgeois opposition actually seeking to avoid U.S. government dictate? Not at all. They recommended, instead of sanctions, military action against Noriega, perhaps with the U.S. role masked by a "multinational force.''

Neither the U.S. nor the Panamanian bourgeois opposition can garner much popular support. So they propose installing a new government with gangster methods like kidnapping and/or with an outright military invasion.

U.S. Aggression in the Name of "Fighting Drugs''

As if this spectacle wasn't bad enough, there were still more reports that show the U.S. government backed Noriega for years despite knowing of his ties to drug trafficking. In early April, ex-State Department official Francis J. McNeil confirmed this in testimony before a senate committee. He revealed that as late as 1986, Elliot Abrams, Reagan's chief "hit man'' for Latin America in the State Department, knew of Noriega's drug ties but continued to support him because Abrams felt "Noriega was vital to a contra victory.''

In other words the Reaganites didn't care about Noriega's drug connections as long as he could be useful in the war against Nicaragua. So much for the attempts of Reagan and Congress to drape an anti-drug banner over U.S. aggression against Panama.

No to the U.S. Dictate and Noriega!

The U.S. and the bourgeois opposition in Panama are clearly not fighting in the interests of the ordinary people. They simply want to rig up a new regime of exploiters more anxious to follow Washington's every whim. They have run up against the hatred of the people against imperialism.

But the interests of the masses do not lie with Noriega either. Today Noriega is spouting nationalist rhetoric to gain mass support as an anti-imperialist fighter. But nothing can hide the fact that Noriega is just a corrupt military tyrant with a long history of collaboration with U.S. imperialism.

The Panamanian toilers are in a difficult situation. In the current crisis, they have not yet been able to express their independent stand. But there is a way out. This is the class struggle for the masses' own interests against both Noriega and the U.S. imperialist attempts to impose another reactionary pro-U.S. regime with the help of the bourgeois opposition.

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Congress funds contras: $50 million more to strangle Nicaragua

Congress has funded Reagan's contra bands of murdering thugs once again. On March 30 and 31 the House and Senate voted by huge margins to provide more funds for Reagan's covert war on Nicaragua. Democrats joined with Republicans to provide a five to one margin in the House (345-70) and a 12 to one margin in the Senate (87-7).

This bill proves that U.S. aggression against Nicaragua is continuing.

This bill proves that the Sandinista- contra cease-fire agreement of March 23 has not ended U.S. interference in Nicaragua.

This bill proves that the White House and Congress are both prepared to renew the dirty war against Nicaragua at any moment.

And this bill shows that, even should the temporary cease-fire be converted into a permanent cease-fire, U.S. funding for Nicaraguan reactionaries will not end. Congress will continue to vote millions of dollars to finance the overthrow of the Nicaraguan government.

A Lot of Money

This bill provides almost $50 million over six months for the contras. Furthermore it appears that at least part of the bill's funding is open-ended. As much funds as necessary would be used to pay for transportation. This could boost the bill by many millions.

Military Equipment

This bill includes $1.5 million for fancy communications equipment for the contras. The purpose of this equipment is to provide coordination of battles inside Nicaragua. Yet Congress presents this bill as a sign of its commitment for peace.

This bill does not directly provide bullets and guns. But the press says that Congress feels that the contras already have enough weapons to last for a number of months. Besides, Congress looks the other way while Reagan holds National Guard exercises in Honduras and leaves behind huge stockpiles of bullets and weapons that just happen to disappear into contra camps.

Bribing the Judges

As well, this bill provides $10 million to fund the verification commission established under the Sandinista-contra pact. The verification commission is supposed to be neutral and impartial between the Nicaraguan government and the CIA-organized contras. But the same Congress that funds the CIA also funds this commission.

And the Democratic Party has promised that, if the cease-fire breaks down, there will be a quick vote on military aid to the contras.

How would you like to go to court and have the judge and jury on the payroll of your opponent? That's what the Nicaraguan people are facing.

Guns and Bandaids

But who says the U.S. government isn't a friend of the Nicaraguan people. The CIA not only provides guns to kill peasants who work on Nicaraguan cooperatives, but bandaids to give their children. The liberals are making a big fuss that this bill provides $17.7 million to pay for medical assistance for Nicaraguan children who have been wounded in the war.

Apparently it is all right to fund a war provided some bandages are handed out to children. As well, apparently it is all right for the liberals if the Nicaraguan adults are slaughtered.

But things are worse than that. None of this money goes to the Nicaraguan health agencies. All of this assistance must be used through some foreign agency. Meanwhile part of this money presumably goes to fund contra medical supplies.

And the final irony? The economic boycott of Nicaragua is left in place. So the Congress prevents Nicaragua from engaging in commerce to buy bandages, and then thoughtfully provides a few vials of iodine for the children.

This $17.7 million wasn't provided out of the goodness of the hearts of the pro-contra congressmen. It was part of a cruel game of power politics. Nicaraguan President Ortega and the Sandinistas have illusions that the American capitalists will stop trying to strangle Nicaragua and instead will begin flooding Nicaragua with American gold. This $17.7 million is the bait to keep Ortega hopeful. See, you will get some American money, if you bow deep enough, if you kiss up to the contras, if you allow the CIA to fund Nicaraguan TV and radio and newspapers, if you throw the peasants off the cooperatives and give the land back to contra landlords,....

