The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 1, #1


Jan. 15, 1985

[Front Page: Introducing the Supplement]


Study the analysis of the Second National Conference of the MLP........... 3
Two speeches:

Against Racism and National Oppression.................................................. 4
On the League of Revolutionary Black Workers........................................ 21
No to reprisals against wildcat strikers at Chrysler.................................... 21
More on the postal contract........................................................................ 7
On the starvation agreement between the IMF and the social-democratic government in the Dominican Republic........................ 11
Condemn the attacks of the bourgeois nationalist KDP against the revolutionary toi1ers of Kurdistan.............................................................. 13
How "The Student" emerged at MIT.......................................................... 16

Introducing the Supplement










Introducing the Supplement

This is the first issue of The Workers' Advocate Supplement. For many years The Workers' Advocate has served as the voice of the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists of the U.S. It has been built up through the hard work and sacrifice of the Marxist-Leninist communists and class-conscious workers. It. has not attempted to be something complete in itself, but has always served as a tool to deal with the tasks of the revolutionary movement and. of party-building. As the Marxist-Leninist Party (and its predecessors) advanced, and as the special tasks facing the revolution have changed, so have the tasks before The Workers' Advocate.

The Second National Conference of our Party, the Marxist-Leninist Party, discussed the special tasks of revolutionary work in the present period, when the bourgeoisie is on a ruthless offensive but the response of the working masses has been temporarily shackled by various. factors including the heavy hand of reformist treachery which trims its sails according to the whims of the capitalist liberals. The resolutions of this conference can be found in the December 1 issue of The Workers' Advocate.

One of the subjects discussed at the Second National Conference was how to gradually transform The Workers' Advocate so as to have it play an even greater role in building up revolutionary organization deep among the masses. Among the changes dealt with was more regular publication of The Workers' Advocate. The Workers' Advocate in dealing with the many sided work of the Marxist-Leninist Party, has in the past functioned as both a political affairs newspaper and a theoretical organ, and it has also had special issues for mass circulation at major demonstrations and during major campaigns (such as the campaigns against U.S. imperialist exploitation. of and intervention in Central America; in favor of the Nicaraguan workers' press; to celebrate May Day; against the capitalist parties during the national presidential elections; to popularize the lessons of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 among the masses; etc.) It has had both regular issues and many theoretical supplements and other special issues. It was decided to work towards having the regular issue coming out more frequently and to gradually transform The Workers' Advocate's methods of covering the class struggle and party-building.

At the same time, the Second National Conference held that it was essential to maintain the extensive coverage of theoretical questions in The Workers' Advocate, the more detailed analysis of political events, and the in depth coverage of the burning issues ,and controversies facing the revolutionary movement in the U.S. and around the world, including the discussion of the tasks for strengthening the international Marxist-Leninist movement. Without theory, the proletarian movement is blind and subject to many wrong directions and catastrophes. To develop theory, and to popularize theory among the masses, it is necessary both to have political affairs articles that show the Marxist-Leninist analysis in direct relation to the immediate events of the day, and to have space for longer theoretical articles, and for important documents. It was held that some of these longer articles and documents would continue to be in the regular issue of The Workers' Advocate, but there was need for another way of publishing them to reduce the number of times that the regular issue is replaced by special theoretical issues and to provide more flexibility for how Marxist-Leninist theory is popularized in the regular issues.

Thus, the Second National Conference endorsed the plan to establish The Workers' Advocate Supplement as a regular publication, replacing many of the special issues. The Supplement has the purpose of providing a place to publish many different types of material that cannot be covered adequately in the regular issue of The Workers' Advocate.

The Supplement will publish theoretical articles, including longer articles that could hardly fit in the regular issue under any plan. It will also provide a place to publish much valuable background material for the study of the theoretical matters being raised. Furthermore, it will also publish certain Party discussion articles that raise valuable ideas but are not authoritative expositions or the Party's stand or which discuss issues on which the Party has not yet taken a decision.

It will also publish many political affairs articles, leaflets and other materials on current political events that did not make it into The Workers' Advocate regular issue for one reason or another. It will thus further encourage the political and economic agitation of our Party, give Party comrades and class-conscious workers a broader knowledge of the work of the local branches of the Party, and maintain a close connection with immediate revolutionary practice.

It will carry reprints from other parties in the international Marxist-Leninist movement and thus help encourage proletarian internationalism. The reprinting of a document from another party will not necessarily mean that the Supplement is endorsing the document or the ideas in it, but that the Supplement regards the document as useful in bringing the views of the revolutionaries of other lands to the American workers and revolutionaries. The proletarian revolutionary movement is a world movement, of which the American Marxist-Leninist communists form only a single contingent. It is vital to study the experience of party-building and the revolution in other countries. And this is also important in strengthening the struggle against U.S. imperialism and the crimes of the American bourgeoisie around the world. It is the workers and peasants around the world who form the backbone of the struggle against oppression and exploitation, and the anti-imperialist movement in the U.S. will be immensely strengthened as it distinguishes the different forces that confront U.S. imperialism in the World and directs special attention to supporting the revolutionary forces of the working masses.

It will also carry other materials, such as cultural work (songs, poems, denunciation of bourgeois culture, etc.), letters, documents on Party history, etc.

There is no hard and fast dividing line between materials that will be published in the regular issues. of The Workers' Advocate and the Supplement. The Supplement will tend to provide a more convenient place, for the printing of longer materials, but it will also include all categories of articles that were suitable for the regular issue, but didn't actually make it into the paper, It will carry authoritative party statements and polished materials, but it will also generally be a more suitable place than the regular issue for the publication of various materials that, while of value and interest, are either discussion pieces or have certain drawbacks that would otherwise hinder publishing them.

Like The Workers' Advocate, The Workers' Advocate Supplement is a journal of the Central Committee of the Marxist-Leninist Party. The Supplement will appear at least once a month. It will vary in size in accordance with the available material and the immediate tasks of the party. It is especially designed for the use of Party activists and sympathizers, but it is a public journal, available to all progressive people who wish to purchase it. As well, some issues of the Supplement may be produced in larger numbers for wide distribution.

The Workers' Advocate stands at the head of a whole system of proletarian literature - from leaflets, factory distribution networks and local newspapers to the Supplement, pamphlets and books. We call on all workers, activists, and progressive people to read and support the workers' press. Let us unite. to bring the truth to the people, as opposed to the lies, dollar-worship, racism and chauvinism of the bourgeois press! Let us build up the revolutionary proletarian press as part of the work of strengthening the class-conscious proletarian movement, building a genuine fighting communist party, the Marxist-Leninist Party, and preparing for the socialist revolution! <>


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The Second National Conference of our Party was held last fall under the slogans "Deeper among the masses - Build the Marxist-Leninist Party!" and "Carry forward the struggle against racism and national oppression - Work for proletarian leadership!" It had two purposes: it discussed and helped systematize the particular methods of work needed to implement the revolutionary line of the Second Congress of our Party in the present conditions of the capitalist offensive and the temporary ebb in the mass movement and it was aimed at deepening the line of our Party on one particular, but quite important, front of the revolutionary struggle, namely, the struggle against racism and national oppression. The Conference presented much valuable material summing up the work of our Party, examining some of the history of the mass upsurge of the 1960's, dealing with certain long-term controversies in the American communist movement and providing orientation for the revolutionary struggle.

The resolutions of this conference were published in the December 1, 1984 issue of The Workers' Advocate. In order to allow a deeper study of the views of the conference, the Supplement, starting with this issue, will contain a series of articles further elaborating its work.

In this issue we shall begin the series on the Second National Conference by reprinting two of the speeches that were given there.

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Below we publish the speech at the. Second National Conference which served as a general introduction to the series of speeches on particular aspects of the struggle against racism and national oppression. It has been edited for publication and certain omissions have been indicated.


Comrades, I want to make a few introductory remarks on that aspect of the Conference dealing with the struggle against racism and national oppression. This Conference focuses on the black liberation movement, and there's several important reasons for doing so.

One reason is that there is a potentially explosive situation among the black people. In recent years, the struggle of the black people, and of the other oppressed nationalities, has not reached the great proportions or the revolutionary intensity that it had in the 1960s. As with the other mass movements, the black people's movement remains inconsistent, sporadic, and scattered. Nonetheless, there is a deep ferment working among the masses that at every point threatens to break out in renewed struggle.

We have pointed out that today all of the objective conditions are moving in the direction, of throwing the working masses into struggle. And this is nowhere more true than among the black people and among the other oppressed nationalities. The vicious moves of the capitalists to shift the burden, of the economic crisis onto the working masses is hitting the oppressed nationalities especially hard. What is more, the Reaganites are trying to take revenge on the black people for their dynamic struggles of the 1960s and early 1970s, and. racism and segregationism are central features of the reactionary mood that is motivating the bourgeoisie today. These, and other conditions, are propelling the oppressed nationalities into motion.

Just in August, in Waynesboro, Georgia, we saw another small scale rebellion burst out against a brutal racist police murder. This struggle, and the other sporadic demonstrations and battles with the police and racist gangs that have taken place from time to time over the last several years, show the anger and the spirit of defiance, that is boiling just below the' surface among the black masses. These are the signs that if not this year, then, eventually, the black liberation movement will again reemerge with all of its revolutionary sweep and vitality. And so it is important that we pay attention to this movement today, even when it is still weak and undeveloped, to help organize the masses and to gain influence, where we can, so the Party will be in the position to lead the movement forward in a revolutionary direction.

It is also important that we work to carry forward the struggle against racism and national oppression as one of the important means for uniting the working class, for welding together the workers of all nationalities for the class struggle against the capitalist offensive. Brutal racial discrimination is one of the central features of Reaganite reaction. It is a weapon not only for driving down the conditions of the black people, but it is also a means for dividing the workers, for splitting up the working class, and thereby weakening the general movement against capitalist reaction. If we are to organize our class, if we are to solidify its ranks for the class struggle, then we must devote attention to the anti-racist struggle.

Even our struggle against reformism demands that we pay attention to the anti-racist movement. It is a significant fact that today, the bourgeoisie is giving a lot of promotion to Jesse Jackson and other black reform spouting misleaders. This testifies to the bourgeoisie's concern about the ferment among the black masses, and of the bourgeoisie's desire to head off the struggle of the black masses, to divert their anger into the safe harbors of the Democratic Party.. But Jesse Jackson, Harold Washington, and other such figures have a broader significance than just for the black peoples movement. They are also being touted, as the champions of the anti-war movement and of other progressive struggles, and as the most important leaders of the general fight against the Reaganite offensive. It is essential that we expose them, that we undermine their influence, if we are to rally the working people for the fight against the capitalist offensive.

