The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 2, #3


March 15, 1986

[Front Page: On the defense of the Nicaraguan revolution: Castro's revisionism weakens the struggle against U.S. Imperialism]


Down with Anti-immigrant Lies! The Myth of the Freeloading Immigrant....................................... 10
New INS Schemes to Oppress the Immigrant Workers: Tightening the Screws................................ 11
News on the Struggle in the Texas Prison:

Texas Prisoner Denounces '60 Minutes'.............................................................................................. 12
The List of Grievances in the Texas Prison Hunger Strike................................................................. 14
News from Colombia:

CP of Colombia (ML) Declares: "Forward with the Election Boycott!".......................................... 16
The EPL Stages Armed Action Against Troops Sent To Suppress a Work Stoppage in Uraba........... 18

On the defense of the Nicaraguan revolution

Castro's revisionism weakens the struggle against U.S. Imperialism

Down with anti-immigrant, anti-worker lies!


New INS Schemes to Oppress the Immigrant Workers


TV "Investigative" Reporters Support Oppression in American Prisons


The List of Grievances



Communist Party of Colombia (ML) Says: "FORWARD WITH THE ELECTION BOYCOTT!"

More News From Colombia


On the defense of the Nicaraguan revolution

Castro's revisionism weakens the struggle against U.S. Imperialism

For years slanders against Nicaragua have been flying fast and furious as Reagan and the congressional Democrats directed the dirty "covert" war against Nicaragua and squabbled over the best way to subvert the Nicaraguan revolution. And each time Reagan has tried to justify a new influx of aid to CIA-organized contras and the escalation of direct U.S. military action in Central America, there has been a new round of chauvinist hysteria.

One of the best-known slurs against Nicaragua, peddled by Republicans and Democrats alike, is that the Nicaraguan revolution is a Cuban plot. This claim is both groundless and misleading. It is groundless because the Nicaraguan people made the revolution themselves to overthrow the infamous U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship and the heavy chains of U.S. domination, which had been cemented by years of U.S. military occupation. And they made the revolution to break free from the heavy bonds of economic exploitation as well as political repression.

But as well, this charge of "Cuban plot" is misleading because Cuban revisionism, far from being a revolutionary factor in Central America, has played a treacherous reformist role. From Reagan's propaganda, one would imagine that Fidel Castro is the greatest revolutionary figure the world has ever seen and a sworn enemy of everything capitalist. In fact, Castro calls for an accommodation between the Nicaraguan people and U.S. imperialism, supports the development of capitalist '"mixed economy", and has consistently advised the Sandinista government of Nicaragua to surrender the path of revolution for the path of reformism and bureaucracy.

It is true that Fidel Castro was a leading figure in the Cuban people's overthrow of the U.S. puppet Batista in 1959; it was then that he acquired his reputation as a revolutionary. However, Castro and the other Cuban leaders did not maintain a revolutionary stand. Castro, who never was a Marxist-Leninist but only a petty-bourgeois revolutionary, gave up revolution in favor of revisionism. Castro and the Cuban government are today devout supporters of the revisionism of the present-day rulers of the Soviet Union, and Castro long ago gave up any anti-revisionist pretensions. Today the politics of the Cuban government are so bankrupt that Cuba plays the role of a major advocate of class collaboration, reformism, and bourgeois nationalism in Latin America. Cuba's influence on the revolutionary circles in Latin America is negative; he is a force holding them back and advocating the reformist path of class collaboration.

Let us now examine Castro's actual stand on the Nicaraguan revolution.

Not Defeat of U.S. Imperialism, But Finding a Different Way to Satisfy Its Interests.................. 2
Supporting Contadora - the Other Face of U.S. Imperialism......................................................... 2
Renouncing Solidarity with the Revolutionary Movements.......................................................... 3
Capitulation to Contadora Emboldens U.S. Imperialism............................................................... 4
Renouncing the Revolution Inside Nicaragua in Favor of Class Collaboration............................ 4
Castro Supports Capitalist Development For Nicaragua............................................................... 5
Castro Also Supports Political Concessions to the Bourgeoisie........,........................................... 5
Castro Opposes the Revolutionary Path Elsewhere in Latin America Too.................................... 6
Castro Warns of the Danger of Revolution In Order to Join in Averting It................................... 7
Castro Begs the U.S. Imperialists to Give Alms to the Latin American Regimes......................... 7
Castro Praises Kennedy's "Alliance for Progress" Counterinsurgency Plan................................. 8
Supporting the Present-Day Regimes in Latin America ............................................................... 9
Consistent Support for the Nicaraguan Revolution Requires Opposing Cuban Revisionism....... 9

Not Defeat of U.S. Imperialism, But Finding a Different Way to Satisfy Its Interests

In the face of the U.S. dirty war against Nicaragua, Castro advocates not struggle against U.S. imperialism but reconciling the interests of U.S. imperialism and the Nicaraguan people.

Castro parades himself as a "militant" spokesman for the revolutionary peoples of Latin America; he beats his breast about "standing up" to U.S. imperialism. But where does he stand on the murderous U.S. intervention in Nicaragua?

Of course, Castro is against the military intervention. But the key question is, how does he propose to eliminate it. His strategy is not to defeat U.S. imperialism, but, instead he promotes the illusion that a settlement can be reached between the U.S. government and Nicaragua reconciling the interests of all the; parties concerned. In this regard, he states that "from a practical standpoint it's senseless [for the U.S.] to invade a country to solve problems which can be solved perfectly well through political and peaceful means, through negotiations, because I think that possible solutions for Central America do exist, solutions which satisfy the interests of Nicaragua, of the Central American countries, and of the United States itself." (Underlining added, Most of the quotations in this article will be taken from the book Fidel Castro Speeches 1984-1985, War and Crisis in the Americas. This book was compiled by Pathfinder Press, which is associated with the trotskyite SWP ("Socialist Workers Party") and is enthusiastically supportive, of Castro and his policies. The passage here is on p. 166, at the beginning of the Castro interview of Feb. 13,.1985 that they entitle "'The Political and Social Situation of Latin America Is A Powder Keg".)

Thus everything is presumably a mistake, where the U.S. government just doesn't know its own best interests. U.S. imperialism, the reactionary regimes in Honduras, Guatemala, etc;, and the revolutionary Nicaraguan people can all hold, hands together. Imperialism doesn't have to be defeated, but everyone will march forward in unity.

Of course, the interests of the American working people go hand in hand with the interests of the Nicaraguan workers and peasants. But the American working class doesn't hold state power, and negotiations with "the U.S." mean negotiations with, Reagan, with the Pentagon, with the owners of the multi-national companies, with the exploiters and imperialists. Castro is, in essence, stating that the U.S. imperialists are mistaken in believing that the present U.S. aggression satisfies their interests.

Supporting Contadora - the Other Face of U.S. Imperialism

This position of the Cuban government leads them to support the Contadora group. Contadora is a group of four capitalist, Latin American regimes (Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Mexico) who are all involved in suppressing, in various ways, the progressive and revolutionary movements in their own countries, and who are concerned to stop the development of revolution in Central America. They wish to stifle the revolution in Nicaragua, but are trying to do this by inducing the Sandinista government to make concessions to the local bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialism. This they call arranging a "peaceful, political solution" to the conflict between the U.S. and Nicaragua.

Far from being the alternative to U.S. military pressure on Nicaragua, the Contadora method of stifling the revolution is regarded by the American militarists as 'a useful complement to the U.S. backed dirty war on Nicaragua. And the Contadora group in turn uses the U.S. dirty war and the threat of escalation of this war to induce Nicaragua to make concessions to them. Thus the Contadora group serves as the other face of U.S. aggression, and their efforts are appreciated by the U.S. imperialists.

Castro, however, from his reformist standpoint, refuses to expose the role of Contadora in the imperialist aggression against Nicaragua and instead praises Contadora to the skies. Instead of struggle against U.S. imperialism, he lauds the Contadora style of imperialism and declares: "I believe and am absolutely convinced that a negotiated solution is possible in Nicaragua, based on information from all the talks which have taken place, the views of all sides. I am absolutely convinced that a solution exists, which is what Contadora is trying to accomplish in finding a solution in Central America." (Ibid., p. 172).

