The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 19, No. 11


25ยข November 1, 1989

[Front page:

Which way in the fight for women's rights?--Demonstrate Nov. 12;

Bush and Congress want to run the world--No to imperialism!;

Marxism-Leninism lives, while Soviet revisionism collapses--72 years since the 1917 Socialist Revolution in Russia]


Down With Racism!

Detroit demonstrators confront nazi/KKK scum; Racist police attacks denounced in Chicago.......................................................................................................................... 2
Brooklyn students fight racism; Boston mayor covers for racists................................. 3

The 'War on Drugs' Is a War against the Masses

Black worker shot in Boston; NY protest...................................................................... 3

Strikes and Workplace News

Support Boeing strikers; Solidarity with Borg Warner strikers; Postal workers protest; Hotel workers battle Hyatt; Michigan steel workers resist concessions........... 4

Zimbabwe students vs. Mugabe's capitalist road........................................................... 5
L.A. protest against apartheid........................................................................................ 5

Step Up the Defense of Women's Rights!

Pro-choice actions across the country............................................................................ 6
For a militant stand on Nov. 12...................................................................................... 7
SF police attack AIDS protest........................................................................................ 7

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

Naked imperialism in Panama; Bush's men approve assassinations............................. 8
Nicaraguan workers' press on the elections; Protest against U.S. in El Salvador......... 9

For Workers' Socialism, Not Revisionist State Capitalism!

Mass outpouring rocks East Germany........................................................................... 10
Hungarian rulers drop working class symbols............................................................... 11

100,000 march for thehomeless ................................................................................... 12
Detroit homeless storm city hall.................................................................................... 12

Which way in the fight for women's rights?

Bush and Congress want to run the world

No to imperialism!

Marxism-Leninism lives, while Soviet revisionism collapses


Strikes and workplace news

Zimbabwe students vs. Mugabe's capitalist road

Los Angeles

In the streets against racism and S. African apartheid

Workers on the march in South Africa

Step up the defense of women's rights!

San Francisco:

Cops rampage against AIDS protesters

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

For workers' socialism, not revisionist state capitalism!


Detroit homeless storm city hall

Which way in the fight for women's rights?

Demonstrate Nov. 12

Across the country, the cry is heard, loud and strong: women must have the right to choice.

The majority supports abortion rights. In city after city, thousands have marched. Angry women and men have turned out at women's clinics all over the U.S., ready to defend women against terror from the shock troops of the anti-abortion movement, Operation Rescue (better known as Operation Oppress-You).

In a few states, efforts at new laws against abortion rights have been slowed down. But this doesn't mean that we can rest easy.

No, the campaign by Bush and the capitalist establishment to gut abortion rights continues unabated. In July, the Supreme Court gave a green light to states to pass laws restricting abortion. In Pennsylvania the legislature has already passed one such law. Meanwhile, Bush vetoed a timid bill from Congress which sought to allow federal funds for abortions for poor women in cases of rape and incest. His veto was upheld, with votes from both Republican and Democratic politicians.

Meanwhile, the right-wing legislative efforts continue to be backed up by the street bullies of Operation Rescue. Harassment of women at clinics continues.

The right-wing challenge must be confronted with a powerful mass resistance!

This requires keeping up the confrontations against clinic attacks. It requires demonstrations against the rightwingers and their church and moneyed backers. It requires literature to expose their lies and the hypocrisy of the capitalist politicians. And it calls for the struggle to be taken deep among the working class and poor women, who bear the brunt of the anti-choice assault.

Such a resistance is being born across the country.

But how will this movement be built? There are real controversies within the pro-choice movement and they cannot be swept under the rug. These controversies do not come up because there are "hotheads" and "radicals" conjuring them up. No, they come up because the dominant forces within the pro-choice movement hold perspectives that undermine and sap the strength of the emerging struggle. These forces are the leaders of NOW, NARAL, and Planned Parenthood, who represent the viewpoint of well-off women.

For a Militant Presence at the November 12 Mobilization

NOW has called for a Mobilization for Women's Lives in Washington, D.C. on November 12. But this call has come under strong pressure from NOW's allies in the Democratic Party, and NOW has already begun to bend. They are undermining the national mobilization.

Most strikingly, NOW has quietly dropped plans for a march, settling only for a rally. In other words, they want people to come and simply hear some speeches from liberal bigshots and respectable personalities.

The Marxist-Leninist Party, which is active in the pro-choice movement around the country, has a different perspective than NOW, but we urge a strong turnout for November 12. Not to support NOW's liberal stance. Not to come and merely take part in a passive, hear-the-liberals speakout. But to make sure that militant voices in defense of women's rights are heard in Washington that day.

As well, some right-wing anti-abortion fanatics are planning to show up, and it is important to come out and confront them. Their arrogant challenge should not go unanswered.

It is not all that surprising that the NOW leaders are weakening the November 12 mobilization. This is not a unique stance for them.

Keep Up the Defense of the Clinics

They are already opposed to anything that smells of militancy in the pro-choice struggle. This has come out strongest on the issue of defending the clinics from Operation Rescue. Clinic defense actions have been enormously important in building up the current revival of the struggle. But NOW pooh- poohs this courageous effort.

In many places, NOW outright opposes clinic defense activities. In Michigan they have put out statements with more venom directed against pro- choice militants than the OR. In other places, they take part in the pro-choice presence at clinics, but they do their best to oppose militancy. More and more, they are turning towards liquidation of this front altogether.

Their view is that we can simply rely on the state to defend women. Never mind that in city after city, police have shown the utmost tolerance and gentleness toward the anti-women fanatics. NOW has even gone so far as to have the state invoke the anti-racketeering RICO law against Operation Rescue. This has set a dangerous precedent for the government to use against progressive demonstrations in the future.

Base the Movement on the Working Masses

At heart, their opposition to militancy is based on NOW's desire to be "respectable." It is based on NOW's program of serving the interests of bourgeois women and those aspiring to enter the corridors of the ruling class.

Thus today, in the name of seeking broad allies in the pro-choice struggle, NOW leaders have also embraced the backward rhetoric of "population control." They are allying with such anti-people groups as Zero Population Growth, listed as a major sponsor of November 12. They are asking that people should defend abortion rights because this will prevent more poor people from being born.

This is a backward appeal to racist and anti-poor prejudices. No progressive person can go along with this. It undermines the ability of the pro-choice movement to appeal to and mobilize the workers, poor and minorities -- precisely those sections who are the most vital to mobilize.

For a Struggle Against the Whole Offensive Upon Women!

The leaders of NOW and NARAL, in their drive to get the movement to trail liberal politicians, are saying we should support the liberals simply on the basis of pro-choice promises. We shouldn't bother with other questions.

But how can we ignore that the right wing sees their anti-abortion challenge as the cutting edge to put women down? How can we ignore that there is all-out assault on women's rights, begun under Reagan, now being carried forward under Bush?

Look at what's coming down.

* The anti-abortion forces are looking next towards banning birth control.

* The "war on drugs" is also being used to harass poor women. Prosecutors around the country have begun arresting women who take drugs and alcohol during pregnancy, charging them with providing drugs to minors. Instead of dealing with such a social problem with care and treatment, the government has no answer but repression.

* Cutbacks in social programs continue to push working and poor women and their kids deeper into poverty and homelessness.

* Supreme Court decisions have gutted anti-discrimination measures. This is encouraging employers to step up discrimination against women workers.

This capitalist offensive is being spearheaded by both the Republican and Democratic parties. This is why even those liberal politicians who personally support choice take a very mild stand in fighting for it. After all, they support the overall drive against the workers and poor.

We cannot trail behind the politicians to fight for women's rights. We must build up the struggle independent of the two capitalist parties. Let us promote the independent action and initiative of the masses. Every step of real political independence from the rich will mean a much more powerful movement than any get-out-the-vote effort for the capitalist politicians.

Let us spread this message wide on November 12. And let us make sure to take this discussion back to our cities and towns after the D.C. Mobilization.

Let us use the energy unleashed by the pro-choice struggle to organize working and poor women into a powerful contingent in the struggle against the wealthy exploiters!

[Photo: San Francisco, October 15.]

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Bush and Congress want to run the world

No to imperialism!

The politicians are beating the drums of imperialism. The blatant U.S. role in the attempted coup in Panama has not embarrassed them at all. Instead they take for granted that Washington should be able to make and break governments in Central America, and they only lament over the Bush administration's fumbling the ball. Meanwhile the Bush administration has begun a public discussion of the need to allow room for assassinations.

There are those who assured the people that Viet Nam had taught the U.S. government a lesson. Supposedly the Pentagon had learned its lessons, and the capitalist parties had given up warmongering.

But so long as the search for profits governs Washington, so long as we live under capitalism, just so long will rabid warmongering and imperialism remain. The last month has seen:

* The failed coup in Panama, directed by the White House and CIA.

* The public discussion of rules for assassinations of foreign leaders (the private discussion in the Bush administration had started far earlier).

* The revelation of a secret Justice Department ruling that the FBI need not obey international law and can instead kidnap suspects from around the world.

* The voting of $9 million to interfere in Nicaraguan elections. (By way of comparison, any foreign financing of U.S. elections is strictly prohibited).

* The voting of more funds to back up the ultra-right government in El Salvador, the government run by the "ARENA" party of death-squad leader Roberto d'Aubuisson.

* The adoption of a new "Single Integrated Operation Plan" for global nuclear war, the SIOP-6F, which aims for quick victory at the outset of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. It includes 50,000 nuclear targets in the USSR and its allies, and envisages wiping out the the entire Russian leadership in a few hours, including all principal military commanders, thus winning total victory. While Bush prattles on about arms control, and signs some minor treaties, SIOP-6F shows that real attempts are continuing to develop a "first strike" capability for aggressive mass slaughter on an unprecedented scale.

Democrats Complain Bush Is a Softie

And what about our valiant Congressional watchdogs?

The Democrats are trying to convince the bourgeoisie that they are even more hard-line than Bush. They are denouncing Bush for being too weak on Noriega, and too bumbling to really crack the whip. Dukakis may have been ridiculed for riding a tank in his unsuccessful presidential campaign, but he set the tone for the congressional liberals.

And not just on Panama. Take the vote for money for the Salvadoran death squads. It was the liberals, such as Senators Dodd and Kerry, who pressed the case that there not only must be money for the Salvadoran butchers, but there must be no restrictions whatever.

Or consider Nicaragua. The Democrats fought Bush only over who would have the right to interfere in Nicaragua -- the CIA through its secret funds or Congress through voting its own millions. And although the Democrats promised that the Arias plan meant no more contra warfare, and even wrote it right into their own money for the contras bill, they have just smiled as the contras have continued the war.

No More Hopes in the Imperialists!

The time is long past to cherish hopes in Congress or the White House. We need to put our hopes not in the chieftains of the oppressors, but in the struggle of the oppressed. Let the oppressed of the entire world unite, the workers and minorities and poor in the U.S. and the oppressed masses around the world! Let us wage a struggle not to lobby Congress for another meaningless set of assurances, but to overthrow the system of imperialism.

