The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 3 #4


April 10, 1987

[Front page: How to solve the nuclear waste problem: shut down the nuclear plants! No to the nuclear waste dump at Hanford, Washington!; Postal workers: Get prepared for the contract struggle!]


Crisis of the homeless in Massachusetts exposes Democratic presidential hopeful Dukakis as a Reaganite..................................................................... 2
The liberal Aquino and the Mendiola massacre in the Philippines............... 3
Against reformist sectarianism in the anti-racist movement at M.I.T........... 5
Strike wave in Yugoslavia............................................................................. 7
Latino workers on strike at Douglas Furniture in Chicago............................ 8

How to solve the nuclear waste problem: shut down the nuclear plants!
No to the nuclear waste dump at Hanford, Washington!

Postal workers: Get prepared for the contract struggle!






How to solve the nuclear waste problem: shut down the nuclear plants!

No to the nuclear waste dump at Hanford, Washington!

The following articles are from the March 11 leaflet of the MLP-Seattle.


Last May the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced its selection of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Eastern Washington as one of three finalists for the nation's first permanent dump site for high level commercial nuclear waste. Since then the DOE has been rocked by one scandal after another, involving both its site selection process for the waste dump and its operation of military reactors for the production of plutonium for nuclear weapons. These exposures of the DOE have kept the issue of nuclear waste in the news and served to reinvigorate anti-nuclear sentiment among the working people of Washington state and nationwide.

Indeed, nuclear waste is an environmental time bomb threatening the health and safety of humanity today and for generations to come. Over the past 30 years the U.S. nuclear power industry alone has produced 140,000 tons of extremely poisonous waste without any thought as to its safe disposal. This man-made radioactivity will persist for tens of thousands of years.

Most of this waste -- in the form of used reactor fuel rods -- now sits underwater in storage pools adjacent to the more 100 commercial nuclear power plants spread across the country. Although these pools were designed to hold this spent fuel for only a few months, in fact much of this waste has been stored in these pools for up to 30 years. This "temporary" storage of highly poisonous waste at power plants is but another indictment of an industry which has never shown any regard for the health and safety of the masses.

The Crisis of Nuclear Waste

We hear a great deal of talk from the capitalists, through their politicians and news media, about the nuclear waste crisis. After years of silence about this serious problem, it might seem that the capitalists have finally "discovered" what millions of working people learned about the dangers of nuclear power in 1979 after the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania. All this talk might even lead one to believe that the rich have an environmental conscience after all.

Don't believe it. The "nuclear waste crisis" so recently discovered by the politicians and press is quite different than the crisis of poisoning faced by the masses of people in this country and worldwide. The "nuclear waste crisis" which concerns the rich is not the crisis of safe waste disposal: it is the crisis of the multi-billion dollar nuclear industry choking to death on its own garbage.

The first underwater storage pools for spent rods will begin to fill up by 1990. Without a place to put this waste, the utilities which operate these plants will be forced to shut their nukes down. The big nuclear monopolies, like General Electric and Westinghouse, together with the utility industry and Wall Street bond dealers are scared sick at the prospect of the nuclear industry collapsing under the weight of all this garbage. The billions of dollars invested by the rich dictate that the reactors be kept running. And that means that someplace must be found to throw the nuclear garbage as quickly as possible.

Thus the rich are posturing about their concern over nuclear waste in order to smother any opposition to the rapid construction of a waste dump -- permanent or temporary, at Hanford or elsewhere. At the same time, they are frantically maneuvering to find some way to take the nuclear garbage off the hands of the utility industry to clear the road for the continued operation and even possible expansion of the nuclear industry.

Mass Opposition to the Dump

The overwhelming majority of the working people of Washington State are appalled at the prospects of Hanford becoming the repository for all the commercial nuclear waste produced in the US over the past 30 years. This would amount to an additional very large step in the burdening of this region with deadly nuclear technology. Our experience with the WPPSS nuclear plant boondoggle has given us a truly bad taste for the nuclear power industry. Our electric rates will be tremendously increased by that construction debacle for years.

The state of Washington has' also been the site of huge amounts of nuclear weapons activity. Of course, the Hanford reservation is notorious on this score. Trident submarines, a key element in the U.S. imperialist nuclear arsenal, are also based at Bangor in Puget Sound. As well, many major local corporations, such as Boeing, are deeply involved in Reagan's arms build-up to wage a "winnable" nuclear war. Thus, widescale opposition to the waste dump comes as no surprise.

Many local politicians and business leaders appear to have the same stand as that of the masses. After all, hasn't Governor Booth Gardner made all kinds of noise about the DOE's "fatally flawed selection process" in choosing Hanford over the other sites? And didn't Brock Adams clinch the 1986 Senate race because he appeared to be more opposed to the waste dump than did Slade Gorton?