Note that Castro identifies the type of negotiations he is in favor of with those backed by Contadora. It is the Contadora plan which Castro believes accomplishes the feat of satisfying both the interests of U.S. imperialism and those of the Nicaraguan people.

Cuban Foreign Minister Isidro Malmierca Peoli underscores the Cuban regime's particular support for Contadora: "...thus we reiterate...our deep appreciation of and respect for the endeavors of the Contadora Group, which deserves the continued support of the international community." (Intercontinental Press, Oct. 29, 1984, p. 634)

Renouncing Solidarity with the Revolutionary Movements

What concrete measures does the Cuban government support to bring about the "peaceful reconciliation" of all forces?

The Contadora resolution of Sept. 7, 1984, which Castro's Foreign Minister singles out for the highest praise, provides an example of the type of measures favored by the Cuban government. According to Peoli, "The Contadora Act of Sept. 7 contains various recommendations designed to open the way to peace. Outstanding among these are those aimed at halting or reducing the dangerous increases in military action in states of the region, such as...the cessation of arms purchases; refusal to authorize the installation on their respective territories of foreign military bases or training establishments; the establishment of a timetable for the gradual withdrawal and eventual removal of foreign military advisers; prevention of the granting of political, military, financial or any other kind of aid to individuals, groupings, irregular forces, or armed bands attempting to overthrow or destabilize other governments and use their- territory for such purposes..." (Ibid., p. 633, underlining added)

The Cuban government thus specifically endorses the Contadora plan for disarming Nicaragua which hypocritically pretends to place equal burdens on Nicaragua and the neighboring countries, While in fact leaving U.S. imperialism's whole apparatus of aggression untouched. The Contadora plan plan of Sept. 7 was one of its proposals for a pact between Nicaragua and the neighboring countries, so all its provisions, even if fulfilled to the letter, leave the U.S. government's hands untied. The Pentagon can, for example, without violating any provision of any of the Contadora plans, continue to station aircraft carriers off Nicaragua's and even build more aircraft carriers. Even if American advisers are eventually removed from Honduras, the U.S. has already built up a huge Honduran forces (and given it a sophisticated air force) and built up a huge infrastructure, so that U.S. forces can return at a moment's notice. In fact, all the pact would do is to disarm Nicaragua, while the Pentagon continues to arm to the teeth and while the neighboring countries, such as Honduras, remain U.S. bases and only promise to gradually cut down the open symbols of military alliance with the U.S.

Moreover, the Cuban Foreign Minister specifically endorses sacrificing the whole revolutionary movement in Central America in favor of "'stabilizing" the existing governments there, (i.e. the death squad regime in El Salvador, the thinly-disguised military rule in Honduras and Guatemala etc.) On this point the Cuban leaders come out squarely on the side of the existing regimes and endorse a ban on support fer the "ongoing liberation struggles.

In supporting the Contadora plan, Castro's Foreign Minister explicitly listed the complete ban on any sort of "aid to individuals; groupings, irregular forces, or armed bands attempting to overthrow or destabilize other governments..." (Ibid. p. 633) This means condemning aid to the Salvadoran revolutionaries. This means condemning, in retrospect, anyone who aided the Nicaraguan revolutionaries while Somoza ruled. This means condemning support for revolutionary movements in Honduras and Guatemala. It means putting forward the ideology that one must work with the existing governments. And it means accepting the Contadora lie that the CIA-backed contra murderers in Nicaragua can put be on the same level with the people's revolutions in El Salvador and elsewhere.

(How hypocritical; after this, is the Cuban Foreign Minister's reassurance that Cuba supports the Salvadoran revolutionaries. But, on closer reading, it turns out that Cuban regime supports that the Salvadoran revolutionaries give up the revolution in the name of a "political settlement". Thus, Castro's Foreign Minister states that "Cuba reaffirms its support for the position of the Salvadoran revolutionaries, who have reaffirmed their readiness to negotiate a political settlement in El Salvador." (Ibid.) Note also that Cuba's support for a Contadora-style ban on aid to the Salvadoran revolution is not dependent on the achievement of any settlement in El Salvador at all.)

Capitulation to Contadora Emboldens U.S. Imperialism

As we have seen, the Cuban government supports the false theory on which Contadora is based, namely, that it is possible to come to terms with U.S. imperialism by conceding to its aggressive demands. This theory is a cruel hoax. The very history of the Contadora proposal so praised by the Cuban revisionists proves this.

Nicaragua, as the Cubans boast, accepted this proposal without reservations. But, far from appeasing the U.S. rulers this capitulation only resulted in their stepping up their demands. The result was that the U.S. government arrogantly stated that the agreement did not go far enough in undermining Nicaragua and that it did not want Nicaragua's neighbors to sign such a treaty with it. And then the allegedly independent Contadora group withdrew its own proposal, and demanded a still harsher treaty. Meanwhile the U.S. has continued to construct military bases in Nicaragua's northern neighbor Honduras, to beef up the counterrevolutionary contras, and to send military advisers to Nicaragua's southern neighbor Costa Rica as well.

But this could not eliminate the enthusiasm of the Cuban regime for the fact that the Sandinistas had tried to embrace this capitulationist agreement. The Cuban revisionist regime welcomed with open arms the Sandinistas' submission to the Sept. 7, 1984 Contadora measures: "Nicaragua's decision to accept the revised Act presented by the Contadora Group immediately and without amendment is irrefutable evidence of its readiness to seek through negotiation a solution to the conflict besetting the Central American peoples." (Ibid.)

Castro refers to the fact that U.S. imperialism demanded yet mere concessions from Nicaragua when he states that "Who has opposed the solution and the formula proposed by Contadora? Not Nicaragua, the United States." (Castro Speeches, p. 172) Presumably Castro wants to prove how moderate and reasonable the Sandinistas would be if only U.S. imperialism gave them half the chance. He fails to note what this episode proves about the impossibility of satisfying both U.S. imperialist and Nicaraguan interests or about how unfounded the hopes in Contadora are.

He goes on to state: "Why hasn't the Contadora act been signed? Simply because the United States has rejected it, is trying to modify it, and mobilized its allied countries in the area to contest the Contadora act. Those are the facts that are known to us."

Note that Castro doesn't say who these "allied countries" are, because he would end up having to admit that the regimes he is calling on Nicaragua to come to accommodation with, the regimes whose search for peace he praises in this or that speech, are precisely U.S. imperialism's "'allied countries". Can anyone deny that both the Contadora regimes (Colombia, Venezuela, Panama and Mexico) and the regimes neighboring Nicaragua (Honduras, Costa Rica) are U.S. allies? And can anyone deny that these countries would remain U.S. allies and part of U.S. plans whether or not a Contadora style agreement is signed?

Renouncing the Revolution Inside Nicaraguan in Favor of Class Collaboration

Turning to the internal situation in Nicaragua, Castro also abandons the revolution. He comes out unequivocally against the struggle for socialism. In fact he renounces the revolutionary struggle against the Nicaraguan bourgeoisie altogether and calls on the working people simply to interest themselves in "economic development" hand in hand with "private enterprise".

Thus, instead of class struggle, he supports the typical reformist policy of "mixed economy" (i.e. capitalism but with a state sector) and political pluralism (agreement and class collaboration with the local bourgeoisie instead of struggle against it). He is for various social measures, such as education, and for a flood of words about national independence, but he is not for the independent action of the workers and peasants against their exploiters. In response to a reporter's question concerning the path forward for Nicaragua Castro says, "They [the Sandinistas] know full well that their struggle is basically a struggle for independence, national liberation, and social progress, for implementing agrarian reform, educating the entire population, providing everyone with health care. Economic development is the top priority... not the construction of socialism."Actually it [socialism] is not their objective, it's not a short-term or even medium-term objective." (Castro Speeches, pp. 175-6, underlining added)

Hence, Castro is against carrying forward the revolution to socialism. Instead the proletariat is to put off socialism to the distant future. Castro pays lip-service to agrarian reform, but the Sandinistas long ago abandoned even the promises of their own agrarian program; instead of eliminating landlordism, the Sandinistas make a big fuss bout handing over to the peasants odds and ends, a little land here or there. The basic task is supposed to be "economic development" the workers and peasants are not seen as a revolutionary force, just as producers. The revolution is not seen as necessary to unleash the productive forces of the. country. Instead, as we shall see class collaboration with the capitalists is advocated in the name of "economic development".