Today the bourgeoisie worries about the onset of a new and deeper economic crisis, while the revisionist bourgeoisie in the Soviet bloc is already in its deepest crisis ever. Let us make their worst fears come true by organizing an independent movement of the revolutionary working class to build a new world, a truly socialist and communist world. Leninism has proven right about the diehard imperialist nature of capitalism, and the revisionists have proven bankrupt in their replacement of Leninism with the wonders of bureaucratic state capitalism. Let us build a world without imperialism and without profiteers, a world where the discussion is not over how to assassinate troublesome foreigners but over the next steps in uniting closer to eliminate poverty, degradation and oppression.

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Marxism-Leninism lives, while Soviet revisionism collapses

--72 years since the 1917 Socialist Revolution in Russia--

American capitalism is cackling with delight over the crises sweeping through Eastern Europe, Russia and China. For decades there has been nothing left of "communism" in these countries except the labels. And now the labels too are starting to fall. Still, the U.S. headlines roar -- the tide of "democracy" is sweeping away "communist" tyranny. The U.S. rulers are celebrating the collapse of labels.

But if the working class is to learn anything, it must look deeper than the dance of labels. Neither the fraud of "socialism" in the East nor the deceit of "democracy" in the West can answer the needs of the working masses. If the workers want answers, they must look elsewhere, into the history of the working class movement itself. Into its long struggle to get organized, to gain knowledge, and,to stand and fight in its own class interests. And if we look to that history, then the October 1917 socialist revolution in Russia holds a prominent place in pointing the way to workers' liberation.

Democracy for Whom?

Right now the news is filled with hosannas for the arrival of "democracy" in Eastern Europe. Especially for the announcement of multi-party elections in Hungary and the election victory of Solidarity in Poland. But if the parties involved are all parties serving the rich, how will such "democracy" benefit the workers?

Look at Poland. There Solidarity leaders were allowed to run in the elections, and won. But no sooner had these leaders taken the drivers' seat than prices jumped two, three, even four times. For the first time since World War II, soup kitchens had to be set up to feed impoverished workers. Did the workers vote for these price hikes and impoverishment? No. But this is the capitalists' answer to Poland's economic crisis. And Solidarity leaders, like the bureaucrats before them, are just dancing to the capitalists' tune.

It's no different in the U.S. The Democrats claim to be for the workers, but vote for the policy of the rich. And what did the contra-gate scandal show? While Congress banned aid to the Nicaraguan contras, a whole government apparatus under Reagan was busy shoveling guns and money to the cutthroats. Congress talks, meanwhile the real business of state is decided behind the scenes by the power of the almighty dollar.

Such is Western-style democracy -- the tyranny of the dollar. It's a democracy where the capitalists decide amongst themselves, and where the workers are shoved into place.

Revolutionary Democracy of Working Masses

The socialist revolution in Russia 72 years ago turned this situation upside down. It opened the way for the working class to make the decisions, while forcing the bosses to take orders for a change. This was the revolutionary democracy of the working masses advocated by Lenin and the Bolshevik Communist Party.

This proletarian democracy could be achieved only by the workers organizing their own political party. As long as the workers were still under the influence of the capitalist parties they could be no more than a tail wagged by the rich. But with their own party, the workers could begin to get organized as a class. This was not an electoral party. But, rather, a party of struggle that used every means to defend and organize the working class in its own class interests. The Russian workers rallied to the Bolshevik Party and it led them in insurrection.

Proletarian democracy also required the smashing of the old capitalist state and its replacement with a working class state. This was a state to serve the workers' interests. It was a dictatorship suppressing the vile resistance of the rich exploiters while, at the same time, greatly expanding rights and opportunities for the working masses. It was a state based on the mass organizations which emerged in the revolutionary struggle. Its representatives were not only elected from the factories and other work places, but as well ordinary working people were drawn in to help run the day-to-day activities of the government itself. Despite the enormous illiteracy and backwardness of Russia at the time, these steps were taken to make the workers the active masters of their society.

There were, of course, many difficulties and mistakes. But the October socialist revolution is the example -- not the current charades in both the East and West -- that the workers can look to for guidance.

What's Free in the Free Market?

Today, we also hear noisy cheers for the turn to a "free market economy." But for the workers there's nothing free about it.

As Russia, Eastern Europe, and China turn to more openly capitalist economies, they are cutting the last shred of programs which, although inadequate and bureaucratic, offered some relief to workers. Price controls, free health care, the right to a job, and other benefits are being slashed or eliminated outright. Typically, Hungarian reformer Pozsgay, the Washington Post tells us, "would dismantle Hungary's welfare state and accept high levels of unemployment as an unavoidable consequence of change." Such are the wonders of the market.

Capitalism is based on exploiting the labor power of the workers. Since the mid-1930's, when Stalin and the other Russian leaders revised Marxism-Leninism and turned away from socialism, an upper class of bureaucrats has grown up enriching itself off the sweat of the workers. As long as the state capitalist, economies grew, this new class of capitalists could afford to pacify the workers by preserving some of the social benefits gained in the revolution. But capitalist exploitation inevitably leads to economic crisis. And so it is today with Russia, China and much of Eastern Europe. In typical capitalist fashion, the rulers are trying to solve their crisis by squeezing the masses further.

It is this capitalist offensive against the workers, not socialism, that is provoking the rise of strikes and other struggles as the masses try to defend themselves.

For Workers' Socialism

The October socialist revolution opened the way for the workers to put an end to capitalist exploitation and crises.

The Russian economy was decimated by World War I, by intervention of the imperialist powers, and by a counterrevolutionary war waged by the Russian capitalists. The working masses suffered severe hardships, progress was slow, setbacks were many, the class struggle was sharp. But the working class began the first steps towards socialism. The basic industries and financial institutions were taken over from the capitalist bosses. Through the unions and other mass organizations, the workers were drawn into managing the work place and organizing more efficient production. And, against the chaos of capitalist competition and the world depression of 1930, central economic planning began to eliminate unemployment, and it expanded production toward meeting the economic and cultural needs of the working masses.

Despite the difficulties and zigzags, the socialist revolution in Russia began the first concrete steps towards a new world -- a world without exploitation, a world where the masses make their own destiny.

Workers Arise!

The October socialist revolution gave the working class Leninism and spread the communist movement around the globe. But Stalin and other leaders revised Leninism, turning away from its revolutionary truth. Today, this revisionism is collapsing. The crises in Russia, Eastern Europe, and China are exposing that beneath the revisionists' fraud of "socialism" is nothing but the rotting flesh of state capitalist exploitation.

The wealthy capitalists would like the collapse of revisionism to also bury the memory of Leninism and the October socialist revolution forever. But the working class movement always arises anew, fighting to defend itself, and seeking an alternative to this capitalist hell. And in their search the workers will find again the experience of Great October. Learning from its victories the path for liberation. Learning from its defeat the pitfalls to be avoided and fought against.

Workers, arise! You who are languishing in the unemployment lines. You who have been driven homeless into the streets. You who are ruining body and soul in the frenzy of capitalist speedup. You who suffer the lash of racism and police terror. You who are surrounded by the capitalist filth of drug abuse and crime. You who are searching for a new day. Look to the October socialist revolution -- for there the working class began something new and opened the path that the workers everywhere may follow to emancipation.

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Demonstrators confront Nazi/KKK scum near Detroit

Over 400 people rallied against racism in the Detroit suburb of Farmington on October 14. The rally, and a march that preceded it, was called by a black clergyman in Farmington, Reverend Success, in response to racist vandalism of his home including the spray-painting of nazi swastikas and racial slurs.

Nazis Forced to Retreat

Reverend Success planned a very meek protest. His "Love Force United" march did not even target the racist forces and his program flyer emphasized "we are not protesting!"

Nevertheless, a small band of local nazis, the SS Action group, decided to disrupt the march with a "white power" counter-demonstration. This provocation soon backfired, however. Anti-racist activists mobilized to oppose the nazi scum. Fearing a confrontation, the nazis backed down and called off their counter-protest.

Bourgeois Media Slanders Anti-Racists

As soon as it became clear that a serious mobilization against the nazis was developing, the bourgeois media became hysterical about the possibility of violence. Not violence from the nazis who inspired the attacks on Reverend Success and whose cohorts around the country have carried out racist assaults and murders. The media mainly pointed at the left-wing activists who oppose letting the fascists have a free hand for racist terror! Thus the bourgeois media whitewashed the racists and sought to discredit any serious opposition.

The media did not succeed in discouraging the anti-racist masses. The march began with about 200 people. Slogans rang out. All along the march route interested crowds of people gathered. By the time the marchers reached the rally point, many local residents had swelled the demonstration's ranks.

Protesters Confront the KKK

The official rally plans were for everyone to listen to empty speeches by local dignitaries. But most of the crowd was more interested in the confrontations that developed with a handful of Ku Klux Klan white supremacists who milled around the outskirts of the rally.

The biggest clash took place when about 50 militants spotted a Klansman who had been photographing protesters. As the activists approached the KKK scum, a wall of police formed to protect the racist. A chant of "Cops and Klan, Hand in Hand" broke out. Soon over half the rally came over to the scene of the confrontation. But they were separated off from the other protesters by a second contingent of police. The showdown ended with the police whisking the racist away for his own safety and arresting a woman who managed to briefly get at the Klansman.

Activists also faced off with some fundamentalist preachers who spent the whole day seeking to disrupt the protest by haranguing the "sinful" protesters or starting disruptive chants about salvation through Jesus. While claiming that they weren't racists, these bible-thumpers denounced the youth for communism, fornication and rock music, and opposed the demonstration. One fanatic preacher launched his main assault against the banner of the Marxist-Leninist Party and the slogan "To hell with Bush and Congress." Why, he sputtered, it opposed the president and blasphemed with the word "hell". A number of demonstrators gathered around and indignantly shouted "Down with superstition," "Down with racism," and "Brainwashed! Brainwashed!"

The MLP contingent had raised slogans along the march that not only targeted the nazis, but chief racist Bush and the whole racist system. And it helped rally the protesters to confront the KKK. The events of the day helped demonstrate the truth that the forces of the capitalist establishment, such as the media and police, are protectors of the nazis and the KKK. And the events also showed that there is a force that can fight racism. This is the widespread hatred of racism among the working people and progressive youth.

[Photo: Anti-racists march through Farmington, Michigan.]

[Photo: Anti-racists punish Klansman on left (in black shirt).]

Racist police attacks denounced in Chicago

Shouting "Racism must go! Police brutality must go!" 750 people marched for three hours through Chicago neighborhoods on October 21.

The march began in a black neighborhood and then moved into the segregated white enclave of Canaryville. It was there that, in August, two black 14-year-olds were set up for a racist attack by white cops. The police had picked up the youth as they were coming out of a White Sox game, called them racist names, punched one in the face, and then took them to Canaryville where they were dropped off to be beaten by a racist gang.

The demonstrators, with the two black youth in front, denounced this vicious attack.

The march also protested in front of a police station. Pointing at the cops, the protesters shouted: "You are here to protect us -- but who will protect us from you!"

