The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 20, No. 2


25ยข February 1, 1990

[Front page:

Bush's drug summit: Another pretext for bullying Latin America;

Boston: Racist frameup unravels;

War lies of the imperialist press]


'War on Drugs' Is War on Blacks and Poor

Police terror in Oakland housing project ............................. 2

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

Protests denounce invasion of Panama................................. 3

Down With Racism!

Protests of racism on Martin Luther King day..................... 4
Miami; Atlanta; New York City............................................ 4
The 1980's and the black people's struggle.......................... 5
Corruption in Detroit City Hall............................................ 5

Step Up the Defense of Women's Rights!

Pro-choice actions................................................................. 6
On women and combat......................................................... 7

Strikes and Workplace News

Coal miners; Auto; Telephone; Postal.................................. 8

For Workers' Socialism, Not Revisionist State Capitalism

On the strife between Armenians and Azerbaijanis.............. 9
Polish miners strike vs. Solidarity's austerity....................... 9
What does Western capitalism want in Poland..................... 9

The World in Struggle

Mexico: Ford uses police against strike............................... 10
Condemn Avril's repression in Haiti.................................... 10
Workers strike across Britain................................................ 10
What is the 'free market' bringing to Argentina................... 10

Apartheid, No! Revolution, Yes!

Even if Mandela freed, S.A. racism remains........................ 11

From the MLP Delegation to the Philippines: M-L workers describe why they broke from CPP................ 12

Bush's drug summit:

Another pretext for bullying Latin America

Boston: Racist frameup unravels

War lies of the imperialist press

Terror in Oakland housing projects

'War on drugs' is a war on the people

Protests denounce invasion of Panama

Black people protest racism on M.L. King Day

Marchers decry the reversal of Howard Beach convictions

Still free on bail

Racist Miami cop gets minimum sentence

Atlanta protesters shout down the Klan

The 1980's and the black people's struggle

Corruption in Detroit City Hall

Step up the defense of women's rights!

Strikes and workplace news

On the strife in the Soviet Union between Armenians and Azerbaijanis

Polish miners strike vs. Solidarity's austerity

What does Western capitalism want in Poland?

The World in Struggle

Even if they free Mandela, S. African racism remains people's enemy

From the MLP delegation to the Philippines

Bush's drug summit:

Another pretext for bullying Latin America

On February 15, George Bush will be in Cartagena, Colombia for a regional drug summit with Latin American and Caribbean governments. The message he will bring to Cartagena is that the U.S. is now ready to use the full force of the Pentagon in the "war on drugs." This policy has nothing to do with fighting the drug traffic. Rather, it has to do with plans for stepped-up military aggression against the working people of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Does the Government Share the Concerns of the Masses About the Scourge of Drug Abuse?

When Bush goes to Colombia, the media will beat the drums yet again about the scourge of drugs on the people of the U.S. and in this hemisphere. There will be more news reports about the devastation wrought by drug abuse. And about the problems which the drug traffickers have created, such as the bombings in Colombia.

And much of that is true. Drug abuse is a plague upon the masses of people. The working people feel this strongly. It has destroyed many lives and families and corrupted a whole layer of young people. It has especially wreaked havoc in the inner cities, where poor people, especially blacks and Latinos, live.

But the truth is, despite all the fiery words about opposing drug abuse, Bush and the government are not interested in ending the scourge of drugs among the working people.

If the government were serious about fighting drugs, it would do something about the joblessness and poverty in the cities which creates the despair which drives so many to escapism with drugs. It would provide treatment to those who want to get out of the cycle of drug abuse. And it would take action against the wealthy drug dealers and bankers who make the fat profits out of the misery of the poor.

But the government's policies themselves have pushed many more people into the ranks of the poor and homeless. They have cut back on treatment programs. And they have only tapped the wrists of the bankers who profit from drug operations, while putting ordinary users in prison with ever-stiffer sentences.

Meanwhile in Latin America, it is U.S. big business and banks who have destroyed the economies of whole countries because they want profits and the interest payments on their loans. The conditions of the poor there have gone backwards over the last ten years. Is it any wonder that many poor peasants turn to growing coca in order to survive? Does the U.S. government care a fig about their livelihood?

The U.S. government cannot deal with the underlying factors behind the extensive drug problem. And that's because it's a government run by capitalists and for the capitalists. It cannot improve the lives of the working people and the poor, because it's more interested in fattening the wallets of the rich. That's why they give tax breaks to the rich and bail out the Savings and Loans bankers. Why they back the drive for concessions among workers and cut unemployment benefits. Why they cut social services but make sure that the Pentagon budget remains funded at sky-high levels.

The Government Itself Helps to Run Drugs

What is more, despite all the noises against foreign drug traffickers, the U.S. government itself has long been playing footsie with the drug dealers.

Oliver North's secret network worked hand in hand with the Colombian drug cartels in order to back up the dirty war against Nicaragua. U.S. authorities permitted cocaine shipments to pass through their bases in Central America so that drug profits could finance the contra war. Many of the same planes which flew drugs into the U.S. flew weapons back to the contra murderers. Evidence of these activities has come out in U.S. Senate Committee hearings as well as in the Costa Rican parliament.

Meanwhile, the CIA has backed up right-wing forces in Afghanistan to the tune of more than half a billion dollars a year. And many of these very same elements have been major players in the international heroin trade. They have brought a murderous new plague to the already hard-pressed poor toilers.of Pakistan.

This type of activity goes even further back. During the Viet Nam war, the CIA helped the Laotian drug lord Vang Pao with his opium trade out of Southeast Asia, in return for help in the war against the peoples of Indochina. Many of the players of that CIA operation have also been involved in Oliver North's dirty activities in Central America.

So What's the "War on Drugs''All About?

It's about police-state measures at home and military intervention abroad.

At home, the "war on drugs" is being used as a shrill cry to beef up police terror against black people, workers, and the young. This is why the biggest portion of funding goes to "law enforcement." More money for police and prisons. A pittance for treatment programs. This is why laws are written to justify all sorts of police abuse against the people. And across the country, ordinary people are having their rights repeatedly violated.

Abroad, the "war" is about strengthening U.S. dictate, especially in Latin America. Take note of some facts.

* Washington didn't get rid of Noriega because he was a drug dealer. No, Noriega was a loyal CIA "asset" for many years, even when they knew he was dealing in drugs. They decided to get him, because at a certain point he didn't want to continue helping the U.S. aggression against Nicaragua. They couldn't have a government in Panama which wouldn't kowtow to them.

* A few months back Bush sent a gift of $65 million in helicopters, airplanes, flak jackets and rifles to Colombia. Under the excuse of fighting the drug lords. But in truth, the Colombian army is using this aid to fight the guerrilla insurgency in that country. A senior U.S. Embassy official in Bogota said, "If this equipment is used against the guerrillas -- within human rights and the law -- that doesn't bother us." Of course not. As well, it is common knowledge in Colombia that the army there considers the left-wing guerrillas to be their main enemy, while they work jointly with the drug lords. The drug lords too are partisans of the war against the guerrillas and they have together with the military spawned many of the death squads which terrorize workers, peasants and activists. So much for the fig leaf of "human rights."

* U.S. aid in the name of fighting drugs is also going to back up the Peruvian military's war against guerrilla insurgents.

Hitler's "Big Lie" Technique Revived

The Pentagon believes that the "war on drugs" may be the most potent justification yet to get the American people to back aggression abroad. Ever since the anti-war upsurge of the 60's, the capitalist rulers and generals have been working hard on how to do away with what they consider the "Viet Nam syndrome" -- the weakened support at home for military adventures abroad.

Now they think they've hit upon an issue which is very close to the concerns of large numbers of ordinary Americans. Thus they see their task: make the people believe in the connection between drugs and left-wing and other anti-U.S. opposition forces.

U.S. Colonel John D. Waghelstein has written in Military Review: "A melding in the American public's mind and in Congress of this connection would lead to the necessary support to counter the guerrilla/narcotics terrorists in this hemisphere. Generating that support would be relatively easy once the connection was proven and all-out war was declared by the National Command Authority. Congress would find it difficult to stand in the way of supporting our allies with training, advice and security assistance to do the job. Those church and academic groups that have slavishly supported insurgency in Latin America would find themselves on the wrong side of the moral issue."

This is the age-old lie machine at work.

But Bush and the Pentagon will find that it won't be as easy as they think. They forget that the "American public's mind" cannot be molded forever simply as they wish. Lies may have their effect for a while. But the truth cannot be smothered no matter how big the mountain of lies.

The bureaucrats in Eastern Europe saw their lies unravel. How long before the lies come apart here? The American lie machinery may be more subtle and sophisticated, but lies are lies and they have a tendency to collapse in the face of the oppressed who have not abandoned their faculties of thinking and reasoning.

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Boston: Racist frameup unravels

Charles Stuart was paid $100,000 a year as general manager of an expensive fur shop. He lived in a well-to-do white suburb of Boston with his wife Carol. She made $41,000 a year as a tax attorney. But Mr. Stuart wanted more. He wanted to become a capitalist business owner in his own right. He decided to finance his scheme by killing his wife for her insurance policy. He plotted to cover his crime by scapegoating an innocent black man. Any black man would do. And with the eager help of the racist government and media, he almost got away with it.

News Media --Just Racist Scandal Sheets

Now murder for money is hardly a novelty in capitalist society. But the national focus on this case, and the racist hysteria surrounding it, expose a number of ugly features of so-called justice in America.

When Stuart claimed that a black man had killed his wife in the Mission Hill district of Boston, the local and national media went wild. The story of the "Camelot" yuppie couple gunned down by "an urban savage," "an animal in the dark," was run on the CBS 911 show and national news. And it was sensationalized daily in the Boston newspapers for weeks. The bourgeois media hacks embraced Stuart as a hero and screamed for vengeance against the black community that must be harboring a murderous beast. Every black man was a suspect.

Racist State of Siege in Mission Hill

Local politicians cranked up the anti-black, "anti-crime" hysteria. Mimicking the "Willie Horton" propaganda used by the Bush campaign, state legislators howled for restoring the death penalty. Liberals like Governor Dukakis and Mayor Flynn joined the crusade. And a reign of police terror was unleashed on the Mission Hill district.

Hundreds of policemen conducted Gestapo-style raids on the neighborhood for two months. Dozens of apartments were trashed by police. Streets were blockaded. Up to 200 "stop and search" police actions were carried out each day. This continued even after courts ruled the harassment unconstitutional. So much for getting protection from the courts. Black and Puerto Rican men were strip searched and beaten with no regard to evidence, "due process," or any of the refinements of bourgeois "law." This was racist "justice" in the raw.

As well, the police threatened two "witnesses" with beatings and 20 years in jail if they did not testify against an innocent man, Willie Bennett, who was selected to be the scapegoat. Such "eyewitness testimony" has been used countless times to railroad workers, minorities and poor people to prison or to their deaths when capitalist society decides it wants to make an example of someone. The legal system is nothing but a tool of the rich to maintain their "law and order" over the masses. In this case, the local capitalists of Boston even offered a bounty of $100,000 to get the arrest and conviction they wanted.

Meanwhile, the police "investigating" the case consistently ignored evidence implicating Stuart. Why did he take out so much insurance on his wife? What about the report from a witness that a white man was near the car? How was he shot in the stomach by a man sitting in the back seat? Why was a.38 caliber revolver missing from Stuart's fur shop? The police looked only where they wanted to see.

Black Masses Protest

The racist campaign in Boston was exposed January 3 and 4 when Stuart's accomplice-brother confessed and Stuart himself committed suicide to avoid capture. Immediately the pent-up outrage rang from the black community.

On January 5, around 40 black and Latino youth battled police in Egleston Square. They reportedly had prepared firebombs, and nearly destroyed one cruiser, in a militant display of resistance to police harassment. On January 10, several hundred residents of Mission Hill and other workers picketed Mayor Flynn's State of the City" speech. Shouting "Mayor Flynn, you can't hide! Mission Hill has got its pride!" the demonstrators forced Flynn to sneak in by the back door. Angry rallies were also held on Martin Luther King day and since.

Now that the media and politicians have been caught, they are embarrassed and are pretending to be soul searching over their racist excesses. Don't be fooled! The capitalist system is racist to the core. The black masses are right to take their demands for justice into the streets. It is the mass movement that can defend the working people from our racist ruling class. For real justice to prevail the capitalist courts, police, media and politicians must go! They are all co-conspirators against the rights of minorities and working people!