Castro supports Capitalist Economic Development for Nicaragua

Castro does not support the hegemony of the toilers in deepening the revolution, but calls for the capitalists to be given a major role in developing the country. "...Economic development of the country is the fundamental task, in which I think private enterprise will also have a role to play as much as possible..." (Ibid., p. 177)

This is the program, the program of a mixed economy and political pluralism, yes of political pluralism with no fear." (Ibid.)

Thus Castro links economic development with private enterprise, i.e. capitalism, as he must since he has ruled out socialism. The internal policy that Castro is advocating is unfortunately the one currently being followed by the Sandinista government. Under the pretext of economic development, capitalist reconstruction is being carried out at the expense of the workers and peasants. And it is no secret that the profits of this capitalist construction are going to exploiters who oppose the revolution and who are the social base of the internal counterrevolutionary forces in Nicaragua.

The Sandinistas are giving generous subsidies and profit guarantees to the Nicaraguan capitalists. These gifts to the rich entrepreneurs are sweated out of the hides of the toilers who suffer from wage freezes, anti-strike measures, cutbacks in the original program of schools and health care set forward by the Sandinistas, cuts in housing, price rises in basic goods, and other hardships.

These anti-worker measures are all the more harsh since the Sandinistas also follow a policy of stimulating investment through loans from the international bankers. Just like the other Latin American regimes in debt to the IMF (international Monetary Fund) and the imperialist bankers, the Sandinistas are squeezing the workers to meet the interest payments. Nicaragua now owes the IMF $15 million a year, in interest alone, on a debt of $4 billion.

Castro is full of enthusiasm for the Sandinista plan of enriching the capitalists out of the pockets of the workers. "I think the Nicaraguan plan -- and I have no disagreements with it, neither theoretical nor practical, and I say that sincerely -- is perfect, given the conditions in their country and in Central America. It is perfect." (Ibid. p. 176)

Indeed, Castro goes on to paint the myth that this capitalist development in Nicaragua is taking place without capitalists and landlords. According to him, although the Nicaraguan workers should refrain from socialist revolution until their children's children have grown old and grey, nevertheless Nicaragua allegedly isn't really capitalist and doesn't have a bourgeoisie. Indeed, according to Castro, Nicaragua hardly had any capitalists even, before the revolution. He tells us that: "... in Nicaragua [during Somoza's dictatorship] there was virtually no bourgeoisie, only an embryonic bourgeoisie." (Ibid., 'p. 176) And today private enterprise can allegedly be carried out without the influence of landlords and capitalists. Thus he claims that, while the Sandinistas foster private enterprise, " will be development that does not benefit capitalism and will not be carried out with the supervision of landlords and capitalists. It will be development under the leadership of a revolutionary government that serves the people and not the landlords, oligarchs, or foreign companies..." (Ibid., p. 177).

So just like the liberal promises the working class that state regulation of big business eliminates the evils of capitalism, the reformist Castro tells the Nicaraguan toilers that the revolutionary struggle for socialism can be replaced by a "mixed economy" that supposedly fosters private enterprise without giving any influence to capitalism. Mind you, the Sandinistas allow foreign companies, landlords, and capitalists to continue making profits in Nicaragua, and they squeeze the workers and poor peasants to pay for these profits, but allegedly this does not benefit capitalism in the slightest.

Castro Also Supports Political Concessions to the Bourgeoisie

Castro not only is in love with the Sandinistas' program of economic concessions to the bourgeoisie in the name of "development", but he also praises the political concessions that the Sandinistas have made to the bourgeoisie. That is the meaning of his praise for "political pluralism."

It should be noted that "political pluralism" does not mean rights for the workers and peasants; the petty-bourgeois Sandinistas have created a bureaucratic apparatus that restricts the working masses, they have step by step demobilized them and worked to dismantle the revolutionary forms that grew up in the wake of the overthrow of Somoza. No, "political pluralism" refers to giving rights to the exploiters, who are enemies of the revolution.

For example, Castro praises the Sandinistas' attempt to satisfy the U.S. and Contadora demand for political rights for the bourgeois counterrevolution in Nicaragua. Take the question of elections The Sandinistas' bureaucratic outlook and their isolation from the workers was such that they had seen no need for elections to release the initiative of the workers and poor peasants for the revolution. (And naturally the imperialists and Contadora aren't in favor of revolutionary elections either.) But under pressure from U.S. imperialism, and from the capitalist regimes of Contadora and of the neighboring countries, the Sandinistas carried out a liberal, bourgeois-style elections in Nov. '84.

The Sandinistas simply used these elections as a vehicle for giving special rights and privileges to the counterrevolutionary bourgeois opposition inside Nicaragua, the bourgeois forces which are the internal front of the external contra counterrevolution. The Sandinistas aided the bourgeois opposition through various measures, including the Law on Political Parties, which, gave sweeping rights to the extreme reactionary parties The Sandinistas also helped the right-wing opposition economically. For example it gave financial aid for printing supplies to La Prensa, the newspaper of the big capitalists which hardly bothers hiding its support for the contras and U.S. intervention.

Castro lauded these concessions to and privileges for the bourgeois opposition. "But that's just what the Nicaraguans did. That is what they have done in the framework of the strictest rules of liberal, bourgeois, Western elections....They did just that they accepted. They were asked to move up the date for the elections and they did...They even economically helped opposition parties..." (Ibid., pp. 170-1)

Castro Opposes the Revolutionary Path Elsewhere in Latin America Too

Castro's non-revolutionary stand toward Nicaragua is no accident. It is a symptom of the Cuban revisionists reformist position toward all of Latin America. The social ferment in Latin America holds the promise of a revolutionary conflagration which could blast away the present realities of U.S. subjugation and tyranny by local exploiters. But instead of welcoming this glorious prospect, the Cuban leaders see revolution as a calamity to be avoided at all costs. For them the revolution's only use is hypothetical -- as a threat, to use when haggling with the U.S. rulers for that agreement which will allegedly satisfy both U.S. imperialist interests and those of the people of Latin American.

Thus Castro threatens the U.S. imperialists with the danger of a revolutionary explosion in Latin America. But at the same time he implores them to stave off this event by a "wise" and "astute" policy of easing up a bit on enforcing debt repayments here, sending more economic aid to a bourgeois regime there, staging some "democratic" elections or "reforms" when things get too hot. In short, Castro follows the typical reformist policy of threatening the reaction with revolution, while holding before it the prospect of jointly working to avert the explosion.

Castro Warns of the Danger of Revolution -- In Order to Join in Averting It

" ... The danger [!] is a complete political destabilization and social explosion [throughout Latin America]" p. 184) threatens Castro with respect to the question of Latin America's foreign debt. Isn't it strange that a revolutionary regards it as a "danger" that Latin American will explode and the reactionary regimes will be "destabilized"? And we shall see that this is no mere figure of speech. Castro proceeds to give advice on what must be done to avoid this prospect.