The demonstrators were not only denouncing police in the Canaryville incident, but a whole wave of racist police terror in Chicago. Among others was the September 10 murder of Leonard Bannister who was stopped in a random police search of black youth. Bannister, with his hands up waiting to be searched, was shot in the head twice by a black Chicago cop. Seeing this as a cold blooded murder, hundreds of black people poured into the streets in protest. They, pelted cops with rocks and pieces of glass. They burned a store whose owner was aiding the killer cop. And they denounced Alderman Beavers, a black Democrat and ex-cop, who had arrived at the scene to shake the killer's hand.

The October march also protested in front of Mayor Richard Daley's home. "Racism must go, Daley must go!" protesters hollered. The marchers were angry that Daley has repeatedly denied that there is a problem of police brutality in Chicago. While posturing that he won't stand for racist attacks by cops, Daley declared: "irresponsible rhetoric, not police brutality, is on the rise." Daley is obviously more upset with protests against the racist police than with the police terror.

Unfortunately, some of the "respectable" black leaders of the march are trying to say that the racist attacks are solely to blame on the election of Daley. This has gone so far that several black leaders are bending over backwards to praise Police Superintendent Leroy Martin. It seems that because Martin is black, and because he was brought in under Mayor Washington, the black leaders want to absolve him from blame. But Martin has not only presided over the police attacks for years, he has done nothing against the policeman who murdered Bannister, has helped to cover up the Canaryville incident, and has repeatedly declared that police brutality is "not a serious problem."

The Marxist-Leninist Party took an active part in the anti-racist march. The Chicago Workers' Voice that the Party distributed at the event points out: "We don't think that racist attacks and police brutality can be solved by relying on Mayor Daley and the City Council.... Nor do we think that it can be solved by an electoral campaign to get rid of Daley. It was mass action that put police brutality and racism in the spotlight...only militant mass action can defeat racism.... The anti-racist movement must confront the whole of racist society reaching from Bush, the Supreme Court and Daley -- those who legitimize racist practices -- to the police and racist gangs who incite and carry out the terror, to the class of rich capitalist owners who reap political and economic benefits from racism. "

[Photo: March against racist attacks in Chicago, October 21.]

Another victim of 'war on drugs' police terror

Black construction worker shot by Boston cop

On October 10, Rolando Carr -- a 30- year-old black construction worker -- was shot and seriously wounded by Boston police.

Rolando Carr and a friend were on their way to a store. They came across two police who had lined four black youth up against a car to search them. As they walked by, the police waved guns and ordered Rolando and his friend to line up against a wall to also be searched. As Rolando and his friend were walking over to the wall, Rolando stumbled and one of the cops panicked and shot him. The police claim that they thought Rolando was going for a gun in his pocket. But all Rolando had in his pocket were car keys.

"War on Drugs" Led to This Shooting

The circumstances surrounding the shooting show that Bush's so-called "war on drugs" is just an excuse for police-state type terrorism against the workers and poor who live in the black and other minority ghettos. Since last spring the Boston police have been carrying out a "preventative" war on drugs and youth gangs associated with the drug trade. But this preventative war has done nothing to stop the drug trade nor the crime that goes along with it. It was not really intended to. Instead it has been the pretext for daily random and arbitrary searches at gunpoint of young black men all over Roxbury and Dorchester.

Capitalists Unleash Police Terror Against the Angry Masses

The rich know that 10 years of Reaganomics has impoverished wide sections of the working class. And they know that the black working people have been truly devastated. They know that there is tremendous anger building up in the ghettos and working class neighborhoods of America. So Bush and every politician down to the Democratic mayor of Boston, Ray Flynn, have used people's legitimate concern about the drug plague as an excuse for virtual military occupation of the ghettos and police terrorism to intimidate the masses.

And it is not just the white capitalists who are behind this war on the black youth. Upper class black politicians and police officials like William Celester are in the forefront of this war on the rights of black youth. The cop who shot Rolando Carr was black and he was carrying out Celester's stop and search policy. The issue of racist oppression of the black masses is connected to the class question of rich against poor. It is inherent in the capitalist system, no matter the color of the people who hold the offices.

Get Organized

Initially many people welcomed more police patrols, thinking that they would reduce the drug traffic and gang violence. But as they see the real aims of the phony war on drugs, the resistance to police terrorism is growing. In the last few days there have been a number of stonings of police vehicles by angry black youth. Such outbursts show the deep anger that is growing. What is needed is to build a mass political movement, street demonstrations, etc. against police terror, racism and the impoverishment of the masses. Not only is such a movement necessary to protect the rights of the black working masses, but such a movement is essential to combat the roots of the drug problem and to inspire the youth with an alternative to the dead end of drugs. That alternative is to build militant, organized mass struggle against oppression and for a better world.

(Taken from Oct. 12 "Boston Worker," paper of MLP-Boston.)

1,000 students fight racism in Brooklyn school

Students at the Eastern District High School in Brooklyn, N.Y. protested against a racist teacher on October 3. The protest rapidly grew to include 1,000 students, a third of the entire student enrollment at the school.

For weeks a teacher of social studies had been subjecting his students to outrageous racist propaganda. He defended apartheid in South Africa. He declared that, "Blacks and Hispanics who own televisions and VCR's must sell drugs,'' and that "The black race will die out!'' Students complained to the principal but, of course, no action was taken.

So on October 3 students began to gather outside the racist teacher's classroom. School officials tried to defuse the situation by promising to address the issue in a meeting in the auditorium. When the school principal failed to show up for the meeting the students took matters into their own hands. They stormed through the halls bringing other students out into the protest. They grew from 200 to 1,000 by the time of their impromptu rally outside the school. They were finally dispersed by 100 policemen. Injuries occurred on both sides and four students were arrested.

This militant action forced the administration to cancel school for the day and to transfer the racist teacher to a desk job at the district office "pending an investigation." You don't need an investigation to know that students are sick and tired of racism and they won't take it anymore! More power to them!

Boston mayor covers for racists

Tuesday, October 10. City Councilor James Kelly holds a racist meeting at St. Monica's church in South Boston. (Kelly is notorious for leading the racist gang called the South Boston Marshals which terrorized black people in the name of opposing busing.) He whips up the crowd at the church against black families that have moved into South Boston housing projects in the past year-and-a-half. He says that allowing black families to live in South Boston will destroy the "way of life" there, as if black people were criminals and drug dealers. Racist hysteria fills the hall.

Wednesday, October 11. Gun fire riddles the front door of one of the black families in the Old Colony housing project at 8:30 p.m. Two bullets pierce the front door and land in the living room wall, just missing an 11-year-old boy.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Outrage grows around the city, including in South Boston where neighbors stand with the black families against the racist attack.

Sunday, October 15. Ray Flynn, the Democratic Mayor of Boston, says he is not sure if the attack was racial.

Such is the reality of racism in America. A capitalist politician, in cahoots with "pro-life" Catholic church leaders, organizes a death-squad attack aimed at driving black families out of a segregated neighborhood. Then a politician who claims to be a friend of the workers tries to cover up the ugly racist attack.

Four hundred black families were driven out of South Boston by Kelly's South Boston Marshals between 1973 and 1976. For years, the city government and the Boston Housing Authority have helped maintain segregation by refusing to place any black families in the all-white projects. Only in 1988 did Mayor Flynn move a few black families in. And ever since, Kelly-organized racists have been on a crusade to get rid of them. Under the slogan of "stop forced housing," they tried legal means to drive the families out. Now they are turning to cowardly KKK-style terror.

Flynn, of course, claimed he is outraged by the attack and will prosecute anyone he catches. But he knows full well who organized it. Flynn himself was a leader of the "anti-busing movement," marching along with Kelly against the desegregation of South Boston schools. He knew about Kelly's Tuesday meeting, since he was invited. If he wants to catch the criminals, he has only to walk down the corridor to Kelly's office in City Hall. But once again the city government has turned a blind eye to Kelly's brutal racism.

(Based on "Boston Worker," paper of MLP-Boston Branch.)

New York protest denounces Bush's phoney 'war on drugs'

300 people marched through New York City's Times Square September 28 denouncing racism, poverty, and Bush's phony "war on drugs." The demonstration culminated in a spirited rally.

People called for "jobs, not jails!" They pointed out that Bush's "war on drugs" is being used as a cover for increased repression against the working masses. And that the hopelessness and despair caused by racism, unemployment, low-wage jobs and so forth is often what drives some young people to turn to escapism through drug abuse.

Denouncing racism, one of the speakers was a mother of a young man from Jersey City who was beaten by a racist mob. After three weeks in intensive care, he was arrested by police for assault on the racists who had attacked him with a baseball bat.

These and other racist atrocities were denounced. And solidarity was expressed with working people in other countries who are under attack by the "war on drugs."

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Strikes and workplace news



Over 2,000 workers marched through Seattle October 21 in support of the Boeing aerospace strikers. The march reflected the sentiment for strike solidarity that has swept through Seattle. The biggest cheers were not only for Boeing strikers. They were also for workers who have just finished strikes in the area and for calls to support Pittston miners, telephone workers, and others still on strike.

Since October 3, some 58,000 Boeing workers have been on strike. This includes 43,000 in Seattle, about 12,000 in Wichita, and 1,700 in Portland, Oregon. They are fighting to win back the wage concessions that Boeing grabbed in 1983 and against the overtime that has reached outrageous levels in recent years. Although Boeing made $614 million in profits last year, and has an $82 billion backlog of orders, it has so far arrogantly refused the workers' demands.

Rank-and-File Initiative

It was the rank and file that initiated this strike. 40% of the Seattle work force are young workers hired since 1986. And three-fourths are in the lower labor grades and lower seniority -- where the past concessions have done the most damage. They were outraged when they heard that Boeing chairman Frank Shrontz had called for an 8% raise in profits for Boeing shareholders, but little for the workers. This, and the anger over the overtime running the workday up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, boiled over into action on October 2. During lunchtime, some 2,200 workers marched throughout the Everett plant chanting "Strike! Strike! " The strike sentiment soon swept through the other plants. Over 41,000 workers showed up for the October 3 union meeting on a proposed contract. When Tom Baker, the head of International Association of Machinists (IAM) Local 751, walked to the stage he was met with a deafening roar of boos. Chants rang through the Kingdome of "strike!" and "bull shit!" The jeering did not let up until Baker finally recommended rejection of the contract. The proposed contract was overwhelmingly rejected and 85% of the workers voted to strike.

As the strike began workers poured onto the picket lines. Although IAM leaders assigned only four workers to a gate, picket lines at Everett and Auburn have repeatedly swelled to 50-100 strikers. And despite the orders of IAM leaders against blocking scabs, several strikers have been arrested for going after scab vehicles. One was arrested for punching out a scab who had driven his truck into a picketer. Meanwhile, in Wichita, 14,000 workers turned out for a pre-dawn strike rally and their picket lines have been particularly militant.

Watch Out for the Union Hacks!

The IAM leaders have not been so enthusiastic to fight. These are the same hacks who forced concessions down the workers' throats in 1983 and '86. They did not want this strike and have been working to weaken it.

In the first place, they are keeping the aerospace workers split up. IAM officials have kept Lockheed workers in California on the job, even though their contract has expired. As well, the McDonnell-Douglas contract expired October 22, and it appears IAM officials are also splitting them off. Meanwhile, UAW hacks at the Pennsylvania Boeing plant have ordered the 3,000 workers there to remain on the job without a contract. This splitting up of the workers is weakening the strike and setting up workers to be attacked company by company.