There is in fact, however, a fundamental difference between the interests of the masses and those of the capitalists' and their politicians on the waste dump question. The working people of the Pacific Northwest are legitimately concerned about the very real dangers of a waste dump. They are concerned about the wide-scale nuclear poisoning of Eastern Washington that has gone on for over 40 years, poisoning that has already substantially contaminated the Columbia River. They are already suffering documented high instances of cancers and other diseases as a result of both accidental and deliberate nuclear contamination of the region by the DOE (and its predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission).

The politicians and businessmen, on the other hand, are concerned about the continued viability of the nuclear industry. At best, they are saying, "Put the dump elsewhere." At worst they are saying, "Yeah, go ahead and build your dump, but we want to be well compensated for going along with it." As we show below, these "anti-nuclear" politicians are, quite simply, jerking us around.

The Pro-Dump Stands of the Politicians

Just look at the positions of two of these liberal, "anti-nuclear" politicians, Republican Senator Dan Evans and Democratic Governor Gardner. These are prominent politicians of the type that feign opposition to the DOE waste dump, while in fact supporting it if the DOE "sweetens" their offer. This has become abundantly clear in regard to the DOE's recent proposal to build a $4.4 billion supercollider (a physics research facility which would be the world's most advanced particle accelerator).

Evans has proposed a straight-out deal to the DOE: Hanford would be allowed to host the waste dump, but only if the supercollider is also situated in Washington (Seattle Times, 12/11/86 and 1/31/87). Booth Gardner too has been caught drooling over the supercollider (ST, 12/11/86). This suggests that a willingness to swap the waste dump for the supercollider is fairly widespread among "our elected representatives."

By far, however, the most cynical "opponent" of the waste dump is Washington's freshman Democratic Senator Brock Adams, This is a politician who based his Senate campaign last year on his "staunch" opposition to a waste dump at Hanford. Recently, Adams revealed the basis for his opposition to a permanent waste dump at Hanford. It turns out that Adams opposes construction of a permanent waste dump because it cannot be constructed in time to save the nuclear industry from drowning in its own garbage. Adams doesn't even oppose a waste dump at Hanford, he is in fact proposing construction of a temporary waste dump at Hanford.

Adams proposes (ST 3/2/87) that the DOE construct a temporary dump (a Monitored Retrievable Storage Facility) at Hanford that would take the spent nuclear fuel rods off the hands of the utilities and store them -- on a "temporary" basis of course (only, 10 or 20 years) -- until a permanent waste dump can be found. As for building a permanent waste dump, Adams suggests starting all over again, so much as admitting that the nuclear industry is no closer to solving its waste problem than it was even a decade ago.

With this proposal Adams exposes what the rich have known all along. They have no idea what to do about the waste. They don't care about the consequences of having no safe means of disposal of it. Their only concern is helping the nuclear industry get this waste monkey off its back so that it can go about its business of producing profits for the rich.

During the elections, Adams claimed to base his opposition on a Hanford waste dump on the problems related to safe transportation of nuclear waste, (7/15/86) Does he seriously believe these problems are solved by moving the waste twice? This is not merely a case of a politician pandering to the crowd and changing his views after the election. No, Brock Adams, like all the capitalist politicians, Democrat and Republican, strongly defends the nuclear power industry. His example demonstrates the folly of reliance on these characters to fight the waste dump.

Building the Movement

The key to developing an effective fight against a Hanford permanent waste dump is to broaden the struggle to opposition to any permanent waste dump site. And because the reason for the construction of a dump is to allow the nuclear plants to keep operating, this inevitably means that the struggle is even further broadened to include a fight against nuclear power itself.

A huge reservoir of indignation exists out there to build a mass movement. The peoples' hatred of nuclear power can be. tapped to mobilize them to oppose the dump. And those who are thus far only impelled by their hatred of the dump will develop a greater capacity to fight if the relationship of the dump to the continuation of nuclear power generation is made clear.

But if the nuclear power plants were to shut down tomorrow, the problem of the existence of the mountains of already produced nuclear waste still must be dealt with. We can offer no solution, because we are not experts on the technical issues involved. Yet the DOE, who are experts if anyone is, has demonstrated, by its site selection procedure, its incapacity to solve the problem in a safe way. Indeed, any solution devised during the reign of the capitalists will be, not the safest solution, but the cheapest solution. Only after the capitalists are deposed and the country is run for the well-being of the people and not for the profits of the capitalists can the most benign solution be found to what may be the most toxic of the toxic waste atrocities.

Our immediate task, though, is to build a movement that will prevent any further production of nuclear waste, that shuts down the nuclear power plants. This will solve the "nuclear waste crisis" of the bourgeoisie, but in a way that hurts them dearly, while taking an immediate step to preserve the health and safety of the masses.

We do not naively think that the demands of this movement can be easily won. The nuclear power utilities, while not presently expanding in the US, have billions of dollars invested in these plants. This is not easily parted with. It is no wonder, then, that some activists against the Hanford dump feel that their best shot is to keep their demands as narrow as possible, that is, to adopt the "put it somewhere else" perspective of the capitalist politicians.

