Workers' Advocate

Vol. 23, No. 5


25 cents July 20,1993

[Front page:

Anti-abortion bullies foiled!--A victory for clinic defense;

U.S./UN massacre Somalis--What kind of 'humanitarianism' is this?;

Clinton scapegoats the foreign-born]


Clinton keeps military gays in closet................................................................ 2
Why Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg................................................. 2

Profit-based medicine is sick

400 in L.A. demand single-payer health plan................................................... 3
Blue Cross is sick............................................................................................. 3
The health care maze........................................................................................ 3

Defend immigrant workers!

Speak out against language discrimination....................................................... 4
Clinton vs. the Chinese boat people................................................................. 4
America's modern indentured slavery.............................................................. 4
Why do they come?.......................................................................................... 4
Supreme Court vs. Haitian refugees................................................................. 11
Thousands in Toronto support immigrants....................................................... 11

Down with racism!

UCLA students win Chicana/Chicano studies.................................................. 5
Against overcrowded schools in Chicago......................................................... 5
Another racist murder by Detroit cops............................................................. 5
Detroit march vs. racism.................................................................................. 5
Supreme Court helps bosses discriminate........................................................ 5

Defend womens rights!

OR chased through San Jose............................................................................ 6
Hundreds protect Cleveland clinics.................................................................. 6
Clinic defense in Philadelphia.......................................................................... 6
House denies abortion funding for the poor …................................................ 7
Anti-abortion campaign flops........................................................................... 7

Strikes & workplace news

Coal strike spreads; San Diego drywallers....................................................... 8
Staley workers; Nurses vs. takebacks............................................................... 8
Refinery workers walkout; USPS harassment.................................................. 8
L.A. County workers face huge cutbacks......................................................... 8

World in struggle

Fired Mexican oil workers protest.................................................................... 5
Ukrainian miners strike.................................................................................... 8
Deal signed on the return of Aristide................................................................ 10
Solidarity with Timex strike in Scotland.......................................................... 10

No more bombing of Iraq!..................................................................................... 7
Bosnia-the tragedy of nationalism......................................................................... 9
What led to the clashes in Somalia?...................................................................... 12

Anti-abortion bullies foiled!

A victory for clinic defense

U.S./UN massacre Somalis

What kind of 'humanitarianism' is this?

Clinton scapegoats the foreign-born

Clinton to keep gays locked in the Pentagon closet

Why Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court?

Profit-based medicine is sick

Defend immigrant workers!


Fired oil workers in Mexico protest

Defend women's rights!

No to the bombing of Iraq!

Strikes and workplace news

Strike by Ukrainian miners wins some demands

Bosnia: The tragedy of nationalism in a multi-ethnic land

The world in struggle

Anti-abortion bullies foiled!

A victory for clinic defense

[Photo: Pro-choice activist in San Jose denounces anti-abortion bigot.]

Operation Rescue launched its 10-day "Cities of Refuge" campaign in mid-July. They boasted that they would shut down health clinics performing abortions and harass patients and medical personnel in seven cities across the country: Philadelphia; Melbourne, Florida; Minneapolis; Cleveland; Dallas/Fort Worth; San Jose, California; and Jackson, Mississippi. Reportedly, they spent months training "impact teams."

But wherever OR went, they couldn't find refuge. Hundreds of women's rights activists turned out in city after city to keep the clinics open. OR was confronted at clinic after clinic. Sometimes OR even faced counter-demonstrations outside its own organizing meetings, or Patrick Buchanan) to scapegoat immigrants. But it would not wash then, and it won't wash now.

OR has accomplished little. They couldn't mount a serious blockade in most cities, and contented themselves with standing across the street from clinics or with picketing doctors at their homes.

This was a sign of the crisis facing the anti-abortion zealots. Last year, they had boasted they would shut down clinics in Buffalo, New York in a "spring of life," but instead hundreds of activists gathered in front of clinics and stopped OR in its tracks. This encouraged pro-choice activists to turn back clinic blockades elsewhere in the following months. As time went on, OR and other anti-abortion zealots became more desperate. They stepped up the firebombing and acid bombing of clinics, and they targeted individual doctors, leading to the murder of Dr. David Gunn in March by a "pro-life" fanatic.

But this terrorism has backfired on OR. It has revealed to even more people that OR is not a movement for people's rights, as it claims, but an organization dedicated to denying women's rights and to imposing its own religious bigotry on the whole country.

OR has been frustrated not by the federal government, not by the courts, not by the cops, but by the actions of thousands of activists across the country. Their willingness to march for women's rights, to spend long hours in front of clinics, and to confront religious fanatics, has changed the atmosphere. But just because another campaign of OR has fizzled, it's not time to pack up and go home. There's still more to do, both to keep the clinics open, and to organize the working people in their own defense against poverty and discrimination. Mass action remains the key to defending women's rights.

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U.S./UN massacre Somalis

What kind of 'humanitarianism' is this?

Under the banner of humanitarianism, U.S. and UN troops have been shooting down hundreds of people in Somalia, many of then unarmed civilians. This is supposed to be the new United Nations model of "peacemaking."

The Reagan and Bush years may be over, but Bill Clinton is proving that the right-wing Republicans had no monopoly on doublespeak.

In fact, relief and humanitarian operations have all but ground to a halt in Somalia. The U.S./UN military intervention is now focused on police action. From the beginning of June, U.S. and UN forces have been using warplanes, helicopters, and armored vehicles to attack Somali irregular forces loyal to Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid. There have been casualties on both sides, but in the midst of this conflict it is ordinary Somalis who have suffered the most.

How did this turn of events take place? Only last December, we were told that the U.S. and UN troops were going to Somalia to feed a starving nation. We were treated to TV footage showing Somalis being fed by foreign troops. And about how grateful they were for this assistance. Now we see pictures of Somalis demonstrating in the streets against the foreign military presence.

The truth is that from the outset, humanitarianism wasn't at the heart of the intervention in Somalia. Somalia had been suffering for years, but the UN and U.S. had turned their backs. They wouldn't even organize a substantial relief airlift.

Last December, George Bush sent in U.S. troops to Somalia. This wasn't really about helping Somalia. Bush and the UN were looking to set up Somalia as a test case for global police action.

Somalia is now one of several parts of the world where wars have brought about tremendous dislocation and insome cases the outright collapse of states. Some of this was brought on by Cold War rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, where they injected tons of weapons into poor countries in Asia and Africa. The civil strife has also been fed by the crisis of poor economies, in many cases worsened by huge debt burdens taken on in the 70's and 80's. The capitalist leaders of the world don't want to relieve the debt burden or take other serious measures which would alleviate the economic squeeze on the poor countries -- they would rather deal with the worst case scenarios by sending in troops for emergency police action.

Somalia was in need of humanitarian food assistance from outside. And given the disappearance of government authority and the collapse of the country into chaos, the Somalis may have had no choice but to accept a military intervention as part of the food aid. But progress in Somalia above all depended on a political solution among the rival clans and factions and general disarmament of all the armed forces. The UN and U.S. said they would work toward such ends. But it was always a dubious proposition that military intervention by anarmy known for brutalizing third world people, like the Pentagon, could play a helpful role in Somalia.

Events in Somalia have confirmed that skepticism.

Earlier this spring, most of the U.S.. troops left. And the UN declared that a political arrangement had been agreed to. They declared a big victory. And Somalia was forgotten from the newspapers and TV. Suddenly in June, Somalia is back in the news. And this time there isn't much humanitarian veneer. It's simply a police action.

The declarations of success in Somalia were a lie. In fact, the U.S. and UN on one side and the Somali warlord Aidid began a dangerous game of brinkmanship against one another. (In an inside article we detail the march of events in this conflict.)

While the U.S. acts tough, it isn't solving anything in Somalia. It's only making a bad situation worse. By declaring war on Aidid it has turned its back on work for a political solution and joined the civil war in that country. That is the beginning of a quagmire. Things are so bad that even a major capitalist country like Italy has come out dissenting with the force-first approach of the UN.

The bloody acts in Mogadishu show once again that this isn't about Somalia at all. It's about other imperial interests. It's about other imperialist interests. It's about Clinton looking tough in order to curry favor from Republican politicians, the generals and anti-foreigner chauvinism among the populace. It's about the Pentagon flexing its muscles in the post Cold War world and justifying the maintenance of a bloated war machine. It's about testing the UN's capability to move from traditional peacekeeping to more offensive operations. They can't do it in the former Yugoslavia, or in Angola, or in Cambodia, but in poor broken Somalia, they go and take easy shots. Poor Somalis pay a bitter price for the glory of this supposed humanitarianism.


Enough is enough. The U.S. has proved it is not capable of carrying out its declared goal of helping restore civil society in Somalia without launching a war against the people: Such is the nature of the Pentagon beast. The U.S. troops should get out. If the UN can't stop the militarist policy and work with the consent of the Somali people, it should get out too. Somali warlords have made that country into a terrible mess, but the U.S. presence is only making matters worse, not better.

[Photo: Somali people protest against U.S./UN atrocities.]

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Clinton scapegoats the foreign-born

Sweeping layoffs continue to hit one company after another. The economy shows no signs of climbing out of its funk. And President Clinton is looking around for a scapegoat. Recently he turned to a tired old racist trick -- blame the immigrants.

Indeed, while calling for tougher measures against immigrants in June, Clinton declared that "under the pressures that we face today we can't afford to lose control of our own borders or take on new financial burdens at a time when we are not adequately providing for the jobs, the health care and the education of our own people."

Here the liberal Clinton is picking up the racist language of the ultra-conservatives (like last year's contender for the Republican presidential nomination, Patrick Buchanan) to scapegoat immigrants. But it would not wash then, and it won't wash now.

Immigrants aren't the cause of unemployment or inadequate health care or deteriorating education in the U.S. Was it some Haitian refugee who just forced Procter & Gamble to eliminate 13,000 jobs? Did a poor Mexican seeking work in the U.S. order General Motors to wipe out 75,000 jobs? Was it a Chinese worker who allowed the insurance companies to make mountains of profits off the soaring health care costs?

Not a chance! It's the giant monopolies and the wealthiest capitalists who are eliminating jobs and who are profiting off the misery of workers both inside the U.S. and around the world.

But Clinton is trying to divert the working people's anger away from the corporate billionaires and into a fight among themselves -- between native and foreign-born workers.

Now ask yourself, will tougher measures against poor refugees and undocumented workers actually create more jobs for those born in the U.S.? Not. likely. Everybody knows that plenty of resources exist to create new jobs. But not at a profit for the capitalist businessmen. So, no matter what happens with immigrants, high unemployment will continue. Even if the economy gets out of its doldrums, there will still be more joblessness than in previous recoveries.

The workers' struggle for jobs and health care and education must target the filthy rich capitalists, not the immigrants. And for that struggle to become strong it must unite the workers of every nationality, both native-born and foreign-born.

The real reason the capitalists want a crusade against the immigrants is not to completely close U.S. borders. Rather, this crusade ensures that the immigrants are more terrorized, more forced into the underground, and easily maintained as a super-exploited section of the working class. All workers must come to their defense.

In this issue of the Workers' Advocate we carry a number of articles on the new wave of attacks and propaganda that is under way against immigrants. Backed by a recent Supreme Court ruling, the Clinton administration is cruelly grabbing Haitian refugees at sea and forcing them back to Haiti. It has extended that policy to Chinese boat people, as well. It is also backing tough new legislation to allow summary deportations of asylum seekers at airports and other ports of entry. And the president just launched a review of immigration policies with the aim of cracking down undocumented immigrants and cutting back legal immigration. At the same time, language discrimination is on the rise. The bombing of the World Trade Center is being used to foster fear of immigrants. And immigrants are being blamed for everything from unemployment to rising taxes.

Clinton is helping the capitalists step up the attacks on immigrants. The workers must come to their defense. No to the blockade against Haitian refugees! Shut down the detention camps and release the Chinese, Haitian and other immigrants being held in them! Full rights for all workers whether native or foreign-born, whether documented or undocumented!

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Clinton to keep gays locked in the Pentagon closet

Gay rights activists marched into the streets July 15 to protest the ban on gays in the military. A huge rally was held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. And smaller actions took place in many cities around the country.