So, comrades, for these and other reasons it's quite important for our Party to pay attention to the movement of the black people and of the other oppressed nationalities.

This conference will go into some of the more recent experience of our Party in the anti-racist struggle. It will also sum up certain aspects of the black liberation movement from the 1960s and early '70s. And it will deal with deepening our theoretical understanding of certain questions of orientation for the anti-racist movement. At the 2nd Congress, we passed a powerful resolution that analyzed the movements against racism and national oppression and provided quite a clear orientation for our Party's work in these movements. At this conference we want to give more elaboration of the experience and thinking behind the orientation adopted at the 2nd Congress. At the same time we will try to develop the discussion on a couple of questions that we were not yet ready to fully resolve at the time of the 2nd Congress.

So I want to briefly go through different presentations that will be made and touch on some of the significance of; them. I'm not going, through these in the order that they're being given, but in a different manner.


The 2nd Congress resolution points out that the Party actively fights against racism and national oppression, that it stands shoulder to shoulder with the, fighting masses, and from that position it works to guide the movement in a revolutionary direction. This I think is quite an important point. When the masses go into motion they do not come forward with ready made Marxist-Leninist clarity. They come forward not only with the spirit to struggle but they also frequently bring with them all kinds of backward ideological baggage. Our Party pays attention to uniting with the fighting spirit of the masses and carefully, and quite patiently, guiding them to direct their struggle against the capitalist system and the capitalist state; to give them a class perspective and orient the movement in an independent direction, separate from and against the Democratic Party and the black misleaders. [The speech then referred to the recent experience of the Party in working with activists who came up in the struggle against racism, in assisting them and in fostering a Marxist-Leninist, pro-party trend among them.]

There will also be a speech on the Black Panther Party and how the American Communist Workers. Movement (Marxist-Leninist) dealt with it. Here is an example of a petty bourgeois revolutionary trend that came up in the movement and gained wide influence and popularity. While it cannot be said that the tactics of the ACWM(M-L) towards the Black Panthers were perfect in every regard, this experience does show the importance of not standing aloof from such trends. No matter how rotten the leadership was, the Panthers did gain a mass following and the youth who joined it had a deep revolutionary sentiment. The ACWM(M-L) recognized the significance of such a force and worked to win them over to a proletarian perspective. While the Panthers had their own particularity, if we look at this question in the broad sense, it is similar to the questions raised at the 2nd Congress about left social-democracy. Frequently the activists coming up are moving away from reformism and towards an anti-imperialist and revolutionary perspective. It is important that we find the way to get close to them, to get their ear, so that our criticism of. the reformist and petty-bourgeois perspective that still has them in its grips will have its impact, so that we can in fact guide them forward.


The 2nd Congress resolution also emphasized the class differentiation taking place in the black people's movement and in this regards the importance of organizing the black workers. The vast majority of the black people are workers. They are the most consistent and resolute fighters against national oppression, they form the backbone of the anti-racist movement, and they play an important role in the class struggle of the proletariat as a whole. Experience has shown the importance of organizing the black workers, on the one hand, and of encouraging the struggle against the sellout bourgeois elements in the black people's movement, on the other hand. In this regards, there are three speeches of particular interest that will be presented to the Conference. The first speech, which the comrade already mentioned, is on our work at Roswell Park Hospital. This speech sums up our experience in organizing the black workers against racism in the workplace and also into the general workers' struggle; it points out the role of this work at the workplace in assisting our work in the general anti-racist movement and it goes into the, question of the struggle against a black bourgeois nationalist trend headed up, or around, a figure by the name of Arthur Eve. So this is one of the speeches on this question.

The second speech comes from the experience of the 1960s and early '70s. In that period - this is particularly the late 1960s and early '70s - a black workers' movement came up as part of the general workers' movement; it was inspired by the black liberation struggle, and it came up fighting against racism in the factories. This speech centers on the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. The League of Revolutionary Black Workers in Detroit is one of the manifestations, one of the organizations that came up in this movement. It probably has the largest reputation, was most widely known during that period, and it's of particular interest because in many regards the League of Revolutionary Black Workers represented both what was the best in the movement and what was the worst in it. So we'll have a speech on the League which deals with the particular organization of the black workers movement, but the speech will also go into that movement in general, and draw various conclusions from that experience that will help to orient our work in the future.

So besides these two speeches, if time permits, we'll also have a brief speech on the history of Jesse Jackson and his organization, called PUSH, that shows that its history is one of being based on the biggest of the black bourgeoisie and that the creation of PUSH represented a turn to the right even away from the traditions of the civil rights movement towards an even more profoundly bourgeois approach to the black peoples movement.

So these three speeches deal with the question particularly of the question of the class differentiation in the movement, and the important question of the necessity of organizing the black workers.


The 2nd Congress resolution pointed out the importance of ensuring that the workers of all nationalities are incorporated into class organizations of the proletariat. Now this is quite significant.

Lenin teaches, and our experience has shown us, that the working class must be inspired by the highest ideals of proletarian internationalism and that the organizations of the workers, if they are to truly unite the workers and organize them as a class, must be unitary organizations, that is they must bring together workers from every nationality and in fact facilitate the organization of the workers as a class. I think this point is fairly clear.

But there are a series of questions that arise as our view towards nationality organization. Should there be special organizations to fight racism, or organizations of the black people's movement, you could say; organizations of the movements of other oppressed nationalities; of the immigrant communities; and so forth? Should such organizations exist? If they should exist, should these organizations be composed solely of the members of that oppressed nationality? And, even if we are most interested in organizations that pull together the working masses from various nationalities, there is still the question of what attitude should we take to nationality organizations that arise spontaneously in the course of definite struggles and definite movements?

These and other questions come up. For some time our Party has, in practice, recognized a role for nationality organization as an auxiliary form of organization. For example, we supported, saw a role for, and assisted the development of the Caribbean Progressive Study Group. But we had not worked out, in general form, in what circumstances we believe nationality organization plays a positive role and how we should work with such an organization. For this reason the 2nd Congress resolution was. only able to speak to the question of incorporating workers of all nationalities into, the proletarian organizations, but we weren't able to also formulate the question of our view towards nationality organization. Since the 2nd Congress, there's been further study on the question, further work to sum up our own experience, to look into the classics, and so forth.

At this conference, many of the speeches will in fact touch on this question - the speeches that deal with certain questions of history of the black peoples movement and certain of the speeches that deal with the questions of our direct experience. But there are two speeches that especially deal with this question.

One speech is directly on the question of nationality organization. This speech sums up our direct experience; it sums up the general experience in the movement, especially in the 196os, and looks at the question as it arose earlier in the communist movement; and it deals with some of the classic teachings on the question of nationality organization. It arrives at certain general conclusions on under what conditions - we would support nationality organization and what direction, in general, should be given to such organizations.

Besides this speech there is also a speech on the history and the experience of the CPSG which, in detailing this direct experience, shows some lessons on this organization and the work with nationality organization.

So comrades, I should note here, before I go on, that the CC does not propose that this conference come to a resolution on the question of the nationality organization. Rather, the aim is to use the conference to initiate this discussion, so that it can be further deepened, following the Conference, in the local areas. And then later we will take decision on the question.

[The speech then passed onto another subject and introduced the question of certain longstanding theoretical controversies in the American communist movement concerning the black people's movement.]


So, Comrades, in brief terms this is the content of the. Conference on the question of the struggle against racism and national oppression.

The various speeches "that will be presented provide a very rich treasure house of revolutionary experience. This experience, when summed up and concentrated, fully confirms the correctness of the resolutions of the 2nd Congress of our Party. And, moreover, what this experience shows is the vital necessity of following the orientation and tactical approaches provided in the 2nd Congress resolutions if We are to lend our voice to the struggle against racism and national oppression, if we are to assist the masses to get organized and to advance on the revolutionary road.

Today the Reaganites are on a vicious racist crusade against the black people and against all of the oppressed nationalities. But there is, a ferment growing deep within the heart of the oppressed masses. The experience of the l960's showed the profound revolutionary potential of this force. We must work to tap that revolutionary potential. The struggle against racism and national oppression is a vital struggle against the current capitalist offensive. But, what is more, if we organize this struggle, if we establish our Party deep among the masses of the oppressed nationalities and. if we guide their struggle forward, then the black liberation movement and the revolutionary movements of the other oppressed nationalities can play an important role in preparing and unleashing the socialist revolution.

To this end we raise the fighting slogans of this period: Carry forward the struggle against racism and national oppression - work for proletarian leadership! <>

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Recently a number of local struggles have broken out among the auto workers on such issues as the productivity drive, job insecurity, and racism. There have been strikes against GM at the Corvette plant in Kentucky, at the assembly plant outside St. Louis, and in Flint, Michigan and against Chrysler at the Dodge, Truck plant in the Detroit area.

Previously such a struggle had taken place at Chrysler's Jefferson Avenue assembly plant in Detroit against the firing of T. Curry, who was attacked by a foreman as part of the harassment that goes along with the productivity drive. The Workers' Advocate of December 1st carried two leaflets issued by the Detroit Branch of the MLP to strengthen this struggle. One of the leaflets reported on the rehiring of T. Curry, as the result of the wildcat strike of the Jefferson workers, but warned hat the workers must remain vigilant and oppose any reprisals against the wildcatters. It called on the workers to continue the mass struggle against Chrysler's productivity drive.

Just before the Christmas break Chrysler carried out mass reprisals against the strikers. The following leaflet was issued in their defense by the Detroit Branch of the MLP on January 2, 1985. Only a few. days before-the Christmas holiday, break, Chrysler management organized a sneak attack against the Jefferson workers- The Chrysler Labor Relations Department handed out disciplinary punishments to 123 workers for participating in the November 8th wildcat strike and other actions protesting the unjust firing of Tom Curry (Trim Dept.). Initial reports' show that about 60 workers received written warnings, another 60 were given three to five days off (on paper) and two workers were given 30 days off without pay.