[Photo: Angry blacks in the streets of Boston denounce racist outrage.]

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War lies of the imperialist press

War is waged not just with troops, but with lies and "psychological warfare." With the invasion of Panama, the American mass media hit another low in service to mass murder and aggression. The TV and press came out as glorifiers of the civilizing role of the American bayonet. A picture was drawn of Panamanians enthusiastically praising aggression, and of an American home front praising the conquering heroes. Embarrassing questions were put to the side. Oh yes, a certain sort of criticism was paraded: Was the operation sufficiently well prepared? Would it cost a few too many American lives? Are there more effective ways to dominate Panama and achieve the Pentagon's aims?

Panamanian Casualties

A dedicated attempt was made to play down the bloody toll of Panamanian dead and wounded. In this country of less than two and one-half million people, over 2,000 died and many more were wounded. This is one-tenth of one percent dead, a major massacre carried out in a few days.

But this story was put on the back burner. The media just didn't seem to have any compassion left after it finished eulogizing two dozen dead American invaders. So at most it reported the minimized figures of the Pentagon. And it went on to regard the pop songs broadcast super-loud over loudspeakers to besiege Noriega as far more important than Panamanian dead and wounded.

A Warm Welcome?

The press also presented Panamanians as welcoming U.S. troops, and Americans regarding them as war heroes. It barely mentioned at all how U.S. troops went arresting entire villages and questioning them one by one. And when the U.S. troops came under sniper fire, the press had no difficulty labeling the resisters as criminals and bullies, the dregs of Panama. It wasn't hard to find this out -- the U.S. State Department said so.

Yet strangely enough the American military command was worried over the possibility of a large amount of weapons being spread among the Panamanian people. Their first concern was to disarm the "welcoming" population.

There were indeed some Panamanians who welcomed U.S. intervention. The pro-American bourgeoisie welcomed the imposition of American "law and order". It looked to the American bayonet to restore its rule and put in their place the National Guard leaders and Noriega who had "usurped" a good deal of the share of the profits to themselves instead of serving loyally as the bourgeoisie's hired guns. And, it looked for the imposition of American "law and order" on the lower classes. It was particularly horrified when the lower classes, disgusted with the traditional bourgeoisie and disorganized by the Noriega dictatorship, expressed themselves in the only way they could -- by the mass confiscation from the stores of the desperately needed goods which had been denied to them by the hardships of the American blockade and the economic warfare between the different factions of exploiters.

The Drug Warriors Take Tamales for Cocaine

Meanwhile the press loyally trumpeted each new handout from the invading troops. A sensational discovery of 50 kilos of cocaine, somehow associated with voodoo, was made in Noriega's headquarters. This was trumpeted for days on end as proof that the invasion was a glorious crusade against drugs.

Only after all the shooting was over it turned out that the mysterious white powder wrapped in banana leaves was corn meal for tamales. It seems the heroic liberators of Panama don't even care about what Panamanians eat. But such ignorance won't go completely for waste. It may give some enterprising racists a new excuse for firing Latinos -- "we saw that white powder in their homes."

Of course, Noriega is indeed deeply involved in the drug trade. But the press couldn't go into his real drug trafficking, because this implicated the CIA-organized contra network. It implicated the backers of the contra network, from Commander-in-Chief of the invasion, George Bush, to national heroes like Ollie North. So instead there are fantastic stories about finding the stash right on Noriega himself.

Liberating Panama From the Ghost of Hitler

And then there was the famous portrait of Hitler among Noriega's belongings, which was along with pictures and books about ordinary bourgeois heroes. Well, that clinched it. You see, it really was an invasion to keep Panama safe from fascism.

There was only one little problem the news media neglected to mention. This is the new president of Panama, Guillermo Endara, installed by the American bayonet. He is a disciple of Arnulfo Arias, the politician whose election Noriega blocked in 1984. And Arias is known as a fervent admirer of Hitler and Mussolini. At one time he had been president of Panama, during which time he attempted to sterilize blacks, deport West Indians and Asians, and expropriate Jews.

It seems that fascination with Hitler is a widespread feature of the Panamanian bourgeoisie. If Noriega shared it, it was something he had in common with other Panamanian exploiters. It seems that the only way to stamp out Hitler-worship in Panama would be for the Panamanian workers to come to power and displace the fascist-minded bourgeoisie.

Meanwhile the Pentagon and White House have not only installed Endara to power, but they are backing Hitler-lovers in nearby El Salvador. There Bush and Congress are sending hundreds of millions of dollars, and U.S. advisors and military hardware, to prop up the ARENA party government of President Cristiani. But ARENA is the party led by notorious Hitler-lover Roberto D'Aubuisson, nicknamed "blowtorch" because of his Gestapo-like method of torturing and killing opponents.

Liberating Panama From the National Guard

It is presented that the American invasion is establishing a democracy and removing the reign of the thugish National Guard. The American army is indeed rebuilding the Panamanian police, in an attempt to ensure total loyalty to Washington and the Panamanian bourgeoisie.

But it turns out that the new police look very much like the old ones. The same National Guard personnel are back, provided they swear loyalty to their new masters. This includes notorious leaders from the old days. Col. Eduardo Herrerra Hassan, for example, has been appointed head of the new police force, although he was in charge of special units used to crush demonstrations in 1987.

Only the Panamanian Workers Can Liberate Panama

Panama is not free. It is as enslaved by the U.S. invasion as it was by the Noriega regime. But its slavery will not last forever. The time will come when the Panamanian workers will rise up to cast aside the different blood-stained factions of the local bourgeoisie and the American overlords. By denouncing the American invasion of Panama today we hasten this day.

[Photo: San Francisco, the day after the invasion of Panama.]

[Photo: San Francisco protest against invasion of Panama, January 13.]

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Terror in Oakland housing projects

'War on drugs' is a war on the people

A ruthless gang has been terrorizing the residents of Oakland's public housing. Countless complaints of beatings, robberies, sexual assaults and threats eventually led to a sting operation by the Oakland Police Department. The OPD cops were also robbed and beaten by these thugs.

This is no ordinary gang. It is armed to the teeth. And it has the whole U.S. government behind it in the name of the "war on drugs.'' This is the Housing Authority police.

Drugs were "an excuse for them to come into people's homes, take money and harass people,'' according to resident Beverly Franklin. "They were no better than the criminals they were supposed to be stopping.''

The Housing police stole people's belongings, beat on their heads, and then planted drugs on them. This is what happened to the cops in the OPD sting as well.

On Orders From Washington

The city fathers say they are shocked. Mayor Lionel Wilson says the Housing police were "over-aggressive.'' What does that mean? Police should rob less and crack heads more softly?! Councilman Wilson Riles Jr. says the Housing police need to be under OPD control. But what about the OPD's own legacy of abuse and violence against people who are young and black?

They would have us believe that the Housing police are just some renegade cops gone wild. But George Bush and co. let these animals out of the cage.

Last year Jack Kemp, Bush's chief landlord of the scandal-plagued Housing and Urban Development (HUD), held a press conference to declare that he was taking the "war on drugs'' to the residents of public housing.

The first shot in Kemp's war was in Washington, D.C., with TV crews following SWAT teams and housing police in an assault on a housing project. There were illegal searches, doors broken down, residents roughed up still in bed, people tossed out of their homes without so much as a hearing -- but few if any drugs found.

This episode of warrantless searches and police mayhem has been repeated in public housing in Chicago and other cities.

Victimizing the Workers and Poor

This is what George Bush's "war on drugs'' is all about. It is intimidation and police abuse against ordinary working people. It is drug testing, harassment and firing of workers. All rights can be trampled on. Even foreign countries can be invaded and occupied in the name of this hypocritical "war.'' Meanwhile, how many big bankers who launder billions in drug money have been hit? How many of the cocaine merchants linked to Oliver North and the Reagan/Bush contra slush fund have had their doors bashed in?

No, they target the workers and poor. They go after public housing residents. After all, affordable housing is hard to find, and it's hard to stand up to the authority that's also your landlord of last resort.

Yes, crack and drugs are a curse, and they plague the projects too. But the so called "war on drugs" is aimed against us. We need to fight back against this attack, and against all the plagues that the capitalist ruling class is bringing down on us.

(Reprinted from Jan. 16 "Bay Area Workers' Voice," paper of San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the MLP.)

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Protests denounce invasion of Panama

While the bourgeoisie rejoiced at another military exploit, the anti-imperialist movement in the U.S. denounced the invasion of Panama. In a number of cities across the country, the invasion was met by demonstrations from the very first days.

In Chicago, for example, on December 21, the day after the troops went in, 50 or 60 people gathered at the Federal Building. Then a banner was unfurled, placards were taken out of hiding, and chants began in solidarity with the Panamanian people. After ten minutes, the protesters marched through the first floor of the building, giving out leaflets and talking with people who were getting off work. Federal marshals and city police tried to stop the march, but it went on for 15 minutes in defiance of them. Each time a line of police formed, the activists either went through the line or went down another corridor.

Eventually the police gathered reinforcements and succeeded in physically ejecting the protesters. But, despite the bitter cold and wind chill factor of minus fifty degrees, the activists didn't disperse but continued their action in an outside shopping district for another 20 minutes.

Then on Saturday December 23, there was a march and picket by 120-150 people. It was again a bitterly cold day, so not many people were in the downtown shopping area, but the leaflets and slogans against U.S. intervention were well-received. Demonstrators shouted "Intervention, we say no! Imperialism has got to go!,'' "Stop the bombing, stop the war! From Panama to El Salvador!'' and "Intervention no! Self-determination, yes!''

The Marxist-Leninist Party around the country took part in denouncing the invasion. The Bay Area Workers' Voice came out immediately, calling for workers and activists to denounce the invasion. (The January 1 Workers' Advocate reproduced part of this leaflet in its article "Bush Lies About Panama".) The December 29th New York Workers' Voice declared "U.S. imperialism, Get out of Panama!" It pointed out that "It was the poor and working class population of Panama City which was hit hardest by the invasion. For example, the poor and densely populated neighborhood of El Chorrillo was razed to the ground on the first day of the invasion. And U.S. planes were still bombing parts of the working class neighborhood of San Miguelito as late as Saturday, the fourth day. Some 28,000 people were left homeless in El Chorillo alone.

"The news media has been all but silent on the number of civilians killed. Yet its known that all the major hospital morgues were filled by the first day, and that large numbers, particularly in the burned out neighborhoods, were dumped in common graves. According to one New York paper, El Diario, a Panamanian health official estimated that 2,000 people were buried in common graves."

The New York Workers' Voice went on to say: "It has now been revealed that detailed plans for this invasion had been drawn up by November 3, and that actual preparations' at the Southern Command base in Panama were begun shortly after this. As it turns out, the incidents with the marines and Noriega's supposed 'declaration of war' were simply turned into the needed pretexts as soon as everything had been readied."

The January 6 Boston Worker denounced the occupation of Panama and declared:

"For decades the American billionaires and bankers have considered Latin America their special preserve for profiteering. They together with the wealthy Latin American oligarchies have so impoverished the workers of that region that the whole continent is pregnant with revolution. Meanwhile, Japanese and other imperialist competitors are moving in for a piece of the action. By invading Panama, Bush was trying to intimidate the poor and the working people of Latin America from rising up. By invading Panama, Bush was sending a message to all governments in the region -- 'I am the boss. Don't mess with outsiders....' In Bush's mind, compared to such a noble cause, what are the lives of a few hundred Panamanian workers.

It added: "The poor and working people of Panama have been pretty much neutral in the fight between Noriega and the U.S., as they don't like either. But as the Panamanian workers organize and fight for their rights and against their exploiters, they are bound to come into conflict with the U.S. military. We can best help our working class brothers and sisters in Panama by demanding that the U.S. government get totally out of Panama, bases and all."

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Black people protest racism on M.L. King Day

This year, Martin Luther King Day came amidst a renewed racist offensive that's seen bombings in the south, a police rampage in Boston, and increasing discrimination and impoverishment of the black masses. The holiday, the only one commemorating a black person, is seen by the black masses as a celebration of the movement against racism. Unfortunately, Martin Luther King himself stood for putting a damper on the movement. Despite his legacy, black people came up in numbers of cities to protest the racist offensive, and also to decry the apartheid system in South Africa.