This was the day that President Clinton had promised to announce his new executive order. But he put off the announcement in a final flurry of negotiations with the generals. Nevertheless, many activists expected his "compromise" to continue the persecution of gays in the military, and in some actions the president was denounced along with the generals and the Secretary of Defense Les As pin. In one action, placards of Clinton with Pinocchio's long nose read "Don't ask, don't tell -- don't work!"

Although the final order is not expected now until July 19 and 20, the New York Times and other major newspapers declared that Clinton had worked out a final agreement with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. To the generals' proposal that had been dubbed "Don't ask, don't tell," Clinton apparently added "don't pursue" in the last-minute wrangling.

This final compromise means that the official ban against homosexuals would remain unscathed. Lesbians and gays can still be blocked from enlistment and can still be thrown out of the military solely because of their sexual orientation. Only now the military is no longer supposed to ask recruits their sexual orientation -- "don't ask"; gays and lesbians are not supposed let their sexual orientation be known or engage in homosexual acts -- "don't tell"; and military investigations aimed at disciplining soldiers are supposed to be conducted only when there is "strong evidence of repeated homosexual conduct or ostentatious display" -- that is, "don't pursue." (New York Times, July 17)

Clinton's last minute quibble appears to make little difference, especially when you consider that it is to be carried out by a military bureaucracy set on persecuting homosexuals. In truth, Clinton's new order will simply mean putting a gag on lesbians and gay men in the military and keeping them locked in the closet, humiliated and deprived of the most basic rights.

The new policy is supposed to go into effect on October 1, 1993. But it hasn't satisfied anybody and really nothing is settled.

For example, Sam Nunn, the Georgia Democrat who heads the Armed Services Committee, was supposed to be in on the final deal. Nevertheless, he has declared his intention to draft a new law supposedly based on the principles of the executive order. In fact, his wording may be different. And what is more, a legislative battle in Congress is likely to change the policy in unpredictable ways.

Meanwhile, numerous lawsuits may push the matter all over the place. But given the reactionary drift of the Supreme Court, no faith should be put in legal maneuvers. It is the street demonstrations, rallies and marches which have won support for the struggle for gay rights and against discrimination and abuse, not Clinton or the courts. The administration's policy of issuing gags for gay and lesbian recruits not only hurts the individual, it undermines the struggle, by trying to silence it.

The fight to lift the military ban on gays is a demand for basic legal rights in all sectors of society. But this should by no means be taken to be an endorsement of the U.S. imperialist military machine. It should not be forgotten that the U.S. military is an instrument of oppression of people all around the world and a bastion of racism, sexism, and homophobia including against its own enlistees. The rampant sexual abuse at Tailhook and the gunning down of a young female lieutenant at Fort Bragg, N.C. for refusing to dance with another officer, are a couple of recent examples.

Today the crusade against homosexuals is in the forefront of the capitalists' efforts to build a right-wing mass movement. The military chiefs have taken up the cudgel, along with the religious right and many politicians in Congress. Clinton is going along with them. It is up to the mass movement to take a stand independent from Clinton and the Democrats and Republicans alike, and based on organizing among the everyday workers and poor people.

[Photo:Gay rights protesters denounce Clinton's plan outside the military recruitment center in Royal Oak, Michigan on July 15.]

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Why Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court?

On June 14, Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court to replace the retiring Justice Byron White. Ginsburg received the praise of most establishment politicians, whether liberal or conservative. The liberals referred back nostalgically to her work on gender-equality cases in the 1970's. The conservatives looked hopefully on her record as an appeals court judge during the 1980's, during which time she sided frequently with Reaganite judges.

Is this the type of nomination people wanted?

Many people voted for Clinton out of fear of more Republican nominations to the Supreme Court. They expected Clinton to nominate some crusader who would be willing to fight against a Supreme Court made up of moderate conservatives and ultra-conservatives. They wanted someone to defend civil rights, abortion rights, and people's rights in general.

But what are they going to get?

As a lawyer

The 70's were her heroic period, when she argued six gender-equality cases before the Supreme Court, winning five of them. One of them, for instance, dealt with the necessity to have women on juries. Others dealt with regulations that favored either men over women or women over men.

But there are different views among women's rights activists about what equality should mean. For Ginsburg, it includes eliminating all protective laws. She has said that "The special treatment for pregnancy cases may be a big winner in court for the female complainant. But the doctrine that emerges, I fear, may blunt the equal-treatment victories of the 1970's." (From a 1985 roundtable discussion at Rutgers Law School, cited in the July 11 Detroit Free Press.)

As a judge

In 1980, then-President Carter, a Democrat, appointed her to the District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. During her 13 years there she became a swing vote, when the liberal and conservative judges disagreed. Most commentators say she was a "centrist" who sat in the middle. For example, "A 1988 computer study by Legal Times newspaper found that she had sided more with Republican-appointed colleagues than Democratic counterparts. In cases that were not unanimous she voted most often with then-Judge Kenneth W. Starr, who became George Bush's solicitor general, and Laurence H. Silberman, a Reagan appointee still on the court." (Washington Post National Weekly Edition, June 21-27, p. 7)

Consider some of her judicial actions. In 1984 Ginsburg went along with the Appeals Court allowing the Navy's discharge of a gay sailor. In 1986, she went along with a ruling that said that, although the courts might review any particular decision, the CIA generally had the right to fire someone for being homosexual. And in 1990, she dismissed a 20-year-old civil rights suit which aimed at getting the federal government to desegregate higher education.

Nor is she completely happy with Roe v. Wade, which she criticized in a speech on March 9 to the New York University School of Law. She believes that the Supreme Court shouldn't have wiped out all the state anti-abortion laws, but simply the extreme one before it at the time. Instead she would have liked the court to have let the states bicker on and on about what to allow. This seems to put her somewhere near the present Supreme Court majority, which doesn't openly reverse Roe v. Wade, but allows the states to put many heavy restrictions on abortion.

On the Supreme Court

If her nomination is accepted by the Senate, Ginsburg would probably reinforce the Supreme Court's "moderates" over the ultra-rightists led by Scalia and Chief Justice Rehnquist. And she is likely to be better than Byron White, who she is replacing. But that isn't saying much.

Some people note that, as an appeals judge, Ginsburg showed a concern to stay in line with the Supreme Court decisions of the time. They hope that, once on the Supreme Court, she would feel free to make better rulings, for example, concerning gays. On the other hand, she also has expressed the view that the courts should stay near what the state and federal legislatures are thinking, and seek to nudge them along. And she even thinks that stinging dissents in the courts undermine their authority.

Well, it is not always clear how someone will behave once they have their lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. But it's clear that Clinton picked her to show that he was not a crusader against the right-wing offensive, but a "new Democrat," who is seeking to find "consensus" with conservative themes. Indeed, in his speech nominating Ginsburg, Clinton called for "consensus-building" on the Supreme Court, even though it is dominated by the right wing. (New York Times June 15) He praised Ginsburg for quoting a previous Supreme Court justice who said "The Supreme Court is not a place for solo performers," although anything but a conservative Republican is an endangered species on the present Supreme Court. And he added "Ruth Bader Ginsburg cannot be called a liberal or a conservative." Nor can Clinton be called a fighter for the people's rights.

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Profit-based medicine is sick


400 in L.A. demand single-payer health plan


400 people in Los Angeles rallied for a single-payer health plan on Sunday, June 27. A single:payer plan means that the government would directly fund medical care, rather than paying money to the insurance companies to have them do it. It would eliminate the private insurers who are helping drown the health care system in paperwork and administrative overhead and bloated executive salaries.


But Clinton's health plan, "managed competition," is based on maintaining the insurance companies. The huge funds needed for national health coverage would be funneled through regional super-agencies to the insurance companies, who would grow still larger and wealthier.

The Los Angeles rally was organized by a coalition of unions, activists and some Democratic Party politicians in support of Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone's health reform bill, S491, and a similar bill in the House, HR Bill 1200. Many, but not all, of the speakers criticized Clinton's "managed competition." But they sought to draw their listeners into Democratic Party activities. For example, Tony Mazzochi, of Labor Party Advocates fame, spoke as an Oil Workers union activist, but said nothing against the Democratic Party; instead he supported Senator Wellstone and some other Democrats, and kept silent about the Labor Party he supposedly stands for.


Among the people at the rally were strikers from Cal Spas in Pomona and Ontario, California, who went out on June 18, and other rank and filers from United Electrical workers union (UE). There was also a group of retired workers. And there was a contingent of 40 from the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILWGU) who were the loudest in chanting in English and Spanish: "Si se puede," "We want health care NOW!" and "Workers united will never be defeated." The workers in a number of small garment shops in L.A. have joined ILGWU, and these Latino workers are militant.

Supporters of the Marxist-Leninist Party had a good reception when they distributed the Workers Advocate and a leaflet. The leaflet pointed to denouncing Clinton's waffling on health care. And it showed that the union leaders, while they talked about a "single-payer system," were beginning to cave in to Clinton's "managed competition."


Blue Cross is sick


The high-living and incompetence of the health insurance execs has landed one of the biggest companies, New York's Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in a major financial scandal. Last year, the company pleaded poverty and was allowed by the state government to increase its charge to subscribers a whopping 25% more for health coverage. Indeed Empire had just lost some $250 million and was exhausting its financial reserves.

However Empire executives had fed the state false financial records to cover up their own responsibility for this debacle. This led to a U.S. Senate investigation into Blue Cross/Blue Shield in New York and elsewhere. And what did they find?

For one thing, it seems Empire's top administrators were living lifestyles of the rich and famous. The report describes how one exec bought a $20,000 desk but decided to keep it in storage because it clashed with his office decor. Then there were the company accounts at ritzy luxury shops like Tiffany's where the corporate elite could purchase costly trinkets.

Another chunk of money was reportedly squandered because the information in Empire's computers was out of date. So at first millions of claims were automatically rejected. Then the company decided it would be cheaper to approve every claim than to update the information in its computers, thus opening the door for fraudulent claims.

At the same time, Blue Cross in New York and elsewhere were losing money in high-risk investments.

As well, Empire officials were so incompetent that they lost some 600,000 customers last year because Of poor service. They didn't seem to give a damn so long as they were living like royalty.

The discipline of the marketplace

So much for the efficiency and good service that is supposed to be provided by the discipline of the marketplace. Empire's high-living and bumbling are carried out at the expense of millions of people seeking health care.


And what's Empire's defense? It points the finger at other insurance companies. It claims its woes are due to its being required to insure anyone who applied, while other insurers could exclude patients with health problems, or charge them astronomically high rates. This is called "cherry picking." It allows some insurers to earn high profits by insuring relatively healthy people, and leaving sick people out in the cold. These insurers can charge lower rates to relatively healthy groups, and then raise their rates sky-high as soon as anyone comes down seriously ill.

"Cherry picking" does give other insurance companies certain advantages. Since they are in business for their own health, and not that of the people, they seek to weed out people who need health care. Empire's high-living and bumbling are carried out at the expense of millions of people seeking health care. The legislation that bailed out Empire also implemented a form of "community-rating," which aims to have the insurance companies even out the rates they charge people living in the same geographical area or community. They can then charge different rates to different communities, but are somewhat restrained from charging different rates to groups within the community.

A common problem

But Empire's extravagance and incompetence were a deeper problem than cherry picking. And the various Blue Cross/Blue Shields share with other private insurance the high-living of the executives, investment problems, etc. The insurers all exist to make profits for themselves and funnel money to doctors, hospitals and drug companies. Tens of billions of dollars are soaked up in the multiple bureaucracies created by the competing insurance companies. The result? Premiums are skyrocketing, red-tape is everywhere, and the sick lose their insurance.


If national health care is to be useful for the working people, and not just an excuse to funnel government money to an army of private executives, it must cut out the private insurers. The only chance the people have to keep health officials in line is to have a simple system, with responsibilities clear, and red-tape kept to a minimum. The system of private insurers has gone bankrupt and out of control. Clinton's "managed competition" claims to civilize the insurance jungle by having some government regulations. Why would this work any better than the Empire Blues in New York? It is a prescription for disaster.