And Yet More Contra Aid

Furthermore, Congress has been lying all along about contra aid. Congress swore to the press and the people that there was no contra aid except for this bill. Why, contra aid had been cut off.

But it turned out that contra aid had never been cut off. Congress had authorized other contra aid programs which both liberal and conservative kept silent about. At least two more have already been revealed in the press. For one thing, CIA "support payments" ranging from $200 to $1,000 a month were being given to contra family members in Miami, Honduras and Costa Rica. Therefore Congress, so concerned to debate whether welfare mothers should be forced to work when their children are three years old or six years old, had generously provided special welfare for the contras. (Instead of workfare, this could be called "murderfare" -- keep killing or the checks will stop.) And a separate Congressional bill had authorized generous salaries for contra leaders, ranging from $22,000 to $70,000 a year.

This came out only when the bill that authorized support payments to the contras was due to expire at the end of March. It then vanished from the press, so presumably it was quietly renewed. The millions and millions for these payments is never added to the bill for contra aid.

Down With the Politicians Who Fund Murder in Central America

This last contra aid bill passed with only a small amount of public protest. This is because the reformist leaders had no stomach for denouncing the liberals. Some of them have even taken to supporting either the new contra aid or some variant. Instead of cutting off all aid to the contras, they think that the movement should support "true" humanitarian aid, that would supposedly "benefit both sides" of the conflict.

But it is the task of all progressive people to support the Nicaraguan workers and peasants against Reagan's hordes of murderers and thugs. The recent contra aid bill shows that the liberals are fully implicated in the blood and gore. The talk of "benefiting both sides" is just a liberal mask over the frowning face of Reaganite aggression.

Down with U.S. aggression against Nicaragua!

Denounce all the politicians who vote for contra aid!

Not a penny for the contras!

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What does Nicaragua get from the Sandinista-contra pact?

The Sandinista government gave up big concessions to get a cease-fire with Reagan's contra hordes.

Although not a single contra has yet disarmed under this pact, they have already begun releasing contra criminals from jail and they agreed to certain types of "humanitarian" aid to be provided to the contra forces in the field. Moreover, they legitimized the contras, led by CIA-paid followers of the late Nicaraguan dictator Somoza, as a force that should help determine the destiny of revolutionary Nicaragua. They agreed to make unpopular internal changes in Nicaragua at the behest of the contras.

Should the cease-fire be finalized, the struggle won't be over. On the contrary, the Sandinistas have conceded to the right wing freedom to organize against the revolution and freedom to outside forces such as the CIA to fund and bribe and interfere in Nicaraguan affairs.

What in Return?

But what did they get in return?

The pact was signed on March 23. It specifies that negotiations in April and May should fill in the details of the pact and result in a full cease-fire.

But all that has happened is that the contras have backed down on their commitments in this pact and demanded new concessions from the Sandinistas.

The contras were supposed to group in seven relocation zones as preparation for turning over their weapons. Prior to the final cease-fire, they were only to receive "humanitarian" aid. But they are now demanding the right to receive military supplies. They call this "the replacement of all arms destroyed during the war, in case of a breakdown in the cease-fire."

The "humanitarian" aid was supposed to be delivered only through "neutral organizations" agreed to by the Nicaraguan government and the contras. But the U.S. government has begun unilateral deliveries of aid.

The contras have also demanded that the cease-fire should settle the economic and political affairs of Nicaragua. They demand from the cease-fire everything that they were seeking to get from their CIA-organized campaign of arson and bombings and assassinations.

The result has been that the negotiations have repeatedly deadlocked.

More Contra Aid

Meanwhile the White House and Congress are backing the contras to the hilt. Congress has voted more aid for the contras, including battlefield communications equipment. (See article elsewhere in this paper.) And the Reagan administration is seeking to tighten the economic boycott of Nicaragua. Previously they banned direct trade with Nicaragua. Despite the cease-fire, they are maintaining this ban and seeking to extend it by banning Nicaraguan products that are imported into the U.S. after processing in a third country.

This means pressuring Nicaragua to make ever more concessions.

Arias Plan Only Binds Nicaragua

Furthermore, the Sandinista-contra pact marks the end of all the big talk about the neighboring Central American states making concessions to Nicaragua. Now it is all one-sided. Honduras can keep its contra bases until the last contra disarms. El Salvador can keep its CIA air bases forever. The restrictions of the Arias plan only apply to Nicaragua.

And Inside Nicaragua...

The cease-fire agreement has intensified the class struggle inside Nicaragua, for the Sandinistas have already started giving new privileges to the right wing. This process began with the signing of the Arias pact, and is continuing under the cease-fire. In the last issue of The Workers' Advocate we carried articles on what our recent delegation to Nicaragua found out about this class struggle. In this issue, we carry two reports from Prensa Proletaria, voice of the class conscious Nicaraguan workers, on some particular aspects of this struggle.

Not a Penny for U.S. Aggression

In this situation, where the American government is continuing brutal intervention against Nicaragua, two major tasks face the solidarity movement.

