The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 19, No. 6


25ยข June 1, 1989

[Front page:

Bush lies about the cause of crime--No to repression of workers and poor;

Struggle begins against the results of capitalist reform--China in upheaval;

Hands off Panama!]


Bush's 'War on Crime' Is a War on Blacks and Poor

Bush's drug czar begins mass evictions................................... 2
Kemp's 'war on poverty' -- more attacks on poor.................. 2
Protests & crackdown on youth in Boston............................... 2
Senate investigation shows drugs finance contras................... 3
Youth vs. lockdown of Chicago housing project..................... 3
Racist Miami cop busted for cocaine trafficking..................... 3

Down with Racism!

1,500 march against Hitler worshippers in Idaho.................... 4
Angry tenants vs. racist housing authority cops...................... 4
Black bourgeoisie holds a summit........................................... 4

Students on the March

CUNY; Rutgers; Howard; Michigan State; other.................... 5

Strikes and Workplace News

Pittston coal; Seattle grocery; LA teachers; UC-Berkeley grad students; Laid-off auto workers; NY homeless........................ 6-7

Step Up the Defense of Women's Rights!

Abortion rights actions around the country.............................. 8
NOW's bourgeois politics & pro-choice struggle.................... 9
Look who's joined the anti-abortion crusade........................... 9

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

Arias plan will disarm contras -- someday.............................. 10
Gorbachev stabs Nicaragua in the back................................... 10
'Coup d'emocracy' in Guatemala............................................ 10
Salvadoran people will not bow down to fascism.................... 10
U.S. protests hit U.S.-Salvadoran tyranny................................ 10
Sandinistas are ruining the small farmers................................ 11

For Workers' Socialism, Not Revisionist State Capitalism

China's agriculture in crisis...................................................... 12

Apartheid, No! Revolution, Yes!

Apartheid court orders execution of blacks............................. 14

May Day '89, Workers in Action Worldwide

U.S. meetings; Chicago march; Detroit march........................ 15
Asia, Latin America, Europe, revisionist lands........................ 16

Bush lies about the cause of crime

No to repression of workers and poor

Struggle begins against the results of capitalist reform

China in upheaval

Hands off Panama!

Bush's drug czar begins mass evictions

Jack Kemp's 'war on poverty' - more attacks on the poor

Black community protests in Boston

Boston police: "fighting drugs" or cracking down on youth?

Senate investigation shows drugs finance the contras

Youth protest lockdown of Chicago housing projects

Racist cop busted for cocaine trafficking in Miami


Students on the march

Strikes and workplace news

Step up the defense of women's rights!

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

Deng Xiaoping's reforms have been a fiasco

China's agriculture in crisis

Apartheid court orders mass execution of blacks

May Day meetings call out:

Build the working class struggle!

May Day march in Chicago

Demonstration in Detroit


Bush lies about the cause of crime

No to repression of workers and poor

The government is stepping up its "war on crime." On May 15, President Bush vowed to "take back the streets" with a $1.2 billion anti-crime package of more federal prisons, more police, and harsher jail sentences. The same day, Bush's drug czar William Bennett sent federal marshals together with local police to begin mass evictions of poor people from their homes in Washington D.C.

The two events are not a coincidence. In the name of fighting crime and drugs, the government is unleashing a reign of terror in the inner cities against the poor and working people, and especially against black, Latino, and other minority youth.

How will evicting poor people from their homes stop crime? Obviously, it won't. Nor will the lock down of housing projects in Chicago; nor the police sweeps against youth in Boston neighborhoods; nor the rest of a long list of police abuses against the working people. These things will do nothing to nab the big-time criminals and drug runners. Nor will they stem the tide of social crime that is springing up from the growing impoverishment.

But there is an evil method to the government's madness. As the gap grows between the rich and poor in this country; as the working class is pushed deeper into poverty, unemployment, and homelessness; the masses are becoming more restive, talking more and more of fighting back. The point of the government's "war on crime" is to terrorize the working people, to hold down the youth, to protect the rich from the poor.

It stands out that the Republicans, and the Democrats with them, have time and again claimed that they have no money to spend for jobs, or housing, or health care, or drug rehabilitation, or the schools. But they always seem to find the cash when it comes to hiring more police or building more jails.

Their only answer to social crime is more repression against the masses. And the reason seems clear. Whether it be conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, these politicians serve the capitalists. Their concern is not so much fighting crime as holding down the masses; not so much stopping drug abuse as maintaining docile wage slaves for exploitation and cannon fodder for their imperialist wars.

But something else comes out from the recent events. The "war on crime" repression is also provoking spontaneous outbursts of resistance. Here and there the youth are fighting back against the racism and police brutality. They should be supported and a broad mass movement built against the police terror. It is this way -- by building a fight for the real needs of the masses, against the rich and their police -- that the youth will find new inspiration, new ideals, new hope for the future. It is this way that the blight of drugs and crime can be pushed aside along with their basis in the criminal exploitation of the capitalist system.

Other related articles:

* Drug czar begins mass evictions

* Kemp's 'war on poverty'

* Senate study shows drugs finance contras

* Youths vs. lockdown of housing project

(see pages 2-3)

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Struggle begins against the results of capitalist reform

China in upheaval

"To get rich is glorious!" So it has been proclaimed by China's rulers over the last ten years. They have turned China into a country of capitalism and brought back all the old evils such as corruption and greed, super-exploitation and mass misery. They call themselves communists, but they have turned their backs on Marxism and turned their eyes to the Western capitalist countries.

Deng Xiaoping and his revisionist cronies banked on a smooth ride, with ever-increasing production and prosperity, in bringing Western-style capitalism to China. But under the surface of things, capitalism brought back exploitation and economic crisis just as Marx and Lenin said. And all the oppression that's been gathering was bound to lead to rebellion.

So it has. The spring of '89 saw China again transformed into a country of millions in the streets. The results of years of capitalist reforms are coming home to roost.

For two months, the streets of Beijing, Shanghai and other cities have shaken with the sounds and colors of mass discontent. Demonstrations started by students captured the enthusiastic support of millions of working people. Troops and police sent to crush the protest lost their spirit and in some cases even joined in with the young demonstrators.

This tremendous upheaval threw the regime into crisis. It set off an explosive development of the factional struggle in the Chinese ruling party, which for now appears to have been settled in favor of those who want a harsh crackdown. Meanwhile, as we go to press, the students look like they have been exhausted, and it is possible that this wave of struggle may be subsiding.

But only for now. The forces unleashed by this struggle mark the birth of a new awakening among the Chinese masses. The youth and workers have had a taste of the power of mass action. The struggle has brought out the discontent that is widespread across the society. Such things do not go away -- they will make their way to the surface again. They will break through the repressive stranglehold that the regime wants to impose.

The present movement in China is made up of forces with many different views of what is going on, but all sharing for a time some common slogans for democracy and against corruption. As the movement develops, different strata and different classes will develop their own demands and trends more sharply. Not just the better-off strata who want the capitalist reforms to go faster, but also the masses who have suffered from the effects of these reforms. Through the experience of daily life, through the schooling they receive in mass struggles, through the contact and links developing among the workers, toilers and youth, the working people will eventually find their way to restoring the revolutionary force that can overthrow capitalism in China and open the road to a truly socialist China.

How the Movement Developed

The immediate roots of this spring's upsurge go back to the winter of 1986 when tens of thousands of students came to the streets, protesting the lack of democratic rights and poor conditions of life on the campuses. That wave came to an end with a government crackdown.

Stirrings have continued among the students, but they didn't spread in a big way until this April. And once the movement re-emerged, it quickly developed a momentum of its own.

Part of that momentum was fed by venomous attacks by Deng Xiaoping and other leaders against the struggle. Part was fed by contradictions within the ruling bureaucracy who had different ideas on how to react. But the movement drew its real strength from the discontent that's reaching a fever pitch among wide sections of the people.

The students' hunger strike hit upon a wellspring of sympathy from the masses. The demonstrations grew from tens of thousands into millions. They spread across the country, reaching most of the provincial and regional capitals. And they drew in new sections of the people beyond the intelligentsia.

Workers came pouring in from the factories. Unemployed youth eagerly joined in. Rank-and-file soldiers, drawn from the peasant youth, showed signs of sympathy.

The coming out of the workers in mid- May was a turning point. It scared the regime stiff. Earlier some groups of workers had supported the students, but this time it was contingents from one work place after another. The workers added to the cries against corruption and tyranny, and they reinforced the protest against the skyrocketing inflation that is ravaging the poor. It is reported that it was after workers' groups called for a general strike that the regime finally decided to seek a showdown.

The possibility of discontented workers joining up with disaffected youth is the real nightmare of the regime. And this is no fantasy. In Deng Xiaoping's China, working class discontent is growing. This is the new factor which the Western media in many recent reports has denounced as the unfortunate appearance in China of "the politics of envy." The workers and rural poor are angry that they get poorer by the day while the bureaucrats and capitalists at the top live like kings and queens.

What's Behind the Movement?

Deng Xiaoping, Li Peng and their cronies make the absurd claim that a handful of conspirators are responsible for the upheaval which has brought millions into motion. This is obviously ridiculous. The demands of the upsurge reflect real issues that have outraged the masses.

The students denounce the rampant corruption in China. And rightly so. In today's China the bureaucrats are enriching themselves fabulously. This situation didn't fall from the sky: it's part and parcel of Deng's reforms to consolidate capitalism in China. When the regime decided to encourage private capitalist enterprise, it also arranged it that the bureaucrats and their families would get priority in profiting from the new policy. And official corruption and greed at the very top has been a signal for the spread of corruption throughout the society.

The students have also demanded freedom of speech, press, association, etc. These demands too are just. The Communist Party of China, which has turned its back on Marx and Lenin, has distorted the revolutionary institutions into bureaucratic tyrants which lie as a heavy weight upon society. It has eliminated revolutionary democracy and replaced it with the dictate of the ruling circles.

The regime has unleashed free-for-all, dog-eat-dog competition in the economy, unleashing separate and competing social interests. At the same time, to make sure that profit-making isn't disturbed by social instability, the ruling party maintains a monopoly in the political structure. It allows no say to those who are not privileged to be within its higher echelons. And what's more, the lying and hypocrisy of the regime, its official press, and the misnamed "mass organizations'' have become worse and worse.

Yet another major demand has been the protest against inflation. This is running over 30%. In a society where the vast majority lives at the edge of survival, the price increases are properly seen as an outrage. And it is an outrage directly caused by the market reforms of the regime.

An Awakening of the Masses

The U.S. news media wants to give the impression that the movement is fighting for a liberal capitalist regime. But this reveals more about the desires of the capitalist media manipulators than the reality among China's masses.

It is true that there are pro-Western capitalist liberals who simply seek more power within the present revisionist system, and there are students who have fallen for the Western propaganda that the U.S. system is some paragon of democracy. Not surprisingly. The government in China fawns on Washington and there is little information available to the Chinese masses today about the cruelties of life in capitalist America.

But the full situation is more complex than that. The students in China are not denouncing socialism, they think they are renewing it. They sing the Internationale, the anthem of the international movement for socialism. They wave red flags. Reports show workers and youth denouncing the regime for not being "real communists.''

Unfortunately it is also true that the Chinese activists aren't clear about socialism. There is no longer anything socialist about the ruling regime and party in China, but the students do not grasp this. The talk of "renewing socialism" reflects in part the belief that the present regime is still partly socialist. But it also reflects that there are still elements of socialist consciousness among the masses. They want socialism, and their idea of socialism requires "renewing" what exists at present, doing away with the enrichment at the top, it means having social equality, etc.

What stands clear is that the movement today is marked by demands that are somewhat indefinite. The current upsurge represents more a protest against an existing order than a clear affirmation of what it should be replaced by. The Chinese activists call for extending the rights of the masses without being clear about what sort of society can ensure the rights the masses are interested in.

It is the students who initiated the struggle but students do not form a class. They come from different class backgrounds and they reflect different interests. And although class political trends have not yet emerged, one can see the signs of different interests among the Chinese demonstrators.

Factions of the regime have some influence. Then, it appears that some of the pro-Western views are directly fed by the emerging Chinese capitalist entrepreneurs, who have put money into the movement.

There are signs also of the elitism of the aspiring petty bourgeoisie, who seek more for themselves but are not really interested in the discontent of the poor. Some students were clearly apprehensive about protesting inflation or of welcoming the workers' support. They feared that the working class might put its stamp on the movement both in terms of sharpening its militancy as well as raising class demands of the toilers.

And there are also the signs of obvious sympathy; for the workers. There are the stirring cries against the privileges of the rich. These reflect the connections of students with the toiling poor.

Traditions of Struggle

Youth and students in China have a long tradition of struggle.

The Western newsmen talk much about the May 4th movement of 1919. Actually, the immediate roots of the present struggle can be found in the turbulent "Cultural Revolution" against revisionism that took place only 20 years ago. The confused goals and methods during the "Cultural Revolution" led to chaos and eventual defeat. But it did establish the precedent of millions of people rising up to settle political and social questions. It said that socialism must be won through the actions of the masses themselves. It raised to millions the idea that it is right to question and defy the bureaucrats. Unfortunately it gave few answers to the questions it asked.

However, the movement of today does resemble in some ways the May 4 movement, the 70th anniversary of which was just commemorated by the students. In the May 4th movement all that was alive among the students came together in a protest against Western imperialism's arrogance towards China. But all sorts of ideas and views were unclear, indefinite and mixed together, and where to go wasn't all that clear, just as in the present movement.

And the fate of the May 4th movement may perhaps also give some clue to how the present situation will evolve. The May 4th movement spurred on the political development of various classes and strata in Chinese society. And this meant that, in the following years, among the youth, workers and peasants, communism became a mass force. The Communist Party organized the toilers in revolutionary struggles against the old China of imperialist domination, the China of landlords and big capitalists. The revolution eventually won in 1949.

Unfortunately, the influence of non-Marxist and non-working class ideas in the CPC, in the midst of the gigantic difficulties confronted by a poor country, meant that China did not succeed in keeping on the road towards socialism. Eventually a path back to consolidated capitalism was charted out, and China turned backwards.

China Needs a New Proletarian Communist Trend

As a result today, as in 1919, China's future depends on the restoration of a revolutionary communist movement. Not a repetition of the past, but one that can use the lessons of the past to meet the challenges of the present. One that will put forth a more consistent proletarian strategy and ideology.

Such a development will not come about easily, but require that the new wave of activists and workers rising in struggle display much dedication and wisdom. The May 4th movement had come on the heels of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia which had dramatic impact on China and spread the ideas of Leninist communism. Today we live at a time when there is the utmost confusion between communism and revisionist regimes which speak in the name of socialism and communism. It is a time when the true revolutionary communist forces worldwide are weak and the toilers are bombarded daily with a tremendous campaign to discredit the idea of socialism and Leninism.

But at the same time, today there is a revival taking place in the working class in many parts of the world, such as Asia. The upheavals of workers against capitalism in Korea, in Taiwan, in the Philippines, will all have their impact in China. And there is as well a small but definite movement in many parts of the world to restore a truly revolutionary Marxist-Leninist world trend. Our Party is a part of this effort.