At the same time, the IAM leaders are keeping demands vague, and are even prettifying company proposals, in order to set up the workers for sellout.

Take wages for example. The Marxist-Leninist Party (MLP) has pointed out that the key question is to win back concessions from the 1983 contract. At that time Boeing imposed a complex wage system with 121 different wage rates. This system held back wages of the lower labor grades relative to the higher ones. Before 1983 the gap between the lowest and highest paid worker was $3.90 an hour. Today the gap has increased to $9.45 an hour. As well, wages for all new hires was cut $3 per hour below full wage and it takes a new hire five years to reach the full wage rate. These cuts saved Boeing $100 million between 1983 and 1986 alone.

The MLP has called for an immediate $1.40 an hour increase for labor grades 1 through 4, and for the reduction of time to reach full wage to two and a half years. The IAM leaders, on the other hand, have tried to hide the past concessions and raised only the vague call for a "significant" wage increase.

The IAM officials are also prettifying Boeing's overtime proposals. The MLP has pointed out that the workers need both: 1) the elimination of mandatory overtime (now 200 hours are required every three months) and 2) double time pay for "voluntary" overtime, in order to undermine Boeing's coercion of workers into the extra work. The IAM claimed Boeing's last offer included double time pay. But if you read the fine print it turns out that the double time would only be paid after working three consecutive weekends.

As well, IAM officials claim that Boeing agreed to eliminate its system of favoritism, called E.A. This system especially discriminates against blacks and women, keeping them in the lowest grades, most unskilled jobs, and most hazardous work. It should be eliminated. But in fact, the Boeing proposal simply eliminates the name "E.A." But it maintains the same system of promotions based on seniority and "ability to perform the job" -- that is Boeing would still arbitrarily decide who it believes has the "ability." The IAM leaders are actually trying to sneak Boeing's demands past the workers.

MLP Works to Rally the Rank and File

The MLP in Seattle has worked to release the rank-and-file sentiment for struggle and to build a movement independent of the sellout hacks.

The Party has put out seven leaflets so far, beginning August 10. These have repeatedly clarified the workers' demands, combated company lies, and exposed the treachery of the union leaders.

In the plants, workers have passed the leaflets hand to hand, even xeroxing copies to spread them further. Workers also joined with the Party to get out stickers with contract demands and against race and sex discrimination.

At the last Kingdome union meeting some 7,000 leaflets were distributed, as workers literally lined up to get a copy. Party supporters have also been active on the picket lines. And at the October 21 solidarity march, workers came to get stacks of leaflets from the Party, saying you are the "only ones telling the truth."

[Photo: Boeing workers rally in Seattle.]

Solidarity with Borg Warner strikers

Over 3,000 workers from the Midwest marched through Muncie, Indiana September 29 in support of the striking Borg Warner workers.

The workers have been on strike for a month against the company's demand for concessions. A sharp fight has developed. Scab electricians have installed cameras to spy on the picket lines. Two hundred strikers blocked the roadway to prevent bus loads of scabs from getting in the plant. And picketers have been knocked down by scab trucks.

The massive show of support by their fellow workers has given the Borg Warner strikers more determination to continue their battle.

Philadelphia postal workers protest sick leave policy


1,500 angry postal workers picketed the main post office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for over two hours September 27. They were protesting the outrageous policies instituted by the Philadelphia postmaster, Charles James.

When James was appointed the new postmaster in January, union leaders joined management in a "peace ceremony." They called for a new era of cooperation and demanded that workers end "strife and stridency in the work place." But James has come down with one attack after another, and the workers are fed up.

Right after taking over, James ordered 140 workers, most with 20-40 years seniority, to be shifted from day jobs to midnight shift. They were only given one week's notice.

As well, under Mr. James' direction, local postal managers have been imposing work rule changes that amount to speedup. For example, a new routing system forced on some stations dramatically increases the amount of mail carried and the distances walked by carriers.

The workers especially hate James' new attendance order. He has declared that three unscheduled absences per year (sick time included) will result in disciplinary measures. The workers' contract grants them about 13 sick days a year, but James has taken it back.

Recently, the gravity of this new ruling was brought home to the workers. In August, a newly employed 36- year-old postal worker came to work even though he was sick. He did not want disciplinary measures to be taken. At work, he collapsed of a heart attack and died.

Relatives of the deceased postal worker joined the angry picketers in front of the main post office. The workers carried placards stating "James' policies threaten our lives!" and "Stand united! James must go!"

Hotel workers battle Hyatt owners in California

Maids, bellboys, and other hotel workers struck two of the most luxurious hotels in San Francisco on October 7. There are a total of 745 strikers out at the Hyatt Regency and the Hyatt on Union Square.

The workers are demanding higher wages and the continuation of full funding for the health and welfare fund of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees union. As well, the strikers are demanding that Hyatt negotiate at Park Hyatt and another hotel opening on Fisherman's Wharf. Despite a noisy organizing drive of picketing and demonstrations, Hyatt has refused to recognize the union at these hotels.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, 80 hotel workers demonstrated in the lobby of the Hyatt Wilshire hotel on October 17. When the workers refused police orders to end their noisy action, 11 were arrested. The workers protested the stalled contract talks. Hyatt is demanding greater flexibility in setting work schedules. Among other things, this would allow them to force workers to slave for 10 straight days without any overtime pay. The 300 workers, mostly low-paid immigrants, at the Hyatt Wilshire and Hyatt Sunset have refused Hyatt's demands. But the union leaders have kept them working without a contract for two months.

The contract for another 450 workers at the downtown Hyatt Regency expires November 6. But the Hyatt is trying to break the union there. Last summer it shut down for renovation. Some workers were given a lump-sum severance payment not to return to work. When the hotel reopened, it brought in new nonunion workers along with union workers who refused the buyout.

Michigan Steel workers resist concession demands

Steel workers are organizing mass picket lines in their strike against Michigan Seamless Tube in South Lyon, Michigan.

Michigan Seamless Tube produces steel tubing for the auto industry, refineries and utilities. Last year, the company posted record profits for the third year in a row. Yet, they are demanding concessions from their work force. A work force which has not had a raise for over 12 years.

The 350 workers twice defeated the company's contract proposals. On September 1 they walked off the job.

The company began using management and office personnel to try to continue production. It hired thugs from Wakenhut Security to harass the strikers. And the local police force is escorting scab trucks across the picket lines. But the workers have been fighting back.

On September 26, the strikers organized mass picketing to stop scab trucks from leaving the plant loaded with Seamless products. In anticipation of the workers' action, management ordered its salaried personnel to bring sleeping bags to spend the night in the plant. Food was flown in to them by helicopter. The next day, a judge banned mass picketing at the main gate and ordered pickets to not threaten those crossing the line. Workers continued to gather across from the main gate, prepared to stop scab trucks. On September 30, hundreds of strikers and supporters including Great Lakes Steel workers and Garden City teachers held a solidarity rally across from the main gate.

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Zimbabwe students vs. Mugabe's capitalist road

On October 4, students at Zimbabwe's national university trashed their school principal's Mercedes Benz and resisted heavily-armed riot police with volleys of rocks. Tear gas engulfed the campus and dozens of students were taken away to jail.

Enraged at the students, the government of Robert Mugabe ordered the university indefinitely shut down,, for the first time since the end of white- minority rule. The government also arrested the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, an organization which has been close to the Mugabe regime. The trade union leader was arrested for denouncing the closing of the university and the state's repression of student demonstrators. He has been held for three weeks now.

The student protest reflects the smoldering anger among the Zimbabwe masses over the economic hardships of the majority and the corrupt profiteering of the politicians and bureaucrats.

"Capitalist Road"

The October 4 clash is the latest chapter of a year-long student campaign against the pro-capitalist policies of the government of Mugabe's ZANU party. Exactly a year back, students organized an "anti-capitalist road" march which denounced the enrichment of the ruling elite at the expense of the poor. The regime retaliated with arrests and punitive measures against student leaders. Eventually a few of the most corrupt politicians were forced to resign.

Over the last year, the student movement has become further radicalized and criticized Mugabe himself. Students have also been critical of Mugabe's plan to institutionalize a one-party political structure in Zimbabwe. Mugabe denounces the students as "pseudo-socialists."

The latest clash took place after the authorities banned a commemoration of the 1988 "anti-capitalist road" march. Students decided to defy the government order. They put out leaflets which denounced "the ruling dogs of imperialism" and they decided to trash the principal's Mercedes Benz, a car which has become a symbol of the enrichment of the black bourgeois elite.

Zimbabwe Toilers Have Yet to Win their Liberation

The government of ZANU came to power in 1980 after years of a heroic national liberation struggle against white minority rule.

The vast majority of those who fought the liberation struggle were ordinary toilers. They eagerly wanted to see the thorough defeat of white racist rule, and they also hoped that victory over racism would bring radical economic and political changes in favor of the workers and peasants.

But ZANU, the main organization of the armed liberation movement, was not led by representatives of the toilers. Rather, it was led by petty-bourgeois forces, encompassing both those with national-revolutionary stands as well as others with reformist platforms. Eventually a reformist leadership under Mugabe won supremacy and succeeded in reaching a deal with British imperialism and the white racist power structure. In the course of preparing for this deal, the ZANU leaders suppressed those activists within the movement who had sought a more revolutionary course against racist oppression. The way was cleared for the ZANU leaders to become the emergent black bourgeoisie of Zimbabwe.

The reformist deal in Zimbabwe did succeed in ending white minority rule and it brought political suffrage to the black majority. But it did not alter the basic economic power in the country. Political power has gone to ZANU but this regime has acquiesced to keeping intact the domination of the economy by the local white bourgeoisie, and by the South African and British corporations. As well, the best lands remain in the hands of white landowners.

Thus, the toilers have seen few economic changes in their favor.

Meanwhile, black politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats have lined their pockets. The regime has sought to keep the masses pacified by radical and socialist rhetoric and a mixture of police measures and bureaucratic tutelage. Strikes and attempts at land seizures have been put down, and militant toilers isolated.

But the masses are clearly tiring of the goodwill they have given to the ZANU government, and they are rightly becoming more restive. The clash of class interests is bound to come to the fore. What the workers of Zimbabwe urgently need is their independent class organization, to organize for the defense of the workers and peasants against the wealthy elite -- be they the white landowners and capitalists, the imperialist multinationals, or the black bourgeoisie.

A Lesson For Workers in South Africa and Namibia

What happened in Zimbabwe since 1980 is crucial for the toilers of Namibia and South Africa to take note of. In these countries, the struggle against white domination is faced with reformist projects from the leaders of SWAPO and ANC, which are not too different from ZANU's policies in Zimbabwe.

The fate of Zimbabwe shows that the workers and toilers cannot limit themselves to simply the defeat of white-minority rule, but they must also organize for their own class interests within the anti-racist struggle. They have to build up their own revolutionary working class organization. Such a force is needed not only to fight for the most thorough smashing up of racist rule and for achieving the widest democratic rights, but also to use the victories against racism for the cause of ending capitalist exploitation altogether.

