The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 20, No. 10


25ยข October 1, 1990

[Front page:

No to an oil war in the Persian Gulf!;

Demonstrate October 20!;

Month of protest at Detroit nightclub--Racist system's got to go!;

Face the recession with struggle]

Step Up the Defense of Women's Rights!

Boston's 'pro-life' clerics back war............................ 2
Pro-choice contingent in Labor Day march................ 2
Down with Michigan's parental consent law.............. 2
Actions in brief: Mich.; Chicago; Sacramento........... 2

Fight for Universal Health Care!

Health cuts denounced in S.F. and L.A...................... 3
Health care cut for oil war.......................................... 3

The Struggle of the Homeless

Brooklyn; Oakland; Detroit........................................ 3

U.S. Troops Out of the Persian Gulf!

Protests mount in U.S. and world-wide...................... 4
What path for struggle?.............................................. 5
Marines refuse to fight................................................ 5
Who will foot the bill for this war?............................ 5

Down with Racism!

Why Mayor Young and black elite deny racism......... 6
March condemns murder of Charles Gibson.............. 6
KKK march stopped in Washington, D.C................... 7
Chicano Moratorium protests U.S. war in Gulf.......... 7
Actions in brief........................................................... 7

Strikes and Workplace News

Picket vs. firing of N.Y. transit workers..................... 8
Actions in brief........................................................... 8

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

New tasks for Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninist............... 9
Strikes renewed in Nicaragua..................................... 9

For Workers' Socialism, Not Revisionist State-Capitalism!

Soviet Union's 500-day plan for capitalism............... 10

The World in Struggle

Bush cozies up with South Africa's De Klerk............ 12
Mohawks' standoff ends, struggle continues.............. 12
In brief: Dominican Republic; Peru; Turkey; Zambia; Bangladesh; Congo.................................................... 12

No to an oil war in the Persian Gulf!

Demonstrate October 20!

Month of protest at Detroit nightclub

Racist system's got to go!

Face the recession with struggle

Step up the defense of women's rights!

Pro-choice contingent at Detroit Labor Day march

Down with the Michigan parental consent law


Fight for universal health care!

Struggle of the homeless

Protests mount

'Hell no! We won't fight for AMOCO!'

Demonstrations worldwide hit oil war

What path for the anti-war struggle?

Marines refuse to serve in Persian Gulf

Defend Jeff Paterson!

Who will foot the bill for this war?

Why do Detroit's mayor and black elite deny racism?

March condemns the racist murder of Charles Gibson



Strikes and workplace news


New Tasks for Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists

Strikes renewed in Nicaragua

For workers' socialism, not revisionist state-capitalism!

The World in Struggle


No to an oil war in the Persian Gulf!

The drums of war beat louder every day. The war of rhetoric between the U.S. and Iraq that marked most of September has now given way once again to growing howls for U.S. military action.

The war in the making is a filthy war, over no higher purpose than oil profits. Already many protests have taken place across the country against the war buildup. People are angry at Big Oil, which is not only egging for war but also reaping fat price-gouging profits.

All out for demonstrations against a war for oil! Join the October 20 marches in New York, Seattle, and other cities. Spread the truth about this war far and wide. Denounce Bush, Congress and all the capitalists who stand behind it!

War cries become louder

On September 28, Bush's national security adviser Brent Scowcroft said that the U.S. can't wait for economic sanctions to work against Iraq. And Rep. Les Aspin, a leading war hawk from the Democratic Party, said the same day that the U.S. will have to go to war this year. Meanwhile, Saudi officials, Israeli chiefs, and some other U.S. allies are clamoring for early military action.

While the Bush administration has talked about letting the embargo work, the Pentagon has been gearing for war all along. Already there are more than 100,000 troops in Saudi Arabia. More are in the other Gulf kingdoms, as well as Turkey.

They prepare for a war of brutality

Make no mistake, it is one hell of a bloody war they are thinking about. While there has been much nonsense about surgical strikes -- which military experts acknowledge only exist in the imagination -- the Pentagon is in fact preparing to kill a lot of civilians.

Just a few weeks ago, Gen. Michael J. Dugan, the Air Force chief, let some of the U.S. plans out of the bag. He said that U.S. action would emphasize massive bombing whose "cutting edge would be in downtown Baghdad." Bush removed him from his job, but not because the White House disagreed with what he said, only because he had exercised "poor judgment" in talking about such things in public. (As it turns out, Dugan wasn't retired, but is currently working as a special assistant to Air Force Secretary Donald Rice.)

The "noble aims" of this slaughter

And what are U.S. soldiers going to be killing Arabs for? What are they going to be coming back in body bags for?

Forget the nonsense from Bush about restoring the legitimate government of Kuwait, international law, and so forth. The truth is, it all boils down to naked big-power imperialism.

* Above all else, it is a war over oil profits -- to ensure the free flow of fat profits to the big oil companies. The U.S. and other Western oil monopolies still dominate profit-making from the Gulfs oil, although there are local capitalist interests who share in the spoils. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait toppled one of the best partners of the oil companies, and it threatened the stability of other emirates. Yet Iraq did not threaten to shut off the profits to Western imperialism. As a capitalist regime with its own ambitions, it simply wanted a bigger share of the oil profits going to the exploiters of the region.

* The war is also to shore up medieval-style kingdoms, like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Bush can't speak of defending democracy in this effort, because there is no pretense of any in these places. A small number of monarchs and sheikhs sit on top of the working people, many of whose workers are hired from around the Arab world and Asian countries. The rulers live high and ruthlessly oppose any dissent. In Kuwait, the toilers were all foreigners; most of the people weren't allowed citizenship rights, even if you were born there.

* And this is a war to determine that U.S. imperialism is the world's top cop, the superpower which can maraud anywhere in the world it likes. Bush and Congress want to make sure that Washington, not some local upstart regime, will be the main power in the Gulf. They make a lot of noise about how they can't tolerate the Iraqi strongman regime in the Gulf. But the U.S. isn't opposed to strongman regimes in the Gulf, it only wants to have its own lackey strongman regime -- as it used to once with the Shah of Iran.

Even if immediate war is avoided, the U.S. government has already gained its long-sought military foothold in the Gulf. It has sunk its claws into this oil-rich region. Secretary of State Baker has announced that U.S. forces may have to stay in the area long after the present crisis is resolved.

The facade of world opinion

The U.S. government is really carrying out its own police action. But Bush has successfully worked to cover himself with the fig leaf of world opinion, getting United Nations backing as well as dozens of countries to join in.

But this doesn't make the whole effort any more just.

Many of the powers involved are imperialist powers, like Britain and France. They share the same motives as the U.S. The revisionist capitalist regime in Moscow under Gorbachev is also eager to prove its imperialist credentials, and besides, it's hungry for Western credits. Many other exploiters' regimes have been bought by the promise of similar credits. There was the forgiving of Egypt's $7 billion debt. Other poor countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan are having their U.S. aid and Saudi petrodollar IOU's cashed in. Far-flung regimes like debt-strapped Argentina are hoping for kinder relief from U.S. banks.

This is no freely expressed international opinion. It's imperialism, with the following of its bought-and-paid-for clients.

No justice on Iraq's side either

Meanwhile, there is no high purpose in Iraq's side either. Saddam Hussein is a fascist tyrant. The Arab poor shed no tears for the fall of the Kuwaiti royal family, but Saddam did not invade Kuwait to bring any type of liberation. He invaded to get money, because he incurred huge debts he couldn't pay off. These debts were piled up to pay for the long, dirty war against Iran -- which ironically Kuwait, the Saudis and the U.S. encouraged. Let's not forget, the U.S. groomed the Saddam regime over the last ten years. They ignored his atrocities. Now the hired bully boy has turned against his employers.

And the working people worldwide are now supposed to side with one or another of these oppressive tyrants? Hell no! The workers of the world have no interest in this war, not in either side. We here in the U.S. must oppose the U.S. war drive. The Arab people should settle accounts with their own oppressors, including the Saudi and other monarchs, as well as the generals and other despots. We must support the workers of the Middle East by standing up against U.S. intervention, as well as staying clear of falling for the sweet talk of a tyrant like Saddam.

No to war for the oil companies! U.S. troops out of the Persian Gulf!

No to the spread of anti-Arab racism!

Build the struggle against war, independent of both parties of jingoism!

Workers of the world, unite against all the oppressors--the imperialists, sheikhs and generals!

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Demonstrate October 20!

[Photo: 350 marched in Seattle against Persian Gulf war buildup, September 8]

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Month of protest at Detroit nightclub

Racist system's got to go!

A month of stormy protest on Detroit's east side has helped to rekindle the fire of the anti-racist movement in this city.

Two young black men, Derrick Daniels and Stevie McNeil, were brutally beaten on August 31 by a group of white racists who had come out of the Harpos Concert Theater. This racist attack would have been treated like any other -- mentioned briefly in the press perhaps, but then quickly forgotten. But this time it was different. Black and white workers and youth from the neighborhood and around the city were rallied by the Marxist-Leninist Party and other anti-racist groups to fight back. They came out to confront the racists. They stood up to the intimidation of the police. And they defied Mayor Coleman Young and the "respectable" community leaders who orchestrated a campaign to stop the protests.

The mass protests eventually forced Harpos management to agree at a public meeting on September 24 to a series of measures against racism at the club. But more than this. The protests have helped to energize the masses and led to discussion on carrying the struggle forward.

Meanwhile, no one trusts Harpos, and further protests have been threatened if it breaks the agreement or fails to stop the racists. Anger against the police has grown, and there is discussion of building actions to oppose police harassment. Distrust for Mayor Young's government has mounted, and there is talk of holding protests to ensure justice for Daniels and McNeil at the trials of the racists.

The victory at Harpos is the victory of the masses, of black and white working people uniting and relying on their own strength to beat back the racist attacks. It is part of the movement breaking out to unleash the power of mass struggle against racism wherever it rears its ugly head.

Fury of the masses unleashed


Racist incidents had been mounting at Harpos for weeks. Harpos, located in a black working class neighborhood on Detroit's east side, is a rock-and-roll nightclub catering to white youth from the suburbs. For weeks racists had come out of the club shouting racist slurs and even throwing rocks at black people passing by. As Harpos closed for the night on August 31, a gang of whites shouting racist obscenities grabbed two black men and beat them with a baseball bat. One was beaten so badly he had to get emergency reconstructive surgery for his battered face.

The next day, the Marxist-Leninist Party (MLP) organized a march through the neighborhood to tell people of the incident and to mobilize angry residents for protest. Then a picket was held in front of Harpos by the MLP, Stop Racism Now, Anti-Racist Action, and the Revolutionary Workers League who together called for a demonstration Thursday, the next time Harpos would open for business.

That night over 200 people rallied in front of Harpos shouting "Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, the Racist System's Got to Go!" Black and white working people came from around Detroit and some suburbs. And angry youth from the neighborhood poured into the streets to join the protest. As a few people showed up to attend the concert, the shout went up "Rock and Roll's Okay, But Racism, No Way!" Some demonstrators talked to concert-goers about the protest and got their support. But some who came for the concert ran to the police. And the police tried to escort them in by pushing and shoving and grabbing protesters. The demonstrators were outraged. "Police and klan go hand in hand!" they shouted. The police grabbed one demonstrator and whisked him to jail, as the protesters shouted "Let him go! Let him go!"

The confrontation went on for hours, and eventually Harpos was forced to close.

Mayor Young's campaign against mass protest


The demonstration scared the city government, and it quickly went into action to head off further protests.

The next day, police cars were sent cruising all over the neighborhood to intimidate people. Harpos canceled all concerts for the rest of the weekend, in the hopes of defusing the outrage. But when people showed up to picket anyway, the police bullied and badgered them. They kept jabbing picketers with billy clubs and flashlights. They pressed the marchers back foot after foot. And then a Harpos manager pointed out a couple of protesters who had been leading slogans on the bullhorn, and the police moved unsuccessfully to arrest them.