In the present movement, there are those who want China to become more openly and avowedly capitalist. But in the final analysis, the real significance of the upheaval will not be as a lever for bourgeois and petty-bourgeois trends. Instead the mass upheaval of today marks the start of the cracking up of the revisionist system, and the beginning of the working masses coming out to act on their own behalf. Their slogans still simply attack the evils, such as corruption and inflation, and denial of freedoms, without tracing the causes deeply. But the seed that has been planted among the workers is bound to grow.

How soon political activists linked to the interests of the toilers and the development of revolutionary communism will develop their own circles is not clear. There will be more twists and turns, more upheavals, there will be mass debates and discussion, before clarity emerges from the confusion. But the Chinese working class will give expression to its class interests. That is inevitable.

And then the Chinese workers' movement will spell the end to the new capitalist system and the end to the revisionist regime speaking in the name of communism. It will mark a vast renewal of the forces of socialism and communism in the real sense, not as renewing the present revisionist party but as renewing the Chinese revolution and building a new party of the Chinese workers. It is that which represents the real hope for the future of the toilers.


[Photo: Workers' contingent arrives in Tienanmen Square with banner declaring: "Students: the workers have arrived.'']

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Hands off Panama!

The imperialist parties are at it again. They want to intervene in another country, Panama this time. They want to make and break the Panamanian government from Washington.

The Big Stick Comes Down on Panama

Bush has sent combat troops to U.S. bases in Panama in preparation for intervention. He has called on the Panamanian military to revolt. He has spent $10 million to finance the election campaigning of the local "Panamanian" opposition. And he has continued Reagan's policy of punishing the country economically and forcing large numbers of workers out of their jobs until Panama installs a government acceptable to the White House.

This is being done on the pretext that Noriega, the military ruler of Panama, is a drug runner and a tyrant. But it is U.S. intervention in Central America that has stepped up drug running, especially through the contra supply network for waging war on Nicaragua. And it is the White House that is spending hundreds of millions each year to prop up one death-squad tyranny in Central America after another.

Can the world forget that the Reagan- Bush administration knew about Noriega's drug running for years? For the, State Department, the issue is that Noriega no longer uses the profits on these drugs to finance the CIA's contras and other State Department projects. The first step in stopping Central America drug running would be disbanding Oliver North's contras, and condemning the Democrats and Republicans for funding the war on Nicaragua. The first step in eliminating tyranny in Central America would be throwing out the Pentagon from the area and breaking the U.S. big stick.

Meanwhile the White House has already begun laying the groundwork for revoking the Panama Canal treaty and refusing to gradually turn over the Canal to Panama. In fact, the economic terms of the Treaty have already been broken in the campaign against Noriega.

Neither Bush nor Noriega

Noriega himself is simply another military ruler with nationalist trappings. His government has clashed with workers and students in the past, and will in the future.

But the previous governments of the Panamanian oligarchy have been no better. They enriched a handful of businessmen and oligarchs. When Omar Torrijos and then Noriega took power, they took the spoils of office to a somewhat different section of the population. The conflict between the bourgeois opposition, representing the oligarchy that ruled prior to the Torrijos-Noriega period, and Noriega is over which gang will exploit the Panamanian people.

This is why the bourgeois opposition to Noriega is so weak. This is why it is more concerned with its popularity in Washington and with the continued ring of the cash register in Panama than with anything else. This is why the bourgeois opposition, whether it gets into power as a Bush puppet or not, cannot bring freedom to Panama.

The only progress is through building up a militant movement of the Panamanian working class for its own liberation. Such a movement cannot be brought into being from the White House, but will be utterly antagonistic to U.S. dictate. The biggest support the American people can make to the cause of Panamanian liberation is to oppose the hold of the State Department and the Pentagon over Panama.

Noriega -- Old Friend of the Reagan-Bush Administration

Noriega himself is an old friend of the Reagan-Bush administration. Back in the days when he proposed assassinating Sandinista leaders he was on the CIA payroll.

But Noriega decided to play both sides of the fence, having contacts with everyone and getting money from all sides. He couldn't see why he shouldn't be able to hobnob with both Washington and Havana, the CIA and Managua. This is the only reason why the Bush administration wants to overthrow him.

Panama has long been a battleship of the U.S. against the rest of Central America. U.S. military bases and spy bases dot Panama, and they are there whether or not the Panamanian government of the moment wants them. The Pentagon wants to ensure that Panama remains a useful part of the American empire.

Meanwhile Noriega's nationalist phrases don't make him a revolutionary. Ortega and Castro may forgive Noriega his little indiscretions in the service of the CIA, but the comrades of our Party who have visited Nicaragua and talked to class conscious workers have heard firsthand of their hatred for Noriega's crimes.

Self-Determination for Central America

The point of the chauvinist campaign for intervention in Central America is to deny the Central American people their right to self-determination. It is an attempt to turn Central America into a passive region of banana republics whose White House-approved rulers watch every move of Washington with fear and trembling.

But the wave of popular indignation is sweeping over Central America. The pro-U.S. Nicaraguan dictator Somoza fell in 1979. El Salvador is in the flames of civil war, and over a decade of the most bloody U.S.-directed slaughter has left the dictatorship weaker than ever.

In Panama too, the American dictate is widely hated. The day will come when Panamanian workers rise up to liberate themselves from the rich oligarchy as well as the American whip. When they do so, they will face another chauvinist campaign for intervention from the Democrats and Republicans, and they will face troops based on U.S. bases in Panama. Let us bring closer the day of liberation for Panama by demanding the end to U.S. intervention in Panama.

No White House intervention In Panama!

All U.S. military bases, out of Panama!

The Panama Canal belongs to Panama!

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Bush's drug czar begins mass evictions

Wielding semiautomatic weapons, federal marshals and Washington D.C. police swept through 50 housing units May 15 evicting tenants and their families. This was the opening wave of mass evictions planned as part of the "war on drugs" by William Bennett, Bush's drug czar, and Mayor Marion Barry's Washington D.C. Police Department.

But how are these evictions supposed to stop drug abuse? Were these crack houses? Were these heroin factories? Not at all. These were only the homes of tenants who had failed to pay their rent, either due to impoverishment or in protest against landlord's failure to make repairs. Indeed, there were only three arrests made during the raids, and these were only for minor drug possession charges.

How were these houses selected for Bennett's supposedly anti-drug evictions? In Washington D.C. there is a city wide eviction roster, which has a backlog of some 1,800 eviction cases. Bennett asked the landlords if they believed that those scheduled for eviction were involved in drugs. The landlords were not asked to present any proof. But if they said yes, then the tenant went to the top of the list for eviction.

Washington Post reporters accompanied the police into the Upland apartment building in southwest Washington. Sleeping residents were woken up and kicked into street. No cocaine or weapons were found. But one tenant who had lived there for two years said he hadn't paid rent because the landlord refused to make repairs. The Post reporter admitted that the apartment was soaked with water apparently from the rain storm leaking in.

It appears that in the name of a "war on drugs," federal officers are being brought in to help slumlords clear out troublesome tenants.

Bennett's War on Drugs

The mass evictions are just part of a mammoth drive of police repression in Washington D.C.

Bennett has decided to make D.C. a "test case" by declaring it a "high-intensity drug trafficking area." He has announced an $80 million "drug crime emergency assistance program" that includes using federal funds to hire more local police and assign more federal prosecutors, judges, and agents of the Drug Enforcement Agency and FBI to the District. He has also floated the idea of converting abandoned military facilities into temporary prisons to house the large numbers of people he expects to arrest in the crackdown. And he is considering setting up "boot camps" to discipline young people who are swept up in the raids.

Mayor Barry Does His Part

Federal officials have complained that Washington's black mayor, Marion Barry, has let things get out of hand. But Barry's city government is not only cooperating with the federal campaign, it is taking its own measures against the poor.

Washington D.C. already has the highest police per-capita rate in the country. Nevertheless, the city council has already approved the hiring of 300 more cops. It has also put into effect new "no bail" and minimum-sentence laws to ensure that those who are arrested end up doing time. And it has been trying to force through a draconian curfew to keep youth under 18 years of age off the street from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. (The curfew has so far been ruled unconstitutional in the courts.) And over the last two years, some 46,000 people -- the majority of them black -- have been arrested in the city's anti-drug campaigns. The city's prison population has increased by 50% over the last five years.

A War on the Poor

It is notable that all these anti-drug plans offer virtually nothing to help people get out of drug addiction. Bennett has millions of dollars for police, but only a few cents to set up an outpatient drug clinic which could treat only 300 patients by 1990.

No, this "war on drugs" has little to do with attacking the drug problem. If Bennett really wanted to go after those involved in drugs, he need look no further than the White House. The contragate scandal has given ample proof that Bush and Reagan were giving money and assistance to big-time drug runners as part of the financing of the contra war against the Nicaraguan revolution. A recent report by Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, entitled "Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy," reveals that the State Department paid four companies controlled by narcotics traffickers $806,402.32 to provide "humanitarian assistance" to the contras. But Bennett would never consider arresting Reagan or evicting Bush from the White House. Oh no. Instead it's a war on the poor and working people.

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Jack Kemp's 'war on poverty' - more attacks on the poor

Jack Kemp, the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), went to Detroit May 8 to promote what the Bush government claims is a new "war on poverty." "President Bush said he wanted to opportunity-type of society in which the economy would be thriving and creating jobs in the cities," Kemp declared. "I think the window is open in the next four years and the next decade, in our cities and our urban wage war on poverty, on despair, on drugs, on hopelessness and homelessness with every single tool at our command."

Townhouses for the Rich

Was Kemp promising to provide money to fix up the over 40% of public housing in Detroit that is uninhabitable? Not a chance. Rather Kemp was speaking at Harbortown, a new $69 million luxury condominium and apartment complex on Detroit's riverfront. Townhouses in the complex cost over $125,000 and apartments rent from $900 a month on up. Kemp praised the cooperation of the city, state, and private builders in funding the project, and gave them HUD's award for "Urban Development Excellence."

So this is Bush's "war on poverty." Not helping the poor, but gentrification and building townhouses for the rich.

Nevertheless, the Democrats came out to praise him. Michigan Governor Blanchard was ecstatic. He swooned that Kemp "sounds like the Democrats I went to college with [in the early 1960's]...I'm happy there's an activist person at HUD. [He's] blended Republican conservatism with some Democratic idealism."

Evictions for the Poor

But what then is Kemp promising the poor? Apparently evictions. Only a month earlier Kemp agreed to exempt Virginia from HUD's normal rules for evictions and to allow the eviction of anyone even "suspected" of taking drugs.

Kemp's decision was based on an appeal from Mayor Moran of Alexandria, Virginia on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Moran announced that anyone suspected by "a preponderance of evidence" of selling or using drugs would be evicted. City officials explained that "a preponderance of evidence" could be anything from previous "drug raids" to complaints by neighbors and even hunches by the police based on a lot of people coming in and out of a house. When questioned about the illegality of such evictions, Moran declared, "I suggest we do it illegally and let the courts catch up."

Kemp not only hailed Moran's policy. He promised to agree to the same policy for any city in the country that asked for it.

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Black community protests in Boston

A demonstration against violence, drugs, and crime was held in Boston on May 20. About 100 people marched from Dudley Square and an equal number marched, or drove cars, from Mattapan Square to Grove Hall. The march was launched by the efforts of a black mother whose son, Donald Johnson, was gunned down by police in a hail of 200 bullets after he took a Greyhound bus for a joyride.

Reverend Ellis Hagler and other heads of the demonstration decried "black-on-black violence" and tried to give the march a general anti-crime character. Unfortunately this type of argument dovetails with Bush's "war on drugs and crime" which is being used to attack the poor and minorities.

But a section of the march was made up of more militant black workers. They carried signs against police brutality and the "Rambo" cops. One black family was distributing a leaflet denouncing the police for shooting and arresting their son and then charging him with the crimes of the police themselves.

The MLP distributed a thousand leaflets along the march route entitled, "To fight drugs and crime, fight racism and capitalism!" The Party's contingent carried placards that declared: "No to the government's war on black people! ' ' "Down with Bush, the imperialist drug dealer!" "Punish the police murderers of Donald Johnson!" and "Organize mass resistance to police attacks."

The contingent aroused some of the other marchers to join in shouting slogans like "Give our kids an education, no to drugs and discrimination!" and "George Bush take it back, we don't want your coke and crack!" As well, a Party group sang songs. Part of the song No more Takeaways -- that denounces Bush's "war on drugs" as a phony game and calls for mass struggle -- was very popular.

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Boston police: "fighting drugs" or cracking down on youth?

An example of how the war on drugs is a war on the working people, especially the black youth, is shown by a number of incidents during the last week of March.

On Tuesday, March 28, Boston got an early taste of summer. Temperatures soared into the 80's and people all over the city gathered on the streets to socialize. At the corner of Geneva Avenue and Bloomfield a crowd of about 50 teenagers and young workers with their small children gathered on the edge of a parking lot to talk and listen to music.

Suddenly two police cruisers showed up and the cops told the people to disperse, without any reason. Several people in the crowd told the cops they would not disperse. They argued they had every right to gather on a public sidewalk and that they were not doing anything wrong. The cops retreated. But within minutes 10 police cruisers converged on Geneva Ave.

The cops jumped out of the cruisers and immediately began to push and shove people and to search them. The cops claimed they were looking for drugs. The crowd swelled to over 100 black, Latino, and white people who began to yell at the cops: "Get out of here" and "Leave us alone." The police had arrested a number of youth who refused to be searched. They even arrested one handicapped boy. With the help of the crowd a number of youth escaped. The police became nervous about the growing size of the crowd and soon left to a chorus of catcalls.

There are a lot of drug dealers who operate in the Geneva area. And everyone knows who they are, including the police. But it was not the drug dealers who gathered that evening, it was working people.

That same evening the police pulled a similar stunt in the Dudley Square area of Roxbury. They dispersed a crowd claiming they were heading off potential "drug gang violence." But they later had to admit that the supposed "gang members" were not even present.

(Taken from the April 21 "Boston Worker," paper of the MLP-Boston.)

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Senate investigation shows drugs finance the contras

In order to finance the CIA's contra army fighting the Nicaraguan people, the U.S. government has resorted to dealing in drugs. Abundant evidence was found by an investigation by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Narcotics, Terrorism and International Operations. Its report, issued on April 13, is entitled "Drugs, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy."

Drug Dealing of the Contras

According to the report "there was substantial evidence of drug smuggling through the war zones on the part of individual contras, contra suppliers, contra pilots, mercenaries who worked with the contras, and contra supporters throughout the region." It also concludes that there was "provision of assistance to the contras by narcotics traffickers including cash, weapons, planes, pilots, air supply services and other materials, on a voluntary basis by drug traffickers."

It also noted that "payments were made to drug traffickers by U.S. State Department funds authorized by Congress for humanitarian assistance to the contras even after these traffickers were indicted or under investigation for drug trafficking by federal agencies."

The U.S.-Noriega Connection

The information revealed by the subcommittee shows that not only did the U.S. government know about these activities, they actively recruited the drug merchants into the contra war. A case in point is the relationship between the U.S. and Panamanian ruler, Noriega.