Thus Castro poses the debt crisis and the insensitivity of imperialism as the revolutionary factors in Latin America. For example, he points to the debt crisis as a factor precipitating this explosion. "...the truth is, that the main, the essential, and the surefire agent of the revolution in this hemisphere is the International Monetary Fund." (Castro Speeches, "Speech at Inauguration of Nicaragua Sugar Mill", Jan. 11, 1985, p. 93)

And then Castro promotes his plans by warning that otherwise there will be a revolution. "If no solution is sought to these problems", warns Castro, "and if, for example, no solution is sought to the foreign debt problem, then the condition of political instability in Latin American countries will become increasingly worse. If we want to achieve stability we must start by overcoming this problem." (Ibid., p. 94, underlining added)

So it turns out that Castro's proposals are designed. to "achieve stability", not revolution. He does talk a bit about the mass actions of the working people. For example, he states, with respect to the debt question, that: "In some places, like in Santo Domingo recently, this provoked a rebellion among the people against the IMF measures..." (Ibid., p. 93) But he raises this as a horror story, something that interferes with that stability which he calls for. Castro the great "revolutionary", cannot bear the thought of the masses of people being brought into motion to solve the debt crisis in their own way, by putting the regimes of exploitation and repression into question, and only states about the Dominican events that "The police and the army had to be sent out to kill citizens, and they killed dozens of citizens." (Ibid.)

Thus Castro promotes his debt plan to imperialism as a way of "overcoming this problem" of revolutionary explosions. And, underneath his usual pages of verbiage. and after proposing this or that allegedly bold reform, he ends up applauding the meager and hypocritical steps of various capitalist governments in Latin America, steps that are aimed more at hoodwinking the working people of these countries than at anything that might inconvenience the imperialist bankers. (See "Cuban campaign on the Latin American debt: Castro's plan to avoid revolution" in the September 1, 1985 issue of The Workers' Advocate.)

U.S. imperialism has not accepted Castro's reformist plans. But this does not mean there was anything revolutionary in Castro's strategy or that he was aiming to use the debt crisis to undermine imperialism. It is not Castro's fault if U.S. imperialism refuses to take his advice about how to prevent revolution - after all, Castro has repeated his goal of avoiding revolution enough times. It should be remembered that U.S. imperialism has not just opposed but even attacked many, many reformists in Latin America America, despite the moderate nature of the reformist regimes and their declared opposition to revolution.

Castro Begs the U.S. Imperialists To Give Alms to the Latin American Regimes

So we see that, from his reformist perspective, Castro has degenerated to the extent of advising the imperialists of what they should do to avoid revolution in Latin America. He calls not for the working people to rise up in revolutionary struggle against U.S. imperialism, but for U.S. imperialism to take into consideration the people's plight and give aid to the Latin American regimes (which regimes he presumably believes will somehow aid the workers and peasants that they are presently oppressing). Thus he states:

"Nothing would make us happier than to see the big powers act sanely, prudently, astutely, wisely..." (Castro Speeches, p. 192)

And what does Castro want "big power" (has he suddenly forgot the word "imperialist"?) U.S. to do? He gives an example:

"Kennedy showed some concern after the triumph of the Cuban revolution...

"The peoples of this hemisphere owe a great deal to the Cuban revolution. The United States government said: 'well, let's introduce some reforms, let's do something before more revolutions break out in this hemisphere', and it came up with the thesis of the Alliance for Progress, some twenty-four years ago." (Ibid., p. 191)

Here we have Castro's idea of what U.S. imperialism should do to make the Cuban revisionists happy and to act "sanely", "astutely", "wisely". It should implement programs like the Alliance for Progress. And all Castro can see about this, program is that it gave money to various regimes. You see, it is an example of Castro's basic idea: threaten; the reactionaries with the specter of revolution so that they will cough up some money. The U.S. was scared by the Cuban revolution, so to avert revolutions it allegedly gave money to help the people of Latin America. This money was the great achievement of the Cuban revolution. And today one should threaten the Reagan administration with the prospect of revolutions in Latin America and maybe it too will give money"

As Castro says: "Twenty-four years ago, Kennedy promoted the Alliance for Progress as an antidote to prevent social convulsions, and undoubtedly the measures were imaginative. He proposed reforms and economic aid totaling $20 billion over several years to solve the problems of development and social problems." (Ibid., p. 184)

Castro Praises Kennedy's Alliance for Progress Counterinsurgency Plan

Castro is thus begging the U.S. imperialists to give some alms to avert the revolution. His reformism has led him to praise even Kennedy's Alliance for Progress, which he himself admits was a program to prevent revolutionary explosions in Latin America. Only Castro lies and presents matters as if the Alliance for Progress was designed to prevent revolution by eliminating poverty and misery, rather than as part of a counterinsurgency program to put down the liberation movements in Latin America in blood. Under the banner of the Alliance for Progress revolutionaries and rebellious toilers were tortured and murdered, police forces and armies were retrained, and counterrevolutionary alliances were cemented. But this program also included economic aid to reactionary Latin American regimes, rigged elections, CIA-sponsored "land reform" programs, etc. And Castro's reformism leads him to regard this as a sane way of acting, a way of benefit to the people, mainly deficient from the small, inadequate amount of the money allocated.

Looking at the reality of Kennedy's "Alliance for Progress", rather than Castro's words, we see indeed an example of how the interests of the U.S. imperialists and the Latin American regimes can be satisfied in common. The workers and peasants are massacred and the revolution suppressed - this satisfies U.S. interests. And the regimes get foreign aid, support for their police efforts to assure internal "stability", and some alms for building up the infrastructure to support U.S. firms.

But Castro's eyes are firmly fixed on the money being dispensed from the U.S. Treasury. His criticism of the "Alliance for Progress" ends up being that it wasn't enough money. It allegedly was for a good cause, but was insufficient. He states:

"Twenty-four years ago, when the Alliance for Progress was created, Kennedy proposed a program of economic cooperation for meeting Latin America's social problems and development needs, calling for 320 billion to be invested over a period of ten to fifteen years. That idea arose during the period of obsessive trauma over the Cuban revolution and sought to avoid the creation of objective conditions that would be propitious for new revolutions. [I.e. allegedly to eliminate grinding poverty and oppression, etc.]. Now, the economic underdeveloped countries of this hemisphere with twice the population and triple the social problems, will be giving the industrialized countries $40 billion a year as interest on their debts. In ten years, they will have to pay $400 billion - twenty times as much as Kennedy suggested investing over ten to fifteen years as economic cooperation for solving Latin America's economic and social problems..." (Ibid., Interview with the Mexican newspaper "Excelsior" on March 21, 1985, p. 209)

Supporting, in retrospect, Kennedy's counterinsurgency programs that is how low Castro will stoop to oppose revolution in Latin America. Having degenerated into an ordinary, garden-variety reformist, Castro must trample on the truth and find something to praise in U.S. imperialism.

And so he advises that the U.S. should have undertaken more such programs in the 60's and 70's so it could have forestalled the danger of revolutionary explosions in Central America. "Why did Central America explode then? Simply because they [the U.S. government] were unable to foresee what was coming. Why didn't they then start talking about elections and political change? Why didn't they start worrying about the underdevelopment, poverty, and oppression) of 10 and, 15 years ago?" (Castro Speeches p. 191)

Not only does this prettify U.S. "aid", but what does it mean to prevent Central America from exploding? If this were possible, it would mean, in particular, to prevent the Nicaraguan and Salvadoran revolutions.

Supporting the Present-Day Regimes in Latin America

At the same time as Castro prettifies the liberal face of U.S. imperialism, he also prettifies the existing regimes in Latin America. His plans for Latin America revolve around work with almost every existing political force in Latin America. He doesn't just prettify the Contadora regimes and the neighboring countries of Nicaragua, which he claims are engaged in the search for peace, but he prettifies almost every bourgeois force in Latin America.

For example, in discussing the debt problems in Latin America, we have already seen, that Castro was concerned for "'stability". Furthermore, he praises most of the bourgeois regimes, absolving them of blame for the suffering of their people. Describing the debt problem and other Latin American economic problems, he states: "[Argentine President] Alfonsin isn't to blame for those problems, nor are [Uruguayan President] Sanguinetti, [then Brazilian President-Elect] Tancredo Neves, the leaders who will be chosen in the upcoming election in Peru [Castro didn't even wait to see who they were before absolving them of responsibility], [Colombian President] Belisario Bentancur, [Ecuadoran President Leon] Febres Cordero and [then Bolivian President] Siles Zuazo, because they simply inherited these problems. Pinochet can be blamed for a large part of them,..." (Ibid., Interview with Mexican Daily 'Excelsior', p. 21-9).

