The Workers' Advocate

Vol. 20, No. 6


25ยข June 1, 1990

[Front page:

Anti-racists, unite! Justice for Yusuf Hawkins!;

Remembering Malcolm X;

Support the Korean workers and students!]


The struggle of the homeless

Tomkins Square; Homeless seize houses; Chicago lockdown; HUD scandal; HUD evictions....................................................................................................................... 2

Strikes and Workplace News....................................................................................... 3

Step Up the Defense of Women's Rights!

Family leave bill only for those who don't need pay................................................... 4
The Church vs. women: Revised Bible is anti-women; Pope blesses carnage among women in Mexico......................................................................................................... 4
Pro-choice actions: Los Angeles, Detroit, Buffalo, Chicago, San Jose....................... 5

Down with Racism!

L. A. Times admits war on drugs is war on blacks....................................................... 6
Anti-racist actions across the country........................................................................... 6
Chippewa defend fishing rights.................................................................................... 6
Malcolm X's clothes don't fit on Farrakhan................................................................. 7

Students on the March

Protests vs. tuition hikes at CUNY, Rutgers; Anti-racist actions................................. 8

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

Strikes against Chamorro; Contras win concessions and don't disarm; Workers march in Panama; Solidarity activists march on Fort Benning.................................... 9
Democrats wring their hands -- and fund the death squads........................................ 9

For Workers' Socialism, Not Revisionist State-Capitalism!

No to U.S. threats against Cuba................................................................................... 10
Down with Gorbachev's attacks on Lithuania; East German workers demand job security; Rail strikes mount in Poland......................................................................... 10

The World in Struggle

Palestinian rebellion breaks out anew.......................................................................... 12
Philippines, Haiti, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico......................................................... 12

Anti-racists, unite!

Justice for Yusuf Hawkins!

Remembering Malcolm X

Support the Korean workers and students!

The struggle of the homeless

Strikes and workplace news

Demonstrators slam inadequate AIDS treatment

Family leave bill:

Only for those who don't need a paycheck

The Church vs. women

Step up the defense of women's rights!

LA Times admits: War on drugs is a war on blacks


Students on the march

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

For workers' socialism, not revisionist state-capitalism!

The World in Struggle



Anti-racists, unite!

Justice for Yusuf Hawkins!

[Photo: Outside the Brooklyn courthouse, demonstrators demand guilty verdict for the racist murderers of Yusuf Hawkins.]

The black youth Yusuf Hawkins was murdered by a racist mob in the Bensonhurst section of New York last August. For weeks the trial of his killers has been headline news. Hawkins was shot by Joey Fama. This is common knowledge. The mob of thugs was organized by Keith Mondello, who made sure that everyone had a bat. This too is well known. And Hawkins died on a street corner surrounded by a pack of howling savages who were so upset by their brutality that they all went to have a slice of pizza. This sorry truth is also well established.

Yet, on May 18, Mondello walked away virtually scot free for the worst kind of crime there is -- worse than a holdup gone wrong or a fight that gets out of hand. This killing was a crime of supreme hatred of another human being. Yet Mondello is smiling. And Fama would be smiling too except that 12 people -- in a small miracle -- were able to go beyond what they were actually given in court and reach down to do the right thing.

But don't lay bets that Fama won't walk too, on appeal. Meanwhile, three racists from the mob that killed Michael Griffith in Howard Beach start their retrial this week. They haven't seen the inside of a prison yet.

How can racists murder and walk free?

How is it that racist scum like this can murder and walk free? How is it that we have not advanced much from the days when the Klan could lynch and joke about it in the town square afterwards?

It's because we live in a society where racism has been made socially acceptable. A society where the racists who actually bloody their hands feel a kinship with the "kinder, gentler" white-gloved racist who did not think twice about stirring up some good old-fashioned Willie Horton race hatred to get himself elected president.

We live in a society where the media spends its time whipping up a frenzy against the the victims of racism. Of course, Yusuf Hawkins was so squeaky clean -- just a black youth looking to buy a used car -- that he couldn't be blamed for his own death. But in the string of racist murders that went before in New York: Michael Griffith was labeled a drug dealer; Eleanor Bumpers was called insane; Michael Stewart was tagged a vandal. Somehow the criminals, the Famas and Mondellos, get the kid glove treatment. Poor Joey, dropped on his head when he was a baby. Poor Keith, betrayed by his woman. This kind of double standard legitimizes the racist intent.

We live in a society where racist attacks that do not end in death are treated with a nod and a wink. Boys will be boys, after all. This is a society where the police pull the trigger, as in Teaneck, New Jersey. And the police look the other way and blame the victim, as they did at Howard Beach and Bensonhurst. Or does anyone think that a crowd of 20 thugs armed with bats can assemble in early evening on a busy street corner without the police knowing?

Racist attacks have a long history in the Bensonhurst neighborhood. But since the police don't care, since the government has never seen fit to do anything, the racists learn they can operate with impunity. And the majority - who know a thug is a thug and a racist is a racist -- learn to keep quiet, to turn the other way out of self-preservation, just as people will walk past drug dealers.

Racism serves the capitalists

This racism exists because it serves the interests of this society's ruling class, the capitalists. It makes good business sense for the capitalists to spread race hatred, whether in the form of white vs. black vs. Latino, native vs. immigrant, or American vs. Japanese or Korean or Russian. It makes good business sense to break down the class solidarity in any way possible. Race hatred is the oldest card in the capitalist game.

Yet despite this, the vast majority of working people take no stock in racism. They want to have nothing to do with it. And large numbers want to fight against it. This was shown in the large demonstrations after the Howard Beach killing and in the many protests against the murder of Yusuf Hawkins.

Yet Mayor Dinkins is more concerned about upholding "the rule of law" than seeing justice done. Oh for sure, Dinkins preaches against racial "tensions." But what he wants is to calm down the tensions without putting an end to the racism that caused them. What he wants is for the masses to "cool it," to stop demonstrating, to turn the other cheek. And so he spends part of every speech urging people to defend our "system of justice," a system that has once again let off racist killers. And he spends another part of every speech cautioning demonstrators who go outside that system. Dinkins' greatest fear is the development of a militant anti-racist movement in the streets of New York.

This just shows that the liberal Democrats -- no matter the color of their skin -- are just as big a champions of the racist system in this country as the Republicans. It shows that the black upper class have sold out the black masses. It shows that the masses must take matters into their own hands.

For the movement against racism to grow, it must reject the "cool it" demands of Dinkins and all the powers-that-be. We cannot rely on the police and courts who are hand-in-glove with the racists. It is time to build up a fighting movement of the masses to confront the racist terror and bury it forever.

(Based on May 20 "New York Workers' Voice," paper of the MLP-New York.)

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Remembering Malcolm X

"It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial conflict of black against white, or as a purely American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter.

"The Negro revolution is not a racial revolt. We are interested in practicing brotherhood with anyone really interested in living according to it. But the white man has long preached an empty doctrine of brotherhood which means little more than a passive acceptance of his fate by the Negro...." (Malcolm X, February 19, 1965)

May 19 was the birthday of Malcolm X, the great militant leader from the 1960's. And on this year, the 25th since he was assassinated, his words are finding new ears to listen, new voices to spread his message. Another generation is coming up. Young people who are fed up with the racist onslaught of the government. Young people who are tired of the lollygagging of the "respectable" leaders. Young people who are looking back to find leaders who speak their language, who stand for an uncompromising struggle against racism. They are looking back to Malcolm X.

Malcolm X himself, in his life in the 1960's, represented just such a new generation. The civil rights movement had brought the black masses into the streets to march and to pray and to wait. But by the late 1950's a broad section of them had had enough of praying and waiting. They were moving past the liberals, who promised freedom, but always tomorrow. They were moving past the respectable black leaders, who called tokenism "progress" while the masses continued to suffer. They were moving past "turn-the-other-cheek" sermons, and taking up active resistance to racist abuse. They wanted change, and they wanted it now. They were moving towards revolution.

The significance of Malcolm X was not that he was a brilliant theoretician or some visionary finding new and, as yet, unheard of truths. Rather, his importance, the reason we call him great, was that he was completely bound up with this rising section of the black masses, was a part of their seething movement forward. Malcolm X heard the cries of the masses and provided an eloquent voice to their determined strivings.

Tearing the mask off the liberal Democrats

The masses were coming to doubt the good intentions of the liberal Democrats. Yet Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson and the other civil rights leaders continued to preach reliance on the liberal Democrats. Malcolm X, on the other hand, exposed them.

Analyzing events as they happened, he tore the mask off what he aptly described as the "giant political con game." He showed that, "The job of the Northern Democrat is to make the Negro think that he is our friend. He is always smiling and wagging his tail and telling us how much he can do for us if we vote for him. But at the same time that he's out in front telling us what he's going to do, behind the door he's in cahoots with the Southern Democrat setting up the machinery to make sure he'll never have to keep his promise."

And he drew the only sensible conclusion, that the masses had to organize themselves independently. "We won't organize any black man to be Democrat or Republican," Malcolm declared, "because both of them have sold us out...Both parties are racist...."

Down with accommodation and tokenism

The masses were also becoming skeptical of the "respectable" African-American leaders, of their accommodation with the racist rulers, of their tokenism, of their attempts to hold the fighters in check. Malcolm X articulated these feelings in sharp and plain language.

Calling them Uncle Toms, Malcolm emphasized, "The only time you see them is when the people are exploding. Then the leaders are shot into the situation and told to control things. You can't show me a leader that has set off an explosion."

And he showed that giving a few black politicians positions in the government or seats on the corporate boards was just tokenism which did not solve the problems of the masses.

"They only gave us tokenism. Tokenism benefits only the few," Malcolm X declared. "The masses of our people still have bad housing, bad schooling and inferior jobs, jobs that don't compensate with sufficient salaries for them to carry on their life in this world. So that the problem for the masses has gone absolutely unsolved. The only one for whom it has been solved are people like Whitney Young, who is supposed to be placed in the cabinet, so the rumor says.... So, it is very important for you and me to see that our problem has to have a solution that will benefit the masses, not the upper class -- so-called upper class."

Organize for mass struggle

The Afro-American masses were increasingly turning to active, mass resistance to racism. And Malcolm X supported them. He encouraged the development of the mass struggle. And he sharply criticized both the turn-the-other-cheek pacifism of Martin Luther King and the abstention from the mass movement practiced by Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam.

"It is criminal," he said, "to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks...The time has come for the American Negro to fight back in self-defense whenever and wherever he is being unjustly and unlawfully attacked."

And, after splitting with the Nation of Islam, Malcolm warned the racists "I am no longer held in check from fighting white supremacists by Elijah Muhammad's separatist Black Muslim and your Ku Klux Klan friends will be met with maximum physical retaliation from those of us who are not handcuffed by the disarming philosophy of nonviolence, and who believe in asserting our right of self-defense -- by any means necessary."

An indictment of the system

As the anger and impatience of the masses grew, they began to move spontaneously towards revolutionary conclusions. Malcolm X also gave expression to this striving. He too felt that the mass struggle was not simply to stop this or that abuse. It had to be inspired by opposition to the entire system.

"...people will realize," he argued, "that it's impossible for a chicken to produce a duck egg -- even though they both belong to the same family of fowl. A chicken just doesn't have it within its system to produce a duck egg. It can't do it. It can only produce according to what that particular system was constructed to produce. The system in this country cannot produce freedom for an Afro-American. It is impossible for this system, this economic system, this political system, this social system, this system, period."

He emphasized that "it is the government itself, the government of America, that is responsible for the oppression and exploitation of the black people in this country...This government has failed the Negro. This so-called democracy has failed the Negro. And all these white liberals have definitely failed the Negro."