At the same time, a coalition of "respectable" community leaders was put together by New Detroit, Inc. (see article on this page) to oppose the protests. They began holding behind-the-scenes meetings with Harpos and announced that some agreement was near and no further protests were needed. Phone calls were made to all the ministers in the area to ask their help in stopping the protests. One such self-appointed "leader" showed up at the Friday protest to shout anti-communist lies against black and white unity to stop people from the neighborhood from joining in. And Mayor Coleman Young, the police, New Detroit, Inc. and the capitalist news media launched a huge media blitz to deny that the attack at Harpos was racist. The newspapers even cited a Harpos' spokesman blaming the black victims and claiming the racists were just acting in "self-defense."

Masses continue the fight


But the masses were not shut up so easily. The Marxist-Leninist Party came out with an issue of the Detroit Workers' Voice which denounced Mayor Young's attempt to deny racism in the Harpos incident and calling for the masses to keep up the fight. The leaflets were spread door to door through the neighborhood for days. MLP supporters spoke at block club meetings and other community gatherings. Young people took leaflets to pass out in their high schools and on their blocks. As well, the leaflets were distributed at various work places, and workers from other parts of the city and suburbs were mobilized to join the protests.

The next Thursday, when Harpos was again to open, the Marxist-Leninist Party organized another march through the neighborhood. Many people joined in shouting slogans, took picket signs, marched for a while, and declared they would join us later at a picket across from Harpos which had been called by various anti-racist groups. "Mayor Young, are you blind? You cover up for racist crime!" was a popular chant. Young's government sent over 70 policeman ta barricade off Harpos entrance and keep it open. And people were outraged. "Mayor Young, you can't hide, your police take the racist's side!" they chanted. When they tried to arrest a man for "jaywalking," the masses surrounded the police shouting "let him go!" and "cops and klan work hand-in-hand!" Although the police let him off with a ticket, the masses weren't satisfied. They linked arms and tried to push through the police lines, but were forced back. Although the police were able to keep Harpos open, the protest was effective. Few people were willing to go to a Harpos concert with so many people protesting. The next night, picketing across the street continued.

Stormy public meeting forces agreement

Hurting from the demonstrations, the Harpos' owners were forced finally to start to deal with the anti-racist masses. They agreed to the demand of the protest groups to open the club's doors for a public meeting where the masses could have their say on what to do about racism at Harpos. They also agreed to drop their suit for a court injunction banning protests. Another Detroit Workers' Voice came out explaining the agreement and calling on the masses to "Keep up the fire against racism!" by picketing Harpos and coming out to the public meeting.

On September 20, when Harpos again opened, more than fifty people came out to keep up the protests. But supporters of the Revolutionary Workers League distributed a statement by Harpos listing a few things it promised to do, and argued that protests should stop until the public meeting. While some people kept up their picket signs, a big debate broke out on how to develop the fight. The Marxist-Leninist Party and others argued that only the mass protests had forced Harpos to even agree to a public meeting and the mass struggle must be kept up, at least until the meeting where the masses from the neighborhood could decide what to do.

This debate continued to rage through the week as the MLP went throughout the neighborhood to mobilize people for the September 24 meeting. When that night came over 150 people showed up.

But Harpos, waving a letter from New Detroit, Inc., declared it would not allow the masses to come in. New Detroit, Inc. claimed that only its behind-closed-doors negotiations represented the community and actually denounced the public meeting -- a meeting where the masses could come out to speak for themselves -- as not being "a genuine community meeting." But the masses would not listen. Shouts rang out, "Harpos lied!" and "Let us in!" until the owners had to relent and go ahead with the meeting.

The meeting was stormy. Many people called for Harpos to be shut down permanently. Others argued that if Harpos agreed to a series of demands, it should be allowed to stay open. And supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party argued that while many of the demands were alright, no trust could be put in Harpos or the police or Mayor Young's government to carry them out. The masses have to defend the right to protest and continue to build up the movement if we are to get anywhere.

Eventually, Harpos agreed to drop its law suit to ban protests (which it had reneged on from a previous agreement) and to not press charges against any of the protesters. It declared it would retract its statement that the racists had acted only in "self-defense" and to send condolences to the families of the victims. It promised to post on its marquee "Racism will not be tolerated," to leaflet its patrons against racism, to hire no employees or bands that exhibit racism, to eject any one saying racial slurs or giving nazi salutes, to increase security, and to provide valet parking to keep its patrons off the streets after concerts. It also said it would allow in five people chosen by the protest groups to patrol the club. And it promised to try to provide entertainment for the community, to hold teen nights, and to provide access for meetings of community groups.

Still the masses at the meeting were skeptical. They fear that this is simply an attempt to cool out the situation and in a few weeks or months it will be back to racism as usual. So after bitter argument, it was agreed to meet again in two weeks to assess if Harpos was living up to the agreement and, if Harpos violated the agreement in the interim, to launch protests again.

The sentiment of the meeting was that the mass protests have forced a step forward. And mass protests have to be continued and built up against racism throughout the city and suburbs. This fight is not just against Harpos. It is part of the battle against the racism that is being fostered by President Bush and the Supreme Court. It is part of the struggle against the police, who protect the racists and who are assaulting the black community with their phony "war on drugs." And it is part of the fight against Mayor Young's administration and New Detroit, Inc. and all the "respectable" black leaders who have tried to deny the growing racism and prevent the masses from taking action against it. A new movement -- based on the unity of the black and white workers and organized independently of the black misleaders -- is emerging. Let's build up that movement into a powerful force that declares "the racist system must go!"

[Photo: Angry youth confront police at Harpos, September 6]

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Face the recession with struggle

The news came out in September -- the supposedly miraculous "Reagan recovery" is officially over. The Commerce Department reported that the economy was at a virtual stand-still in the last quarter, and many economists declare that recession has already begun. Layoffs have spread from the factories, mines, and construction sites into the service sector. Gas, food, and other prices are again climbing at a 6% annual rate. The savings-and-loan crisis has spread to the commercial banks where the General Accounting Office predicts 35 more bank failures by year end. The economy is coming loose at the seams.

For a decade, Reagan and Bush have lectured about the supposed wonder-making powers of the "free market." They held up the economy with gargantuan military spending, tax breaks to the rich, and other handouts to the monopolies on the one hand, and the slashing of social benefits and encouragement of wage cuts from the working masses and poor on the other hand. Under the Reagan-Bush plan, the richest got very rich and the poor poorer. The Census Bureau reports that the Reagan recovery benefited a whole upper stratum, some 4.6 million families, whose average annual income rose by over $28,000 dollars in the last decade to $148,438. Meanwhile, the poorest 18.5 million families saw their income drop $500 to $9,431 a year. (New York Times, Sept. 26)

But if we cried out against the orgy of the rich, we were told not to worry, the growing economy would eventually benefit all with jobs and a rising standard of living. Well, eventually has arrived, the "recovery" has turned into crisis, and the working masses are being pushed further to the wall.

So will the government now change course? Will the Democrats stand up to Bush and defend the hard-pressed masses? Not a chance. Even while they shout and wring their hands, the Democrats are joining with Bush to further slash spending for health, housing, education and so forth. Oh they won't cut the military budget, no the Democrats are saluting the U.S. war for oil in the Middle East. And they don't cut a cent from the $300-500 billion bailout of the savings-and-loan banks, no, they want more.

The Democrats, like the Republicans, are a party of the capitalists. And despite their talk of helping the workers and minorities, the bottom line for the Democrats is protection of the wealthy monopolies and entire capitalist system.

Capitalism under the Reagan recovery has been hell for the workers. Capitalism going into recession is only worse. This is because it is a system built on the exploitation of the working majority by the rich parasites. As long as that system lasts, there will be periodic economic crises and a constant push against the working masses. We must get organized to resist the layoffs and homelessness and cutbacks. We must get organized to stand as a class against the system of exploitation. The workers must get organized to build a new system, a system run by the workers in common for the benefit of all. A system without a class of leeches living off our sweat and toil. A system where production is for us to use, and so increasing production is not the cause of layoffs and recession but to increase the welfare of all.

The working class can sacrifice no more for the sake of the filthy rich. We must fight back. No to Bush and Congress! No more sacrifice for the rich!

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Step up the defense of women's rights!

Boston 'pro-life' clerics back war

The weekly paper of the Boston diocese carried a front page editorial backing Bush's buildup for an oil war in the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile it denies women's rights in the name of "pro-life" demagogy. Apparently war is OK so long as women soldiers don't get abortions.

Meanwhile Operation Rescue's bullies and the more "moderate" anti-abortion groups are coordinating their actions against women's rights. OR is increasing its weekday attacks on clinics. The more "moderate" groups stage prayer rallies once a month or more at the same health clinics in order to give an appearance of mass support for anti-women activities.

The National Organization of Women has been dragging its feet and holding back clinic defense. Even when it knows about clinic attacks or OR demonstrations in advance, it has not wanted to organize mass rallies for women's rights. Boston Worker,voice of the Marxist-Leninist Party, has been calling on activists to confront the antiabortion bullies. It backed a counter-demonstration against the anti-abortion movement on September 8, and it has been exposing the hypocrisy of the "pro-life" forces in theBoston Worker.

On September 8, the Catholic hierarchy organized another of its prayer rallies outside an abortion clinic, and brought out about 200 people. About 25 pro- choice activists showed up. The religious hypocrites formed a block away to have a procession, complete with a statue of the Virgin Mary and led by a group of priests. The pro-choice forces formed a picket line on the sidewalk to block them. The anti-abortion hypocrites got the police to open a corridor through the pro-choice forces. But they had to walk by protesters shouting militant slogans, and they were quite taken aback at facing opposition to their harassment of the clinics and their anti-woman stands. The pro-choice forces had punctured their facade of being the voice of the people.

The counter-demonstration was spirited and successful. Another one is scheduled for October 6, to counter the next procession being organized by the Church to harass an abortion clinic.

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Pro-choice contingent at Detroit Labor Day march

The annual Labor Day march in Detroit, organized by the tired-out labor officials, is a sadder and smaller event each year. But there were still several thousand rank-and-file workers there this year, on September 3, and they were met by a contingent of 40 abortion rights activists, including supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party (MLP). The contingent appealed to the workers to oppose Michigan's "parental consent" law, which the legislature was soon to act on. (It was passed soon afterwards and is scheduled to go into effect in April 1991.)

The MLP distributed thousands ofleaflets on the issue. The MLP leaflet also exposed the AFL-CIO Executive Committee's recent decision to remain "neutral" on abortion rights and stand aside from the struggle for women's rights. The AFL-CIO leadership does not lead the working class into action, but shamefully pulls it backward.

As well, the MLP leaflet dealt with the upcoming auto contract. And it condemned Bush's Middle East war buildup on behalf of the oil monopolies. Many workers expressed their anti-war stand to distributors.

The AFL-CIO bureaucrats were quite upset. While hypocritically billing their march as one for "freedom," they called on the police to suppress the pro-choice contingent. The police forced the contingent out of the street where the march was held, and onto the sidewalk. There a wall of police sealed off the contingent from the march.

The activists persisted in getting their message out, however. Pro-choice slogans rang out from the pro-choice contingent, attracting attention from each union contingent marching by. And a few distributors slipped out of sight of the police and continued handing out leaflets to the march.

The success of the pro-choice contingent was its contact with the rank-and- file workers. The liberal Detroit Free Press ignored the contingent, while the conservative Detroit News made the startling discovery that the activists were really a contingent of 50 people opposing abortion rights. The movement must orient its actions not to media coverage but to work among the masses.