Protests Decry Racism

There were protests against racist state officials and private capitalists who still refuse to honor the holiday. In Phoenix, Arizona, around 16,000 people marched demanding that Martin Luther King.Day be made into a state holiday. Arizona is one of five states that do not recognize this as an official holiday. In Detroit about 200 newspaper employees staged a 12-hour vigil outside the downtown office of the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press to protest the newspapers' lack of a day off for King's birthday. In Los Angeles about 120 activists gathered in front of the downtown headquarters of Security Pacific National Bank to protest the bank's decision to keep open more than 550 of its offices on the holiday. It is estimated that only about 18% of private businesses grant Martin Luther King Day as a paid holiday.

There were also protests against racist attacks by white gangs and by the police. In Boston, there were protests against Mayor Flynn and his police department, which had rampaged through the black community on the lying claim that a black man had killed Carol Stuart (see article on front page). In New York, about 250 people demonstrated through Bensonhurst to protest the killing of Yusuf Hawkins by a white gang. In Los Angeles some 100 people protested the beating and jailing of 13 black men by some 24 police officers over a traffic violation on January 3.

There were also marches against apartheid in South Africa. About 2,000 mostly high school and college students marched 15 blocks from the old South African consulate to the new one in Los Angeles. Dances and songs of the black fighters in South Africa were performed along the way. Slogans rang out, "Down with Apartheid, Free the people of South Africa," "Fight the power" and "Down with Racists!" Supporters of the MLP took an active part, distributing over 1,000 pieces of literature calling for a militant fight against apartheid, exposing police repression in the name of the "war on drugs," and denouncing the U.S. invasion of Panama. Earlier, on December 18, police had arrested 33 high school student! for sitting-in at the consulate.

Black Bourgeoisie Turns Away from Protest

Meanwhile, the big official celebrations were headed up by the "respectable" black leaders who represent the black upper-crust. And they were calling on the masses to turn away from protest.

The black bourgeoisie saw Martin Luther King day as a time to glory in how far they have come, and to lecture the black masses about leading a "proper life." In many cities, they focused on recent "black progress" such as new elections of black officials. And they preached how these election victories showed that blacks should turn away from protest.

In New York City, for example, Rev. Herbert Daughtry led a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall where it was met by the newly elected Mayor Dinkins. Daughtry declared that, before "We marched as the excluded. Today we marched as the included. The last time we marched in protest. Today we march to participate." But Daughtry did not try to explain how "participation" and the election of Dinkins would benefit the masses, or why the working masses should give up protest. In fact, protest is needed more now than ever, as Mayor Dinkins is unleashing a new austerity plan to lay off city workers and cut social-welfare programs. This plan will further devastate the black workers and poor. The black bourgeoisie has sold out the masses. For the sake of gaining office and enriching themselves, they will preside over the new attacks being fomented against the black masses.

Indeed, the black leaders, as part of the Democratic Party, have been accommodating themselves with the Reagan/Bush offensive against the masses. Even this year, after Bush has more than proven he is continuing the racist onslaught of Reagan, the "respectable" black leaders were oh-so polite. Joseph Lowery, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, declared in Atlanta that "We do not question the president's intentions."

He then went on to meekly beg that Bush live up to his "promise of a kind and gentle nation." Why is Lowery so respectful? Because he represents the black upper crust, the black bourgeoisie and rising petty bourgeoisie, whose bankrolls have grown under the Reagan/Bush administrations, while the masses plunged further into poverty.

King's Legacy

In this, Lowery and the other "respectable" leaders are simply following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King.

Through the 1960's King tried to tone down the mass struggle by preaching turning the other cheek, passive nonviolence, and reliance on the Democratic Party bigshots for salvation. At the same time, King opened up for the black bourgeoisie more business franchises, more minority contracts with the government, more seats on the corporate boards and in government offices. The black masses will get no help from such leaders. For them, this holiday must be a celebration of the anti-racist movement, not King. The holiday should stand for struggle, and be a day to organize the black masses and unite with the workers of all nationalities for a class-wide struggle against the rich ruling class.

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Marchers decry the reversal of Howard Beach convictions


Three busloads of people participated in a militant march through the streets of Howard Beach December 30. They were protesting the overturning of convictions of three racists indicted in the death of Michael Griffiths. As it was, none of the three had ever seen a day in jail. Following their convictions they had only been sentenced to 34 days in jail, but were also granted a stay pending appeal.

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Still free on bail

Racist Miami cop gets minimum sentence

The racist Miami cop, William Lozano, was sentenced on January 24 for killing two black motorcyclists over a "traffic violation" last January. As could be expected from the racist U.S. justice system, Lozano was given the minimum sentence for manslaughter, seven years. He is not expected to serve more than two or three years. And may not serve a day. He is still free to walk the streets on a $10,000 bond while his case is appealed.

The court system hardly treats ordinary black people the same. Clarence Brandley -- a black man innocent of any involvement in the killing of a white girl -- rotted in a Texas jail for ten years. When an appeals courts recently overturned his conviction he was still kept in jail until he could come up with $75,000 in bail. Such is justice in racist America.

(Our readers should note a correction to a picture caption in our January 1 issue. While the article "Black masses celebrate the conviction of racist Miami cop" correctly identifies the policeman as William Lozano, the caption under the picture on page three mistakenly calls him "Rudy Lozano.")

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Atlanta protesters shout down the Klan

More than 200 anti-racist protesters marched in downtown Atlanta on January 6. They denounced the wave of racist bombings through the south and a rally taking place by 60 KKK at the State Capitol. The racists were protected by some 3,000 national guard, state police and other police who had been ordered out by Governor Harris and Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. Although Jackson is black, he told people to stay home and not protest the racists because of his concern not to tarnish the image he's creating for Atlanta as a "city too busy to hate." Despite the huge police presence, demonstrators managed to maneuver by them to within half a block of the racists shouting "Death to the Klan!" and "The cops and Klan work hand in hand! "

Two weeks later, Governor Harris and Mayor Jackson also allowed a handful of racists from the Nationalist Movement to rally at the Capitol. Again some 2,500 troops were dispatched to protect the racists. This time about 100 anti-racist protesters managed to drown out the racists' speeches with chants of "No peace for racists!" And at one point they almost broke through the wedge of cops surrounding the racists. One protester was arrested.


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The 1980's and the black people's struggle

The 1990's are opening up with calls for a renewed struggle against the racist offensive of the ruling class. "Fight the power!" and "No justice, no peace!" are on the lips of the black masses as they launched protests against the bombings in the south, the police terror in Boston, the racist gang murders in New York, and. the job discrimination fostered by the Supreme Court.

The 1980's have been horrible for the black masses. The Reagan offensive has meant turning back the clock on the rights won through struggle in the 1960's. It has meant deeper impoverishment of ever larger numbers of black people. And wherever the masses started to rise up against the new Reaganite slavery, the black upper crust was there to preach "patience," to plead for "working through the system," or to blame the poor for not "pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps."

But despite the "respectable" black leaders smothering the mass movement in a wet blanket, struggles did break out here and there. And these struggles teach important lessons for what is needed to build a mass movement that can stand up to the racist onslaught and prepare the way to overthrow this racist system once and for all.

Get Organized!

Despite the vicious assault by the U.S. rulers, and the accommodation of the well-to-do blacks, the masses rose time and again in spontaneous rebellions against police repression and racist terror.

The 1980's began with street battles against police and national guard troops that spread from Miami, to Orlando, Philadelphia and Chattanooga. And virtually every year in the decade was marked by such spontaneous revolts in one city or another -- Waynesboro, Georgia; Tampa; Shreveport; Virginia Beach; Miami five times; and other cities.

These pitched battles showed the seething rage among the black masses. They demonstrated their heroism and determination. And these battles helped blacks lift their heads in the face of racist degradation.

But these battles were merely spontaneous outbursts of the pent-up anger. The masses needed organization. Without it, the immediate objectives of the movement could not be won, the mass movement could not be sustained, and it could not be carried forward in a conscious revolutionary direction. Organization, that's what is needed to stand up to the racist offensive.

Break with the Accommodation of the Black Bourgeoisie

There were other major fights by black people as well. The marches against the terror of the Ku Klux Klan and other racist gangs. The demonstrations against segregated neighborhoods. The student tights against discrimination and harassment on campus. The mass actions for jobs and benefits against Reaganite cutbacks and job discrimination. But in every case, the struggles have been hemmed in and dissipated by the "respectable" black leaders and politicians.

Why have they held back the movement?

The 1980's did not treat all blacks equally. While the black workers faced wage cuts and unemployment, and some 32% of all black people sunk below the official poverty line, a small stratum of blacks enriched themselves. And it is this stratum that is represented by the black politicians and the leaders of the NAACP, the SCLC, and other bourgeois organizations.

A study done in 1988 showed that while the average income of the poorest fifth of black families plunged 24% between 1978 and 1987, the income of the top fifth actually grew. This is the section of black bourgeois and aspiring petty bourgeois, of businessmen, corporate executives, and major government officials. Although they are only a tiny stratum, and are small potatoes beside the white ruling class that owns and controls the main capitalist monopolies and the government, the black upper crust was enriched by the Reagan program and sought to accommodate themselves to it, at the expense of the black masses.

That is why we saw the growth of black Reaganism and black politicians joining the Republican Party. The epitome of this trend has been Samuel Pierce, who Reagan made head of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and who enriched himself and the big white realtors while cutting funding to low-income housing and sentencing ever larger numbers of people to homelessness.

But the problem did not stop with the black Republicans. The liberal Democratic Party politicians came forward to dampen the mass struggle and accommodate themselves to Reaganism. The policy of the liberals was epitomized by Jesse Jackson's run for the presidency in 1984 and 1988. He preached hope for the black masses, while extending the hand of friendship to notorious racists like George Wallace. He talked of "lifting" the poor, while seeking "common ground" with the rich who exploit the poor. His doctrine was: don't fight, vote. But what has electing the black upper crust gotten the masses?

Remember the grisly murders of dozens of black youth in Atlanta. It was the black liberal mayor, Maynard Jackson, who helped the FBI cover up the KKK's involvement in this crime and scapegoated a black man. Remember the bombing of the MOVE house in Philadelphia that murdered several people and burned down a whole block of houses in a black neighborhood. It was the Democratic Party mayor, Wilson Goode who ordered the bombing. Or what about Washington D.C.'s liberal mayor, Marion Barry, who worked with Bush to evict thousands of poor people from their homes in the name of a "war on drugs," when it turns out that Barry himself is the one that's apparently addicted. Or what about Detroit Mayor Coleman Young and police chief Hart who are enriching themselves while the black masses go to hell (see article elsewhere in this paper).

If the anti-racist movement is to be built into a powerful, ongoing movement, then the masses have to break with the accommodation of the black bourgeoisie. A movement independent of the Democrats and the "respectable" black leadership, that's what is needed to stand up to the racist offensive.

Black Workers Show a Fighting Spirit

The black workers have shown a different spirit than the black bourgeoisie. They have participated in most of the struggles waged against racism. And the workers launched struggles themselves against the capitalist exploiters.

Remember, for example, the marches against plant closings and layoffs by predominantly black workers in Detroit and Flint. Or the fiery strikes of the predominantly black city workers from Philadelphia and Detroit in 1986. Here the workers not only stood up against the capitalist concession drive, but also stood up against Mayors Young and Goode, who were acting as the whiphands of the white ruling class.

These and other struggles from the past decade show the importance of mobilizing the black workers into the anti-racist movement. Not only are the vast majority of black people workers, but the workers have been the most consistent fighters against racism and the first to distrust the accommodation of the black bourgeoisie.

Workers, Unite!

The black workers also play an important role in the struggle of the working class as a whole. They provide an important bridge to unite with workers of all nationalities, to bring the working class out in the fight against racism.

And this is essential. A really powerful anti-racist movement must be based on uniting all the workers -- black, brown, white and red -- into a class struggle against the exploiters who alone profit from racist divisions.

The various mass actions through the 1980's have remained scattered and largely spontaneous. But from them one can see the desire to rebuild the anti-racist movement into a powerful force for change. By building up organization, by inspiring a conscious opposition to the betrayal of the black bourgeoisie, and by uniting the working class of every nationality, then a strong movement can be forged to stand up to the racist offensive.