To justify these rotten attacks on the workers, Chrysler is spreading rumors that "it had to" write up the wildcatters because they had "bad records to begin with". This is nothing but a damn lie! Workers with "perfect" records were given severe penalties solely because they raised. their voices in Tom's defense. And. workers who testified to the foreman's attack on Curry were singled out for some of the harshest punishments. It's clear that Chrysler is out to punish the workers who stood up to defend Tom Curry.

When Tom Curry was given his job back, both Chrysler and UAW officials from Solidarity House [UAW national headquarters] led the Jefferson workers to believe that there would be no further punishments or reprisals against the workers. But now seven weeks have gone by and Chrysler has come out with its slew of disciplinary punishments against the workers.

The situation looks pretty clear. Chrysler is proclaiming the right to harass, threaten and physical1y attack the workers as it proceeds on its mad productivity drive. In fact, Chrysler has plans to introduce its "Sterling model plan" at Jefferson. This plan calls for the reduction of all current job classifications into just a handful. This is job elimination pure and simple.

By handing out disciplinary punishments now against the wildcatters, Chrysler hopes to nip the workers' resistance in the bud. After all, Chrysler is scared to death of the thought of the militant Jefferson workers rising up against the "Sterling plan" when it is introduced.

The wildcat strike and all of the other actions that took place to get Tom Curry's job back were absolutely correct. The Jefferson workers stood firm in defense of Tom Curry and said that they wouldn't allow a foreman to attack their. fellow worker. Now the Chrysler workers must continue the fight -- the disciplinary punishments against the 123 must be dropped and wiped off their records!

Jefferson workers are burning mad over this latest outrage. One of the workers who received 30 days off was already on layoff. And the other worker was given 30 days off without pay and denied his Christmas vacation pay; Showing their solidarity, Jefferson workers collected several hundred dollars to aid their fellow worker under attack. Furthermore, discussion has already broken out on how to continue the fight against this latest outrage by Chrysler. Mass resistance is the sure-fire way to fight against Chrysler's man-eating plans.

As these latest disciplinary measures shows, the workers can put no faith in sweet promises or back room deals between Chrysler and Solidarity House. Tom Curry is working today not because of some stroke of kindheartedness on the part of Chrysler management. Tom Curry has his job today because his fellow workers rose up in mass struggle in his defense. And it is this same mass struggle which is needed now.

Chrysler must drop the disciplinary punishments now!

Build the mass struggle to defend the workers! <>

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(Based on the struggle to defend Tom Curry)

Chrysler workers, hail to you!

It was a victory, through and through,

The day you brought brave Curry back,

Who laid the foreman on his back!

You knew well the dollar sign

Pushed, your brother back toward the line,

Weary, sick from this heavy load

The dollar made his wrath explode.

And when they gave the sick man time

(With se1f-defense his only crime)

With courage you unleashed a mass

Struggle to defend the working class.

Weak alone, the workers united

Rapidly the wrong was righted.

See how well the wildcat's claws

Made the bosses fear your Cause!

Right quick your Party came to help

With leaflet telling what you felt

Told the truth to the whole work force

And praised you on your fighting course

Compare to this the traitor actions

Of UAW's leading factions

Frightened, cuddling with the enemy,

In contrast to the MLP.

So workers, be proud, but don't relax;

Be vigilant 'gainst more attacks.

Fight Iacocca's productivity drive!

Mass struggle, your Party, keep your hopes alive!

By a supporter of the Marxist-Leninist Party<>

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The January 1st issue of The Workers' Advocate denounced the bitter contract settlement forced down the throats of the postal workers through binding arbitration. The following leaflet, issued by the New "York Metro Branch of the MLP, contains some additional information on "the terms of this contract.

On December 24th postal arbitrators announced the terms of the new contract for 500,000 postal workers. Arbitrators ordered a new salary structure that cuts starting, wages up to 27.5%, and rises to the present starting wage after 33, months. Existing workers with less than 10 years seniority were given a 2.7% wage increase and those with 10 years or more get a 5% increase. This contract is being hailed by arbitrators, postal management, and union leaders alike as a great "compromise". In fact, a closer look shows that this "compromise" is a sell-out! Postal management got most of what wanted for Christmas while the workers got nothing but empty packages.


The tremendous 25% cut in starting pay is a low blow to all new and future postal workers. Already the newly hired subs get stuck with the hardest, dirtiest jobs, constant schedule changes, and are forced to work outrageously long hours of involuntary overtime. Now the subs will have the additional burden of much lower pay. Management will be paying a lot less for the mandatory overtime of the subs and is sure to go on exploiting its right to keep the subs overworking involuntarily to a maximum. The clauses in the new contract supposedly limiting overtime are a joke! They don't even restrict mandatory overtime to 56 hours a week; it is just more expensive beyond 56 hours. Also regulars now cannot be forced to work more than 8 hours on their days off! This contract provides no relief from the brutal overwork of the subs and cuts the starting wages up to 27.5% to boot!


The massive cuts in starting wages are a major concession to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and will undoubtedly become a permanent part of any future contracts. Though the new hires will eventually catch up, it remains a foot in the door for the full two-tier wage system demanded by management. Bolger, himself called this a modified two-tier system and for once he's right. The postal service has deferred hiring until now expecting a favorable settlement. Now there will be a flood of new subs all coming in with less pay than the other workers. And the range of pay scales is being widened by giving a higher 5% pay increase to workers with 10 years or more seniority. This difference in pay creates a big incentive' to replace older workers with newer, cheaper labor. A new set of subs at substantially lower pay will be like a whip over the backs of the older workers.

Widening the differences between new and more senior workers is also a very deliberate attempt to sow greater divisions in the workforce. As the productivity drive is intensified it is of prime concern to management that the workers be divided and resentful of each other. This broader pay scale is an attempt to drive a wedge between the younger workers who are the most exploited and the older workers who have the most experience in how to fight the postal service.


The only "gift" to the postal workers in the new contract is the 2.7% wage increase (5% for those with 10 years or more). This is a sop to buy support for the wage cut for new hires. However, this gift disappears into thin air when inflation is "considered." The COLA remains the same - i.e. covering only 60% of the rise in the Consumer Price Index. If inflation is 5.5% (the current 'projection) the wage increase and the COLA will keep workers about exactly where they are right now in real wages. And watch out if inflation goes up workers will end up with cuts in their real wages.

Already Bolger has tried to blame this pitiful wage increase for any future postal rate hikes in order to create public opinion against the workers as a form of blackmail. But it is a blatant lie! Chief arbitrator Clark Kerr said that any new contract costs were covered by the recent rate increase to 22ยข.

The second big "gift" to the workers is Martin Luther King Day. This additional holiday is being shouted about as a major term of the contract only because there's so little else for the workers in this contract. The fact is Martin Luther King's birthday is scheduled to be celebrated, as a federal holiday starting in 1986 anyway.


Arbitrators, postal bigshots, and union leaders alike can barely contain their enthusiasm over this award. [Head of the American Postal Workers' Union] V. Biller was in raptures on the Good Morning America TV show about the outcome, trying to sell it in person. Head of the National Association of Letter Carriers Sombrotto reminds the workers of Reagan's call for a 5% pay cut for federal workers and falsely claims there were not givebacks (a 25% pay cut isn't a giveback?). USPS lawyer Peter Nash has bragged about having gotten the best deal possible under the circumstances. They're all trying to sell the ruling as a great compromise on the basis of piddling wage increases. They hope this will make it acceptable to workers who won't concern themselves about new hires. But where is the compromise? In fact, management got a 25% pay cut for new hires and all workers are being set up for a further intensification of. the productivity drive and a full two-tier system in the future.

This miserable contract comes as no surprise. What else could have been expected after the leaders of the unions placed everything into the hands of the federal arbitrators. When the contract expired the union leaders caved in to the government's threats and laws against strikes, and told the workers to give up their struggle and rely on federal arbitration. But the contract shows which side the arbitrators are on. When the USPS demanded the shirts off the workers' backs, the union misleaders didn't. call for a fight. No. They "compromised" by letting the arbitrators just take the buttons and pockets. And next contract maybe management can have the collars and sleeves, too.

Postal workers must learn from the bitter experience of this contract. It must be widely exposed and denounced. 'Concessions are the ' bitter fruit 'of arbitration and the treachery of the union_1eaders. Already the USPS is gearing up for the next round of takeback demands. Speed-up, job combinations, and brutal overwork remain and will only intensify unless the 'workers begin to get organized to defend their interests. Above all they must rely on the strength of their mass struggle -- not on the fancy rhetoric of the Billers and Sombrottos. Postal workers must unite in struggle, and prepare to resist the attacks to come in the days ahead. <>

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The following leaflet was issued by the New York Metro, Branch of the MLP on December 27, 1984;. sub-heads have been added by the Supplement. It defends the Dominican toilers against the austerity programs and starvation measures being imposed by the PRD government, which is acting on behalf 'of U.S. imperialism and the local Dominican bourgeoisie. The PRD is the so-called Dominican Revolutionary Party, which is a social-democratic party and member of the the Second International.


The Dominican government is about to sign another accord with the nefarious International Monetary Fund. This accord comes eight months after the powerful revolt of April 1984, when the Dominican toiling masses rose up against the huge price increases imposed by the social-democratic government of Jorge Blanco at the behest of the IMF. The present agreement, as the measures which provoked the April uprising, is designed to starve the already impoverished workers and poor into even further destitution for the sake of the profits of the imperialist bankers and millionaires.

This accord, which is to go into effect in January of 1985, will include an increase of l5% in the price of fuel, an average 25% increase in electricity, and a wage freeze for public workers during, 1985. The increases in [the cost of] fuel and electricity are bound to cause most basic necessities to skyrocket; while a wage freeze for public workers will have devastating effects since, on the one hand the government is one of the biggest employers in the Dominican Republic, while on the other, the imperialist corporations that operate in the Dominican Republic, as well as the Dominican capitalists, are bound to follow suit in trying to hold down wages. Needless to say, the large numbers of unemployed and underemployed will be hardest hit by this agreement.