Presently, President Bush is clamoring that Noriega is a drug-lord dictator. True enough. But, as the evidence in the report shows, this didn't bother the CIA when they mobilized Noriega into the anti-contra front a few years ago. According to a senior staff member of the National Security Council whose testimony is quoted in the report, when the Reagan-Bush administration was still backing Noriega, there was "not a smoking gun but rather a 21-cannon barrage of evidence of Noriega's involvement in criminal activity and drugs."

Clearly Reagan just couldn't say "no" to drug dealers when Noriega was offering to assassinate top Sandinista leaders and the U.S. was encouraging him to invade Nicaragua. Indeed the report admits that in general "U.S. officials involved in Central America failed to address the drug issue for fear of jeopardizing the war effort against Nicaragua."

A similar story came out about the U.S.-contra connection with Prime Minister Lynden Pindling of the Bahamas. And according to the report, the Bahamas is today a "transshipment point for 50-60% of the marijuana and cocaine coming in the U.S."

Colombian Drug Cartel Chips In

Then there is the case of the notorious multibillion dollar drug cartel based in Medellin, Colombia. A convicted member of this cartel, Ramon Milian-Rodriguez, told the subcommittee he personally helped transfer over $3 million in drug money to the CIA for the contras. Even after being arrested by the U.S. authorities, Milian-Rodriguez testified, he was never questioned about his payments to the CIA although his written record of the CIA transaction was captured with him.

Moreover, the investigation showed that the State Department's Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office (NHAO) sent funds to a Costa Rican seafood business set up by Milian-Rodriguez to launder the Medellin cartel's drug money.

The Drug-Contra Aid Pipeline

In fact, the evidence in the report shows that an entire drug-contra aid pipeline was set up by the Reagan-Bush administration. The drug dealers helped transfer U.S. funds to the contras, helped finance the contras and transported supplies to the contras. In return, the U.S. allowed the drug dealers to use contra airstrips, gave a free hand to the drug kingpins, and even squashed investigations by U.S. law enforcement officials.

For example, the State Department's contra-supply group, the NHAO, acting on the advice of the infamous Ollie North, paid out over $800,000 in 1986 alone to four companies known for their drug ties. Among them was an outfit called SETCO Air which was contracted to be the primary company transporting the contras and their supplies from 1983 to 1985.

And what was SETCO Air? It was a company set up by American businessmen and Honduran drug dealer Ramon Matta Ballesteros to smuggle drugs into the U.S.

Another friendly relationship between the U.S./contra aid network and the drug merchants involved CIA operative John Hull, a big rancher in Costa Rica. Hull's ranch contained an airstrip. The airstrip was used by drug runners who would carry mixed cargoes of weapons for the contras and drugs. They would unload the weapons at the airstrip, refuel, and fly the drugs into the U.S. This was a lucrative business for all involved. In fact one person involved in this air network testified that "contra operations on the Southern Front [bordering Costa Rica -- ed.] were in fact funded by drug operations."

Eventually, even some reactionary law enforcement officials became displeased with this flagrant drug running. An investigation was begun. But according to the testimony of an assistant attorney general involved in the investigation, the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica and Reagan's Justice Department combined to squash it.

The Report's Own Whitewash

From all the exposures in the report, one might think it was taking a resolute stand against the U.S./contra war. Chaired by liberal Democrat John Kerry of Massachusetts, here is the ultimate in Democratic Party opposition to the contras.

But in fact the report goes out of its way to whitewash the Reagan-Bush administration and the contra leadership. In doing so, it unwittingly reveals Congressional complicity in the Reagan-Bush administration drug dealing. They know about the drug deals; they talk about it a bit for the cameras; and then they pat the government agencies on the back and tell them to keep up the good work.

For example, the evidence in the report shows the involvement of one agency after another of the government, from the State Department to the Justice Department, from the Drug Enforcement Administration to the CIA. But the report concludes that the very agencies involved in this drug dealing, the very Reagan-Bush administration whose personal contra supply network carried out this drug dealing, had clean hands. Why, it merely "failed to acknowledge, or underestimated'' the seriousness of the drug cartels. This is like saying that a murderer "failed to acknowledge, or underestimated" the effect of firing a gun.

The report shows how drug dealing was involved with every step of financing the contra war and supplying them with weapons. What conclusion does it draw? It decides that the contra leadership were not personally involved in the drug trafficking. In other words we are to believe that the contra leaders had no idea how their troops were transported, financed and supplied. Nice try!

White House and Congress Join Hands in Defense of Merchant of Death John Hull

And take the case of direct Congressional support for John Hull, a key member of the contra supply network in Costa Rica and up to his neck in deals with the drug lords.

He was finally indicted in Costa Rica for some of his criminal deals. And what happened?

The Reagan-Bush administration put the squeeze on Costa Rica to leave him alone. And earlier this year a bipartisan group of 19 congressmen sent a letter to Costa Rican President Arias brutally backing up the demand for hands off John Hull, at least if he liked receiving U.S. aid. Among the signers were liberal Democrats who pose as opponents of contra aid, to say nothing of posing as opponents of drug running. And it wasn't that these congressmen were ignorant of who John Hull was. Among the authors of the letters was Lee Hamilton, former chairman of the House Iran-contra committee.

Why does Congress, including the most "anti-war'' Democrats like Kerry and Iran-contra investigators like Lee Hamilton, whitewash the contra leadership and Reagan-Bush White House?

To do anything else would jeopardize the U.S. big stick in Central America. And Congress is not opposed to U.S. aggression against Nicaragua in particular or the big stick in general. It merely wants to fine tune this policy. Indeed, the Democratic-controlled Congress recently reached unity with Bush on a bipartisan policy for Central America.

And to do anything else would jeopardize Reagan-Bush hypocrisy on drugs and terrorism. The White House is using the hysteria on drugs to justify its own terrorism against other countries and its war on the rights and livelihood of the working people in the U.S. Instead of exposing the brutal reality of White House policies on terrorism and drugs, the language of the Kerry subcommittee suggests that the White House should be more resolute and stop "underestimating'' these issues. It is trying to out-Bush Bush.

Thus, even as Congress was uncovering some contra-drug links, they were voting another $66 million for the contra thugs. And they were cheering on more police steps against the poor in the name of the "war on drugs." This is why the Senate's uncovering of State Department and contra involvement in the drug trade, at a time when the "war on drugs" is being trumpeted all over the country, could only produce a few soft whimpers.

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Youth protest lockdown of Chicago housing projects

A spontaneous protest broke out against the police lockdown of two seven-story public housing buildings in the Ogden courts project in Chicago on April 13. Shouting "Free the projects!" youth from Ogden courts marched through an adjacent project. They called on people there to join the protest. The young people denounced the lockdown as being racist. They argued it was not to fight drugs but to attack black people. About 70 of them marched back to the Ogden projects where they held a speakout on the basketball court against racism and police harassment.

That day the Chicago police and the Chicago Housing Authority sealed off two buildings in the project. They had no warrants, but they searched through every apartment looking for drugs, guns and illegal tenants. The residents were herded through a processing center. Those who could prove they were on a lease were photographed and issued ID tags. People not on lease, including family members and people who had lived in the building for years, were either evicted on the spot or given two weeks to get out.

The Chicago police also made a sweep outside the buildings. They arrested over a dozen young teens just for standing there and hauled them to jail.

The authorities claim the lockdowns at Ogden courts and other projects are to stop crime. But they are obviously aimed at harassing the poor. Some tenants even report that CHA guards have used the lockdowns, and the threat of eviction, to pressure women residents for sex.

Nevertheless, the lockdowns of projects have the blessings of the Bush administration. In March, Bush's head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Jack Kemp, came to personally inspect the Rockwell Gardens project. This was the first building to be locked down back in September. Kemp gave his approval for these attacks. HUD had earlier released some $40 million to the CHA once the lockdowns had begun and the new head of the CHA had proven he would get tough to "clean up the projects." Back in Washington, Kemp joined with Bush's drug czar, William Bennett, to declare that the CHA lockdowns would be a model for the nation.

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Racist cop busted for cocaine trafficking in Miami

Orthodox thinking today is that the way to stop drugs is to hire more police. That's what the Republicans preach. That's what most Democrats do. That's what the capitalist newspapers argue over and over.

But what can be said when these police use their mandate to terrorize Afro-Americans, Latinos and poor. And all too often these same police are themselves involved in running drugs. Take the case of Alex Marrero.

Marrero was a Miami policeman. He and three other Miami cops brutally beat to death Arthur McDuffie, a black man they had stopped for a traffic violation on his motorcycle. In 1980, when the murder was whitewashed and these cops were acquitted, Miami's Liberty City went up in flames. The protest of the black masses was suppressed in blood. The cops killed another 18 people to put down the masses.

In April, this same Marrero was arrested for cocaine trafficking. He had agreed to protect a shipment of cocaine from the Bahamas in return for payment of $300,000. And what of the special drug police? Arrested along with Marrero for the same crime was Jorge Villar, an official of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

In America where the dollar is king, the corruption of police by rich drug lords is an everyday affair. But more. Whether corrupted by drug runners or not, the rule of the capitalist dollar means that the police departments are in fact the servants, the protectors of the rich capitalists. As long as capitalism rules, the police will be used to attack and hold down the working masses, the minorities and poor for the sake of their wealthy masters.

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1,500 march against Hitler worshippers in Idaho


One thousand five hundred people marched against a national conference of neo-nazi youth in Idaho on April 22. Chanting "Hey, hey, ho, ho, Nazi skinheads have got to go," the demonstrators marched seven miles from Cour D'Alene to within two miles of the Hayden Lake compound of the Aryan Nation. Over half the demonstrators were high school and college students from Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Montana. People from the area honked their horns and shouted support as they passed by the march.

Racists Hide from Protest

The conference of racist skinheads, KKK, and nazis was called to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Adolph Hitler. "Jesus the Christ and Adolph Hitler have given us the keys to victory," said Richard Butler, the Aryan Nation leader who called the conference.

But there was no victory for the racists this time around. They originally planned a march through Cour d'Alene. But they canceled it out of fear of the anti-racist protesters. Only 35-50 racists even dared to show up for the conference, and they remained hidden behind lines of police who were called out to protect them.

Militancy Called For

A contingent organized by the Marxist-Leninist Party (MLP) together with the Revolutionary Action Group (RAG) played a prominent role in the march.

Weeks before the march the MLP and RAG put out a joint leaflet calling for people to join the march to "Smash the Fascists! Fight the Government's Racist Offensive!" The leaflets were distributed at factories, high schools and colleges in Seattle and Spokane. Everywhere the masses grabbed them up enthusiastically. At Columbia Lighting, for example, groups of workers gathered at the gate and many joined in shouting "wipe out the nazi skinheads!"

At the demonstration, the MLP-RAG contingent shouted militant slogans as they marched under a banner declaring, "Fight racism with militant action! Smash the nazi skinheads!" They distributed over 1,000 leaflets along the march. And people took 40 of their placards with slogans like: "Smash the nazi skinheads!" "Nazis are thugs for the rich! " " Smash racist police terror!" "The government's 'war on drugs' is a war on black people and youth!" Dozens of young people came to the contingent to discuss organizing against the racists, and many supported the contingent's militant stand.

Jesse Jackson Opposes Militant March

The joint work of the MLP and RAG was carried out in defiance of numerous attempts by the liberal organizers of the march to suppress them.

Originally, a section of liberals worked to stop this march from even taking place. The Task Force for Human Rights in this Idaho county lobbied against a protest. And Jesse Jackson,while in Spokane in February, declared that the skinheads and other racists should be ignored. He, the Task Force, and other liberals, claimed that a protest would only give the racists publicity.

But when it became clear that anti-racists would march in spite of them, Jesse Jackson turned around and claimed to support it. But a great deal of pressure was created to keep the march tame and peaceful, without a lick of militancy.

The heads of Citizens for Non-Violent Action Against Racism (CINAAR), who officially led the march, worked hard to oppose any militancy. They demanded that all marchers follow a "nonviolence code" which they said meant that people were not to defend themselves even if attacked by the racists. They claimed militancy and confrontational tactics will alienate people. But who were they afraid of alienating? The massed in the region showed their enthusiasm for the leaflets and calls to "smash the nazi skinheads!" Obviously, it is not the masses but, rather, the liberal Democrats like Jesse Jackson they don't want to "alienate."

The CINAAR leaders sent marshals to demand that the MLP and RAG stop distributing leaflets and tried to force people to give up the placards distributed by the contingent. At one point, they announced from the platform that the marshals would go through the crowd to pick up all the "violent" signs. But the MLP and RAG opposed them, and most people refused to give up their picket signs or to stop shouting militant slogans.

Angry residents denounce racist housing authority police


In the Queensbridge housing project, police of the New York City Housing Authority arrested Richard Luke in the lobby of his own building. Residents of the building in the Long Island City of Queens denounced the police for physically assaulting him. Ninety minutes later, Richard was dead in police custody. He was a 25-year-old black man. The police were white. This was Monday morning, May 22.

By Tuesday morning, hundreds of residents and others, angered at the racist brutality of the police, marched to the Queensboro Bridge to block traffic in protest. Two hundred policemen confronted the protesters and prevented the blocking of traffic. But protesters marched again through the streets of Queens during evening rush hour traffic.

On Wednesday, a rally was held at the housing project. Speeches denounced this racist murder and called for a renewed struggle for freedom. Activists marched on the Housing Authority police station, chanting slogans and blocking traffic.

The response of Chief Raiford to the murder of Richard Luke: "On the face of it, I haven't found any cause to sanction the officers."

African-American Summit of liberals and Reaganites:

Black bourgeoisie looking for common ground

An "African-American Summit" of most of the prominent black officials and civil rights leaders took place in New Orleans from April 21-23.

The summit came at a time when protests of black students against campus racism were beginning to sweep across the country and when masses of black working people had begun to go into the streets in a number of cities to oppose racist gangs and police brutality, to denounce evictions of the poor, and to condemn Bush's "war on crime and drugs" as a war on the black people.

But the summit did not discuss these struggles, or how to build up the anti-racist mass movement against Bush and Congress. No, this was not a summit to defend the black working people, and poor.

Rather it was a meeting of the black upper crust -- the black bourgeoisie and aspiring petty bourgeoisie. Its primary concerns were how to reconcile liberalism with Reaganism to get more government positions for the black bourgeoisie and how to increase their wealth.

An Effort to Unite Liberals and Reaganites

The summit was called by Jesse Jackson and the former mayor of Gary, Indiana, Richard Hatcher. They specifically invited black Reaganites from the Republican Party, along with liberal Democrats, and nationalists like Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. Their aim was to find "common ground" with the Reaganites for the interests of the black bourgeoisie.

As Jesse Jackson put it, "This conference was devised as a free marketplace of ideas. If ever we needed to come together, we certainly need to come together now. We must seek common ground."

Ron Dellums, the ultra-liberal Democratic congressman from California, drew out the point. He argued, "We should not waste our time persuading Republicans to become Democrats, or socialists to become capitalists; rather, we should search for a common ground, and develop an agenda which allows our diversity to be a source of strength rather than a weakness."

The black Reaganites agreed with the effort. Gloria Toote, an advisor to Reagan and now Bush, was one of main summit organizers. Throughout the summit she defended the policies of Reagan and Bush. Nonetheless, she joined in Jackson's call for finding common ground, declaring, "We must cease to place party labels above our racial interests."