We must keep up the struggle against U.S. aggression. The cease-fire by no means marks the end of the contra war. The CIA and the contras may decide to stretch it out to get more concessions. Even if a final cease-fire is signed, it will only mark a transfer of the weight of U.S. aggression from external military aggression to internal subversion.

We must oppose all funding of U.S. aggression. Not a penny for the contras no matter what the pretext! We must take seriously that the majority of the Congressional liberals are voting for contra aid. And we must take seriously that all the Congressional liberals hid the existence of ongoing contra aid, authorized by Congress, that was in addition to the well-publicized bills they squabbled over with the conservatives. (See the article on the contra aid bill.) This proves that we cannot rely on the personal sincerity of this or that liberal Democrat. Only opposition to both imperialist parties, the rabid Republicans and the hypocritical Democrats, can provide support for the Nicaraguan revolution.

Support the Nicaraguan Workers and Peasants

And we should not just support Nicaragua in general. We must extend solidarity especially to our class brothers, the revolutionary workers and peasants of Nicaragua. The Sandinistas vacillate between the toilers and the capitalists. Their concessions to imperialism and the bourgeoisie are intensifying the danger facing the Nicaraguan people. We must firmly back the proletarian forces that want to continue the revolution. We should support the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua and the Nicaraguan workers' press.

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Peasants vow not to sacrifice their land and arms for the Arias plan

The March issue of Prensa Proletaria, newspaper of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua, carried an interview with the armed peasants of the "Rodriguez Brothers" cooperative in the war zone of northern Jinotega, near the Honduran border. The peasants described their struggle to deepen the gains they made in the revolution, and to defend them from the CIA-contra aggression and the power-hungry bourgeoisie and landlords. The peasants' struggle for their revolutionary rights is sharpening because of the Arias peace plan, which gives sweeping rights to the Nicaraguan exploiters.

"We Will Not Give Back the Land, Only Bullets"

The Arias peace plan is demanding outrageous concessions from all of the Nicaraguan working masses. And rumors circulate that there may now be attempts to recover the latifundists' (plantation owners') land from the peasants. Also there is fear that Jinotega's coops and militias will be disarmed (peasants in war zones are the only civilians still allowed to bear arms in Nicaragua). However, because of the hard fight the "Rodriguez Brothers" members have waged to build their new life, they are resolved that, "What we will give them [the landlords] back is bullets, and for this we bear these arms which we will not let go of."

Commenting on the possibility of a complete reversal of the agrarian reform won in the revolution, the president of the coop, Augustin Zelaya, said: "We have already heard these tales about how they are going to take the land back, especially since the Esquipulas pact [Arias peace plan]. And we've already told the FSLN, and not long ago we shouted it in the streets of Jinotega, that what we are going to give the landlords is bullets. We have also heard that they are disarming the coops and the militias and all that; we are clear that this will not be. It is a step that the government must not take, and if it committed this error we would be lost, though we would never surrender our arms," he added.

Referring to such developments the educational secretary of the coop, Mario Rodriguez, said: "I don't go for this business of being sacrificed, because the revolution is to benefit the peasantry, and if the Esquipulas pact obliges the government to surrender, we will not surrender."

"Forge a Worker-Peasant Alliance to Wipe Out the Bourgeoisie"

Rodriguez explained that the cooperativists are against surrendering their revolutionary gains, including arms and land. They advocate that the workers in the city should also battle against any concessions. The peasants call for building a solid worker-peasant front to defend the revolution against the stepped-up activity and demagogy of the bourgeoisie.

Instead of surrendering, insisted Rodriguez, "Rather we will urge the other peasants to take what belongs to them, and to the workers in the city we say let's make a strong alliance and wipe out the bourgeoisie who have never tolerated us and who are now trying to take advantage of our boldness to manipulate us."

Rodriguez warned of the new phenomenon brought about by the Arias peace plan. The Nicaraguan bourgeoisie is using its newly expanded rights to broadcast its counterrevolutionary stands from the rooftops. But at the same time it tries to commandeer the workers' movement, hoping to orient it in a right-wing direction. The revisionist parties, who are Marxist in words, but capitalist in deeds, are helping the bourgeoisie to try to defraud the working masses.

Under Somozism, Rodriguez related, the bourgeois treated the peasants badly, "and now they are chiming about the peasant here and the worker there, when it's the last thing they care about."

"With this pact," he added, "they opened La Prensa newspaper which is anti-peasant and anti-worker. The bourgeoisie is moving freely on the streets. And things are even to the point where some parties which appeared to be on the left are going arm in arm with the right, and are trying to manipulate people as well. We ask the workers in the city to carry on with their battles for truly revolutionary gains, and not to let themselves be manipulated. Let them organize themselves well and we will fight for an alliance between workers and peasants."

History of the "Rodriguez Brothers" Cooperative

In August 1986, after many unsuccessful attempts to obtain unused land legally under the Sandinista agrarian reform, 40 poor peasant families seized the ranch of Roque Padilla, including 200 manzanas of land (one manzana equals 7,000 square meters), 17 head of cattle, and implements. Unable to scratch out a living on the meager wages paid by the landlords, these peasants had organized themselves into a cooperative to seize and occupy a plot of land and work it collectively. After the fact, the government recognized their land seizure.