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Corruption in Detroit City Hall

A scandal reminiscent of the plundering of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds is now rocking Detroit.

Federal investigators have disclosed that a former deputy police chief, Kenneth Weiner, funneled at least $1.3 million into dummy corporations he had created. The money came from a multimillion dollar secret service fund of the Detroit Police Department which is supposed to be used for undercover police operations.

For months, Mayor Coleman Young and Police Chief William Hart tried to block an audit of how the secret fund was being used. And it appears they had reason. Eventually a partial audit was carried out and it, along with other disclosures, indicated that the mayor and police chief have also been dipping into the till.

Caught With Their Fingers in the Till

It has been discovered that two of Weiner's dummy companies, which received police money, spent $72,000 over a two-year period to rent a Beverly Hills home for the daughter of the police chief. Hart claims he has done nothing wrong.

The audit showed that the secret fund was also used by Mayor Coleman Young to pay $160,000 to armor-plate his two Cadillac limousines, in violation of city policy.

As well, at least another $284,000 from the secret service fund is unaccounted for, since it was spent in hard- to-trace checks written to "cash." This also violates city policy.

And the indications of corruption don't stop here. It seems that Weiner was not the only one setting up companies. Mayor Young also .secretly created and owns what is claimed to be a "consulting" firm called Detroit Technology and Investments Inc. In many cities it is illegal for the mayor to own a business, since that creates the danger that people must do business with it in order to get lucrative city contracts that the mayor controls. In Detroit it is not illegal, but there are serious questions about what Young was up to. The firm was apparently given office space by Ted Gatzaros, a close friend and major campaign contributor of Young. Weiner was the only one to ever use this office.. So far Young has refused to disclose any information on this company. Meanwhile, an ethics board is beginning an investigation of Young's acceptance of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from contractors like Gatzaros who do business with the city.

There are also investigations of corruption in city contracting. For example, a nearly $1 million project to design a closed-circuit television security system for the Water Department's sewage treatment plant was switched to Wayne State University when Weiner was working there (while he also worked for the police department). The project was never completed. As well, there is an investigation of a University of Michigan think tank that got $1.6 million in city contracts and hired Weiner.

Feeding Frenzy by Black Bourgeoisie

Officials have claimed that the police fund needed to remain secret in order to hide covert police operations against drug traffickers and other criminals. But it appears that the secrecy surrounding this multi-million dollar fund provided a cover for city officials to engage in a feeding frenzy to satisfy their own personal appetites. Given the plundering of the fund by officials, one also can't help but wonder what "legitimate" use is being made of the fund in the name of "covert" operations against drug runners.

At any event, what is clear is that black bourgeois -- like Young and Hart -- are not immune from the corruption found among white capitalist politicians. While they claim they should be elected to serve the black masses, in fact they are using their offices to serve themselves and other capitalists, both black and white.

Right now Detroit is racked by a $81 million budget crisis, which is leading to further layoffs of city workers and cutbacks in social services. The city officials have done nothing to solve the already deep unemployment, to find homes for the tens of thousands of homeless people, to put a stop to the deteriorating education system that is driving the youth from the schools, or to solve any of the other problems that underlie the problems of drug abuse. Their only program is for police terror, more jails, and military-style boot camps for the youth. And now, it appears, that they are enriching themselves off the "war on drugs" terror against the masses.

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Step up the defense of women's rights!

Boston activists trounce Operation Rescue

The anti-abortion fanatics of Operation Rescue (OR) declared plans to blockade clinics in Boston on January 13. But the abortion rights movement was ready for them, mobilizing 400 people to defend the clinics.

When about 150 OR showed up at the PreTerm clinic around 7 a.m., pro-choice activists were already there waiting. They had formed lines around the police barricade, prepared to repulse any OR assault. But OR made little attempt to get in or harass patients. Instead, they mainly stood around singing hymns and looking at their watches. As it turned out, the OR leaders were trying to stage a diversion to draw all the pro-choice activists from other clinics to PreTerm so it could move on to attack an undefended clinic. Their plan failed miserably.

When the OR bunch left Preterm, the MLP warned people that the fight was not over, and mobilized people to beat them to the Gynecare clinic where We had heard there was evidence of OR activity.

Enough pro-choice fighters beat the OR mob to Gynecare so that they could not position themselves to blockade the clinic. As more pro-choice forces arrived, they set themselves around the police barricades and locked arms determined to keep the anti-abortionists from getting near the clinic. All morning there were repeated attempts by OR forces to break through the barricades. But each time they were thrown back. OR goons also tried to encircle each patient who came down the street. But the pro-choice forces threw them aside. As the day went on, the clinic defenders became so effective that the OR thugs could not even get close to the patients.

Although the police were there in force, they played little role. Embarrassed by the exposure of their protection of OR goons at an earlier clinic defense, and by the exposure of their racist rampage around the Stuart case, the police mainly stood aside. Nevertheless, they arrested one pro-choice activist for kicking an OR thug. The pro- choice activists denounced them, and shouted "Operation Rescue hides behind the police."

The pro-choice fighters celebrated their militancy with shouts of "Who will keep the clinics open? We will, we will!" And they shamed the anti-abortion fanatics with chants of "Pro-life who you kiddin'? You're pro-war and anti-women!" and "Operation Failure!" They even compared OR to the anti-woman dictator of Romania with chants of "Operation Rescue, Nicolai Ceausescu!" By the end of the day the OR goons were quite demoralized.

A fighting spirit has been building up in Boston, especially since the vigorous clinic defense earlier in December. And the local leaders of the National Organization for Women (NOW) did not feel they could openly oppose the activists' militancy. In fact, many of the people connected to NOW took an active part in the fighting. The NOW leaders were relegated to making derogatory comments about Marxist-Leninist and socialist militants. But most people had come to the conclusion that this, the most successful clinic defense yet in Boston, was due to the policy of militant mass action that the MLP has championed.

Activists put anti-abortion crusaders into crisis

The November 1989 issue of The Boston Rescuer, journal of the religious thugs of Operation Rescue, carries a letter from jail from chief thug Randall Terry. Terry writes: "I am deeply troubled by what I see happening to the Rescue Movement nation-wide. In city after city (with a couple of exceptions), the number of rescuers is shrinking, and the average number of rescue missions per week is dropping."

Terry doesn't really explain why this is so. But it is clear that the direct confrontation with OR by pro-choice militants has put a spoke in their wheels. Of course, OR isn't going to fade away. But it has been forced again and again to change tactics in order to avoid the contempt of the masses.

Meanwhile The Boston Rescuer also brings out that it is just as opposed to various birth control methods as to abortion. It denounces the pill "as an abortificaient as well as a contraceptive" and the IUD as well. Why, it even has figures on the millions of abortions per year it attributes to them. So if they had their way, not only abortion but contraception would be banned as murder.

17th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

January 22 marked the 17th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. It came as the right-wing campaign against women's rights was endorsed by Bush, who sent a message of support. Bush, fresh from ordering the invasion of Panama where over 2,000 civilians died, declared that he stood with the anti-abortion crusaders "on this issue of life."

The right-wing crusaders hoped to use the occasion to present themselves as a broad movement But across the country, they were met with counter-demonstrations by angry supporters of women's rights.

In Detroit, the right-wing rally downtown in Kennedy Square had about 200 people. But it was faced with a gathering across the street of 70 chanting pro-choice demonstrators. The police forced the pro-choice group to stop using a sound system, but this couldn't stop the speeches and slogans. Then the demonstrators crossed the street and marched on the sidewalk around the outside of Kennedy Square, distributing literature and shouting slogans. After a period of surprise, the police intervened and forced the pro-choice demonstrators back across the street. Activists shouted "Right-to-life, only the police keeps you alive."

In many other cities too the police intervened to protect the right-wing demonstrations from counter-demonstrations. In Seattle pro-choice demonstrators were also pushed back by police. In Sacramento, the anti-abortion crusaders marched on the California Capitol, while the pro-choice group was held back.

It is notable that at women's clinics it usually takes the police hours, if they bother at all, to move the anti-abortion thugs away. Even when Operation Rescue is trespassing and violating court orders. But at the January 22 demonstrations, the police acted promptly to protect the right-wing demonstrations from embarrassment.

At the University of California at Berkeley hundreds rallied for abortion rights. Hours earlier, the police arrested four women for pasting up stickers and sought to intimidate them with the threat of felony conspiracy charges.

In the fight for women's rights, the working masses have to rely on their own initiative and class solidarity. They will get no help from the capitalist government apparatus, from the White House at the top to the police at the bottom.

[Photo: Abortion rights demonstrators in Chicago, January 22.]

Clinic defense at Ann Arbor, MI

On Thursday, January 18, Operation Rescue tried to blockade a clinic in the university town of Ann Arbor, MI. Feeling themselves despised and lacking in support, the anti-abortion fanatics did not engage in a publicized weekend action. They switched to weekdays to hinder progressive people from being able to come out and oppose them.

As well, this time they chose to let women patients reach the clinic. Instead they went after the doctor. A number of religious goons surrounded him, hitting and kicking. This was no accident, as elsewhere in the country, they have shot at the homes of doctors and harassed doctors' families. They feel that calling themselves "pro-life" gives them the right to beat up, shoot at, or bomb their opponents. After all, unless one worships at their gospel, is one really alive?

But in Ann Arbor on Thursday, again they failed to shut down the clinic.

Revisionism vs. women's rights

Ceausescu's dictatorship in Romania has fallen, and few will shed tears over it. Ceausescu's government talked in the name of socialism, but in fact was a revisionist regime of a new wealthy bureaucracy. After Ceausescu came to power in Romania, this regime became particularly oppressive. Among other things, Ceausescu decided that the greatness of Romania required a larger population. He banned birth control and abortions, and established harsh police measures and compulsory pregnancy tests to enforce the ban on abortions. The result was mass suffering among women.

Most revisionist regimes did not have the anti-abortion stands of Ceausescu. Often, as in Russia, Poland, etc., they have high abortion rates, due to the lack of adequate family planning services. Abortion becomes the chief birth control measure (as also in such "western" countries as Japan). Such a stand is not as oppressive as Romania, but it is not socialist or revolutionary. It still undermines the health and well-being of women.

The Bolshevik Revolution Upheld Women's Rights

Marxism-Leninism, on the contrary, stands for women's rights. When the Bolsheviks came to power in the October socialist revolution of 1917, they abolished the tsarist and bourgeois laws oppressing women. Illegal abortions with high death rates had prevailed previously. But now abortions were legalized, and a start was made on a system of clinics to actually bring safe medical procedures to women.

At the same time, steps were taken to hold down the need for abortion. The development of birth control was encouraged. And measures were taken to improve the conditions of mothers, such as making a start at childcare at factories and breaks for mothers to nurse their babies.

Russia suffered from a legacy of economic backwardness. And it faced the harsh foreign capitalist measures to strangle Russia. So only so much could be done. But even in those conditions, steps were begun to give women their rights. At that time, few % European countries allowed women any rights with respect to abortion. And books written in the "free" U.S. reporting on the Soviet Union had to censor out information on particular birth control and abortion methods, because of American bans on these procedures. Yet revolutionary communism not only gave women legal rights, but strove as far as possible to provide conditions for women to actually carry out their rights in practice.

Revisionism Banned Abortions

In the mid-1930's a revisionist line was taken up by the Communist Party. This revisionism spoke in the name of Marxism-Leninism and the working class, but actually promoted the development of a new wealthy strata and the development of a new capitalism. In 1935, for example, the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International in essence abandoned Marxism- Leninism in the name of fighting fascism. It basically failed to see the class struggle in the confrontation against fascism. In the same year, 1935, inside the Soviet Union, abortion was outlawed once more, and this lasted for some time. The revolutionary teachings on women's rights were replaced with reformist and conservative views.

Communism Today

Today the revolutionary workers stand for women's rights. Even in countries like Iran, when the Islamic bourgeoisie howls against women's rights, the comrades of the Communist Party of Iran have always stood for the defense of the equality of women and for mobilizing them into the struggle. Here in the U.S. our Party stands for a militant struggle in favor of the mass of women.