Economic Empowerment -- More Efforts for Black Capitalism

And what were these "racial interests"? Jesse Jackson gave an eloquent explanation. He urged that the fight against racism should now play second fiddle to the encouragement of black capitalism.

"There is always nobility in fighting for racial and social justice," Jackson declared, "but we are suffering from economic anemia and the absence of a capital flow."

On this the black Reaganites, the liberal Democrats, and the nationalists all agreed. A resolution was passed calling for the establishment of many black joint ventures to maximize capital formation for investment purposes. The resolution endorsed Jackson's idea (sometimes called an American Development or Investment Bank) of grabbing money from workers' pension funds for such investments in the inner cities, as an alternative to banking institutions and traditional bond markets.

The resolution also urged support for all black capitalist development projects, including such programs as the Black United Front's "buy black" campaign and the Nation of Islam's "power" program. This resolution had something for all the trends in the black bourgeoisie.

Political Empowerment -- More Positions for the Black Bourgeoisie

The different trends also agreed on using the black masses as a bargaining chip to get more positions for the black bourgeoisie. A resolution was passed calling for "intensified and tougher bargaining with the major political parties for black votes and increased black participation." (New York Times, April 24)

This means, of course, that they are calling for bargaining with both the Republicans and the Democrats. However, the black Reaganites wanted a specific endorsement of Bush's call for more black involvement in the Republican Party. The liberals felt this would be too revealing about their conciliation with the Bush government and so no such call was given.

It is notable that talk of forming organization independent from both of these capitalist parties was not even allowed to reach a floor vote.

Black Masses Sold Out

When it came to issues affecting the masses of black people, the summit simply combined the pet plans of the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Take the crisis in housing, for example. The summit resolution gives a vague liberal call for more federal assistance. At the same time it boosts "residential management and ownership" -- the pet scheme of Bush's housing director Jack Kemp for selling off low-income housing and gentrifying the neighborhoods.

Similarly, there's a resolution calling for a national and international drug crackdown. While ordinary black people are increasingly denouncing Bush's war on drugs as a war on the workers and poor, this is a resolution that would make Bush proud. But combined in this resolution there is also some liberal hand wringing about protecting civil rights at home.

The Call for Reparations

The summit also gave a call for reparations for blacks for their years of slavery and discrimination. But in the hands of the black bourgeoisie, such a call simply becomes a cynical measure to grab more bucks for their own pet projects.

Jackson, for example, talked of reparations, but he wants the money used for his "American investment bank." Farrakhan also appealed for reparations, but he wants the money spent to ship blacks off to Africa to set up a separate nation for American blacks there.

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Students on the march

CUNY students defeat tuition increase


Students at the 20 campuses of the City University of New York (CUNY) won round one in their battle with the state government. Their militant struggle forced Governor Cuomo to veto (for now) the proposed $200 tuition increase. Cuomo's last minute veto only came after 17 campuses erupted in struggle, after buildings were seized at 13 colleges, and after an 11-hour protest march and rally of 10,000 CUNY students and staff on May 2.

The ongoing protests are an extension of the student struggles that began April 24, when student activists at City College seized the administration building. They protested the $200-a-year tuition increase for New York state residents, and $750 increase for out-of-state students. They also protested the elimination of faculty and staff positions and the deterioration of academic services.

The struggle quickly spread. Building seizures were accompanied by widespread support by the student body, staff and faculty. The students have organized marches, rallies and shut down street traffic for up to six hours near some of the protesting campuses.

The May 2 march marked the height of the protests so far. Up to 10,000 students converged on Cuomo's offices at the World Trade Center, chanting "Education is our right! Fight! Fight! Fight!'' The demonstrators marched through the downtown streets to City Hall and denounced New York Mayor Koch. They traveled to Wall Street to highlight the contrast between the financiers' wealth and the students' impoverishment. And they went on to the Sheraton Hotel in midtown to confront Cuomo, who has sneaked away earlier. The protest covered about seven miles and tied up city traffic for almost eight hours.

The proposed tuition increases and budget cuts show that the liberal Democratic Governor Cuomo is simply following in the footsteps of Reagan and Bush. Indeed, Cuomo has called on the Democratic Party to support Bush's budgetary "flexible freeze'' on social programs. Obviously, when it comes to putting the squeeze on the working people, both Democrats and Republicans agree.

(Based on May 2 "New York Workers' Voice,'' paper of MLP-New York.)

Police attack Rutgers protest against tuition hikes

Over 1,000 students confronted the board of governors at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey on May 12. The students protested a 13- 20% hike in tuitions. Some students report that the tuition increases are being used to provide facilities for research into fiber optics and weaponry for corporate and Pentagon interests. Despite the protest, the board of governors voted to increase tuitions.

Enraged, the students marched to the dean of students office and occupied it. Campus police pushed them out and arrested several of the demonstrators. But other students sat down on College Avenue to block the police vans from carting off the protesters. City police arrived and brutally attacked the demonstrators. Over 70 students were arrested.

Howard students demand that promises be kept

Howard students marched to the home of the university's president James Cheek on April 20. They.held a vigil calling for the implementation of the demands he had agreed to in earlier protests.

Back in March some 2,000 students marched on campus, shut down the university, and occupied the administration building for six days. They protested the naming of Lee Atwater, Chairman of the Republican Party, to the Board of Trustees. They condemned the racism of Atwater and the Republican Party.

At that time, the students won the demand that Lee Atwater must go, even though he originally had the unanimous backing of the Board of Trustees. President Cheek also agreed to a number of other student demands, including increased financial aid. The changes were to be made by April 20. But the university administration has not only dragged its feet on the financial aid and other demands, it also had the gall to raise tuition $400 for next year.

Two days after the recent protest, loudspeakers on campus announced Cheek's resignation. The students cheered and wished good riddance to this black Reaganite.

James Cheek is a long-time Republican. He has served as a consultant to Bush on educational matters. He also served as consultant to Nixon on dealing with campus unrest in the 60's and 70's. The heavy-handed tactics Cheek advocated when his own students rose up -- police SWAT teams, helicopters and invading the occupied building -- collapsed in the face of the students' militant resolve. Apparently Cheek has too.

Anti-racist building takeover at Michigan State

After seven days, 200 black students declared a victory for their sit-in against racism at Michigan State University. During the week of protests over 300 students participated in marches, rallies and the occupation of the administration building.

Administration Drags Its Feet

Back in February the administration met with students and parents. It promised to do something about the racism that had flared up in a series of incidents in January. But it was not until April that it came up with the "MSU idea'' -- a list of 50 goals. And these were devoid of concrete plans or a timetable for implementation.

The sit-in was launched to force the administration to make concrete commitments: increased black enrollment and scholarships; hiring more black professors and administrators; hiring a minority advisor to MSU'S provost; and other actions against racism on campus.

Students Rally in Support of Sit-In

The protest began on May 9. Close to 100 students took over the lobby of the administration building.

The next day over 50 campus organizations held a support demonstration. Black, white and Asian students gave speeches in support of the fight against racism. Many joined the protesters inside the building for an hour to show their solidarity.

On May 11 the students, complaining that MSU was still dragging its feet, decided to take over the rest of the first floor. Cutting off access to the first-floor offices pushed the administration into more serious talks. Four days later an agreement was reached.

While many demands were not won, student leaders point out that the protest forced the MSU administration to make additional commitments beyond those "ideas'' put forward in April. These include such things as the quicker appointment of a minority advisor to the provost, more funding for minority student organizations, and the creation of a minority student newspaper.


Bush confronted at Boston U.

George Bush came, with French President Mitterand, to the Boston University commencement May 21 to drum up support for his imperialist foreign policy.

He was greeted by about 200 demonstrators. The MLP pushed for this demonstration and distributed over 2,000 leaflets for it in the weeks before the action. Eventually a number of groups endorsed the march. The protesters decried Bush's crusade of cutbacks, racism, anti-abortion, and war? The demonstrators marched up Commonwealth Avenue to Nickerson Field where Bush was to speak. Police forced the march to the opposite side of the street. A few protesters managed to get on the prohibited side, but were shoved across the street. The demonstrators denounced the police, and there was pushing and shoving with them.

At one point, university police sent a provocateur to pick fights with demonstrators. He punched one man, but was chased off. Protesters demanded his arrest, but the cops refused as he showed his Boston University security ID. Slogans were shouted, "Police protect the fascists.''

Meanwhile, inside the commencement, banners were raised declaring "Women's life, women's choice'' and "Iran-Contra: Indict Bush.'' Marshals forced the banners to be lowered. But at the end of Bush's speech, the students raised the banners again and marched them through the stadium.

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Strikes and workplace news


Pittston coal miners confront cops and scabs

[Photo: Pittston miners face off against state troopers called in to break their strike.]

Fifteen hundred coal miners have been on strike against 10 of Pittston Coal Company's 12 mining subsidiaries since April 5. The miners have thrown up mass picket lines. And sharp clashes have broken out with scabs and the state police.

Mass Pickets Defy Cops

In mid-April, the state police arrested 1,200 miners who were blocking roads to a subsidiary plant. This attack outraged people throughout the region. Townspeople in Clintwood, Virginia mobbed a bus loaded with arrested miners to prevent the police from taking them to jail. Other spontaneous parades and rallies broke out in the town to support the arrested miners.

High school students also demonstrated their support. Student protests erupted at nine area high schools. At one point students formed a blockade at a motel where state troopers were staying.

On April 18th, 40 women occupied the offices of Pittston regional headquarters in Lebanon, Virginia. The women call themselves the "Daughters of Mother Jones.'' They are widows of former miners and members of family auxiliaries to the United Mine Workers union (UMW). They sat in at the offices for two days. Strikers, retirees and disabled miners brought them food and cheered them on from outside.

More than 10,000 miners and their supporters packed the Wise County fairgrounds April 30. Miners came from all over Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee to show solidarity with the Pittston strikers. Many of the miners called for an industry-wide strike to back up the Pittston miners. But the UMW leaders continue to stand against a united coal strike.

Two days later, miners continued their mass picketing. Seven strikers were injured when a scab-driven pickup truck drove into the picket line. The pickup was leading a convoy of scab coal trucks. The police didn't lay a hand on the scabs. Instead, they turned around and arrested 140 miners.

Government Backs Pittston Strikebreaking

Pittston miners worked for 14 months without a contract. Pittston is the second largest U.S. coal exporter and Virginia's largest producer. It refused to sign the industry-wide contract in February, 1988. It demanded more concessions from the miners, including more leeway to open nonunion operations. It unilaterally cut off health benefits to retirees and disabled miners. The last straw came when Pittston attempted to enforce a seven-day work week with no overtime pay.

Although the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Pittston had been following unfair labor practices prior to the strike, it has done nothing to help the miners. The company continues to try to operate with scab labor. And it has been fully backed by the government, with injunctions against mass picketing and mass arrests by the Virginia state police.

Indeed, the NLRB saved its real wrath for the miners. It charged the United Mine Workers with unfair labor practices for blocking mine entrances and "violence.'' It is levying fines of $100,000 for each violent incident it can blame on the union.

UMW Leaders Try to Hogtie Strike

Despite the obvious fact that the government is backing Pittston to the hilt, the leaders of the UMW continue to call on the miners to put their faith in appeals to the NLRB and Democratic Party officials.

Instead of calling on the miners to defy the NLRB, the court injunctions and police, the UMW hacks have denounced miners for "violence'' and demanded that they comply with the NLRB.

Instead of calling for an industry-wide strike, as many miners have urged, UMW president Trumka has stuck to his "selective strike'' tactic. In fact, he has even refused to call out the 500 Pittston miners across the state line in Kentucky.

Recently Trumka accepted Pittston Coal's call for federal mediation. And he appealed to Pittston and Virginia's Democratic Governor Baliles for a seven-day cooling-off period during which time the pickets would be withdrawn in exchange for a company pledge to halt production and the transport of coal.

Trumka continues to put his faith in the good graces of the coal capitalists and the government. The rank-and-file miners must oppose such illusions and stick with mass action to beat back the capitalists' attack.

Graduate students strike U.C.-Berkeley

Striking graduate students brought the education process to a standstill at the University of California Berkeley campus May 3 and 4. It is estimated that 75% of all undergraduate classes on campus were canceled due to the two-day strike by 2,000 teaching assistants, research assistants, readers, and tutors.

The graduate students struck to demand that the university recognize their union, the Association of Graduate Student Employees (AGSE), and negotiate with them for higher pay, better health benefits, smaller classes and waiver of tuition and fees.

University officials have claimed that graduate student instructors are not employees and that the primary purpose of their work is educational. The Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) agreed with the university in a decision announced on April 28. The PERB decision infuriated the graduate students by saying that the teaching and research assistants were not essential to the functioning of the university.

The two-day strike proved just how essential the graduate students are. Both days, the main activity on campus was the spirited picket lines of placard- carrying, shouting graduate students. "Don't go to class!'' "We are not serfs!'' the strikers chanted. Picket lines at all major entrances were well staffed and resolute in barring entrances and informing students. In the few classes that were held, discussion broke out on the strike and its demands. The strikers' symbol of yellow armbands was taken up by many of the other university staff.

[Photo: Graduate students on the picket line at UC Berkeley.]

10,000 workers strike Seattle groceries

Ten thousand grocery clerks, meat-cutters and others are presently on strike or locked out in the Seattle area. They are fighting to defeat a paltry wage offer from Allied Employers, Inc. which represents Safeway, Albertsons and many other chains.

The workers haven't had an increase in their base wages for the past five years. As well, take-home pay has been cut by increased deductions for medical benefits. But the present offer would leave some workers' pay as low as about $4.00 an hour. This alone is scandalous. But Allied's offer would only raise the hourly base wage of journeymen clerks and meat cutters by 60 cents at the end of the three-year contract. Considering inflation, this is nothing but wage cutting. Meanwhile, the Fred Meyer chain is trying to redefine itself as a "nonfood" store in order to reduce the journeyman wages of its clerks by almost $4.00 an hour.

The Bigger the Strike, the Stronger It Is

Contracts have expired for 25,000 grocery workers in six counties. But so far, the strike/lockout only includes 10,000 of these. There are several reasons for this.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) officials have ordered the clerks and meat cutters in Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Mason counties to continue working without a contract. (Recently, the strike has begun to spread into Pierce County.) In King County, the UFCW officials have signed "me too" agreements with both QFC and Larry's Market plus 20 additional grocery stores, many more than in previous years, keeping those workers on the job during the strike. (Meanwhile, Teamster officials have ordered drivers to deliver food up to the picket lines. They have also ordered several thousand Snohomish county clerks and drivers, whose contract expires later this year, to cross the picket lines of the meat cutters or else "you will be terminated.'')

The strike has been further narrowed by the refusal of the UFCW officials to allow picket lines at any Safeway stores. Safeway has locked out its employees and is operating with scabs.

UFCW retail clerks Local 1105 president Eric Smith has stated that the tactics of narrowing the strike and excluding Safeway from picketing are a "good strategy.'' What this strategy boils down to is restricting the strike to the fewest number of stores. Currently in King County, less than half of the stores have picket lines. They carry on business (and profits) as usual during the strike. This does not put pressure on the remaining picketed stores to cry "uncle." The employers' association has promised to subsidize these stores to prevent this. Thus, the potentially broad solidarity of workers throughout the city is left untapped. The pressure on the companies to give in is greatly weakened. A smaller strike is one that wears down the workers without significantly cutting into the profits of the companies.