The first thing the peasants demanded of the government was arms to defend the revolution. Since then they have patrolled the land, protecting it from contras and landlords alike. "What we tell other peasants," remarked a cooperativist, "is not to be timid, to take the land to work it like we did ourselves because the revolution gives us this right."

The coop has also kept up a vigorous participation in army mobilizations against the U.S. aggression, with two members permanently in the military service.

In two years the coop's herd of cattle has grown to 94 vaccinated animals, including milk cows, calves and stud bulls. They cultivate basic grains and vegetables, which will be irrigated using a motor bought by the coop. In April the peasants are due to pay 15,000 (new) cordobas ($1,500) on their 28,000 cordoba loan from the bank.

Strength Based on Collective, Democratic Organization

In addition to the hardiness and revolutionary determination of its members, who are experienced field laborers and fighters against tyranny, the strength of the "Rodriguez Brothers" coop comes from its collective character.

Several of the members had taken part in previous coops, from as early as 1982. But they said these coops had failed because of their individual methods. They were neither able to grow enough food on the separate rented plots, nor to achieve participation of the membership in administration, because individual leaders tried to impose their criteria onto everyone.

The "Rodriguez Brothers" coop has a democratic internal life. As the president explained, all the important decisions are taken by the assembly where all the members speak out and make proposals. "We do what the majority vote decides, and the leading body dedicates itself to accomplishing what the assembly has agreed on. All new decisions have to be made collectively," and a strike then it's necessary to must conform to the plan of work. The regular assembly is monthly and the leading body meets weekly.

The president noted that recently the coop has had few political problems because the bourgeois parties have ceased to function in the region. "They disappeared together with the big landowners."

The coop's work is all done collectively. So that they can work the common land, the coop helps the members in the preparation of the ground and with supplies. At the end of the harvest, the members pay back the loan. While the fruit of their labor is on the way, the members receive a daily salary of 13 (new) cordobas, derived from the sale of milk. In addition each member has one quarter manzana of land for his own needs. "Whoever doesn't work because he doesn't want to doesn't get this help," explained Juan Rodriguez, "unless it's because of bad health or other problems."

The "Rodriguez Brothers" coop shows the revolutionary role that can be played by Nicaragua's poor peasants. Organized collectively, armed, and allied with the working class, they can defend the gains of the revolution as well as produce food for the country.

[Prensa Proletaria masthead.]

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Government strikebreaking at Nicaraguan sugar refinery

At the privately owned San Antonio Sugar Refinery (ISA), workers walked out on strike February 9, reports Prensa Proletaria, central organ of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua, in its March issue. The strikers, from the motor pool and the farm machinery and other departments, were demanding wage increases and a reduction in the prices of products sold at the commissary.

More than 600 operators of tractors, harvesters, trucks, cranes, machinery and others in the level 8-11 pay scales demanded to be upgraded to level 15. Furthermore, they demanded that the price of food rations be lowered to their old price. During the first week of January, the private owner had doubled the price of eight rations from 40,000 old cordobas to 80,000. And the second week these same rations went up to 260,000 old cordobas!

A representative of the Sandinista government's Ministry of Labor talked with a negotiating commission elected by the strikers. When the meeting adjourned, the Sandinista representative denied the wage upgrading and said that all the strikers were fired. But the militant workers defied this and showed they were absolutely firm. This forced the government representative to resume negotiations.

Then the regional Sandinista delegate, Marta Cranshaw, directed her underlings to hire scabs, many drawn from the ranks of the Sandinista youth. At the same time, soldiers surrounded the motor pool where the strike had erupted. Francisco Talavera, the owner's administrative chief who has distinguished himself by his anti-worker fervor, participated in this. Furthermore, all day and part of the night five police and security patrols patrolled the streets and departments of this immense sugar refinery owned by the Pellas family.

Prensa Proletaria points out that these actions show the bankruptcy of Sandinista speeches such as one by Interior Minister Tomas Borge. In a recent international symposium on labor rights, Borge said that if you don't want to have persuade "the most revolutionary class," because you should never use the police in labor conflicts. Yet in this strike the Sandinistas brought in scabs, police and security patrols to try to suppress it.

When the negotiations finally concluded, the owner agreed to pay incentives using wage level 13 as a reference for one week, and to negotiate with the Labor Ministry the following week on the strikers' demand to be raised to level 15. The price of food rations remained at the old price of 40,000 old cordobas.

During the announcement, the workers' negotiating commission gushed praises toward the owner, which aroused the suspicions of the militant workers who have tasted the bitter fruits of the owner-government alliance. The strikers, who had occupied the administration building all day and evening, criticized the fact that no written agreement had been drawn up. Although they returned to work that night, they vowed to resume the strike if their demands were not met.

Prensa Proletaria notes that the sugar workers sternly dealt with the scabs. The strikers forcibly drove out those who resisted vacating the machinery sheds and firmly denounced the most recalcitrant.

The paper also points out that the strike had certain benefits for other sections of the refinery's work force. For example, the boss took steps to keep better accounting of tonnage so that workers would receive their proper incentive.