The health care maze


A complicated chart of lines and arrows was leaked at the end of June from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Resembling a plate of spaghetti, this was one Clinton staffer's idea of "managed competition." We include it below.

"Managed competition" seeks to cure the ills of private insurance by having more of the same. It aims to "manage" the mad race of the insurance companies for profit with some government rules. These regulations are supposed to be sufficient to perform a miracle: the mad race for profit will supposedly become a competition to provide good and efficient health care.

But this miracle is easier said than done, as the OMB chart shows.

Now, there are complicated things about good health care. There must be preventative care, concern for environmental factors, special attention to the problems of the poverty-stricken, more research into new epidemics, etc. But that's not what complicates the OMB chart. This chart is solely devoted to the financial trickery needed to make private insurance into a universal plan. And the more complicated it is, why, the more overhead, the more administrative expense, and the more useless paperwork.


A single-payer system would instead simply have general government revenue pay the health care providers. GOVERNMENT FUNDS => HEALTH CARE PROVIDER => HEALTH CARE TO PATIENT. That's all. It amounts to a vast simplification.

Naturally, other complexities remain, even with a single-payer system.

The present tax system that provides government funds is, of course, complicated. There's a reason for that. The more complicated, the easier for the rich to evade it with the help of accountants and tax lawyers. So even with a single-payer system, the workers and poor would have to fight to have health care financed by a progressive tax on the wealthy and the corporations. But the fight would be more comprehensible, and not get bogged down in a thousand arrows pointing in every which direction.


And the elimination of private medical insurance does not eliminate medicine for profit. The present system of health care providers also has a maze of private interests, from the hospital boards, to the doctors, to the medical supply industry. And for that matter, the government bureaucrats have their own interests and their own life-style of capitalist luxury. A single-payer system would not cut out this cumbersome maze of special interests. But it would make clearer where the money was going. It would thus help the struggle to cut down other health care profiteering and to keep the government bureaucracy itself in line.

The single-payer system simplifies the health care system and cuts down on waste. "Managed competition" is managed disaster, as the OMB chart shows.


[Chart of the maze.]


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Defend immigrant workers!

Speak out against language discrimination

Along with stepped up attacks on undocumented workers, there is a wave of discrimination on the job against workers who speak languages other than English or who have foreign-sounding accents.

Numbers of companies have gone to the extent of adopting "English-only" rules. Frequently they ban the speaking of other languages not only while employees are working, but even when they are on breaks. In one case, Filipino nurses at Pomona Valley Hospital in Pomona, California opposed that hospital's blanket English-only policy, pointing out that it discriminates against bilingual workers. After one nurse sued the hospital, it settled out-of-court for an undisclosed amount and gave up its reactionary rule.

Even more frequent are subtler forms of discrimination, like failing to hire or promote people with foreign accents. And, in another example, the Miami- based agency Personnel One has been sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for coding foreign applicants as having heavy or light accents.

According to the June 21 issue of Business Week the flood of discrimination has led to a sharp jump in the number of charges filed at the EEOC of discrimination on the basis of "physical, cultural, or linguistic characteristics" traced to a mother country. Last year there were 14,394 such complaints filed. That is up 30% from the 11,114 filed in 1989.

Language-discrimination is another form of the anti-immigrant backlash that workers of all nationalities must stand up to.

Clinton gets tough with suffering Chinese boat people

[Photo: Coast Guard arrests 120 Chinese laborers seeking to enter the U.S. on a fishing boat in Moss Landing, California.]

As we go to press, three more ships filled with 659 Chinese immigrants are limping towards Mexico. Although the immigrants were suffering in the squalid holds with next to no toilet facilities and often rotting food, the U.S. Coast Guard held the ships for 12 days 100 miles away from the U.S. coast. Now the Clinton administration says that perhaps 58 will be allowed into the U.S. to apply for political asylum. But the rest are being escorted to Mexico where they will be immediately put on planes and sent back to the horrible conditions in China that they fled from.

This is part of Clinton's new get-tough policy against illegal immigrants publicly announced following the wreck of the Golden Venture on June 6 off the coast of New Jersey. In that incident, 10 of the Chinese immigrants aboard the smugglers' ship died trying to swim ashore. Another 285 were grabbed by immigration agents, handcuffed, and taken off to be locked up in detention camps in Pennsylvania and Louisiana where they still languish today.

The Clinton administration wants to demonstrate that it can "control the borders" of the U.S. and avoid the expense and bother of imprisoning immigrants while asylum claims are processed. With the recent Supreme Court ruling on U.S. Haitian immigrants in hand, Clinton can order immigrants to be pirated away while still in international waters. They are then summarily shipped back to their home countries without the hearings and appeals allowed to those who make it onto U.S. shores.

The President is also backing new legislation that would change immigration law to allow essentially the same process at U.S. ports of entry. Under the proposed law, quick and summary hearings would be held at airports and other entry points for people applying for political asylum. Their applications could be turned down and they could be deported back to their country of origin the same day. The proposed law also included stiffer penalties against smugglers and allows prosecutors to seize their assets including ships like the Golden Venture.

It was only a few weeks ago that Clinton declared the "new" policy of interdiction and "redirection" of boats smuggling aliens. But in fact, this has been done at least since May 1992 when Bush ordered the Coast Guard to force Haitian immigrants back to their country to face beating and jailing by the Haitian military. At that time Clinton called the policy "cruel" and "shameful." But even before his inauguration, Clinton reversed himself and adopted Bush's policy.

It appears, as well, that the same policy has quietly been followed with regard to the Chinese immigrants for some time. There are reports of different incidents back in April when the U.S. Coast Guard forced smugglers' ships to land in Honduras, Mexico and other countries, and the hundreds of Chinese immigrants aboard were quickly flown back to China. At least one of the Chinese was shot down in cold blood in Honduras when he tried to escape. In another incident some 160 Chinese died when their ship sunk off Long Beach, California. In all, it is reported that at least 25 boatloads of Chinese immigrants have been intercepted by U.S. authorities since August, 1991.

America's modern indentured slavery


The plight of Chinese boat people has thrown light on how capitalism in the U.S. thrives on the cheap labor of immigrants. Indeed, it has come out that many of the Chinese immigrants who make it into the U.S. are forced to become indentured (temporary or contract) slaves in order to pay for their passage.

Refugees from the Golden Venture told interviewers that smugglers demand each immigrant pay from $25,000 to $30,000. While some Chinese boat people manage to pay this whopping sum up front, others have been found locked up under armed guard in warehouses until relatives pay up to buy their release.

Still, many more promise to work and give up 80% of their wages to pay for the passage. This is essentially just a modern form of indentured slavery, an evil thought to be long gone from the "land of the free."

The new sweatshops

What does this indentured servitude mean? There are reports of Chinese women hunched over sewing machines sweating 60 hours a week and earning only $200. Or another immigrant reported she was in a factory pouring nail polish into bottles for $3.50 an hour.


Even without such enormous debts to pay off, undocumented immigrants from all over the world are forced into below-minimum-wage jobs under horrible conditions by the threat of arrest and deportation. These are the new sweatshops that are springing up largely on the basis of cheap immigrant labor.

Oh yes, the business press is filled with praise these days to the "re-engineering of work" which is supposed to be revolutionizing American industry. Such reorganization of work is credited with cutting jobs, increasing productivity, and raising profits, up 27% in the first three months of 1993. And probably for the 57% rise in CEO income in 1992.

But the re-engineering is frequently simply a matter of contracting out the work to small shops and replacing full-time workers with temporaries. According to the Labor Department, firms employing 20 or fewer workers pay a third to a quarter less than larger firms. And far too often, unscrupulous businessmen are able to force immigrants to slave for less than minimum wage.

Indentured servitude and the new sweatshops, such are one of the foundations for modern capitalism in America.


Why do they come?


The booming Chinese economy is in the news a lot these days. It is said that the turn to a free-market economy has brought a 13% growth rate this year and a 50% surge in per capita income since 1989. Indeed, the U.S. multinationals have convinced Clinton to maintain China's most favored nation trading status despite continued arrests of dissidents and repression by the government. The U.S. imperialists want to continue to cash in from investments, loans and trading with the Chinese.

But if China's doing so well, why are thousands of Chinese willing to sell themselves into indentured servitude and risk their lives on smuggler ships to escape their homeland?

Certainly the repressive nature of the regime is one reason. Although China still calls itself communist, it is in fact a state-capitalist country where the bureaucrats live high off the hog and stay in power by holding down the masses through army terror and police batons. There are immigrants fleeing that repression.

Another, and apparently more important reason at the moment is that China's economic expansion is taking place at the expense of the impoverishment of the peasantry and workers.

The turn to a more free-market economy has led to major restructuring in the countryside which has led to a widening split between rich and poor. A minority is getting more and more prosperous while mass poverty is a growing blight on the Chinese countryside.

There is also a growing split between the city and the countryside. According to the Economist, per capita income in the rural areas, populated by China's 900 million peasants, amounts to only about $140 a year. That is far less than half of the $365 a year per capita income in the urban areas. And it is steadily falling behind the double-digit inflation.

What is more, the peasants have been hit with a huge number of taxes. Worried over the growing anger in the countryside, earlier this year the government abolished 37 taxes on the peasantry. And after a peasant revolt against a new tax in one county in June, the government decided to remove another 43 taxes and promised other relief.

Because of the worsening conditions in the countryside and the higher urban wages, it is estimated that some 80 million peasants have been lured to the major cities in the recent period.

But once in the cities, they can't find work or find only low-paying jobs in often unregulated, nonunion sweatshops or in the burgeoning underground economy. To expand the economy, the government has opened up major commercial areas to the U.S. and other multinationals where they are allowed to exploit the workers with virtually no regulation of wages, hours, working conditions, environmental concerns, and so forth. The imperialists, and the local capitalists, are making a killing off of extreme exploitation of the workers. And while the business magazines talk about the higher per capita income in the urban areas, they simply pass over the fact that there is a growing gap between the impoverished workers and the capitalists and bureaucrats who are getting rich off of them.

The huge migration to the cities, and the horrible situation for those who labor in the cities themselves, appears to be the major reason for the surge in emigration out of China.

This phenomenon is not unique to China. In South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other developing countries where there has been rapid capitalist economic expansion, there has also been major migration to the cities and some of the fastest growing levels of immigration to the U.S.


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UCLA students win Chicana/Chicano studies


1,500 people rallied at the University of California in Los Angeles. June 7 to celebrate a victory in their struggle. For a month thousands of students waged a sharp struggle including a militant sit-in, daily rallies, the setting up of a 12-tent encampment on campus, and a hunger strike by five students and a professor. Finally the administration caved in to many of the students' demands.

It agreed to create a Center for Chicana and Chicano studies with its own faculty and many of the functions of a full university department. This would end the current scattered interdisciplinary program and go a long way towards the students' demand for a full department. As well, the funding cuts for these courses were rescinded at least for two years. And charges were dropped against all 99 of the activists who had been arrested during the sit-in at the Faculty Center May 11. The administration is still, however, asking that students pay for alleged property damage to the center.

At the June 7 rally, as at many of the earlier protests, the UCLA students were joined by students from other universities and the main high schools in East L.A., by community supporters, and by many workers. The rally called on people to continue the struggle by going to mass actions at the University of California, Irvine campus to support students there fighting for an Asian-studies department.




Mexican-Americans protest overcrowded schools in Chicago


The streets of Little Village in Chicago were filled with hundreds of marchers at the end of May. They demanded an end to the overcrowding of schools in their neighborhood. And they honored the memory of Maria Tevino, an eight-year-old who had just been killed when she was run over by a school bus.

Due to overcrowding, Maria and 1800 other children have been bused to other neighborhoods in buses so filled that many children are unable to sit down. Yet still the schools are so filled that kindergarten classes have been canceled and cafeterias have been turned into classrooms.


The protesters marched over four miles, passing five of the 28 severely overcrowded schools in District 5. Three people who had been arrested at a protest last March against overcrowding hoisted a banner over the street reading, "Welcome to the Village of the Marginalized Children." Protesters were especially angry at Mayor Daley. Earlier he had promised that eight new schools would be built in District 5, with five of them going to Little Village. But he later turned around and said only one will be built.