[Photo: Pro-choice contingent greets Labor Day marchers in Detroit]

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Down with the Michigan parental consent law

The rights of working and poor women are being chipped away in Michigan. First Medicaid-funded abortions were banned. Then on September 12 a "parental consent" bill was passed which requires unmarried women under the age of 18 to get written permission from a parent or guardian, or approval from a juvenile court judge, in order to get an abortion.

These sorry stands of the politicians are opening a period of struggle over the issue of women's rights. And on Saturday, September 15 activists rallied in defense of abortion rights.

First, 25 demonstrators marched through Detroit's Eastern Market, crowded with people on this busy Saturday morning. Many shoppers showed their support, and numerous copies of Detroit Workers' Voice and other pro-choice literature were distributed. The Detroit Workers' Voice pointed out that while it is good if a young woman can consult with supportive parents on getting an abortion, good family relations cannot be legislated. In fact, the parental consent law will victimize many teenage women: either forcing them to bear a child against their will or driving them to the desperation of dangerous back-alley abortions.

A short while later, at noon, there was a rally at Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit. Sixty-five people appeared, and a number of speeches were given concerning people's personal experience and views. Unfortunately, downtown Detroit is deserted on Saturday, and there was hardly anybody around to see the event.

In the planning of the day's events in the Detroit Committee to Defend Abortion Rights (CDAR), differing views had come up. The MLP had advocated a march and rally in a working class neighborhood or other area with many people around. But the view, advocated by the Trotskyist RWL, that prevailed in the CDAR leadership was to ensure that NOW would be involved and to have an event that would attract media attention. So Grand Circus Park was chosen for the rally. Although it was agreed to have a march in the crowded farmers' market, they dragged their feet, and it was left to the MLP to show enthusiasm for it.

But what happened at the rally at Grand Circus Park? Only three or four people from NOW showed up, and the media was uninterested. It is the masses of working people, not the bourgeois newspapers or bourgeois-led organizations, that are the future of the women's movement.

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Ann Arbor march vs. parental consent law

150 students and other pro-choice supporters rallied in Ann Arbor on Thursday, September 20 against the recently passed parental consent law which seeks to harass teenage women seeking abortions. A march from the University of Michigan joined up with one from Community High School, and there were also students present from Pioneer High School. The demonstrators were in high spirits, marched to the front of the Federal Building, and demanded the repeal of the law.

Anti-woman prayer meeting confronted at Livonia health clinic

The anti-abortion bullies scheduled a prayer meeting in front of a health clinic in Livonia, Michigan in order to harass women seeking abortions. Twenty-five religious hypocrites were confronted on Saturday, September 29 by an equal number of pro-choice activists, who shouted slogans and protected the clinic. Over a dozen police cars showed up, but did nothing to protect the women patients.

Pro-choice actions frustrate anti-abortion bullies in Chicago

The "pro-life" hypocrites have continued to denounce health clinics in Chicago. The largest actions have occurred in front of a health clinic at Diversey and Western. Eight to ten anti-abortion fanatics show up every Saturday, and are confronted by a varying force of pro- choice activists, ranging from four people to over a dozen. On September 14 the "pro-life" thugs sought to harass women patients, but gave up after women's rights activists drowned them out with slogans. The next weekend, the "pro-life" forces decided not to do anything but pray. They were upset however by cars honking in response to placards asking motorists to honk for choice, and vainly sought to quiet things down with a sign saying "don't honk."

Sacramento activists confront Operation Rescue offensive

In Sacramento the anti-abortion bullies are on an offensive. They are attacking clinics two or three times a week, and physically assaulting pro-choice activists who escort women patients into the clinics. One pro-choice woman suffered a concussion, and pro-choice activists are also getting death threats.

But a core of 30 women's rights activists are persisting in escorting patients, and they are fighting back against OR assaults. Views are changing in the midst of the struggle. One activist who previously opposed confrontations as upsetting the clients is now swinging back at OR and proud of the militancy of the clinic defense. Meanwhile the police are helping out OR and even arrest pro-choice people on the say-so of OR.

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Fight for universal health care!

Health care cut for oil war

On September 21, Dr. Louis Sullivan, Secretary of Health and Human Services, announced that the Bush administration doesn't plan to provide adequate funds for health programs. Instead the money will have to go to help pay for the military buildup in the Middle East. Since there will be no money for health, some health programs will have to be cut to pay for others.

Speaking at a hospital with a substance-abuse program for pregnant women, he said "there's no question programs like this are urgent." He professed to be stunned that there weren't more programs like it. But, after all, the oil war in the Middle East had "to be top priority." So the only way he saw to fund substance-abuse programs was by cutting other health programs.

The Bush administration boasts of its "pro-life" and "pro-family" principles. But all it delivers is hypocrisy. It won't even fund programs for pregnant women and their families who are left to bear the devastation of drug addiction. Is it any wonder that a popular slogan of the women's movement today goes "Pro-life, who you kiddin', you're pro-war and anti-women!"

Health cuts denounced in San Francisco

Huge cuts in social services are taking 'place all across California due to budget slashing by the California State Legislature. For years the relatively prosperous "sunbelt" state of California has been cutting back on expenditures for schools, clinics, transportation, etc. Now as the coming recession is squeezing the California budget, the politicians are cutting down further on the already inadequate social programs.

San Francisco is to see a cut of almost $30 million in public health and mental health programs. The cutbacks hit especially hard at people with AIDS. As well, funds^ have been cut for some health centers which serve large numbers of people without health insurance. And San Francisco General Hospital may lose its maternity ward clinic, substance abuse rehabilitation clinic, etc.

Hundreds of concerned people crowded into a Health Commission meeting on August 20 and a Finance Committee hearing on August 23. Anger over the cutbacks also inspired a large turnout on September 2, when 1,000 people marched to demand a universal health care system. Meanwhile the only response from the Democratic Party politicians in San Francisco is that social programs could "share the pain." They suggested that the cutbacks could be distributed among many overburdened social programs rather than concentrated in health -- let the working people bleed from a thousand cuts rather than one big gash. Let the rich "share the pain" among themselves -- it's time for the common people to demand their rights!


Protesters denounce health cutbacks in East L.A.

Over 100 angry protesters showed up at a meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, September 18. They denounced the closing of the only mental health clinic in East Los Angeles and the resulting loss of all mental health services provided by the El Centro clinic to the Chicano community. The protesters, mainly Chicanos, blacks and women, shouted slogans and denounced the racist Board of Supervisors. As the economic crisis hits California, the bourgeoisie is trying to put all the burden on the workers and the minorities.

The union affected by the closing called for voting for more Democratic politicians and for more taxes on the masses. Meanwhile a supporter of the Marxist-Leninist Party passed out a large amount of literature, to the response from the protesters of "bienvenidos" and "Keep up the good work, brother!"

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Struggle of the homeless


Brooklyn homeless fight to keep their new homes

In Brooklyn, New York 31 residents of formerly vacant homes are once again fighting the threat of eviction. Previously homeless, these mostly single mothers, children and elderly have been going through the "proper channels" for three years to occupy and renovate three abandoned houses in Brooklyn. Now they are preparing to fight.

After living in the homes and doing the repairs necessary under the scrutiny of the city, they have been declared "squatters" and are being evicted. This is being done under the guise of a renovation project to build "affordable housing" being carried out by a group of churches and synagogues who have bought the land the homes are on. Under this Nehemiah project many multi-family units are being razed along with small businesses in order to build pre-fab single family homes. Already this project has displaced 1,500 people in Brownsville and 400 to 500 in East New York.

Oakland homeless win a fight for housing!

Three homeless families took over three houses in Oakland, California in August. They were determined not to spend another winter either on the streets or in shelters with their children. The homes had been leased by HUD to the city of Oakland for $1 a month and had been vacant for months. The three families moved in and made minor electrical repairs, fixed the rugs and painted -- work that the city had refused to do. Finally at the end of August, the city of Oakland agreed to award them to the occupying families!

Homeless and tenants protest demolition of Detroit projects

75 homeless rights activists and angry tenants confronted bulldozers, climbed dump trucks, and demonstrated to prevent the demolition of the 1,037 units at the Douglas-Brewster housing project on September 23.

Liberal Democratic Mayor Coleman Young and Jack Kemp, the Republican head of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), have collaborated to tear down these homes and replace them with 250 townhouses. HUD waived federal requirements that the city replace housing units it tears down.

The Brewster-Douglas projects sit on prime land near downtown, surrounded by the ever-expanding Detroit Medical Center and the Brush Park Redevelopment area. The money interests in the city have been chomping at the bit for the land. Coleman Young and Jack Kemp are capitalist politicians whose hearts beat to serve their wealthy masters. They think nothing of kicking the poor people out of the way and tearing down their houses to make way for the wealthy."

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Protests mount

'Hell no! We won't fight for AMOCO!'

If you listen to the politicians or the media, you'd think the country was solidly behind Bush's war buildup in the Persian Gulf. But in fact, there is widespread skepticism among the working people, and the organized protests to war are growing.

When Bush first announced he was sending troops to Saudi Arabia, small but spirited demonstrations took place in a number of cities. These have continued into September, spread to other places, and the numbers coming out have also gone up.

New York City


New York City is gearing up for a big anti-war march on October 20. As part of the preparations for this action, an overflow crowd turned out for a public meeting on September 13. The 1,000-seat Cooper Union Great Hall was filled, and another 1,000 stood outside, listening to the speeches over loudspeakers.

The rally demanded the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops and weapons from the Gulf. Erik Larsen, a Marine reservist who has declared his refusal to be shipped to the Gulf, spoke and received a standing ovation.

The crowd included both people who had opposed U.S. aggression in Viet Nam as well as youth coming anew into political life.



The day after the New York event, 1,000 people turned out for a teach-in at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. They cheered every suggestion of militancy against the war drive.

Two weeks earlier in San Francisco, about 700 people had marched from the headquarters of Chevron Oil to the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle.They angrily opposed a war for the oil companies' profits and denounced the news media's lapdog servility to the war drums of corporate America.

On September 19, San Francisco saw yet another outcry against the war buildup when George Bush flew in for a $l,000-a-plate fund-raiser for Republican politicians. Some 400 people protested the war, as well as the government's shameful neglect of people's needs including the AIDS crisis. The police went on a rampage against the demonstration. The hotel was cordoned off for blocks around, forcing the protesters to assemble in three sections. The cops went on a binge of arresting people without much of an excuse. Some 85 people were arrested.

Other cities in California have also seen protests, including Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento. Opposition to the war drive was a major theme of theAugust 25 march in East Los Angeles to commemorate the 1970 Chicano Moratorium.



A September 8 march in Seattle drew 350 demonstrators. They marched from the Seattle Center through downtown to Pike Place Market. They shouted U.S. off Arab soil, we won't fight for Standard Oil!and Hell No, we won't go, we won't fight for Texaco!.



About 350 people rallied in Chicago on September 22. They marched from the Federal Building to the Tribune Tower. The march picked up some people along the way. Some joined the march itself, while others chanted slogans with the marchers. It was announced at the rally that at least one sailor supported the march.

On September 27, Bush flew in to Detroit for another Republican fund-raiser. But here too, two hundreddemonstrators turned out to denounce him. Earlier in the month on Labor Day, anti-war slogans were raised by a contingent of pro-choice activists alongside the parade organized by the union bureaucrats. While the AFL-CIO bosses promoted their support for war by highlighting an M-l tank, many of the workers welcomed the anti-war chants.



Meetings, teach-ins and pickets have also taken place in numerous other places.

When Dan Quayle visited Portland, Oregon the last week of September, an angry crowd denounced him. The police beat up many of the demonstrators. In Boston there have been several rallies and pickets. About 300 protested in Pittsburgh. Some 200 people, most of whom opposed the war drive, turned out for a teach-in at Southern Illinois University. And 90 people came out for a September 5 forum in Cincinnati.