And he drew the conclusion, "Revolutions are never based upon that which is begging a corrupt society or a corrupt system to accept us into it. Revolutions overturn systems. And there is no system on this earth which has proven itself more corrupt, more criminal, than this system that in 1964 still colonizes 22 million African-Americans, still enslaves 22 million Afro-Americans."

Part of the world struggle

And Malcolm X saw this struggle as part of a world struggle. He opposed the narrow views of the "respectable" leaders who claimed black people should first "clean up their own back yard" and not look to and support the liberation struggles abroad.

Malcolm X was one of the first to not only condemn U.S. aggression against Vietnam, but to also support the national liberation struggle of the Vietnamese people. He also supported other liberation struggles in Asia and Latin America. And he emphasized the importance of the anti-colonial revolutions that were then shaking Africa.

Malcolm X showed how these battles were against our common enemy and how support for them strengthened the struggle here in the U.S. "We are living in an era of revolution," he declared, "and the revolt of the American Negro is part of the rebellion against the oppression and colonialism which has characterized this era."

Think for yourself


Malcolm X was not one of those pompous leaders who hand out their "truths" like so much popcorn to a hungry mob. Above all, he argued and cajoled people to look into things, to study things, to seek out new, revolutionary ideas, and to think for themselves. Where he found himself mistaken, as with his early belief in the Black Muslims, he was not afraid to criticize the old and useless notions, and to grab hold of the new ideas that offered insight for advancing the struggle of the masses.

When we look back to Malcolm X today, we must also follow this example. There is much to learn from Malcolm X. But it also has to be seen that the world has moved on. And if we are to truly fight racism we must take what Malcolm X had to offer and ourselves move on to see how things have developed and to get a deeper understanding of what must be done in the movement today.

For example, Malcolm's viewpoint was inspired by the national liberation struggles in Africa and in Asia and Latin America. But today, most of those struggles have run their course. They freed the countries of colonialism. And then opened up a new struggle, a class struggle of the workers and oppressed against their own domestic exploiters (who are backed up by the imperialists). Petty-bourgeois leaders, who may have once been revolutionary, have become bourgeois, have become the new exploiters, sitting on the backs of the masses. And for the masses to liberate themselves, they must break free from the capitalist framework, turn to a socialist perspective, and take up the weapon of class struggle. Even the movement in South Africa, where the masses still suffer under the racist system, is today stamped with the class struggle. Malcolm X did not see this. But we must.

Or take the situation in the United States. Malcolm X unflinchingly condemned the tokenism of the "respectable" black leaders. But he had not seen where that tokenism would lead and hesitated to condemn the tokenist leaders as a rising bourgeois class. In fact, he once said, "Actually, there's no such thing as an upper-class Negro, because he catches the same hell as the other class of Negro. All of them catch the same hell, which is one of the things that's good about this racist system -- it makes us all one."

But the tokenism of the 1960's has led to the burgeoning black upper class of today. This is a class that has found seats in the capitalist corporate board rooms. This is a class that has become the mayors and police chiefs for major cities across the country. This is a class that finds its own greedy interests tied more to the dominant white ruling class than to the masses of black workers and poor. The tokenism of the 1960's has led to a situation where the respectable black leaders not only hold back the struggle, as Malcolm pointed out, but have become the managers, the overseers, the whip hands of oppression against the black masses.

And what this situation means is that the struggle against racism must be based on the workers and poor. It means that the anti-racist movement must condemn the black bourgeois politicians -- and the capitalist system they are helping to protect -- and build itself independently from them. It means that the entire working class -- of every race and nationality -- must be united and apply its strength to beat down the fortress of racism. Malcolm X did not see this. But we must.

Today there are many charlatans latching on to the memory of Malcolm X. Newspapers that once reviled him are now lauding him. Politicians who once denounced him are praising his name. African-American leaders who once opposed him are acting as if they were his true disciples. But they are not promoting Malcolm X to inspire the masses with his revolutionary spirit or to teach the masses to think for themselves. Rather, they are trying to tame him and preach accommodation with those he opposed.

They suggest, for example, that there was no real or major contradiction between Malcolm X and the "respectable" leaders like Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson. No, these were supposedly just two sides of the same coin -- Malcolm, the side of empty threats, which King could use to break into the racists' dining room with his more moderate, peaceful tactics.

All blacks were united then, they say. And all blacks -- rich and poor, workers and capitalist -- are united today. With these sermons they are trying to keep black workers separated from the workers of other nationalities (whether latino, or white, or Korean). They are trying to bind the black workers to the interests of the black upper class and, through them, to the ruling class as a whole. They are putting up a roadblock to the struggle against racial oppression.

While some of the respectable black leaders call this sellout simply "black unity," there are others trying to dress it up in the militant colors of some of the former black nationalist leaders. Shame on them.

Malcolm X, in the name of black nationalism, advocated a revolutionary policy. And towards the end of his life he even began to doubt the black nationalist label saying, "I haven't been using the expression for several months" and that he was "hard pressed to give a specific definition of the over-all philosophy which I think is necessary for the liberation of the black people in this country." Yet today, as the class issues come increasingly to the fore, there are leaders trying to to drag the movement backwards in the name of black nationalism. And they are using Malcolm X's name and reputation to do it.

Malcolm X, who defiantly stood against the racist system and all who sought accommodation with it, could hardly imagine what would be done to his name today. But we can see it. And it is up to us to defend him against the lies, to learn from his undaunted spirit, and to move forward to build up a truly revolutionary movement against racism. (All statements from Malcolm X were quoted from Malcolm X speaks and By Any Means Necessary.)

[Photo: Malcolm X speaks to young people in Selma, Alabama, February 4, 1965, during the struggle over the right to register to vote.]

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Support the Korean workers and students!

A storm of protest blew across South Korea during May. Industrial workers waged major strikes and joined students in militant demonstrations against the government. Despite the hype of the last three years about "democratization" the Korean government stands exposed as a tyranny against the masses, a defender of the bosses against the workers.

In late April the government violently smashed two major strikes, at Hyundai shipyards in Ulsan and at Korean Broadcasting System in Seoul. In Ulsan the government staged a repeat of last year's repression, when it sent in riot police to break a three-month strike at Hyundai. This year, after only three days, the government sent thousands of riot police to storm the gates of Hyundai shipyard, which the workers had seized. The police used bulldozers and tear gas to assault the workers' barricades. The workers replied with rocks and firebombs, but were eventually forced to give up the shipyard occupation.

On May Day tens of thousands of people across the country protested against the repression. Students joined workers from auto plants, subways, shipyards, and elsewhere. Many of the rallies clashed with riot police. Demonstrators demanded that the government agree to meaningful trade union rights and stop jailing union leaders, as was done at Hyundai.

Protesters call for government's overthrow

A week later, tens of thousands battled police in more than a dozen cities, demanding the ouster of President Roh Tae Woo. In downtown Seoul, students threw rocks and firebombs in the most violent protest in the capital since 1987.

In several cities, demonstrators attacked police stations and ruling party offices. They destroyed the office in Chongju. In Seoul, they occupied downtown for hours. They overpowered several groups of policemen. After nightfall, about 3,000 protesters surrounded the building housing the U.S. Information Service. They smashed the windows with chunks of concrete and set fire to the building with firebombs. The Korean activists oppose the U.S. government because it props up dictatorship in their country.

The occasion for the protest was the founding convention of the new Democratic Liberal Party being set up by President Roh. Roh had come to power three years ago with promises of democratization and pretending to distance himself from the military regime of former president Chun Doo Hwan. Since that time, Roh has lost much of his popularity. But he has now engineered a scheme to merge his party with two opposition parties; the newly-formed DLP would have enough parliamentary votes to amend the constitution in a more dictatorial direction. Roh has succeeded in this because a big section of the opposition liberals are in cahoots with him -- they agree on repressing the workers' and students' struggles.

Another round of battle took place on May 17, the tenth anniversary of the Kwangju Uprising. That popular uprising had been savagely crushed by the old Chun Doo Hwan regime, and hundreds of workers and students were massacred. The anniversary was marked by huge demonstrations across the country. Protesters hurled rocks and firebombs at riot police in many cities, including Seoul. In Kwangju itself over 100,000 people marched.

The workers launch another fight

Meanwhile, the workers' movement took off again with a strike at Hyundai Motor Company's Ulsan complex. The 27,000 auto workers walked off the job May 12 demanding a pay raise of 18% and reduced working hours. The company's offer is for less than 6%.

The government condemned the strike as illegal and threatened to use police to crush it.

This is but the latest strike in a big strike wave which has engulfed the country for several months now. The job actions are breaking out within a general decline in the Korean economy. After years of expanding exports, in 1989 exports declined; at the same time, inflation took off and is now in double digits. Korean capitalists are trying to shift the burden of this crisis onto the workers by holding their wages steady while prices rise. But the workers, mindful of the wage gains that were made in the massive strike movement of three years ago, are in a fighting mood.

President Roh's solution to the crisis is to restore the sort of one-party dictatorship that existed under Chun Doo Hwan. He wants all the different factions of the bourgeoisie to unite under his strong-arm rule, so that they can jointly keep down the workers. He is striving to enforce this with riot police, the smashing of strikes, and the jailing of union leaders.

Today it has become fashionable among some of the American capitalists to claim that the "end of history" is here with the complete, worldwide victory of the "free enterprise" system. A glance at South Korea shows how ridiculous this claim is. "Free enterprise" has long been in place there, and while the rich got fat, for the workers it has meant low pay, grinding drudgery, workweeks of 60-plus hours, etc. And the so-called "freedom" under capitalism means freedom for the employers and their government to jail, gas, beat and shoot trade union leaders, militants, and all those who try to improve the lot of the masses. The Korean masses will never accept that history has ended and left them with such a rotten system! The fight of the toilers to change history in their favor is far from over.

[Photo: 27,000 Korean autoworkers denounce police attack on Hyundai shipyard strike.]

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The struggle of the homeless

Police attack Tompkins Square Park festival

Homeless people and left-wing activists held a four-day "Resist to Exist" festival in Tompkins Square Park in New York City. On May 1, the last night of the festival, police attacked the crowd of some 300 people and arrested 27 of them.

A band was playing. But park officials claimed their permit had run out. The officials turned out the lights at the band shell and police stormed the stage. Three of the festival organizers were arrested, band members were beaten, and their equipment was trashed.

Someone shouted "Resist!" and some 100 bottles came flying from the crowd. Eight cops were hit and injured. They retreated and, with reinforcements, surrounded the park. About 100 angry demonstrators took off down the street to the Ninth Precinct station to protest the arrests. But the police blocked the march. The protesters then knocked over garbage dumpsters to block the street and moved back to the park. About 150 people then sat down in the street. The protest continued for over four hours.

Homeless people seize houses across the country

[Photo: New York City housing activists clip the lock to an abandoned building.]

Homeless people seized more than 100 vacant federally-owned houses in some thirteen cities on May 1. They demanded that Jack Kemp, Bush's head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), keep his promises to turn over vacant homes to homeless people.

In Minneapolis, about one hundred homeless people and supporters tore boards off four government-owned homes and an abandoned flour mill. Police removed activists from the houses at gun point, and seven people were arrested at the mill. But the houses were later reoccupied.

In Milwaukee, one activist was arrested after 15 homeless people occupied a HUD-owned house. Three days earlier, about 25 people caught up with Jack Kemp at a local conference. They set up a picket line and chanted "Build homes, not bombs!"