Thus, with only a precious few exceptions, such as the rule of the butcher Pinochet of Chile, Castro sees nothing wrong with the regimes. They allegedly simply inherited problems (from other regimes which represented the same exploiters, he forgets to mention). And in speech after speech he goes on to absolve these governments, to praise them, and to consider problems from their points of view.

Indeed, Castro even wants to work with the Latin American "conservatives". He states: "The crisis is advancing and will continue to do so.... I can see that many Latin American politicians of all kinds have changed their attitude. I would even say that there are fewer and fewer conservatives in this hemisphere, because many who have traditionally been considered on the right and organizations and parties that have been called conservatives are aware of how deep and serious these problems are.... They feel very bitter and defrauded - I am speaking now of conservative politicians and individuals..." (Ibid., p. 220)

Castro approaches problems from the point of view of such existing regimes. All "nonaligned" regimes, independent of their politics, of their bitter oppression of the local workers and peasants, should be worked with. As he says: "And, those countries whose situation is desperate, irrespective of ideology - we've seen this in the Movement of Nonaligned Countries: left-wing governments, middleof-the-road governments, right-wing governments - have many problems in common..." (Ibid., Speech to the closing session of the Sixth Congress of the Federation of Students in Intermediate Education, meeting in Havana, Dec. 8, 1984, p. 36)

And Castro is not joking when he worries about the stability of such regimes. Here he describes how the Cuban revisionists' fraternal party in Bolivia restrained the masses and helped the government of the local exploiters in Bolivia. "[then Bolivian President] Siles Zuazo is a man full of good intentions and the desire to work for his country. The Bolivian Communist [actually, sold-out revisionist] Party is helping Siles Zuazo and cooperating with him to save the democratic process so that the country can advance, but the conditions are so difficult. The social situation, the economic crisis, unemployment are so intense that although the Communist Party is with the government, the workers and the population in general are taking to the streets, occupying the factories, and going on strike. ... Here you have an example where the Communist Party supports the government and, nevertheless, there is tremendous social instability as a consequence of the economic and social situation." (Ibid., Interview on Jan. 30, 1985, p. 125)

Consistent Support for the Nicaraguan Revolution Requires Opposing Cuban Revisionism

Contrary to the propaganda of the Reaganites, Castro is not the arch-revolutionary of Latin America nor is he the hand behind the Nicaraguan revolution. The Nicaraguan revolution is a genuine popular movement which deserves the support of all working and honest people. To support the Nicaraguan revolution it is necessary to oppose Castro and the Cuban government's politics of supporting Contadora, of advocating reformist accommodation with U.S. imperialism, and of replacing revolution with class collaboration with the local bourgeoisie. These revisionist politics can only undermine the Nicaraguan people's struggle. <>

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Down with anti-immigrant, anti-worker lies!


For years the bourgeoisie and it's assorted footmen and errand boys have been filling people's ears with lying tales of "foreign aliens draining social services." Why, sputter the capitalists and their politicians, media commentators, and trade union hacks, these "aliens" sit back and live off government assistance without paying their share into the system.

First of all, it is a big racist slur that immigrants somehow don't pay taxes. Except for those who work off the books because they are paid less than the minimum wage (which means their tax level is minimal to begin with), the great majority of immigrant workers pay their payroll deductions like every other worker. In fact, they frequently pay more taxes, as fear of government harassment compels many immigrants to avoid filing for their tax returns.

And second, government persecution and other factors mean that immigrants often do not even get the measly unemployment insurance and other benefits that other workers receive. Recently, this has been so much as admitted by a number of high-level reports from the capitalists themselves.

Even the Oppressors of the Immigrants Admit...

On January 22, a confidential draft was made public of the 1986 report of none other than Reagan's Council of Economic Advisers. This report concluded that immigrant workers provided a "net fiscal benefit" to the nation, "using relatively fewer services and paying relatively more taxes" than native born Americans. (New York Times, January 23, 1986)

This came on the heels of the Rand Corporation think tank report that was released in December on the effects of immigration on the economy of California. The 18 month study was commissioned by the California Roundtable, which is composed of 90 of the state's biggest corporations, such as AT&T, Levi Strauss, and Santa Fe-Southern Pacific.

The Rand report spelled out that fewer than 5% of Mexican immigrants -- including citizens, legal residents, and undocumented workers were receiving some form public assistance in 1980, the most recent U.S. census year. This figure amounts to less than half the percentage for all adults statewide, as twelve percent of California's adults received some form of government assistance in 1980.

Furthermore, since "the immigrant population is generally young and healthy," the Rand report concluded, "the use of health services for Mexican immigrants is low and concentrated in emergency and maternity services." (Los Angeles Herald Examiner, December 10, 1985)

A 206-page report on Mexican immigration was also released in December by the Urban Institute research organization. It drew similar conclusions to those of the Rand Corporation.

The Flag Wavers Want to Maintain Superexploitation

Here we have the big capitalists and Reaganites giving the lie to the racist claims about immigrants robbing benefits. But why? Have these racist and chauvinist haters of workers in general and immigrants in particular suddenly turned over a new leaf?

No! The capitalist class is united in its desire to maintain the immigrants as a sub-caste of superexploited workers: oppressing immigrants makes cheap labor and is good for profits. It also provides opportunities to create divisions among the working class and to strengthen repressive measures against all the working people.

However, the capitalists are squabbling over how best to do this. Some, for example, want to impose penalties on employers who hire undocumented workers. But other capitalists worry that such employer sanctions would cut into their pool of cheap labor that is so handsomely profitable for them. In the process of defending this position, the truth has been admitted: immigrant workers do not "drain government services." <>

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New INS Schemes to Oppress the Immigrant Workers


Since the early 70's, the capitalist ruling class has been crying for a sweeping reform of the immigration laws. Both Democrats and Republicans have been working on this for over a decade waving the flag of racist hysteria about "stemming the flood of illegal immigration." Their latest bi-partisan attempts at a comprehensive new federal law for the persecution of the immigrant workers are the Simpson and Mazzoli-Rodino bills that are now before congress (See The Worker's Advocate, February 1, '86.)

All official Washington is in agreement about the need for new means to intensify the harassment and persecution of the undocumented workers from Mexico and other countries. But comprehensive immigration law changes have been, and may well continue to be, bogged down in squabbling over how best to oppress the immigrants, how best to strip them of all their rights, and how best to satisfy the capitalists' hunger for cheap immigrant labor.

In the meantime, however, the government has been step by step tightening the screws on the undocumented workers. The INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) has been quietly putting into place bits and pieces of the anti-immigrant plans.

"Employer Cooperation" Against the Immigrants

Employer sanctions and other mean. to place obstacles to hiring undocumented workers has been the focus of the discussion about new immigration laws. Meanwhile, the INS has been pioneering its own "Employer Cooperation Program", which brings the employers into the government's net of surveillance and harassment of the immigrant workers.

Under this "voluntary" system, the employers provide the INS with information on the legal status of their employees. In turn, the INS agrees to not make a sweeping raid that would upset the capitalists' operations. For example, under such agreements the employers are supposed to have time to find and train replacements for their undocumented, workers or to obtain documents for them.

In practice, even when an agreement is in place, the INS sometimes springs its dragnet and hauls away the workers anyway. This is what happened in southern California last fall when five horse racing tracks were raided by the INS. Several hundred workers were arrested, including highly skilled trainers and handlers with many years of seniority.

The race track owners claim they then made an agreement with the INS, that they would either obtain legal visas for or replace their undocumented workers. But despite the agreement, the INS carried out further raids.

"BORTAC" Stormtroopers

Beefing up the Border Patrol is also part of the proposed immigration laws. In the meantime, last year 850 more agents were added to Border Patrol, as the Border Patrol's budget grows larger and larger and its methods grow ever more brutal. This includes a growing number of cases of outright murder of Mexican and Central American immigrants for the "crime" of coming into the U.S. without legal papers.