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Los Angeles

In the streets against racism and S. African apartheid

Los Angeles was the scene of two spirited protests against South African apartheid over the last few weeks.

"Du Plessis Go Home!"

South African Minister of Finance, Barend du Plessis, came to speak at a World Affairs Council luncheon at the Biltmore Hotel downtown on September 29. But while the rich welcomed du Plessis to their "take a pig to lunch" affair, about 75 angry demonstrators turned out to protest the presence of this racist. They shouted slogans against the apartheid regime and for the liberation of the people of South Africa.

"Down With Racist Apartheid -- From South Africa to South Central L.A."

On October 14th, 400 people marched in southwest Los Angeles to protest apartheid in South Africa and to oppose police brutality and poverty in south Los Angeles. The march gathered at the Jackie Robinson stadium, wound its way through the projects and large apartment buildings on ML King Boulevard, and eventually ended with a rally at Liemert Park.

People in the projects and apartments applauded the march. They really liked such slogans as "Down with racist apartheid -- from South Africa to south central L.A.," and "We gonna beat back the racists' attacks."

The organizers of the march unfortunately included among the speakers some local Democratic Party politicians. They postured against apartheid, police terror and cutbacks in social services. But all this was hollow and hypocritical. For example, Councilwoman Ruth Gallanter who spoke was a political leader of the campaign to kick hundreds of homeless people off Venice Beach a year ago.

Supporters of the MLP took part in both these demonstrations and distributed hundreds of leaflets and newspapers. Leaflets containing reprints of anti-racist exposures from The Workers' Advocate were popular with the militant activists.

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Workers on the march in South Africa

[Photo: About 150,000 South African blacks turned out for demonstrations on October 14 to protest the government's anti-strike legislation. Marches were held in all of the major cities as well as some smaller towns. The largest demonstration was in the industrial center of Port Elizabeth, where about 40,000 assembled.]

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Step up the defense of women's rights!

Pro-choice actions in October

Across the U.S., October was a busy month for defenders of women's right to choose.

Tens of thousands turned out in some large demonstrations demanding that politicians not try to impose new state laws restricting abortions.

Meanwhile, in dozens of other events, activists tried to develop the militancy of the movement. In vigorous defense of women's clinics from Operation Rescue fanatics. In pickets against the misnamed "right-to-life" gatherings and their backers. And in debates over policy with NOW spokespeople who are continuing their efforts to keep the movement tame and mild, so that it can be restricted to simply being voting fodder for liberal politicians.

"October Outrage" in New York

In a series of "October Outrage" actions, pro-choice activists in New York City confronted the misnamed right-to-lifers, the courts, and anti-abortion phony "pregnancy clinics."

On October 2nd, 75 activists demonstrated at a Brooklyn court house on the occasion of the opening of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1989-90 session. Slogans targeted the reactionary role of the Supreme Court in stripping away rights that were won through years of mass struggle in the 60's and early 70's. These included: "Supremacist court, hear our anger! We won't go back to bleach and hangers!"

On the 8th, there was a picket outside St. Patrick's Cathedral to protest Cardinal O'Connor's support for the holy bullies of Operation Rescue.

On Friday the 13th, 125 activists picketed the offices of the National "Right-to-Life" organization on 34th St. at rush hour. For an hour and a half, demonstrators denounced the anti-women, anti-life and reactionary stands of the anti-abortion forces.

A picket also turned out to confront Randall Terry, the head of Operation Rescue, who came to speak outside the Good Tidings Church on October 14. And five days later, a protest was organized outside a fake abortion clinic run by Chris Slattery, also of Operation Rescue.

Huge March in San Francisco

On October 15th, 30-40,000 people marched through San Francisco in one of the largest pro-choice rallies over the last decade. There were thousands of young women, from high schools and colleges. A strong "Clinic Defense" contingent, which the Marxist-Leninist Party took part in, vigorously shouted slogans along the whole way.

A week earlier, on October 7, Operation Rescue attacked clinics in the Bay Area. They made a major hit on a clinic in San Rafael. About 200 pro-choicers arrived there to confront the anti-abortion fanatics, but a big police contingent was already present. As usual the cops took hours to clear away the OR blockaders.

Actions in Detroit and Ann Arbor

That same day, OR also' attacked a Detroit clinic, just a week after a September 30th blockade of a clinic just outside the city.

A hundred activists from Detroit and Ann Arbor first gathered at one clinic in Detroit for word on where Operation Rescue was going to attack.

OR decided to attack the Scottsdale Medical Center only a couple of miles away. Clinic defenders showed up at the clinic within minutes of OR arriving there. OR was able to block the front door but the pro-choice activists were able to clear a path to the back door pushing aside some 30 OR. A militant picket was also set up in front which kept up a steady chant of pro-choice slogans and let passers-by know that women's rights were being actively defended at this clinic.

Almost two hours later, the police cleared the front doors, politely asking which OR people wanted to be arrested and releasing the rest. Meanwhile they demanded that a closing pro-choice rally on the sidewalk "disperse within 30 seconds" or face arrest. Unfortunately, the clinic owner had caved in to OR's bullying and decided not to open that day, but escorts referred patients to other area clinics.

On October 13th, 30 activists picketed a Michigan state "right-to-life" convention in Ann Arbor. And the next day, about 200 people marched through the streets of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan campus to mobilize support for abortion rights.

The next weekend there was a conference on reproductive rights at Wayne State University in Detroit. It was dominated by NOW and its allies who tried their best to come down hard against militancy in the pro-choice movement. Michigan NOW distributed a position paper denouncing militancy at women's clinics. In one workshop, they outright suppressed discussion. In another workshop an attack was launched on militants who defend the clinics. But activists resisted these views which undermine the pro-choice struggle.

Confronting Operation Rescue in Boston

About 700 people marched on October 2 in pouring rain. NOW had wanted to keep the march a silent vigil, but activists were successful in raising slogans. The word was spread about the possibility of an October 14 clinic attack, which Operation Rescue had earlier announced.

On that morning, OR hit Gynecare downtown. They rushed the police barricades from two sides and had their big thugs in front lift up the barricades so people could crawl underneath. The pro-choice activists at the scene tried to stop them but their forces were greatly outnumbered at that time. About 30-40 OR fanatics got under the barricades.

The police started arresting OR people, as more pro-choice forces arrived. By 8:30 a.m. a corridor to the clinic was cleared. At one point NOW tried to get the pro-choice activists to move across the street from OR, but gave up when people refused.

All in all, there were 150 OR fanatics and 300-400 pro-choice activists, and the pro-choice activists succeeded in not allowing themselves to be forced across the street. A strong wall of opposition to the anti-abortion fanatics was kept up.


On October 6th, 300 people demonstrated downtown. The demonstrators declared: "The right wing is on the offensive. We say fight back!" This demonstration was jointly sponsored with AIDS activists, who had called a national day of struggle to demand action on the AIDS crisis. Slogans dealt with both issues. (See elsewhere in this paper for more coverage of October 6 AIDS protests.)

Thirty-five activists protested a "right-to-life" convention at a local hotel on October 21. They tried to enter the hotel, but were pushed out by police and the manager.

There were four attacks by OR in October. Pro-choicers were able to find out about two of them and mobilized counter-demonstrations.

Los Angeles

About 1,500 people showed up at the Federal Building in Westwood to defend women's right to choose and to denounce Bush's refusal to provide funds for abortions for women who are victims of rape or incest.

The sponsors, from NOW and NARAL, turned the event into a platform for liberal politicians, especially from the Democratic Party. Many in the crowd were receptive to them, but there were also at least a couple of hundred activists who were interested to hear of more militant and radical perspectives. They were indifferent to the speeches and more interested in the literature being distributed by various leftist groups.

Los Angeles has been the scene of many large and vigorous defenses of women's clinics against Operation Rescue. But the speakers did not mention this courageous struggle at all.

In Other Cities

Nearly 10,000 marched on the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee on October 10. The Republican governor Martinez had convened a special session to pass new laws restricting abortion rights. But he failed in this effort. The special session adjourned without passing new bills.

On the 15th, 10,000 pro-choicers demonstrated at the New Jersey State Capitol in Trenton.

Several hundred demonstrators rallied in downtown Buffalo on October 21, braving a cold rain.

Over a hundred students rallied in support of abortion rights at the University of Washington campus in Seattle, October 20.

October 14 was a day of pro-choice action across Canada as well. Some 20,000 people turned out in cities across the country to demand "No new law." They were protesting efforts by right-wing politicians to impose a new anti-abortion law in Canada.

Photo: Pro-choice demonstration in San Francisco, October 15. MLP banner reads "Fight the Reactionary Anti-Abortion Fanatics!"]

[Photo: Activists rally at the U. of Michigan in Ann Arbor.]

For a militant stand at the Nov. 12 demonstration

This summer, NOW called for a national Mobilization for Women's Lives to take place on November 12 in Washington, D.C.

But NOW's allies, NARAL and Planned Parenthood, originally came out against the November 12 call. These groups are so tied to legislative politics that they couldn't see the point of a national demonstration which wasn't connected to lobbying for bills that had an immediate chance of passage in Congress.

The NOW leaders felt the need to call a national protest, because of pressure from activists. But NOW has since weakened that stance in order to accommodate NARAL and Planned Parenthood.

For one thing, it is now billing the Washington, D.C. event as an "Eastern Seaboard" action. Meanwhile, many NOW chapters are going to boycott the Washington action altogether. But there's more.

NOW has quietly dropped plans for a march, settling only for a rally. They are turning the event simply into a platform for liberal politicians and celebrities.

Many activists may be put off from coming because of this. But others are planning to come. The MLP urges activists to turn out. And we encourage militant defenders of choice to join together in D.C. to make sure that there is more to November 12 than a passive, hear-the-liberals speakout. The policy of building a militant, mass resistance must be heard and felt in Washington, D.C.

And militant resistance in Washington itself may well be required to deal with the anti-abortion fanatics. A reactionary "pro-life" outfit called Veterans for Life is planning a big show in D.C. the same weekend. This group openly links militarist chauvinism with the antiabortion stand -- its hero is the late right-wing honcho General MacArthur. They are planning a clinic attack in Washington on the 11th and it appears that they are preparing for a counter-demonstration against the November 12 pro-choice rally.

Their arrogant challenge should not go unanswered. The liberal leaders will say, ignore them. We say NO. We must confront the right-wing fanatics with angry opposition. We must make it clear that the women, workers, and youth will build up the struggle to beat back the capitalist offensive.


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San Francisco:

Cops rampage against AIDS protesters

In one of the most brutal police attacks in recent memory, the San Francisco Police Department forcibly broke up a march and rally on October 6 which was called to demand action on the AIDS crisis.

In San Francisco, which is touted as the model city for AIDS care and awareness, the city of liberal Democratic Mayor Art Agnos, the police viciously rioted against the demonstrators and anyone else in their path. Some 60 people were arrested. The cops sealed off the streets and occupied Castro district late into the night.

This demonstration was part of nationwide actions on "Living with AIDS and fighting back," organized by AIDS activists in many cities. They put forward such demands as the immediate release to the public of all AIDS drugs that have tested non-toxic; an emergency federal program to deal with the lethal epidemic; an end to job and insurance discrimination against those infected with the HIV virus (the virus which causes AIDS); and access to quality health care for all.