The workers in the different departments of the refinery all have unresolved problems and demands, but, points out Prensa Proletaria, each section is fighting alone. "This disunity hurts us greatly," said a veteran sugar worker who also supports Prensa Proletaria. Neither the union leadership nor the boss is going to try to unify us, he said. So it is up to the workers to take the first step to unite all the workers so as to raise their demands with one voice. And if they are denied, then unleash the struggle united and well organized.

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The U.S.-USSR Afghan accords: a cynical deal that fuels more bloodshed

Over the last decade, the people of Afghanistan have been caught up in the middle of a painful tragedy. Despite all the fanfare about the recent Geneva accords, the outlook for the Afghan people remains poor.

In 1979 a civil war broke out in that country, bringing in growing military intervention by the Soviet Union. Soon Afghanistan fell under the occupation of Russian imperialism. Moscow unleashed a brutal war against the Afghan people. Meanwhile, the resistance to Soviet occupation became dominated by CIA-backed reactionary forces of tribal chieftains and Islamic fundamentalists. In this cruel war, hundreds of thousands have died, about five million Afghans have become refugees, and the country is in a shambles.

According to the Geneva agreements signed on April 14, the Soviet Union will start pulling out its 115,000 troops on May 15. They are to finish their withdrawal in nine months.

Although Moscow won't say as much, the Geneva agreements signify that its nine-year military adventure in Afghanistan has been a fiasco. For the Soviet Union, the Afghan adventure turned out to be a costly one. Thousands of Soviet troops were killed and wounded, pressure was mounting at home to get out, and the war itself kept dragging on. What's more, the Afghan occupation remained a major obstacle in Moscow's foreign relations.

It's good that the Soviet troops will leave, although they plan to do it in a way which preserves their tentacles in Afghanistan. The departure of Soviet troops does not mean that the misery of the Afghan people is over. At Geneva the imperialists of both Washington and Moscow also made a deal to ensure that the Afghan tragedy continues to be a bloody one for some time to come.

A Cynical Agreement to Fuel More Bloodshed

Besides the agreement on Soviet troop withdrawal, the U.S. and Soviet governments also arrived at another understanding. This allows both the Soviet Union and the U.S. to keep pouring in weapons to their clients in the Afghan conflict. They describe this cynical agreement as "positive symmetry.'' (They rejected cutting off arms aid by both sides because that would have been "negative symmetry.'')

Thus what the Geneva agreements mean is that the Soviet war in Afghanistan is being "Afghanized." Soviet troop casualties are to be brought to an end but their puppet regime in Afghanistan is being armed to fight on. And the U.S. will continue to arm its guerrilla forces.

It is likely, however, that with Soviet withdrawal, the Moscow-backed regime in Afghanistan will collapse like a house of cards. This government has not been able to widen its tiny social base; it is hated by the vast majority of the people; and it is torn up internally by severe factional strife.

Meanwhile the armed opposition groups known as the mujahedeen have rejected the Geneva accords. These are the forces armed and backed by the U.S., China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran to the tune of $1 billion a year. They pledge to fight till the Kabul regime is overthrown.

None of the major contenders for power in Afghanistan offer anything positive for the Afghan people. The Soviet-backed regime was clearly a disaster. But the mujahedeen's goals are thoroughly reactionary. All of them seek one type of backward-looking Islamic regime or another; and the faction most heavily funded and armed by the CIA would like to establish an outright fundamentalist order, like Khomeini's in Iran. (See adjoining article for more on these forces.)

Factional strife is widespread among these forces. Frequently they are at war with each other. With the Soviet withdrawal and the impending collapse of the Kabul regime, the in-fighting among the mujahedeen is already on the rise.

Thus with the Geneva accords, the stage is laid for bloody warfare between one and all factions, as each jockeys for influence and supremacy. It is the people of Afghanistan who are caught in the middle of all this, serving as cannon fodder and victims in a civil war in which no one offers a progressive future.

Despite the planned Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan will remain caught up in the midst of imperialist rivalry. Neither the Soviet Union nor the U.S. has agreed to allow self-determination for Afghanistan. That has unfortunately long been the cruel fate of Afghanistan. For centuries, the people in the area which is now Afghanistan have been caught up in repeated rivalries of outside empires. And Afghanistan has been a land with little economic development, which was beginning to enter the modern era only a few decades ago.

The Afghan people have to liberate themselves from this imperialist game and they will have to find their way out of poverty and backwardness. But none of the powers-that-be -- the tribal bosses, the landlords, and the urban bourgeoisie -- can do this. For Afghanistan to be free, sooner or later, the toilers of town and country have to build their own independent revolutionary movement. A movement which bases itself on the class interests of the exploited. A movement which seeks to transform society based on the struggle of the masses of urban and rural toilers. A movement which is free of the tutelage of the Soviet Union, U.S. and other outside reactionary powers.

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U.S.-Soviet collaboration against the world's people

There is more to the April 14 Geneva accords than their impact on the Afghan conflict. The spirit of Geneva is also part of a renewed Soviet revisionist crusade to put a damper on people's struggles around the world.

The Afghan accords are a product of Gorbachev's attempts to find an understanding with U.S. imperialism. Indeed, they were signed in a rush to pave the way for the upcoming summit between Reagan and Gorbachev.