To strengthen this army of oppression against the immigrants, the Border Patrol has set up a new SWAT-type elite force known as BORTAC (Border Patrol Tactical Team). Over a year ago, bits and pieces of information started coming out about BORTAC and its training in the use of assault weapons and explosives. BORTAC shows what type brutality and violence the government has in store for the undocumented workers.

The "SAVE" System of Computer Tracking

A key stumbling block in the proposals for cracking down on the immigrants has been the problem of how to seek out the undocumented through some type of national identification system. The INS has taken steps to deal with this through the extensive use of the computer systems of the state governments.

In 1984, it launched. a program called "SAVE" (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlement). Immigrant workers in Chicago and California's Central Valley learned about this when they went to sign up at unemployment offices. The workers were required to produce their immigration documents, and those whose papers could not be verified were turned over to the INS.

Under SAVE, an immigrant who applies to the state government for almost anything -- unemployment compensation, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, a drivers license, or even registering for school -- is checked through a computerized file to verify legal status. And if the papers don't check out, presto -- no benefits, no license, or no school, plus the specter of harassment and deportation.

Several states have already volunteered to set up SAVE programs, including California, Illinois, Colorado and Michigan. The ladies and gentlemen in the Congress have looked on this as such a good way to persecute immigrants and to rob them of their hard earned benefits that they have attached amendments to their immigration reform bills to make SAVE federal law, compulsory for all states.

Down With the INS! -- Defend the Immigrant Workers!

Whether the capitalist politicians can come up with a comprehensive anti-immigrant bill or not, it is clear that the government is steadily escalating the war on the immigrant workers in this country. Willy-nilly, they are out to harass and persecute the immigrants. They are out to strip them of every shred of democratic rights, to make it that much easier to rob and exploit them to the bone.

The assault on the undocumented is nothing but one front of the offensive of monopoly capital against the whole working class. All workers, native and foreign born, documented and undocumented, should joint in common struggle against the racist crusade on the immigrant workers and should defend their rights to live and work as equals to any other worker in this country. <>

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TV "Investigative" Reporters Support Oppression in American Prisons


A struggle is going on in the Texas prisons against the brutal oppression of the prisoners by the capitalist prison authorities of the TDC (Texas Department of Corrections). The struggle is complicated due to both the extremely repressive rules and to the problems caused by the disunity and dehumanization of the prisoners themselves. On one hand, the bad conditions have fostered the rise of prison gangs, which the TDC has used as a pretext to attack the meager rights of all prisoners and to do propaganda for bringing back the discredited, ultracorrupt and brutal system of setting aside certain prisoners to oppress the prison population in general in the name of maintaining order.

On the other hand, among the prisoners involved in fighting the bad conditions is a section of prisoners who have become political and increasingly conscious of the connection between their oppression and the system of capitalist exploitation. They have become conscious of the social conditions that push the poor into social crime and the way the capitalists seek to divert rebelliousness into, among other things, crime. And they are also seeking to unite the prisoners against the brutal capitalist jailers who continue the class oppression in the jail, continuing the dehumanization of the poor who fall into social crime (or, otherwise fall into the clutches of the police) as well as seeking to break the spirit of the strikers, protesters, immigrants and revolutionaries who are also thrown into the jails. They have shown courage and determination in striving to take part in the liberation movement of the working class, and they work hard to enlighten and unite the other prisoners.

The struggle has become sharp in the Texas jails. The prison authorities have gone even to the point of trying to suppress correspondence between prisoners, thus hoping to isolate the political prisoners, to prevent the prisoners from engaging in collective protests, and to provide easier conditions for oppressing the prisoners.

In the January issue of The Supplement, we carried a letter from a prisoner who denounced the situation in the Texas jails. At one point in his letter this prisoner mentioned that the TV program "60 Minutes" was going to to do a story on the situation in the Texas prisons. He pointed out that he and others had contacted "60 Minutes" and that the conscious prisoners were providing them with facts and documentation concerning the lies and perjury of the TDC officials.

But "60 Minutes" had no intention of opposing capitalist class oppression. Its program on the Texas prisons helped do propaganda for increasing the oppression of the prisoners.

Below we print a letter we recently received from this prisoner which denounces "60 Minutes" and the bourgeois press. And it provides further information on how the prison authorities themselves fostered the system of inmate prisoner violence.

February 25, 1986

The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Dear comrades:

Saludos En Lucha! [Greetings in the struggle!]

For all those who viewed the "60 Minutes" show 1/26/86 immediately following the "super-bowl game"; you [have] seen but half the truth about "prison gangs" in Texas.

Those of us (class conscious jailhouse lawyers, outside prison activists) who provided 60 Minutes with input to expose the real social origins of prison gangs, being products of class oppression. We're lied to, and led to believe by 60 Minutes correspondents that said social origins of prison gangs were going to be exposed. While this mistake on our part denotes our lack of experience in, dealing with the bourgeois press (and they're conniving elements), we have learned an invaluable lesson, we won't soon forget!!

60 Minutes portrayed the Texas prison gangs in their sinister character, leaving out the underlying facts of how, when, where and why these prison gangs came into existence.

We provided the bourgeois press with sufficient input demonstrating how the prison administration, conditions and treatment created and fostered prison violence; and, how from this violent prison environment prison gangs spawned; but, by no means did the downtrodden prisoners' themselves determine these social conditions.

The facts are clear as noted in the federal law books concerning Texas' prisons, specifically, how the prisoncrats started "prison gangs". See Ruiz v. McCotter, 503 F. Supp. l265, at 1295

"While these inmates now hold a number of different official job titles, in the past they were generally referred, to as building tenders. <55> Most building tenders at a unit are selected by the warden, but the selection must receive the approval of the TDC [Texas Department of "Corrections"] Classification Committee <56>

At 1296

"Building tenders have unofficially been given such specific powers as issuing orders to other inmates, assisting in taking daily counts of the population, keeping track of inmate movements, escorting inmates to different destinations within the prison, and distributing correspondence and Commissary scrip..."

At 1296

"The fact that building tenders work closely with civilian security personnel gives them several. significant advantages, which they may readily abuse... Another common practice of building tenders is to 'run stores', that is, to sell to inmates for exorbitant prices, commissary items in high demand. A free market situation does not prevail in these circumstances; building tenders have the power to punish inmates who refuse to deal with them on the demanded financial or sexual bases. Of overriding significance is the fact that building tenders are often permitted to carry weapons, <62> which are employed to threaten and discipline other inmates. At some units, building tenders have routinely used such weapons, under the eyes and at the express direction of prison officers..."

At 1296, 1997

"This notorious ability of building tenders to keep and use weapons is in marked contrast to TDC's generally effective system of curbing the presence of arms and other contraband among the general inmate population, a disparity which supports the conclusion that the lapses of officials toward building tenders are not accidental."

At 1298

"Expert witnesses for all parties have detailed some of the harms involved in the building tender system. According to their testimony, giving one group of inmates authority over others is an invitation for resentment, misunderstandings, physical confrontations, and clashes between the two inmate classes. <67> Their opinions were supported by numerous TDC incident reports revealing the enmity, rancor, and bitterness of spirit emanating from the inmates' indignation at receiving orders from building tenders. <68>"

The above historical facts of how the prisoncrats used inmates to police other inmates (did) create "resentment"; and when the "building tender" system was outlawed in 1982, 20 years or more of this resentment manifested itself into what are now called prison gangs; who are made up of prisoners and/or started by prisoners who were oppressed by the "building tender" system.

The social conditions in capitalist society that throws the poor into crime (crime being a necessary product for capitalists to maintain control of rebellious youth and continue the misery of the poor); in prison, "capitalist punishment" furthers the product of crime - and misery, demoralization and dehumanization of the poor.

While this is happening, there grows to a certain degree both outside, and inside the prisons, "consciousness" in the poor in general, and in the criminal-product in particular.

Those of us who have been fortunate to have been exposed to Marxism [to the theory of scientific socialism, and to the literature produced by the "advocates"' of this social science - are becoming a distinction, or distinct growing sector amongst the prisoner populace.