The AIDS crisis is a major epidemic, which is taking a big toll among gays and poor people in the inner cities. But the government has dragged its feet to meet the crisis. For example, in 1983 the federal government spent $500,000 in four months to cure Legionnaires' Disease, more money than it had put out in the first eight years to fight AIDS. Only popular pressure has forced some changes in the government's response in recent years.

The AIDS crisis has also exposed the scandalous inadequacy of health care for the masses in the U.S. Medical research is held hostage to the drug companies' cold-blooded calculations of profit-making. Medical insurance not only discriminates against people with (AIDS, but is simply not affordable to tens of millions. Costs of health care skyrocket while care worsens. Such a state of affairs is intolerable. Mass struggles by the working people are essential to turn things around.

San Francisco Cops on the Warpath

The San Francisco demonstration had begun at 4:30 that afternoon in front of the Federal Building, where numerous speakers condemned the federal government, the FDA and the drug monopolies for their profiteering and grossly inadequate response to the AIDS crisis.

The march, which began its way to the Castro district via the U.S. Mint, did not get 50 yards before the heavily-manned police lines began their attack. They jumped on a person who strayed off the sidewalk crossing the street. One was arrested. When the demonstrator who was a police liaison for ACT-UP, main sponsor of the protest, attempted to see what happened, he was arrested also. People denounced the arrests and demanded their release.

All along the entire route police herded people onto the sidewalks and gave "jaywalking" tickets to those who did not stop at each traffic light.

But at Castro and Market, the police really went wild! Protesters attempted to sit in at the intersection and did so long enough to paint body outlines and numerous slogans on the street (such as "Profits = Death," "Black people die faster," and "Fight or die"). The cops moved in to arrest at least 38 people after 15 minutes. After clearing them away, the police returned to attack the crowd.

Police lined both sides of the street for four blocks, the hub of a mainly gay, business district, from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m., threatening to arrest anyone on the streets. For hours people inside were not allowed to come out of homes, bars, and restaurants. Civil liberties were suspended. People on public transport were caught unawares and surrounded.

The crowd outside had been ordered to disperse, but cops were more interested in beating people than in allowing any route to disperse. The police claimed that "getting people on the sidewalk" was their main concern, but many on the sidewalk were beaten until bloody. Cops broke ranks to chase people and drag them out of shops.

When the siege was over, activists called for a demonstration the following night. Over 1,000 people showed up where speakers denounced the fascist police action. Many who came had heard about the action at a women's clinic defense (from anti-abortion fanatics) earlier that day. A spirited march through the Castro district raised slogans against the police attack: "Racist, sexist, anti-gay: SFPD go away," "SFPD -- enforcing AIDS bigotry," and "Fight AIDS, Fight back."

In the days afterwards, there were more denunciations of the police attack and meetings held where people came to discuss how to best defend the movement and build further demonstrations. There have been lively debates on how to proceed: either the dead-end road of relying on the city government and its cover-up outfit, the Office of Citizen Complaints (which answers only to the chief of police), or by militant mass actions.

Los Angeles

Eighty activists were arrested in Los Angeles October 6 for blocking the doors of the Federal Building in Westwood. They were part of a crowd of some 400 people who took part in a spirited protest over the AIDS crisis.

Arriving at 6:30 a.m., the protesters surrounded the building and blocked its entrances. They marched, beat drums, blew whistles, and shouted slogans. Many people driving by honked their horns in support. A couple of anti-gay religious fanatics, who came to oppose the protest with "Repent -- Jesus saves" signs, had them torn to shreds.

[Photo: San Francisco police attack demonstrators protesting AIDS policies.]

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


U.S. intervention in Panama


Once again U.S. imperialism has declared its right to decide the fate of another country by force. On October 3, the Bush administration engineered an attempted coup in Panama aimed at toppling the regime of military strongman Noriega. But the coup failed as units of the Panamanian Defense Forces loyal to Noriega put down the revolt by CIA-backed anti-Noriega PDF officers.

Made in the USA

Right after the coup collapsed, the White House tried to cover its tracks, with Bush stating that the "rumors around that this was some American operation" were "not true." What a lie! From start to finish this coup was fostered by U.S. imperialism.

For months Bush had been openly encouraging a coup, and plans were drawn up to help carry one out. By September, the CIA was in contact with the plotters in the PDF and began advising them just where and when to seize Noriega. The day of the attempt, U.S. military forces in Panama blocked roads to prevent pro-Noriega forces from reaching the PDF headquarters which had been temporarily taken over by the rebel officers. Meanwhile U.S. helicopters hovered over the area under rebel attack. Everyone now acknowledges there was close communications between rebel Panamanian officers, the U.S. military command in Panama, and the White House throughout the botched coup. To top it all off, following the coup the U.S. airlifted some 40 rebel officers and their families to Miami. Plainly this whole affair was "made in the USA."

Who's for Democracy in Panama?

The U.S. claims it wants Noriega out because of its concern for democracy in Panama. But clearly Bush's idea of democracy is to let the CIA decide what is best for the people of Panama. Bush has made it clear he is also placing his hopes on the Panamanian military whom he says he has "no argument" with. But the Panamanian military for years has ruled with a harsh dictatorship: suppressing workers and students to protect the interests of rich Panamanian businessmen and U.S. economic and military domination of Panama. Thugs like General Noriega are simply the product of this brutal military machine.

Of course it was only a couple of years ago that the U.S. was smiling on Noriega himself. Noriega had been working for the CIA for years and was still on the CIA payroll when he came to power. When Noriega was offering to assassinate Sandinista leaders in Nicaragua and to help finance the contra war against Nicaragua with drug money, he was considered a good friend of the U.S. government. Back then there was scarcely a peep about Noriega's tyranny, his crushing of opponents, and his drug trafficking.

Noriega never challenged the basic U.S. domination of Panama. But he served as a middleman who played both sides of the fence, and eventually he went too far for the State Department's taste in his contacts with Cuba and Nicaragua, whose governments are opposed by the U.S. Thus began Washington's search for a more docile lackey, the pouring of money to the Panamanian bourgeois opposition, and the plotting of coups with the PDF. The desire for a complete "yes man" is all that is really behind Bush's talk about democracy.

Bloodlust in Washington

Not to be outdone by the Bush administration, the Democrats have thrown themselves into the chauvinist campaign for intervention in Panama. Their main criticism of Bush's coup attempt was that it was not well organized. The Bush administration countered that its hands were tied by Congress, and Bush's band of bloodstained thugs has started a campaign in favor of assassinating troublesome foreign leaders. (See accompanying article) In response, Democratic Senator Boren protested that Congress had given Bush all the money and authorization his administration had ever requested for "the stirring of dissent or coup possibilities." (New York Times, Oct. 9, p. 5)

Senator Boren represents the right-wing of the Democrats. But liberal Jesse Jackson joined the chorus criticizing Bush for bungling the coup. Jackson argues that diplomatic efforts to oust Noriega are preferable. But he states: "Once President Bush decided to give a green light to the Army rebels, however, he had an obligation to back them up. The coup leaders went out on a limb that was sawed off,... The predictable result was that the coup attempt was defeated. Decisive leaders cannot start logrolling with buttoned lips when it is time to issue commands." (Detroit News, Oct. 15, p. 19A) Thus Jackson reassured the bourgeoisie that all his talk about the injustice of interfering in the sovereignty of other countries and about "moral authority" takes second place to backing up the action of the CIA and Pentagon.

No to Intervention! No to Noriega!

The bipartisan campaign for intervention in Panama must be opposed. It has nothing to do with freeing the Panamanian people from tyranny but aims at imposing a new and more servile U.S. lackey on them. The emancipation of the Panamanian people is a job that will be carried out by the mass struggle of the Panamanian working class itself. Such a struggle will be directed not only against Noriega but against U.S. imperialism, the bourgeois opposition it is backing, and the repressive institutions like the PDF. Let us assist the Panamanian masses by demanding: "U.S., Hands Off Panama!"

Bush's men approve assassinations

The politicians are now discussing rules for how to conduct assassinations. The Bush administration is complaining about how hard it is to carry out foreign policy if the possibility of assassination is forbidden. There is talk about unleashing the CIA from such prohibitions.

The recent talk began after the U.S.-inspired coup in Panama failed. The Democratic Party was outraged -- not at this brazen, criminal interference in another country, but at the fact that it failed. The Democratic Party, liberal and conservative wing alike, criticized Bush as a wimp. In his defense, Bush claimed that his hands had been tied by Congressional interpretations of a presidential order forbidding assassinations. From William Webster, head of the CIA, to Republican congressmen, the cry has gone out to unleash the government agencies to commit murder of foreign leaders.

In fact, Bush's hands had not been tied at all. The coup in Panama was publicly called for by Bush, and the CIA helped plan it in private. (See accompanying article on Panama.)

A Cherished Idea of the Bush Administration

Moreover, the Bush administration has been discussing assassinations for some time. In the September issue of The Workers' Advocate, we reported on the task force of the National Security Squad that has been discussing increasing the use of murder and presenting it to the public as a means of fighting the drug war. (See "Government longs for its own death squads.") We used public information, revealed in the Miami Herald and the Detroit Free Press. We listed the various excuses suggested by different government officials, from the army to the CIA.

Thus the failure of the Panama coup was only a pretext. The Bush administration decided that this was a suitable time to reveal in public a bit of the plans for murder that had already been under discussion. The "kinder and gentler" Bush administration turns out to be a bunch of hitmen and gangsters.

The Presidential Order

The original presidential order against assassinations was signed by Republican President Ford in 1976 to quiet a wave of indignation about murders inspired by the CIA. The story of the CIA's repeated plots to kill Cuban President Castro, and its role in the murder of Chilean President Allende, had become public knowledge. Naturally neither the White House nor Congress wanted to try those guilty of conspiracy to murder -- after all, the whole foreign policy apparatus of the U.S. government was involved. Nor did it wish to disband the CIA and other government murder gangs. So instead it sought to reassure the people that no more murders would be committed. Why, there was a presidential order. And it was even strengthened by Democratic President Carter in the late 70's to rule out agencies soliciting murder.

What About Existing Laws Against Murder?

Now there were already supposed to be laws against murder as well as against paying others to commit murder, or otherwise soliciting murder or being an accessory to murder. So why were these declarations by Presidents Ford and Carter even necessary? Their very existence shows that the White House and CIA and Pentagon regard themselves as free from the normal laws against murder, kidnapping, torture, etc. The White House regards that it is bound only by its own rules. Capitalist law and order is only supposed to be enforced on the supposedly inferior beings who slave all their lives to enrich the capitalists.

CIA Assassinations Never Stopped

In fact, the government murders continued. The decree was just another smiling lie.

The U.S. government openly funds a CIA-organized contra army attacking Nicaragua. These contras not only burn farms and rape women, but assassinate Sandinista officials and other Nicaraguans. It is no secret that they would kill Nicaraguan President Ortega if they could. Yet, presidential decree or not, Congress debates each year how many millions to spend on murdering Nicaraguans.

The CIA and the army train death squads in El Salvador and other Central American countries. Each month the scorecard for left-wing Salvadorans murdered by these squads is published in a tiny article in this or that paper. And Congress passes hundreds of millions of dollars of more aid each year to encourage these murders.