In Oakland, homeless people occupied three houses at the end of April. The police raided all three houses, arresting the occupants. Houses are now sealed and under 24-hour guard. Earlier in the month, more than 200 people demonstrated outside the office of Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson. They protested plans to fork over at least $428 million to the millionaire A1 Davis in order to bring the Raiders football team back to Oakland. The protesters demanded that this money be used to provide homes and job training for the thousands of homeless in Oakland.

In Detroit, five people were arrested in a housing occupation. But on May 7, the homeless reoccupied the house. Building occupations were also reported in Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Chicago, Tucson, and other cities.

Last October, 100,000 people marched for the homeless in Washington, D.C. Faced with the protest, Kemp pledged to turn over 10 percent of the HUD-owned houses.(about 10,000) to homeless people. But, as yet, virtually none have been turned over. HUD has started a program to sell some empty buildings for $1 in some cities. But in most cases it will not sell to individuals, but only to nonprofit groups like shelters and churches.

While no more homes are being turned over, HUD still evicts many poor people who can't keep up with their loan payments or rent. The protesters demanded that HUD increase the number of rent subsidies as well as turn over more houses to the homeless, provide funds to rehabilitate the houses, and increase other funds for housing.

Tenants protest lock down of Chicago housing project

About 20 tenants and their supporters barricaded eight officials of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) in an office at the Harold Ickes housing project. The May 1st protest opposed the CHA's "lock down" of the Prairie Court annex to the housing project. Tenants are subjected to arbitrary police searches, are forced to carry special ID cards to get through police lines, and suffer other prison-like conditions.

The protesters put up a banner reading "Lock down the real criminals -- the CHA" About 150 people from the projects joined the crowd around the banner. Six police cars showed up to free the CHA officials. When someone threw something at a police car, the cops went wild beating people. Four people were arrested and two required hospital treatment. When the project manager was freed, she threatened to evict everyone at the action. At least one protester has been kicked out of the projects.

Bush part of the Reaganite HUD scandal

The Reagan government presided over an orgy of illegal payoffs and the looting of billions of dollars of federal HUD funds. While homelessness soared, speculators and their White House cronies enriched themselves. Now, it seems, Bush may also have been involved in the scandal.

A former senior federal housing official, Dubois Gilliam, is now serving an 18-month prison sentence for his illegal actions while at HUD. In May, he went before Congress. He testified that the office of then Vice-President, George Bush, intervened to win a $500,000 HUD grant for a Kansas City developer in 1985. Bush moved to help this long-time political ally even though the project, an international trade center, did not qualify for federal assistance. Although there is no charge that Bush himself took a kick-back, it is clear he was involved in the political favoritism that has wracked HUD.

Although Jack Kemp claims to have now cleaned up the department, millions of dollars are still being lost to the swindles. In early May, a report from HUD auditors admitted that the government will lose another $177 million in loan defaults on a HUD project that included building golf courses and marinas. The report says that the losses continued last year because Kemp was not really monitoring the program.

More HUD evictions in the name of "fighting drugs"

Without warning, HUD evicted tenants in four apartments at the South Maple housing project in Ann Arbor, Michigan on April 25. In a drug-type raid, armed police and U.S. marshals swarmed into the apartments. The tenants were given only 15 minutes to gather up their belongings and get out.

The raid is part of Jack Kemp's drive to supposedly clear HUD projects of drugs. But there were no drugs or weapons found in these raids. Indeed, only one of the tenants has even been accused of dealing in drugs. Yet no criminal charges have been brought against her. And a district court jury ruled in her favor when the Ann Arbor Housing Commission tried to evict her for dealing drugs earlier. Kemp has often claimed that his policies do not eliminate necessary protections for tenants rights. But here, people have lost their homes without warning and even after courts ruled in their favor.

Kemp has also claimed his program "specifically targets serious drug traffickers." But this is obviously a lie. It is the poor, not the drug kingpins, who are being evicted. This is the first such eviction in Michigan. But hundreds of people have been evicted in Washington D.C., Chicago, and other cities on the mere say-so of landlords. The landlords, who were already looking to evict people for non-payment of rent, merely had to say they "suspected" the tenants of being involved with drugs.

On May 16, supporters of the evicted tenants disrupted a meeting of the Ann Arbor housing commission. They demanded that the commission allow the families to move back in. But Bonnie Newlum, the executive director of the commission, declared that national HUD officials had threatened that "it would jeopardize" all federal housing money for Ann Arbor if she allowed the tenants to return. A temporary arrangement has been made to allow the tenants to stay in a local motel.

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Strikes and workplace news


Cincinnati Bell:

Over 3,000 workers struck Cincinnati Bell May 13 to defend their health benefits. The strikers include clerical workers, information operators, splicers, linemen, installers and repair personnel. They oppose a health care plan that would require them to pay part of their health premiums.

Los Angeles AT&T:

Workers picketed the 105th annual shareholders meeting of American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T). They demanded "job preservation, job creation and job improvement." AT&T is in the process of eliminating 9,000 jobs. Even though its latest scheme offers early retirement to cut the jobs through attrition, workers demand that AT&T find ways to save jobs, not eliminate them.

Pennsylvania coal fields:

Ten Aloe miners were arrested at the Robinson Coal Co. on April 26. The miners have been on strike against Aloe mining for ten months. They were blocking the entrance of Robinson Coal because it is a nonunion mine affiliated with Aloe. The striking Aloe miners were supported by strikers from Eastern Airlines and Budget Gourmet. Two days earlier, the strikers had rallied at Budget Gourmet to support those workers who walked off their jobs last October.

New York Daily News:

"Union busting is disgusting!" and "Jump, Jim! Jump!" These were the chants of over 600 New York Daily News workers who demonstrated outside the publisher's penthouse apartment in Manhattan on May 6. James Hoge, the NYDN publisher, is leading the paper's campaign to break the unions and free it from all contractual obligations regarding pay, benefits and union rights. The demonstrators attempted to storm the entrance to the apartment building but were pushed back by a cordon of police.

Brooklyn garment shop:

For the past three months 250 garment workers have been on strike against Domsey Warehouse Corporation in Brooklyn, New York. The primarily immigrant workers from Haiti, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic are demanding union rights and the rehiring of workers fired for organizing a union.

Domsey, which prepares used clothes for resale, is one of the worst of the New York sweatshops. It offers no sick days, no medical benefits, no overtime pay and no paid holidays. The workers complained that Domsey gave them fake Blue Cross/Blue Shield cards -- no hospital would honor them. Domsey forced the workers to pay $14 per month for a phoney union that didn't exist.

Binghamton, New York postal workers:

Late in May, about 1,000 workers protested in front of the Binghamton, New York post office. They opposed the opening of a new sack- sorting facility that is to be manned by contract workers who will be paid half the wages and benefits of postal workers. The protesters came in from Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts.

The new Binghamton facility is the first of its kind to be operated by a private company. From this privatization, the U.S. Postal Service expects to cut 29% of its operating costs. It will save $300,000 a year from the lower pay alone.

Detroit postal workers:

The U.S. Postal Service cut 19,000 jobs last year and plans to cut 40,000 more by 1995. The ax is falling hard on injured workers who are branded "unfit for duty." Three injured workers at the General Mail Facility on Fort Street in Detroit recently won their jobs back after standing up against this injustice. Their struggle won support from their co-workers who rallied to their defense with buttons reading "STOP HARASSMENT OF INJURED WORKERS! REINSTATE HARRY HILL AND ALLAN WARE! END OVERWORK!" They also circulated petitions and issues of Detroit Workers' Voice protesting postal management's treatment of injured workers and demanding reinstatement of the fired workers. Leaders of the American Postal Workers' Union did very little to defend the workers. It was the mass support by the rank and file that got their jobs back.

Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles area:

About 1,000 registered nurses struck two Kaiser Permanente facilities May 13. Kaiser offered raises of only 7% in the first year and 4% in the second and third years of the contract. It is also demanding takebacks in overtime pay. The leaders of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) already agreed to various overtime pay cuts. But the rank-and-file nurses overwhelmingly voted down Kaiser's offer. They are demanding higher pay, no takebacks, and relief from the overwork Kaiser is piling on them.

Greyhound strike:

While Greyhound workers continue to walk the picket lines, it appears that the leaders of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) have all but deserted them.

The union leadership offered to return to work on May 22, without beating off Greyhound's takebacks. This is apparently a legal maneuver with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) which has agreed to hear unfair labor charges against Greyhound. But such a legal maneuver offers the workers no real hope of even getting their jobs back. At the beginning of May, Greyhound gave its latest contract proposal--the elimination of 4,500 union jobs, a change to hourly pay that would cut a drivers wages by some $7,000 a year, and a four-year pay freeze.

The Greyhound workers need mass picketing, and the support of workers from other industries, to completely shut Greyhound down. But the ATU leaders would prefer to play around with the NLRB.

Corporate heads rolling in dough:

A recent Business Week article depicted the pitiful plight of the average corporate head in the U.S. Just imagine! During 1989, the average chief executive officer saw his total compensation drop by 9% -- to an average annual salary of only $1,856,697! Poor CEOs!

At the top of the list was Craig O. McCaw, chairman of McCaw Cellular Communications. His company has yet to turn a profit and actually lost $289 million last year. Nevertheless, Mr. McCaw raked in -- from salary, bonuses and stock options -- a whopping $53.9 million for 1989.

At a time when workers are suffering layoffs, homelessness, and hunger, Mr. McCaw is disgusting. He is a prime example of how warped the capitalist system is. This system must be overthrown and the right to a decent livelihood be afforded to all.

More housing cuts

Jack Kemp, the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has repeatedly claimed to be a friend of the homeless and poor. But a new HUD program threatens to throw hundreds of thousands of poor families out in the cold.

Over the last 15 years, HUD loaned money to owners of apartment buildings on the agreement that they would provide units for low-income families. But last year HUD decided that if owners quickly pay off their loans they will be allowed to convert the apartments to condominiums and high-rent housing. This deal was temporarily blocked by Congress, but the moratorium expires September 30. Barbara Mikulski, a member of the Senate appropriations committee, reports that up to 600,000 low-income apartments could be lost from the new HUD program.

It would appear that Kemp's real friendship is with the rich, just like his corrupt predecessor from the Reagan government.

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Demonstrators slam inadequate AIDS treatment

Thousands of protesters gathered in Chicago on the weekend of April 20-23 to condemn the inadequate care for AIDS patients provided by the medical establishment, and the discrimination of insurance companies against anyone even suspected of having AIDS.

The first of several actions held in Chicago was a round-the-clock vigil at Cook County Hospital. This hospital has allocated only a few beds for AIDS patients, and half of them are not occupied despite an abundance of people who could use them. The American Medical Association was also targeted as activists denounced its opposition to a national health care system and to non-traditional forms of AIDS treatment, and its placing of medical profits above all else.

When a group of demonstrators protested in the street in front of the hospital board's offices, the Chicago police reacted with chokeholds and beatings, arresting a number of activists. This did not deter the protesters from concluding the weekend with a march, 1,000-strong, past the corporate offices of several insurance companies located in the business district. Through discrimination, high premium costs, low benefits, and restrictions on what treatments the insurance will cover, the insurance capitalists have contributed to the inability of AIDS patients to get treatment. Discrimination is so rampant that some big insurers refuse to insure people simply because they think they are in a "gay" occupation or neighborhood.

A month later, on May 21,900 people protested against the government's foot-dragging at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. They particularly denounced the refusal of the government to allow AIDS patients to try various promising drugs. In the name of protecting those with AIDS, the government holds back on these drugs for years on end. It actually restricts their testing, as there are many desperately sick AIDS patients who would willingly, nay eagerly, consent to try various experimental drugs.

These protests have been going for on years, and have had some results. On the same day as the May 21 protest the government finally announced that it would establish a "parallel track" for experimental drugs, that would make them available to consenting patients while the drugs are still being tested in traditional "controlled" experiments.