The measures being planned by the PRD government of Jorge Blanco have been demanded by the IMF in negotiations over the repayment of the Dominican Republic's foreign debt. The imperialist vultures of the IMF are demanding that the Dominican toilers be bled white to pay the international bankers up to $467 million in 1985 alone. U.S. imperialist chieftain Reagan, for his part, has insisted that the IMF measures be implemented as a condition for more U.S. loans to the Dominican Republic. This is not surprising, coming from someone who is unfolding a vicious offensive against the working masses in the U.S., slashing social programs right and left and leading the capitalist exploiters in saddling the workers with wage cuts and speed up for the sake of their own profits. Reagan is showing the same touching concern for the Dominican working masses, seeking to sacrifice them at the altar of the profits of the banking tycoons.


In response to the demands of the IMF and of the U.S.. and other imperialists, Jorge Blanco is seeking to ratify this agreement as soon as possible. He is whining before the Dominican working. masses that there is no way out other than to sign the accord with the IMF. What nonsense! Obviously Jorge Blanco wants to prevent the toiling masses from once again taking up the road of mass struggle against the IMF and against his own government of hunger. This is why this same bourgeois politician, who in April of 1984 called out the army on the protesting masses, murdering over 60 people, injuring hundreds and arresting more than 4,000 now comes before the toilers to lecture them about the need to meekly submit to the demands of the IMF.

Jorge Blanco is also urging that all sections of society sacrifice for the national interest After advocating price. hikes and other measures that hit hard especially at the poor, this man has the audacity to talk about alleged common interests between exploiters and exploited! The April events, as well as the recent steps being taken by the Jorge Blanco administration with the IMF accord, starkly expose the Social-Democratic PRD government as nothing but a government of the rich exploiters. When the PRD came to power six years ago, millions hoped for an end to the tyranny that had been the way of the fascist Balaguer regime. The PRD came to power talking about democracy and the rights of the people. It even called itself a party of the toilers.

But what is the PRD government doing today, after six years of rule? It is imposing starvation on the toiling masses. And it has shown that it will not hesitate to unleash the armed forces against the masses to shoot them in cold blood, as it did in April of this year, or to unleash the national police to persecute and arrest the left as it has been doing since April.

The Dominican working masses, therefore, have every right to rise up against this government of hunger, as they did in April. But the Dominican bourgeoisie is seeking to divert the toilers into the dead end of class collaboration, to protect their own privileged positions, and to utilize the mass discontent for their own interests.


Particularly noteworthy is the case of Jose Francisco Pena Gomez, a wily bourgeois politician, and leader of the PRD who has presidential aspirations for 1986. Pena Gomez is trying to disassociate himself from the actions of the Jorge Blanco administration, while supporting the very same politics of starving the masses for the sake of the international banking interests. In this way he is trying to save the PRD politics from complete exposure before the masses.

On the one hand, Pena Gomez opposed the April uprising, attempting to discredit the action of the toilers by claiming that it was Balaguer and his ultraright Reformist Party who were behind the mass struggles. As if the Reformists were not also a party of the rich exploiters! As if the masses were too stupid to know that Jorge Blanco and the PRD government were starving them!

And moreover, Pena Gomez is actually supporting the recent accord with the IMF by telling the people that if it is not ratified "...there won't be lard for the country to eat, nor any external assistance to the country..." He calls on the toilers to decide about the IMF agreement on that basis, without any explanation about the rapacious nature of the accord, or the imperialist nature of the government or institutions who would be extending such "external assistance". (The U.S., the World Bank, the IMF.) This in fact means support for the agreement.


At the same, time the fascist Balaguer is trying to capitalize on the discontent with the PRD government for his party's own political ambitions. He has in fact come out demagogically against the agreement with the IMF, saying that "it will create the opportunity for new social disturbances!" What he is worried about is the struggles of the masses. Moreover, it should be mentioned that when he was president, agreements equally onerous against the working people were signed with the World Bank.


The present IMF agreement with the Dominican government is a vicious attack against the toilers and poor of the Dominican Republic. In April the masses responded to a similar. agreement with a powerful revolt that sent shock waves through the ranks of the big exploiters and the imperialist chieftains in Wall Street and Washington. Now the bourgeois politicians, from Jorge Blanco and Pena Gomez, to Balaguer, are striving with might and main to prevent the masses from. taking matters into their own hands and giving the exploiters and imperialists the answer which they so richly deserve. Ahead of the toilers lies the task of shedding the influence of these bourgeois politicians and building up their revolutionary movement and organization to confront the imperialists and the Dominican exploiters. <>

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The Marxist-Leninist Party, USA condemns the recent attacks by the bourgeois nationalist Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) against Komala (the Kurdistan Organization of the Communist Party of Iran) and the Kurdish toilers. In the Kurdish national movement, the KDP represents the Kurdish bourgeoisie and other exploiters, while Komala represents the (workers and toilers. Although the KDP engages in armed struggle against the Khomeini regime, its new crime shows once again that it dreads the revolutionary movement and the independent organization of the toilers more than it dreads the Khomeini regime; it takes whatever opportunity it can find to stab the revolutionary toi1ers in the back. It shows that, in extending our solidarity to the Iranian people, we must first and foremost support the revolutionary forces of the workers and peasants, among whose important organizations stand Komala and the Communist Party of Iran, and we must support the political and organizational independence of the Iranian workers and toilers.

Below we reprint the communique of December 3rd from the Paris foreign office of Komala on the bloody crime of the KDP against the toilers of Kurdistan. The Peshmargas talked about below are the armed fighters against the Khomeini despotism.


At 5 a.m. on 16th November 1984, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran, by mobilizing forces from other regions, and in accordance with a pre-arranged plan, attacked the bases of Komala Peshmergas in the borough of Nosood and the village of Shooshmeh, located in the Oraman region and the Kermanshah. area (the base in this village was a center for the rest and medical treatment of our wounded and ill comrades) and thus imposed an unwanted confrontation on Komala Peshmergas.

As a result of this savage attack by the KDP, of our comrades lost their lives during the clashes and some others were captured. On the same day, the agents of the KDP shot dead 10 of our "captured and wounded comrades, burned the bodies of 2 of them, set fire on Komala's base and clinic, and riddled with bul1ets the residential homes of the local people. During this confrontation, 3 KDP Peshmargas were also killed.

The names of the 3 comrades who lost their lives during the clashes are as follows:

1. E. Mohammadi

Komala Peshmarga and member of the CPI

From Nosood

23 years old

2. M. Bahrami

Komala Peshmarga

From Shooshmeh

50 years old

3. E. Elahi

Komala Peshmarga and member of the CPI

From Nodsheh

The names of the comrades who were shot after being captured, are as follows:

1. T. Ali Ramaie--Komala Peshmarga & wife of comrade E.Mohammadi

From Beesaran

20 years old

2. Ali Arman--Komala Peshmarga

From Bandar Abbas

24 years old

3. M. Yoosefi--Komala Peshmarga

From Palangan

21 years old

4. O. Soofi--Komala Peshmarga

From Bijar

25 years old

5. D. Asadi--Komala Peshmarga and candidate-member of CPI

From Paveh

21 years old

6. B. Khaledi--Komala Peshmarga

From Shooshmeh

17 years old

7. N. Bahmani--Commander of Pal (company) and member of CPI

From Qraman

25 years old

8. M. Ahmadi--Komala Peshmerga and candidate-member of CPI

From Sanandaj

28 years old

9. Sheikh Ali--Komala Peshmerga and candidate-member of CPI

From Halabcheh

26 years old

10. F. Adman--Komala Peshmerga

From Sanandaj

22 years old

The bodies of the last two comrades were set on fire by the murderous agents of the KDP.

Once again, frightened of the growing current of the revolution, and under conditions that Komala is consistently and. continuously promoting the class and political consciousness of the masses of Kurdish workers and toilers and is absorbing them to the condensed ranks of the revolution; at a time when workers and toilers, in the course of a bloody and revolutionary war against one of the most rabid bourgeois states, are acquiring a living. appraisal of the function of the different classes and their political 'parties' in general, and the bourgeois KDP in particular; when they become conscious of their basic rights and interests and take up arms in order to achieve these rights; frightened of this process of self-consciousness and class independence of Kurdish toilers, which is a new and unprecedented phenomenon in the history of the just struggles of this nation, the KDP resorts to the use of arms to impede this process and block the development of the revolution. And of course this has been the permanent and long-standing desire of the bourgeois forces. The history of workers' revolutions and liberation movements throughout the world is replete of instances of the open treachery of and thorough deception of the bourgeoisie, and wherever the proletariat has shown the slightest illusions and optimism in the nature and function of the bourgeois forces, it has suffered the heaviest blows.

But today, at the head of the revolutionary movement of Kurdistan, there are communists who, with all their might, are determined to lead this movement towards its strategic and real victory, and as they have shown throughout the life of this movement, they will not allow any political force to deviate it and lead it to, defeat. The victorious and ultimate conclusion of this movement depends on the leadership of the proletariat, and Komala as the revolutionary vanguard of this class in this movement, is well aware of this historical and determining role and will perform it with all its strength. Therefore, all that will be gained from such actions by the KDP - as the party representing the Kurdish bourgeoisie - and its co., would be the completion of a dark record, for every page of which it would to answer before the workers and toilers.

Under the conditions that the Islamic Republic of Iran, with all its strength, has subjected Kurdistan to the hardest military offensives, the KDP negotiates with it, and at the same time organizes assaults on Komala. This is all the "national prestige" that the KDP is claiming to have, and its sudden attack, massacre and execution of wounded and ill prisoners and setting fire to the bodies of the martyrs, are the living evidence of this "national prestige". In our view, the Oraman event is neither accidental nor surprising. This is neither the first nor the last time that the KDP has resorted or will resort to such deadly games. The existing record and documents on the operation of the KDP, all show how in parallel with the revolutionary development of the struggle of the Kurdish nation, is this this party has inevitably step by step shown its open animosity with the real and fundamental interests of Kurdish workers and toilers - even regarding their basic democratic human rights. From the behind-the-scene, secret and compromising negotiations with the Islamic Republic regime, since the beginning of the revolutionary movement until now, to the submission to and alignment with the chauvinism of the People's Mojahedin and rallying under the banner of the Democratic Islamic Republic, declaration of armed enmity with the unconditional freedom of political activity and propaganda, to the planning and imposition of military confrontations on Komala; all vividly demonstrate the nature of the KDP. Of course, only those forces and circles would be surprised by this event who by taking a middle course and opportunist position, have always wanted to sit between the two stools.