Protests reflect a growing mass sentiment


The ruling class had hoped that they were going to get away with their war buildup without mass opposition. But they are being proved wrong. The antiwar actions have spread, and more people are turning out. As well, there are welcome signs of dissent among the soldiers.

So far, the numbers involved in active protest are still relatively small. But this isn't because, as the media would like us to believe, that only a marginal fringe of society is opposed to the war drive. In fact, a broad skepticism exists among the masses.

Given the monopoly of information in the hands of the ruling class, it isn't surprising that at the beginning of theirwar policy that they can usually drum up majority support. But this doesn't last. What's impressive is the degree of skepticism among the masses at this early stage of things.

This comes out strongly in "letters to the editor" columns in many newspapers. Despite strong backing for the war, newspaper editors are receiving huge numbers of protest letters. For example, the Los Angeles Times reported on September 15 that it had received 1,748 letters on the Persian Gulf crisis; 397 letters supported Bush while 605 were critical of U.S. actions; the rest discussed "oil and U.S. energy problems" or connections to "other topics." Although the newspaper didn't say, many of these may also have opposed the war drive.

The base of opposition to the war drive is among the working and poor people. A September 8 New York Timesarticle admitted that "opponents to U.S. move have poverty in common." They reviewed a poll which showed greater opposition to the war buildup among working class people, as well as among blacks and minorities. The paper acknowledged that the split was "along class lines." This is not surprising. Those who are being sent to the Gulf are the sons and daughters of the working people, not the rich. They will also foot the bill for this huge military mobilization in more cutbacks and increased taxes, not to speak of the economic crisis which worsens every day.

The capitalist establishment vs. the protests


This mass sentiment comes in the face of an establishment dead set for the war drive. Thus Congress has fully backed up the war. And the media dutifully feeds war psychosis. This is used as pressure to oppose mass protests. Many "peace forces" closely connected to the Democratic Party are opposed to anti-war organizing. Jesse Jackson supports Bush, and the Reverend William Sloane Coffin of SANE/Freeze said he was inclined to be 51-49 behind George Bush on this issue. Meanwhile, the media refuse to cover protests more than the briefest of mentions.

And the capitalist authorities are ready to back up their war hysteria with police repression. Look at the police actions in San Francisco and Portland. As well, MLP activists distributing anti-war literature have been harassed in certain places and so have other left-wing groups.

The capitalist ruling class desperately hopes that they will be able to go to war without a repeat of the 1960's-style anti-war movement. They have spent so much effort trying to exorcise this Viet Nam syndrome. But all their Rambo- mania and anti-Arab racist hysteria will not succeed. The working people and youth of America will again have their say.

[Photo: San Francisco protesters denounce Bush for war in the Mideast, Sept. 19]

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Demonstrations worldwide hit oil war

Bush has worked hard to pressure and cajole capitalist governments around the world to join the war effort in the Persian Gulf. Warships have been sent from as far as Argentina and Australia. Troops have been mobilized from Britain to Syria to Bangladesh.

The governments of these countries have joined the dirty oil war on the U.S. side. But many are facing stirrings of dissent at home.

Margaret Thatcher, as usual, has been the most gung-ho for the imperialist war. Britain, the former colonial master of the Persian Gulf, has been more vociferous than most in pushing for military action against Iraq. The opposition Labor Party has also dutifully toed the colonialist line.

But anti-war protesters are on the march. On September 1st, 2,000 people rallied in London. Thousands more took to the streets on September 15.

In Australia, 2,000 people chanting "Bring the frigates home! No Gulf war!" rallied outside the U.S. consulate and the Australian Defense Headquarters in Sydney on September 1. There were also actions in eight other cities. One seaman, Terry Jones, 23, has refused to go to the Persian Gulf.

The social-democratic government of Spain has sent three warships to the Gulf. These are largely manned by draftee sailors. The government has acted in defiance of public opinion which is strong against intervention. On September 15, some 5,000 people marched in Madrid to protest sending warships to the Gulf. They called on sailors to desert. Sections of the angry demonstrators fought against riot police who fired rubber bullets.

The German government is debating sending military forces into the Gulf. The capitalist politicians, including the social-democrats, are trying to use the crisis to amend the country's post-World War II constitution which prevents sending military forces outside the NATO region. But many workers and youth are opposed to taking part in the oil war. About 500 marched in Frankfurt, September 1.

[Photo: Madrid protest against sending Spanish warships to Persian Gulf]

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What path for the anti-war struggle?

Once again, a mass movement is emerging to fight U.S. military intervention abroad. Protests, rallies, and teach-ins have been organized in many cities. There are signs of dissent within the ranks of the soldiers as well.

Most of the demonstrations that have been organized so far have demanded that U.S. troops and weapons get out of the Persian Gulf. Some have also explicitly demanded that there be no establishment of U.S. bases in the region -- permanent or temporary.

These demands should be spread across the land. The truth behind the war effort should be exposed to the working people, so that from one corner of the country to another, the cry against the oil war rings out loud and clear. We need to build up a movement of the type that sprang up against the Viet Nam war.

Everywhere the activists are denouncing the Persian Gulf war as one in the service of the oil corporations. This is a starting point to drive home the point that the U.S. war drive stems out of a system of imperialism. It is not the mistaken policy of this or that politician, but one stemming from the economic and strategic needs of monopoly capital. The capitalist ruling class which wants to go to war to defend super-profits from the Gulf is the same class which exploits the working people of the U.S.

What orientation should the anti-war movement take up? Should it embrace the path of building up mass struggles, appealing to the working people and youth, or should the demonstrations beg for solutions from the capitalist establishment? Once again this question is coming up.

Unfortunately, however, many of the coalitions organizing anti-war protests are also trying to turn the movement into a forum oriented towards begging Congress, or trying to create misplaced hopes in a UN solution.

Action from Congress?

The demand for Congressional action has been put in the form of demands for "implementing the War Powers Act" or for "legislation to prohibit the president from usurping war powers delegated to Congress," which is the way the coalition headed by Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General, puts it.

These demands ignore a crucial fact. Congress is fully behind Bush's war drive in the Persian Gulf. Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, are both backing Bush. There already is a War Powers Act, but Congress isn't about to insist on it, and it's no secret that U.S. presidents have a policy of ignoring this Act. You can have all the war powers legislation in the world, but you can't hope for any change if Congress is behind the White House war effort!

There is much talk about a two-party system in America, but in reality there is one party -- the Republicrat Party. Both parties represent the same ruling class of billionaires. They have a common imperialist policy abroad and a common policy against the working people at home. Oh sure, there are squabbles aplenty, but those are over details, not over fundamental policy.

Take the Persian Gulf question. Every U.S. administration -- Democrat or Republican -- has considered the Gulf to be U.S. property. Remember, only ten years ago, it was the liberal Jimmy Carter who declared, after the Iranian revolution, that the U.S. would have to defend its "vital interests" by force in the region.

Instead of begging for more toothless legislation, the movement must take up as one of its primary tasks, pillorying both capitalist parties for the war drive. We need a movement of the working people and youth, independent of the Democrats and Republicans.

Diplomatic solution from the UN?

Another idea that comes up in the coalitions sponsoring many of the protests is that the movement must demand that the government seek a diplomatic solution, through the UN or some other such force, as opposed to a military solution.

This idea appeals to many people who would like to think that there is a supranational force dedicated to peace. After all, doesn't the UN have agencies like UNICEF and WHO which do good things for people around the world?

But this idea too is mistaken. The United Nations is a grouping of the world's governments, and it reflects the power balance among those governments, especially among the big imperialist powers.

In the 1950's the United Nations provided a fig leaf for the U.S. aggression in Korea. In the early 60's, it provided a cover for European colonial intervention against the liberation struggle in the Congo-Kinshasa. For a while on some issues, when the U.S.-Soviet imperialist rivalry was high, the UN couldn't be used too much for U.S. military purposes. But now that the Soviet Union, and China earlier, have jumped on the pro-Western imperialist bandwagon, the way is again clear for more dirty deeds under the flag of the UN.

Today, in the Persian Gulf, UN diplomacy isn't an alternative to military force but a complement to it. It is UN resolutions on embargoing Iraq that the U.S. forces are claiming to be upholding. One cannot forget that on August 25, the U.S. succeeded in getting the Security Council to vote (13-0, Cuba and Yemen abstaining) in favor of a resolution that UN members with naval forces in the area should "use such measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to enforce the embargo."

Oh sure, the different governments left themselves enough fudge room to complain if they think the U.S. is going too far, but the thrust of the resolution was to give a green light to the Pentagon.

Given that this is the reality, what hope can the people put in the United Nations?

The yearning for international action against war is a good concern. But that won't come from the world's governments. We should encourage a mass movement against the war across the world. Already we have seen that besides American cities, anti-war protests have also taken place in Europe, Australia, and parts of the Middle East. This is what the movement here in the U.S. must encourage.

And the more we pursue a policy of struggle here, independent of illusions in "our" ruling class or the United Nations, the more we will encourage a similar orientation in the struggles abroad.

Many new activists, and people being politicized for the first time, may tend to put misplaced hopes in such institutions as Congress or the United Nations. But the same cannot be said of experienced political forces, like those who dominate many of the present coalitions. They are promoting illusions because they are liberal and reformist in their outlook and stand for organizing support for those kinds of politics in the anti-war struggle. Most of these forces retain hopes in the Democratic Party as a party of peace. They ignore the reality that the Persian Gulf war, like Viet Nam and Central America, is a product of an imperialist system, a system headed up by both capitalist parties. It will be a dead end for the movement if we allow this emerging struggle to be chained to the belt buckles of the liberal capitalist politicians.

[Photo: 700 marchers in San Francisco rally against Chevron oil and news media]

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Marines refuse to serve in Persian Gulf

Defend Jeff Paterson!

In Hawaii, Marine Corporal Jeff Paterson, a 22-year-old from Hollister, California, has been placed in the brig where he is facing a court martial. His crime? He refused to board a troop transport plane bound for the Persian Gulf. He had announced at a press conference that "I will not be a pawn in America's power plays for profits and oil in the Middle East."

The Marine Corps tried hard to intimidate him into submission. They "volunteered" him to be among the first in his battalion to board the plane for Saudi Arabia. They confined him into the brig prior to court martial even though they conceded that he was a danger to no one and not a flight risk. They have also tried to prevent contact between him and his supporters outside.

Their real aim was to silence him. As they put it, he is a threat to "the effectiveness, morale, discipline, and readiness of the command and national security of the United States." Why are they so afraid of Jeff's stand that they can resort to such hyperbole?

Because they know Jeff Paterson isn't alone with such views.

In the Bay Area, Erik Larsen of Hayward, California, a lance corporal in the Marine reserves, has also declared that he will refuse to report for active duty in the Persian Gulf. Larsen has not yet been charged, and he's spoken at several demonstrations against Bush's war buildup. He too has made it clear that he is opposed to a war for the profits of big oil.

Both Paterson and Larsen were radicalized by taking part in activities against U.S. intervention in Central America. In these actions, and through their personal studies and investigations, they realized that the role of the U.S. military abroad has been to back up imperialist exploitation of foreign peoples. They want no part of such dishonor.

Meanwhile, there are reports of many more in the military who don't agree with the war buildup. Pacifist groups across the country report a major surge in inquiries from teenagers, military reservists and active duty personnel who do not want to ship out to Saudi Arabia. The American Friends Service Committee reported in mid-September that they've gotten more than 500 calls in the previous three weeks.

And what must really upset the Pentagon are signs of potential dissent right on the front lines in Saudi Arabia. In a column in the Los Angeles Times, Robert Hunter, a capitalist academic who went to the Gulf region with a Congressional delegation and who is no dove, reported: "In random conversations, these young Americans expressed awareness that they are not being asked to defend democracy, and for many of them, protecting the supply and price of oil is not a compelling argument to start a war." (Sept. 5)

The Pentagon hopes that U.S. soldiers are unthinking automatons who can simply be whipped into line, with discipline and propaganda, to toe the ruling class line in favor of imperialist war. But they forget that the soldiers are thinking people, who come from the ranks of the working and poor people. Such people cannot be kept isolated from the streams of thinking among the American people. The skepticism that many workers and minorities show towards Bush's war are reflected in the military, too.