To defeat the grocery capitalists an effective strategy has to be taken up. Spread the pickets to Safeway! Stop the scabs and all deliveries!

(Taken from May 15 leaflet produced jointly by the Revolutionary Action Group and the MLP-Seattle.)

22,000 teachers strike L.A. school system

After a vigorous ten-day strike, Los Angeles teachers forced the school board to concede pay increases and some other demands.

Mass Actions Shut Down the Schools

The strike was hard fought. The bosses for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) tried to break the strike. They claimed they didn't have enough money to meet teachers' demands. But they turned around and tried to hire scabs -- promising $169 a day, $40 above average pre-strike pay for substitutes.

But the teachers fought back. They picketed the district's more than 600 schools, the school supply warehouses, and school bus facilities. They held spirited rallies including one of over 8,000 teachers on May 19 and another of 10,000 teachers on May 22. They also demonstrated at the LAUSD headquarters. Eleven demonstrators were arrested during the ensuing sit-in.

Solidarity walkouts by students at dozens of schools made a key difference in the strike. On the second day of the strike, over 300 students at Franklin High School stormed off campus and confronted police. Police cars were pelted with rocks. At Belmont High, hundreds of seniors stormed the district headquarters. They supported the teachers and protested being shown cartoons all day.

Students, parents, and other workers also joined the picket lines. Supporters of the MLP also participated in picket lines and passed out thousands of leaflets to drum up support for the strike. All these solidarity actions helped to virtually shut down the school system.

Extra Money 'Miraculously' Found

The mass strike actions smashed the school board's attempt to run the system with scabs. After 10 days, the state miraculously found extra money to meet some of the teachers' demands.

Of course the money was there all along. But it took the teachers' struggle to push the state government to kick in $48 million from a "newly discovered" surplus of $2.5 billion in the state budget.

The teachers won a 24% pay increase over three years -- still less than the 21% over two years that they were originally demanding. As well, the school board promised to give teachers more say in the curriculum, staffing, teaching methods, and other issues needed to reform the decaying schools.

But many teachers were still angry over the contract. They don't trust the school board's promises. And many were outraged that the union leaders agreed to forcing the teachers to work an extra three and a half hours to make up the school board's earlier one-day pay penalty against teachers. The penalty was handed down before the strike when teachers refused to hand in grades in protest against the school board.

[Photo: Students at Franklin High walk out to back striking teachers in Los Angeles.]

NYC track workers say: Stop work in the rain!

Construction and maintenance work on the New York transit system is dangerous. Everyday track workers face moving trains, while working near live 3rd rails, with heavy industrial tools, surrounded by tripping hazards and slippery conditions. At night this work is done in the dark confines of "the hole." During the day, on the elevated structures with nothing between you and the street below.

But the capitalist managers of the transit system want to make matters worse. They are demanding that routine work be done in the rain, snow and other foul weather.

Individual track workers, and some entire work gangs, have resisted this hazardous policy. Numbers of them have been punished, and even whole gangs have been taken out of service, for refusing to work in wet weather. Unfortunately, the honchos on the Safety Committee of the Transit Workers Union (TWU) have refused to organize a fight against work in the rain for all track workers. It is up to the rank-and- file track workers to build this fight. The New York Workers' Voice has begun a campaign -- with stickers and leaflets -- to help the workers get organized.

(Based on May 5 "New York Workers' Voice,'' paper of the MLP-New York.)

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Step up the defense of women's rights!

Abortion rights actions puncture Operation Rescue's balloon

In the last nine months the movement to defend abortion rights has bounded forward. Thousands of women and men across the country have turned activist overnight to defend the rights of women. They have come out into the streets to challenge the "pro-life" bigots headed by Bush. They have come out to greet the right-wing zealots of Operation Rescue with mass action at abortion clinics.

In the last several weeks, the puffed- up plans of the anti-abortionists have again taken blows. Operation Rescue talked big that on its National Day of Rescue on April 29 they would attack clinics in 70 cities, but this shrank to about 20. At many of their target sites they chickened out, met spirited opposition, or were routed. Their plans for action^ on Mother's Day weekend suffered a similar fate; they only launched events in three cities, and again they met loud opposition.


On April 29th, 200-300 members of OR tried to blockade the Preterm Clinic in Brookline. However the holy bullies were met by a crowd of over 1,000 pro- choice people who denounced them for seven hours with slogans, placards and banners. Initially the police tried to keep the pro-choice people on the opposite side of the street from the clinic, while they took their time dealing with the anti-abortionists. But as the pro-choice crowd swelled, the people moved across the street in defiance of police orders and totally surrounded the OR forces. The clinic was kept open.

That's what it was like at the clinic. But the capitalist media spread a distorted picture to bolster OR's image. From press accounts you'd never know that OR had been vastly outnumbered and defeated.

New York City

April 29 saw a whole day of pro-choice activity in New York City. Pro-choice forces scared off the right-wing thugs from the New York Metro area. OR fled to suburban New Jersey with pro-choice activists in hot pursuit, and the clinics stayed open in New Jersey, too.

Meanwhile a demonstration condemned Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry as he gave a press conference at the Hilton Hotel. When he appeared outside, hundreds of demonstrators broke through police barricades to crowd around and denounce him. The police punched their way through the pro-choice crowd to save Terry. The demonstration proceeded to St. Patrick's Cathedral to confront another right-wing honcho, OR-backer Cardinal O'Connor.


Chicago hasn't seen much sign of Operation Rescue. But OR bragged that it was going to make a big convergence on the city on Mother's Day weekend.

Nothing materialized on Friday. The next morning, a few hundred of them showed up at the Park Medical Center, a clinic on the north side. Two-thirds of them men, many were from out of town, especially Michigan. But pro-choice forces who had mobilized to counter OR were already at the clinic. OR never had the door, as clinic defenders shoved OR back about 60 feet. The police arrested over 200 OR people. The clinic was never shut down.

The next morning, there was a pro- choice rally in front of Holy Name Cathedral. Two hundred people gathered to denounce the anti-abortion stand of the Catholic Church. "Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate," they chanted. A pathetic group of 15 anti-abortionists came to "protect the cathedral."


On April 29 Operation Rescue bused in anti-abortionists from as far away as Illinois and Pennsylvania to block the doors of women's clinics in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights and Livonia. They were confronted at all three sites by hundreds of pro-choice clinic defenders.

At the Farmington clinic, the leaders of NOW exerted control over the pro-choice forces. They pledged to keep things quiet and orderly. Not too surprisingly, OR managed to shut the clinic down.

At Sterling Heights, however, activists attempted to remove anti-abortion thugs from the clinic doors and were partially successful. The presence of a more spirited picket eventually forced the cops to remove the OR blockaders and allow the clinic to reopen.

Pro-choice forces from both sites then converged on OR's next target, Woman- care in Livonia. This clinic stayed open.

On May 6th, 150 people held a militant picket against the "Problem Pregnancy Center," a fake pregnancy counseling center that tries to terrify pregnant women against considering abortions.

On May 20, a pro-choice demonstration of 70 people marched through downtown Detroit to denounce Detroit Tigers' and Domino's Pizza owner, Tom Monaghan, who is an avid supporter and bankroller of the anti-abortion movement.

Los Angeles

One thousand pro-choice activists kept the Inglewood clinic open all day on April 29, in a seven-hour confrontation against 1,000 would-be blockaders from Operation Rescue.

After careful reconnaissance of Operation Rescue's plans, 200 pro- choice activists were dispatched to the clinic before the anti-abortionists arrived. They formed a protective phalanx, arm in arm, extending halfway around the building, and used this to keep control of the door, escorting patients to and from their appointments.

When OR arrived, some of their bullies made repeated attempts to shove through the phalanx. Each time this happened, though, the pro-choice line formed pockets of 50 people around each disruptor, immobilizing him. After they stopped charges by OR members, the pro-choice line began shouting: "A force stronger than police -- the power of the people!"

The 20 cops who were present stood around all day without even attempting to move or arrest the anti-abortionists. And only when pro-choice loops arm- locked OR supporters and held them down, did the clinic security guards remove any of them (this was distorted by the Los Angeles Times report which made the guards into the real heroes).

S.F. Bay Area

On April 26, the day the Supreme Court began hearing the arguments in the Missouri challenge to Roe vs., 500 marched at the University of California at Berkeley to defend the right to choice. The UC marchers firmly rid their demonstration of an Operation Rescue disruptor by picking him up and throwing him out.

The pro-choice movement in the Bay Area mobilized hundreds of people to defend clinics on April 29. Operation Rescue, which had had their Oakland blockade of March 11 broken by spirited pro-choicers, feared another defeat. They scuttled their clinic attacks and sent their forces to demonstrate at a closed clinic in Sacramento. Even there, they were confronted by a pro-choice crowd of hundreds.

On Saturday, May 13, pro-choice demonstrators confronted an OR attempted blockade in Redwood City.

Other cities

On April 26, the day when the Supreme Court began its hearings, thousands demonstrated across the country: in Washington, D.C., Austin, Des Moines, Denver, Atlanta, Raleigh, and other places.

At a gynecologist's office in Middlebelt, Maryland, police corralled 300 clinic defenders from the DC area behind yellow-taped "police lines" and let anti-abortionists freely gather to block the door. In fact they bent over backwards to help the anti-women crusaders by carrying a coat to an OR blockader, so she wouldn't get rained on while attacking the right to choice.

The Marxist-Leninists in the Midst of the Movement

The Marxist-Leninist Party played a vigorous role in building up the pro- choice actions. Activists of the Party took part across the country. The MLP backed a militant policy of confronting the right wing, as opposed to the do- nothing views of the NOW liberals. And the MLP also worked to spread agitation in defense of abortion rights to workers' communities and the factories. The theme of defending women's rights was an important feature of this year's May Day marches and meetings organized by the MLP.

[Photo: Chicago picket at the Holy Name Catheral against Catholic hierarchy's anti-abortion stand, May 14.]

[Photo: Abortion rights demonstrators link arms and encircle Operation Rescue at the Inglewood clinic in Los Angeles, April 29.]

[Photo: Picketing a fake Detroit, May 6.]

NOW's bourgeois politics hinder the pro-choice struggle

The pro-choice activists coming out to fight for abortion rights and to defend clinics are running up against restrictions. They arrive at demonstrations to find, sometimes, ID checks, bans on removing anti-abortion fanatics from clinics, non-militancy pledges, and prohibition on having certain discussions or receiving unapproved literature. They are seeing their movement held back and their struggles cut short.

Where are all these rules and regulations coming from? Is it the police? No, they are coming from the NOW (National Organization for Women) leaders.

But NOW is pro-choice, isn't it? It is calling pro-choice rallies. Why would NOW try to hold down the pro-choice struggle?

The answer is that NOW is dominated by upper class women, and those aspiring to be upper class. Its national policy is aimed at opening up more cushy positions for bourgeois women. Its top leaders don't want to alienate the capitalist class, but to join it. This aim dictates a policy of limiting the women's movement (including the pro-choice struggle) to what is acceptable to the business people of this country and to the capitalist politicians.

This is why NOW's policy is to avoid like the plague anything that might alienate or embarrass NOW's "respectable" benefactors among business circles, ruling class journalists, and liberal politicians. Otherwise it might jeopardize opening up the corporate boardrooms and executive lounges to the aspiring few.

This means steering the movement to lobbying and litigation. It means "hands off" towards Operation Rescue (OR) -- leaving the removal of the antiabortion clinic blockaders strictly up to the police. It means championing the police, and repressive laws, and court rulings against demonstrations as the supposed salvation of women's rights. It means forgetting that women's rights were won by militancy and mass action, and instead trampling upon the militant traditions of the 60's. It means not championing the demands of poor women against the government and the big corporations. And, above all, it means keeping the struggle for women's rights out of the hands of the rebellious masses, who might upset the applecart of the privileged.

NOW's bourgeois feminist policy explains their behavior at a number of recent pro-choice actions. NOW has participated in demonstrations at clinics, especially when they are very popular. But it opposes any attempt to build them into a mass resistance to stop cold the right-wing Operation Rescue fanatics.

The Record

Look at NOW's record this spring.

BOSTON: On April 1st, 45 people picketed against Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue and a major anti-woman spokesman. Terry was speaking at the Catholic Church on Mission Hill, trying to drum up support for his Reaganite program in that poor, minority community. It was the Marxist-Leninist Party which mobilized far and wide for the protest, while NOW boycotted it. Passersby hailed the pro-choice picket, and a number of people said they were angry at the church clergy for pressuring the congregation to join OR in blockading clinics.

And on April 29 NOW was horrified when the confrontation between the pro-choice demonstrators and Operation Rescue heated up at a clinic and a section of pro-choice activists wanted to push OR out of the way. The NOW leaders organized a human chain. Why? To keep the OR fanatics from closing down the clinic? Not at all. It was to keep the pro-choice people away from OR and allow OR to blockade the clinic in peace. The human chain went between OR and the pro-choice demonstrators as a buffer.

SAN FRANCISCO: On April 2, NOW called a pro-choice rally which 25,000 people attended. But NOW failed to say a single word on the fight against the OR clinic attackers, which is at the heart of the movement. Instead they turned over the podium to Democratic Party politicians for politicking.

LOS ANGELES: During a clinic defense in April, NOW organized pro-choice activists to cheer on the police as they belatedly arrested OR members. "Boys in Blue, We Love You!" was NOW's slogan. They sought to get activists to support the authorities who have given Operation Rescue hundreds of hours of trouble-free clinic disruption this year.

DETROIT: At the Farmington Hills clinic defense on April 29, NOW made pro-choice participants sign pledges that they would not be "violent," i.e. militant, towards Operation Rescue. The resistance was hamstrung, and OR closed the clinic for the day.

OAKLAND: At the Planned Parenthood clinic defense on April 29 (where OR never showed up), NOW resorted to threats of repression in an attempt to impose their liberal politics. First, anyone who wanted to join the defense had to sign a statement agreeing to submit to NOW's dictates against confronting OR.

And what happened when this roused the discontent of workers and activists who wanted to resist OR and thought what NOW was doing was wrong? When activists disagreeing with NOW began discussion with the other demonstrators on the vital issue of tactics in the fight against OR, NOW representatives threatened them with arrest.

Perhaps NOW's frenzy was due to their failure, on March 11, to prevent the pro-choice activists from confronting OR. At that time pro-choicers ignored NOW's orders, and pulled OR members off clinic doors, and reopened the threatened clinic. NOW leaders don't regard such incidents as a success. It is to prevent such incidents that NOW has responded with threats and prohibitions.

Beyond NOW

These are only a few examples of how, in city after city, NOW has done its best to prevent OR from being confronted by masses of angry people.

And in a number of cities, activists have pushed aside the restrictions imposed by NOW. They have disobeyed NOW's order to let the OR alone, and they have routed OR and kept clinics open. They have refused to lay awake at night worrying about what the bourgeois press is going to say, and they have carried out spirited actions that have inspired the growth of the movement.