The reality and the main essence of the Oraman event is what we said. Oraman. is a very poor region whose large section of inhabitants earn their living by seasonal work. During the past few years, whether as a result of destructions inflicted by the reactionary Iran-Iraq war, or through the military suppressions of the Islamic Republic regime, they have suffered many hardships and calamities. During the recent period, with the active presence. of Komala in this region and the spread of democracy, the toiling people of this region, for the first time. in their harsh lives, were able to recognize their rights, to some extent, and to feel the meaning of a free life. The consciousness-raising work of Komala gradually educated the people, armed and organized them, and the necessary preconditions were being prepared so that the workers and toilers would set up the organs of their real authority and rule. The presence of Komala had given a fresh and new meaning to their lives. It was exactly under these conditions that a few hundred meters from. the military bases of the Islamic Republic regime, the KDP attacked the bases of Komala Peshmargas, by operations, which - it was clear - it had worked on for some time, and also fired into the residential homes. Really, which stratum, class and party fears. the awakening and armed and revolutionary organization of the masses? Which party, class or stratum leaves aside the war with the occupying bourgeoisie to attack the toilers of "its own nation"? The agents of the KDP committed such crimes in Oraman, on the basis of the same policy which was behind the attacks in spring '81, in Mokrian, summer in Kamiaran, spring '83, in Sardasht, and winter '83, in south Kurdistan, and which by attacking Komala, damaged the revolutionary movement of the Kurdish nation. The same policy which clearly declares: "Unconditional freedom of political activity is contrary to the sanctities of the Kurdish nation (Read: Kurdish bourgeois sanctities)." We have always stressed the bourgeois nature of the KDP and have exposed the class character and the anti-democratic practice of this party. At the same time we have said that we will not be the first to use arms to solve our political differences with the KDP. But we have also declared that such a policy does not at all mean that we shall sit silent before such acts of the KDP, or any other actions that in any way "endanger the interests of the movement and the interests of the toilers" We are aware of the historical,role and importance of the communist vanguard. The history of our growth. and development is at the same time the history of consistent struggle together with the highest devotions and self-sacrifices for the cause of the working class and toilers of Kurdistan. We strive resolutely for the realization of these aims, and the organized force of workers and toilers of Kurdistan - Komala's Peshmargas - have the power and awareness, at all times, to respond appropriately against all those who violate the rights and interests of toilers and the cause of revolutionary democracy. And they have proven this many times: we shall reply to bullets by bullets. By imposing the Oraman confrontation on us, by trampling on all the previous arrangements and agreements, the KDP has delivered another blow on the revolutionary movement of Kurdistan.. But the conscious people of Kurdistan, by their deep hatred and indignation of such actions, have demonstrated that they are now more determined than ever to continue their revolutionary movement until the achievement of their strategic ideals, and as they have shown throughout the hard years of the war, they will not allow any factor to block the course of development of their movement.

Already, a team made up of Komala and KDP representatives, is investigating and examining this event, and the leadership of the KDP has declared that the planners, executors and agents of this crime must -be introduced to the people of Kurdistan, tried and punished. But certainly, the history of such commissions and the practice of the KDP so. far, prevent one from having an unrealistic assessment of the role of such commissions.

The crime of the KDP in Oraman is so horrific and shocking that no freedom-loving and honest human being, no revolutionary and communist, can and must remain silent before it. We call on all political forces and all those who consider themselves the defenders of the interests of toilers and oppressed, and at the same time do not want to be holding a false banner, to openly and unconditionally condemn this crime.

3rd December 1984

[The document concluded with the following address for the Paris, France foreign office of Komala:]

Mme. Gool

B.P. 306 - 16

75767 - Paris Cedex 16 <>

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The Student is published by progressive students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The following speech was delivered on Sept. 29, 1984 by a representative of the Student to a public meeting called by the Boston Branch of the MLP to discuss "Which Way Forward for the Anti-War Movement?". The title, subheads, and words in square brackets have been added by the Supplement.


During the past several years students and working people have seen many of their hard-fought gains of the 1960's weakened or- destroyed by the Reagan administration. As the. people of Latin America, Africa and the Middle East rise up against their oppressors, the U.S. government is busy arming to the teeth the Pentagon and their puppet regimes to suppress these revolutionary upsurges. We have seen the Reaganites carry out their attacks on the working people in the U.S. and on the workers and peasants in other oppressed countries. And we have seen the Democrats, who falsely portray themselves as the party of the working people, vote for every social spending cut and military budget increase that Reagan has asked for. It is out of the struggle to fight U.S. imperialism and racism that progressive students at MIT came to the conclusion that in order to defend the gains of the 1960's, to fight the Reaganite reaction and to carry on the struggle of the workers and youth of the 1960's, we must bui1d a mass movement of progressive people independent of the two capitalist parties.

The Reagan administration, with outright support from their Democratic bedfellows, has carried out a vicious attack over the past three years on programs which allowed greater access to higher education for youth from the working class and oppressed nationalities. They have presided over a 39% drop in college freshmen from families earning between $6,000 and $24,000. Reagan has slashed student loans and grants by about 30%. Hit hardest by these attacks have been the oppressed nationalities because of their high concentration in the working class. From 1960 to 1977, for example, black enrollment in colleges rose from 6% to 13.8%, but since then it has steadily fallen to 10%. And now both the Democrats and Republicans have promised still further social spending cuts to reduce the deficit (that is to say, to fund their military budget increases). At MIT we have learned that our university is not isolated from the rest of the country; that Reagan's offensive has also hit hard at the working class youth at MIT. For example, the MIT administration has eliminated the minority financial aid program, has created a task force to eliminate need-blind admissions, is preparing to abolish the Office of Minority Education (OME), and will lose seven black professors by this year's end (this would leave only 12 black professors and only one female black professor). MIT has enthusiastically carried out the mandates of the Solomon Amendment [which requires draft registration as a prerequisite for federally-funded financial aid], has fired two black, administrators, and has forced MIT physical plant workers to work for starvation wages. To make matters. worse, the corporation has repeatedly raised tuition far above inflation for years while also cutting financial aid. In fact, today MIT's tuition is the highest in the nation. At minimum MIT is forcing college freshmen to secure at least $3,500 in loans before becoming eligible for MIT aid. And the purpose of these policies is clear: to turn back the clock and limit an MIT education to, the children of the rich.


Last fall MIT fired Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Mary O. Hope, a well-liked [but reformist] administrator who openly fought for academic, financial and social support programs for poor and working class students, black and white. Student protests following her unjustified firing were swift. The MIT president, Dr. Paul B. Gray, -was bombarded by letters from students and alumni denouncing his actions. Most important, minority students began to mobilize to defend their interests. Several student leaders decided to meet with Dr. Gray during his open office hours. But Gray, responding to rumors that black students might occupy his office, ordered the campus patrol to lock and guard his door and doubled campus security. However, he did meet with about five students, who thoroughly denounced his actions. Running out of time, the students agreed to continue their meeting with Gray the next evening. In the meantime, several students consolidated to produce and distribute a leaflet called EXTRA titled "Gray Blocks and Locks Door During Open Office Hours." This leaflet was vital in mobilizing 90 students to attend the next meeting with Gray. We quickly learned the enormous value of independent agitation.

At the meeting, Gray was sweating and nervous. As the discussion proceeded, Gray refused to substantiate why Hope was fired and the students became extremely angry and frustrated at Gray's pompous arrogance. Gray even had the gall to tell the angry students that they should accept reality and that there was nothing they could do to help Hope. This proved to be the 'last straw. The students immediately denounced Gray. One militant black youth drove fear into Gray's heart by saying, "Well we're going to go out and raise hell!" Gray, quivering and fearful of mass action, immediately threatened the students by saying that any student, who resorted to "coercive action" to fight the firing of Hope would be dealt with severely, and he then went on to say that minority programs, particularly affirmative action, would suffer severe "setbacks" in this event.

The students then decided to hold a public meeting to publicize Gray's threats and Hope's firing to the student body. Another issue of EXTRA was distributed to mobilize students. This meeting drew over 100 students and a few administrators and faculty. Once again, student after student stood to denounce MIT's unjustified firing of Hope. But as the meeting came to a close, Clarence Williams, Gray's special assistant for minority affairs, took the floor and said the administration had listened carefully to the students, but that in his opinion the firing was justified, and that it was now time for students to return to their homework and quit this endless protest. Not, surprisingly, Williams' statement was quickly denounced by the next speaker.


The protest against the firing of Dean Hope was coordinated by the ad hoc Coalition for Hope. Although this group consisted of students who opposed the Hope firing, there was widespread disagreement on how to fight MIT. We observed two major political trends within the Coalition for Hope: social-democratic opportunists and militants. The militant students, while opposing Hope's firing and calling for her reinstatement, said that it was important that a full discussion take part on the various assaults on blacks and other minorities; that the Hope firing was only another attack by MIT. on students from poor and working families. The opportunists vigorously opposed any attempt to relate the Hope firing to MIT's cuts in financial aid, increases in tuition, or [elimination of] academic support programs. Instead they preferred to confine the protest to writing letters to Gray begging him to reinstate Hope. Seeing that the opportunists were weakening the protest movement, the militant student protesters realized the; importance of organizing independently and producing leaflets like the EXTRAs as a powerful means of fighting the administration and the student opportunists. Therefore, out of this necessity, on February 22, 1984, the first issue of The Student was published and distributed. It gave an analysis of the firing of Hope as an overall trend in the Reaganite offensive. The Student also understands that the government which is smashing programs that have assisted poor and working class youth to pursue higher education is the same government which is also crushing the liberation struggles of the workers and peasants of Central America, Nicaragua, South Africa and the Middle East. Having realized this connection, The Student has actively participated in building the anti-war movement. We believe that in order to strengthen our fight in the U.S., we must also support the struggles of the workers and peasants of other countries fighting to free themselves from the jaws of U.S. imperialism. In this spirit, last March, we joined our fellow students at Tufts University (known as the April 6th Committee) to organize a demonstration against the visit of the notorious war criminal Henry Kissinger. As in the Coalition for Hope, we recognized two political trends within the April 6th Committee: the real fighters against U.S. imperialism and the social-democratic opportunists. The opportunists tried desperately to suppress any political discussion among students on how the world operates and preferred to turn the protest against Henry Kissinger into a rally for the Democrats. The Student and the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA successfully fought these attempts and exposed the warmongering history of the Democrats. We used the example of the Democrats massive escalation of' the Viet Nam war after promising peace during the election against Goldwater in 1964. We showed that it was the Democrats under LBJ that invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965. And we said that both parties, Democrats and. Republicans, pursue only the interests of the millionaires and billionaires. And as the vanguard of. the rich, both of these criminal organizations have brutally suppressed the revolutions of the workers and peasants abroad to protect their golden profits. It was only after this vigorous debate that the April 6th Committee. decided not to invite any Democrats to speak at their demonstration against Kissinger. Even seasoned opportunists like Mel King tried to invite himself to speak at the demonstration. However, his presence was found unwelcome by the April 6th Committee.