Remember Viet Nam. The capitalist establishment lies when it makes out that anti-war protesters of the 1960's simply spit on U.S. troops. In fact the movement worked hard to draw GI's into the struggle. Many veterans came back and joined the angry protests. On-duty GI's built underground opposition newspapers and groups within the military. And refusal to go to the front was one of many forms of struggle used by soldiers inside the imperialist army. The veteran and GI movements were a powerful component of the 1960's anti-war struggle. The present stirrings of dissent are a hopeful sign of things to come.

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Who will foot the bill for this war?

The U.S. economy is already in a recession. The workers are staring in the face of a new round of layoffs. And those on the job face further speedup in work places which are already hellholes of occupational injuries and death.

In the midst of this comes the Persian Gulf war buildup. It's a war to ensure profits for the oil companies and the supremacy of Wall Street bankers worldwide. But will they foot the bill? Not a chance.

Not only Will the workers' sons and daughters die as cannon fodder for the capitalists, but we will also have to pay through our noses.

The U.S. government is already spending more than $1 billion a month for the Persian Gulf buildup. It may rise to $1.5 billion soon. And if war breaks out, the bill will hit at least 20 times as much.

Meanwhile, the working people of other countries are also suffering. Some, like those in Turkey and Jordan, will bear the burden of the disruption in international trade by the embargo against Iraq. Asian and Arab laborers and other employees have been thrown out of their jobs in Kuwait and Iraq, and they are suffering in the Jordanian desert or on the Turkish border as refugees. The money they sent home to places like Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka is cut off. The working people of these countries already live on the edge of survival.

Both the U.S. and Iraq are responsible for this tragedy. And now Iraq threatens that because of the embargo, it is the foreign laborers remaining who will suffer first from hunger. Meanwhile, the U.S. claims that it will give money as relief to the governments of Turkey, Egypt and elsewhere. Some money may be sent, but the promises of trickle-down economics were never so great anywhere--the toilers can expect little if any relief.

This is a dirty war of capitalist rivalry and it is left to the working people and poor to pay the price!

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Why do Detroit's mayor and black elite deny racism?

Racism has reared its ugly head in Detroit. Blacks were not only beaten by racists at Harpos on the east side, but following that two black men were attacked by four racists who jumped out of a pickup truck on Chicago Road on Detroit's west side. In May a black teenager was shot and murdered by a white man shouting racist abuse after a traffic accident in north Detroit. In June, four youth were killed when a white man swerved his car into a crowd of 50 black youth who were celebrating the Piston basketball win. And recently there has been a wave of racist beatings in the suburbs, including the Roseville killing of Charles Gibson, a black teenager, by whites shouting racist abuse.

Obviously this racism must be confronted. But Coleman Young, Detroit's black mayor, denies that there was "racial motivation" in virtually any of these attacks. Indeed, one of his police investigators of the Harpos incident claimed "it was just a bunch of white kids fighting among themselves" and the black men "got caught up in the fight." (Detroit News, Sept. 9) This is outrageous. But still Young has been joined in this cover- up by a coalition of "respectable" community leaders organized by New Detroit, Inc.

Now Mayor Young is known to cry "racism" at the drop of a hat if anyone so much as disagrees with him. But when the black masses are attacked, all of a sudden he has become blind. Why is this?

It appears that Mayor Young, New Detroit, and the black bourgeoisie they represent, are afraid that if the masses get organized to fight the racist attacks then their movement might get out of control and target the whole racist system of the capitalists. Mayor Young, and the black upper crust, have based themselves on climbing up the ladder to become rich partners of the capitalist rulers. They are more opposed to mass protest against racism than they are of the racists themselves.

Look at what they've done. Although racist incidents had been building for weeks at Harpos, and there were many complaints from the community, they paid no attention. But as soon as protests broke out, police have been all over the neighborhood intimidating people. Dozens of police have been sent to protect Harpos itself, and the police have arrested and threatened to arrest several demonstrators. As the protesters have chanted, "You were sent here to protect us but who will protect us from you?"

At the same time, New Detroit, Inc. pulled together a coalition of "respectable" leaders from that neighborhood to try to squelch the mass struggle. They from Harpos.

By the time the club opened, over 150 people had shown up to join the picket Harpos, while opposing and trying to cancel a public meeting where the masses could have their say. And now they are claiming that they are the ones who negotiated the agreement with Harpos, which was won through protests and the September 24 public meeting.

So what is this New Detroit, Inc.? It is a coalition of the white ruling class of Detroit with the black bourgeoisie. Its officers include big businessmen like Chrysler head Lee Iacocca and GM head Roger Smith. These are the capitalists who are closing plants and laying off tens of thousands of black workers. They are the ones behind the exploitation and grinding poverty that is plaguing Detroit. And they are the ones who, like Bush, are happy if racism is incited to split up the black and white workers and undermine the struggle against the rich.

But sitting alongside of the rich white capitalists are Coleman Young, City Council members, NAACP chief Arthur Johnson, and other so-called community leaders. These representatives of the black bourgeoisie are working with the white ruling class to get bigger contracts for black businessmen and seats on the corporate boards. But to get these crumbs, they are selling out the black masses.

The experience in the Harpos struggle has shown that to build up the fight against racism the masses must break from the stranglehold of the "respectable" black leaders and construct a movement on the shoulders of the masses themselves.


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March condemns the racist murder of Charles Gibson


On September 30, a militant march was held in a suburb of Detroit to denounce racism and honor its latest victim, Charles Gibson. Gibson was beaten to death on September 8 by a group of white racists in Roseville.

The march of about 30 anti-racist activists, both black and white, shouted slogans for over an hour along a two mile stretch, near where the murder had taken place. Before the march began,the mother and family of Charles Gibson stopped to make a statement in support of the march and thanked the protesters for coming out. Many of the marchers who came had been involved in the fight against racism at Harpos' nightclub for the past three weeks. During the march hundreds of leaflets were distributed to people going by and there was overwhelming support shown from the people who saw the demonstration.

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KKK march stopped in Washington, D.C.

[Photo: Anti-racists in Washington, D.C. jeer police protecting the Klan]

Thousands of protesters came out September 2 to stop the Ku Klux Klan from marching through Washington D.C.

The liberal city government gave the Klan a permit to march down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol Building. Nearly 3,000 riot gear-equipped policemen were sent to protect them. Meanwhile, liberal politicians and columnists launched a huge campaign through the capitalist news media to convince people to "stay home" and "ignore" the racist outfit.

But the masses would not be intimidated or coaxed to let the racists pass. Thousands of people lined the march route up Constitution Avenue. And nearly 3,000 more poured directly into the street to confront the police lines and block the march route. Several times the police tried to push the demonstrators back and open a corridor for about 40 Klansmen. But the masses pushed back, reformed their lines, and refused to let the KKK through.

Unable to clear the streets, the police skirted the protest and drove the Klan directly to the Capitol Building for a quick rally. When protesters found out, they marched down Constitution Avenue to get at the Klan. But police barricades were set up several blocks from the Capitol. And the demonstrators couldn't get through. Shouting "Cops and Klan go hand-in-hand!" protesters taunted the police. And scattered rock and bottle throwing injured at least four of the cops.

Chicano Moratorium anniversary protests U.S. war in Gulf

More than 8,000 people marched through East Los Angeles August 25. They commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium with shouts of "No Raza blood for oil!" and "Chicano power!" Just as was done 20 years ago, the masses denounced U.S. imperialism and called for resistance to the oppression of Mexican nationality people (immigrants and U.S. born).

The first Chicano Moratorium in 1970 brought out some 20,000 people to fight against the U.S. war on Viet Nam and against the police terror and impoverishment of the Mexican nationality. Police attacked the march and for two days street battles raged through the barrios of L.A. County. The slogan of the day was "Down with imperialism!" and "Our war is here!"

That spirit was present in this year's march, as workers and young people marched three and a half miles to Salazar Park (named for the Latino newsman who was murdered by police during the first Moratorium struggle). There were contingents of farm workers, meat packers, food processors, janitors, and teachers who had come fresh from strikes and organizing drives in the last year. "Boycott Grapes!" "Decent Jobs and Salaries for All!" "End police-migra terror!" they shouted. There were also many strong contingents of students protesting the anti-immigrant campaign, the racism against all Mexican nationality people, and the police terror which comes in the guise of a phony "war on drugs." As well, there were protesters supporting women's abortion rights, the Palestinian struggle, the fight against the Mexican capitalists and against U.S. intervention in Central America.

Supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party took an active part in the demonstration. They distributed over 2,000 pieces of literature against the war and racism. They denounced not only Bush and the blatant bigots, but also the Democrats. The Democrats also are servants of the capitalists who have joined the war chorus and written or conceded to every new attack on Mexican nationality people -- be it anti-immigrant legislation, English-only laws, or cuts in unemployment insurance, housing, welfare and other social benefits. The MLP supporters decried those rich Chicano politicians who tie the masses to the coat tails of the Democrats. Instead, they called for the building of an independent movement of the working class, for workers of all nationalities to join forces and build up the movement in defense of the Mexican nationality people.


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Mexican nationality denounce police abuse in Des Moines

Over 60 people came out August 28 to protest racist police violence at the United Mexican American Community Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

The day before, during a dance at the center, people were shoved and beaten by two off-duty policemen who had been hired as security guards. When people tried to stop the beating, they were also attacked. One woman was thrown to the floor, handcuffed, and dragged by her hair. A man was severely beaten by cops outside the center and later in the elevator at the Des Moines police headquarters. More than a dozen other people were maced and four were arrested on such charges as interfering with a police officer, assaulting police officers, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

"Insufficient funds" -- a capital offense in Phoenix

For several months, people have been picketing and boycotting Smitty's grocery store in Phoenix, Arizona.

Back in July, three Smitty's managers followed a black man, Ric Rankins, out of the store and accused him of writing a bad check days earlier. When he tried to get into a waiting cab, the managers pulled him from the car and put him in a choke hold. He was thrown to the ground, his head smashed, and then hog-tied by two security guards. When the police arrived, he was unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. But they handcuffed him and put him into a patrol car before calling paramedics. One hour later, he was dead from a crushed larynx.

The community was outraged. A week later, over 400 came out to protest at the store carrying handmade signs like "Insufficient funds is not a capital offense" and "Shop at Pry's; Smitty's hog ties." But still no arrests have been made for the racist murder. And Smitty's has refused to fire the managers or even publicly condemn their actions. So a boycott of the Smitty's chain has been called. And every week people come out to picket.

Protests keep up against racist cops in Teaneck, N.J.

Weekly protest marches have kept up in Teaneck, New Jersey since the police murder of black teenager Phillip Pannel in April. A unity rally on Labor Day once again proclaimed that this was not a fight against whites, but a united struggle of the black and white working people against the racist police.

Although there are numerous witnesses who charged that Pannel had done nothing and was shot in the back while his hands were up, and though several grand juries have met, still no charges have been brought against the policeman. He has been backed to the hilt by the ruling class. On August 22 some 1,200 policemen from four states marched to support the killer cop. And the next week Teaneck's Town Council voted to pay the cop's legal expenses even though he is yet to be indicted.

Down with institutional racism at Cleveland State

"Fight the power!" rang out at Cleveland State University (CSU) September 6 as 600 students marched against institutional racism. Contingents of students came from Oberlin College, Case Western Reserve and Kent State to join the CSU students. Since June, dozens of black students have maintained a sit-in at a university building to protest the firing of Raymond Winbush, the black Vice President of Minority Affairs. They are also protesting the all-round racism at the university which Winbush was supposedly hired to remedy.