The Pentagon staged an air attack on Libya in April 1986 to kill President Qadhafi. All it had to do to avoid the presidential decree order was -- well, actually, it didn't have to do anything at all. No government official takes such decrees seriously.

A Ruling Class of Murderers

Indeed, what type of country stages open debates on whether to kill troublesome foreign leaders, and how much money to spend doing so? Only Nazi Germany? Only Mussolini's Italy? No, this is the U.S. today. The ruling class politicians complain that rules against murder tie their hands to bully other countries. They organize debates and discussions on it, and the issue fills editorials and TV talk shows and newspaper columns. In the past, this debate has taken place over such questions as whether to kill Qadhafi. Now it has been raised to a general issue.

This shows that the ruling class will resort to any crime to hold on to power. It shows that there can be no morality from politicians committed to preserving this country as an imperialist power and world policeman. It shows that the only "human rights" these vultures recognize is their own right to stay in power. It is often said that the Democrats are a little better than the Republicans -- so one might expect that they would advocate, say, only throwing acid in the face of foreign leaders instead of shooting them. But no, the Democrats are just as deep in the assassinations game as the Republicans. It is time to organize independent of the Democrats and Republicans, parties with the blood of many victims on their hands.

The Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists and the elections

[Box: From the Nicaraguan workers' press EL PUEBLO EXPRESA EL ACTUAR Y LAS ASPIRACIONES DE LAS MAYORIAS Edition Especial Homtna jea los Manageas Nicaragua]

(Below is the article "In the elections: MAP-ML goes with the working class" from the September 7 issue of ''El Pueblo." It has been translated by ''The Workers' Advocate" staff.)

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (formerly called MAP-ML) informs the Nicaraguan working class and people that we held our Party Congress September 2 and 3. The Congress, our highest deliberative and resolution- making body, dealt with the period of the elections and considered the following:

1. The open electoral process in Nicaragua is part of the dispute for power between the (petty-bourgeois Sandinistas or) FSLN, as part of the state apparatus, and the bourgeoisie and the rest of reaction. This is an expression of the crisis of the political pact sealed (between these two forces) during the fall of the Somoza regime in 1979.

2. In the midst of this crisis in the bourgeois-petty bourgeois pact, the FSLN has been dismantling fundamental gains made by the popular masses; and the reaction and pro-imperialist forces have been accumulating and developing forces, which seriously endangers the popular character of the open process of 1979. The tendency is for a strategic recuperation of the counterrevolutionary forces and a strengthening of the bureaucratic and oppressive measures of the FSLN against the people.

This is leading to a virtual social and political pact between the FSLN, still lacking a democratic-revolutionary program, and the counterrevolutionary forces. The first symptoms of this pact are already being brought to life through the accords at Esquipulas, El Salvador, Tela, etc. [i.e. through the Arias plan or Central America "peace plan'']. The understanding reaffirmed in these dealings between the FSLN and the bourgeoisie is the attempt to liquidate the revolutionary option in Nicaragua.

3. In this situation, it is the MLPN's obligation to uphold the banner of struggle for proletarian revolution and socialism, as opposed to the false electoral dilemma put forward by the right wing and the FSLN.

The MLPN poses the left option in Nicaragua in the face of the collusion -- even if contradictory -- between the FSLN and the right wing. This obliges the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists to take an active part in the electoral process, with the object of presenting a plan of struggle which will unfold during the campaign, but especially after it, whatever the results of the elections.

To make the presence of the Party a reality, the Congress took the following resolutions:

1) The MLPN will participate at all levels of the open elections.

2) The MLPN will run alone. In the case of the municipal elections, we will also support popular slates which include candidates who offer advanced alternatives to the right wing and the FSLN, in other words, those candidates who reflect popular interest.

In case elections are held for the Central American Parliament, the Party might conclude an electoral alliance with other forces or parties, pending discussion of the objectives and plan of struggle of this alliance. All the Party slates will be headed by Party militants, but will not exclude revolutionaries in favor of unity in action with the Party, and who accept our plan of struggle and running under our banner.

3) Our platform in the electoral campaign, for the Nicaraguan working class and people, is a plan of struggle and not a program for government.

4) The essence of our call will be to tear the mask off the calls for democracy being made by the right wing and the FSLN. We will demand that the working class and masses be able to reclaim for their benefit the natural and social resources of the country. We will call for a fight to establish the irreversible right of the people to arm and organize itself to guarantee the defense and advance of the revolution. We call for firmly maintaining the independence of the workers from the FSLN and the right wing in Nicaragua.

[Photo: Workers' rally organized by MLP of Nicaragua.]

Actions denounce funding for Salvadoran fascists

Protests on October 14-16 in Chicago, Seattle, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and other cities denounced U.S. intervention in El Salvador. Many of the actions were mild "walkathons." Yet in various places such as Chicago and Seattle slogans in favor of a negotiated deal between the FMLN and the fascist ARENA party fell flat.

Instead popular slogans included "Bush, Quayle, hear our call: the Salvadoran government is going to fall!" and "F-M-L-N El Salvador is going to win!" in Seattle and "1-2-3-4 we don't want your dirty war, 5-6-7-8 we will not cooperate!" in Chicago. MLP literature also met with interest.

The Washington demonstration specifically targeted certain liberal Democrats such as Rep. Steven Solarz (D-N.Y.) and Christopher Dodd (D- Conn.). Activists sat in at their offices and called them "death-squad Democrats." Although the demonstration was organized by the CISPES, whose reformist leadership has high hopes in the Congressional liberals, these politicians' disgraceful support for the fascist regime of ARENA President Cristiani forced even CISPES to denounce them, for the time being at least.

Unfortunately, the CISPES leadership refused to draw any conclusions from the votes of these liberals, and instead called for more illusions in Congress. For example, an article in the October issue of CISPES' paper Alert! states that the Senate has increased military aid to the Salvadoran fascists and that Senator Dodd led the fight to do so. It notes that Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) was a cosponsor of the increase in blood money (despite, we note, having chaired an investigation into contra drug running). Yet Alert! assures its readers that "there are signs that increasing numbers of representatives in both houses are beginning to question U.S. policy." While the Congressional Democrats kick the Salvadoran people in the teeth, the CISPES leadership finds something to praise and asks for more.

Other specific targets of the October demonstrations included Vice-President Quayle, who was denounced while visiting Portland and Seattle, and the setting up of a Salvadoran consulate in Chicago.

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For workers' socialism, not revisionist state capitalism!

Revisionism in crisis:

Mass outpouring rocks East German regime

A wave of mass protest has engulfed East Germany. The state-capitalist reality is peeking through the false facade of revisionist "socialism." Coming in the wake of tens of thousands fleeing to West Germany, the mass upheaval has brought to the surface that East Germany -- the best off among the revisionist countries -- is also in crisis, like Russia, Poland, and China.

Popular outrage has forced the resignation of Erich Honecker, the country's head of state since 1971. The Honecker regime had been striking a pose that it had no serious problems, that "socialism" here was advancing gloriously, that the working people were all in love with the regime. But the events of this fall have shown that this was a house of cards. The regime has had to give up its ostrich-like stance and face the fact that public confidence in the regime is at an all-time low.

Repression or Reform?

The regime began by suppressing the first manifestations of protest. It toyed with the idea that repression alone could allow it to ride out the current storms. But the specter of a big social clash -- and all the troubles that would bring -- has forced it to rethink and adopt a different approach. At least for now. It is allowing demonstrations and promising reforms.

Police attacked the demonstrations which broke out during the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) the first week of October. Hundreds were beaten and arrested.

The government even tried to frighten the protesters with the specter of a Tienanmen-style repression, like the Deng Xiaoping regime in China. East Germany had been the only revisionist regime to ardently support the repression in China. But Honecker's pointed remarks about the "example of China" failed to intimidate the protesters.

Soon afterwards, the government gave up on this tactic and allowed the demonstrations to proceed.

More and More Flood the Streets

The number of people in the protests then ballooned.

On October 9 some 75,000 people marched in Leipzig. A week later, on October 16, some 150,000 marched and protested there. And a week after that, on October 23, the Leipzig demonstration drew some 300,000 people.

And this is only one city. Tens of thousands also marched in Dresden, Berlin, Potsdam, Jena, etc. Almost every night there are silent protests and candlelight vigils. But the big weekly protests are loud and angry.

Who is in the protests? Originally, mostly young people -- students, intellectuals, people inspired by small church-led opposition groups. But as the protests grew, they came to include wide sectors of the population, including many workers. In the latest demonstrations it is reported that entire work place collectives marched, organized groups of workers sometimes thousands strong.

What are the protesters saying? In the early demonstrations the most common point made was, "We are staying." This was to contrast the demonstrators with those who emigrated to West Germany during September. "We are staying," the protesters yelled, "but we want change." They also chanted, "Freedom to travel, no mass flight."

Overall, the demonstrations have mainly demanded such things as press freedoms and that the press accurately reflect East German realities; the right to travel; a government including younger figures and closer to the people; and democratic rights for the people generally.

The demonstrators have also looked to Gorbachev in the Soviet Union. But they see him as a symbol of democratic reforms. There are no reports of mass demands for such Gorbachev ideas as privatization and letting market forces drive the economy. Indeed, many demonstrators have made it a point to tell their interviewers in the Western media they are not opposed to socialism. They have also criticized various features of capitalist life in West Germany.

The Fiasco of "Consumer Socialism"

The present demonstrations have emerged with economic problems in the background. This is linked to the increasing worldwide competition among the capitalist powers. East Germany is heavily dependent on its exports for continued prosperity. But its goods are coming under heavy competition from Taiwan, Korea, etc. Even its exports to Eastern bloc nations are no longer secure, as these countries turn to the West for trade.

The GDR's economy is the strongest among all the revisionist state-capitalist countries. But of late the economic growth rate has been slowing down. The GDR is having trouble meeting the expectations of the people.

For years the Honecker regime has promoted a model of "consumer socialism," believing that a system of generous social benefits and increasing consumer goods would be enough to keep the allegiance of the people. But he hasn't been able to deliver enough of the consumer goods. And not cheaply enough. Especially compared to what is seen by the masses on West German TV.

Compared to the people of Poland or Hungary, East Germans have a high standard of living. They have good systems of cheap public transport, child care and health services. Housing is cheap, although in short supply. Basic foods, clothing and government services are cheap, though sometimes scarce.

All this means that the more developed East German economy has been able to provide a fairly developed welfare state. But this does not translate into socialism. The working class is not in power here. Power is in the hands of an elite of privileged bureaucrats who are detached from the working people.

The East German people feel alienated and bored. "Consumer socialism" has failed to provide the masses with the ideals and activity to keep them mobilized with any sense of deep stake in the society.

And as in the other revisionist countries, there is resentment about the fact that the ruling elite lives a privileged life. It does not share in the shortages that crop up. Special stores that accept only Western currency are set aside for high-paid bureaucrats to shop in.