Another racist murder by Detroit cops


[Photo: Black youth in Detroit surround police car after the murder of Gary Glenn.]

150 of Gary Glenn's neighbors poured into the streets July 8 after a white Detroit policeman pumped several bullets into him. This was the first of several demonstrations against this latest police murder, including one that marched over to the memorial for Malice Green, the unemployed black worker beat to death by racist cops last year. Glenn, a 16-year- old black teenager, had left a youth home several months earlier and didn't want to get caught and forced to go back. So he ran from the police. That was the crime for which he was given the death sentence.

With public outcry over the beating death of Malice Green, and the sickening details of the police brutality heard nightly in trial summaries, the police were quick to call a press conference and promised to investigate.

Yet one day after the murder of Gary Glenn, Detroit Police Inspector Gerald Stewart announced that it was "a justifiable shooting" which he called "self-defense."

Police said they were looking for someone who had assaulted one of Glenn's friends. Glenn was with this same friend when police found him, so he was obviously not the perpetrator of the assault. Yet police claim, as they always do, that the youth was armed. Even though police admit Glenn did not shoot, they say they had to gun him down. Several witnesses have said Gary had no gun and that the cop kept shooting even as Gary ran and then crawled away.

Tens of thousands march against racism in Detroit

Tens of thousands of people marched against racism in downtown Detroit June 26. This was the 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous Detroit civil rights march and the NAACP had called for its commemoration.

The march was held when many have been angered by the police beating of Malice Green and the non-stop racist brutality against young black and hispanic men, by unemployment and the lack of health care. Amongst the marchers was a spattering of placards demanding Justice for Malice Green and an end to racism and violence, health care reform, and jobs.

But the NAACP which organized the march did not do so to mobilize for a fight on these burning issues. It was mainly self-promotional, distributing thousands of placards which read "Come home to the NAACP." (They did print up signs reading "End Racism, End Violence," but most of these signs were just thrown in unopened packs on the sidewalks without any effort to distribute them.) And the United Auto Workers union distributed signs which read "UAW supports the NAACP." How inspiring! What do these liberals want us to do? March into the NAACP, pay our dues and then sit there, only to get up and help out with fund-raising projects now and then? And for what? If they won't help encourage and organize the masses for a serious fight, what good are they?

And who was their featured speaker? It was Detroit's departing Mayor Coleman Young who took credit for integrating the police force. But today police brutality in Detroit is still in the headlines daily. And while the mostly black population of Detroit has become poorer, Young's buddies in the police force have lined their pockets with city funds and Young himself has begun his own business and traded in Krugerrands. Meanwhile, after he has given huge tax breaks to the giant auto companies for years, this working class city is today largely unemployed and underemployed.

As well, the NAACP wanted to bask in the legacy of King. But King himself followed a reformist policy. He was opposed to the militancy of Malcolm X and many rank-and-file activists. And he looked to establishment politicians like the Kennedys. And this is what the NAACP likes about him and wants to impose on the masses today.

To fight the problems facing the masses today, we must break with the hypocrisy of the liberals and their Democratic Party and forge an independent movement of the working class of all nationalities.

Supreme Court helps bosses discriminate on the job

On June 25, the Supreme Court changed the rules to make it much more difficult for an employee to prove discrimination against their employers.

The ruling states that employees must do more than prove that the employer lied about the reasons for the firing. Instead they must now provide direct evidence that an employer intended to discriminate -- such as a memo or a statement with witnesses. But since such evidence seldom exists, this ruling makes winning a job discrimination case very difficult.

Employers generally don't put their racist or sexist intentions on paper. And most are careful who they are talking to or they use code words and pretexts for what they really mean. For example, they'll say they were really looking for someone "more suited for the job" or "more qualified" or "who would fit in better." The Court ruling is giving the green light to such excuses just as long as the capitalist does not openly declare his bigotry.

And don't think the Supreme Court was ignorant of what it was doing. In the dissenting position written by Justice David Souter, he said the result of the ruling would be "unfair to plaintiffs, unworkable in practice, and inexplicable in forgiving employers who present false evidence in court." He also wrote that the decision "greatly disfavors Title VII 1 plaintiffs without the good luck to have direct evidence of discriminatory intent." Once again the Supreme Court is helping out the racist capitalists against minority and women workers.

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Fired oil workers in Mexico protest

Hundreds of workers fired by PEMEX, Mexico's national oil company, rallied in the middle of Mexico City on June 6. The workers demanded their jobs back or, at least, severance pay and the return of their union dues.

These workers were all considered "temporary" workers and so were the first ones fired during PEMEX's restructuring. But despite their "temp" status, many of them had worked for up to 30 years with PEMEX. During all these years the union insisted that they pay union dues in order to keep their jobs. Not only that, they had to pay extra dues and also pay for insurance coverage. But when the restructuring came down, the union hacks went along with management in sacking the "temps."

Now the workers are demanding their rights. And it's fitting that they are targeting the sellout union hacks as part of their struggle.

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Defend women's rights!

OR chased through San Jose

Activists in San Jose, California made life miserable for Operation Rescue as OR targeted clinics and doctors involved with abortion services. Pro-choice forces dwarfed OR at the clinics. When OR made a big effort to harass doctors and other clinic personnel at their homes, there too, hundreds of activists were on hand to confront them.

Demonstration at OR meeting

450 pro-choice activists held a spirited demonstration at a church where OR was meeting on July 9. Police cordoned off the entrance and escorted the antiabortionists in, while activists shouted slogans like "Operation Rescue, go away, we'll kick your ass in San Jose!"

People from the working class neighborhood around the church joined the anti-OR protest, while passers-by denounced OR and approved of the action against them. Neighborhood residents were also angry at Clinton's waffling on abortion rights, gay rights, and health care.

At the clinics

At 5:00 a.m. the next morning, 300 pro-choice activists gathered at the Pregnancy Consultation Clinic in San Jose awaiting news of where OR would be that day; they left later on for various confrontations with OR. Only eight anti's eventually arrived at Pregnancy Consultation Clinic itself; they circled in prayer off to the side, while pro-choice activists massed in front of the clinic, loudly denouncing them. Many activists wanted to confront them face to face and were angry at the cops for cordoning OR off from them. They chanted "Where would OR be, without police protection?"

In downtown San Jose, 60 anti-abortion zealots gathered across the street from the Planned Parenthood clinic. They were surrounded by 150 pro-choice activists. Another 300 pro-choice demonstrators defended the front of the clinic. For an hour and a half, the clinic defenders shouted slogans. OR was visibly shaken and had to slink away, with "Who will keep the clinics open..-- we will, we will!" ringing in their ears. As OR left, the police moved into riot formation to protect OR from its angry opponents.

Activists defend homes of clinic personnel

OR devoted most of its energy in going into residential neighborhoods and picketing the homes of two doctors and a clinic worker. But 200 pro-choice activists left from the Pregnancy Consultation Clinic to block them in the neighborhoods.

In the nearby suburb of Saratoga, about 25 OR picketed one of the doctors. But a large group of pro-choice activists soon arrived. Each anti was surrounded and denounced, while a human wall protected the home. OR soon left, with pro-choice activists hot on their trail.

At another doctor's home in downtown San Jose, a small group of OR pickets was arrested for violating a city ordinance prohibiting picketing within 300 feet of a "targeted" residence. A pro-choice activist was also busted there.

A clinic worker's home in San Jose was picketed by 60 anti-abortion zealots. OR had told its followers where to gather in a telephone hotline message giving the name and address of the clinic worker. OR leaflets also contained this information. Yet the police claimed that there was no proof the home was targeted, and they did not arrest any of the OR picketers. Instead, the police arrested a pro-choice activist who confronted OR leader Jeff White.

After the day's battle, several hundred supporters of abortion rights rallied in Roosevelt Park and prepared for the next week of pro-choice actions. Neither ordinances nor police had done much to deter OR. But the spirited action of pro-choice activists had been more than a match for them.

Hundreds of activists protect Cleveland clinics

The first big showdown in Cleveland between Operation Rescue and pro- choice activists took place on Saturday, July 10. Anti-abortion leader Joe Slovenec said his followers would be at the clinics but would not attempt a blockade. But no one was taking any chances. At least 350 supporters of abortion rights turned out to defend four clinics.

Activists began arriving at the National Healthcare clinic early in the morning, waiting for Operation Rescue to show. When both sides reached full strength around 10:00 a.m., the clinic defenders outnumbered the "pro-life" forces by 180 to 75. The pro-choice forces lined up in front of the clinic while OR stayed on the other side of the street. A lively spirit permeated the clinic defense lines.

One slogan after another rang out, like "We won't go back, we will fight back!" And twice, small groups of pro-choice activists marched right through the ranks of the anti-abortion forces across the street before police chased them off.

Meanwhile, the highlight of OR activity consisted of kneeling and praying while a cleric sermonized on the evils of abortion. The pro-choice side mocked this pitiful sight: "Pray, you'll need it, your cause has been defeated!" After a couple hours, OR began to leave. A new chant broke out: "We booted you out of Buffalo, now we're cleaning you out of Cleveland!" Clinic defenders clapped and cheered.

OR was outnumbered at the other Cleveland clinics as well, and things went pretty much like they did at National Healthcare. Then Sunday night 15 OR held a vigil at one clinic but were met by 20 pro-choice counter-protesters.

The mass turnout of clinic defenders undoubtedly encouraged OR to keep its word not to assault the clinics. Defenders of women's rights came from Buffalo and Detroit and other cities in the Midwest to help the local activists stop OR.

But there were differences among the activists on how to stop OR, and the liberal pro-establishment groups like NOW had a good deal of influence in the Cleveland Pro-Choice Access Committee (CP AC). On the one hand, CP AC issued calls for clinic defense and invited people from other areas. However some CP AC leaders also floated the idea that police might refuse to defend the clinics if activists showed up, or they may arrest activists defending the clinics as well as OR blockaders. Apparently, despite all the history of clinic defense, they believed that the police would defend the clinics if left alone.

But as usual, the best defense against police misbehavior is lots of clinic defenders showing up. This proved to be the case in Cleveland too, and there were no arrests of pro-choice demonstrators.

However, at the actions, CP AC distributed written guidelines that went against the spirit of clinic defense. On the one hand, they did say to "seek to secure the positions required to keep access open, hold our ground, and not be bullied out of position." But they also demanded that no one "engage anti-woman activists in debate." This was repeated over and over. Another guideline opposed "aggressive verbal confrontations." And in case this wasn't sufficient, the guidelines also displayed total distrust of the rank-and-file activists, and suggested that only "designated spokespersons" were to give "the content of our message" to "third parties or the media." The pro-establishment leaders seem to think that they own the movement, and they are afraid that ordinary people might speak for themselves or be heard by others.

But it's the initiative of the activists that's important. Fortunately, guidelines like CP AC's show a marked tendency to break down whenever the struggle heats up. This time, as OR didn't make any assaults, the issue of the guidelines didn't develop too far. But even so, those activists who confronted OR were cheered and clapped by the mass of clinic defenders, slogans rang out, and a good spirit developed whenever an active attitude prevailed.

[Photo: Activists in Cleveland defend clinic, July 10.]

Clinic defense in Philadelphia

(The following article is based mainly on a report by supporters of the Leninist Party in Philadelphia.)

In Philadelphia, hundreds upon hundreds have come out to defend the clinics each day starting on Saturday, July 10. MLP supporters have been among the activists, taking part in the clinic defense and also distributing leaflets and the Workers' Advocate.

On Saturday, MLP supporters took part in the activities around the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women and the Planned Parenthood clinic two blocks down from it. Pro-choice activists were present at the clinics from early in the dawn. At these two clinics, Operation Rescue's bullies did not show up in force until around 9:00 a.m.

At the Elizabeth Blackwell clinic, tension rose as soon as the religious bigots began to show up. They took their position opposite the clinic. When numbers of them were present, some of the more militant pro-choice activists, MLP supporters among them, began to cross over as well. Choosing an opportune moment, the MLP supporters began chanting slogans denouncing OR and in defense of abortion rights. This galvanized other pro-choice activists who were at the clinic. Perhaps a hundred of the 250 activists on hand took part in the slogans. Another 170 activists guarded the clinic down the street.