The Russian leaders hope that by agreeing to withdraw from Afghanistan, Washington will smile on them. They want the U.S. to reduce the pressure on them militarily by agreeing to more nuclear weapons agreements. And they want U.S. business support for the capitalist reforms going on in the Soviet Union under the banner of perestroika.

In return, the Soviet leaders are pledging to calm down areas of inter-imperialist conflict such as Afghanistan and also to use their services to undermine revolutionary conflicts around the world.

There is nothing wrong with the lowering of tension between the imperialist superpowers. But that's not all that is taking place. U.S.-Soviet deals are being reached at the expense of the world's peoples. And it is being advocated that the people of the world should give up their struggles and instead trust their fate to the bargaining of the superpowers.

From Moscow, the spirit of Geneva is being promised far and wide. In Afghanistan there was no revolution to barter away -- only a client regime of revisionists who had long ago made a mess of the progressive movement there. But in other places there are people's struggles which the Soviet revisionists want to use their influence to sell out. They want to use their influence to reach capitulationist agreements which would mean setbacks for revolutionary struggles.

In Central America

Over the last year we've already seen some of the dirty Soviet role in Central America. Last year they cut off oil shipments to Nicaragua to pressure the Nicaraguan government to make concessions to U.S. imperialism through the Arias "peace pact."

In the wake of the Nicaraguan agreements, there are signs that revisionism is now stepping up efforts to get a compromise in the Salvadoran conflict between the death-squad regime and the guerrilla movement.

What's more, Gorbachev has repeatedly said in recent months that a resolution of the Afghan issue may pave the way for increased efforts by Moscow to settle other "regional conflicts," such as those in the Middle East and South Africa.

Palestine and South Africa

It was no coincidence that just before the Geneva accords were signed, Gorbachev met in Moscow with Yasir Arafat, leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Gorbachev called on Arafat to recognize Israel to pave the way for a capitulationist deal between the PLO leadership and Israel. He told Arafat, "...recognition of the state of Israel, consideration of its security interests, the solution of this question is a necessary element for the establishment of peace and good neighborliness in the region based on the principles of international law."

In South Africa, Moscow exercises influence over the leaders of the African National Congress. And there are reports that Gorbachev is trying to get the ANC leaders to make concessions in order to open the way to a deal with the racist Botha regime.

In both Israel and South Africa, liberation for the oppressed will not come from capitulation but through struggle. The PLO and ANC leaders aren't disposed towards revolutionary struggle but towards reformist compromise. Despite their inclinations, the oppressive regimes won't strike a deal with these forces. Meanwhile, these leaders want to maintain some credibility among militant fighters in these countries. Thus there are limits to how far they can go. Gorbachev wants them to kneel further.

Gorbachev is able to have this harmful potential only because such political trends are essentially reformist. And there are revisionist forces within these forces who owe direct political allegiance to Soviet revisionism.

The lesson of Geneva for revolutionaries is that to be free from the undermining influence of Gorbachev's latest treachery, you have to break from revisionism. You have to base yourself on revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, not the corrupt, reformist caricature of Marxism that is the banner of Moscow.

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Who are Reagan's "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan?

The regime of the People's Democratic Party in Afghanistan has clearly been a sad story for the Afghan people.

When it overthrew the old bourgeois-landlord regime in 1978, it promised modernization for the country. It had some sympathy among the people who were fed up with the dictatorial and corrupt old regime. But the new government quickly made a mess of things. It quickly antagonized all sectors of society and turned to repression against one and all, including the toilers. The Soviet imperialists tried to save this regime which was allied to them. But since they trampled on the national rights of the people, virtually the entire population went into the opposition.

But that's only one side of the Afghan story. What about the "freedom fighters" that Reagan has been so enthusiastic over? What about Dan Rather's favorite guerrillas in the third world?

In the early days of the struggle against the Soviet occupation, the movement was somewhat fluid. The resistance included tribalist forces, religious fundamentalists, bourgeois groupings, and even a few left-wing currents.

But the Afghan opposition quickly became the CIA's No. 1 worldwide project. The U.S. bourgeoisie decided to use the Afghan resistance as a tool to bleed the Russians. Both the Democrats and Republicans were enthusiastic partners in this scheme. The revisionists in China were a willing participant in the Afghan operation. So were the Pakistani military and Saudi Arabia who had long backed Islamic fundamentalist forces in Afghanistan. Khomeini's Iran too joined in the act.

Each year, the CIA has funneled over half a billion dollars' worth of weapons and material aid to the Afghan resistance. All told, the mujahedeen got over $1 billion a year. And they also made money with their extensive involvement in drug running. The U.S. government also increased its bribes to the Pakistani dictatorship of General Zia, which provided sanctuary and acted as a funnel for aid to the Afghan guerrillas. Indeed, because of this U.S. aid, Zia's regime was bolstered against the Pakistani people.

The result of this all-out U.S.-backed effort is that the most right-wing and reactionary sectors in the Afghan opposition came to the fore. The left-wing currents were quickly overshadowed, facing repression not only from the Soviet-backed regime but also attacks from the CIA-backed mujahedeen. Elements among them also tried to adapt themselves to the right-wing and religious views of the dominant forces. However, it is possible that in the interior of the country and in the urban underground, some resistance forces that originated in the Afghan left may still be around.