Pro-capitalist women's leaders come out as rambos

The U.S. occupation of Panama showed that the U.S. military is still an imperialist bayonet aimed at Latin America. It set before everyone the question of what attitude they had to the massacre in Panama.

Or not perhaps everyone. The occupation had barely begun when a chorus of voices insisted that the issue was whether women soldiers should be combat troops in the front lines of battle. For them, the issue wasn't whether the invasion was right or wrong. No, the issue was how well this or that woman had done in battle. Had they displayed sufficient valor? Had Capt. Linda Bray's squad actually killed Panamanians? It seemed that the more corpses, the better it was supposed to be for the cause of women.

Various pro-capitalist leaders in the women's movement jumped into this debate. There were no demonstrations organized by NOW against the invasion. Nor did they demand aid for the multitude of Panamanian women who were injured or made homeless or suffered personal loss from the invasion. Whatever views they may have had on the invasion, this was' not what they stressed. No, NOW and congresspeople such as Patricia Schroeder used the occasion to demand that women be allowed on the front lines. The army, right or wrong, but the important thing was to be allowed to kill for the army.

Representative Schroeder plans to introduce legislation in Congress that would allow women in the military to serve in combat units. Whether the generals will embrace this is not known. But even a Pentagon advisory committee this past November recommended a role for women in combat.

Once again, the pro-capitalist leaders of the women's movement came forward as Pentagon-feminists, just as they did ten years ago when they demanded that any draft include women as well as men.

What Is Equality

Representative Schroeder promoted this debate as a stride for women's equality. But the first question with respect to any army is what is it fighting for? Who is it killing? Is it fighting for plunder and oppression or for liberation? And the first task to help the mass of women in the military, as for the male soldiers, is to enlighten them as to the imperialist nature of the American military and about its role as the bloody enforcer of the profits of the millionaires. To enlighten them, and to help them organize against imperialism.

Women are capable of taking part in military conflicts, as has been seen in a number of revolutionary wars where the oppressed strain every muscle to achieve liberation. That is not the point. The question is that a section of women's leaders are glorifying service in the American imperialist army. They are helping the Pentagon remove all obstacles to the militarization of women, and eventually the drafting of women. Being a willing killing machine for imperialism is not an example of liberation. It is the act of a slave.

Schroeder does not celebrate the examples of Salvadoran women guerrilla fighters and commanders. When the recent offensive opened in El Salvador, she did not enthusiastically put forward the women fighters as models. It is those who fought to occupy Panama that she praises. It is only service |n the armies of imperialism.

Nor does Schroeder celebrate the examples of women in the front lines of the class struggles here in the U.S. There are women today who bravely confront scabs and cops on the picket lines. There are women who confront the goons of Operation Rescue in front of abortion clinics. In every sphere of the mass struggle, there you find women playing a role. But such struggles Schroeder and the Pentagon feminists are against. And so are the right-wing opponents of women's equality, who argue against all experience that women are too frail to fight.

The Interests of the Upper Strata

With their Pentagon feminism, the pro-capitalist women's leaders are defending, as usual, the interests of an upper strata of women that want to get into cushy bourgeois positions at any price.

For example, Schroeder argues that "we're telling them (women in the military) that this (is) their career, but they can only move upward along a path that doesn't go all the way to the top.'' Thus women are to shoot and kill on the front lines, even if the cause is unjust and murderous, in order to ensure that an officer corps of women has full chance at promotions, right into the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A professor at the State University of New York-Stony Brook, Helen Cooper, found another reason to hit the front lines. She noted the alleged "increased popularity that Britain's prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, gained from leading her country to victory in the Falklands war." Wonderful. Only the main thing this leads to is that there should be a lot of little wars. Why shouldn't American politicians ride Panamanian corpses to the top, just like Thatcher rode Argentine corpses?

Loyalty to Imperialism

Schroeder of course also wants to strengthen the military. She is concerned that "we're going to lose a lot of good women. There are people who want to do the job..."

But she fails to clarify what job.

Killing for what?

Molly Yard, president of NOW, said in mid-January "You have to be fair. You can't say, 'OK, I will accept first-class citizenship, but don't ask me to fight for the safety of the country'.... I find it personally offensive to think that if the country is in danger, that only the men in my family would be called on to protect it."

Does Molly Yard believe that the Panamanian invasion "protected" the U.S.? And does supporting the Pentagon or opposing it serve the interests of the working majority in this country?

And does Molly Yard really believe that women haven't borne the burdens of the various conflicts that have gripped this country?

Note, by the way, that Molly Yard's argument, followed to its conclusion, actually leads to the view that rights should only be given to those willing to kill for imperialism. In short, there should be a draft. It shouldn't just be a matter of some women volunteering to go to the front, but of any women who want first-class rights having to serve the military bosses. And, for that matter, any man. Those draft-dodgers, and others who refused to fight against the Vietnamese, shouldn't have been amnestied, but should have been reduced to second-class citizenship.

And indeed, ten years ago NOW was among the Pentagon-feminists promoting the idea that women should be drafted.

Down With Imperialism!

Representative Schroeder and Molly Yard are pro-imperialist women's leaders. They have even gone to the extent of glorifying the militarization of women. What a fine world women's movement Schroeder's and Yard's views would lead to. Let the women of each country kill each other in combat.

It matters not why the war is fought, only that women are in the front lines.

But the struggle for women's rights lies in fighting for solidarity with the oppressed peoples of other lands, not in planning how to strengthen the Pentagon. The struggle for women's liberation lies in the struggle to overthrow the militarists and imperialists.

Women have increasingly been brought into the army. The Pentagon is considering whether to give them additional positions in combat. This places before women even heavier tasks in learning how to organize, in the difficult conditions of military discipline, against the capitalist rulers of this country. It underlines the importance of overthrowing the pro-imperialist leaders and developing a struggle in the interests of the masses of women.

AFL-CIO ducks abortion issue

The AFL-CIO speaks in the name of the working class, but it is run by a bunch of pro-capitalist bureaucrats. They are known for their reactionary stands on issues of concern to rank-and-file workers. At their November convention, they continued this shameful tradition by ducking the abortion issue.

Pro-choice sentiment is strong among union members, and especially so with the increasing percentage of women in the unions. Bowing to this sentiment, several unions submitted pro-choice resolutions to the AFL-CIO convention. Seeing that such a resolution would likely be defeated, a compromise was arranged. The resolutions were withdrawn. Instead the convention merely called on the AFL-CIO executive council to appoint a committee to develop a position. To make this seem like progress, all nine speakers were pro- choice. But it was all window-dressing to hide the real stands of the majority of AFL-CIO top bureaucrats from the anger of the rank-and-file worker.

An open debate on abortion rights would have been preferable to this backroom deal. But, among the top union bureaucrats, even those favoring a pro- choice declaration are not in favor of a class struggle against the capitalist offensive, and certainly not in favor of a mass struggle against the bureaucrats. Therefore they preferred maneuvering with the anti-choice bureaucrats and safeguarding their own cushy positions in the AFL-CIO leadership rather than dedicating themselves to encouraging mass initiative.

This month the AFL-CIO executive council has its first quarterly meeting following the convention. Will it speak to the issue of abortion rights? Don't hold your breath.

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Strikes and workplace news


Pittston strikers waiting to hear about settlement

On New Year's Day, Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole and Richard Trumka, president of the United Mine Workers (UMW), announced a tentative settlement ending the nine-month miners' strike against Pittston Coal. But details of the settlement have not yet been released to the miners.

Nevertheless, the capitalist business papers have rushed to claim a victory for Pittston, and have indicated some of what, this contract contains. In its January 2 issue, the Wall Street Journal stated that Pittston "...has effectively dropped out of the multi-employer health and pension funds that covered retired miners. As of last week, sources close to the talks said Pittston had agreed to pay a sum of end its obligations to the funds." This was the main issue in the strike, with Pittston demanding to throw out the national health and pension plans and set up instead a company plan where active miners and retirees pay up to 20% of the costs. It appears that the UMW leaders have caved in to Pittston's concession demands.

Coal analysts also say the proposed contract will save Pittston from $3.00 to $4.50 per ton in labor costs through work rule concessions. These may include job combination, job elimination, and the maintenance of nonunion operations.

While UMW leaders have claimed that the settlement is an excellent offer, they are yet to tell miners what is in it. In mid-January, when UMW leaders met with Pittston bosses and National Labor Relations Board officials, it was reported that it might take two to four weeks to settle outstanding lawsuits before miners got the contract.

Meanwhile, Russell County Circuit Judge Donald McGlothin Jr. temporarily suspended more than half of the $64 million in fines against the UMW. And U.S. Judge Glen Williams ordered all federal court matters stemming from the strike to be temporarily put on hold. The courts are holding the fines and pending charges over the heads of the strikers to pressure them into accepting the rotten contract.

The rank-and-file miners continue to man picket shacks throughout the coal fields. They are expressing skepticism over the proposed contract and are denouncing the UMW leaders' secrecy.

Miners fight scabs and police at A. T. Massey mine

Coal miners fought scabs and police at the Rum Creek Coal preparation plant near Dehue, West Virginia on January 24. The miners have been on strike since August after Rum Creek, owned by A.T. Massey, reopened the preparation plant with nonunion contractors. In the confrontation at least five miners were arrested.

Two days later, 500 miners descended on the plant from West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky. In fear of the miners, Rum Creek canceled runs of coal trucks for that day.

[Photo: Striking coal miners at the Massey Coal Co. try to block scab truck in Dehue, West Virginia.]

Bosses murder coal miner

About 100 miners picketed January 16 along the road leading up to a nonunion mine near Welch, West Virginia. The mine is now owned by Bailey Energy. Many of the miners had been laid off from the mine, and they are owed back pay and medical benefits of $357,000 by the mine's former owner. As scab trucks approached them, company gunmen on the top of a hill bordering the road began firing on the miners with automatic weapons. The unarmed miners boldly started up the hill after the snipers, but the scabs opened up with rapid fire from the trucks on the road below. As many as 200 shots were fired. One miner, John McCoy was killed, and two others were seriously injured.

Although the police seized 30 firearms from the site (none from miners) they have made no arrests and say they have no suspects. Meanwhile, the UMW leadership says "let the law handle it" and have refused to call even a memorial day strike in protest. But miners throughout the coal fields are talking about taking a day off anyway to go to the mine to protest.

The January 16 shooting was nothing but a premeditated massacre by the coal company. The Workers' Advocate joins its voice with workers around the country in condemning it.

Auto workers protest closing of Jefferson Assembly in Detroit


Shouting "No jobs, no peace," nearly 250 auto workers marched at Chrysler's Jefferson Ave. Assembly plant in Detroit on January 25. The workers -- chanting "you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us!" -- came from Ford, GM, and Chrysler plants around Detroit, Flint and Pontiac to show solidarity with the Jefferson workers. The Jefferson plant is scheduled to permanently shut down on February 2, eliminating nearly 4,000 jobs.

Denouncing Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca for going back on his promise to keep Jefferson open until a new plant is built, the workers shouted, "Old, rich and useless, lay off Lee!" The workers also implied criticism of the top leaders of the United Auto Workers when they chanted over and over "No more false job security!" One picket sign read, "Job security means no layoffs, period!"

The march was called by a left faction of the New Directions Movement, which has been demanding the top New Directions honchos organize pickets and other mass actions. It drew out rank- and-file workers and shows the workers want to build a forceful mass movement for jobs. Unfortunately, even this faction appears to be still affected by the chauvinism and bureaucracy of the main New Directions leaders. Some of the leaders started shouting "Bring the jobs home" as a slogan against foreign workers. And they voiced no open criticism of the big UAW bureaucrats who repeatedly agreed to plant closures and layoffs in the name of saving the auto monopolies.

Firings at Nynex

Recently, the four-month strike by 40,000 members of the Communications Workers of America at NYNEX was settled. The last sticking point in the negotiations was the issue of amnesty. The union finally conceded to a case-by-case review.

Now that the workers are back to work, NYNEX has even abandoned the case-by-case review. They have recently fired 11 more workers and suspended an additional 25 workers for strike-related activities. This brings the total fired to 90 and the total suspended to 138.

On December 29, many CWA members held an informational picket outside the New York Telephone building to protest the continued company harassment since the return to work.