During the midst of our participation in the Coalition for Hope, in the April 6th Committee, and most recently, during the September 22 Coalition, we noticed that consistently we were met by opposition from two fronts: one from the outright reactionaries, and the other from the social-democratic opportunists who tried to limit the discussion of politics seeing that it could expose their own treachery. During. the Coalition for Hope, for example, MIT used campus police to prevent meetings of The Student from taking place. Recently, a Tufts University professor called the members of the April 6th Committee fascists for scaring Kissinger away from Boston. Most recently, a MIT administrator threatened the Chicano students association, LUCHA, if it continued its association with The Student. These were some of the attacks from the rightists; however, more treacherous were the attacks from the social-democrats and careerist-student politicians who worked behind closed doors to suppress political debate. During the Coalition for Hope certain misleaders said that we should not upset the administration and instead should concentrate on getting "powerful" positions within the administration so that we could bring about change from the inside. These opportunists tried to hinder any.attempt to develop the protest movement against Gray. During the April 6th Committee, similar elements tried relentlessly to invite Democrats to speak. More recently, the leader of the September 22 Coalition attempted to throw out a member of MLP and representatives of The Student from a public meeting realizing that our politics do not advocate getting out the vote for Walter Mondale.


To fight these attacks from both fronts, The Student has looked to history to find the forces which halted the U.S. war against the Vietnamese people and also smashed the racist Jim Crow segregation in the United States It is clear to us that only the mass movement of the black people in the streets forced the government and other institutions of the rich (such as the universities) to give concessions to the black masses. On the same note, it was the mass movement against the Viet Nam war and the valiant fighting of the Vietnamese people that forced the Pentagon to concede defeat, Nixon and his generals realized that any attempt to further escalate and prolong the Viet Nam war would only solidify, increase and strengthen the American and Asian peoples opposition to U.S. imperialism.

Now we see that Ronald Reagan is heading to a landslide reelection. The Democrats have selected Walter Mondale to "oppose" Reagan. But the Democrats, consistent with their voting record in the Congress in support of Reagan's programs, are trying to out-Reagan Reagan. Mondale has called for a military quarantine of Nicaragua, has openly stated that the invasion of Grenada was justified, and he and his running mate Ferraro have repeatedly said they will use U.S. troops in Central America or the Middle East to protect U.S. interests. Their only quibble with the Reagan over support for the fascist El Salvadoran government has been for a bogus certification of human rights progress.

We have reached the conclusion that to strengthen the fight against Reaganite reaction we must look at the question of classes in society. Historically the working people have produced the goods for society yet the rich have reaped the benefits of the workers' labor. Any improvements in working conditions, salaries or education for working families have been secured only through struggle against the bourgeoisie. The rich hate to see the working people demand anything that cuts into their parasitic profits and lifestyles, just as they were humiliated to be forced to open the doors of the universities to the children of poor and working families. The Student believes that the working class is the most dynamic, powerful and progressive fighting force against the rich because of the inherent contradictions between the workers and the rich. Therefore we stand for building a mass movement in solidarity with the working people.

To defend the gains of the 1960's against Reagan's reactionary attacks, we must resort to mass actions such as demonstrations, marches and independent publication and distribution of our views. We prefer mass action instead of acts by individuals or bureaucrats because mass action draws as many progressive peop1e as possible to participate; mass action publicly destroys the myth that students don't care about peace and justice anymore; and most importantly mass action serves to politicize the participants and observing sympathizers.


Fellow activists and friends! Today there is a lull in the anti-war, anti-racist movement. The Student believes this is a result of the treachery of the Democratic Party and their social-democratic forces who are intent on spreading pessimism and defeatism. We therefore call upon all progressives in the Boston/Cambridge area to form an independent movement which is in solidarity with the working class and poor and to break with the Democratic Party. We must, above all, not forget the precious lessons of history. For history points a shining path forward on how we can fight the Reaganism of the Democrats and their Republican bedfellows. For history shows how to the fight the U.S. war preparations in Central America. History shows that it was not through the benevo1ence of the Democrats that the rich left Viet Nam or that the rich gave concessions to.the black people. No! It was the mass movements of working people, oppressed nationalities and students that forced the rich to makes these concessions. How ever, as the mass movements dropped, the rich began their rampage to take back everything which they were forced to give. The Democrats and Republicans are both parties of the rich. They do not have the interests of the working people at heart. The only way to fight is through organizing a mass movement. The fighting youth of Watts, Newark, Detroit, waged powerful struggles against the rich to smash Jim Crow racism. They shed their blood so that we would continue their struggle forward and onward to fight all forms of exploitation. We call on progressive people to build the mass movement against U.S. imperialism. and racism, in solidarity with the working class and independent of the Republicans and Democrats. <>

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Below we publish the full text of the following speech delivered at the Second National Conference of. the Marxist-Leninist Party in fall 1984. It has been edited for publication.


In this speech, I would like to talk about the League of Revolutionary Black Workers; First I want to introduce the League so that comrades are familiar with it.

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers was a movement that came up among black workers in Detroit, especially in the auto industry, in the period right after, the Detroit rebellion of 1967.

Beginning in 1968 a series of black workers' organizations emerged in Detroit area factories which called themselves "revolutionary union movements", such as DRUM-Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement at Chrysler's Dodge Main assembly plant, ELRUM at Chrysler's Eldon Ave. Gear and Axle plant, FRUM at Ford Rouge, etc. These organizations agitated on and launched a number of wildcat strikes and other actions against racial discrimination in the plants, against institutional racism within the UAW, against murderous working conditions, and against the persecution of workers.

The League was formed as a coordinating umbrella group of the different Revolutionary Union Movements in early 1969. The League also put out a newspaper and agitated on and organized struggles on a series of other fronts in the black community in Detroit. The League in its general program claimed to stand for an a anti-capitalist revolution, one they said would be organized under the leadership of the black working class.

The League was active through 1971-2 at which time it collapsed amidst factional strife. Remnants of the League went. into the. Marxist-Leninist movement and became part of the neo-revisionist trend through the Black Workers Congress and the Communist League. Another remnant, around. Ken Cockrel, formed the local "municipal socialist" social-democratic trend in Detroit called DARE, the Detroit Alliance for a Rational Economy, which liquidated itself a couple of years ago.

The League is long dead and gone. But it is worthwhile taking a closer look at the phenomenon that it represented. The League was part of a general phenomenon that came up in the late 1960's of a black workers movement. The League reflected militant black workers organizing against racism in the plants and unions. It reflected black workers taking a fighting stand against capitalist exploitation. The League also saw the black workers taking up an important role in the general black people's movement. As well, within this trend of the black workers' movement that came up at that time, the League in particular reflected a section of the black workers turning towards Marxism-Leninism and socialism, despite the confused nature of the ideology of the League.

Thus the League is useful to study as a historical phenomenon from the black movement of the l960's. The issue is not so much that a specific organization like the League will repeat itself again. No, the League was very much product of its own time. However the League represented a certain manifestation of the struggle and organization arising from the particular situation faced by black workers. Black workers are faced with double oppression. They are faced with class exploitation as workers; and indeed have been in the thick of various militant struggles of the working class. Black workers are also. faced with special oppression as blacks, both in the workplaces and in general; indeed in this connection the black workers have played a prominent role in the anti-racist movement. Historically this double oppression of black workers has given rise to many forms of struggle and organization. The League is just one such example. Because the basic objective conditions which gave rise to the League still exist undoubtedly other particular forms of struggle and organization are bound to emerge among the black workers. It is useful to study the League and draw certain lessons on how to handle such a general phenomenon. (It also provides certain important lessons about what attitude to take towards the question of nationality organization among black workers. This will be discussed in another part of this conference.)


The late 1960's saw a militant ferment appearing in the workers movement in general. There were wildcat strikes against the capitalists and in defiance of the union bureaucrats; even contract strikes began to take on a particularly militant character. The civil rights movement especially the rebellions in the cities resulted in a wave of militant activity among black workers. This was seen in a number of strikes where black workers played an important role, such as the Memphis sanitation workers' strike in 1968. As well, there began to appear black workers organizations inside the workplaces in many industries and across the country. I would like to give a few notable examples.

The Chicago transit workers.

In July 1968 black bus drivers in. the Chicago transit system staged a wildcat strike. Members of Local 241 of the, Amalgamated Transit Union had formed a caucus in early 1968 called the Concerned Transit Workers with the aim of ending the all white leadership of a union that was 60% black. After getting nowhere through the union meetings, the CIW organized a strike. Their demands also included general demands against bad working conditions faced by all the bus drivers. A number of white drivers are also reported to have supported the strike. An agreement was reached with the Chicago Transit Authority and the union, but the local leadership repudiated it. There was also a second wildcat of black bus drivers during the Democratic Party convention.

The Concerned Transit Workers is reported to have called for an independent union after their struggle was smashed, but it's not clear that this was for a black union, especially considering one report that the membership of the Concerned Transit Workers was overwhelmingly black but was not exclusively so. In any case, this caucus was forced to disband, and later on the union appointed some blacks to a few token positions.

Another more famous example is the struggle at the Ford Assembly Plant in Mahwah, New Jersey, where black workers wildcatted in January 1968 and in April 1969. In the April strike 500 black workers shut down Ford-Mahwah for three days after a foreman dismissed a worker after calling him a black bastard. A group called the United Black Brothers of Ford Mahwah was formed. It was opposed to racial discrimination in the plant and also against the union leadership. The wildcat was supported by a section of white workers and it made both anti-racist demands and demands against the harassment of workers in general.