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Family leave bill:

Only for those who don't need a paycheck

The increasing number of women in the work force has made the lack of maternity leave laws loom ever larger. On May 10, Congress gave its most recent answer to this question as the House of Representatives passed the "Family and Medical Leave Act." But just like the Congressional child care bill in March, this bill too lacks anything like the measures needed to meet the needs of working women.

And there's more bad news. Bush promises to veto even this weak-kneed legislation, and it is unlikely that Congress will override it. Of course Bush may not get his chance since the Senate version of the bill may be blocked from coming to a vote by a filibuster. (A filibuster killed the bill in the Senate the year before last.)

Behind the fancy words

The heart of the House bill is its provision for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to employees for the purpose of caring for newborn or adopted children, for personal illness, or to care for seriously ill children, parents or spouses. During this leave, company health benefits would continue. Afterwards, the business must return the worker to their old job or one with similar pay and benefits.

This proposal will be welcome to workers who would otherwise face the threat of firing if they took a leave of any length. All well and good.

Except for a few little things.

First of all, the law would only apply to businesses with at least' 50 workers at any one site. It will not cover 95 % of all work places containing about 56% of all employees. This includes all small businesses as well, presumably, as various franchises (as is common in service industries).

The bill would only apply to those who have been employed at a company for over a year and worked at least 1,000 hours in the preceding 12 months. So don't have a child or an emergency if you have been laid off, or had part-time work.

Also, unpaid leave would not begin to solve the dilemma of the majority of workers who find it hard to make both ends meet even with a paycheck. And childbirth is a time when families face many extra expenses. For that matter, the many workers who had no health care benefits to begin with would remain saddled with monstrous medical bills.

This bill is a far cry from providing the system of adequate paid leave the workers sorely need. It will especially leave the most poverty-stricken workers in the lurch.

The least that could be offered

The Congress has waited so long to offer this bill that by now many businesses already offer some type of maternity leave to their workers. For example, already almost half of working women having their first baby this year are covered by some form of paid maternity leave, although this paid leave may be quite inadequate or sick leave or disability or fairly brief, such as six weeks. Another 20% of these new mothers get unpaid leave. (And 18% of male employees are eligible for unpaid paternity leave.)

Thus, in some respects, the bill will provide no more benefits, or less, than already exist for many employees. As a matter of fact, it is the bigger firms, who are covered by this bill, who are most likely to already be paying these benefits. The small sweatshop workers, service workers, and other workers in small plants, who are least likely to already have any maternity or emergency leave, won't be covered by this bill either.

Indeed the bill's backers are promoting the bill on the basis that it won't cost the employers much anyway. The Congressional Government Accounting Office claims that, on average, it will only cost $5.30 per worker per year.

My, how concerned the capitalists and their Congressional spokespeople are to provide for childbirth and family emergencies! Their hymns to motherhood and the family are hardly worth a few pennies.

At the whim of the boss

But the Bush administration, the business associations, and many politicians oppose even this bill. They don't want any compulsory pregnancy leave at all. Oh yes, Bush says that he is for family leave, but only if it is "voluntary." Of course, if it were up to the workers, there would be paid leave, but Bush means that it should be voluntary for the capitalist. Thus he has pledged to veto the bill.

And if the capitalist doesn't voluntarily provide leave to its employees? In that case, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater declared, "They should look for other jobs...." (New York Times, May 9) What a frank admission of the brutality underneath Bush's "kinder and gentler" administration. Indeed, over the last few decades to the present, about 5% of women employees who become pregnant are fired outright (to say nothing of the far larger percentage who are forced to quit).

The capitalist gentlemen openly say they don't want any particular benefits guaranteed to workers. Everything is to be "voluntary" for the employer. They want the worker to worship the benevolence of the employer for even the most elementary rights.

Capitalist politicians, no! A universal system, yes!

Neither Bush nor Congress cares about the problems of working women or their families. They are concerned, at most, over how to package the smallest amount of benefits in the most grandiose terms. The needs of the working class cannot be left in the hands of such charlatans. The workers must take up themselves the struggle for a universal system of adequate, paid, parenthood (and emergency) leave.

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The Church vs. women

Revised Bible is still anti-women

The ranks of the anti-woman crusaders of Operation Rescue are full of Bible-thumpers and religious fanatics. And no wonder. The Bible is known for making God masculine and woman subordinate.

In the last few years, a number of other religious groups have been issuing new translations of the Bible in an attempt to hide its blatant anti-woman bias and other embarrassing features. They would like the world to think that the Bible is a humane and democratic document that by accident was mistranslated for two thousand years.

So the "New Revised Standard Version" (NRSV) of the Bible was issued in early May, authorized by various Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox denominations. It is supposed to correct anti-woman prejudice by changing the words "mankind" to "humankind," "sons" to "children," "man" to "one," etc. But try as the theologians might, they could not wash away the many Biblical anti-woman declarations. For example, the NRSV still demands, in Genesis, that "he (the husband) should rule over you." And the disciple Paul still pontificates in a letter to the Corinthians that "if there is anything they (women) desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home."

Pope blesses the carnage among women in Mexico

In early May, the Pope traveled to Mexico. He took the occasion to launch new tirades against the use of birth control and abortion. Mexico already bans abortion, but as usual this has not stopped it. It has simply resulted in widespread injury and death to women who have been forced to turn to illegal operations.

But the Pope could care less. He stated that anyone using birth control is "closing themselves to God and his will." Of course forbidding birth control will only mean more unwanted pregnancies and more illegal abortions. In other words, the Pope's decree against contraception means encouraging more suffering and death.

The Mexican government was happy to have the Pope visit. It wants to carry out more austerity measures against the working masses. It thinks that the friendship of the Catholic Church will be useful in keeping the people, during the coming assaults on their living conditions, from rising up against the Mexican capitalists and bureaucrats. For his part, the Pope used the trip to pressure the increasingly unpopular ruling party, the PRI, to abolish certain restrictions on the Church which date back to the Mexican revolution and the 1917 constitution.

The growing friendship between the Vatican and the Mexican government can only mean trouble for the working people.

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Step up the defense of women's rights!

Pro-choice actions on Mother's Day

Los Angeles


Many activists came out to defend clinics on May 12. By 6:30 a.m. there were over 100 activists at Mujeres Latinas (Latino women's) Clinic on Sunset Blvd., and by 8:00 a.m. over 250. As well, small pro-choice groups went to six other clinics.

The anti-abortion bullies of Operation Rescue (OR) turned tail out of L.A. County and hit a clinic in San Bernardino County -- 70 miles away! But about 150 activists met them there and defeated a similar-sized OR hit squad.



On May 11-12, a series of small but lively pro-choice actions were held in and around Detroit. A picket was held at a fake pregnancy clinic which advertises free pregnancy tests, then pushes an anti-abortion stand onto unsuspecting clients. As well, dozens of activists rallied at three women's clinics to oppose harassment of patients by "right-to-life" bigots.

The same weekend activists gave a fitting reply to recent anti-choice pickets at the homes of local doctors who perform abortions. They picketed at the house of local anti-abortion leader Lynn Mills.

Meanwhile, various pro-establishment women's organizations had responded to the harassment of doctors in quite a different way. They succeeded, in April, in getting three suburban towns to ban all residential demonstrations. (Lynn Mills' home was, however, in a different town.) The bourgeois-led groups are content to take OR's word for it that it is a popular movement, and then advocate laws against demonstrations and mass struggles. Such laws will be used in full force against progressive causes, because the police don't sympathize with them as they do with OR. But the activists instead used the mass disgust with OR's activities to organize their own demonstrations.



Some Buffalo activists were eager to organize something for the Mother's Day weekend to oppose Operation Rescue's antics. This gave an impetus to pro-choice activities in May.

On May 6, over a dozen activists picketed the New Covenant Church in North Tonawanda. This is the church of Rev. Schenk, who is one of the main leaders of the local anti-abortion fanatics. Slogans were shouted, and the driveway was picketed as the church let out. Some activists handed out a pamphlet telling the truth about abortion, as opposed to the lies of the anti-abortion movement.

Then on the afternoon of May 11, nine pro-choice activists demonstrated in front of the office of Duane Saunders, who is the head lawyer for the local anti-abortion fanatics and an active crusader for "Operation Rescue." The demonstrators stood by with placards and banner for over an hour and received a warm reception from passing cars, many honking in support, others waving or raising a fist.

The next day, over a hundred pro-choice activists showed up to defend two clinics, Womenservices on Main Street and Erie Medical Center on High Street. At Womenservices, the antiabortion bullies were met in the morning by pro-choice pickets in front of the driveway to the parking lot, across from the clinic, where the anti-abortionists usually park and congregate. All but one car was forced to find other parking. Eventually OR called the police, and one car got through, escorted by a policeman. OR was outnumbered three to one, and this time made no attempt to block the clinic or even to harass patients.

Meanwhile the cop tried to intimidate the pro-choice militants, telling them that picketing was legal but you could only pass by the driveway once, or else you would be arrested. When the OR bullies pathetically wanted to press charges against a woman for using a squirt gun on one of them, the police went along with this and started to arrest her. But a crowd gathered around and denounced the police for trying to arrest a pro-choice activist while sitting on their hands in the past and allowing the OR fanatics to harass patients and close clinics. The cop eventually backed down, apologizing to OR that there was no video of this heinous "crime."

[Photo: Detroit area activists picket the home of Michigan Operation Rescue honcho Lynn Mills.]

Clinic defense in Chicago:

Militancy or respectability?

Each year, the anti-women bullies of the anti-abortion movement make a big deal of harassing patients and abortion clinics on Mother's Day weekend. This year in Chicago was no different. About 200 anti-abortion fanatics paraded in front of two clinics north of the loop on Saturday, May 12. They prayed and sang and screamed at women who entered the clinic "don't murder your baby," "murderer." About twenty were arrested after lying down in front of the clinic at Grand and State.

These holy bullies must be opposed, and the clinics defended.

And that's just what some activists had in mind. About 30 militants, loosely organized around the Emergency Clinic Defense Coalition, met in front of the American Women's Health Clinic at Diversey and Western. Upon hearing where the anti-abortion fanatics had gone, they moved to Grand and State.

They found some anti-abortion fanatics parading in front of the clinic, with others at entrances to the alleys behind the clinic and across the street from the clinic. Several clinic escorts were also there, quietly standing against the walls and waiting to escort women who arrived for appointments through the line of anti-abortionists.

The anti-abortionists (or "antis") laid down at the front and rear doors and succeeded in shutting down the clinic for a short time. Women who had come for abortions had to wait in a nearby restaurant, which gave the anti-abortion "counselors" a better chance to harass them.

If there are only quiet escorts to oppose the antis

The police were slow to arrest the blockaders and their mass picket. Patients seeing this may have assumed the clinic was shutdown and turned back, and the Chicago Tribune reports at least one woman turned back. This often happens at clinic actions. Preventing this is one of the reasons why a strong presence of clinic defenders is so necessary. Simply having escorts quietly waiting is not enough. A strong opposition to the holy bullies lets patients know that there are pro-choice militants standing with them and that the holy bullies will not get their way.

Unfortunately, other forces in the abortion rights movement in Chicago are opposed to this. The Pro-Choice Alliance is influenced by the line of the National Organization for Women (NOW). It asks pro-choice activists to leave the antiabortion bullies unopposed and to let the police take care of the clinics. Experience, both national and local, has shown that this is wrong. The cops generally only "defend a clinic" when there is a powerful counter-demonstration to the antis' blockade.