As a result, the religious fanatics decided to leave the scene. They returned a second time, and were chased off again. OR came a third time, and managed to stay because the police finally decided to do something -- they set up a picket line to keep the pro-choice activists away from OR. But by this time, OR had pretty much wilted in the summer heat, and they soon began to disperse. Meanwhile, the mood was one of jubilant victory for the pro-choice side and defeat for the OR bullies. Some of the most popular slogans were "Right-to-life is a lie, you don't care if women die!" and "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, OR bigots, go away!"

Unfortunately, the main organizers of the pro-choice activities were not too happy with this sort of denunciation of OR. They had issued guidelines asking the activists to avoid shouting, or any exchange or confrontation with the bigots at all. They also tried to keep militant activists out of the defense lines, to isolate anyone who hadn't received clinic training from them in the last few weeks, and to stifle discussion among clinic defenders.

This is because the main organizers in Philadelphia, like NOW and Planned Parenthood, are pro-establishment forces, and they've taken up tactics of relying on the police, the mayor and legality to take on Operation Rescue.

Thus on Friday, July 9, the first day of OR's campaign, the defense of some of the suburban clinics was left to the police, with no mobilization of the activists. OR was able to close one of the clinics down in the morning. Needless to say, the police took their sweet time removing the OR goons from the scene, so the blockade effectively lasted most of the day.

A few days later, on Tuesday, Municipal Court Judge Louis G. Fetacco dismissed charges against 75 anti's who attempted to disrupt two clinics back on April 10, saying the city's "Interference with Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities" ordinance violated the rights of anti-abortion zealots. The chief deputy district attorney, Arnold Gordon, said the ruling is not binding on other judges, and that the police department is free to continue enforcing the ordinance.

Then on Thursday, OR sought to shut down clinics in central Philadelphia. But clinic defenders turned out en masse. So all OR could do was block nearby intersections in the city, suffering 100 arrests, with the police also arresting two pro- choice activists. And Friday morning, OR blockaded a doctor's office in suburban Yardley.

It seems the clinics stay open where there is mass pro-choice action; otherwise there may be some arrests, but there are also blockades and legal bickering.

House denies the poor funding for abortion

On June 30, the House of Representatives voted 255-178 to retain the Hyde Amendment, which since 1977 has forbidden the use of federal funds to provide Medicaid abortions for poverty-stricken women. The Senate has yet to act. Meanwhile, only 13 states allow state-funded Medicaid abortions.

Throughout the years, the various versions of the Hyde amendment have generally allowed abortion if the life of the mother was threatened. Otherwise even Congress usually couldn't stomach it. Sometimes the Hyde Amendment also had exceptions for certain cases of rape or incest. All it took this year to rally the House behind the Hyde Amendment was to reinstate the exceptions for rape and incest. Once this was done, a number of alleged "pro-choice" politicians voted for Hyde. But the Amendment still brutally denies the rights of the majority of impoverished women.

Nearly all the Republicans in the House, including some supposedly pro-choice Republican women, voted for Hyde. But it would not have passed without the help of the Democrats. The Democrats have long had a big majority in the House. Yet time and again the Hyde Amendment passes. This time, 98 Democrats voted for Hyde.

Once again a Democratic majority in Congress has been no guarantee of women's rights. Even some supposedly "pro-choice" Democrats voted for Hyde. And look at the House Democratic leadership! "Pro-choice" Richard Gephardt, who is the House Majority Leader, voted for Hyde. And Democratic "whip" David Bonior, responsible for lining up Democrats to vote the right way, is against choice.

Clinton wasn't much help either. Yes, his budget would have allowed federally-funded abortions for poor women. But when opposition arose in the House, Clinton's silence was deafening. Perhaps he did not want to offend anti-abortion Democratic House Appropriations Chairman William H. Natcher, who was guiding Clinton's budget through the House. In any case, he didn't think the rights of women were worth fighting for.

Similarly, the Clinton administration is thinking about covering abortions in its proposal for a national health care plan. But it has also let it be known in advance that it won't put up a fuss if Congress shoots down abortion coverage from the health plan.

Reagan and Bush are gone. There is a "pro-choice" president and the Democrats control Congress. But it will still take a minor miracle to get rid of the Hyde Amendment. Not the White House, not the Congressional House, women must decide their fate. If women are to have their rights, there must be a mass movement of working women and men independent of the slick-tongued politicians.

Anti-abortion campaign flops

[Photo: Practicing clinic defense techniques in Jackson, Mississippi.]

The anti-abortion crusaders of Operation Rescue pride themselves on their blockades of clinics. But during the first weekend of their nationwide "cities of refuge" campaign, they could rarely mount serious attacks on clinics. This is a tribute to the pro-choice activists who turned out across the country to ensure the clinics would stay open.

200 pro-choice activists turned out on July 10 to defend a clinic in Jackson, Mississippi. OR could only gather about 130 people, many times less than what they predicted.

Abortion rights supporters formed a human wall around the clinic, chanting "We are here to make it clear -- this clinic is open!" OR mainly confined itself to praying. At one point, however, a handful of anti-abortion psychos fell on and under a car driven by a physician who owned the clinic as he drove into the facility. Six were arrested. The doctor later announced that 12 of the 13 patients scheduled for abortions received them and one person was rescheduled.

Minneapolis, Minnesota was expected to be a big focus of OR's campaign. OR had set up a national training center for anti-clinic terrorists there. But OR's activity did not amount to much. For example, on July 10, a mere 50 anti's showed up at the suburban Robbinsdale clinic, where they only conducted a prayer vigil. One hundred pro-choice activists were on hand to meet them.

On Sunday, July 11th, 100 activists held a spirited protest at an OR meeting at a church. "We're pestering them to let them know how it The anti-abortion crusaders of Operation Rescue pride themselves on their blockades of clinics. But during the first weekend of their nationwide "cities of refuge" campaign, they could rarely mount serious attacks on clinics. This is a tribute to the pro-choice activists who turned out across the country to ensure the clinics would stay open.

Later on, there were four arrests for "stalking" when OR went to harass two doctors at their homes. But it wasn't those stalking the doctors who were arrested, but pro-choice activists following OR to the homes.

On Friday, July 16, OR sent 60 people to say their prayers at the Planned Parenthood office in St. Paul. Forty abortion rights demonstrators kept an eye on them.

There was a debate among the pro-choice forces in Minneapolis on how to oppose OR. Some leaders of one of the local pro-choice coalitions, the Network to Ensure Access, encouraged those who wanted to defend clinics to come to their training sessions. Over 1,000 people stepped forward for this. But later they told the activists that a court injunction, ostensibly against OR, would be used against them as well. They told a large meeting of activists "You should not be here if you are seeking large counter-demonstration rallies." (The Militant, June 28) Other activists objected to relying on the police and discouraging big turnouts.

Melbourne, Florida has been the site of a national OR training center. Yet the holy bullies couldn't mount much of an effort there either. On July 10, at the Aware Woman Center for Choice, 200 prayed for a couple of hours and then left. Seventy pro-choice activists were there to oppose them.

Dallas was another OR target city. We have seen no reports of OR activity on the July 10 weekend. On Thursday, July 15, some anti-abortion fanatics moved past police barricades at a clinic. Twenty-eight were arrested.

In Wilmington, Delaware 100 "pro-life" goons collapsed the porch of a medical clinic on July 10. Wilmington was not among the cities OR had announced beforehand.

We report on Cleveland, Ohio; San Jose, California; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in separate articles.

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No to the bombing of Iraq!

President Clinton, losing popularity because of his domestic failures, stole a page from the bloody book of George Bush on June 27 -- he bombed Iraq.

Was there any justification? Oh yes, there is a lot of talk about "self-defense" and combating "terrorism." But the simple truth is that Clinton wanted to prove to Saddam Hussein that the U.S. is still the world's number one bully just as it was under Bush and Reagan before him.

The love-hate feud with Hussein

Meanwhile, although it may surprise some people, Clinton's officials stressed that they were not targeting Hussein personally. Why?

Well, U.S. imperialism has long had a psychotic love-hate relationship with Saddam Hussein. On the one hand, they prefer the Ba'ath Party dictatorship of Hussein's inside Iraq to hold down the Kurds, the Shiites and the working people. They fear that revolutions by the masses might dismember Iraq and spread to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other allies of the U.S. in the mid-East.

The New York Times explained it this way, "While officials will never say so publicly, it has always been American policy that the iron-fisted Mr. Hussein plays a useful role in holding Iraq together. In cold-hearted terms, officials say, the United States is better off with a unified Iraq than with seeing it broken into Kurdish, Shiite and Sunni Muslim states, which could destabilize Turkey and Saudi Arabia and invite a land-grab by Iran." (New York Times, June 28)

It should also be pointed out that the U.S. supported Hussein in Iraq's war on Iran. The U.S. likes to balance the different regional powers against each other and, through the turmoil, maintain overall domination of the region by U.S. imperialism.

On the other hand, the U.S. government hates Hussein's ambitions to make himself. the dominant power in the oil-rich region. That's why, when Hussein invaded Kuwait, Bush launched a full-scale war against Iraq.

Today U.S. policy is to pressure Hussein to give, up his ambitions at regional domination. Or, failing that, to find another military tyrant to replace him. That's why Les Aspin, Clinton's Secretary of Defense, said: "Getting rid of Saddam Hussein does not automatically solve the problem. What we're looking at is the behavior..." (New York Times, June 28) In short, the U.S. government wants a strongman for Iraq who will toe the U.S. line.

But the masses suffer

But it's the masses of working people who suffer while Clinton feuds with Hussein.

Clinton praised the "pin-point accuracy" of the "surgical strikes," but military officers admitted that at least three of the Tomahawk missiles slammed into a residential neighborhood. About eight civilians were killed and a dozen more were wounded.

And this bombing comes on top of an intolerable economic embargo by the U.S. and the UN. Long after the U.S. military slaughtered over 100,000 Iraqis in the war, the economic embargo continues. It allows only a narrow range of supplies to come in, and prevents Iraq from selling any oil so that it could get funds for reconstruction. As a result of the embargo, it is not Hussein and the Iraqi military-political elite who suffer, but the masses of ordinary people. They continue to face hunger, disease, malnutrition, and continued insecurity.

Working people in the U.S. must look beyond that headlines and sympathize with the long-suffering masses of Iraq. Of course we must support their struggles against Saddam Hussein. But more. Living here in the U.S. we must especially oppose the attacks of our own government on the Iraqi people. We must say: No more bombs on the Iraqi people! U.S. imperialism out of the Middle East!

(Taken from the June 30 "Detroit Workers' Voice," paper of the MLP, Detroit Branch.)


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Strikes and workplace news




Coal Strike Spreads


As the coal miners' strike entered its eleventh week it has spread to involve 14,000 miners in six stales. And there arc numerous reports of sharp confrontations between strikers and attempts to move stockpiled coal by the Bituminous Coal Operators Association (BCOA).

For example, scab coal trucks on June 8 tried to force their way through a picket line at the Sharpies Coal^Co. in West Virginia. More than 300 miners held the line and fought back against the scabs. They threw rocks and jackrocks (a four-pointed metal weapon created by coal miners), broke out windshields, slashed tires, and destroyed radiators. The scabs were unable to get through the line.

In another incident in mid-June, 150 strikers blocked scab trucks and fought security guards at Arch Mineral's Wylo mine in West Virginia. The mass picket line was eventually dispersed by teargas. As well, gunshots from the security thugs reportedly hit a picket shack.


In early July, the unified front of the coal bosses began to crack. Four companies have broken ranks with the BCOA and signed separate contracts with the United Mine Workers (UMW). And the Independent Bituminous Coal Bargaining Alliance (IBCBA) agreed to a contract which covers 7,500 miners in four states.

Unfortunately, however, more than 40,000 miners continue to work for BCOA companies even though they have no contract. The leaders of the UMW are employing a "selective strike strategy" -- striking only some BCOA companies, while letting others off the hook. This strategy, which is notorious for its past failures, is weakening the struggle and prolonging the suffering of the strikers.