Although Cleveland is a majority black city, only 11.3% of CSU students are black. Only 6% of the school's full-time faculty are black. Indeed, only in maintenance services do blacks and other minorities constitute a majority of the CSU workforce. The students want the racism stopped. But the CSU administration has shown them nothing but contempt. In fact, Vice-President Jan Muczyk likened the students to "Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Castro, Mao Zedong, and dictators in Africa" for trying to "subjugate universities." But it is the black people who are being "subjugated" and they have every right to fight back.

N.Y. Mayor Dinkins bends to racist guards

Another sign of police-state outrage emerged at the end of August in New York. Guards at the Rikers Island Prison went on a rampage against the mostly black and Latino prisoners.

There are about 14,000 prisoners in this extremely overcrowded hellhole. And abuse against prisoners has been steadily growing. When a 27-page "use of force directive" came out to supposedly control the abuse by guards, the guards blockaded a bridge leading to the island prison. They blocked all traffic, turned away visitors, and held prisoners who had been scheduled for release or court hearings. They even assaulted Emergency Medical Service workers who had been dispatched to the island. Faced with this outrage, prisoners barricaded themselves in their dormitories for protection and to protest the denial of visitors and lack of food.

After two days, New York's Mayor Dinkins capitulated to virtually all the guards' demands, including an agreement to suspend the "use of force" policy. Then the guards turned their wrath on the prisoners. They flooded the area with tear gas. Then they forced inmates to strip and run a gauntlet along a 45-foot corridor where they were beaten. Some 140 inmates were injured and one died from lack of medical attention. Despite this outrage, no action has yet been taken against the guards.

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Strikes and workplace news


Rank and file picket NYC transit authority

Something new has taken place in transit! On Monday, August 27, about 60 transit workers picketed TA headquarters on Jay Street from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. They were protesting the firing of all 290 provisional trackworkers and attacks on the pick rights of the remaining trackworkers.

The picket was extremely spirited. Undaunted by a sudden thunderstorm and periodic showers, the picketers kept up a steady stream of loud slogans denouncing the layoffs and pick givebacks, and calling for an all-out fight against the TA It was the first time in anyone's memory that such a bold action had been called directly in the face of the TA and despite a boycott by the TWU officialdom.

At a brief rally following the picket, several rank-and-file Bronx trackworkers, provisional^, a representative from theNew York Workers' Voice,and others spoke. They summed up the current situation, saluted the militancy of the workers, and denounced the betrayal of the TWU sellouts who boycotted the picket and tried to sabotage the developing motion of the rank and file.

Why is this picket so significant? Because it was based squarely on transit workers themselves. It was the product of a three-month campaign, organized and carried out by rank-and-file trackworkers and theWorkers' Voice,in the face of hostility from the TA and the TWU bureaucrats.

The campaign to defend the provisional and restore job-bidding rights involved various forms of work carried out directly among trackworkers. There was the June petition drive against pick givebacks in the Track division and in support of provisional rights, which quickly gathered several hundred signatures. There were big mobilizations for the June and August Track division meetings. There were leaflets circulated 'by "Suspended Bronx Trackworkers," Transit Workers Against Layoffs, and the Marxist-Leninist Party/Workers' Voice. There was also a bright red sticker.

Thousands of pieces of literature were circulated in Track, in Car Maintenance, and in front of Jay St. itself. Small meetings of trackworkers were also held to spread the word and mobilize for the various union meetings and the picket.

The boldness, creativity, and militancy of ordinary transit workers broke through the repressive atmosphere of the TA and sabotage of the TWU leaders. These workers did not wait for the stamp of approval of Sonny Hall & co. They did not wait for the TWU apparatus to pass an official resolution sanctioning our actions. They did not say we can't do anything until we win positions in the union bureaucracy. In the three-month campaign rank-and-file transit workers took actual steps of struggle independent of the union bureaucrats. And it has already resulted in the TA backing down on the firing of a number of the provisionals.

(Based on Sept. 1"New York Workers' Voice," paper of MLP-New York)

[Photo: Rank-and-file NYC transit workers picket]

Outspoken Bronx trackworkers still under the gun

The outspoken Bronx transit workers who stand in the forefront of the fight against the TA in Track have come under sharp attack.

The TA has been very busy meting out discipline to J.C. Rivera, R. Toussaint, D. Delaney, and J. Iglesias. These workers have been subjected to repeated write-ups and threats to their livelihood ever since they started challenging the harassment and safety violations in the Bronx. All have been suspended for a period of one day up to three weeks. Hardly a week goes by without some new charge being thrown in. Some face termination as their cases head towards arbitration sometime in September.

Why has the TA been so gung-ho after these workers? Is it because these outspoken workers are defending their fellow workers? In part, this is true. The TA wants to run the railroad its way, without regard to safety, work rules, pick rights, or the dignity of transit workers.

But just as significant is how these suspended workers have been challenging the TA These workers have all supported the mobilization of rank-and-file workers into the fight for safety, to defend the provisonals, etc. and have not waited on the do-nothing sellouts of the TWU. They have not waited for labor- management cooperation to iron out problems (i.e. calm the workers down), but have stood up for transit worker rights themselves.

It is this trend of independent action that the TA is out to suppress with their suspensions and termination threats.

While the TA is holding the gun to these workers' heads, the TWU bigshots are handing them the bullets. The TWU honchos denounce these workers at every turn. But most significantly, in mid-July the Track officials sent a statement to all members in CD-I publicly denouncing them. It said the union hacks "have nothing but contempt" for the activists and slandered them as "self-appointed 'leaders'," "activists," and "union-busters who seek to divide us." They spit on the word "activist" as if it were a dirty word in the dictionary.

Such strong words against transit workers, yet hugs and kisses towards the TA bosses who fire 290 provisional and send trackworkers to their death in unsafe conditions!

(Based on Sept. 1 New York Voice, paper of MLP-New York.)

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GM contract - orderly job elimination

As GM workers in Van Nuys, California and Pontiac, Michigan organize to fight the closing of their plants, the leaders of the United Auto Workers (UAW) signed a new contract with GM that guarantees job elimination. The new agreement rubber stamps the closing of four plants and the elimination of some 50,000 jobs at GM since the last contract. It also allows GM to carry out its plans to close more plants and eliminate another 60-100,000 jobs in the next three years. In return GM promises to buy out laid off workers, give them supplemental unemployment benefits, or put them in the job bank. But none of these programs have sufficiently protected the laid off workers in the past. Instead of job security, this contract is for orderly job elimination.

The contract also replaces wage increases with one-time lump sum bonuses for the last two contract years. It abandons the eight-hour day, allowing GM wide scheduling flexibility to run 10-hour shifts and operate plants 24 hours a day. As well, the UAW leaders have agreed to help GM cut more job classifications and institute more discipline against the workers.

Ohio picket attacked by cops

Over 100 riot-clad police attacked 30 unarmed striking steel workers at the Ideal Electric Co. in Mansfield, Ohio on September 4. The cops shot at strikers with wooden bullets and canisters of tear gas. Outnumbered, the strikers retreated towards their union hall up the street. The cops chased them, kept firing, and arrested over half of them for disorderly conduct and rioting.

The 165 Ideal workers had been on strike since June 23 fighting job combination and scabs. In mid-September they settled for a new offer with a 2% a year raise, but which included the despised job combinations.

Strike at Mississippi catfish plants

On September 12, over 1,200 mostly black women workers struck Delta Pride plants in Indianola, Mississippi. The workers organized a union in 1986 and are now fighting for higher wages and safety measures, including protection against repetitive motion injuries.

LA. teaching assistants rally

About 200 teaching assistants (TAs) came out to "burn the budget" at a rally at the headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District on September 10. They are demanding paid health benefits and a union contract. There are 9,300 mostly bilingual TAs in the school system who suffer low pay, short hours, and no health care or other benefits. The school board, crying about financial "crisis," voted specifically to give no funds for health benefits this year. Meanwhile, the leaders of the teachers' union have opposed the TAs' organizing drive. The TAs are continuing their struggle with slowdowns and "no speaking days" in the classrooms.

Workers prevent firing of Detroit letter carrier

The September 20 Detroit Workers' Voice reports that postal workers defeated the bosses' attempt to fire letter carrier Rick Broza. Broza was framed up on ridiculous charges because he was active in organizing the workers to stand up to management harassment and overwork. But workers circulated petitions and leaflets and offered testimony in his defense.

In the face of this resistance, management backed down on the firing and, instead, transferred Broza to another station. This victory heartened the workers and many, including Broza himself, declared they will keep up organizing to resist management attacks.

Dole no help against meatpacking injuries

At a late August news conference, Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole unveiled a set of "voluntary" guidelines for guarding against repetitive-motion injuries. The "voluntary" guidelines were particularly directed toward the meatpacking industry where 30% of the workers are injured annually. Repetitive-motion injuries account for 48% of all work place illnesses reported to the government in 1988. The figure reported in 1988 was five times higher than the figure reported in 1981. (Just imagine how many cases went unreported!)

The U.S. government has offered "voluntary" guidelines to an industry that has been notorious for failing to do things on its own. How many more thousands of workers need to be crippled before definitive action is taken?

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New Tasks for Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists

Part three - the press

The situation in Nicaragua is turbulent. The pro-contra Chamorro government is ushering in a period of counterrevolution, and the masses are upset. There are strikes and anger, and the question is what will all this lead to. The Sandinista leadership merely wants a piece of the action from the Chamorro government; they want the masses to demand a social pact between Chamorro and the Sandinistas. The White House and the more extreme contras aren't satisfied with the Chamorro government, and would like to keep the Sandinistas out. The class-conscious workers of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (MLPN) face the task of orienting the mass struggles towards a class movement of the toilers in their own interests.

What is going on in Nicaragua is not only strikes and sit-ins from the masses, and threats and intimidations from the government and the U.S. embassy, but new alignments. All parties among the masses are reconsidering what to do.

There have been such periods in Nicaraguan politics before. There had been decades of struggle against the Somoza tyranny in Nicaragua. But in 1970-1 vigorous debates took place on the policy for the revolutionary movement. The working class had become far more prominent, and capitalist relations had also spread through Nicaragua. Out of these debates came the development of a new force, the Popular Action Movement (MAP), now called the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua. It laid stress on organizing the masses and opposed both Sandinista foco-ism and the servility to the bourgeoisie of the revisionist "Socialist" and "Communist" parties of Nicaragua.

Then in 1979 the overthrow of Somoza changed Nicaraguan politics forever. The Sandinistas were the largest force, but MAP had organized the MILPAS militias, hundreds of whose militants gave their lives for the struggle. The mass upsurge against Somoza continued into a struggle against sabotage and exploitation by the big landlords and exploiters. The Sandinistas, in an attempt to cement an alliance with the bourgeois parties and create a stable coalition government with them, suppressed the toilers' movement, and instituted repression against class-conscious workers, MAP, and the MAP-affiliated unions of the Workers Front. New tactics and new slogans were needed to continue the mass struggle. The repression and the necessary reevaluation gave rise to a crisis in MAP, from which it emerged successfully. Throughout the 80's it called for continuing the revolution to a power of the workers and poor peasants, and it opposed both the pro-contra bourgeois parties and the opportunist path of the Sandinistas.

Today the decade of revolution since 1979 has ended. Once again MLPN faces the task of developing new tactics and slogans. Once again the experience of the past has to be reviewed in order to rectify weaknesses. In the August 20 issue ofThe Workers' Advocate Supplement,part two of this article described certain vital issues such as the need to develop an ideological struggle against revisionism and the need to improve united front tactics. Here, in part three, we take up the question of the press. We hope that this discussion helps establish a common language between the fraternal Marxist-Leninist activists of Nicaragua and the United States, so that we can learn from each other's experiences and views.