Mail sorters walk out against cold

Eight mail sorters at the Worth postal station outside Chicago walked off the job in the early morning of December 26. They complained that there was no heat in the building and no running water or working toilet facilities. Even federal officials agreed that the lack of a working toilet is a clear violation of government sanitation rules. But this didn't matter to the Postal Service. It charged the workers with "gross insubordination and an illegal walkout" and fired them. The Postal Service doesn't care how much a worker may suffer. It's just follow orders and get to work. The mail sorters are now fighting for their jobs.

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On the strife in the Soviet Union between Armenians and Azerbaijanis

In recent weeks, national strife has again led to terrible bloodletting in the Soviet Union's Caucasus region. Armenians and Azerbaijanis have turned on each other. Many brutal attacks and counterattacks have been committed.

The Gorbachev government in Moscow has responded by sending additional troops to Azerbaijan. The troops were sent shortly after rioting mobs had launched vicious assaults on Armenians living in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

For the cause of long-term harmony among the nationalities, it would have been preferable if class conscious workers in Baku -- Azerbaijani and others -- had come to the defense of besieged Armenians there. Similarly, if Armenian workers had come to the aid of Azerbaijanis under mob attack along the border between the two republics. But unfortunately, we haven't heard of any mass interventions of this kind, although there have been reports of individuals of both nationalities who have assisted minority people under attack.

Under such conditions, the arrival of Soviet troops had the effect of stopping murderous pogroms. But it can't provide a lasting solution. The problem with Soviet troops is that they are troops of an oppressive central government, a government dominated by the Russian ruling class which oppresses the small nationalities of the Soviet Union. And they didn't go to Baku just to protect Armenians. Their mission was a larger one: to prevent the Azerbaijani Popular Front, a nationalist organization, from all but taking complete power in the republic.

In other words, the troops are there to make sure that the power of the wealthy Russian elite remains supreme. They may succeed for the moment, but in the long run, this move will end up impelling even more local sentiment in the direction of the nationalists. Adding to still more national strife in the Caucasus.

We cannot support the attempts of the Russian state-capitalist government to keep the Soviet Union together by force. A Soviet Union held together by force is a prison for the small nationalities, benefiting only the Russian elite and working as a major obstacle to the unity of the workers of the Soviet Union across nationality lines. At the same time, we do not think that the aspirations of the working people of either Armenia or Azerbaijan are fulfilled by the local nationalist forces who set people against one another merely on the basis of nationality.

When the tsars ran the Russian empire, the toilers of the Caucasus suffered greatly. Both at the hands of the tsar as well as the exploiters of their own nationality. The tsar ruled with divide-and-rule methods, and national conflicts, even violent pogroms, were a common occurrence. But the toilers overcame strife through the revolutionary struggle against tsarism and through the 1917 revolution which overthrew the exploiters. It was not an easy process, but the ordinary workers led by the communists were able to do away with national oppression and violence.

Now it appears that the worst practices of the old days are back. It is painful for internationalist workers and communists to see such ugly things take place as they have been in the Caucasus.

The Western bourgeoisie wrings its hands and says, see, socialism has failed on this front too. They jeer that communists claimed they solved the national question in the USSR but look at what's going on now. And they lecture that socialism only kept people together by repression, while they say, political democracy under capitalism is the real way to solve the national question.

And are we to ignore the Caucasus-style violent strife that routinely takes place in India, the "largest capitalist democracy'' in the world? Are we to forget the racist abuse and assaults which are a routine occurrence here in the U.S., the world's most powerful capitalist democracy?

But the Western capitalists are also wrong on their charges about the Soviet Union.

The resurgence of national strife there is not the result of the communist workers' movement. No, it's the result of the Soviet leadership turning away from communist ideas and practices towards capitalistic ones. It's the result of revisionism, the disease which turned the Soviet Union away from the path of building socialism towards the restoration of capitalism, along with all its ills.

It is undeniable that working class power established with the October Revolution in 1917 did wipe out the Russian national oppression of the smaller nations that was a hallmark of tsarism. And it established unity of the toilers across national lines. It was not an easy or smooth process, and there were mistakes and pitfalls, but tremendous progress was made. The Soviet government also brought great cultural and economic improvements to the workers and peasants of the Caucasus.

But in the mid-30's Stalin's revisionism opened the way to fostering nationalist ideology. Equality between the nationalities was undermined. The strongest push was given to Russian nationalism, but room was also allowed for local nationalism. What's more, revisionist policy promoted income inequalities as a positive feature of socialism, and economic and social differences grew among the people of each nationality, eventually leading to the growth of rich local elites.

Thus, revisionism led the Soviet Union backwards to an oppressive union, ruled by a Russian-dominated state-capitalist bourgeoisie. It ruled by compacts with local elites in the republics who were part of the CPSU. And over the decades, central government force combined with wide latitude to local elites to enrich themselves kept the Soviet Union together.

But in the 80's the country came face to face with a deep economic crisis. Class differences had grown sharply, and there was mass discontent among many of the republics, in the Caucasus and Central Asia, over unemployment, poor services, etc. In the conditions of crisis, the local elites have turned away from ruling as subordinates of the central government and want the whole local power to themselves. The local revisionist CP's have shriveled and nationalist movements are emerging more and more as the real power. And these nationalist forces are trying to build mass support by using genuine national grievances against Moscow as well as by turning popular grievances against outsiders of one or another ethnic group. They have particularly used resentments among large concentrations of unemployed. The byproduct of the nationalism is pogroms which are on the rise.

The central government has seen its supremacy start to melt away. And Gorbachev has shown that he is bankrupt in dealing with the whole problem. Moscow has waffled between pious and empty declarations and the use of force. But they are at an impasse. The old compromise that held the Russian bourgeoisie together with the local elites through the CPSU has been undermined, and either a new deal must be struck, or else the whole setup has to be kept together simply by force. The option of force may well lead to all sorts of national wars breaking out. That is the choice before Moscow.

Neither of those two alternatives offer much hope to the toilers of the Soviet Union. In either case, they will remain the exploited at the bottom. The only lasting hope for the working people is through returning to the traditions of revolutionary Bolshevism. A new proletarian movement, uniting workers across nationality lines, against the Soviet bourgeoisie and the local exploiters is the need of the hour. A new union of toilers is the only way towards restoring fraternal relations among the exploited of all nationalities.

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Polish miners strike vs. Solidarity's austerity

As the Solidarity government of Poland began the new year with a harsh austerity drive against the working class, this right away gave rise to workers' resistance. Coal miners in the southern province of Silesia walked out on strike.

Up to 35,000 miners participated in strikes against the government's new wage controls. Workers also demanded that mine management continue to allow the workers to obtain free coal for themselves from the mines. This has become all the more significant because the government's cutting of subsidies has sparked an overnight increase in the price of coal by 600%!

By late January the Silesian strikes were winding down, as the government promised to consider the miners' demands, and some workers were swayed by Lech Walesa's appeals to end the strikes. Still, the latest strikes show that the Solidarity government will find it difficult to impose its austerity plan on the Polish workers.

Need for Independent Organization

Polish workers are facing severe pressure to accept the Solidarity government's dictates. A while back, Lech Walesa threatened that if Solidarity has trouble forcing its program through its own deputies in parliament, then parliament should be bypassed and the government should rule "by executive fiat.''

In a curious turn of events, criticism of the Solidarity austerity program is coming from the leaders of the OPZZ trade union center. This center contains the unions affiliated with Jaruzelski's party, the PUWP, which ran the show in Poland until recently. This is simply demagogy. They were an arm of the corrupt rule by the PUWP bureaucrats. Why, they repeatedly supported anti-worker price hikes and other austerity measures when the old regime carried them out. And even now, the fake socialists of the PUWP are in the coalition government with Solidarity and support all of its major policies.

They may snipe at the Solidarity leaders' attacks on the working class, but the OPZZ leaders cannot represent a working class alternative, which is so sorely needed by the workers. Workers who want to stand up for their class interests must build new, revolutionary organization, in opposition to both the disgraced revisionists of the PUWP/ OPZZ and the harsh anti-working class policies of Solidarity.

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What does Western capitalism want in Poland?

Looking at the media coverage of Eastern Europe, you'd think that big business here and in Western Europe is simply guided by the purest of democratic feelings. They appear as the greatest champions of democracy and street demonstrations. Why, they even claim to be the most ardent fans of trade unions, as in the case of Poland, where the Solidarity union leaders run the government. But are the Western capitalists really interested in promoting workers' welfare and trade unionism in Eastern Europe?

Consider the case of Poland.

The Solidarity government is begging for loans and credits from the West. But Poland already owes $40 billion to Western banks, and its economy is shaky. So Western governments agreed that new loans to Poland must be channeled through the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which would design an economic plan for Poland to ensure repayment of its foreign debt. This plan involves stringent austerity measures against the Polish working people -- wage controls, unrestricted prices, plant closings, and decimation of social services.

The Solidarity government eagerly embraced and has begun to implement these demands. At the same time, the government is busy writing new laws governing capitalist investment, to ensure Western businesses that their profits will be safe and can be expatriated. It is being guided in this by economic advisers from the U.S., Britain, and other Western countries.

The government is working towards the massive selling off of state-owned properties to private capitalists. And those that cannot be sold, and are not profitable, will simply be closed. Those that do stay open will be pressured to lay off a large segment of their work force. No one will say for sure how many workers will lose their jobs, but government economists are predicting at least 400,000 unemployed this year alone.

In its plans to bring up a new generation of home-grown private capitalists, the Solidarity government is being counseled by Western advisers including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an organization of 24 Western industrialized countries. The OECD recently issued a report on Poland in which it stressed that Polish entrepreneurs have to stop worrying about things like employment levels and wages, and instead concentrate on maximizing profits and minimizing costs.

Profits -- squeezed out of the labor of the workers. That's what Western capital wants from Poland. And the Solidarity leaders, by agreeing to such an anti-worker plan, are showing that they are servants of the exploiters and want to join their ranks. The Polish workers, who placed their hopes in Solidarity as the alternative to the tyranny of bureaucratic state-capitalism, are the ones who end up paying the bill.

What Western capital wants in Poland can best be seen by the example of Barbara Piasecka-Johnson, the Polish-American multimillionaire who offered to buy the Lenin shipyard in Gdansk.

In fall 1988 the former government threatened to close this shipyard due to unprofitability. Lech Walesa denounced this as a "provocation," and in spring 1989 he found a savior for the shipyard. Mrs. Piesecka-Johnson, heiress to the Johnson & Johnson company fortune, offered to buy the shipyard to keep it operating, and to make Walesa a director of the new firm.

At the time, Walesa hailed the American savior and had her portrait installed above the shipyard's main gate. Mrs. Johnson told reporters she was inspired by her love for her native country, her respect for Lech Walesa, and -- her religion.

During the summer Mrs. Johnson's lawyers, accountants, industrial engineers, and others swarmed over the shipyard inspecting its machinery and poring over its books. Finally, her lawyers began to make Mrs. Johnson's offer concrete, in cash terms, and it became clear what kind of religion she adheres to.

Mrs. Johnson offered to buy the entire shipyard -- 340 acres full of fairly modern industrial equipment -- for just $3-4 million. She planned to lay off 3,500 of the yard's workers during the first three years of operation. She demanded that wages be set at 50 cents an hour, with no raise for five years, and that workers pledge themselves to no strikes for five years.

This was too much even for the leaders of Solidarity. If they agreed to such an outrage, it would be too much of a scandal. They refused the offer and are now planning to take the shipyard as a joint-stock company for public investment; however, they are still inviting Mrs. Johnson to buy shares.

This incident dramatizes what Western capital is looking for in Eastern Europe -- not democracy, or trade union rights, but cheap and docile labor.

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The World in Struggle


Mexico: Ford uses police and goons against strikers

Auto workers at the Ford plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, spent January locked in a bitter struggle.

Angry about not receiving a Christmas bonus despite massive speedup in 1989, the plant's 3,800 workers walked off the job on January 5. They set up picket lines which were immediately set upon by local police. The workers repulsed this attack and then occupied the plant to keep it shut down.