The miners are fighting for jobs by demanding that the coal bosses stop shutting down some mines and then opening others under different names and with non-union labor.


San Diego drywallers get first victory


The strike of San Diego drywall workers heated up in June. Although construction contractors in other areas of southern California settled with striking drywall workers months ago, in San Diego they refused.

But on June 11, five drywallers began a dramatic hunger strike that galvanized the militancy of the strikers. Attendance at the strike support committee's regular meeting surged. A women's support group, made up of wives of the striking drywallers, was formed. Acts of civil disobedience were planned.

After 19 days of the hunger strike and increased strike actions the Latino Contractors Association -- a large, previously non-union builder -- settled. It agreed to recognize Painters Union District Council 36 and to hire all drywall workers through the union. The drywall workers will be chartered in their own local under the Painters Union.


This settlement came nearly a year to the day since San Diego police attacked a demonstration of striking drywallers last July 4. Through their own hard work, the San Diego drywallers have scored their first victory. But this is just the beginning. Now they must win a contract from the rest of the contractors in the San Diego area.


Staley workers wage in-plant struggle


A virtual war has been underway inside the Staley Manufacturing Co. in Decatur, Illinois.

When the 763 workers there rejected Staley's "best and final" contract offer last October, a regressive, take-away contract was imposed. The company also closed the in-plant office of the Allied Industrial Workers (AIW) local chapter. It also ignored worker seniority and unilaterally implemented 12-hour shifts.

In mid-June, one worker was fired for using a two-way radio to alert other workers that another worker was about to be fired. A short walkout took place demanding the worker be reinstated. Then the workers launched a work slow-down -- doing only what the bosses tell them to do. This tactic led to over a 30% loss in production at the corn processing plant.

On June 26, thousands of workers from all over Illinois and surrounding states converged in Decatur to demonstrate their support for both the Staley workers and Caterpillar workers, who have also had a concessions contract arbitrarily imposed on them.


The demonstrators formed a human chain that stretched over 2.5 miles from the Staley plant to the local Caterpillar plant. More than 100 AIW union workers from the Harley-Davidson plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin rode into town on their motorcycles. A 60-vehicle caravan was formed by Caterpillar workers from East Peoria for the ride to Decatur. The rally was joined by striking coal miners, electricians, utility workers and many others.

The next day, the Staley bosses locked out the entire work force. The workers have struck back. On June 29, they protested the lock out at the state capitol in Springfield. And further mass actions were planned for July.


Postal Service plans more worker harassment


It was revealed on June 30 by the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit News that the Postal Inspection Service has been conducting an internal investigation to develop a psychological profile of workers prone to violence. The Inspectors are examining a sampling of 350 cases of "assault" -- meaning everything from verbal exchanges to physical attacks -- out of 2,000 such incidents which occurred in the three years from 1989 to 1992.


Postal officials claimed they don't know how they will use the findings. But it is obvious that any such profile will be used for witch-hunts against employed workers and to single out types of workers that will be kept from being hired There is a lot of talk, for example, of screening war veterans or perhaps changing the present policy that gives them an advantage in the hiring process.

This, of course, will not solve the problem of violence in the post office. The violence will not end until the conditions which breed it change. Even experts in workplace violence such as Dr. Michael R. Manytell of San Diego, who has studied this problem in the post office, has said that the need was not for more studies on who is violent and why, but on improving the working conditions. "Let's not focus on the people who are doing it. Let's focus on the environment that cultivates it," he declared.


This internal study shows once again, the postal management has no interest in improving the working conditions, but on continuing to use the stick against the workers. Only a mass movement by the workers themselves can lead to real change.


California nurses strike


On June 15th, 400 nurses at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California walked out on strike. The nurses are fed up. They are fighting the bosses demand that nurses give up two weeks of paid vacation and other givebacks in benefits. The hospital changed job descriptions and threatened the nurses' job security.


Refinery workers walk out in Minnesota


600 workers walked out in the middle of June at Koch Refinery in Rosemount, Minnesota over job bidding rights, safety issues, and health insurance. The workers refine crude oil into gasoline and supply half the state's gasoline

LA County workers rally against cutbacks

400 workers picketed the Board of Supervisors on July 12 to protest the revised county budget which calls for an 8.25% cut in their wages, 9,000 layoffs, and the closing of about 30 health centers or clinics, 45 libraries, 23 parks, 11 beaches, and two museums. That's not counting a 27% cut in General Relief welfare grants. Mind you, not everything is cut: there is a 25% increase in security personnel to deal with the expected rage from the population.

This budget is, in part, the fruit of a state plan to drain $2.6 billion from county and city governments to the state government.

The picket was lively, and supporters of the MLP found workers receptive to MLP leaflets and the Workers' Advocate. Picketers also liked the chants "Tax the rich - make the rich pay!" and "Make the bosses take the losses!"

Nevertheless, the size of the demonstration was small, considering that the county workers' unions involved have 45,000 members. This was because the union leaders are relying on lawsuits and backroom deals with the politicians, whom they have asked to tax other sections of the working class.

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Strike by Ukrainian miners wins some demands

Coal miners in eastern Ukraine carried out a successful strike in June. The miners walked out after another round of price hikes was announced by the government. Infuriated by rising prices, the miners refused to go back until something was done about it. They also demanded new elections to the Ukrainian government. After a few weeks on strike the miners voted to return to work on June 19, after the government agreed to many of their demands.

Even before the jump in prices in early June, prices had already risen fourfold in 1993. But the June increases were the worst yet. Bread tripled in price, milk went up five times, meat more than tripled. A couple pounds of sausage now costs a miner an entire month's wages. To make matters worse, wages owed to the miners were not paid -- they were issued IOUs from the government.

In response, coal miners walked out and shut down the Donbas region's 250 coal mines. Nearby iron ore mines were also shut down. The miners then converged on the city of Donetsk and spread the strike to factories. From there it spread to other cities throughout the Ukraine. Reports put the total number of workers involved in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions.

In Donetsk, the regional capital, the miners practically took over the city. Their strike committee took over many of the functions of local government. The regional government leaders played up to the strikers, providing food to the masses of miners camped out in the city square and providing the miners' strike leaders with headquarters in city hall.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Kravchuk used the strike as an excuse to seize extraordinary powers. But he used those powers to settle the strike peacefully. He agreed, to the miners' demand for a referendum on confidence in the president and parliament. In case of a no-confidence vote, new elections will be called. Kravchuk also moved to get the miners paid, to draft a law giving more regional autonomy to the Donbas (another of the miners' demands) and to draft a law limiting price increases. Kravchuk also agreed to slow the market reforms that have been devastating the workers' standard of living.

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Bosnia: The tragedy of nationalism in a multi-ethnic land

Sixteen months after the declaration of an independent Bosnian Republic, the torture of the people continues without letup. Many ceasefire agreements have come and gone -- broken hours after they were announced. Several peace plans have also been floated, but they collapsed in the face of disagreement among the warring sides. The European Community, the United Nations, and the U.S. have all taken turns claiming to offer solutions, but the tragedy in Bosnia has proven insoluble by outside intervention by big powers seeking only some sort of stability.

The tragedy in Bosnia is basically a tragedy of a multi-ethnic land ripped apart by a severe economic collapse and the fires of narrow nationalism.

What was Yugoslavia?

What was once Yugoslavia has been a land of many peoples. Different nationalities and ethnic communities have been living in these regions for centuries. While there have been times in history when ethnic rifts and conflicts were heated, there have also been times when the people of different groups lived together with one another harmoniously, when they married one another, and joined together in common social and political action.

Before this century, the peoples of this area were occupied by large imperial states, such as the Turkish or Austro-Hungarian empires. Twice this century, there were efforts to forge a single Yugoslav state. The first, after World War I, was based on Serbian domination of other nationalities, and it was a doomed project. The second was forged in the course of - the war against fascism and German Nazi occupation.

Post-World II Yugoslavia was formed as a multinational federation, with most nationalities having basic equality. It is possible that at least some parts of Yugoslavia would have preferred to separate or join other states: the Albanian-majority area of Kosovo was not given the right to-decide for themselves whether to be independent, join Albania, stay in the Serbian republic, or be another equal constituent republic of Yugoslavia; the Croatians might have been more enthusiastic to be a separate state, than a republic of Yugoslavia; etc. However, the population went along with a united state because of the tradition of uniting the workers and peasant national lines in a common fight against the Nazi occupiers and the local capitalists. While the right to self-determination wasn't fully embraced, on the whole the country had more national freedom and tolerance than ever before.

It was the anti-fascist fight and the high ideals of communism, which were professed by Tito and the party he led, which led the Yugoslavian masses to stay together. Unfortunately Tito's movement had its problems and weaknesses, many inherited from Soviet leadership of Stalin's time. Like the Soviet Union of that time, Tito's party was not really communist or Marxist-Leninist but revisionist. It developed capitalist practices, and the ideals of communism became a hollow mockery masking quite a different reality. Thus internationalism and other ideals lost their power among the working masses, who were no longer an active political force in Yugoslavia, but simply subject to an increasingly alien bureaucracy.

Nevertheless, for several decades, the Serbs, Croats, Bosnian Muslims and others lived together and shared common triumphs and tragedies. It is widely accepted that post-war Yugoslavia was the time when integration and friendship among the different nationalities went the furthest in modern history.


As far as the unity of the various nationalities of Yugoslavia went, problems remained, not too far under the surface. The passions of today did not stem simply from old memories. Not all the problems are clear to us from the outside. But the main forces that ended' the reasonably amicable situation are not unknown.

Why the federation collapsed

There were two.

One was economic crisis. Yugoslavia had declared itself a socialist land, but in fact it was not able to surmount capitalism. It put together a particular kind of state-capitalism, where ownership by the state was combined with many marketplace components. For some decades, the Yugoslav economy did grow, but this ground to a halt in the 1980s. To spur growth, the Yugoslav government had taken out big foreign loans in the 70s. But when it came time to pay back these loans, neither the domestic nor the world economic climate was favorable. Yugoslavia was put under a tight economic squeeze by the imperialist bankers of the West who demanded their tribute.

Let us not therefore forget that the big capitalist powers -- the U.S., Britain, Germany -- who wring their hands about Yugoslavia today and tsk tsk about tribalism in this region all had a hand in creating the conditions for ethnic strife. They squeezed the country economically. And it can be recalled that for decades they encouraged ethnic passions in Eastern Europe in order to undermine the Soviet bloc; and this must have had its echo in Yugoslavia, even though Yugoslavia split with the Soviet bloc several decades ago.

In any case, one of the consequences of the economic strife was to blow up the economic foundations of the common federal state. As the squeeze mounted, it reinforced ideas about looking out only for one's own.

But this did not happen automatically. And it was not inevitable. And this leads us to the second factor, the spread of nationalism.

The spread of Serbian nationalism

The integration of different regions had gone so far that a basis probably existed for maintaining Yugoslavia as a unified whole.

For example, the working class, if it had developed a class stand opposed to the ruling bureaucracy from the left, might have seen a multi-national federation as the best form for its struggle and development. The working class was suffering the most from the economic crisis and its interests would not be served by being atomized into different national parts.

The working class did launch some strikes and protests in the 80's against economic deprivation. But it did not succeed in developing a revolutionary consciousness opposing the ruling Yugoslav elite from the left. Caught between revisionism posing as communism, and the western capitalism posing as the alternative to revisionism, the working class was left in confusion. It is thus not surprising that nationalism found a ready soil: what other ideals were left? The working class, while not the basis of the nationalist passions, didn't rise up in favor of a federation of nationalities exercising equal rights.

Instead, it was the the fires of nationalism which took the initiative. Above all else it was resurgent Serbian nationalism under Slobodan Milosevic. This force embraced the cause of a Greater Serbia and they sacrificed Yugoslavia to this narrow goal, no matter what tragic consequences engulfed the people of this region.

In 1981-2 Milosevic imposed Serbian dominance over the Albanian nationality in the province of Kosovo. It would take only a few more years before he would insist on Serbian dominance over the whole federation.