The workers' press


Throughout the 80's it was the leaflets and publications of MLPN that expressed the views of class-conscious workers who opposed Sandinista policies from the left. Whether it was strikes at the factories or discontent in the communities, it was the workers' press around MLPN that expressed the aspirations of the basic masses. The right-wing opposition of theLa Prensaexpressed the interests of the bourgeoisie. The pro-Sandinista press sought to subordinate the workers to their plan for "national unity" with the bourgeoisie. But the workers' press told the truth about the agony of the revolution, about the crime of giving subsidies to the pro-contra bourgeoisie at the expense of workers loyal to the revolution, and about protecting the landlords while the poor peasants went without land or without sufficient implements to work the land.

But it was notable that the newspapers of the workers' press came out infrequently. Take the direct voice of the MLPN, which wasPrensa Proletaria. Prensa Proletaria only came out sporadically. Finally, last year, it was replaced by the plan to publishEl Pueblo. ( Proletariadid reappear briefly during the latter part of the election campaign.) This came out quite frequently for awhile, but more recentlyEl Puebloitself has gone sporadic. The MLPN has also had other means of agitation, including certain other publications, leaflets, and the "Radio El Pueblo" program, but overall there has been an insufficient development of the voice of the party and of the class-conscious workers.

Undoubtedly there have been many economic and technical difficulties in putting out publications in Nicaragua. The class-conscious workers have not had the funds that flow to the bourgeoisie or the Sandinistas, and the economic squeeze on Nicaragua meant that paper itself has been a scarce commodity.

But through the support of the militant workers, the MLPN achieved the technical capability to produce a paper. There remains political and ideological issues, and not just technical issues. In fact, there seems to have been a gap in the MLPN's view of the role of a paper. This limited view of the press has resulted in its lettingPrensa Proletariaand now El Pueblo lapse again and again.

The content of the paper


The MLPN has seen the need for mass agitation on things related to immediate discussion among the masses, or some section of the masses that has begun to move into action. It has a history of lively agitation on many events of the day. But it has had trouble seeing the need for the protracted ideological work needed to build up a political trend, or for discussing more theoretical issues among the masses. This ideological and political discussion doesn't necessarily result in immediate breakthroughs or recruiting, but its benefits manifest themselves over a long time.

For example, we have seen in Part Two of this article, that while MAP throughout the 80's opposed the path of the revisionist parties in Nicaragua, it has tended to refrain from an open polemic against the harmful views of these parties. Especially when these parties take blatant right-wing stands, it may say something, but it generally doesn't carry much material on the difference between revisionism and Marxist-Leninism in Nicaragua. If it did see the need for clarifying the political basis of revisionism, it would find the need to publish articles about this and put out its press more regularly.

We have also discussed its view ofunited front tactics in Part Two. It has shown a certain class instinct in appealing to the masses. But it has sometimes taken a "good buys, bad guys" view of certain groupings. When it works with a grouping, it may simply regard it as good, and so may tend not to discuss the grouping's limitations and general views. It tends to regard the tasks of the press during united front work as restricted to the necessary agitation against the overall enemy, and to overlook discussion of differences over how to build the movement. If it saw the need for public discussion of the assessment of the political trends of the day, it would find it necessary to put out its press far more regularly.

Another issue is that its discussion of the building up of party committees and party work among the masses has faltered. It doesn't seem to see the role that the party press plays in developing party work in the local areas and among their circles. In fact, a militant newspaper can encourage local initiative to deal with the problems of the day. Its theoretical and political views can help comrades at the base, in the factories, in the communities, etc. sort out the different political trends that confront them and the different plans of work. As well, the paper can serve as a mouthpiece for these comrades, as they write reports of their work or of the views that are coming up among the masses. But the MLPN seems to have lapsed into a rather dry and restricted idea of what party statements and party documents are and the role they should serve. If it saw the role of the press as a collective organizer and an inspirer of mass initiative, it would fervently ensure the publication and distribution of the press.

As well, we have seen that the MLPN has been silent on the world collapse of revisionism. The whole world is discussing this issue, and world capitalism is carrying out a huge campaign to present itself as invincible, but the press of the MLPN has said nothing. In the past, it has written a number of things on world social-democracy and its relation to the Sandinistas. But it has barely said anything criticizing world revisionism.

Instead, the MLPN leadership seems to have gotten interested in some dubious maneuvers, which have resulted in some articles which appear to put its stand towards Cuban and Vietnamese revisionism in doubt. If, on the contrary, it saw the need to discuss world revisionism with the Nicaraguan masses, it would see more need for the press.

And the MLPN has carried relatively little on revolutionary struggles and the state of the working class around the world. Yet, without this it is hard to show the Nicaraguan working class that its struggles and hardship are part of a world class struggle. And the consciousness of waging a struggle alongside the workers of other countries serves to enthuse the masses and stiffen the struggle and the desire to organize. If the MLPN saw the need to carry out this agitation on world proletarian struggles, it would feel the lack of a press more acutely. But if one doesn't speak much about the treacheries of revisionism, it is hard to present these struggles, because all over the world the working class is in the painful condition of being held back by reformism and revisionism.

The pressure for numbers


These problems have intensified in the last few years. Interesting work on these fronts, and signs of progress, have been replaced by increasing difficulties. There has been an increasing tendency to concentrate on various plans for immediate gains and to go away from the protracted work of building a political trend.

The decade of the 80's was marked by an ebbing of the revolutionary wave among the Nicaraguan masses. The toilers displayed marvels of heroism against the contras and in bearing the hardships of the American blockade. But the Sandinistas gradually bureaucratized the country. The workers and toiling peasants might grumble, but their impetus toward independent organization died away. A number of struggles developed promisingly for a while, but eventually frittered away.

In this situation, MLPN searched for ways to keep contact with the masses, and it often displayed a remarkable ingenuity. But the gradual decline of mass energy resulted in a decade of repeated disappointments. In this situation, it was essential to judge the party's work not by surface appearances alone, but by how far it strengthened the foundations of a profound workers' trend in Nicaraguan politics. But, partially due to the influence of the opportunist views of the international grouping around theTheory and Practicejournal, the concept seemed to develop that if only the party found the right scheme, some breakthrough would be at hand. Yet a party, no matter how correct and energetic, cannot by itself call a revolutionary mass upsurge into existence. It can encourage, organize, and help the masses to carry such an upsurge further and consolidate its results, and it can prepare the ground for such an upsurge, but it cannot artificially call up the class struggle by its command.

The search for the breakthrough, however, seems to have gradually eroded the activities of the party. For one thing, it seems to have had a bad effect on the press. It distracted attention both from the organizing role of the press and from the theoretical side Of its work, and concentrated it on immediate schemes. The difficulties in putting out firstPrensa Proletaria and then El Pueblo seemed to be related to this.

El Pueblo

El Pueblowas originally the name of a mass paper established by the initiative of MAP in 1978-79. This was the period when the revolutionary crisis was deepening and leading up to the imminent overthrow of the Somoza tyranny. The masses were stirring. But the Somoza regime had suppressed all press except its bootlickers or the liberal press advocating compromise with the dictatorship (for example, the now infamous La Prensa). In this situation El Pueblo (The People) filled a vacuum. A broad spectrum of activists and working people and discontented elements rallied around it, including Sandinistas. It was a broad paper that expressed the awakening to life of large masses of people, and it gathered about itself a broad spectrum of people who wanted to see Somoza overthrown.

It seems that in re-establishing El Pueblo last year, the idea was that it could rally about itself a broad section of masses who were upset with both Sandinism and the right-wing opposition. The idea was to challenge the bourgeois and Sandinista monopoly of the daily press, expressed through Laand El NuevoDiario. By switching from the outright party paper, Prensa Proletaria, to a paper with a broader policy, it was hoped to recreate some of the success of the old El Pueblo.

But the situation now is quite different from ten years ago. The growing upsurge of 1978-79 is quite different from the politically depressed atmosphere of the last few years. And while the existing bourgeois and Sandinista newspapers do not represent the interests of the basic masses, there does not exist the old press vacuum of the days of the Somoza dictatorship.

Thus mass support for a new press has to come from class sentiment, not simply from democratic discontent against the smothering of all life under the dead hand of a personal tyrant. Changing from the party paperPrensa Proletaria to El Pueblocouldn't compensate for the change in the situation, even if it were done brilliantly. Nor could talking about "popular unity" or the people instead of the working masses. The memories of the old days don't suffice for planning work today.

It is of course correct to look for ways to link up with sections of the masses that are coming into motion. It is possible thatPrensa Proletaria itself could have done this, by opening its pages to a broader section of activists, as well as continuing direct party coverage. At the same time, perhaps there were some particular advantages to starting El Pueblo. It seems to us that it may well be possible for the MLPN to use either Prensa Proletaria or El Pueblo to develop the press that is needed. But the key point is that simply declaring a new paperEl Pueblocouldn't provide a breakthrough, no matter how much broader it was declared to be.

In practice,El Pueblohas had both some positive features, and some drawbacks. Its overall drawback is that it has a tendency to leave aside assessments of political events and the open statement of revolutionary views. The problem is not that it carries confused views about Cuban revisionism and other issues, but that it doesn't also carry clear statements from the MLPN denouncing Cuban revisionism and putting forward stands on all questions of the day. El Pueblohas carried some direct MLPN statements, and it could easily carry more or set aside some "party pages." If it both campaigned for revolutionary views on the decisive issues of the day, while carrying articles from activists with a wide range of other views on these issues, it might perhaps serve as a lively forum where all thinking workers and activists went to discuss issues that are hidden elsewhere, even those who were not yet Marxist-Leninist. For such a plan to work, however, there would really have to be a trend of new activists coming up to deal with these issues. As well, it would be crucial for the MLPN also to put forward its own views.

But the idea seems to have arisen that simply declaring a broad paper would bring some advantages. This concept has left MLPN faced again with the same problems with El Pueblo that it had with Prensa Proletaria.

A press is needed to mobilize the workers' trend

The mobilization of the workers and poor peasants in Nicaragua requires both agitation on immediate issues, and constantly bringing them news of other world struggles and knowledge of the different Nicaraguan political tendencies. And encouraging the building up of a workers' party requires a press that discusses how to do this and that rallies the workers around it. Indeed, the press is one of the main forms of party work that is understandable and visible to toilers who are just becoming politically interested. And the existence of a press in turn encourages the party itself to sharpen its theoretical and practical views.

It is vital that the MLPN encourage its press work. In order for them to correct the weaknesses of the last few years, it is necessary for them to consider what the role of the press is, and what its content should be. By developing the workers' press, the MLPN will give a tremendous impetus to the class struggle in Nicaragua.

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Strikes renewed in Nicaragua

Strikes against the capitalist austerity regime headed by President Violeta Chamorro spread across Nicaragua in late September.

One example is the bus drivers, who set up barricades of burning tires at the main bus depot in Managua. The drivers are protesting Chamorro's plan to privatize public transport, and are demanding higher wages.

Meanwhile, Sandinista leaders are once again trying to use the workers' dissatisfaction with Chamorro to propel themselves into a greater share of power vis-a-vis the Chamorro government. Sandinista leaders announced plans for a nationwide strike on October 1, but at the same time went into negotiations with Chamorro, hoping once again to convince her to allow them a place as co-rulers in her bourgeois regime.

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For workers' socialism, not revisionist state-capitalism!

Gorbachev plan: 500 days to devastate the working class

The USSR is poised to adopt a 500-day plan to turn Russia into a country ruled by the marketplace.

The Western media says it will mark the transition from socialism to capitalism. They are half right and half wrong.

It will not mark the death of socialism, because socialism died decades ago in the USSR. The USSR today is a revisionist country, where a ruling class of bureaucrats rules over a state-capitalist economy.