Pro-Choice Alliance polices the movement

From the time the militants arrived at Grand and State, the Pro-Choice Alliance honchos worked to limit the pro-choice forces. They opposed the activists moving to the same side of the street with the antis. They let the antis post themselves at the clinic doors without opposition. They opposed slogan shouting or denouncing the antis.

Nevertheless, the militants began a picket line across the street from the clinic door. They shouted slogans and successfully forced the anti-abortionists on that side of the street to leave.

About an hour later, a large group of the anti-abortionists moved north to picket a clinic at Clark and Division. The militants moved to counter them. Again the antis were at the clinic doors. The militants gathered on the same side of the street and tried to start a picket to confront the antis and force them from the door.

But again the honchos from the Pro-Choice Alliance came up and demanded that the defenders, not the antis, move across the street. When the militantsrefused, these honchos called upon the police to do their dirty work for them.

This has happened time and again around the country. When the activists organize clinic defenses, they run into the policy of the pro-establishment groups.

NOW and NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) and the Pro-Choice Alliance have vehemently opposed militancy and mass confrontation with the anti-abortion bigots and fanatics. Where the militants are determined to stop the anti-abortion clinics, NOW is willing to assume the credit for it. But whenever it has enough strength, NOW pours cold water on the activists. It has demanded reliance on the police, hob-nobbing with officials, and assuring the powers-that-be of their loyalty.

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

What path forward?

If the path of the Pro-Choice Alliance is followed, the movement will die. If we leave it to the police, the courts, and the government, pretty soon only prayer and patriotism will be legal.

Only with the masses out in the streets has there been progress. Clinic defense actions have cut the right-to-life bullies down to size. In Chicago, the antis had not staged a big action at a clinic since last October. They had been limiting themselves to the suburbs. This is precisely because of militant clinic defenses.

But NOW and NARAL want the activists to give up militant tactics. If they succeed, the antis will get a good opportunity to re-establish themselves.

Let us build a militant movement that not only isn't afraid of turning off the rich and powerful, but that targets the ruling class as its enemy. A movement restricted to NOW's tactics and politics is a movement that will abandon the vast majority of working women to curry favor with the affluent. NOW's policies are not simply wrong, but they are playing a bad role in the movement.

(Based on the May 19 issue of "Chicago Workers' Voice," paper of the MLP-Chicago.)

Chicago activists picket anti-abortion bigots

On May 6th, 30 pro-choice activists picketed in front of the tenth anniversary meeting of the "Pro-Life Action League," in Chicago. This is a bunch of right-wing anti-abortion fanatics. It is infamous for blocking and picketing abortion clinics and attempting to drive women away.

The pro-choice activists picketed right in front of the doors of the O'Hare Marriott where the anti-women meeting was taking place. They declared that the days of this organization are numbered. Women will not tolerate its activities. They vigorously shouted pro-choice slogans such as "Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate," "Pro-life, your name's a lie, you don't care if women die," and "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, born-again bigots, go away."

Upset with this show of pro-choice militancy, the Chicago police arrived. Claiming that private property was involved, they demanded that the protesters go out to a sidewalk outside the hotel parking lot. After a few more rounds of slogan-shouting and a short speech denouncing the anti-abortion fanatics, the protesters moved to the sidewalk. There they continued the picket. Several passing motorists honked or waved support.

The right-wing anti-abortion movement is based on sections of the capitalist class and government officials, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and the "moral majority" bigots. And they are first-class hypocrites. They are not concerned with the lives of pregnant women or their children. They shout about supporting "life," but they support the whole Reaganite agenda of cutbacks in social welfare, health care and education. Wouldn't real concern for mother and child mean supporting government funding of health care, pre-natal care, nutrition programs and education? But to the good, god-fearing, rich, white men who lead the anti-abortion movement, spending money on the poor and working class is a sin. Their heroes in Congress are champions of militarism, defense spending, and the death penalty.

With emotional appeals about "life" and "saving babies," the anti-abortion movement is trying to restrict the rights of women. As well, they are trying to use the abortion issue to draw people into a full agenda of right-wing politics.

The anti-abortionists receive wide promotion in the capitalist media. They must be defeated. It is right to confront the anti-abortion bigots wherever they rear their ugly heads!

(Based on the May 19 issue of "Chicago Workers' Voice," paper of the MLP-Chicago.)

San Jose clinic defenders defeat OR-police alliance

On Saturday May 5th, Operation Rescue (OR) was routed once again in their attempt to close an abortion clinic in San Jose, California. OR was trying to gain some momentum by holding the blockade one week after their anti- abortion anti-woman rally in Washington, D.C. They even flew in OR founder Randall Terry to speak on Thursday in an attempt to rally greater numbers. But the pro-choice activists were determined to frustrate OR. Hundreds of pro-choice activists came out to keep the Bay Area clinics open.

When pro-choice forces arrived at the San Jose Clinic, about 70 OR fanatics (adults and children) were there. Some were already blockading the clinic doors. With no police to get in the way, the 30 or 40 pro-choice activists brushed OR aside and opened the clinic. This was carried out even though some women seeking clinic services had to be physically lifted over the heads of OR blockaders in order to get inside the clinic.

By the time the police showed up, the clinic had already been opened by the pro-choice activists. All that remained for the 40-50 police was to remove OR from the front of the clinic. Or they could have gone to sleep for a few hours, as the police usually do when OR has actually closed a clinic. Instead, the police formed their own line and gave the order that "no one goes in or out."

Once again, it was the police who shut down a clinic, and used the threat of arrests and police violence to accomplish what OR couldn't. (One pro-choice activist was arrested for using a bullhorn.)

This infuriated the pro-choice activists who had fought to keep the clinic open. For awhile, the clinic was closed, and the San Jose police were assisting OR honchos in trying to identify selected pro-choice activists. But more pro-choice forces arrived, and the potential grew for a militant protest against the police-OR alliance. Just then OR decided to leave. This was the signal for the police to clear the area, which five mounted cops proceeded to do. Without warning, mounted police pushed pro-choice activists off the streets and sidewalk.

The clinic was now open. And it was clear to the pro-choice forces that it was they, not the police, who had saved the day. In high spirits the activists shouted "Who will keep the clinics open? We will, we will!"

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LA Times admits: War on drugs is a war on blacks

A Los Angeles Times article in late April admitted what The Workers' Advocate has been pointing out for some time -- the war on drugs is in fact a war on black people and other oppressed nationalities.

The article by Ron Harris reaches this conclusion from interviews of some 100 judges, attorneys, cops, and other authorities. But most striking are a few simple statistics.

Studies have shown that there is a slightly lower percentage of drug users among black people and Latinos, in every age category, than among white people. If you count all drug users together, then blacks make up only 12% of all U.S. drug users. Meanwhile whites make up 80% (according to separate studies by the FBI and the National Institute for Drug Abuse). But nearly 40% of those arrested on drug charges are black. Obviously black people are being targeted.

Or look at another statistic. Studies show that pregnant black and white women test positive for drug use at the same rate. But doctors turn black women over to child abuse authorities for substance abuse during pregnancy at a rate 10 times that of white women.

Of course any worker or poor person from the black and Latino communities already knew this. Across the country, minority neighborhoods have been beset with barricades, roadblocks, identification checks, and worse. Apartments are smashed in without warrants. Young blacks have been confronted with stop-and- search policies through whole cities. Tenants in public housing are being evicted without evidence, and even without warning. And if the cops can?t find (or plant) drugs, then they'll find some other excuse to arrest or fine you. Take Atlanta for example. During its war on drugs earlier this year, the police targeted a portion of the city's public housing units that house less than 10 percent of the city's residents. In the next month, those same residents received more than half of the tickets for minor traffic violations for the entire city.

While citing proof that the war on drugs is a vicious attack on minorities, Ron Harris argues that the attack is not "intentional." But the only evidence cited for this claim is that "many cities where the impact on minorities is greatest have black mayors and black police chiefs." What does that prove? Doesn't Harris know that the upper-class blacks can be harder on poor and working class black people than even Bush and his white ruling class? Indeed, Harris cites evidence to show the attack is not indiscriminately against all black people but is precisely against the minority workers and poor.

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Los Angeles

Students marched from the South African Consulate to the L.A Country Club on April 28. They were protesting apartheid in South Africa and racism at home. The police arrested one of the demonstrators, the black ex-cop Don Jackson who has recently been exposing racist police brutality. His crime? He tried to walk onto the turf of this "whites only" club.

The students blockaded the road to prevent the police car from leaving with Mr. Jackson. But police in riot gear suddenly appeared. Some lined up in front of the country club to defend this enclave of segregationism. The rest of them rushed the demonstrators with clubs, and chased some as far as 1/2 mile away from the scene. Eleven marchers were arrested. But they have planned a return protest.


Twenty people denounced racist police brutality in Newark's Stella Wright Housing Projects. They then marched to a nearby police precinct to demand the firing of a particularly brutal policeman nicknamed "Kojak." This cop has used his position as a license to violently abuse young black men -- from beatings to tying a man to his car and dragging him down the street.

San Francisco

A rally May 5 of 30 racists -- from the Aryan Youth Movement and the American Front -- turned into a fight against them. Some 400 black and white activists marched on Union Square, shouted slogans, and hurled debris at the racist skinheads. Activists also denounced the city officials for allowing these racists to rally. Despite official permission and a line of 100 S.F. police to protect them, the skinheads were forced to abandon their rally and flee for their lives. While the skinheads were hustled away to safety by the police, five who opposed the racists were arrested.


Nearly 5,000 people gathered April 29th outside the INS detention center near Miami, Fla. to protest the U.S. government's long-term imprisonment of Haitian refugees. Several hundred protesters smashed through the gate of the outside fence and headed for the interior fence with the same fury. But they were stopped by about 80 INS police in full riot gear. The protesters denounced them as Tontons Macoute. The protester carried off the broken gate and tossed it in a nearby swamp.

There are about 400 immigrants, mostly Haitian, stuck in the Krome detention center. They are held an average of 18 months. And most are deported back to Tontons Macoute tyranny in Haiti.

Long Island

Haitian workers picketed Filtron Co. April 30, demanding their jobs back. They had been fired for attending an earlier demonstration in New York which protested an FDA ruling that banned Haitian people from giving blood because they supposedly are a high-risk group for contracting AIDS.

The workers had asked for time off. But management just hurled verbal abuse and racial slanders at them. Then the bosses acted as if they had changed their minds. But after the demonstration, the Haitian workers received mailgrams saying they were fired. This even included workers who had scheduled vacation time and surgery in advance and didn't go to the protest.


"Innocent until proven black," that's the headline on an article in the May 19th issue of the Chicago Workers' Voice. It describes a series of recent racist shootings and murders by the Chicago police. It reports that 200 people marched against police torture and brutality on May 13.

[Photo: Demonstration against racist skinheads winds its way through Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco.]

Chippewa defend fishing rights

It was not enough that the Chippewa reaffirmed in court their treaty rights to fish the upper lakes of Wisconsin. Now that fishing season is underway, the Chippewa are again waging a daily battle against racist abuse and harassment just to continue spear fishing in the off-reservation areas. Chippewa and their supporters have been run off roads, had their tires slashed, had their boats rammed and blockaded, and they have faced scores of racists hurling rocks and beer cans at them from the dock landings.

The organizations visibly shouting racist abuse, ramming, blockading and throwing rocks at the Native Americans are Stop Treaty Abuse (STA) and Protect Americans Rights and Resources (PARR), two so-called "environmental" groups who shove American flags in the faces of the Chippewa. They complain that the Native Americans take too many walleye out of Wisconsin lakes and don't leave enough for the sportsmen. This is silly on the face of it considering the Chippewa took only 16,000 of the fish last year, while sports fishermen took at least 670,000. Who would listen to these racists?