In response to this, nationalism grew among the other nationalities, and eventually other peoples decided to secede. They had offered an alternative of a looser confederation but the Serbian dominated Yugoslav central government rejected it. Once that happened the fate of Yugoslavia was doomed.

The next problem was that secession by other republics was not going to be an easy project. Slovenia went its way without much resistance from the Serbs or any others. But in both Croatia and Bosnia, there were sizable Serb minorities. The Serbians in Belgrade fanned the fires of nationalism among these Serbs. And the Croats, for example, helped this effort by refusing to acknowledge full and equal rights to the Serb minority. The result was a bloody war and the first round of ethnic cleansing in Croatia.

The Bosnian tragedy

Bosnia would prove an even more thorny situation. There is no Bosnian nationality. The republic was in fact a mixed republic where Serbs, Croats; and Bosnian Muslims had lived together side by side. Bosnia could only succeed on the basis of being a democratic and non-religious state guaranteeing equal rights to all citizens irrespective of nationality. That was what the new Bosnian government declared.

It was a worthwhile endeavor. But it could have worked only if it convinced people of all ethnic backgrounds -- Serbs, Croats, and Muslims -- that this is the cause they should enlist in. The unfortunate fact is that it was not able to convince any significant force among the Bosnian Serbs to work with it. The mainly urban Bosnian Muslims, and other urban Bosnians, Serb or Croatian, may have felt comfortable together, but the Serbs in the rural areas didn't go along. And without the active support of a majority of Bosnians, the Bosnian government not only proved unable to maintain its hold on Bosnia, but questions may arise as to what popular basis existed for it. A multinational state imposed on a sullen people would involve its own tragedy.

So the tragedy was that Serbian nationalism from Belgrade succeeded in influencing or bludgeoning rural Serb opinion in Bosnia that they would be better served in alliance and eventual union with a Greater Serbia. And behind the scenes, the Serbian nationalists worked out a deal with the Croatian Republic to carve out Serb and Croat territories in Bosnia which would eventually unite with Greater Serbia and Croatia. For a while, the Croats in Bosnia were in an uneasy alliance with the Muslims for a unified Bosnia, but in recent months they have openly allied with the Serbs to carve out their respective national projects.

Thus it can be said that if the multinational Yugoslav federation fell victim at the altar of Greater Serbia, the smaller multi-ethnic Bosnian state fell victim at the hands of both Greater Serbia and Greater Croatia.

In the war itself, the Serbs ended up dominating. No surprise, the conflict was thoroughly unequal. They had the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army to back them up. And Bosnia was victim of the arms blockade imposed by the United Nations. This was imposed against all sides -- but in an unequal situation, it was the Bosnians who suffered the most.

Perhaps when it became clear that the Serbs in Bosnia did not want to stay in a unified Bosnian state, the Bosnian leadership would have done better to find a compromise of some kind, even though it would inevitably have been a most painful one. But the tragedy of Bosnia was compounded by the fact that the Bosnian leaders believed in the fine words of the "international community" and expected deliverance from international help.

The "international community"

For example, they put their faith in Bill Clinton. And Bill Clinton at various times promoted the idea of U.S. intervention, feeding the desperate illusions in Bosnia. But in the end, the U.S., like the European Community, decided that they would not extend themselves beyond a minimal presence to ensure some relief supplies.

And beyond that, what would the U.S. or the EC or the UN have intervened in favor of? They pursued their own interests, which called for stability, and never seriously considered what the right to self-determination would mean with respect to Yugoslavia. A broader intervention might thus have laid the seed for new tragedy.

It is doubtful that any kind of solution could have been imposed on Bosnia from the outside. But the big powers were more interested in avoiding a flood of refugees from Bosnia than in even providing basic humanitarian assistance to the Bosnian Muslims and other victims of the national strife. This underscores that while imperialism speaks loudly about defending democracy, human rights, and freedom, it only cares about its interests. And the Bosnian Muslims have no oil or other major economic or strategic interests for world imperialism today.

Today it appears that Bosnia is headed for carve-up among Greater Serbia and Greater Croatia. The Muslims will be left to fend for themselves in a few tiny enclaves, dependent on the largess of the West for aid and relief. They will be the worst victims of this war. But bitter memories will remain, and those who triumph today may find that they have solved little by breaking apart the bond of friendship and harmony across national lines. They inherit a broken and devastated land, the prospect of further national squabbles with their neighbors, and new generations of dispossessed people who will seek justice for years and decades to come.

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The world in struggle


Deal signed to return Aristide

The tyrants go unpunished in Haiti

The U.S. and UN engineered a deal on Haiti July 3. The military dictator of Haiti, Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, and Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the ousted president of the country, signed an agreement that will allow Aristide to resume the presidency on October 30.

But how much change will this imperialist-brokered agreement bring to long-suffering Haiti? Not much. It simply allows a return to the legal status quo of 21 months ago, when Cedras and other military leaders overthrew Aristide in a coup. But it also places conditions on Aristide. It ensures that he can take no action against the criminals who ousted the legally elected president and carried out a wave of brutal repression against the Haitian people.

Aristide had been elected by an overwhelming majority of the Haitian people who took to heart his radical declarations on behalf of democracy and the rights of the poor. Upon his election, however, the president had tried to walk a middle road between the masses and the military-business establishment. His actual reforms were few. Still, that didn't prevent the elite from organizing a military coup against him.

Aristide, restored through the U.S./UN deal, will not even be able to wield the limited power he had earlier. In exile, he had to make even more promises to international capitalism that he will not rattle the powers-that-be.

Cedras broken by oil embargo

Why has an agreement been reached now, almost two years after Aristide was driven from power?

The main reason is that the Clinton administration finally went to the UN and asked for a complete embargo against Haiti. Until then the U.S.-sponsored embargo had been limited to countries belonging to the Organization for American States, and it was a pretty leaky blockade. As soon as Clinton went to the UN, the resolution was passed, and a few weeks later went into effect. Haiti's oil imports were cut off beginning the first of July, and by the next day there was gasoline rationing throughout the country and long lines at gas stations. Commerce was paralyzed. By the next day Cedras knew he was through, and signed the agreement with Aristide.

The rapidity of Cedras' capitulation demonstrates the truth of what we were saying all along -- that Bush's sanctions were nothing. Following the coup Bush announced a pseudo-embargo against Haiti. But he did nothing to get other countries to go along. And he didn't freeze the assets of Haitian businessmen. The Haitian bourgeoisie continued eating caviar and drinking champagne, even though the masses were starving. The main content of Bush's "sanctions" were directed against the poor, the boat people who tried to get away from the military's murderous raids. Against them Bush was very active, ordering the Coast Guard to pick them up on the high seas and return them to Haiti to be tortured and killed.

Clinton had campaigned against the Bush policy, but after being elected he chose to continue persecuting Haitian refugees while going easy on the Cedras clique. Even though he launched a new round of diplomatic efforts to broker a deal between Cedras and Aristide, he continued to dillydally without much impact.

So why did he finally decide to up the ante?

For one thing, the U.S. government was worried about continuing unrest in Haiti. The military had never been able to repress the population into submission. There were signs this spring that Haiti was headed for another round of mass actions. As well, the attempts by Haitians to flee to the United States continued, even in the face of the stepped-up blockade.

But it appears that it wasn't until he was hit with a domestic political blunder -- anger in the black community over dropping the nomination of Lani Guinier to Assistant Attorney-General for Civil Rights -- that Clinton turned his attention back to Haiti. The Black Caucus in Congress asked Clinton for some concession to justify their continuing support, and he found action on Haiti a cheap and easy bone to throw them. So finally, after six months in office, Clinton leaned on Cedras, and the Cedras regime immediately caved in.

This agreement changes little

While finally leaning on the Haitian military a little bit, Clinton did nothing to press for social and political reform in Haiti. So despite Aristide's return to power the basic reality of life for the masses will remain the same. The agreement provides an amnesty for everyone involved in Aristide's overthrow. There will be no purge of the army or the police; Cedras and the police chief, apparently, will resign, but the others in his ruling clique will remain. Aristide will get to appoint new chiefs for the army and police, but all that means is that he gets to choose from within the police-military apparatus that has terrorized Haitians for a long time. It may be recalled that Cedras himself was appointed as head of the army by Aristide; it didn't take him long to show his true colors.

As president, Aristide will choose the prime minister. But U.S./UN negotiators pressured Aristide to agree to a consensus candidate acceptable to all parties. Of course this includes parties of the bourgeois elite that supported his overthrow. Aristide is expected to choose a businessman who can reassure the Haitian bourgeoisie.

The agreement does provide for freedom of expression; the military is supposed to allow free political activity between now and the return of Aristide on October 30. But whether they will abide by this remains to be seen. Immediately following the signing of the agreement the military went on a rampage, arresting activists, bombing poor neighborhoods, and organizing police demonstrations against Aristide. Opposition activists have called for pro-Aristide demonstrations in late July to see if the repression continues. With Cedras and his crew, anything is possible -- they may even decide to tear up the agreement. But the UN embargo is supposed to remain in force until Aristide's return, so the agreement may hold.

As well, the U.S./UN negotiators held out the hope of $1 billion in economic aid once Aristide is back in power. But they also promised aid when Aristide was in power before, and then never came through with the money. To get the money Aristide must continuously kowtow, tie his government and economy to imperialist bureaucracy, and assure aid donors he is providing a stable business climate for the bourgeoisie. And while Si billion may sound like a lot of money, U.S. aid is however structured in such a way that most of the money is simply funneled to U.S. businesses and to the local elite. Very little is actually spent on improving conditions for the ordinary people.

Which way Haiti?

Haiti once again finds itself at a turning point. The U.S. and UN are trying to establish the limits of choices before the Haitian people. But will the people accept those choices?

For years the country has seen a stream of agitation and struggle among the poor masses. Mass pressure played a certain role in bringing about the present agreement. What direction will this mass activity take in the coming period?

Will the people simply accept a situation where Aristide is restored but has even less power than he did before? Or will they seize on Aristide's return as an impulse to press forward their hopes and demands once again?

The workers and poor of Haiti must not allow Aristide's return to be simply the "democratic" anointing of more decades of oppression and exploitation. Real change in Haiti requires the smashing of the power of the ruling elite and military caste.

[Photo: Haitians outside St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, June 20, condemn the Vatican's recognition of the Cedras military dictatorship.]

Solidarity with Timex strikers in Scotland

A grassroots solidarity movement is building in Britain to support the 343 workers striking against Timex Electronics in Dundee, Scotland. The strike has become a rallying point for the working class of Britain, battered by years of tough, no-win strikes and sellouts by the labor bureaucrats and Labor Party hacks.

The Timex strike has lasted five months so far. It began when management laid off half the work force at the Dundee plant and refused to honor the previous labor agreement to pay the laid-off workers full wages. The workers' union, the Amalgamated Electrical and Engineering Union (AEEU), agreed to let the company off the hook.

For workers not laid off Timex demanded a cut in pay, reduction in pensions, an end to a workers' savings scheme and canteen benefits. This was too much, and workers declared themselves on strike in mid-February. After two weeks, workers tried to go back with the old conditions remaining, but found themselves locked out.

To defeat the workers, Timex launched an American-style union-busting campaign. They put in a high wire fence around the plant, started busing in scabs, and obtained injunctions to keep pickets away.

Nonetheless, mass picketing has been constant, and even grown over the months. Some 200-300 workers show up every day, and every Monday there is a mass solidarity picket with workers from all over Britain turning out. By early June the Monday pickets had grown to thousands of workers, and they were effective in keeping the scabs out. Timex deployed hundreds of police (both "public" and "private") against the pickets, but the cops were unable to force their way through the mass of strikers and their supporters.

The mass pressure forced an escalation of the struggle. Strikers were told to return to work with a 27% cut in wages. The AEEU leaders supported this plan because it included official reinstatement of the union, although it gutted workers' actual union rights. The workers refused to cave in to the sellout. At this point the head of Timex Corporation's British operations resigned^ and Timex announced plans to close the plant by the end of 1993. Workers then stepped up their mass solidarity actions with a rally of 10,000 people in Dundee on June 19. And on July 1 the workers organized simultaneous rallies in Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London. The Timex strikers, most of whom are women, are also traveling to other picket lines in Britain to gather support for other workers' struggles. They've also been following the coal strike in the U.S. and want to travel here for a solidarity trip.