The change will, however, mark the institution of a form of Western-style capitalism. There will be extensive privatization. State enterprises will be sold off. The farmland will be divided, and rich farmers will push poor ones off the land. Job security will be eliminated, mass unemployment will grow, speedup and a productivity drive will be instituted, crime will reach Western levels, and poverty will be blamed on the individual rather than society.

This change is being made because of the deep crisis of the old system. The economic crisis is getting worse, production is falling, the bureaucrats are incompetent and self-serving, and years of not investing in new machinery and infrastructure is coming home to roost. There is an equally deep political crisis. The old system cast a stultifying wet blanket over everything, and everyone with the slightest life to them hates it. Beyond that, even the ruling class worships everything American and believes that the spirit of Milton Friedman will solve every problem.

But the 500-day plan will not solve the crisis of Soviet life. It will make it worse. Even its advocates admit that the Soviet GNP will fall another 15% (this is usually called a depression) before the promised recovery, and the reality will be far worse. Besides, the newly aspiring elements don't expect their standard of living to drop during the 500 days -- they expect to make oodles of more money. It is the masses who will be devastated to become the servants of the nouveaux riches. Meanwhile, the country will find that it has switched to Western capitalism just in time to catch the new wave of capitalist crisis.

There are different forms of the 500 day plan being debated. USSR Prime Minister Ryzhkov would prefer to ensure that the old revisionist bureaucrats end up as the chief bosses in the new Western-style capitalist economy. Russian Premier Yeltsin, the free-market mayors of Moscow and Leningrad, and others would prefer the Shatalin plan so as to open up the system to newly aspiring bosses.

But they all are agreed on one thing. The working class must suffer mass unemployment, the removal of those rights which it won in the past, and insecurity in the face of the free market. Oh yes, there have been some attempts to reassure the workers that, although the marketplace will rule, the price of bread and housing will not be allowed to rise. How the marketplace is going to rule, and yet prices are to be kept in bounds, is Yeltsin's and Shatalin's and Gorbachev's little secret. If housing, for example, is sold off and put onto the private market, the owners will charge whatever the market can bear -- since there is a severe housing shortage. If food is on the free market, well, Russian workers have had long experience with the supplementary free market in food and what that means.

And what will the private market mean for farmland? In Poland, the small farmers rejoiced at the downfall of the hated revisionist government. They then found that the new rule of the marketplace was wiping them out. Capitalism enriches a handful in the countryside at the expense of the many.

All the advocates of the 500-day plan, whether Gorbachev or Yeltsin, conservative Ryzhkov or free-market mayors of Moscow and Leningrad, look on any input from the working class as a threat. They are crossing their fingers that massive unemployment will keep the workers in line.

The workers in fact have been skeptical of Gorbachev's perestroika and of the 500-day plans, even as they hate the old system. They have begun to take a few steps in their own defense. In 1989 the strike struggle of the Soviet workers began in earnest, and appeared again in July this year. It became a factor of national concern. And from the conservative bureaucrats to Gorbachev to the pro-Yeltsin free-market mayors, the elite stood against it, calling for its suppression.

The miners in particular have been in the forefront both of strikes and of building new organization to replace the useless old unions, servile tools of the bureaucratic rulers. The past strikes have started the development of a nationwide network of autonomous strike committees. Workers have expressed skepticism over the new reforms. And many rural workers are unhappy over the plan to eliminate the collective farms and leave them at the mercy of the market.

The workers' strikes have demanded their own control of enterprises, and a better standard of living. What this means in terms of their concept of economic organization is not clear. The workers share the hatred of the old system, and also identify it with socialism and Marxism-Leninism, because this is what the elite and the schools and the bureaucrats called it. In fact, there is an alternative to revisionist capitalism or Western capitalism. But only the working class can emancipate itself. Only it can bring in true socialist production. Not the free market, nor a bureaucratic net smothering all society, but production for the benefit of all.

The upper classes instinctively realize that the working class has a different agenda. They know that "the poor must always be with us" if some are to be rich and have servants. And the workers are the class that isn't at the table when the 500-day plans are being discussed. They are instead the class which everyone looks at over their shoulders.

It is said that everyone in the Soviet Union agrees with overthrowing the old, except a handful of old dinosaurs. True enough. But not everyone agrees with what the 500-day plan will bring. And different class interests are manifest. There are those who hope to profit, and claim they should have salaries comparable to those of the professionals and managers of the West; their representatives write articles opposing a progressive income tax in the same terms and vehemency as the Bush administration. And there are the masses of common people who want an end to the shortages, an end to dictation over them and to the privileges of the bureaucrats, and the achievement of the standard of life that has long been promised them. The common hatred of the stifling bureaucracy and despotic rule masks this profound difference in class interests.

The working class is just beginning to organize even the most rudimentary form of struggle, such as unions. It does not have a picture of what type of society it wants. Furthermore, the elites are trying to split it up with national hatreds and with promises that those with a bit of an advantage -- a higher skill, a better education, the willingness to work twice as hard as their neighbor -- can benefit.

But just as in the rest of the world, class solidarity will sooner or later emerge. The 500-day plan will not end the class struggle in Russia, but bring it to the surface.

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The World in Struggle


Bush cozies up to DeKlerk while racists kill South African blacks

South African president F. W. de Klerk paid a visit to Washington in September. De Klerk paid friendly visits to President Bush, leaders of Congress, and national media leaders in Washington. The visits were cordial, with plenty of smiles and handshakes in the midst of expensive luncheons. And all the time, poor blacks in South Africa were being massacred by De Klerk's security forces.

Of course, no one mentioned this -- that might disturb the cozy tete-a-tete. Bush praised De Klerk for his "commitment to change." And De Klerk congratulated himself for the same. But the reality of life for the black masses in South Africa has not changed all that much since De Klerk took office. Despite big talk of reform, the blacks remain in miserable conditions, they are deprived of political rights, and they are facing a new wave of murderous assaults organized by De Klerk's security forces.

Security forces work to derail negotiations

Hundreds of blacks have been murdered in South Africa in recent weeks. And De Klerk says he is mystified at who is organizing the killing. But even from news reports in the Western media it is quite clear.

Men in armored personnel carriers and jeeps, armed with rifles and flamethrowers, lead the massacres. These are white men, with loose clothing thrown over as a disguise, and with blackened faces and arms. With their equipment and organization, it is clear they are from the South African security forces. A few of them have been killed by the black masses, who saw their ID badges on the bodies; but other police forces removed the bodies before they could be viewed by press correspondents.

Ultra-rightist forces have repeatedly said they would resort to armed struggle to prevent democratic changes in South Africa. And that is exactly what is taking place today. The rightists hope to create a situation so chaotic that any talk of reform will be scuttled, along with De Klerk's negotiations with Nelson Mandela and the ANC.

To this end the rightists have made a devil's pact with the forces of Inkatha led by Zulu Chief Gatsha Buthelezi. Inkatha has always tried to undermine the anti-apartheid struggle by seeking collaboration with the racist regime. Inkatha provides a mass of people to carry out execution raids, while white death-squad leaders provide the organization, planning and arms.

Washington brags of its "progressive" ally

Racist South Africa has for decades been an ally of U.S. imperialism. But Washington has been leery of flaunting that, alliance, and so the presidents of South Africa have not been invited for official visits since the 1940's. Now that De Klerk is promising reform, Bush decided it was time to do away with that restriction. But this is right at the time that the racists are running amok, and what is De Klerk doing to stop them? Not purging the security forces of racists -- no, that would be too "obvious." His solution, instead, is to send the army into the townships, to reimpose emergency rule, to create another layer of military repression on top of the black masses.

The massacres today are exposing that Nelson Mandela and the ANC leaders were wrong to think that the path to black freedom will come smoothly, simply through a deal with De Klerk. Not only did they preach illusions of a smooth shortcut, that would ostensibly be won without further sacrifices, but they also recently called on De Klerk to solve the problem by sending the military into the Transvaal townships. And once the military showed their real, anti-black features, Mandela and his colleagues acted shocked. Shame on them.

Enough of the hypocrisy and demagogy about "reform" from the racist masters! Whatever the masses win will be through struggle. And if you really want to smash the hated old racist system to smithereens, you need a revolution by the black working people. Apartheid in South Africa must be burned to the ground.

[Photo: S. African masses denounce police-backed terror campaign]

Mohawks' standoff ends--Native struggle will continue

The Mohawks at Oka, Quebec surrendered to the Canadian army on September 26, ending their barricades and protests that began last spring.

The struggle had begun over an attempt by local authorities to set up a golf course on Mohawk burial grounds. The Mohawks were attacked by an armed contingent of Quebec provincial police. But the Mohawks repelled this dirty assault.

Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney then sent in the national army to quell the uprising. The Mohawks were surrounded by some 4,000 soldiers equipped with artillery and armored personnel carriers. In early September the soldiers moved into the Mohawks' barricades and dismantled them. For the past month they have been closing in on the remaining Mohawks, trying to provoke a fight that they knew the Mohawks would lose. The Mohawk force dwindled from 250 down to less than 50. Finally, the remaining activists were forced to give up.

So the Canadian army has a great battle victory. Along the way they scored a number of other victories -- starving Indians on the reservation, beating women and children who were among those who surrendered, condoning racist attacks on the Mohawks and doing nothing to stop them.

However, the surrender of the Mohawks only marks the close of one chapter. The struggle of the Native people is far from defeated. In fact no one can take away the new spirit of defiance and determination that the Oka struggle has given rise to.

The Mohawks' stubborn defense of their rights served as an inspiration to the Native people's fight not only in Canada, but in the U.S. as well. Many actions by Natives were sparked across Canada, and there were many demonstrations of support in cities around North America.

[Photo: Mohawks battle Canadian troops at the Kahnawake reserve near Montreal]

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Another general strike in the Dominican Republic

The last week of September saw another general strike breaking out in the Dominican Republic. The capital Santo Domingo was successfully shut down. Demonstrators also gathered in various places to voice their demands against the austerity policies of the right-wing Balaguer government.

This shutdown comes only a month after another militant strike paralyzed the country. The workers of the Dominican Republic have been forced to bear so many "belt-tightening" plans that they have no more holes left in their belts. They are pressing forward.

Peruvian workers oppose Fuji-shock

3,500 Peruvian zinc miners went out on strike in early September. The miners are protesting management's attempt to unilaterally impose a concessions contract.

Management of the state-owned mine is following the course set by Peru's new president, Alberto Fujimori, who is making workers take the brunt of the country's economic crisis. Shortly after taking office, Fujimori's new austerity plan forced up the price of food staples by some four times. This "Fuji-shock" has called forth new struggles by many different sections of the working class. In mid-September Peru's oil industry was frozen by a strike of 7,500 oil workers, and other state employees were also poised to strike.

Turkish miners wildcat

40,000 coal miners in Turkey staged a wildcat strike in the Black Sea region in mid-September. They are demanding higher wages. They are angry about not having a new contract since July, and walked out in defiance of their own trade union bureaucrats.

Zambian miners battle police

Miners at one of Zambia's major copper mines went out on strike August 26. The miners are demanding that management pay production bonuses owed to them. The workers fought a pitched battle with police in late August and then marched on the local police station to protest police brutality.

Bus drivers stop traffic in Bangladesh

Bus drivers in Bangladesh struck in mid-September, halting traffic in much of the country. The workers were protesting harassment of drivers and their union. They have had to battle scabs, and in the town of Pabna faced up to police guns. Police opened fire and wounded 15 drivers.

Congolese workers win union elections

Workers in the Congo won the right to elect union leaders through a nationwide general strike in mid-September. The strike brought the capital, Brazzaville, to a halt, and the government was forced to allow elections inside the only legally recognized trade union center.

South Korean workers occupy plant

600 Korean workers occupied a munitions plant in Pusan in early September and held it until attacked by 3,000 paramilitary police. The police attacked them with tear gas. The workers responded with rocks and firebombs but were forced to retreat.

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