The contradictions we are faced with as class conscious prisoners are great in their own respect, and dealing with these inherent contradictions is both a new experience, and complex for us who of 38,000 lack formal education. Notwithstanding, of course, the constant levels of suppression they subject any rebellious prisoner to.

Thus, while we did not succeed in exposing the real origins of Texas prison gangs by working with the reactionary bourgeois press; and/or by utilizing the bourgeois press, we are not going to allow this to faze our ongoing struggle to bring class consciousness [and] enlightenment home to our brothers and sisters both inside and outside the prison walls -- about how this capitalist country produces crime and punishment to control the working class, and to continue our misery.

We will never allow our struggle to stop, because our growth is proof that we can break free from mental-slavery and break the chains of capitalist imprisonment!

I thank my comrades for their invaluable advocacy!

En Lucha! [In struggle!]

[We omit the signature]

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The List of Grievances


On January 31, 41 prisoners in an segregation (isolation) unit of the Tennessee Colony state prison in Texas went on a hunger strike against the outrageous and inhuman conditions. This is reported on in the March 1 issue of The Workers Advocate. Below we reprint the press release from these prisoners which details their grievances against the barbaric prison authorities.


Press Release

Manifesto of Beto One Unit Segregated Prisoners

Whereas, it is the manifestation of the undersigned prisoners housed in Administrative Segregation at the Beto One Unit of the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) in protest against the dehumanizing and brutal conditions of confinement and treatment of segregated prisoners, to begin an indefinite and sincere hunger strike to begin on January 31, 1986, to protest the gross violations of the legal and human rights of all segregated and general population prisoners throughout the TDC institutions, and until corrective actions [are] taken to remedy the following totality of conditions existing at the Beto One Unit and the entire TDC:

l. the persistent pattern and practice of criminal and brutal physical attacks and assaults by staff against segregated prisoners, and the use of the infamous "woodshed" (e.g., multi-purpose room located outside the segregation cell block at the Beto One Unit) to take prisoners for the administering of physical abuse and other provocations, all in violation of the court orders in Ruiz v. McCotter and other civil rights and penal laws;

2. the totality of conditions of confinement as maintained. by unit officials at the Beto One Units Administrative Segregation to include:

(i) no daily showers of all segregated-prisoners;

(ii) no daily recreational opportunities;

(iii) poorly prepared and restricted rations of unseasoned food served cold and in an unsanitary manner (e.g., insects, hair and other foreign objects found in food daily; no salt or pepper; food handlers that do not wear hair nets and gloves to handle food; food handlers who are never examined to determine if they are health qualified to handle food);

3. the policy of conducting daily, routine, unreasonable, demeaning, and humiliating visual body cavity searches (e.g., strip naked, lift the genital, turn around, bend over and spread the buttocks) as a condition for prisoners exiting their cell for any reasons such as for hospital appointments, showers and recreation when provided; and the use of the TDC's Special Operations Response Team (SORT) to forcibly conduct visual body cavity searches against prisoners who refuse to submit to such a humiliating search;

4. inadequate; lighting-fixtures in segregation cells that results in eye strain and injury to prisoner's eyes;

5. the daily practice of staff and SORT officers of using racial and sexual slurs and epithets and other verbal abuse against prisoners, and in particular during strip searches;

6. the use of the notorious SORT squad for the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, brutalizing and terrorizing prisoners throughout the TDC system;

7. the ransacking and deliberate destruction, and confiscation of prisoner's personal and legal property such as fans, radios, petitions/letters, etc., addressed to, public officials, and the rule against, not permitting prisoners to display in their cells political, religious or other posters and drawings including prohibiting prisoners displaying pictures of immediate family members in their cells;

8. failure to provide all segregated prisoners with cleaning supplies, such as brooms, scrub brushes, disinfectants, etc., for the cleaning of cells;

9. failure to provide all segregated prisoners with clean clothes that are in good condition, the issuing of dirty and inadequately washed linen, and failure to provide prisoners with a weekly exchange of clean towels;

10. no adequate means of ensuring personal hygiene of segregated prisoners in that toothbrush handles are cut to half a handle;

11. deliberate, indifference to the medical needs of segregated prisoners by medical staff;

12. retaliatory harassment against segregated prisoners by unit commissary officers for legal activities (e.g., deliberate and unreasonable delays in the processing of prisoner's dry goods orders);

13. failure to abide and comply with the disciplinary procedures and accord prisoners their procedural due process rights as required by Ruiz v. McCotter;

14. failure to provide to all Muslim prisoners a pork-free diet and the suppression by unlawful punishments and restrictions of Islamic faith;

15. the suppression of Nazirite religious freedoms by punishing adherents of Nazirite faith for the exercise of a fundamental tenet of said religion (e.g., prohibition against cutting any hair off their heads);

16. the lack of adequate religious and educational activities and programs for segregated prisoners;

17. the practice of Segregation Officers and SORT squad members of spitting on the floor, and in the cellblock and in the shower stalls;

18. the harassment and retaliation by staff against segregated prisoners who file grievance, complaints, lawsuits, and other petitions for the redress of grievances against TDC staff (and other forms of official oppression and misconduct;

19. the use of a prisoners, grievance procedure that is wholly inadequate and is designed to cover up official misconduct from the unit level to the Central Administration hierarchy in Huntsville, Texas;

20. the inadequate investigations into beatings of prisoners by staff, the cover-up, the inadequate disciplining of prison guards found guilty of the same, and the conspiracies and obstructions of justice Court. orders in Ruiz v. McCotter by high ranking; officials and the corrupt investigative of the TDC the Internal Affairs Division;

21. employee negligence and other misconduct that has caused the loss of lives of many segregated prisoners;

22. a conspiracy between TDC officials and the local prosecutor's office where TDC units are located to charge, indict and put to trial TDC prisoners for alleged felony crimes in a discriminatory and selective manner while ignoring the many crimes committed against prisoners by TDC officials;

23. mismanagement, misappropriation of tax dollars and other financial corruption of TDC officials involving criminal conduct;

24. the unlawful, arbitrary and capricious placement of prisoners in Administrative Segregation on unfounded charges, or mere suspicion of other illegal activity, and their prolonged stay in segregation absent any periodic, meaningful review for evaluating a prisoner's return into the general population resulting in overcrowded conditions in the segregation facilities;

25. inadequate staff and the employment of prison guards that are incompetent, racist, brutal and corrupt;

26. the denial of interviews with media organizations and representatives under the false guise of "security" but designed to suppress the expression and dissemination of valid complaints against the TDC system for official oppression. and misconduct from knowledgeable and politically vocal prisoners, with knowledge of the same;

27. the purchase and intended use of sophisticated electronic surveillance equipment for the illegal monitoring and recording of prisoner's conversation and other activities protected by constitutional associational laws, and the converting of the TDC system into para-military convict prisons;

28. the provocations of segregated prisoners by staff in order to justify basis for the placement of prisoners in sensory deprivation cells under the classification status called "Inmate Management Plan";

29. the lack of full criminal felony prosecution by state and federal law enforcement agencies responsible for enforcing the civil rights of prisoners against TDC staff responsible for committing crimes against prisoners;

30. the maintenance of the institution of a workforce that is not compensated for its labor and the perpetuation of a slave labor force for state institutional gain and profit;

31. the continuous slanderous and smear propaganda tactics and campaign of the TDC Public Relations Office against all TQC prisoners in order to create sympathetic public opinion on behalf of a racist, brutal and corrupt prison system in efforts to deceive the general public against the violations of federal law behind prison walls and the inherent wickedness of such an oppressive and dehumanizing prison system;

32. the persistent history of contemptuous conduct on the part of TDC officials to the lawful court orders of the court in Ruiz v. McCotter and the gross violations bf the human rights of all TDC prisoners;

33. the political attack on the legal and civil rights of a11 prisoners and all poor people in general by the Reagan Justice Department;

Whereas, the undersigned do resolve to commence a hunger strike on January 31, 1986, in protest against these dehumanizing and brutal conditions of confinement and treatment up and until they are corrected. We refuse to be treated like animals and demand to be treated like human beings; We will prefer hunger starvation over the daily unnecessary suffering and dehumanization that we are all being subjected to. This hunger strike will remain a democratic one and will remain peaceful. However, we remind all concerned to recall what occurred at Attica, Santa Fe, McAlester etc., because of this same brutal treatment against prisoners and to also recall the injunction in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that, "whereas, it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last recourse, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected the Rule of Law."