Besides their economic demands, the workers also demanded union democracy and the ouster of Hector Uriarte, the local CTM hack (CTM, the Mexican Labor Confederation, is the union center affiliated with the Mexican ruling party). Uriarte showed his stripes as a pro-capitalist goon three days later, when he organized a group of thugs armed with machine guns to attack the workers inside the plant. Early in the morning of January 8, the thugs arrived at the plant in CTM buses, wearing Ford employee uniforms and ID badges. They shot up the inside of the plant, wounding 10 workers and killing one.

Despite this attack, the workers continued to occupy the plant until January 22, when the government sent in a large force of riot police to remove them. The workers were somewhat appeased by the news that the government has issued a warrant for the arrest of Uriarte and others for the goon-squad attack. But CTM leader Velasquez still balks at the workers' demand for democratic union elections, and Ford's productivity drive remains in place, so the stage is set for further struggles.

Condemn Avril's repression in Haiti!

Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril, head of state in Haiti, declared a state of siege on January 20. Soldiers rounded up political leaders, including conservative bourgeois politicians, deported a number of them, and beat and detained others. News media were prohibited from reporting on the arrests and other abuses.

This is actually just the latest stage of Avril's crackdown on political dissent. First of all, Avril turned against the sergeants and soldiers whose revolt first propelled him into office. Some of the soldiers had taken Avril's promises about "democracy" seriously and launched a movement to suppress the Tonton Macoutes, the brutal secret police of the Duvalier tyranny. Avril had these soldiers arrested for "terrorism." ("Papa Doc" Duvalier, followed by his son, ruled the country with a brutal dictatorship from the 50's until 1986.)

The popular movement revived to protest the continuing misery suffered by the workers and poor, as well as the lack of democratic and trade union rights. Avril turned on the mass movement as well. Just last November, he had three of the most prominent leaders of popular organizations arrested and charged with terrorism. Avril paraded them on TV, showing off how his soldiers had beaten and tortured them.

During this suppression of workers, the opposition bourgeois politicians went on happily, confident in Avril's promises to hold elections someday. And U.S. aid and support continued to flow to Avril. But Avril was busy establishing close ties to the Macoutes, just as his predecessor Gen. Namphy did before him. And now the "elections" charade has been exposed, as Avril has come out with the mailed fist.

Once again the question is posed clearly to the Haitian masses: revolution or tyranny. There can be no talk of "democracy" for the long-suffering Haitian workers until the old regime is rooted out, once and for all, with all of the old Duvalier-Macoute networks thoroughly smashed. The masses must organize on their own to carry this out, without relying on the fairy tales of democracy told by the politicians of the rich and their U.S. imperialist friends.

Workers' strikes across Britain

In Thatcher's Britain, as in the U.S., the capitalists sing of the 80's as a decade of prosperity. Never mind that on both sides of the Atlantic, the good times have been felt only by the wealthy and they have come at the cost of savage attacks upon the workers and the growth of poverty.

However, in recent years British workers have become more restive. The beginning of 1990 finds them locked in a number of major battles against the capitalists.

Ford Workers Walk Out

In January, auto workers took strike action against Ford. Some 600 maintenance workers at Halewood in Merseyside and 1,500 at the Bridgend engine plant in South Wales walked out on an indefinite strike. Meanwhile, 4,000 assembly workers at Dagenham in Essex voted for a 24-hour strike.

The Ford workers turned down a contract offer which would give them a 10.2% wage increase the first year. The workers want something more, because this offer is only slightly ahead of the rate of inflation; what is more, the Ford capitalists have raked in huge profits in recent years while workers' real wages have eroded. Ford also refuses to consider workers' demands for reducing the 39-hour workweek for its manual workers.

Aircraft Workers Make their Strike Felt

Meanwhile, 7,000 workers at British Aerospace remain steadfast in their 13- week old strike. British Aerospace has retaliated by suspending without pay some 450 non-striking workers who have refused to cross picket lines.

The strikers have brought to a halt the production of the Airbus, which is jointly produced in several European countries. They stopped production at a British Aerospace plant which builds the wings for the Airbus.

The aircraft workers are fighting for a pay raise and a reduction in the workweek. They complain that they make half the income while putting in longer hours than aircraft workers in the rest of Western Europe. Management only offers the workers a measly 4.5% increase. Meanwhile, they took a 22% raise for themselves!

Ambulance Drivers' Struggle Heats Up

For five months now, ambulance drivers have been agitating for a pay raise. The government refuses to increase its 6.4% wage offer, which falls short of present inflation. The workers' patience has all but run out.

So far, their job action has been limited to banning overtime and rest- day work. Now drivers in their depots have begun to call strikes. Workers at Crawley depot in the southeast of England voted on a strike, and other depots are getting ready for strike votes. The ambulance drivers want an all-out fight with the authorities.

Workers are taking action in their depots because their top union chiefs refuse to call a nationwide strike ballot. The rank and file hope that local strikes will spur a nationwide struggle. A national strike isn't meant however to disrupt emergency service. Crews would maintain emergency service if contacted directly at their depots. In ordinary conditions, emergency calls go through the operator.

There is widespread public support for the ambulance drivers' cause. This was dramatized on January 13 when 40,000 people rallied in Trafalgar Square in solidarity. The top leaders of the Trades Union Congress, who called the rally, realize there is broad sentiment in the working class to back up the ambulance drivers. But their vision does not go very far because they fear rocking the boat. They have only called for a 15-minute nationwide work stoppage scheduled for January 30.

Clearly the mood among workers in Britain is for renewed struggle. But the workers face not only the arrogance of the employers and the Thatcher government but also the spinelessness of the union bureaucracy. How far the workers are able to advance their struggle depends mainly on how far the workers can build rank-and-file organization independent of the bureaucrats.

What is the 'free market' bringing to Argentina?

Argentina is one of those countries that conveniently gets forgotten about when the capitalist media brags about the "victory of capitalism worldwide." Such boasts may not ring all that well to the workers of Argentina, who are being decimated by runaway inflation brought on by the wondrous "free market."

Rapid price increases last year sparked mass riots, forcing the early resignation of President Raul Alfonsin and his replacement by Carlos Menem. Menem tried to control inflation by clamping down on the economy. This kept prices under control for a few months, although workers' living standards continued to decline.

But now, despite Menem's dictates, the market forces have returned with a vengeance. Inflation is running wild. Supermarkets use computerized barcode systems to mark up prices daily, and what they cannot sell at the new prices they hoard. When interest rates reached 300% in December, the nation's banks shut down for a week.

The economic chaos is setting off a far-reaching social crisis.

The capitalist police, for instance, no longer pretend to be "serving the people," since their salaries are now worthless. They demand substantial bribes to investigate any crime, and spend their time carousing and harassing innocent civilians (especially females).

People in the town of Tres Arroyos got fed up with this behavior on New Year's Day, when the police insisted on partying all night instead of investigating the disappearance of a young girl. When the little girl was later found murdered, 1,000 of the townspeople attacked the police station. They burned cars outside the station and wounded a number of police before provincial authorities came in and fired the entire police force. Similar revolts have occurred in a number of other towns.

When the capitalist economic crisis destroyed the bourgeois liberal administration of Alfonsin and his Radical party, the Argentine bourgeoisie turned to its old-time weapon for controlling the Argentine masses -- Peronism. Peronism was spawned by the post-World War II Argentine president, Juan Peron, who was a military dictator ruling with a populist and nationalist ideology. The Peronist union leaders backed Menem as the alternative to Alfonsin and the salvation for the working people. But Peronist President Menem is also finding it rough going. Meanwhile, the military chiefs are waiting in the background, ready to step in as the ultimate guarantor of capitalist rule.

One after the other, all these forces of the capitalist establishment have shown that they offer only ever-worsening misery and tyranny for the workers. The working class has yet to have its say. It must forge its own, revolutionary alternative -- doing away with the Argentina of exploitation and militarism, setting up the political power of the workers, and building a socialist economy controlled by the working class and in service to the needs of the majority. The first step in that direction is the creation of a revolutionary working class party.

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Even if they free Mandela, S. African racism remains people's enemy

For the last month the press has been full of speculation about the imminent release from jail of South African political prisoner Nelson Mandela. The apartheid regime's spokesmen are making carefully timed leaks about government plans to scale back the state of emergency. And a Bush administration diplomat has just returned from South Africa with glowing words about the wonderful new changes about to be instituted.

So the South African blacks are supposed to hold their breath and feel grateful that the government will free Mandela after they have held him for a quarter of a century? When he may not have too many more years to live. And when it appears his release is contingent on his urging a deal with the regime. They are also to ignore the fact that several thousands of other activists still languish in prison, and about them there is no talk of any impending release.

If Mandela is indeed released, even so this will not mean that the racist regime of DeKlerk has now become a democratic friend of the oppressed majority. Look at its actual attitude towards the masses of South African blacks. That is the key question.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

On January 16 the police brutally attacked a group of people protesting the arrival of an English cricket team in Johannesburg. The demonstrators were supporting the international ban on athletics with South Africa that is supposed to last so long as its apartheid policies continue.

Then on January 23 the police brought out rolls of barbed wire to block a march of students in Cape Town demanding a change in education policies. When the students asked the police to move, the police opened up with tear gas, water cannon, and rubber bullets. And on January 24 the police shot up another demonstration, killing two.

These actions, rather than its honeyed words, show the real orientation of the racist government toward the black masses. And these attacks come just after the government's murderous attacks on striking black railway workers.

Railway Strike Shows Black Workers' Determination

The strike of 25,000 railway workers began in late October and continued into January. Workers were demanding that the state-owned rail company recognize their union, affiliated with the COSATU union federation, and that their minimum monthly wage be raised from $85 to $215.

During their strike the government organized a series of provocations against the workers, which resulted in 10 people being killed. The worst of these occurred in Germiston, outside Johannesburg, on January 9. Railway workers were arriving by train at Germiston to attend a big strike meeting. As trains pulled up to the station, police fired tear gas into the train cars, forcing workers onto the station platform in a panic. There they were met by hundreds of thugs armed with machetes, clubs and other weapons. Six workers were killed and many seriously wounded.

The railway strike came soon after the massive two-day general strike in early September, against the national elections (which blacks were not allowed to participate in). These powerful strikes are another reminder that it is the black working class which is the strongest force against racism and the exploitation of labor by the apartheid capitalists.

Racists Try to Rein In Anti-Apartheid Movement

While continuing its repression against the masses, the DeKlerk government is also working to undermine the political struggle against apartheid. In particular, it has set upon the tactic of appeasing the top leadership of organizations like the ANC (African National Congress) by tossing them a few crumbs. It wants to open the way to negotiations with the ANC, with the hope that the ANC leaders will cool down the mass movement.

This is the meaning of all the talk about Mandela's release. This comes on the heels of the release from prison of several other top ANC leaders in December. And the government also allowed the released to go to Zambia for an ANC congress in January.

The ANC's leaders like Mandela have shown that they are willing to cool down the mass movement. At the Zambia congress, the ANC elders preached moderation and the wisdom of negotiations. Meanwhile, over the last several months, the leaders of the ANC and their affiliated groups inside South Africa have been working hard to tone down the movement. They have dissipated much of the momentum that emerged with the Defiance Campaign a few months back. The ANC leaders are thus showing that, despite all their revolutionary phrases, they represent a reformist, not a revolutionary, force.

In the weeks ahead, the racists probably will unveil a few more token concessions to the anti-apartheid movement. But in return they will try to wring maximum concessions out of black leaders and use these to maintain the basic underpinnings of the racist system for as long as possible.

If Mandela is indeed released, it will not be a tribute to the generosity of the racists, but a concession won by the tremendous mass upheaval of the 1980's. But it will only be a small concession. The black masses of South Africa not only deserve the freedom of Mandela, but of all their men, women and children who are in jail. They deserve the freedom to exercise all their democratic rights, without the fear of police bullets. In short, they deserve the end of racist white minority rule altogether. Only a revolution which thoroughly smashes the racist system can bring freedom to the long-suffering oppressed people of South Africa.

[Photo: Anti-apartheid activists rally outside a Johannesburg hotel to protest a British cricket tour.]

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From the MLP delegation to the Philippines

Marxist-Leninist workers describe why they broke from the CPP

(Last fall, a delegation of the MLP, USA was in the Philippines. They were visiting with the Union of Proletarian Revolutionaries of the Philippines. We have been carrying a series of reports from the delegation. Below is part 4.)