This is a healthy sign. For the pro- choice movement to advance, it must confront the anti-abortion fanatics. And there must be open discussion of the different tactics and trends that have arisen. Should the movement support repressive legislation like the sinister, elastic RICO law, or chant "Boys in blue, we love you," or should it instead mobilize the strength of militant action? Should it curry favor of the ruling class and court its opinion or go widely among the workers and oppressed? Should demonstrators be allowed to read the literature of all pro-choice activists, or must everything be cleared with the NOW leaders first?

These are some issues set before the movement by the activities of NOW.

[Photo: Pro-choice demonstrators confronted Operation Rescue head Randall Terry when he recently visited Chicago.]

Look who's joined the anti-abortion crusade!

[Photo: Another sign of "pro-life" hypocrisy: Klan murderers picket Dallas abortion clinic.]

The anti-abortion movement makes the claim that it is "pro-life." The fanatics of Operation Rescue even compare themselves to the civil rights movement. But these are lies.

In fact, the anti-abortion movement is a right-wing movement directed against all the oppressed. It is spearheaded by the rich rulers of this country. They are using the anti-abortion crusade as a lever to thrust women back into a submissive position. And they wish to muster forces for the whole reactionary agenda of exploitation, racism and imperialism.

You can tell a lot about a force by the company it attracts. The "pro-life" bloc not only includes Moral Majority right-wingers, the Republican Party, and the Catholic Church hierarchy, but it also includes the racist Ku Klux Klan.

On April 1, hooded Klansmen paraded outside the Routh Street Women's Clinic in Dallas. They carried signs "KKK hates abortions." They harassed clinic workers and women seeking abortions at the facility. Reportedly the Klan has picketed the place before with such signs as "Help the Klan fight Jew-run abortion."

However, the KKK did not go unopposed. Several dozen pro-choice activists showed up shouting "KKK go away -- women's rights are here to stay!"

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


Tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun will shine tomorrow...

Arias plan will disarm the contras--someday

It's been over a year and a half since the Arias "peace" plan first declared it would bring an end to U.S.-organized contra aggression against Nicaragua. But month after month Reagan and then Bush, together with Congress, have continued to funnel millions of dollars to the bloodthirsty contra mercenaries.

Once again in early May the governments of the five Central American countries involved in the Arias plan reached an agreement which supposedly would disband the contra forces. Only there's one little hitch. There is no date when the disarming of the contras is to begin. In other words this "disarmament" accord actually permits the contra aggression to continue indefinitely. Wow, what a powerful blow to the contras!

The May agreement simply dangles the prospect of peace in front of the Sandinistas so as to extract concessions from them which the contras have not been able to win with military means.

From the February Summit to the May Agreement

Phony peace declarations are nothing new for the Arias plan. The original Arias pact meeting in August 1987 was supposed to have decided to expel the contras from Honduras. The contras didn't move. Then this February another "Central American summit" meeting, held under the Arias plan, allegedly agreed to disband the contras. It turned out it was simply an agreement to reach another agreement on this in three months.

So what happened in these three months?

The Honduran regime announced it would not remove the contras from their bases in Honduras.

The death-squad rulers in El Salvador declared that the guerrilla movements fighting the U.S.-backed dictators in Central America must be abolished before demobilizing the CIA's contras.

To top it all off, Costa Rican president Arias, founder of the peace plan, gave his blessings to the new $66 million U.S. contra aid package.

Is it any wonder that the agreement reached this May, after these three months, turned out to be a total fraud?

The Sandinistas Give In

While the Arias plan hasn't disarmed the CIA's contras, it has pressured the Sandinista government of Nicaragua to make one concession after another to the pro-contra capitalists inside Nicaragua. For example, the Sandinistas are currently bending over backwards to tailor their upcoming national elections to suit the pro-contra forces. Among other things they have agreed to allow unlimited foreign financing of the campaign. This means that the CIA and the White House will be permitted to try to buy the elections for their pro-contra friends. Bush and Congress wouldn't allow other countries to finance American election campaigns, but they insist on the right to buy Nicaraguan elections.

But the Sandinista concessions have not satisfied either the contras, the Central American bourgeoisie or U.S. imperialism. They continue to denounce the elections in advance. Unless the reactionaries win, they will consider the elections unfair by definition.

Despite it all, the Sandinistas maintain their blind faith in the Arias process. They even consider the fraudulent May agreement as a victory. Nicaraguan Deputy Foreign Minister Victor Hugo Tonoco stated: "In light of the bipartisan [American aid to the contras] plan, this is still something very significant." (New York Times, May 11) Yes indeed. Very significant. By not setting a date for disarming the contras, the May agreement was directly in line with the bipartisan contra aid plan and surrendered to Bush's criticism of the February Central American summit.

Meanwhile, in accepting the May agreement, the Sandinistas agreed that if the contras are resettled in Nicaragua, they will be given special economic benefits. Apparently the Sandinistas' harsh austerity measures are only to bleed those who fought against the contras. Already the Sandinistas are moving to dispossess revolutionary workers and peasants who squatted on the land of pro-contra supporters who fled the country years ago.

Who Pulls the Strings?

The May agreement shows who really cracks the whip when it comes to the Arias plan. Bush announced that the contras must not be disarmed prior to the Nicaraguan presidential elections, in order to see who will win first, and Arias and the pro-U.S. Central American regimes echo "yes, sir". "Yes, we agree to disband the contras," they say, "when Bush and the CIA give us the green light."

Gorbachev stabs Nicaragua in the back

According to Bush administration officials, Soviet leader Gorbachev pledged to halt military aid to Nicaragua in a letter sent to Bush in May.

The Soviet revisionists pose as friends of the Nicaraguan revolution. But if this is the case, why is Gorbachev cutting off military aid? Has the U.S. stopped aiding its contra mercenaries who are poised to strike at Nicaragua? No. Has the U.S. ended its massive military and economic aid to the death-squad regimes in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras? No. Clearly, cutting off arms shipments in this situation will only place more pressure on Nicaragua.

But placing more pressure on Nicaragua is the whole point of Gorbachev's decision. The Soviet revisionists are ardent supporters of the bankrupt Arias "peace" plan. Under this plan, U.S. imperialism and the Central American bourgeoisie are demanding that the Sandinista government dismantle the gains of the Nicaraguan revolution and grant one concession after another to the pro-contra capitalists inside Nicaragua.

The Sandinistas, unfortunately, have generally complied with these demands. But they have not gone far enough to suit the U.S. and its Central American allies. So the Soviet Union wants to put heat on the Sandinistas to make further concessions.

This is not the first time the Soviet revisionists have tightened the screws on Nicaragua. In 1987 they reduced vital oil shipments to pressure the Sandinistas to comply with the dictates of the Arias plan.

In his speeches, Mr. Gorbachev has made it clear he is not interested in supporting the revolutionary struggles of the oppressed. In Nicaragua, as elsewhere, he is making good on his word.

'Coup d'emocracy' in Guatemala

Ever since Cerezo became president in Guatemala in 1985, the U.S. government has promoted this pro-U.S. regime as a shining example of democracy. It is allegedly a place where civilian rule has tamed the bloodthirsty military which ruled for 16 years. But in fact the real power remains in the hands of the armed forces. And to let Cerezo know who's really boss, the military stages repeated coups.

The last attempt was on May 9. It was weak and disorganized and quickly put down. What was notable, however, was that the coup was led by five ex-military officers involved in a coup attempt in May 1988. This had been a serious attempt by a section of ultra-fascist businessmen and army officers. At that time the Cerezo regime, fearful of antagonizing the military, had carried out many of the demands of the coup and stepped up repression against the Guatemalan toilers. Cerezo also responded with only token punishments of the coup organizers. Thus participants in last year's coup were free to try it again this year.

When military officers rise against Cerezo, he treats them with kid gloves. But if the masses oppose oppression, it's another story. In that case, Cerezo turns loose the army, police and death squads to murder and terrorize the population. This explains why Cerezo overlooks the little indiscretions of some military officers like organizing coups.

In fact the reason the top military brass has so far put down the coups is that Cerezo has given them a free hand. Former Guatemalan foreign minister Fernando Andrade, describing why the military has tolerated Cerezo, puts it this way: "They are not crazy -- they are in control." Such is the real way the political system works in Guatemala's "coup d'emocracy."

U.S. campus protests hit U.S.-Salvadoran tyranny

[Photo: Demonstrators denounce Bush at Boston University, May 21]

In mid-April students on over 30 college campuses across the country protested against the U.S.-backed dictatorship in El Salvador.

At the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, students combined protests against repression in El Salvador with a campaign to end military research on the campus. On April 18 and again on April 25, activists occupied a campus building. Several students were roughed up by the police and over 60 were arrested.

Six hundred Rutgers University students took part in two days of actions at the New Brunswick, New Jersey campus. Their protest included setting up shanties akin to those in a Salvadoran village. As well students performed guerrilla theater dramatizing the fascist repression in El Salvador.

At Columbia University, some 200 New York City college and high school students marched and rallied. Students at the University of Iowa and the University of Colorado marched on their campus ROTC's to hold protests.

As well, other actions are expected in some cities on June 1, when Alfredo Cristiani, of the ultra-right ARENA party, is inaugurated as president of El Salvador.

Salvadoran people will not bow down to fascism

As the right-wing diehards of the ARENA party have consolidated their grip on the Salvadoran government, the people have not been intimidated. Mass struggles continue in the cities, while the armed liberation forces have carried out a series of armed actions.

Guerrilla Actions

On April 18, rebel forces attacked army positions in and around the town of La Laguna in Chalatenango province. When the fascist troops called in air support, guerrillas downed one helicopter. Over the next few days, anti-government forces struck at military targets in the provinces of San Miguel, Morazan, and Santa Ana. The guerrillas reported killing or wounding 114 soldiers in their assaults.

On May 10, over a dozen guerrilla attacks were launched across the country. These actions are being coordinated with planned protests to greet the June 1 presidential inauguration of ARENA'S Alfredo Cristiani.

ARENA Shows Its True Colors

U.S. imperialism has portrayed Cristiani's ARENA party as "moderate" and matured, downplaying its sordid history as cheerleader for the death squads.

But this PR campaign can't hide the continuing atrocities in El Salvador as ARENA pushes aside the Christian- Democrats as the directors of the bloody war of the Salvadoran ruling class against the people. Meanwhile, in the period prior to the June 1 inauguration of Cristiani, the outgoing Christian-Democrat President Duarte continues to bear his usual responsibility for fascist Salvadoran repression.

In April the government was considering imposing a "state of siege" to crack down even harder than before on protest in the capital, San Salvador. Meanwhile Col. Ochoa, an ARENA leader, declared "only violent means remain" for dealing with the struggle of the oppressed. As if the long years of civil war and death-squad murders hasn't been bloody enough for him.

On April 19 alone, riot police raided several trade union offices and savagely attacked an organization aiding Salvadoran refugees. Almost 100 people were arrested in the raids and a number were later tortured. At the same time, the National University in San Salvador, a center of protest, was placed under virtual military occupation.

Meanwhile ARENA officials are resuscitating the old "community watch" programs to identify liberation activists and they are publicizing lists of activists. This means that they are making public hit lists for the death squads into a regular institution.

Bush and Congress Back the Terror

The U.S. government is standing solidly behind the Salvadoran tyranny. Bush swore he would only support ARENA if it acted democratically. Fat chance. In fact William Walker, the U.S. ambassador, went out of his way to justify the recent repression. He claims the government atrocities are just a reaction to the liberation forces, who have allegedly "provoked" "ARENA" into a "nasty, violent reaction."

Meanwhile the Democratic-controlled Congress, which has sent $3 billion to prop up the Salvadoran rulers over the last eight years, is preparing to send more aid.

U.S. -- Out of El Salvador!

Workers and solidarity activists, we must answer "our" government's support for the fascist regime with support for the struggle of the Salvadoran toilers. We must reply with militant mass actions directed against Bush and Congress. We must demand an end to all U.S. aid to the regime and declare "U.S. imperialism, get out of El Salvador!"

The Sandinista 'mixed economy' is ruining the small farmers

When the Sandinistas came to power in Nicaragua in the revolution which overthrew the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship, a number of reforms benefited the masses. But at the same time, the Sandinista government has also worked continuously to forge an alliance with the business interests in Nicaragua. The policy of "mixed economy," for example, has meant protecting the profits of the capitalist businesses and the rich farm owners at the expense of the workers and small peasants. Under the pressure of the Arias plan, the pace of concessions to the wealthy has reached a gallop.

The result has been disastrous for the people. They are suffering from astronomical inflation, shortages, wage cuts and mass layoffs. But don't worry, say the Sandinistas. If you can't eke out an existence in the cities, just go and farm in the countryside.

A Ruinous Policy

This "solution," however, is the height of cynicism because the "mixed economy" has been bringing ruin to the small farmers already in the countryside. When the Sandinistas took power, they distributed Somoza's landholdings to the peasants, partially satisfying the peasants' demand for land. But the pro-capitalist policies of the Sandinistas have led to a situation where the poor peasants are suffering and many are being driven off the land.

Even some of the ardent apologists of the Sandinistas in the U.S. have had to admit the woeful situation among the peasants. For example, take the May 12 issue of the reformist SWP's newspaper The Militant. The article "Good crop little help to Nicaraguan farmers" (page 15) describes some of the severe hardships faced by the small farmers.

Under the Sandinista policy, the agricultural capitalists are given a free hand to drive the family farms and cooperative farms to the wall. For example, a peasant quoted in The Militant comments that the richest poultry producer "monopolize(s) the supplies of raw materials to make feed. They force us to buy from them at the price they want to charge."

Furthermore, the Sandinistas have directly contributed to the hardships of the small peasants. The Militant confesses that "many farmers lay the blame for their problems on the interest rates charged by the bank [the government's National Development Bank -- ed.]. These rates have been indexed to rise automatically with the overall rate of inflation." Meanwhile the income of the farmers does not keep pace. The result is to bleed the small farmers. Their indebtedness has gotten so bad that recently the Sandinistas were forced to forgive part of it.

Undermining Farm Production

The growing poverty of the small peasants is also threatening agricultural production itself. According to The Militant there was increased production in some basic crops last year. But a leader of the Sandinista farmers association, UNAG, states: "So as not to get in hock to the bank, so as not to buy supplies at super-high prices, we are going to sow less."

This shows the insanity of the Sandinista policy. The Nicaraguan people face a general scarcity of essential goods. But their pro-capitalist policies are forcing the small producers to grow less.

The Poor Peasants Suffer

Indeed peasant farmers are being decimated. The article reports that in order to pay off debts, family farms and collectives are selling off machinery. Among small chicken farmers the article reports that UNAG claims "between 70 and 80% have gone under" recently.

The article also cites the example of the Juan Ramon Robles collective farm. This farm is now operating with only half of its original 20 members. Some left because, as a leader of the collective states, "they didn't see any prospect of being able to survive here." Other members of the collective, he continues, were sent back to Managua "to look for other jobs." So while the Sandinistas are portraying farming in the countryside as the salvation from poverty, the small peasants have reached the point where some of them are giving up farming.