But they get support because behind the two phoney "environmental" groups is none other than King of the Oil Spills, Exxon Corporation. Exxon holds mineral rights for zinc and copper on lands where the Chippewa have hunting and fishing rights. But as long as the Native Americans fish and hunt on the ceded territories, they can legally oppose mining operations.

Last fall, Governor Thompson and the State of Wisconsin offered the Chippewa 30 million dollars to give up their fishing rights for ten years, so that Exxon could move in and gouge the land. The Chippewa rejected this bribe.

On April 14 the Chippewa, organized a rally on their reservation of 200 Native Americans and supporters. This marked the conclusion of a 400-mile run from Pipestone, Minnesota to the Lac du Flambeau reservation in support of their rights to hunt, fish and gather on territories ceded to the U.S. government in the last century. The rally also marked the opening of fishing season and renewed struggle.

Malcolm X's clothes don't fit on Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Black Muslims, has been trying to drape himself in the mantle of Malcolm X. But the clothes don't fit. And Farrakhan looks a bit silly as he avoids answering the obvious questions about why he, Louis Farrakhan, opposed Malcolm X and called him a traitor while Malcolm was still alive.

Speaking at Malcolm X College in Chicago on the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, Farrakhan declared, "Today we face the same enemies that Malcolm faced 25 years ago." True enough. But then Farrakhan was one of those who opposed Malcolm X.

And Farrakhan does not want to admit that. So instead he tries to rewrite history by denying there were different paths advocated and instead blaming a government conspiracy to set black organizations against each other. He cried out, "When we stood with Jesse, the same forces that went to work to split Eldridge Cleaver from Huey Newton, to split Malcolm from the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, were at work again to split this brotherhood that captured the imagination of Black people -- Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan." (Michigan Citizen, March 18-25)

Now just a minute. It's true that the government, through Cointelpro and other such dirty tricks, tried to set black groups fighting each other. But Malcolm X's split from the Nation of Islam led by Elijah Muhammad was hardly inspired by the government. Nor could his split from the Black Muslims be compared with Farrakhan's on-again-off-again relationship with Democratic Party stalwart Jesse Jackson. Let's just look at a few facts.

Malcolm X broke with the Black Muslims on a number of grounds. Most important was that he wanted to build up the mass struggle of the black people, while the Black Muslims wanted to stand aside from that struggle and build, instead, black capitalism. As Malcolm X himself put it, "the only way [the Black Muslims] could function and be meaningful in the community was to take part in the political and economic facets of the Negro struggle. And the organization wouldn't do that because the stand it would have to take would have been too militant, uncompromising, and activist, and the hierarchy had gotten conservative. It was motivated mainly by protecting its own self interests."

Part of the conservatism that Malcolm was condemning was the Black Muslims' failure to consistently fight against the ruling class politicians and to, instead, seek an accommodation with them. Indeed, Elijah Muhammad suspended Malcolm X from the Nation of Islam for his cutting remarks against John F. Kennedy at the time when Kennedy was assassinated.

But Farrakhan wants us to forget about Malcolm's unstinting opposition to the Democrats and to the "respectable" black leaders who were accommodating them, like Martin Luther King and, yes, Jesse Jackson. Jackson has become a prominent leader of the Democratic Party, even though they would prefer not to put him up for president. Farrakhan jumped onto the lovefest with the Democrats, though the Democrats did not want him. So while Malcolm X condemned the Democrats, Farrakhan is complaining that the Democrats don't love him enough. How disgusting.

Malcolm X also came to disagree with the Black Muslims' view of how racism would be ended. At one point he declared, "I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don't think that it will be based upon the color of the skin, as Elijah Muhammad had taught it."

Obviously, Malcolm X's break with the Black Muslim leaders, and his continued opposition to their policies, was not some government conspiracy as Farrakhan would like us to believe. But Farrakhan wants to cover up Malcolm X's profound political condemnation of the Black Muslims because Farrakhan still hasn't really broken from those conservative policies today.

(All quotes of Malcolm X were taken from "Malcolm X Speaks" and "ByAny Means Necessary.")

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Students on the march

CUNY students on the march again

[Photo: CUNY students demonstrate in Manhattan against tuition hikes.]

Last year students at the City University of New York (CUNY) rose up at 17 campuses to defeat budget cuts and a $200-a-year increase in tuition. Buildings were seized at 13 colleges, and 10,000 students and staff took part in an 11 hour protest march and rally.

This year the students are rising up again.

On May 1, over 500 CUNY students marched in Manhattan to protest a planned tuition increase and budget cuts. Among the protesters were black, white, Latino, Caribbean and Palestinian students. They ended up at the World Trade Center where Governor Cuomo has an office, and sat down occupying the middle of the street. They resisted a police assault, but nine demonstrators were arrested.

Also on May 1, students rallied at Baruch College to demand minority representation in the nearly all-white administration as well as to denounce budget cuts and tuition increases. Baruch College, part of CUNY, is the largest business school in the country. A majority of its 16,500 students are black or Latino. However, fewer than 10% of the professors or associate professors are black or Latino.

Meanwhile, following one week of rallies, students at Hunter College in Manhattan seized the entire administration building on May 3. The students sent solidarity messages to the striking Greyhound workers, who replied by meeting with the students, reading a message of solidarity, and sending food to the occupying students.

On Monday, May 7, about 200 students seized the administration building at La Guardia Community College in Long Island City, Queens.

On May 8th, 40 students broke through a line of 12 security guards and took over the administration building at City College in Manhattan.

On May 9th, 100 students from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice blocked an intersection in Manhattan. Police attacked them, with 10 students arrested and several injured. The next day 200 John Jay students clashed with police who were storming a building they had occupied.

And May 21, students took over the administrative headquarters of CUNY, saying they would not leave until their demands had been met.

The CUNY students are denouncing Governor Cuomo for his proposed $23 million cut in the CUNY budget, while he presides over skyrocketing prison expansion. A heavy majority of CUNY students are from working class families and can't afford the high cost of most universities. Tuition increases are not only a hardship, but they force students out. The budget cuts also result in layoffs of faculty and staff and other cuts in the quality of education.

The CUNY students also have many anti-racist demands, such as the firing of the notorious racist professor Michael Levin. And they don't want General Colin Powell to receive an honorary degree. Powell, head of the Pentagon Chiefs of Staff, was directly responsible for the U.S. invasion of Panama that slaughtered several thousand civilians.

Racist professor routed at Long Island U.

City University of New York philosophy professor Michael Levin is an open racist. He declares that black people (and women) are intellectually inferior to white men, and are criminals. In a recent "academic" paper he wrote, "It seems reasonable to ensure the safety of all other passengers by requiring black males to ride in special police-patrolled subway cars before and after school hours. Curfews imposed on young black males are also defensible."

This fascist philosopher went to Long Island University on May 2 to do propaganda for racism. He was met by 100 angry anti-racist demonstrators. Police attacked the protesters with clubs and mace. Nine people were arrested, and several injured. Racist Levin cut his speech short and fled.

Students protest police brutality at Temple U.

Over 600 students at Temple University in Philadelphia blocked traffic on April 30 to protest the police beating of eight black students. The eight students had been arrested and roughed up earlier, while protesting against a racist white fraternity on campus. The demonstration of April 30, which included both black and white students, demanded the removal of the campus police chief and the four cops who did the beating, the exclusion of the white racist fraternity from campus, and the establishment of an African-American Affairs Department.

Student rally attacked by police at Oberlin College

Two hundred students participating in a "March Against Bigotry" at Oberlin College in Ohio were attacked by forty to fifty police using attack dogs. Six protesters were arrested, and forty-three filed complaints against police brutality. The students had been demonstrating against big tuition hikes, declining enrollment of minority students, and discrimination against handicapped, gay, and lesbian students.

Anti-racists fight back at U. of Texas

The University of Texas at Austin has 52,000 students. Only about 3 percent of them are black, yet the nationwide upsurge in anti-racist struggle has reached there as well.

In April a fraternity issued T-shirts with a crude, racist caricature of a black man, and displayed racist graffiti. Students responded with a series of protest marches against racism on campus and against that fraternity in particular. When the University president William Cunningham tried to appease the students with promises of some mild measure against the fraternity, he was shouted down by the anti-racist activists. More rallies and actions are planned.

Ivy-league racism at Harvard Law

Even staid Harvard Law School has begun to feel the breeze of anti-racist struggle. A series of rallies and protests in the last few months have demanded granting tenure to a black woman professor. Harvard Law's faculty lounge remains a white, male club with only a few exceptions. Of the school's 60 tenured faculty, three are black and five are women, and there has never been a black female professor. Harvard says it can't find anyone qualified, but students and some faculty aren't buying it. Three hundred students rallied on May 9 to demand more minority faculty members. Harvard has yet to respond.

Building occupation at Rutgers

On May 1, students occupied Milledola Hall at Rutgers University in New Jersey. They denounced tuition increases, reductions in course offerings, layoffs of university employees, and the university's refusal to negotiate with unionized workers. They demand a tuition freeze instead of the proposed 14% increase, and also fair contracts for workers at the university.

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


First strikes against the Chamorro regime

As soon as the U.S.-backed Chamorro government took power it began to attack the Nicaraguan workers. She immediately devalued the Nicaraguan currency by 100%, and has since devalued it three more times. The already high cost of living flew through the ceiling. Then the new capitalist government suspended a just-passed Civil Service law that helped protect public employees from firing. And she began laying off workers from state-owned projects.

The leadership of the Sandinistas continued to call on the masses to restrain themselves, to support "stability" and "national unity" with the capitalist rulers. But the workers would have none of it. And the leaders of the CST, the Sandinista union center, were forced to call a strike.

About 60,000 public sector workers eventually walked off the job. Many of them occupied their work places and locked the government ministers out of their offices. The strike paralyzed telephone service, public transportation, airports, border crossings, state-run banks, and ministries. The workers demanded a 200% salary increase and the restoration of the Civil Service law.

Chamorro tried to get tough with the strikers. She declared the strike illegal and threatened to dismiss any workers who did not report to their jobs by May 15. But the strike spread, and the workers defied her ultimatum. The government sent what had been the Sandinista police force to dislodge strikers from the occupied buildings. Police ordered the workers out, fired tear gas into some buildings, and tried to force their way in. But workers resisted them, and the police were eventually withdrawn.

The next day the government partially caved into the workers' demands. It agreed to a 100% wage increase. It promised to reinstate any workers who had been dismissed in violation of the Civil Service law. And it also agreed to enforce the law on the basis of new negotiations with the union leaders.

The top Sandinista leadership allowed some room for the strike to develop, but limited it. Their main interest was to make use of the workers' pressure to get a better deal for themselves in the new regime. On May 16, the Sandinista chief Daniel Ortega called for Chamorro to hold new negotiations with the Sandinistas. He declared, "We are not interested in overthrowing this government. On the contrary, we are interested in stability. But the President is acting in a unilateral fashion, not taking the people into account but instead acting against them." By decrying "unilateral" action, Ortega was complaining that Chamorro was not consulting the Sandinista leaders enough. And he held out the promise that the Sandinistas could bring "stability" by holding the masses in check.

The Sandinista leaders have made themselves junior partners in the new capitalist regime. If the masses are to defend themselves, they will have to fight their way free of the Sandinista influence, and organize an independent movement.

[Photo: Striking public sector workers in Nicaragua resist attacks by the police. Sandinista police are now serving Chamorro.]

Contras win new concessions and still don't disarm

The U.S.-backed army of counterrevolution, the contras, were invited to Managua to meet with Violeta Chamorro on May 8. They were supposed to have begun disarming on April 25. But once again they had balked, demanding the dismantling of the Nicaraguan army before they laid down their own arms. Chamorro met with them in still another round of negotiations.