A part of the relative prosperity in East Germany is underwritten by West Germany. Considered part of Germany by the European Economic Community, the GDR is allowed to export goods to Western Europe via West Germany, where its goods are tariff-free. West Germany also builds infrastructure -- roads, power grids, riverways, etc. -- into East Germany. West Germany also subsidizes East Germany's purchase of many goods from the West. All this is part of the West German capitalists' plans to gradually woo East Germany away from state-capitalist "socialism" to Western-style capitalism and a reunified powerful German imperialist state.

"Orthodox" Revisionist Alternative to Gorbachev Collapses

For the last few years East Germany had been posing as a strong opponent of perestroika within the bloc of countries ruled by the revisionist parties. It said that while perestroika was okay for Russian conditions, there was no need for such changes in East Germany. It bragged of its stronger economy and claimed that it was a virtual paradise of socialism.

It could also point to the fact that none of the upheavals shaking other Eastern European countries had taken place there. But the latest demonstrations show that the GDR also is in for some heavy seas.

While tens of thousands of people were rushing to emigrate in September, the Honecker government acted as if nothing at all were amiss. Just a few people misled by Western propaganda, they insisted. And Honecker continued to insist that "no reforms are necessary." But the problems couldn't be swept under the rug.

Finally, on October 13, after the first large demonstrations, Honecker admitted that some reforms may be necessary. In a major speech Honecker called for "ensuring true-to-life media" and "expanded travel opportunities." But he did not announce any changes, only that the ruling party might consider some.

Instead of quieting the protests, Honecker's speech only encouraged even larger ones. So on October 18 he was forced to resign and was replaced by Egon Krenz. Meanwhile demonstrations were continuing, with people chanting "Stop the blah-blah."

Krenz, a protege of Honecker's, has not inspired much public support, but he's tried to give the appearance of being willing to experiment with changes. The official media has begun to report on the demonstrations. And Krenz released from jail almost all of the people arrested in previous demonstrations. He has agreed to full travel rights and amnesty for those who've been persecuted for trying to leave the country.

Need for an Independent Workers' Movement

East German society is being shaken up. But it is too early to say how things will develop.

The regime is obviously interested in taking only small steps of change. Meanwhile, the mass movement in the streets is fairly undeveloped, united only by general yearnings for greater democratic rights.

There are no major opposition political trends established yet. The only organized force is the church-based groups, such as New Forum. These are essentially liberal groups who would like to see an evolution towards a Western-style social-democratic order: The recent wave of protests caught these groups by surprise. None of them envisioned hundreds of thousands coming into the streets.

While the ruling "Socialist Unity Party" represents the interests of the bureaucrats and managers, the liberal and reformist groups reflect the interests of small businesspeople and intellectuals. The workers do not have a voice of their own yet. In the coming storms, the workers have to make sure to defend their own class interests. They have to build their own independent organization. They need to come out with a proletarian alternative: workers' socialism counter-posed to both a reformed state capitalism as well as to Western-style capitalism.

[Photo: Mass demonstration in Leipzig, East Germany.]

Hungarian ruling party drops working class symbols

October 1989 marked the formal transformation of Hungary from a state- capitalist society run under socialist labels to a Western-style, avowedly capitalist country.

The "People's Republic of Hungary'' is now simply the "Republic of Hungary.'' The red star has been tossed out. The rulers of Hungary who've claimed to be champions of the working class and communism are eagerly embracing the slogans of capitalism and bourgeois democracy.

And it's fitting that they should do this. These privileged bureaucrats have been in fact ruling according to capitalist principles for decades. Now their symbols will correspond closer to their actual program, and the way will be cleared for Hungarian workers to see what capitalism and bourgeois democracy mean. The way will be cleared for Hungarian workers to build a truly communist workers' movement.

Dropping the Symbols of Working Class Politics

The Hungarian Socialist Workers Party, which has ruled Hungary for the last four decades, held a congress on October 6-9. The meeting was gripped by a pro-capitalist fever. To show everyone they are serious about their embrace of private capitalism, the party leaders used this occasion to drop all pretense of being a Marxist revolutionary party of the working class.

The congress changed the name of the party to the Hungarian Socialist Party. They're still keeping up a thin pretense of being "socialist,'' but this is meant to identify with social-democracy, i.e. with the likes of Mitterrand's Socialist Party or the West German Social Democratic Party. Now, they could have kept their old name and still claimed allegiance to social- democracy -- after all, both the Spanish and Swedish social-democrats call themselves, "socialist workers' parties." But it is revealing that the Hungarian rulers felt an urgent need to drop the "workers" label. They don't want to promote class-based politics.

In the weeks after the congress, more changes were noted in the party's style and appearance. The Marxist slogan "Workers of world unite" was dropped from the masthead of the party journal.

At the congress, there had also been an attempt to drop the idea of the party being based on work place organization in favor of basing the party on electoral districts, like most social-democratic parties. Now this work place party organization isn't the organization of the most self-sacrificing and farsighted workers as in a genuine communist party, rather it's just the organization of the ruling bureaucrats to control the workers. But this proposal lost, presumably because the revisionists didn't want to give up a means they have in place to control the working class. But a few days later, parliament passed a law banning all political party organizing in the work places! With this, they probably think that they can prevent other political forces springing up in the work places. This shows their fear of class-based politics appearing among the workers that could pose a challenge to the present order.

Don't Expect a Welfare State, Say the Hungarian Rulers

Meanwhile, the still-remaining "socialist" disguise is already wearing thin. HSP leaders are openly declaring that their program of privatization will impoverish many workers. Minister of State Imre Pozsgay stresses that the transition from state capitalism to private capitalism will not be easy, and that there will be no "welfare state." In other words, they are leery about even promising a reformist safety net.

Already many workers are being priced out of basic necessities. Hungarian shops and restaurants are well stocked with imported goods, but workers cannot afford to buy them. About 25% of the population lives below the official poverty line, and municipal utilities have taken up the brutal capitalist practice of shutting off service to those who cannot afford to pay.

Not Communism, but its Abandonment Brought Disaster to the Hungarian Workers

Decades ago, Hungary had a revolutionary workers' movement fighting under the militant banner of communism.

The working class even held power after World War I -- but only briefly. The exploiters drowned the workers in blood and the fascist regime of Admiral Horthy followed, which allied with the German Nazis during World War II. The Soviet Red Army liberated Hungary and the post-war regime was dominated by the Hungarian Communist Party. But its leaders of that time, in the wake of the right turn of the Soviet Union in the mid-30's, had already turned away from communist principles. They did end the hated regime of the fascists and old exploiters, but they ended up becoming a new ruling elite of privileged bureaucrats themselves. They rigged up a state-capitalist order behind declarations of communism and Marxism-Leninism.

The "People's Republic," despite developing industry and providing welfare-state measures, alienated itself from the masses and went from crisis to crisis. The solutions of the Hungarian leaders each time were to embrace more capitalist prescriptions. In the 70's Hungary went into deep debt to Western capital, and the burden of repayment has brought the economy to the verge of total collapse. The regime has decided to go all out towards private capitalism as its latest wonder-working idea. It has also been goaded in this direction by the private capitalist elements within the country, by the Gorbachev regime in Moscow, and by the Western capitalists.

But this solution will also prove to be a complete fiasco. The rich will get richer and the workers poorer. So far the Hungarian workers have yet to mobilize, but events will compel them to come out in defense of their own interests. They need to build up their own independent class organization that can confront the capitalists and bureaucrats in power.

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Around 100,000 people descended on Washington D.C. October 7 to demand "Housing now!" These were mostly ordinary people. Black, brown and white. Homeless people, unemployed, factory workers, farm laborers and students. Many had come to their first protest because they are fed up with the cuts in funding for housing, the soaring rents, the impoverishment, evictions, and police brutality against the homeless and poor.

The marchers rallied near the Washington Monument, shouting slogans and raising their banners and placards. A contingent of 9,000 marched into the middle of the rally loudly raising their slogans. This group started their march at the Pentagon to make a statement against the billions spent for war in contrast to the pennies spent on housing for the poor.

As the main march began, the contingent of the Marxist-Leninist Party yelled out, "Beat back the Bush attack!" and "Housing now! Make the rich pay!" Marchers from the various contingents joined in with the slogan shouting as they passed. Twelve thousand leaflets demanding "Make the Rich Pay for the Housing Crisis!" were distributed earlier, along with hundreds of copies of The Workers' Advocate. The Party joined in the march down Constitution Avenue and led those around it in spirited chants.

Capitalist Politicians Do Not Have the Answers to the Housing Problem

At the end of the march, numerous Democratic Party politicians were paraded on stage as though they were fighting homelessness. The Democrats hoped that, if they denounced the Republicans loudly enough, no one would notice that they voted for Reagan's cuts and are themselves carrying out the same Reaganite programs in their own cities.

But the marchers were not thrilled with them. When Washington D.C.'s Mayor Marion Barry opened the rally, for example, he was booed by activists. Barry is notorious for his actions against the homeless. He has cut $600,000 from rent subsidies and other aid to the homeless. He has joined with the Bush's alleged "war on drugs," carrying out mass evictions against the poor. And, no sooner had the rally ended when the mayor began discussions on dismantling the emergency shelter program in the city.

Marchers were also upset with the huge promotion of wealthy Hollywood stars. Homeless people near the stage interrupted the long introduction of stars with shouts of "TV later, housing now!" and "We want to speak!"

But such opposition to rich celebrities and bigwig Democrats was discouraged by the leaders of the Housing Now! coalition which sponsored the march. This is a coalition of 200 liberal and reformist organizations including the AFL-CIO, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Urban League, the National Organization of Women, and various homeless groups. They want to blame the housing crisis solely on the Republicans and to make the homeless movement into voting fodder for the Democratic Party. They clamped down on any militancy, telling activists to wait and see what Congress will do.

This orientation was challenged in debates that broke out before the march. But coalition leaders turned down proposals for demands against the military budget. Not wanting to offend the imperialist-minded bigwigs of the Conference of Mayors and the AFL-CIO, they narrowed the demand to simply restoring the cuts in funds for housing made during the Reagan years.

Debate also broke out over whether to push the homeless people's demands by organizing mass actions like occupying abandoned homes owned by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Mitch Snyder, a leader of Housing Now! opposed the mass actions. Instead, he told activists to lobby Bush's HUD chief, Jack Kemp, and rely on his promises.

In fact, the leadership sought to make activists toe the line by denying some more militant homeless contingents the promised $50, food, shelter and showers while they were in Washington, It is a bit ironic that the leadership of Housing Now! should themselves deny shelter to homeless activists. But it is part of their orientation to clamp down on militancy and make the movement into a slavish wing of the Democrats.

[Photo: MLP banner declares, "Make the Rich Pay for the Housing Crisis!"]

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Detroit homeless storm city hall


Shouting "No housing, no peace!" 100 homeless people marched into Detroit's City County Building on October 27. They headed for the City Council meeting on the 13th floor to demand permanent housing before winter hits, especially for women and children.

Police -- pulling guns and shoving and hitting demonstrators -- prevented them from entering the public meeting. One homeless man was thrown on the floor and arrested.

The City Council eventually adjourned its meeting, with some members agreeing to hear the homeless in a nearby auditorium. There a spokesman for the homeless demanded that at least 250 city-owned vacant buildings be turned over for the homeless to rehabilitate.

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