Pampering the Rich

While the small farmer is being left to twist in the wind, the Sandinista rulers are devoting their energies to helping out the big exploiters. The big landlords and rural capitalists are known to resort to "decapitalizing" their enterprises and letting their land lie fallow. They are supporters of the pro-contra parties. Yet the Sandinistas blame the problems in agriculture on the small farmers and continue to bank on the big private agricultural enterprises who are allegedly such efficient producers.

Thus the Sandinista government has declared an end to confiscation of large landholdings and is threatening peasants who have seized land on their own. For instance, in an April 20 speech, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega recognized the existence of "thousands of peasants who were driven off their lands in past years" but he announced "we are not going to accept being presented with de facto takeovers." According to Ortega, "This type of land occupation just disorganizes production." (The Militant, May 5, p. 10) Instead, he talks vaguely of setting up a "land bank" to help the "most needy" -- how it is going to do this while respecting the landholdings and privileges of the big landlords is his secret.

While the ordinary peasants suffer, the Sandinistas are giving subsidies and higher profits to the wealthy. In March, for example, they promised the wealthy cattle ranchers higher prices and gave in to their demand to be allowed to export cattle themselves so they, and not the government, could accumulate the foreign currency from the sales.

Official Corruption

On top of all the other problems in Sandinista agricultural policy, there is government corruption. In an accompanying article, The Militant notes that free food shipments from Cuba to the Atlantic Coast region of Nicaragua are sold to private merchants who hoard it and jack up prices sky high. Because of this, sugar prices are three times higher in this region than in Managua. This hoarding has also created shortages.

Helping the Somocistas Reclaim Property

While the Sandinista policy is helping to drive the peasants off the land in the countryside, it is also threatening to drive off the working people in the cities who seized the houses and land of the Somocistas who fled or who were jailed as criminals. Sandinista officials estimate that roughly 10,000 families in Managua alone are living on property that they seized without official sanction. But in order to comply with the Arias plan, the laws permitting the confiscation of abandoned Somocista property have been repealed. As well, Somocistas who fled the country have been invited to return and reclaim their property, and so have those who have been released from jail. So now some Somocistas are reclaiming their property from the masses. And the Sandinista courts are backing up their claims.

It is reported that in one case the courts ordered the eviction of a health center in order to restore property to an ex-member of Somoza's secret police who had fled to Miami and recently returned. (See the Guardian, May 10, p. 14) When the people in the community occupied the clinic to prevent the eviction, a chain-swinging goon squad was sent in. When the masses resisted this, the courts condemned them for "inciting civil disobedience." But the masses persisted in their occupation and forced the government to agree to a temporary freeze on the eviction.

Only the MLPN Represents the Working People

Clearly, the Sandinistas are sacrificing the interests of the workers and poorer peasants in order to appease the capitalists. This is a petty-bourgeois policy which expresses the illusions rampant in the intermediate classes in society that it is possible to reconcile the interests of the capitalists and workers.

There is only one party in Nicaragua that really represents the class conscious workers and rallies the toilers around them. This is the Marxist- Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MAP-ML). This party is organizing the working people against the pro-contra capitalists as well as the petty-bourgeois stands of the Sandinistas which aim at reconciliation with the pro-contra exploiters. The MLPN stands for continuing the revolutionary class struggle in defiance of the dictates of the Arias plan.

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Deng Xiaoping's reforms have been a fiasco

China's agriculture in crisis

In the late 70's, China's leaders put that country on the road of consolidating a capitalist economic system. For ten years now, the Chinese regime, along with the U.S. establishment, has trumpeted the view that Deng Xiaoping's reforms have brought in a new day of prosperity to the Chinese people.

That is the official story. The truth however is different.

True, a small minority of capitalists have become millionaires and there has been growth in some industrial sectors, especially in sweatshop factories producing for foreign markets. But the society as a whole has gone backwards. The enrichment of the few has meant growing misery for the majority. China today shows more and more of the signs of typical third world-style capitalist oppression of the toilers.

What is more, China is wracked with crisis. Inflation and unemployment are climbing. Crime, corruption and other signs of social disintegration are on the rise.

In this article, we examine Chinese agriculture, which is in special trouble today. This is a huge problem for China, which is still largely a rural country, and one with a billion mouths to feed.

A cornerstone of Deng Xiaoping's capitalist reforms was the dismantling of the village communes in favor of private farming. A gigantic myth has been spread, both by the Chinese government and its U.S. allies, that the privatization in agriculture supposedly proves the superiority of capitalist private farming over the old system of collectivized agriculture. This story is also being repeated today in Gorbachev's Russia, where the revisionist leaders are launching a similar privatization of agriculture.

In fact, the new agricultural setup in China has proved to be a fiasco. It has brought China to the brink of massive agrarian catastrophe.

What the Revolution Brought

Before the 1949 revolution, China was one big agrarian disaster. The country was the scene of periodic famines which killed millions. A class of rich landlords cruelly exploited the peasants. This system not only kept the masses poor and hungry but it also acted as a big brake on agricultural development. The powerful revolution of the Chinese toilers tore those oppressive relations apart and introduced a new day in the countryside.

The Communist Party of China carried out a thorough-going democratic revolution. Landlord oppression was totally eliminated, land was distributed to the peasantry, and serious measures, were launched to promote agricultural development.

The Chinese government also took steps to reorganize agriculture beyond a simple redistribution of land. These steps they considered to be socialism. But while these steps had a generally progressive direction, the conceptions of socialism held by the CP of China were flawed. At heart, they amounted to a petty-bourgeois concept of socialism.

While this was not genuinely proletarian socialism, many key features of the Chinese endeavor in the countryside -- such as the encouragement of cooperation and large-scale production, the commitment to improving the conditions of the poor, the active role of the popular government in planning and developing agriculture -- were progressive. At the same time, the petty-bourgeois Maoist concepts allowed village communes to profit at the expense of poorer communes, to exploit wage labor, etc.

The Chinese revolution succeeded in defeating mass hunger in China. This was a world-historic achievement. You need only contrast the advances made in post-revolutionary China with the miserable conditions of the masses in the Indian subcontinent next door. Among other things, it is important to remember that the radical changes in the agrarian system went a long way to bringing Chinese rural women out of extreme backwardness and oppression.

The Maoist road of trying to forge a petty-bourgeois socialist road was in the long run an unstable course. It could only go so far before running into serious economic obstacles. And politically, it eventually collapsed in the mid 70's. The Maoist left wing -- who were most strongly associated with this approach -- lost the struggle for the leadership of the party and they could no longer provide a perspective that the Chinese masses were willing to rally around. After Mao's death, right wingers seized control of the Communist Party and introduced the drive towards the "market socialism'' of today's China. Their coup tipped the balance in favor of the consolidation of capitalism.

The Maoist road had its problems, but what's taken place since then is a huge step back.

The Great Leap Backward

In 1978, the Chinese leadership launched the drive to dismantle the village communes and introduce the "household responsibility system.'' This meant that each household would have responsibility for its own profits and losses instead of working as part of a collective. In short, this was the restoration of private farming.

And what are the results after ten years?

The Chinese government makes the claim that the reform brought about big increases in grain harvests and the income of rural people.

It is true that grain harvests went up for a few years. But since 1984, they have begun to decline. Other crop yields are also falling. It is also not clear what link the initial increases in harvests had with privatization. There were favorable weather conditions and the soil had reached a high state of fertility after years of collective care.

Official statistics also show that growth in rural income has slowed down. As for the earlier claims of big increases in rural income, these seem more sleight of hand than reality.

William Hinton recently examined the claims of advances made about the village of Dazhai in an article in Monthly Review magazine (March 1988). Hinton is an American farming expert long associated with China. He supported Deng Xiaoping's takeover and the capitalist reforms. But even Hinton is forced to admit a series of problems created by the Deng Xiaoping reforms. He still supports Deng, but he is worried that the Chinese government may have taken things too far.

Hinton shows that the claims of increase of income made for Dazhai is more due to juggling figures than any significant change. He shows that, among other things, the Chinese claims do not take into account inflation and they ignore various forms of non-monetary income in the pre-reform period.

Hinton's article, as well as other studies, also show that the agricultural reform is turning out to be a huge disaster in ways beyond the issue of mere economic efficiency. (Even U.S. government defenders of Deng Xiaoping's reforms are sometimes forced to admit to the havoc caused by the new policies -- see for example the State Department academic publication, Problems of Communism, Nov.-Dec. 1988.)

Agrarian Infrastructure Collapsing

One idea trumpeted by the Chinese leaders was that, by embracing private farming, the state could cut back its investment in agriculture. Private enterprise would supposedly take up the slack. This idea is today also being promoted by Gorbachev in the Soviet Union as a way to deal with that country's huge agricultural shortcomings. But it is a pipe dream.

Chinese government investment in agriculture declined from 10% of capital construction investment in the late 70's to less than 5% in recent years. No one has picked up the slack. Now the Chinese officials blame the peasants. But individual peasant families, even if they are inclined to, cannot come up with the necessary large-scale investments that are essential for the development of agriculture.

The result is a serious decay of the rural infrastructure. Substantial numbers of reservoirs, irrigation and drainage machinery, and mechanical wells are in disrepair. The amount of irrigated land, as well as overall land that can be cultivated, have declined. And soil fertility has also dropped.

All this translates to the possibility of renewed food shortages and mass hunger in the coming years. Already many villages can no longer raise enough food to feed themselves.

In the 50's and 60's, flood control and irrigation projects, carried out by collective mobilization of the masses and supported by the state, were vital both to develop production as well as to free the masses from the scourge of floods. Today, however, the deterioration of these projects puts the masses again at mercy of devastating floods.

Oppression and Backwardness

Meanwhile, the social costs of the reform have been huge.

The countryside is marked by a widening gulf between rich and poor. The poor are left to fend for themselves. While some eke out a living in the countryside as poor peasants or laborers, many are migrating to the cities to join the ranks of sweatshop labor or the army of the urban unemployed.

The official promotion of the "get rich'' mentality has spawned crime and corruption. Leaving each family on its own to care for its economic security has brought back such old social evils as preference towards and favorable treatment of male children. Girl children are again seen as a burden, and female infanticide is also reported.

The Future Is in the Hands of the Workers

The acute crisis in agriculture has not escaped the notice of the Chinese regime. The regime is worried that a serious food problem could blow apart all its dreams about building China up into a big capitalist power. It fears the specter of the masses rising in revolt over hunger and famine.

But the revisionist capitalist regime has no real solutions. It has announced plans to invest more in agriculture, but the problem is much bigger than can be tackled with a small increase in investment. As well, the regime's plans include cutting back of rural industry, which means that rural unemployment is to go up still more.

The golden myth of capitalist reform as the way forward for China is swiftly unraveling. While the masses face a difficult time in the coming years, the capitalist reform has also created conditions for its eventual undoing. A byproduct of the capitalist reform has been the enlargement of a working class, both urban and rural. Not as a ruling class under socialism, but as an oppressed class, longing for change. It is this class which represents the future of China.

In the conditions of crisis, the workers of China will more and more fight back and they will link arms with the poor peasants. Once they grasp the capitalist character of the economic laws which are devastating them, they will build the organizations and revolutionary movement which is necessary to overthrow the capitalist system and build a socialist society that puts the needs of the toilers first and foremost.

[Photo: Chinese peasants burning the land deeds of former landlords in 1951. The revolution freed the Chinese people from the backwardness of old China.]

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Apartheid court orders mass execution of blacks

A Supreme Court judge sentenced 14 blacks to hang for a killing in which he admitted only four even assaulted the victim. The verdict came down on Friday, May 26. The case involved the black masses punishing a sellout black policeman, Jetta Sethwala, during anti-apartheid protests in the black township of Paballelo in Cape Province on November 13, 1985. Here, as throughout South Africa, the anti-apartheid fighters were not going to take passively the beatings and deaths inflicted on them with the help of traitors. Their justice inflicted on the sellouts created fear among the South African apartheid masters.

Twenty-five of the angry protesters were charged and convicted with murder. The apartheid regime doesn't regard it as murder when it kills protesters, punishes defectors from its ranks for "high treason,'' or otherwise kills people in the course of the fierce struggle over whether apartheid will live or die. For the apartheid rulers, it is only murder when the oppressed fight back.

The protesters were convicted under the doctrine of "common purpose.'' Under this ruling, it was not necessary to show that the suspects had actually killed the sellout, only that they were part of a demonstration which resulted in his death. Similar doctrines exist in various countries, including the U.S., especially as a result of the federal and state criminal code "reforms'' of the last few years and its strengthened conspiracy-type clauses. For the time being, these clauses are not being applied in full force in the U.S., but the South African verdict shows what the "reformers'' were providing for.

Israeli Court Allows Soldiers to Murder Arab

Naturally, such laws are only meant to be used against the oppressed masses. They are not intended to be used to stay the hands of the oppressors. For example, when South African police go too far in beating up protesters and are blatant in killing them, the whole "mob'' involved isn't tried for murder. And just one day before the South African verdict, a military court in Israel acquitted Israeli soldiers of manslaughter in a particularly brutal murder of a Palestinian. He died of repeated beatings after he was taken into custody by the army. The Israeli soldiers were acquitted on the grounds that the court couldn't determine precisely which soldier's blow killed him. The Arab Hani el-Shami was guilty only of opposing soldiers raiding his home with the aim of beating and arresting his 15-year-old son for alleged stone throwing. It is illegal to throw stones at the oppressor, it is illegal to oppose arbitrary searches, but legal for soldiers to beat prisoners to a pulp. The court did find them guilty of brutality for going a bit too far.

Hunger Strike in U.S. Prisons in Solidarity With South African Hunger Strikers

But the brutality of the oppressors is arousing people around the world to protest. Recently for example prisoners in Texas and around the country began a rotating hunger strike not only against horrible conditions they live under, but also in solidarity with the hunger strikes of South African prisoners under preventive detention and of West German political prisoners. They pointed out not only the harsh imprisonment of black activists in South Africa, but the miserable conditions imposed on those activists who are "released." Comrade Alberto Aranda, one of the leaders of Prisoners United for Revolutionary Education, pointed out:

"It appears that the South African government is beginning to negotiate the issue of preventive detention as the [South African] hunger strike and the suffering of the South African/Azanian people receives worldwide attention. But, even as detainees are released, they are subjected to severe physical and political restrictions. Sandile Thurst, a 28-year-old African anti-apartheid activist, is a case in point.... Mr. Thurst was released on March 28, under these restrictions: a dusk-to-dawn curfew; banned from all educational institutions (Mr. Thurst is a researcher, so this makes it impossible for him to be employed in his field); cannot be in the company of more than four people, except for family members; cannot leave his township; forbidden to participate in anti-apartheid activities. In addition, the South African government has cut off Mr. Thurst's medical benefits, so he cannot receive free medical care. Similar restrictions have been placed on up to 200 activists." (See the May 15 issue of the Workers Advocate Supplement for more information on the prisoners' hunger strike in the U.S.).

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May Day meetings call out:

Build the working class struggle!

May Day this year came at a time when various mass movements have been starting to build in the U.S. The women's movement swelled with the big April march on Washington and the local fights against the reactionary antiabortion fanatics. The anti-racist movement got rolling against cross burnings and racist skinheads, police brutality and Bush's war on the poor. The students began to stand up to campus racism and tuition hikes. Meanwhile, strikes and other factory protests broke out against the capitalists' drive against the workers.