The May 8th accord reiterated previous agreements. And Chamorro gave the contras still further concessions. She agreed to announce a plan of cuts in the army and begin implementing them by June 10, the same day the contras are supposed to finish disarming. She also agreed to give legal status to a political party the contras plan to form. And she agreed to establish agricultural "development" zones and give the contras financial assistance to "satisfy their material needs."

Allowing the contras to remain concentrated in their own economic zones means ensuring they have a base to maintain a cohesive right-wing force. From this base they could easily rearm themselves, from stores of weapons they have hidden, to terrorize the peasants in the countryside. There are already reports of the contras engaging in cattle rustling and other banditry. They have even stopped vehicles on several major roads, including the Pan-American Highway near the northern town of Esteli. They have stripped travelers of money, belongings, even their shoes.

Still, the Sandinistas were quick to hail the new agreement. Reynaldo Antonio Tefel, a Sandinista leader and a vice-president of the National Assembly, declared that although the talks produced "nothing new," they were nonetheless a "step toward peace."

Hardly. It is reported that only about 1,000 of 10,000 contras have so far given up arms to United Nations forces. And on May 18, the contras once again declared that they would refuse to disarm for an indefinite period. Upset by the gains won by the public sector strike, they demanded that the Chamorro government overcome "the current climate of social uncertainty and instability." What next will Chamorro give these counter-revolutionary cutthroats?

10,000 workers march in Panama

Over 10,000 workers, unemployed and homeless people marched through Panama City on May Day. The protesters chanted "U.S. troops -- assassins -- out!" They carried banners and placards denouncing the U.S. invasion. They also demanded that the U.S. pay reparations to the families of thousands of people who were killed in the invasion and the thousands more who were made homeless.

The workers, as well, raised slogans against the Endara government's austerity measures and privatization program. So far, some 12,000 public sector workers have been fired as the Endara government sold off the formerly state-owned cement, telephone, electricity and water companies. The economic crisis in Panama has also led to the layoff of about construction workers, 95% of those in the industry. Much of the austerity and privatization measures have been dictated by the U.S. government and the International Monetary Fund as a condition for more loans and aid.

Solidarity activists march on Fort Benning

Over 200 activists from the movement in support of the Salvadoran people marched on Fort Benning on April 28. A car caravan decorated with anti-military banners drove through Columbus, Georgia and out to the entrance of the base. They held a rally, chanting "We know what this place is for -- murder in El Salvador." About 10 protesters were arrested when they tried to enter the base.

Since 1985, Fort Benning has been the home of the "School of the Americas." It is there that Salvadoran soldiers are trained by the U.S. to carry out their brutal war against the workers and peasants. In the last decade, more than 6,000 Salvadoran soldiers have been trained at the school, including four of the nine soldiers indicted for the murder last fall of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter.

Democrats wring their hands--and fund the death squads

The Democrats have put up a new bill aimed at putting a stop to the struggle of the workers and peasants of El Salvador.

The Democrats proposed to cut in half military aid to the death-squad government of Alfredo Cristiani -- but only on the condition that Salvadoran insurgents do not carry out any military offensive that threatens the survival of the government of Alfredo Cristiani, negotiate in good faith, and stop receiving arms from outside El Salvador. In short, stop fighting and cave in to the death-squad government. And for what, so the Salvadoran army gets only $42.5 million instead of its usual $85 million a year.

But the Democrats claim their bill is "even handed" because it threatens to cut off all military aid if Cristiani is overthrown in a coup, if the government fails to negotiate in good faith, or if it fails to prosecute those responsible for killing six Jesuit priests last November.

Of course, under the bill any aid withheld from the military would still be sent to El Salvador as economic aid. This is a convenient trick that Congress has used more than once to continue to prop up the Salvadoran tyranny while claiming it was protesting human rights violations. And then who is to decide if the government is negotiating in "good faith?" Why, George Bush of course. And he's opposing this bill itself and any cut in aid. Fat chance that the U.S. will stop supporting the Salvadoran tyrants.

If the Democrats really wanted "peace" in El Salvador, as they claim, they could immediately end all support for the Salvadoran regime. All sides admit that it is only U.S. aid that props up this government, and that if the aid stopped, the people would overthrow it. But the Democrats don't want a peace on the terms of the workers and peasants. They want to put an end to the revolutionary struggle, and they are trying to use "peace negotiations" to this end.

Unfortunately, the leaders of the FMLN guerrillas are falling for just such negotiations. In the last period, they say that the negotiations will not deal with the social demands of the workers and peasants entirely. They also no longer demand the dismantling of the military and other apparatus of the fascist tyranny, declaring they would agree to reducing the army to about the size it was before the civil war broke out. And they don't even demand that U.S. imperialism get out and give up El Salvador as one of its spheres of domination. Today their demands are reduced to running in an election under the present tyranny and a return to the situation that existed before the civil war broke out. In short, they are willing to settle for the extreme repression and exploitation of the working people by the U.S.-backed oligarchy that has existed for decades and which led to the uprisings of the masses in the first place.

But even this may be more than the Salvadoran military will stand for. The openly fascist military chief and politicians of Cristiani's ARENA party still have hopes they can smash in blood the mass struggles. Rumors have begun to fly that if Cristiani goes too far in negotiations with the guerrillas there will be a coup to overthrow him.

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For workers' socialism, not revisionist state-capitalism!

No to U.S. threats against Cuba!

Bush is tightening the screws on Cuba. In May, the Pentagon carried out maneuvers in the Caribbean, including at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo on the island of Cuba itself.

This comes on the heels of several other hostile acts against Cuba.

In March, the U.S. government launched TV Marti, its latest propaganda weapon against that country. On January 30, the Coast Guard attacked an unarmed Cuban-chartered freighter which was in international waters carrying chrome ore to Mexico. And back in December, Cuban soldiers were fired on by American troops in Guantanamo.

U.S. politicians make no secret of their desire to oust the Cuban government. Their appetite has been whetted by the collapse of Cuba's revisionist allies in Eastern Europe. And after the bloody invasion of Panama and the buying of Chamorro's election victory in Nicaragua, the U.S. ruling class is swaggering around, drunk with imperialist arrogance. The Pentagon is already itching for new military adventures in Latin America -- in the guise of the "war on drugs."

Three decades of hostility

U.S. imperialism never reconciled itself to the revolution of 1959, which overthrew the tyranny of Batista and went on to displace the old capitalist-landlord elite and the supremacy of Washington. For 31 years, Washington has kept up a harsh economic blockade. There have been repeated CIA efforts to kill Castro. And during the Reagan years, the economic and military pressure was tightened further.

Why the venom against Cuba today?

Because it is the last remaining government in this hemisphere which refuses to subordinate itself to U.S. dictate and it has survived for three decades in the face of U.S. hostility. Never mind that Castro has put out several feelers to improve relations with Washington -- Bush will have none of that. The U.S. government wants domination, nothing less.

What is more, U.S. imperialism thinks that with the ousting of the Cuban regime, the revolutionary infection in Latin America will be done away with. Never mind that revolution emerges from the miserable conditions of the masses across the hemisphere. And never mind that Castro has long given up advocating revolutionary solutions in Latin America. Indeed he has been busy hobnobbing with all sorts of bourgeois rulers, from Salinas who stole the elections in Mexico to De Collor who's presiding over a depression in Brazil. And wherever there is revolutionary struggle, such as in El Salvador, Castro believes that the left-wing movements should reconcile with the exploiters.

Some U.S. politicians have taken note of these reformist stands from Cuba and would like to come to a deal with Castro. They prefer a "soft" imperialist policy to woo him into the U.S. fold. But these forces aren't the ones who dominate the U.S. government and mainstream political thinking today. The right-wing politicians a la Bush and Quayle simply want revenge against the Cuban revolution.

They hate the fact that the Cuban revolution opened the way to significant economic and social improvements for the workers and peasants. Improvements which only took place because the old exploiters were ousted from power. True, a bureaucratic elite under Castro has since consolidated a state-capitalist system in Cuba, but the conditions for the Cuban masses remain superior to the misery commonly seen in the slums across Latin America. To U.S. imperialism, that is a crime; such an example cannot be tolerated.

U.S. smells blood

Cuba is in a tight situation today. It's being economically squeezed by the collapse of its erstwhile allies in Eastern Europe. The Cuban revolution freed that country from U.S. domination, but the Castro regime turned the country into an economic and political satellite of the Soviet bloc. The Cuban economy has lived on Soviet subsidies and it is dependent on the Soviet bloc in terms of what's produced locally, what's imported and what's exported. Today, these economic relations are threatened. And Cuba faces trying times ahead.

Bush smells blood. Military aggression can't be ruled out, but it would require a suitable pretext. Washington knows that military means alone would have a hard time subduing Cuba. They would have a bloody war on their hands and the political ramifications across Latin America would be high. Thus the U.S. government hopes that its own hostility, the country's economic crisis, and further pressure from Gorbachev in Moscow will create enough discontent in Cuba to bring down the regime.

Castro's regime is no workers' model, but U.S. dictate would be worse

The Marxist-Leninist Party, USA doesn't believe that Cuba is a workers' state or some type of socialist land. We are opposed to Castro's bureaucratic order and have long condemned his foreign policy, whether for his advocacy of class collaboration to the Latin American left or for his shameful military support for such murderous pro-Soviet despots as Mengistu in Ethiopia.

But we stand firmly opposed to U.S.-dictated change in Cuba. If the workers and laborers of Cuba are to make progress, they need even more revolutionary changes, not a U.S.-sponsored turn backwards. Such changes must be the task of the Cuban toilers themselves.

A U.S. victory in Cuba would be a big setback for the Cuban masses. The replacement of Castro's state-capitalism, which has blunted some of the worst excesses of capitalism, with private capitalism of the typical Latin American sort will mean the restoration of miserable slums, the elimination of health care and education for the poor, and severe rates of exploitation of the toilers.

Workers and progressive people in the U.S. must demand that Cuba's right of self-determination be upheld. We raise our voices and shout out loud:

U.S. imperialism, Hands Off Cuba!

In coming issues "Workers' Advocate" will carry further articles on Cuba, discussing both the history and the present character of Cuban revisionist policies.

Down with Gorbachev's attacks on Lithuania!

In Lithuania, transportation and industry are grinding to a halt and the hardship of the people is increasing -- the result of the cutoff of fuel supplies to the republic ordered by Gorbachev several weeks ago. The Lithuanian parliament had voted on March 11 to separate from the Soviet Union, but Moscow wants to keep Lithuania by coercion.

Increasingly, the nations on the periphery of the Soviet Union are moving towards separatism. This is the result of many decades of heavy-handed rule by the Russian-dominated Soviet state-capitalist government and the growth of local bourgeois elites who, in the conditions of the current economic crisis, want to go it alone. Lithuania's declaration of independence has been followed by somewhat similar decisions from Latvia and Estonia. Moscow's principal reply has been to threaten force and use economic pressure in order to bully the republics into line. Several attempts at compromise have taken place, but only to fall apart the next day.

Gorbachev's oppressive stand towards the smaller nationalities is reprehensible. Attempts to keep a multinational country together by force will only feed the fires of wider unrest and the prospect of national wars. The bitterness of national conflicts can only be eased by recognizing the right of self-determination.

However, the path of separatism being championed by the local elites will not bring progress to the working people of these nations either. Instead of being exploited by Moscow they will be exploited by their local wealthy upper crust. And many of these local regimes themselves are no champions of democracy.