[Some additional notes on the Ford-Mahwah struggle, that were not delivered in the speech for the sake of brevity, may be of interest. 4200 workers worked at Ford-Mahwah; a third of them were black. The blacks had the worst jobs like in the body shop, and were heavily concentrated in the night shift. In the spring of 1969, a black worker was fired. UBB put forward a list of four demands, which were both anti-racist and anti-harassment. A strike was called; the night shift was shut down completely. SDS and the Panthers were called on for support. A demand was added later for recognition of UBB as spokesman for the black workers. In the beginning a large proportion of black workers and many whites as well stayed off the job.

UBB is reported to have influenced the election of a sympathetic white as local president but this one acted just like the old one after a few weeks. A group of Puerto Rican workers was also formed at the plant and UBB had a number of white contacts. UBB membership is reported to have been officially open to whites. After their first meeting, UBB meetings were open to whites as well as blacks. During the strike, a special leaflet was handed out asking for support from white workers and the UBB emphasized in its speeches and leaflet that all workers were affected by the issues in the strike lousy working conditions, harassment, probationary firings, the sell-out union, etc. A few white workers attended meetings and many stayed out the first day; the union actively sabotaged white workers from joining the wildcat.]

Also, there were other groups of black workers formed around the country, such as the RUM at Harvester in Chicago, the Black Panther Caucus at the GM plant in Fremont, Ca., and others.

In Louisville, black workers began to fight discrimination in the workplaces around 1966 on. In 1966, there was a certain agitation on this question at Louisville Gas and Electric. In December 1969 over 300 black workers at the Harvester foundry waged a "black Friday" strike against discrimination at the plant. An organization called the Black Workers Coalition formed. in Louisville, mainly at the UAW locals.

The black workers' movement of. the 1960's was a fairly heterogeneous phenomenon. There were a wide range of views represented within it. Some groups were just trade unionist and in fact simply amounted to black caucuses in the unions. Others claimed to be revolutionary. But everywhere there were certain similarities. They reflected a general trend of the emergence of black workers organizations taking up the issues of fighting both racism and general plant-wide, issues facing all the workers. There were ideological similarities too in what influenced these groups. Tendencies of both reformism, and nationalism were particularly pronounced. And even where the organizations declared themselves to be revolutionary, there was not a clear break with reformism, as we shall see with the example of the League.


First I want to briefly, explain the social and political context in which the League appears in Detroit.

Detroit was, and despite the current depression, still remains an industrial city with a heavy concentration of black workers. The area is well known to have strong traditions of a workers' movement. The city also has a history of various forms of struggle of the black masses against racism and national oppression.

There has been a very heavy yoke of oppression on the backs of the black people. of Detroit throughout this century. The capitalists have used racist oppression both to super-exploit the black workers and to divide the working class along nationality lines. The blacks generally have had the worst and lowest-paying jobs. In the 1940's black workers in auto had to wage a number of wildcat strikes for job upgrading and against racist strikes of white workers fomented by the employers and the Klan. They had to stand up against the vicious pogrom known as the 1943 Detroit "race riot".

In its early days the UAW, where the CP's influence was strong, appears to have taken certain steps in favor of the black workers, albeit this was done in a reformist manner. It was at that time that the reformist leaders of the UAW forged an alliance with the black reformist leadership in the city. Prior to this, the black reformist leadership in the city was anti-union and worked hand in hand with the companies. In later years as the social-democratic Reuther machine seized control of the UAW, the union itself institutionalized a whole series of forms of racial discrimination within the union. There developed growing discontent among rank-and-file black workers with the UAW. For instance, at this time the UAW under Reuther's leadership repeatedly refused to grant the demand for a single b1ack representative on the Executive Board on the typically racist argument that there were no qualified blacks yet.

The 1967 Detroit rebellion marked a major event in the city and in the black movement. The overwhelming number of participants in this rebellion were proletarians. A section of white workers also took part in the rebellion. The rebellion gave a strong sense of self-confidence to the black workers and it a fighting mood among them.

It is also interesting to note the political and ideological environment in which the League emerged. Politically and ideologically, Detroit has had traditions of both black nationalist organizing and the presence of various trends which declared themselves to be Marxist and socialist. The CP had gained a good deal of influence among the workers and black people through their work in the 1920's, 30's, and early 40's. Different shades of Trotskyism also had long had a presence in this city and in the early 1960's had stepped up their activity. The Trotskyites promoted the adaptation of Marxism to nationalism in the 1950's and 60's. This was reflected in the work of the SWP and study groups organized by the followers of the West Indian Trotskyite, C.L.R. James. Such an ideology was also promoted by the study groups formed by the local sect around James Boggs, who today heads up an organization called the National Organization for an American Revolution.

The original activists who founded the League, who mainly came from student backgrounds, had been in contact with these groups and were influenced by these ideas. They were also influenced by the ideas sweeping the movement at that time, including primeval three worldism. In the late 60's it should also be remembered that Marxism-Leninism had become very popular.

The League was influenced by these ideological currents. But the League cannot be judged simply from its ideological trappings. It has to be judged as part of an objective mass phenomenon, which it represented, and within that context its ideological coloring has to be assessed to see what. sort of impact it had on this phenomenon.


We will see through a brief survey of the history of the League, certain important features of this particular manifestation of the black workers' movement of that time. We will see that the League was not just simply a manifestation of the black workers' movement but it represented in fact a merger of two trends: a petty bourgeois revo1utionary trend centered around the newspaper Inner City Voice, combined with the black workers' movement in the Detroit area factories.

In September 1967, shortly after the Detroit rebellion, a newspaper called Inner City Voice was founded in Detroit. The ICV was a radical newspaper oriented towards the black community; it was put out by a core of activists who had been active in the black student movement in the city. ICV appears to have represented a petty-bourgeois nationalist and revolutionary trend. It promoted different fronts of the black struggle, including students' struggles, tenants' struggles, and other community struggles. It agitated against racist attacks, in support of the GI movement and other anti-war struggles.- It supported national liberation struggles and certain other international struggles. In its pages there also was a certain get a hold of your guns and get prepared for armed struggle type of rhetoric. (This included one issue where they published information on how to make bombs and the next issue had a letter from a reader saying "I tried it and it didn't work.") The paper also carried criticism of Uncle Toms in the black community for selling out to the racists. The paper was ideologically fairly heterogeneous - it promoted Castroism, Maoism, third-worldism, nationalism, you name it.

In the fall of 1967, around this same time, something else was also taking place in Detroit. Black workers at the Chrysler Dodge Main assembly plant began meeting. Among these workers a few had historical connections with the activists who were putting out Inner City Voice. These workers formed a caucus.

In May '68 at Dodge Main wildcat strike broke out. A major cause of this wildcat was speedup of the line. The wildcat was joined in by both white and black workers. A number of workers were fired for the action, the majority of whom were black. It is in the struggle against these firings that the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) was formed as a black workers' organization. It began to put out a weekly newspaper called DRUM. Over the next period of time DRUM organized various actions against Chrysler and the UAW. This included a three-day wildcat of black workers in July 1968. DRUM, however, only called on the black workers to take part in this wildcat. White workers were not called on to join the strike; and in fact one report has it that they even asked white workers to go in!

The DRUM organized wildcat at, Dodge Main stimulated the creation of two other RUMs; FRUM at Ford Rouge, which is Ford's gigantic plant in Dearborn, and EILRUM, which was the RUM at Eldon Avenue Gear and Axle Chrysler plant. Both began their own newsletters. Between Jan. '69 and May 1970, ELRUM organized a series of Wildcats against company disciplinary actions and against man-eating unsafe conditions.

In this period RUMs were also formed in a whole series of other auto plants as well as at the Detroit News and United Parcel Service, although these were much smaller and not as active as DRUM, ELRUM, and FRUM.

The League of Revolutionary Black Workers was formed in early 1969. It was designed to be an umbrella organization coordinating the different RUMs. The LRBW first began a newsletter called Spear and when Inner City Voice resumed publication, that became the organ of the League. The League's core was composed of the activists who had launched Inner City Voice. It also drew in the workers from the RUMs who were closest to the politics promoted by Inner City Voice.

The League is thus formed in fact as the merger of two trends: the petty-bourgeois revolutionary trend that was represented by the Inner City Voice combining with the motion among the black workers at the plants fighting against racism in the plants and in the union and in struggle over capitalist exploitation.

I want to touch on a number of the prominent features of the ideology that the League promoted. It promoted the importance of organizing the black workers. It also promoted participation in the general black people's movement. It held to a programmatic goal of an anti-capitalist revolution with the black working class as the vanguard. The League described its short range goal as the seizure of state power with the control of the means of production in the hands of the workers under the leadership of the black working class vanguard; it described its long range goal as a society free of race, sex, class and national oppression, founded on the communist principles of distribution. It claimed that the black workers had such a key role in the economy that they could themselves bring down the capitalist system through a black general strike. The League claimed to be both revolutionary nationalist and Marxist-Leninist, it held to the necessity for the eventual formation of a black Marxist-Leninist party.

During their existence, both before and after the founding of the League, the RUMs participated in several attempts to get elected to posts in the local unions at Dodge Main and Eldon Avenue. They campaigned on a variety of demands of concern to the workers in general and to the black workers in particular. But the essential appeal that the RUMs made in these election campaigns was a nationalist appeal. For instance, not only did they present those issues that were of concern to the black workers, but they also added demands for more black foremen and even black managerial and executive personnel. They also included demands for the UAW to shift its funds from white banks where it had its money, to black banks.

(The League did not see the class differentiation in the movement. At the same time, it should be noted that one must take a careful approach to such demands. We are opposed to all racial barriers in any sphere of society. Furthermore, the demands for supervisory and bourgeois positions are, in practice, generally hard to separate from the general struggle against bars to blacks getting into the skilled trades, higher-paying jobs, etc. Thus, the issue is to oppose the reformist treachery of centering the movement on obtaining a few positions for the black upper strata at the expense of the black masses and their use of demands for upper positions as a cover to justify their coming to agreement with the ruling bourgeoisie at the expense of the masses; the issue is not to oppose the denunciation of any of the racist practices of the bourgeoisie.)

The Revolutionary Union Movements and the League were hit hard by the capitalists, the government and the union bureaucracy. The struggle was very intense. Many activists were fired. Workers were physically assaulted by police and union thugs. The police and union bureaucracy worked hand in hand to carry out the most outrageous actions to prevent League slates from winning in the union elections. The UAW International Executive went into a frenzy against the League; they sent a letter to all the UAW membership denouncing the League; Emil Mazey, a UAW social-democratic leader, gave an interview to the press describing the League as a "black peril" which was worse than the "red peril" of the 1930's. So that gives you a certain picture of the intensity of the struggle between the League and the UAW.