Throughout April, the Marxist-Leninist Party took its May Day campaign deep into these struggles. The call, "Down with Bush and Congress! Build the working class struggle!'' was spread with leaflets and The Workers' Advocate in the mass protests and the workers' neighborhoods, on the campuses and in the work places. The Party held demonstrations for international working class day in Chicago and Detroit. And meetings were organized in Seattle, Oakland, New York and Chicago.

Comrades came to the May Day meetings fresh from the mass struggles. And the meetings were filled with that spirit of struggle, with the spirit of confronting racist skinheads and the reactionary anti-abortionists, with the spirit of building the Party in the midst of the struggles of the workers and oppressed.

The discussions at the Party's meetings centered on how to orient the mass movements. How to organize the confrontations against the reactionaries and to target the capitalists and their government that stand behind the racists and anti-abortion fanatics. How to expose the sabotaging role of the Democratic Party and the reformists who tail after it. How to bring out the workers to put their class stamp on the developing movements. The meetings also discussed building the Party in the midst of the mass movements, and drew lessons from the 20-year history of party building that began with the American Communist Workers Movement (ML).

Some of the meetings also had lengthy discussions about bringing a socialist perspective to the working masses. How to inspire the mass struggles with the socialist goal. How to confront the capitalists' anti-socialist campaign. And how to expose the capitalist reality behind the phony masks of socialism of Gorbachev and Deng Xiaoping.

May Day is international working class day. The Party's May Day meetings were filled with excitement for the spread of working class struggle around the globe. Workers of the world, unite! -- that is the call of May Day. (See the May 15 issue of the Workers Advocate Supplement for the text of a number of the speeches.)

[Photo: Meeting in Oakland celebrates International Workers' Day.]

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May Day march in Chicago


Shouts of "To hell with Bush and Congress! Build the unity of the working class!" rang through the streets of Pilsen, a predominantly Mexican national community in Chicago, on April 29. A May Day march, organized by the Marxist-Leninist Party, wound down 18th Street to the cheers of workers in the neighborhood.

People hung out of windows to shout encouragement. About a hundred people on the street took picket signs that declared, "Long live May 1st! Down with Bush and Congress!" Several came off the streets to join the march. And many more standing on the sidewalks joined in shouting slogans like: "Raids, No! Deportations, No! Discrimination, No! Immigrant workers to the struggle! Wage cuts, No! Unemployment, No! Workers, to the struggle! Abortion rights for women -- defend women's rights! U.S. imperialism, out of Central America!"

At the end of the march, a rally was held in a park. Militant songs were sung. And a speech was given which, among other things, stressed that a new president in the White House and a new mayor in Chicago had changed nothing. It's up to the working class to unite and beat back the capitalist offensive. The rally ended with the singing of the Internationale in English and Spanish.

Hours after the march and rally were over, May Day picket signs could still be seen planted in fruit stands and store windows.

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Demonstration in Detroit

Workers marched through Highland Park, a mainly black neighborhood in Detroit, May 13 under a banner that declared, "Workers unite against racism, poverty and war! Down with Bush and Congress!" This march was part of the campaign for May Day organized by the Marxist-Leninist Party.

As the march moved down the main street, Woodward, passing cars kept honking in support. People stood around listening, and some applauding, at a supermarket where the march stopped and sang "Down with Bush and Congress" to the tune of the song Hambone.

Then the march moved into residential streets in the neighborhood. People came out of their houses to take leaflets and picket signs and to join in the slogan shouting. About 70 picket signs saying "Workers unite against racist attacks!" and "May 1st. Down with Bush and Congress!" were distributed. One man stuck a picket sign out his car window and drove alongside the march for several blocks. A few other people jumped into the march line or came to the rally following the march.

The closing rally was held in front of the post office on Woodward. There were songs, and a speaker from the Party declared:

"Who can bring justice? The rich? No! They're the ones who benefit from racism, who promote racism to split up the working people and keep us all down. Only the workers can bring justice, by standing together and fighting against the rich.

"Who can stop the blight of drugs? The rich? No! It's the rich who are profiting from drugs, who prefer that the poor are lost in dope dreams instead of fighting back. But it is the working people who are suffering. And only the workers can stop drug abuse, by fighting for jobs, and wages, and decent schools, and giving our youth a new ideal to live for, a new hopeful future to fight for.

"Who can end poverty? The rich? No! They are the ones who make their living by taking from us. Only the workers can put an end to poverty, by organizing to fight the rich and the whole capitalist system that eats our flesh...

"It is the working class that can turn this country around. And that is why we are here today. To take another step in organizing the workers. To take another step in building an independent working class movement. Join with us, the Marxist-Leninist Party. Help us organize the working class for struggle!"


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For over 100 years May 1st has been celebrated by workers around the world as a day dedicated to working class solidarity and the fight to end exploitation.

May Day this year again saw millions of workers go into action. Workers organized demonstrations, rallies, and strikes. In many places, fierce confrontations broke out between workers and the capitalist tyrants.

We weren't able to get reports from many places, but the ones that we do have give a picture of how the class struggle continues to rage around the world. They show the tremendous potential that lies in the oppressed proletariat for turning upside down the old world of poverty, fascism and war.


[Photo: Korean students take over the street outside Hanyang University in Seoul during a May Day action.]

South Korea

May Day demonstrations in South Korea were planned to oppose President Roh Tae Woo's recent crackdown on the workers' movement. True to form, Roh banned May Day events and arrested scores of union leaders and other activists in the week before May Day.

Then on May 1st, tens of thousands of riot police flooded the streets of Seoul to prevent any demonstrations. Even so, many people did gather and there were clashes with the police. Demonstrating workers also fought the police in Pusan, Inchon, and other cities. Protests were reported at 800 work sites in 12 cities. Thousands were arrested by the regime.

May Day actions were also organized at some 40 university and college campuses. The next day, students seized policemen as hostages and demanded the release of their comrades from jail. Riot police assaulted the students' barricade, which the activists set afire. Six riot policemen were burned to death. Days later, a student activist died in police custody, with the official explanation that he had "drowned." Protests broke out again after this atrocity.

Supporting the growing workers' movement is a major focus of militant South Korean student activists. Students are radicalized by the horrible working conditions in South Korea. Factory workers have to put in very long hours, and the country has one of the world's worst industrial safety records: over 1,900 workers were killed on the job last year.

Union organizing drives have won some wage gains the last two years, but workers are still low paid and harshly oppressed. Roh's new crackdown is aimed at driving back workers' organizing drives and suppressing the growing links between militant workers and students.


Tens of thousands took part in May Day demonstrations across the country. They demanded an increase in the workers' wages and called for a national strike. Aquino has rejected the workers' demands and offers a pitiful increase of the minimum wage.

U.S. bases out! was also a major call of May Day actions. In Manila, demonstrators marched against the U.S. embassy, headquarters of the CIA counterinsurgency operations. Aquino's riot police attacked the working class demonstrators with clubs and tear gas, and a fierce fight ensued.


In Turkey, May Day remains illegal since it was banned after the military coup of 1980. This year, however, clandestine May Day demonstrations were organized in many cities. The protesters were brutally attacked by Turkish police.

Police were unleashed in force across Istanbul to prevent May Day actions. One person was killed and dozens injured. More than 400 were arrested. On May 4, riot police clashed with 1,500 demonstrators at the funeral of the May Day demonstrator.

May Day this year came during the biggest wave of workers' unrest since the 1980 coup. On May 4th, 24,000 steel workers went on strike to press wage demands rejected by the government. A strike by the country's public sector workers is now in the cards. They have been regularly holding protest marches and carrying out a campaign of work-to- rule. In April 300,000 of them simultaneously excused themselves from work for "medical checkups," complaining of distress caused by low wages.


May Day was one more day of struggle in the powerful Palestinian intifada (uprising). Workers and youths took to the streets of the occupied territories, where they fought back against bloody attacks from Israeli troops.



This year May Day came in the midst of the nationwide teachers' strike. This strike demanded a 100% wage increase for Mexico's impoverished teachers and sought the ouster of the tyrannical head of the teachers union. The power of the struggle forced his resignation, but he was merely replaced by another sellout flunky of the ruling capitalist PRI party. Teachers pressed on with their strike. The capital city became an encampment for teachers coming from all over the country.

On May Day, a quarter million teachers and their supporters marched, denouncing the government and its union handmaidens.

The teachers' strike was soon joined by a bus drivers' strike in Mexico City. This wave of struggle by the working people may well spur on other sections of the Mexican toilers groaning under cutbacks and austerity due to the regime's "restructuring" of the economy.


Tens of thousands of people all across the country used the occasion of May 1st to demand the removal of the Nicaraguan contras from Honduras. The protesters also demanded the removal of all U.S. troops and burned U.S. flags. There are over 10,000 American soldiers in Honduras.

El Salvador

Thousands of workers and students marched in the capital demanding improved living and working conditions and an end to the government's war on the masses. The marchers also protested recent military raids on trade union offices and the army's occupation of a textile plant where the workers have been on strike for five months.

The demonstrators in San Salvador had to defy extreme government pressure to participate in the march. Roads to the demonstration were blocked by soldiers who checked IDs of everyone coming in. The army heavily patrolled the city and buzzed the marchers with helicopters and an observation plane. Nonetheless, the marchers successfully protested against the "death squad" regime.


Thousands of workers marched in the capital demanding better working conditions, higher wages, lower prices, and an end to government-organized violence against the workers and poor.


Following the mass rebellion in February against the economic austerity policies of President Carlos Andres Perez, a number of large strikes have taken place. On April 12 the city of Merida was shut down by a general strike.

Venezuelan workers used May 1st as another occasion to protest austerity. In their marches they demanded that a nationwide general strike be organized.


General Augusto Pinochet used a combination of repression and tidbit handouts to try to keep May Day celebrations under control. Pinochet announced a raise in the minimum wage, as a concession to the poor; but the raise only amounts to about 40 cents a day, and is Only for those over the age of 21.

Meanwhile, Pinochet as usual banned workers' demonstrations. Nonetheless thousands marched in Santiago and other cities. One march in Santiago contained 10,000 workers, and in at least one place workers built barricades against the police. Police attacked marches with tear gas and water cannon, arresting 94 in Santiago and 34 in Concepcion.


Three large marches were organized in Quito protesting the policies of the social-democratic president, Rodrigo Borja. Workers demanded wage raises and agitated for a general strike.


Millions of workers marched on May Day in the midst of a mounting strike wave involving some two million workers who have shut down ports, paralyzed banking, and crippled production in key industries.

Workers are protesting the spiraling inflation -- over 1,000% last year -- and the steadily worsening living conditions. Millions of Brazilian workers are paid less than the legal minimum wage ($50 a month) on regular, full-time jobs. Such workers can hardly afford bus fare to work, much less housing, and so many families now live in the streets. Over the last year, there has developed a growing strike movement against government austerity; this has included some of the largest nationwide strikes in Brazil's history.

Brazilians are also in the midst of a presidential election campaign. The present ruling party is thoroughly discredited among the masses. Support has grown for the social-democratic parties which claim to champion the interests of the workers and people. Many workers have built up hope especially in the candidacy of Luis Inacio da Silva ("Lula"). Lula is the head of a major trade union federation and of the Workers' Party (PT). He has also enlisted the support of many left-wing parties, including the revisionist "communist" parties who only a couple of years ago were supporting the Sarney government.

The Workers' Party has influence among militant workers but unfortunately it is not a revolutionary party. And in its current election campaign, it is moving to the right in order to win the confidence of the Brazilian ruling establishment as a potential victor of the upcoming elections.

In the past Lula was full of rhetoric about repudiating Brazil's foreign debt payments. But as Lula has become a serious contender in the elections, his tone against the multinational capitalists has softened considerably. In fact, today Lula is calling for more foreign investment in Brazil, and blames the country's economic problems on the "pre-capitalist mentality'' of Brazilian businessmen [!]. (New York Times, April 30)

Lula no longer talks of repudiating or even stopping all payments on Brazil's debt, but simply of temporarily stopping interest payments and conducting an audit on the origin of the debt, then negotiating a long-term solution.

Lula has also drawn back from his previous talk about nationalizing health clinics, schools and banks. Instead he now expresses confidence that private capitalism can be made to work for the masses.

Lula's reputation as a "socialist'' and a "workers' leader'' make him popular among the masses, and he may well win the presidency. But his social-democratic politics do not represent an alternative that can lift the Brazilian masses out of the crisis-ridden situation they are in.


The government banned May Day marches, but even so hundreds of thousands of workers turned out to protest right-wing violence against workers' and popular organizations.



Huge marches were organized in Madrid and other cities. The actions protested Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez' economic policies, which have created high unemployment and high prices. But workers also expressed anger at the trade union leaders who did not follow up the advantage of last December's general strike and win their demands against the government.

West Germany

West Germany recently passed new legislation against unofficial demonstrations and making it a crime to wear "fighting clothes,'' like leather jackets, in demonstrations. About 7,000 young people turned out for an unofficial May Day demonstration in the Kreuzberg district of West Berlin. There were sharp clashes with police.


The "socialist'' countries of the Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe are gripped in serious crisis today. The workers face a complicated situation in order to be able to emerge from the shadow of the betrayal of the false communists. May Day offered a glimpse of the difficult situation faced by the workers.


As in several other revisionist countries, the official May Day celebrations organized by the bureaucrats in power were irrelevant to the workers. The regime has long alienated itself from the masses of workers.

Unfortunately the workers look to the Solidarity union leaders who promote the virtues of capitalism and Western imperialism. For the last few years, supporters of the banned Solidarity union organized small marches outside the official May Day celebrations. This year, following the agreement to re-legalize Solidarity, the government allowed a march of Solidarity supporters in Warsaw. It was large, but the slogans here reflected the confusion of workers who have fallen for the pro-capitalist lie that the despised Polish regime represents communism.


Chinese government leaders used the official May Day celebrations to lecture workers about the need for "discipline.'' In the midst of the growing student demonstrations in Beijing, officials urged workers to "resist the forces of instability'' -- that is, that they should not support the students. But within days workers had rejected this order en masse and joined with the students in protest of the Deng Xiaoping regime.

Soviet Union

The main emphasis in the official march in Moscow's Red Square was perestroika, Gorbachev's program of capitalist restructuring. Gorbachev is trying to fan enthusiasm for the program which is becoming increasingly unpopular with the working masses. The workers see that perestroika has done nothing to solve their longstanding economic problems -- shortages of goods, housing shortages, bureaucratic red tape, etc. -- and are becoming increasingly skeptical about Gorbachev's promises of future prosperity.

So many strikes have broken out in the past few months that Gorbachev has now been forced to legalize strikes. But the conditions imposed for legalization are a scheme to hamstring the strike movement, to find ways of keeping them under the control of the official trade unions instead of allowing the workers to break out of the confines of the official union apparatus.

In Armenia, Soviet officials are so afraid of another round of demonstrations for national rights that they canceled all May Day celebrations. They were also canceled in Soviet Georgia, where on April 10, Soviet security forces brutally gassed to death a score of people in a nationalist demonstration.

[Photo: Fascist police in Turkey brutally attack May Day demonstration in Istanbul.]

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