Today the Afghan resistance is dominated by the parties based in Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. These are the forces that have been funded and armed by the U.S.-led anti-Soviet alliance. These forces break down into two main political trends.

The Fundamentalists

First there are the Islamic fundamentalists, especially the Islamic Party of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. This is the party which has received the lion's share of U.S. and Pakistani aid.

The Islamic fundamentalists emerged with a base among students in the Afghan cities in the 1960's. They protested modernization and sought a fundamentalist Islamic order. They fought against the various left-wing currents that also emerged at this time. Their early activities included throwing acid on women who took off the veil.

They tried to initiate an armed rebellion against the bourgeois-landlord republic which replaced the King in 1973. They conspired from bases in Pakistan where they were given support by the Pakistani government.

However they did not have much success in drawing a mass following in Afghanistan. Only with the war against the Soviet occupation and with massive outside backing has this party become a major factor. Their goal is a capitalist regime run along strict Islamic lines, like Khomeini's Iran (although unlike Khomeini they belong to the Sunni, rather than the Shiite, Islamic sect).

The Traditional Parties

Then there are the traditional parties, who are often being described as "moderate" forces. These are the parties organized by those who were part of the old monarchy and later the bourgeois-landlord regime which was overthrown in 1978. They include monarchists who seek a return of the King; they include tribal chieftains of different Afghan regions; and other semi-feudal and capitalist forces. These parties also fly the Islamic banner but do not want an outright fundamentalist order. They would like a restoration of the monarchy or a regime similar to the pre-1978 order.

The two blocs may have their differences, as well as different shades within themselves, but let it be clear that all these parties are thoroughly reactionary. They have no progressive social program, for that matter, no social program whatsoever. They campaign against the Kabul regime and the Soviet occupation for such deviations as upholding women's rights and bringing education to the masses. Indeed, mujahedeen forces have been known to kill school teachers and they openly pledge to turn the clock back on women's rights in Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, the Soviet occupation has been a disaster for the people and must be opposed. We must also oppose "our" government's efforts to impose a reactionary order in Afghanistan with billions of dollars in CIA funds and weapons.

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Support the Nicaraguan workers' press!

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

Campaign for Nicaraguan Workers' Press P.O. Box 30272 Jefferson Stn. Chicago. IL 00630


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Falcons of Gaza

Civil war's hot breath

melts the icy stranglehold of zionist control:

Young falcons of Gaza swoop down with stones on Israeli reservists:

"Kill us or get out!" their bared chests braving repression's final silence.

Zionist business-as-usual

torn asunder by waves of Jerusalem schoolgirls.

As Arafat never saw it,

the masses' resistance birthing true Palestine.

Ansar II veterans

plan their people's phoenix rise from occupation's ashes.

And all the damage control of America's zionists,

And all the media's lying, slanted press, And all the hand-wringing of the Reaganites,

And all the hypocrisy of the Democrats will not answer Israel's burning question:

When fascism fails to intimidate -- what then?

I stand in fascination, inspired, while considering the best angle of attack

on the soft underbelly of the beast that I dwell within:

We Are One!

Note on Ansar II: a zionist detainment camp.

by Thomas A. Barnard

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The World in Struggle


New strikes hit South Korea

This spring South Korea has seen another rash of strikes.

In March, workers at the Daewoo Shipbuilding works went out fighting for a wage increase, among other demands. This strike lasted some 32 days and ended on April 21.

On March 29, the 4,500 assembly workers at Daewoo Motor Company's auto plant in Pupyong also walked out demanding improvements in wages and benefits. Daewoo auto workers currently make about $370 a month.

News reports also speak of other strikes. This is the first sizeable strike wave in South Korea since the upsurge of last summer and early fall. It occurs at a time when there are signs that the student movement may also be reviving. Campus demonstrations have taken place focusing on demands for workers' rights.

One example was a march on April 2 at Yonsei University in Seoul. One thousand people rallied and tried to march off campus. They were stopped by riot police, who attacked the march with tear gas. The protesters fought back with rocks. The protesters included many workers as well as students.

The strike wave of last year resulted in some of the largest Korean employers such as Hyundai being forced to recognize new trade unions. But many work places remain unorganized or in the clutches of pro-government unions. Korean workers continue to suffer under atrocious working conditions. The average workweek is 57 hours, and the average pay is $1.75 an hour.

An ugly example of Korean working conditions was recently given by a fire in a textile plant in the city of Anyang. Twenty-two women were killed by the fire which swept through a garment sweatshop in the middle of the night. The women worked there 12-14 hours a day, six days a week, and slept there at night next to their machines.

Filipinos say "U.S. bases out!"


A number of spirited demonstrations against U.S. bases in the Philippines -- one with 3,000 protesters -- were organized outside the U.S. embassy in Manila the first week of April. The demonstrations coincided with the opening of talks between the governments of the U.S. and Philippines about extending the lease on the bases.

Filipino workers and peasants hate the U.S. imperialist presence. The government of Corazon Aquino, on the other hand, wants to keep the bases, only demanding from the U.S. an increase in rental fees to spread around among its wealthy capitalist supporters.