The League did not win any of its elections - at least not according to the official UAW tallies, which are far from reliable; they eventually gave up running for union posts and instead threw their support behind other black candidates who they supported for one reason or another. It should be noted that although the League did not win in any of the elections they took part in, they did get a substantial number of votes showing that they were able to develop a sizeable influence among the workers. And this was done in the face of incredible opposition from the union hacks and the police, who carried out all sorts of outrageous activities to sabotage the electoral campaigns of the League, including the police impounding union ballot boxes after the votes were in!

The League had all along also carried out other fronts of work. It organized among black students. It took over the Wayne State University newspaper The South End and turned it into a left newspaper with general community distribution. They participated in a major campaign for school redistricting, decentralization and community control...

In its community work, the League had always shown a definite propensity towards reforrnism; indeed a number of the leaders of the League were community organizers in Alinsky-type social-democratic community organizations all through this period. But at a certain point in its history, the League begins to show an even stronger tendency towards launching one extravagant scheme after another. This seems to coincide with difficulties in their work at the factories and with the firing of many of their activists from the factories.

These schemes included the International Black Appeal, which was designed to be a sort of United Fund for the black community, to be funded through a check-off system at the companies where black workers worked. So the black workers were supposed to check off. funds for the IBA instead of for the United Fund. The League also played an active role in the 1969 Black Economic Development Conference and through this linked up with James Forman, former leader of SNCC, who was promoting the "Black Manifesto" scheme to get reparations from the churches, the scheme more commonly known as the "rip off the churches" scheme.

As a result of its long-standing nationalism, the League in its community work tended towards accommodation with various reformist and liberal elements in the black community. Thus the League also promoted the "Black United Front" type of work that had become fashionable at this time in the late 1960's. Black United Fronts were for example launched by Stokely Carmichael in Washington, D.C. and Baraka in Newark; these were meant to be coalitions drawing in all sections of the "black leadership", excluding, perhaps, the most outright Uncle Toms (who didn't consider themselves part of the black leadership anyway).

In 1971, the League splits and virtually collapses, A section around such top leaders of Inner City Voice as Ken Cockrel, James.Watson, and Mike Hamlin, go into launching the Black Workers Congress alongside James Foreman. Others around General Baker stick to the shell of the League which soon after hooks up with the Communist League. But by and large that is the end of the League.


Now I would like to make a few remarks on certain conclusions one can draw about the character of the League.

As we have noted before, the League represented one of the many manifestations of the black workers movement which came up in the late 1960's. It was one of the most prominent manifestations of this trend and it gained a good deal of national reputation. It shared in common with the other groups around the country a stand of struggle against class exploitation and racist oppression. But because of its own particular environment and history and the intensity of the struggle in Detroit, the League also had its own distinct features. In some respects the League represented some of the best and some of the worst features of the black workers movement of that time.

As we have noted, the League represented the merger of a petty bourgeois revolutionary trend with the black workers movement. This is what gave the League its particular ideological coloring and contributed to some of both its better and worst features. The fact that the black workers gravitated towards the League showed something more than they were just interested in taking up the immediate fight against racism and against class exploitation. It also showed them being' attracted towards revolution, towards Marxism-Leninism, despite the fact that the variety of Marxism-Leninism that was being promoted by the League was very confused and really reformist and nationalist.

The League appeared to stand for the black workers standing up at 'the head of the black liberation movement. This gave it a strong appeal to activists throughout the country. This stand of the League stood in strong contrast to the position of the Black Panther Party which promoted that it was the black lumpen proletariat which was the vanguard of the black people's struggle.

The League appeared also to take steps beyond, the traditional union caucus mold. It promoted itself as a group independent of and against the union bureaucracy. But the League, in some of its work with respect to the trade unions, verged on promoting a black syndicalist trade unionism. In its work the League did help to expose the UAW's class collaborationism and especially the racist underbelly of this allegedly pro-civi1 rights union.

But the League had a number of outstanding negative characteristics. Although it took a few steps away from reformism, it did not represent a break with reformism. For instance, on the trade union, front, although it did not collapse into reconciliation with the UAW leadership like many a previous black caucus, the League could not systematically forge an independent trend within the unions free of the influence of the bureaucracy. Indeed a number of the RUM activists later were elected into and integrated into various positions for blacks which were opened up by the maneuvers of the UAW bureaucracy.

The League was especially marred by its nationalist ideology. The League promoted a strongly separatist line. They called essentially "for the RUMs to be recognized as separate unions for the black workers. Their agitation, especially in the RUM newsletters, was strongly marked by tirades against "honkies", "pol1acks", and so forth. And as we noted earlier, they did not appeal to white workers for support for their struggle. The League's nationalism was. a definite drawback for the struggle because it cut the League off from many militant white workers who were otherwise sympathetic to the struggle of the League.

This extreme nationalism was a very negative factor. It undermined the forging of a unified class struggle that could fight both the plantwide issues facing all the workers as well as the special oppression of the black workers.

But the nationalism also undermined the training of the black workers to represent the proletarian stand within the black liberation movement. The nationalism blurred the class distinctions within the black community and allowed the interests of the black workers to be merged with the interests of the bourgeois strata within the black community. Indeed, in this regard the nationalism of the League worked as a bridge to reformist positions. Although the League criticized Uncle Toms and so forth, it did not carry out this criticism from any class analysis of the black people. It did not recognize the existence of a black bourgeoisie. Indeed, as a result of all this the League went into such campaigns in coalition with the upper strata of the black community as for instance its campaign for school redistricting, the International Black Appeal and its general propensity towards Black United Front type of politics.


Finally I wanted to make a few points on what the League experience shows about what attitude the Marxist-Leninists should take toward such a phenomenon.

Again this is not a question that a precise phenomenon like the League will repeat itself. Nevertheless it is very likely that given the current objective conditions in the U.S. and the state of the workers' movement, it is quite possible that black workers will continue to launch various forms of struggle against their double oppression. For example in Louisville in 1975-1976, after the earlier Black Workers Coalition had by and large collapsed, another black workers' organization came up. This was during the fight against the fascist anti-busing movement. This was the United Black Workers of Jefferson County.

The left political trends of the 1960's and early 70's basically divided themselves among positions of either condemning the League or simply tailing behind it. Neither stand is correct. In this regard it is important to remember that one cannot approach the League simply on the basis of the negative features of its ideology. One must take into account both what it objectively represented in the world as well as its ideological features. At the Second Congress we discussed the question of the emergence of a trend of left social-democracy or left reformism, among activists who wish to split with reformism but do not yet make a full break with it. That is a pertinent lesson to recall when one approaches a phenomenon such as the League of it Revolutionary Black Workers.

When one approaches the League one must look at the whole phenomenon it represented and one must also put oneself in the period in which it appeared. One can look at some of the nationalist ideas promoted by the League or look at some of its various extravagant scheme-mongering or look at the character of some of its leaders and tend to write off the whole thing as a bad phenomenon. But it is important to remember that the League wasn't just a handful of careerist elements. The League wasn't just John Watson or Ken Cockrel and Mike Hamlin. It in fact represented an objective phenomenon which was progressive. The League of Revolutionary Black Workers represented an objective mass trend among militant black workers at that time. Thus when we are talking about the Marxist-Leninist approach to the League we are talking about how to approach this objective trend.

Of course Marxist-Leninists would not set out to organize separate black workers organizations in the workplaces. We would work for organizations of a unitary type that would combat capitalist exploitation in general and also take up the special oppression of black and other. oppressed nationality workers. But when one is talking about the League one is not talking about something that the Marxist-Leninists set out to do as part of their plans and programs; rather it is a question of what do you do faced with something thrown up by the spontaneous movement? What do you do when faced with a trend of fighting black workers that comes up on its own? Under the current conditions in the working class movement, it does happen that black workers at times feel that the fight against racism is exclusively their own struggle and that white workers will not take up such a fight. And if the black workers organize under such conditions and with such sentiments, one cannot go and tell the black workers: no, you shouldn't organize to fight until you are convinced that workers of all nationalities can be mobilized into this fight. No, one must find ways to get close to these workers and find ways to bring them to class conscious and really revolutionary positions.

A trend such as the League came up to fight on actual issues of importance for the class struggle the struggle against national oppression in the plants and in the unions, the general anti-racist struggle, the struggle against the-exploitation and persecution of workers in the work place, and so forth. In working to get close to such a trend as the League, one of the most important lessons is that the Marxist-Leninists need to fight on these issues too and provide orientation for the struggle on these questions. The Marxist-Leninists need to show how to advance this fight and, in the context of standing up for this struggle, to show that the strongest fight on these questions is waged not through nationalism but through revolutionary Marxism-Leninism.

At the same time, a Marxist-Leninist approach had to deal with the negative features of the ideology of the League. Organizations such as the League come up representing something real. But if they are not influenced away from their negative baggage then they do not leave much behind they head for collapse and their gains are frittered away. This especially meant finding the ways and means to influence the black workers in the League away from reformism and nationalism. It meant winning the workers to positions of consistent independence from the union bureaucracy, winning them away from the black bourgeoisie and from all capitalist influence. It meant finding the ways to use the energy of the movement among the black workers to strengthen class consciousness among them.

It also meant finding ways to deal with the leadership of such a trend. One could not write off the whole trend because of the bad leadership. Neither could one promote illusions in the leadership. And only the actual development of the struggle would determine whether any of the leaders could be won over to revolutionary positions or neutralized or who would remain committed to diehard opportunist positions, Of course here one can't spell out any details of the tactics involved in such a complicated struggle such as issues of when you come out in polemical form, how you polemicize, and so forth. Nevertheless the general outlines of the approach can be pointed out, as we have above.

Finally I want to end by just noting that there is also the issue of organization. The League did promote itself with separatist positions on the organizational front, such as separate black trade unions and a separate black Marxist-Leninist party. Of course we do not reconcile ourselves to these positions. But as far as the actual question of whether there is a role for certain types of nationality organization and what attitude can you accept on nationality organization of black workers, I want to leave that aside for another discussion at this conference. So that ends my report on the League. <>

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