The Lithuanian government, for example, has embraced a series of undemocratic ideas, and it denies the rights of the minorities living there. And the government praises to the skies the independent government of Lithuania between World War I and II -- a government which evolved into a fascist dictatorship against the working people and minorities. It won't also come to grips with the fact that during World War II numbers of Lithuanian nationalists eagerly took part in massacres of the local Jews, hand in hand with the German Nazis who then occupied the country.

Both Moscow's brute force and local separatism will end up bringing disaster to the toilers across the Soviet Union. Progress for the working people requires unity of the toilers of all nationalities -- against Moscow's capitalist rulers as well as all the local exploiters. This is the path that the Bolsheviks adopted against the Tsarist Empire during the October Revolution of 1917 -- a path which opened up for a time genuine national equality and tremendous progress for the oppressed nations. Although that was reversed later as the Soviet government degenerated, it cannot tarnish that example as the only time when the toilers lived free of exploitation and national hatreds.

East German workers demand job security

Thousands of East German workers took to the streets in May to protest against their jobs being sacrificed on the altar of German unification.

Teachers struck in Berlin and other cities. Farm workers blocked highways, and shoe-making workers held short strikes in Leipzig and other industrial towns. The workers are demanding job security as the two Germanies move toward unification, which the bourgeoisie predicts will bring massive unemployment.

And how is the East German government planning to deal with the workers' concerns? The Interior Minister recently made a special request of the West German government, for 8,000 riot shields and 800 pistols.

Police force to defend anti-worker policies -- this is supposed to be the democratic alternative to the tyranny of the false communists?

[Photo: East German teachers demonstrate in Berlin to demand job security.]

Rail strikes mount in Poland

The Polish workers can't take it anymore.

They voted into power the Solidarity government as the alternative to the discredited rule of the old state-capitalist bureaucrats. But this new government, with its undying faith in the free market, has given them "shock therapy." Since January 1, prices have zoomed sky high, wages have remained frozen, and real income has been cut in half. Unemployment has hit hundreds of thousands and is steadily climbing. The light at the end of the tunnel promised by Solidarity is nowhere to be seen.

In late May, a wildcat railway strike spread across northwest Poland. It began May 20 in the city of Slupsk and quickly spread. All transport to the country's two largest ports was shut down. The strikers demanded 20% pay raises and the dismissal of railroad directors appointed by the old revisionist government.

Although these demands are modest, the government has refused to budge. Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki called the walkout illegal and refuses to talk with the workers. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa has also come out against the strike. However, he is trying to manipulate the workers in his favor because he is currently locked in a factional squabble with the Mazowiecki government. Therefore he tells them that he supports their goals but they are using the wrong methods. The right methods, presumably, are to line up behind his bid to become the next president of Poland.

These are not stands which would come from champions of the workers' interests. They are typical of bourgeois politicians who merely speak in the name of the workers. The Polish workers are quite justified in taking the path of struggle. They have quite properly rejected Walesa's plea and are escalating their job action. Perhaps the rail strike will be a signal to other workers that "enough is enough." This is the worst nightmare of the new government -- the workers should make it come true.

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The World in Struggle


Palestinian rebellion breaks out anew

Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. press -- for the umpteenth time -- had pronounced the death of the Palestinian intifada (uprising). But once again, they have been proved wrong.

In May the intifada heated up and then exploded in rage. The massacre of seven Palestinian day-laborers by an Israeli ex-soldier gave rise to fiery demonstrations in Israel and throughout the whole region.

Clearly, so long as Israel's jackboot weighs down on the Palestinians, this struggle will not be easily extinguished, no matter what its ups and downs.

Intifada revives

There had been a relative lull in the uprising, but this came to an end on May 14, when protests occurred throughout the West Bank and Gaza. May 14 is the anniversary of the founding of Israel, which was created on the basis of uprooting and oppressing the Palestinian nation.

King Hussein's regime also attacks Palestinian protests

The demonstrators received the support of Palestinians living next door in Jordan. Trade unions and other organizations in Jordan organized a massive march on May 14 that expressed support for the intifada and denounced the influx of new immigrants from the Soviet Union into Israel. (Jewish immigrants are being cynically used by the Israeli government as settlers in the occupied territories.)

The march headed toward Jordan's border with Israel. When they got close, about 2,500 of the demonstrators made a run for the border. Jordanian police and army troops fired at them with rifles and tear gas, and a battle ensued which lasted an hour and a half. The troops, backed by tanks, repelled the protesters, who suffered 100 casualties.

Outrage at Israeli murderer

A new outpouring of mass protest came on May 20. On that day in Tel Aviv, an Israeli ex-soldier gunned down, in cold blood, seven Palestinians who were waiting to be hired as day labor.

Riots broke out immediately afterward in the occupied territories, and a general strike was declared. The Israeli army placed a complete curfew on Gaza; nonetheless, the masses swarmed into the streets. Palestinians attacked Israeli army patrols and outposts, hurling rocks and firebombs. The protests gathered strength throughout the day despite fierce repression -- soldiers killed another seven Palestinians and wounded 700.

The next day the outrage spread into Israel proper, which really scared the authorities. In Arab villages throughout Israel, from the Negev desert to the Golan Heights, youths hoisted the Palestinian flag and stoned police. In Nazareth they burned an Israeli flag, smashed stores, set fire to a bank, and fought running battles with police. In East Jerusalem they stoned cars, threw gasoline bombs, and blocked roads.

Protests continued in the occupied territories, where the sky was black from barricades of burning tires. Israeli soldiers sent another 700 Palestinians to the hospital on this day with injures from bullets, rubber bullets, beatings and tear gas; several more were killed. Hundreds of Palestinian women tried to demonstrate outside the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem, but were attacked by police.

On May 22, the protests spread to Jordan. About 15,000 people protested in the city of Irbid, where they clashed with police (one protester was killed). And 7,000 demonstrated at the Baqaa refugee camp outside Amman, where police also killed one protester.

Israeli leaders' flimsy excuse

Alongside their murderous display of force, the Israeli leaders are striking an injured pose. They say the May 20 massacre was carried out by a crazy individual, who was supposedly distraught over being rejected by his lover. They say there is no reason why the Israeli government should be held accountable.

Really? How is it that a spurned lover decides to take it out on innocent Palestinians?

Whether he was deranged or not, whether he was part of the fascist death-squad (which exist) or he acted all by himself, the Israeli murderer demonstrated in a dramatic fashion what is in fact official policy of the Israeli establishment. On an everyday basis Israeli policies create an atmosphere of hatred toward, and dehumanization of, the Palestinians. These create a climate where murder of Palestinians is acceptable. The military routinely shoots Palestinians, and Israeli civilians who murder Palestinians get nothing more than taps on the wrist by the courts.

Meanwhile, in the midst of this storm, the Israeli parliament quietly voted another $17 million for new roads and settlements to be built in the occupied territories. The Israeli establishment is not getting ready to make any concessions to the oppressed Palestinians. Far from it. They want to keep the occupied territories as Israel's, where Palestinians can live as third-class citizens under the military jackboot or leave.

Say No! to U.S. backing for Israel!

This is the type of regime which the U.S. government backs up as "our most reliable ally" in the Middle East. For the sake of diplomacy, and hoping to cool the Palestinians down, Bush may chide the Israelis a bit and talk about the "peace process." But the reality of U.S. policy is the over $3 billion in aid which Washington sends Israel each year -- aid which directly backs up the brutal subjugation of the Palestinian people.

Workers in the U.S. must raise their voices against the Israeli outrages and the U.S. support.

[Photo: Jordanian troops attack a Palestinian solidarity march trying to enter Israeli-occupied West Bank.]

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Filipinos demonstrate against U.S. bases

From May Day on, there have been many demonstrations against U.S. military bases in the Philippines.

The U.S. and Philippine governments began negotiations on the bases on May 14. Hundreds of students and workers gathered that day in Manila to demand "U.S. Out!" President Aquino's riot police attacked the protesters with tear gas and truncheons, severely injuring seven and arresting 81.

Aquino wants the bases to remain, only she wants the U.S. to pay more for their lease. The bases help prop up her regime as well as ensure U.S. imperialism's military supremacy in Southeast Asia.

But the working people of the Philippines want the imperialist bases removed forever.

Haitian workers struggle against regime

Workers in Haiti are struggling to build their mass movement as the government slides into right-wing terror. Newly installed President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot, like the previous succession of presidents, is doing nothing to smash the Tonton Macoutes terror system which has a tight grip on the army and security forces. Right-wing assault squads are running roughshod, trying to intimidate workers who are in the midst of a strike wave. Workers have shut down flour mills, fishing boats, electricity and telephones in protests against the government.

Peruvian workers strike, U.S. military digs claws in

The bankrupt Peruvian government is being besieged by workers' demands that their livelihood be protected. In May 5,000 copper miners just ended a seven- week strike, and the government was immediately faced with the prospect of another 17,000 miners going out. Meanwhile, 30,000 independent bus drivers struck for one day, choking off transport in Lima.

In rural Peru, meanwhile, the U.S. government is planning to build a new military base under the guise of President Bush's "war on drugs." Bush is sending an extra $35 million to Peru this year to train and equip planes, boats and ground troops. Funny thing, though -- this effort will all be directed against leftist guerrillas, not against the drug kingpins.

Bush's military aid to the Peruvian government has nothing to do with fighting drugs. It has everything to do with the imperialists trying to prop up a bankrupt and hated capitalist regime. It will especially strengthen the Peruvian military which is renowned for massive human rights violations as part of its counterinsurgency terror.

Brazilian workers take on De Collor

In May steel workers launched the first mass struggle against Brazil's new president, Fernando De Collor. Workers at the state-owned Volta Redondo plant occupied the plant for a day to protest De Collor's plans to privatize state industry. De Collor's plan would mean job and wage cuts.

De Collor is being lionized as a populist anti-inflation fighter. It is true that by freezing large bank accounts, he has temporarily suspended the spiraling cost of living. But choking off the money supply has meant a depression in industry and commerce -- with a huge rise in unemployment.

At some point the freeze will come off, and as the frenzied search for profits resumes, inflationary pressures will kick in with a vengeance. De Collor has merely bought a small respite -- at a heavy cost.

Meanwhile, the imperialists tell De Collor, the real key to fighting inflation is to slash the government budget. This translates into slashing the living standards of state workers and giving away state industry to private millionaires. The workers aren't excited about that prospect.

Miners clash with police in Bolivia

Miners took over the main avenue in La Paz, Bolivia's capital, on May 10. Police fired tear gas and birdshot at the workers, who retaliated by throwing firecrackers at the police.

Miners had been converging on the city for several days. They came to build support for a general strike called on April 26 to demand better wages and working conditions. The strike had been dying down after the leaders of the teachers' union struck a deal with the government. But miners and other workers demanded that the fight not be abandoned.

Mexican workers battle police on May Day

Discontented workers organized an independent May Day march in Mexico City. Tens of thousands joined the march of the "independents" who refuse to parade May Day under the banner of the pro-government CTM trade union. Workers carried a coffin with the name "Fidel" on it, referring to the CTM boss, the notorious labor traitor Fidel Velasquez. And they carried banners denouncing the CTM leaders as sellouts.

The dissidents' march tried to enter the official parade in the Zocalo (Mexico City's main plaza). But they were turned back after clashing with police.

The workers' march was led by auto workers from the Ford plant in Cuautitlan and striking workers from the Modelo brewery in Mexico City (makers of Corona beer). Both these sections of workers have been the victims of vicious company attacks, which have been backed by the CTM.

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[Photo: Women march in Katmandu in what's reported to be the first May Day rally in Nepal's history.]

[Photo: International Workers' Day march in Chicago organized by the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA]

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