The Communist Party of the Philippines was on the rise. The ranks of its New People's Army had swelled to over 20,000 fighters and were growing rapidly. Its National Democratic Front had attracted the attention of liberals, social-democrats, progressive clergy and other middle class sectors who had had enough of the Marcos dictatorship.

Then came the "snap" elections of 1986 and the coming to power of the Cory Aquino regime. The CPP's momentum was broken. Since that time, the NDF has been spurned by many of its middle class friends. The NPA has lost support and suffered defections to the regime. Meanwhile, the CPP leadership has been bogged down in disputes over who is to blame and in destructive campaigns against alleged "deep penetrating agents" in its ranks.

Within a year, Aquino declared "total war" on the CPP/NPA and the revolutionary movement. She has unleashed the armed forces and the death squads, and blood has been flowing as in the worst days of Marcos. The CPP/NPA has suffered losses and responded with a renewed emphasis on the military struggle.

It is not surprising that a left-wing force might be set back by the change in regime. But it should not have been disoriented by what was going on. Something had been decaying underneath the surface.

The rise of Cory Aquino, the smiling housewife promising democracy and human rights, was carefully orchestrated to stabilize and restore confidence in the rule of the big capitalists and landlords. But this change also pointed to the gaping holes in the CPP's politics -- politics rooted in their Maoist doctrine.

They were shaken so badly because they had staked everything on their alliances with middle class forces and their illusions in what the Maoists call the "national bourgeoisie." They had big hopes in Aquino herself who they praised as a "staunch anti-fascist" and "democrat."

Now that their focus has shifted back to the mountains and the armed struggle, it doesn't mean that the CPP leaders have overcome their reformist illusions.

On the one hand, the reformist and petty-bourgeois idea of politics remains the same in its essentials. The main political voice of the CPP is still the lawyers and clergy of the NDF, who continue with their appeals for all-class unity for democracy and nationalism.

On the other hand, there is a militarist tendency. The M-16 rifle tends to be put ahead of raising the political consciousness and organization of the masses. Everything tends to be subordinated to raising funds for arms and gaining recruits for the guerrillas.

The predicament that the CPP faces is that both reformism and militarism are at an impasse. Neither puts in its proper place the political organization of the working class as a revolutionary force. Yet this is the key ingredient lacking in the revolutionary movement which is brewing among the exploited, hungry, and tortured people of the Philippines.

Nonetheless, such organization is starting to take shape. Revolutionary workers, farmworkers and other toilers are building up a network of independent organizations linked to the Union of Proletarian Revolutionaries of the Philippines (KPRP).

Many of the activists of this trend had been inside the CPP, the NPA or connected groups and had disagreements with the leadership. They came to see how many of the Maoist ideas about the "alliance of the four classes" (including the bourgeoisie) did not correspond to the class concepts of Marx and Lenin. What's more, in practice they meant the domination of the middle class elements.

In the early 80's these comrades were expelled or resigned from the CPP and began the work of building up Marxist-Leninist organization on the shoulders of the workers and poor peasants themselves.

During our stay in the Philippines we met with scores of these workers, farmworkers, and fishermen. From their accounts one can get a picture of the rift between petty-bourgeois Maoism and workers' communism that is taking shape in the Philippines.

Coconut Plantation Workers in Quezon Province

The leaders of the CPP may have an overly kind and polite attitude towards the capitalist liberals and other well-fed "democrats." But when it comes to a factory worker or farm laborer who questions Maoist doctrine, the CPP draws the line: their "national democracy" doesn't extend to the Marxist- Leninist workers. No, the CPP/NPA attempts to silence them with threats and death. Thus, for the KPRP comrades, standing up for Marxism-Leninism has meant facing the anti-communist terror of the ruling class along with the violence and threats of the Maoist revisionists.

We talked with some 20 militants from Quezon province. Most of them were laborers on big coconut plantations. A young factory worker in his early twenties led the group.

At one time these comrades had been organized by the peasant department of the CPP. However, along with many of the farmworkers and poor connected to this department, they started to question the Maoist views of the leadership. Among other things, they wanted to know why it was that the priests and nuns and middle class cadres were the ones who always spoke for them. Why could the workers and laborers not speak for themselves?

The leaders of the CPP had no answers. In 1981 the whole peasant department was dismantled. What was left was put under the authority of the NPA. But the workers and laborers in northern Quezon Province refused to go along. So only the nuns, priests and university students were left in the local CPP organization.

Ever since, the NPA has been trying to resolve the conflict with guns and intimidation. In 1984 the Quezon comrades organized armed self-defense to protect themselves and their independent organization. For a few years there was something of a standoff.

In 1988 the NPA spread the word in the villages that the death threats were off and they wanted a peaceful dialogue. The comrades fell for the trap. Nine of them were captured by the NPA. They were tortured and threatened with execution. In a last-ditch effort to escape, they eventually broke free.

In Mindoro, Eastern Rizal and other provinces and regions there have been similar clashes between the NPA and former members of the late peasant department of the CPP. However, we were fold that in some cases the farmworker and poor peasant activists have not been as successful in standing up to the NPA's pressure or in avoiding its execution squads.

Steel Workers in Metro Manila

Those super-exploited rural activists have been one source of support for the Marxist-Leninist trend of the KPRP. The other source has been the industrial workers of Metro Manila. Some of these workers also have had experience with the CPP; and more have known the KMU union center which is influenced by the CPP.

We talked to a large group of workers at the Pagasa Steel mill in the industrial suburb of Pasig. Veteran workers described their struggle for union organization. First the pro-government TUCP came in. The TUCP chiefs were hardened bureaucrats who didn't give a hoot for the workers. Then came the reformist KMU, which allowed more room for struggle.

But the KMU leaders also acted like bureaucrats and lorded over the workers. They did not rely on the initiative and consciousness of the workers themselves. The KMU's idea of political mobilization was to pressure workers to go to rallies and clap for the reformist and petty bourgeois politicians. But the workers grew disgusted with being made "the tail of the dog."

They formed an independent union linked to Bukluran (union center connected to KPRP). They have organized themselves for political education, to take up the Marxist-Leninist ideas of the class struggle. They mobilized their ranks for the general strike of last June. And they have been taking on in- plant issues, including the lack of proper face masks, helmets and other safety measures. Now when they attend a rally, they know what the interests of the workers are.

We heard similar accounts from scores of workers from textile shops, the giant Adidas shoe factory, food processing plants, and paint and toiletry factories. A section of the industrial workers are turning away from Maoism and reformism to Marxism-Leninism and the class struggle.

(For more on the Bukluran and the workers' movement, see "The Rise of Independent Workers' Organization" in the Jan. 1 Workers' Advocate.)

A Tricycle Driver

We met a tricycle (pedicab or pedal rickshaw) driver who took advantage of his mobility to help organize factory workers. For years he had been a factory worker himself. He was bored and could not stand life without working for change and revolution so he turned to the CPP. But in the Maoist framework one cannot generally be both a factory worker and a revolutionary. Working for the revolution meant being dispatched to the mountains with the NPA.

This comrade had a number of conflicts with the CPP/NPA cadre and eventually he and his wife returned to factory work in Metro Manila. But the boredom came back and his thirst for revolutionary activity didn't go away. He reluctantly returned to the CPP.

This time the CPP had something else for him to do; the NPA had launched its urban "sparrow units." These are teams for expropriating funds and assassinating spies and hated officials. But mostly, team members were lying low to avoid the police, which can be the most boring work of all.

The comrade was arrested on a gun charge which got him blacklisted from the factories. He joined the throngs of Manila's tricycle drivers and eventually found food for his revolutionary hunger. He linked up with the Marxist-Leninist trend, which strives to raise the workers themselves to the level of active revolutionaries, in the factories and among their fellow workers.

A Former NPA Commander

The anti-communist press has given a lot of play to NPA commanders who have turned themselves in and abandoned the struggle. We met with a different kind of former NPA commander, a man who rejected the militarism and middle class politics of the Maoists in favor of the revolutionary politics of the workers.

During the 70's he had been a CPP activist. By 1980 he was sent south to Mindanao to be an NPA commander. What he found in the guerrilla front was not anything like the glorious "people's army'' of Maoist folklore. Instead it was more of an armed band increasingly detached from the people.

He deplored the lack of political education among the fighters. The CPP has the view that Marxist ideas are "too advanced" for NPA recruits, who are supposed to be schooled only in the ideas of "national democracy." In reality they are hardly schooled at all. Even for the veteran CPP/NPA cadre the study materials are often limited to quotations from Mao and the book Philippine Society and Revolution by CPP leader Jose M. Sison, a work that attempts to apply the Maoist pattern to the Philippines.

What holds the NPA together is often not political conviction, but a militarist spirit. The methods of executions and intimidation go beyond the necessary specific enemies; they become methods for dealing with all types of political and personal issues. This further undermines political consciousness and distorts the inner life of the organization. Those who pose political questions and raise Marxist-Leninist ideas know they may well end up in mass graves' as alleged "deep penetrating agents.''

The militarist spirit also undermines the relations with the masses. This comrade had taken part in a botched ambush, where the helmets of logging workers were confused with those of marines. Eight loggers were killed. Afterwards, two of the three units involved summed up the action as a success from the military angle. Two weeks passed before the CPP went to the families and villagers with an apology.

This is the type of thing, along with many other abuses, that made him question, "Where is the people's army? Why aren't they serving the people?"

In Mindanao, by enforcing taxes on logging companies and the corporate pineapple growers, the NPA still offers a livelihood for a section of the poor. It also attracts those who want to fight back against the abuses of the military. However, the picture he presented is that the NPA is losing its revolutionary political features and descending in the direction of a bandit army.

According to this ex-commander, the NPA of the 70's was not the same as the NPA of the 80's. Before, the fighters were careful to link up with the struggles of the rural masses and took part in their farm work. Now the NPA fighters give their uniforms to the villagers to be washed and choose what they want to eat.

All accounts indicate that there has been a change in this direction. In part this may correspond to decisions by the CPP leaders in 1980-81 to relieve the NPA fighters of much of their political work among the masses in order to free them up for full time military operations. In any case, the militarist concepts of the Maoists are leading towards a "people's army" that is an increasingly unwelcome burden on the people.

Rice Farmers and Fishermen

A couple hundred miles south of Manila on the island of Panay we met with a small group of rice farmers. We were told that the life of two young women of the group was pretty typical of the poor farmers of the region.

Along with ten other brothers and sisters they help their widowed mother farm their two acres of rice. After paying their debts this is not even a fraction of what is needed to eat. So most of the year these young women work as laborers in the rice fields of the large owners.

These women told us that they first learned about politics from their grandfather who had sympathized with the NPA. However, he had come into conflict with the NPA because he could not and would not pay the taxes that they demanded. We were amazed to hear that the NPA would impose any taxes on such incredibly poor and burdened peasants. Moreover, we were frequently told that it is not true that such taxes are "voluntary"; if they are not paid one can be labeled an enemy and suffer the consequences. As the peasants told us: "Mao said 'don't take a needle or piece of thread' -- and the NPA says 'only take rice or money.'"

Now these women were working with the KPRP's trend. They were organized by another young farmer in the area who had been schooled in the proletarian communist standpoint in the factories of Manila.

Recently a number of them had been arrested when the military found them with Marxist literature during a study group. They held them prisoner and beat them, hoping that they would reveal the whereabouts of the cadre who was to deliver the lecture to the group. The military is accustomed to dealing with the CPP where university-trained cadre run the show. Not suspecting that these farm laborers could be organizing on their own, the military eventually freed them.

We also met with a number of fishermen on Panay. In fact, most of them were only part-time fishermen, plying the rivers and coastal waters in their tiny dugouts, netting crabs and fish. To make ends meet, many also worked for the capitalists building fish ponds. By purely human labor they built the big mud dikes that allowed the rich owners to harvest fat fish and prawns for export to Japan and elsewhere.

The fishermen lacked any organization or means to defend themselves. Nonetheless, dozens of them were starting to take part in the study groups. Slowly but surely the net of Marxist-Leninist agitation was spreading among them. Care was taken to avoid the blows of the military, private vigilantes, and the NPA's assassination teams.

But one got the picture that in the long run neither the capitalist-landlord rulers nor the Maoist revisionists can keep the exhausted, hungry and overworked fishpond workers and all the exploited of the Philippines from standing up.

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