International support for the strikers is growing, and this is important in fighting a multinational like Timex. Workers in all countries need to unite against the capitalists' attempts to drive down wages and working conditions.

Supreme Court OKs persecution of Haitian refugees

Early in June, a U.S. district court judge ordered the Clinton administration to close its AIDS concentration camp at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In unusually strong language the judge castigated the government for illegally imprisoning Haitian political refugees who had tested positive for HIV. Their detention only made their health conditions worse, and the judge ordered Clinton to close the camp.

After seesawing for a week and contemplating an appeal, Clinton finally agreed to comply, and the Haitians were allowed to enter the U.S.

This decision encouraged some people to think that the courts were about to repudiate the cruel Bush/Clinton policy toward Haitian refugees. But as it turned out, this was a very narrow decision limited only to the world's first concentration camp for HIV-positive people.

Later in June, the Supreme Court upheld the government's policy of stopping Haitian "boat people" and returning them to Haiti. This is the cruel policy Clinton condemned during his election campaign, when he was fishing for votes; but which he turned around and supported as soon as he was elected. Even before he took office, Clinton issued statements reversing his previous position and supporting Bush's move to strengthen the blockade around Haiti.

It's interesting to look at the Supreme Court's reasoning in this case, because it shows once again how ridiculous it is to think of American courts as "impartial" or "bound by law."

Bear in mind that the U.S. is a signatory to an international treaty requiring Early in June, a U.S. district court judge ordered the Clinton administration to close its AIDS concentration camp at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In unusually strong language the judge castigated the government for illegally imprisoning Haitian political refugees who had tested positive for HIV. Their detention only made their health conditions worse, and the judge ordered Clinton to close the camp.

So how can the Supreme Court justify the government rounding up thousands of boat people fleeing persecution in Haiti and sending them back to their tormentors? Easy. The Court simply reasoned that in this case the refugees were not being stopped at the border -- in fact, they were being stopped many miles from the border, on the high seas. Therefore the treaty governing treatment of refugees "does not apply."

Of course it never occurred to the Court to point out that, in that case, the U.S. is committing piracy on the high seas -- stopping boats miles away from its own border, seizing the people on board and sinking the boats. Destruction of the Haitians' property, mass kidnapping, winking at bloody political persecution: the Clinton administration is guilty of all this and more in its war on the Haitian refugees.

But none of this matters to the supposedly "impartial" tribunes of bourgeois justice. The Haitians are poor, they are black, they may even be a bit rebellious or uppity -- so naturally they have no rights.

Thousands march in Toronto in support of immigrants

Toronto, June 28: over two thousand people joined a march to protest recent racist attacks against Tamil immigrants from Sri Lanka. In three separate incidents in June, three Tamil men were viciously beaten by racist thugs. One of them died, while another is paralyzed. In the latter case the attacker was arrested; he's a member of the Heritage Front, a neo-nazi organization connected with similar groups in Germany. The march brought together progressive people from many different organizations who are outraged by the attacks on immigrants.

What led to the clashes in Somalia?

In May most U.S. troops were withdrawn from Somalia. And Bill Clinton, the Pentagon generals, and UN bureaucrats all declared the first phase of the Somalia intervention a huge success.

It was said that relief supplies were now secure, and all Somali factions had agreed to a conference for a political solution that would allow the reconstitution of government authority in that war-ravaged country. A smaller U.S. force was staying behind as part of a UN command which would ensure security as Somali civil society was rebuilt.

The U.S. journalists packed up their bags, and Somalia disappeared from the news. Suddenly in June, we saw U.S. helicopters and warships bombing parts of Mogadishu, and UN forces massacring demonstrators in cold blood.

What has been happening inside Somalia and with the UN operation to account for this tragic turnabout?

That is a story you won't get from the establishment media. They are too busy parroting the tales churned out by the generals, politicians, and bureaucrats in Washington and New York. The picture they paint is a simple one: there is one "very bad guy" in Somalia -- General Farah Aidid -- who is warring against the humanitarian mission of the UN. He must be punished. And to punish him, the deaths of Somalis are... well, an unfortunate, but necessary, byproduct.

Look behind the hype

The truth is, the U.S. declaration of success in Somalia this spring was largely a PR job. Clinton declared victory simply because he wanted to look good at home. And the media who are loyal lapdogs where the Pentagon is concerned all chimed in. After all, it was the reputation of the Great White Hope at stake.

Any reasonable assessment of success in the declared goals of the Somalia operation could only have come if there was indeed real progress in restoring civil society in Somalia. That depended not on the number and firepower of foreign troops, but on a political agreement among the conflict-ridden armed factions and clans of Somalia.

The UN did succeed in getting most factions to a meeting and there was an agreement for a conference to begin the work towards restoring a countryside Somali government.

But there was a major problem with this deal. General Mohammed Farah Aidid, the warlord who controls half of Mogadishu, refused to go through with it. The U.S. and UN have no fundamental differences with Aidid. but Aidid demanded concessions favorable to him. He sought a special place for his faction in any conference. He also wanted to limit any political deal-making to factions that had fought against the former dictator Siad Barre. While that may have made him popular, he also sought to limit the political discussion to armed groups only. He resented attempts to bring clan leaders, intellectuals, and women's groups into the political process. With that, he showed his desire to personally dominate the future of Somalia.

It is unclear whether this deadlock was going to be temporary or not. But it appears that the UN and U.S. forces in Somalia decided to put the squeeze on Aidid. And in this process, the UN forces embarked on the dangerous game of joining the civil conflict inside Somalia, rather than remaining aloof from it. Once this game began, the civil conflict in the country was bound to get a new lease on life. Already, some factions are jockeying for favor with the UN by loudly supporting its war against Aidid.

The conflict between Aidid and the UN shows that this is no simple case of bad guys vs. good guys. Both sides are to blame for creating an environment of tension and war where the real victims are the people of Somalia.

The gulf widens between the UN and Aidid

Both the UN and Aidid embarked on a policy of brinkmanship.

The UN seems to have encouraged certain factions allied with Aidid to move their allegiances away from him. When one faction appeared ready to bolt, this could possibly have encouraged other Aidid allies to consider abandoning him. In fact the rifts inside Aidid's United Somali Congress grew to such a point that a meeting of its Central Committee couldn't be called.

In the central region, there were some small military advances by two Darood groups against Aidid's forces. The UN did not interfere. And in the southern city of Kismayu, General "Morgan," one of Aidid's enemies, had earlier dislodged his ally Colonel Omar Jess. The UN was setting up a police apparatus in that city with Morgan's loyalists. While the UN may not have encouraged the military advances against Aidid, they nevertheless reinforced his perception that they were squeezing him hard.

Aidid responded by escalating propaganda against the UN presence, especially on his radio. It also appears he began to look for allies among the local Islamic party and its backers inside the government of Sudan. Aidid's declarations against the UN began to get some support from the masses, because some of the foreign forces had become notorious for callousness against ordinary Somalis. There were a series of incidents this spring where U.S. troops were involved in shooting Somali youth. As well, Canadian forces were implicated in the deaths of several Somalis, and it was revealed that their contingent included members of a racist neo-Nazi group fromCanada.

War over Mogadishu

On June 5, the tension between the UN and Aidid broke out into the open. In what is reported as an ambush by Aidid's militiamen, 26 UN troops from Pakistan were killed. The conflict escalated sharply since then. A few days later, Pakistani troops opened fire on unarmed demonstrators. And Bill Clinton supported the U.S. forces' decision to bomb and strafe areas of Mogadishu under Aidid's control. Several hundred Somalis have died. The UN ordered a campaign to capture Aidid, and has posted a reward for help in his capture.

There are conflicting accounts of the June 5 clash which sparked this new wave of military conflict. The UN claims it was going to Aidid's radio station to count arms stored there. Aidid claims that they were out to silence his radio, which the UN had already denounced. The U.S. media has simply signed on to the official UN story.

But the London newsletter Africa Confidential reports that the story is more complex. Aidid may well have ordered an ambush, but Aidid had also sent his emissaries to several Western governments to warn them that, although "something" was about to happen, it would not be aimed against their interests. The newsletter reports that the Italian contingent in the UN force seemed to have some sympathy with Aidid's complaint that his radio station was under threat.

For over a month now, the war continues between the UN and Aidid. All relief operations have stopped. Somalis in Mogadishu are angrier than ever against the UN presence, and Aidid's popularity has grown as he portrays himself as a fighter for Somalia against arrogant attempts at colonial domination. Peace and stability in Somalia are in fact further away then ever.

So far 35 UN soldiers have been killed and more than 137 wounded. The death toll among Somalis is in the hundreds, many of them women and children. The declarations from the U.S. and UN are more warlike than ever, even though Aidid has said he is open to renewed negotiations.

But the United Nations forces are not all in agreement. Several governments have registered their unhappiness over the descent of the Somalia intervention into what looks more and more like a quagmire. The loudest protest has come from Italy.

Italy dissents

The deaths of three Italian soldiers July 2 widened a debate in that country over taking part in the UN operation in Somalia. As the UN pressed ahead with its crusade against Aidid, the commander of Italy's 2,400 troops in Somalia refused to carry out orders from the local UN command, which is dominated by the U.S.

The UN responded by ordering Italy to replace its local commander and remove the Italian contingent from Mogadishu to elsewhere in Somalia. But the Italian government has stated that it will not accede to these demands. Instead it is urging a reconsideration of the UN war against Aidid. It feels that the search for a political solution has to be restored as the heart of the UN intervention.

There are reports that several other countries have supported the Italian stand.

What will come from this rift is unclear. But it underscores that among the forces joined together in the military intervention in Somalia there is considerable disagreement.

Above all, it is the U.S. forces who have embraced the role of typical imperialist overlords acting as if force can resolve all problems. Boutros-Boutros Ghali agrees with the U.S. stand, because he wants the UN to adopt a more militarily forceful stand in problem areas of the world.

Other governments do not appear to share the U.S. stand. Some of this is driven by concern over the fact that their troops have to serve as cannon fodder in a U.S.-dominated adventure. Some is due to a greater awareness of the limits of force alone in such complex situations as Somalia -- a simple political understanding that escapes the arrogant strategists of the U.S. superpower. And in the case of Italy, a country wracked by deep governmental crisis, reservations about the Somalia mission may well be driven by the fact that governing at home is difficult enough without signing on to a long-term military adventure with murky ends.

Force is no magic wand

In Somalia, the state collapsed as the Country was engulfed in civil war. This, civil war had its roots in the brutal military dictatorship of Siad Barre. But that war was also fed by outside intervention, as the Soviet Union and the U.S. had successively backed and armed the Siad Barre regime for the greater glory of Cold War rivalry over the Horn of Africa. Somali society was so fractured that no force emerged that could command the support of the majority of the country. The civil conflict created untold hardship and starvation for the people, caught in a web of intrigue, terrorism, and the battle for survival.

The UN turned its back on Somalia for years, watching passively as the country slid into famine and chaos. Only when the situation had deteriorated to the point where Somalia had little alternative to military intervention, did it act. It then took on the mission of midwifing the restoration of a state in Somalia. But it has gone about this mission with a militarist bent, and it thinks that force can solve all problems. The UN was forced to concede that it couldn't act militarily in the former Yugoslavia, but it seems to feel that it can act with impunity in a poor African country. What is actually happening is that the UN is simply becoming part of an intractable civil conflict. In essence this means that the UN has appointed itself the new colonial occupier of Somalia.

But the UN's militarist outlook, now transformed into war, is only gelling sentiment against the foreign military presence. If it doesn't turn away from this war, it will find that it is digging a deep hole for itself in Somalia. The Somali people have been forced to beg for food on the world scene. But the Somali people have their dignity, and they will not consent to being massacred for someone else's agenda.

[Photo: Victim of Pakistani "peacekeepers" lies dead in Mogadishu.]

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