Aquino's government has grown more and more isolated from the masses, as her promises of "people power'' were exposed as nothing more than a traditional bourgeois-landowner government with a smiling face. The toilers continue to be ground down by poverty, and Aquino's promises of land and labor reform have faded away.

Argentina shut down by general strike


Argentina was shut down by a one-day general strike on April 8. Factories, ports, public transport, banks and even government offices were closed for the day.

The general strike followed an ongoing strike of teachers which has closed all of Argentina's schools and universities. The school strike was called to protest cuts in education budgets by President Raul Alfonsin.

In the general strike, workers protested Alfonsin's wage freeze which has kept wages constant since last October. Meanwhile, prices have risen over 200% in the last year, and rose another 14.7% in March.

This is the eleventh general strike against Alfonsin, who took office in 1983. Alfonsin's "austral plan" to stabilize the economy is more and more being exposed as simply another capitalist austerity plan to make the working class pay for the capitalist crisis.

Nissan workers strike in Mexico

April began with a strike by 4,000 workers against Nissan Motor Co. in the city of Cuernavaca, Mexico.

In the face of triple-digit inflation, the workers are fighting for a new contract with a 32% pay hike. The Nissan management is only offering 29%.

To blackmail the workers, the company is threatening to move their operations to a highly automated plant in northern Mexico, where wages are lower.

The auto workers in Mexico, like other working people in the country, are being ravaged by inflation running higher than 100% and austerity measures by the government. As well, the auto companies are trying to keep wages down and to impose harsh productivity drives. Over the last year, these conditions have also led to strikes and walkouts at Ford and Volkswagen plant6 in various Mexican cities.

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New strikes hit South Korea

This spring South Korea has seen another rash of strikes.

In March, workers at the Daewoo Shipbuilding works went out fighting for a wage increase, among other demands. This strike lasted some 32 days and ended on April 21.

On March 29, the 4,500 assembly workers at Daewoo Motor Company's auto plant in Pupyong also walked out demanding improvements in wages and benefits. Daewoo auto workers currently make about $370 a month.

News reports also speak of other strikes. This is the first sizeable strike wave in South Korea since the upsurge of last summer and early fall. It occurs at a time when there are signs that the student movement may also be reviving. Campus demonstrations have taken place focusing on demands for workers' rights.

One example was a march on April 2 at Yonsei University in Seoul. One thousand people rallied and tried to march off campus. They were stopped by riot police, who attacked the march with tear gas. The protesters fought back with rocks. The protesters included many workers as well as students.

The strike wave of last year resulted in some of the largest Korean employers such as Hyundai being forced to recognize new trade unions. But many work places remain unorganized or in the clutches of pro-government unions. Korean workers continue to suffer under atrocious working conditions. The average workweek is 57 hours, and the average pay is $1.75 an hour.

An ugly example of Korean working conditions was recently given by a fire in a textile plant in the city of Anyang. Twenty-two women were killed by the fire which swept through a garment sweatshop in the middle of the night. The women worked there 12-14 hours a day, six days a week, and slept there at night next to their machines.

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Filipinos say "U.S. bases out!"


A number of spirited demonstrations against U.S. bases in the Philippines -- one with 3,000 protesters -- were organized outside the U.S. embassy in Manila the first week of April. The demonstrations coincided with the opening of talks between the governments of the U.S. and Philippines about extending the lease on the bases.

Filipino workers and peasants hate the U.S. imperialist presence. The government of Corazon Aquino, on the other hand, wants to keep the bases, only demanding from the U.S. an increase in rental fees to spread around among its wealthy capitalist supporters.

Aquino's government has grown more and more isolated from the masses, as her promises of "people power'' were exposed as nothing more than a traditional bourgeois-landowner government with a smiling face. The toilers continue to be ground down by poverty, and Aquino's promises of land and labor reform have faded away.

[Back to Top]

Argentina shut down by general strike


Argentina was shut down by a one-day general strike on April 8. Factories, ports, public transport, banks and even government offices were closed for the day.

The general strike followed an ongoing strike of teachers which has closed all of Argentina's schools and universities. The school strike was called to protest cuts in education budgets by President Raul Alfonsin.

In the general strike, workers protested Alfonsin's wage freeze which has kept wages constant since last October. Meanwhile, prices have risen over 200% in the last year, and rose another 14.7% in March.

This is the eleventh general strike against Alfonsin, who took office in 1983. Alfonsin's "austral plan" to stabilize the economy is more and more being exposed as simply another capitalist austerity plan to make the working class pay for the capitalist crisis.

[Back to Top]

Nissan workers strike in Mexico

April began with a strike by 4,000 workers against Nissan Motor Co. in the city of Cuernavaca, Mexico.

In the face of triple-digit inflation, the workers are fighting for a new contract with a 32% pay hike. The Nissan management is only offering 29%.

To blackmail the workers, the company is threatening to move their operations to a highly automated plant in northern Mexico, where wages are lower.

The auto workers in Mexico, like other working people in the country, are being ravaged by inflation running higher than 100% and austerity measures by the government. As well, the auto companies are trying to keep wages down and to impose harsh productivity drives. Over the last year, these conditions have also led to strikes and walkouts at Ford and Volkswagen plant6 in various Mexican cities.

[Back to Top]