Signed this the 31st day of January, 1986.

(Signed by 41 prisoners.) <>

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Communist Party of Colombia (ML) Says: "FORWARD WITH THE ELECTION BOYCOTT!"

When Belisario Betancur of the Conservative Party took office as the Colombian President, he was full of promises of "social peace" and "democratic reform." But the capitalist economic crisis and the class struggle in Colombia only grew sharper. In response, the Betancur government has escalated the level of terror and violence against the working people. In recent months the army has been involved in a series of cruel massacres of strikers and demonstrators, and it has intensified the war against the popular guerrilla movements. As well, the para-military death squads have carried out a series of kidnappings and murders of militants and revolutionaries. This includes the brutal murder last November of three comrades of the CP of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist), including comrade Oscar William Calvo, the official spokesman of the Party.

It was in this climate that the parliamentary elections were recently held in Colombia. These elections were part of the traditional game of sharing a monopoly of power between the Liberals and the Conservatives, the two main parties of the big, pro-U.S. imperialist bourgeoisie. The CP of Colombia (ML) carried out a boycott of these elections. The following article denouncing the elections is from their newspaper Revolucion, #164, February 3-9, 1986. Translation is by The Workers' Advocate staff.


The parliamentary elections of March, 1986 will be held in one month. This makes it necessary for the activity of the Party and of the revolutionary and democratic movement to become more dynamic in order to generalize the actions of repudiation of the electoral farce being staged by the bourgeoisie, the government of Belisario Betancur, and the Vierist revisionists.[Viera is the head of the pro-Soviet revisionist "Communist" Party of Colombia]. This ardent and valiant action must be a boycott, with political content that:

1. - gives greater force to the electoral abstention.

2. - unites the agitation and mobilization of the masses with the guerrilla activity in the countryside and the city.

3. - in many parts of the country signifies a conscious negation of the use of the vote on the part of the people,

The political work of education, organization and mobilization of this immense contingent of the worker and popular masses belongs to the communists and revolutionaries. These masses who, from different political angles, want to demonstrate their political and social discontent, are not participating in this anti-democratic parody prepared by these parliamentary elections.

The political field of this campaign must cover all the social and political sectors of the country, independent of whether they are going to vote or not or not -- voting which is based on economic and social intimidation that is used by the system to oblige Colombians to vote for one of the inscribed slates.

Never before have we seen such a planned campaign by the bourgeoisie with the object of enticing those who vote and intimidating those who are going to abstain. The principal slogan of the bourgeois propaganda is oriented towards placing the simple man of the people before a definition of either voting or being against the democratic right of participating in the social, economic and political changes of the country. And therefore, not voting is to be part of the legions of evil, to be a subversive or one of their potential collaborators.

This and a thousand more subterfuges will not do them any good. We are sure that electoral abstention will surpass 60 per cent of the potential electorate in the whole country. But even more, in many regions where there has been a deepening of the social and economic contradictions, no electoral actions will be realized because the masses will support the actions of the democratic and revolutionary movement to prevent the official intimidation launched in countless areas of the countryside and the city. And this will not be because, the terrorists are going to intimidate the masses who vote, as the government tries to portray it.

This parody with military epaulets, as we have called these upcoming elections, is a vital part of the plan of fascization that the pro-imperialist bourgeoisie has put in place. And it is not, as the Vierista revisionists say, a democratic opportunity that must be utilized to strengthen the political action of the masses. The bourgeoisie tries to broaden the political support for, its counterrevolutionary activity and counts every one of the votes, including those of the U.P. (Patriotic Union -- front of the CP revisionists), as a political gain.

In turn, this obliges us to conclude that they count every one of the votes that isn't deposited as a repudiation of the social system, even more so if this conscious abstention is preceded by forceful activities of denunciation and mobilization.

In order to gain the revolutionary power and breadth of activity of the worker and popular masses that is required at this political juncture, it is necessary to apply an offensive and sharp tactic against the political and ideological work of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie wants to portray the electoral struggle as a civilized way to resolve the acute contradictions which the country is debating, in contraposition to the revolutionary armed struggle and other militant actions of the masses, such as the boycott and civic work stoppages. A defensive tactic is counterproductive, for the movement because it contributes to the moral, political and military disarming of the economic, political and guerrilla organizations, which the pro-imperialist bourgeoisie is aiming to do at all cost.

Our policy for unity as defined by the IV Plenum of the Central Committee is not superseded in the electoral period, nor is the definition of participating or not participating with or in parliamentary slates.

In effect, we are putting forward a tactic of a broad spectrum. But, at the same time, we understand that for the unitary revolutionary process the actions of repudiation of the electoral charade have greater significance than electoral standings. The first create the possibility of tightening the immediate unitary ties with part of the left that, despite the differences that separate us, is today closer to the proletariat and favors the unity of the most combative sectors of the worker and popular masses. Meanwhile, the second represents a road of alliance with the bourgeoisie in defense of the pillars of the capitalist system;

To those who assume one or the other position, we will continue calling on them to work for political accords that permit us to reactivate the worker and popular movement, although we are conscious of the thousand shackles that are placed at, the national level on those that are bound to the parliamentary policy and those that, due to terrorist actions, give little or no support to the actions of the electoral boycott that is fundamentally a broad and combative activity of the masses.

The broad and massive preparation and generation of a political boycott of the upcoming elections qualifies each one of the objectives and tasks of the political campaign that the Party unfolds in this pre-electoral period. The agitation, the propaganda and the mobilization of the popular ranks are the pillars of an effective political sabotage of this electoral farce, and nothing and no one will make our cadres and militants work in any other way. <>

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More News From Colombia


The banana growing region of Uraba in northern Colombia near the Panamanian border continues to be a zone of sharp class conflicts. Over the last year, the agricultural workers, dock workers and other laborers have launched work stoppages and other mass actions in defense of their livelihood, in defense of their organizations, and in defense of the revolutionary movement.

The capitalist government has responded by unleashing troops and death squads to terrorize and massacre the workers. In the midst of these clashes; the prestige and influence of the CP of Colombia and its armed wing, the Popular Liberation Army (EPL), has been growing among the working masses of Uraba. Below we carry a report on an armed action of EPL guerrillas in defense of a work stoppage in the region to protest the growing terrorism and repression of the regime. From Revolucion, #164, February 3-9, 1986, translated by The Workers' Advocate staff.


The Jesus Maria Alzate Front of the EPL announced a victory of the Colombian people through a communication in which it reports on a military action against the official armed forces which took place last December 7 on the highway that leads to San Pedro de Uraba in the department of Antioquia.

Units of the EPL ambushed various patrol vehicles that were transferring more than a hundred men of the army and the narcotics police from Monteria (Cordoba) to Apartado. The official troops had the mission of. suppressing the civic work stoppage in the zone of Uraba, which was being held in protest of the escalating terrorism of the bourgeoisie against the revolutionary movement and the masses. In one part the communication of the guerrilla front points out that: "It realized the total defeat of the enemy, after three hours of open combat, during which the EPL fully displayed its operating capacity, the audacity and decision of its command and fighters."

And it continues, adding: "It left a balance of eight dead soldiers, ten wounded and one man taken as a prisoner of war. It recuperated material of war such as: eleven Galil 7.62 rifles with 50 magazines, 2,000 bullets, 44 military uniforms, 10 military belts, and other articles."

All the recuperated materials, including the food provisions, are from the United States.

The guerrilla action was inscribed in the campaign of solidarity with the peoples of Central America launched by the National Guerrilla Coordination. It also had as its objective the repudiation of the cowardly assassination of our comrades William, Alejandro and Angela. [The spokesman of the Party, Oscar William Calvo, and the two other comrades, Alejandro and Angela, were murdered last November.] <>

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