They reason that their most valuable allies are these politicians who at least say they are opposed to the Hanford site, but who are unanimous in their support for nuclear power. The best possible outcome in their eyes is to foist this waste dump on some other region of the country which doesn't have ability to mount as effective a fight against the waste dump as we do. But when you place your trust in the capitalist politicians it's dubious that even this "goal" can be won. Brock Adams provides ample proof of this;

The Chernobyl catastrophe last year has reawakened the anti-nuclear sentiments of millions. The scandal of nuclear waste shows that the dangers of nuclear power lie not simply in the inevitable accidents, but in the day-to-day normal operation of these plants. By integrating the fight against nuclear power with our opposition to the waste dump, we would surely alienate the capitalist politicians. Who needs them! Is Brock Adams any friend of the movement? No, by broadening our demands we can instead unleash the widespread anti-nuclear sentiments of the masses. It is they we must look to since it is they who feel the effects of nuclear poisoning and who are therefore its most adamant opponents. <>


The DOE was charged with finding and building permanent storage sites by an act of Congress, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. The earlier history of the waste problem is astounding for the apparent lack of any concern about this at all. The hope of reprocessing the spent rods to make use of the residual uranium proved to be a failure by 1978. Even if reprocessing were possible, the "importance of the proper disposal of the other radioactive components doesn't seem to have been, "appreciated." A picture thus emerges of a nuclear industry happily churning out waste and blithely ignoring its accumulation.

After the emergence of a mass anti-nuclear movement in the wake of the near-catastrophe at Three Mile Island in 1979, the U.S. government and nuclear industry realized that they must try to address the problem of waste disposal [to restore confidence in nuclear power.

The three years of Congressional wrangling leading to the eventual passage of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in 1982 illustrates the political controversy surrounding the dump site. The opposition of the masses to having the dump in their localities was reflected in the opposition of various politicians to the construction of a permanent waste dump. Forced to sidestep this issue, Congress instructed the DOE to select the best waste sites on the basis of scientific criteria alone.

Three sites west of the Mississippi were to be chosen by the DOE with one of these sites to be picked by the President for the first dump. A similar process was to occur for a second dump east of the Mississippi (the DOE, buckling to political pressure from Senators from the most likely eastern sites' states, dropped the search for a second dump, perhaps permanently, last year). After "solving" the issue of waste in this way (and after whitewashing the nuclear industry with the Cumin. Report on the Three Mile Island accident), the U.S. government gave a green light to the further expansion of the nuclear power industry.

The Current Situation

On May 28 last year Energy Secretary Herrington announced the three sites, from the original list of five, that the DOE recommends: Deaf Smith County (Texas), Yucca Mountain (Nevada) and Hanford (Washington). The timing of this announcement could not have been worse for the DOE, coming on the heels of the nuclear catastrophe at the Soviet Chernobyl reactor. After a lot of breast beating by the DOE about how such an accident could never happen in the U.S., the DOE was forced to admit that it too operated a Chernobyl-style reactor lacking any containment structure at its Hanford facility. Subsequent exposures of the DOE's total lack of regard for safety at this reactor (the N-reactor) by its own auditors led to a temporary shutdown of this facility for repairs (consisting of a fresh coat of whitewash).

Several congressmen, riding the renewed wave of mass indignation for nuclear power, proceeded to investigate the process by which the DOE arrived at its selection of a nuclear waste dump. The House Energy and Commerce Committee's subcommittee in conservation and power demanded in June to see the earlier drafts of the DOE's site selection study. The DOE informed them that these had been destroyed. This apparent ineptitude itself began to raise some eyebrows. In fact the earlier drafts still existed and were later found. Evidently, the DOE reasoned that lying about the drafts' destruction would be less damaging than unearthing their contents.

Media reports in October of these earlier drafts revealed an amazing evolution in the attitude of the study toward the Hanford site. The technical experts in the DOE were extremely negative about Hanford for a whole series of reasons based mainly on Hanford's lack of appropriate geological formations. Its basalt rock formation is highly brittle and unstable, the temperatures of the rock at the bottom of the shaft would be quite high (125 F), and the many layers of groundwater to be drilled through under Hanford pose major, if not insurmountable, technological problems. In short, the technical experts advised Hanford to be a "distant fifth" behind the Richton Dome (Mississippi), Davis Canyon (Utah), and the Nevada and Texas sites.

The process of "refining" the, drafts of the report by the DOE decision-makers consisted of systematically deleting all negative references to Hanford so that it could be included among the finalists. Conclusions in the report stating, for example, that "the significance of the performance differences between the Hanford site and all other sites is substantial" were simply deleted, with "redundant" noted in the margin. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10/20/86) It is therefore extremely well documented that there are considerations far more important than scientific ones operating in the site selection process.

Why Hanford?

The DOE no doubt has many good reasons for being so intent to situate the first permanent nuclear waste dump on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The reason widely given in the press is the relative ease with which the local population around the reservation would accept the waste dump. Indeed, almost all the jobs in the local Tri-cities area depend on Hanford. But in the wake of continued revelations of both intentional and unintentional poisonings of the region over the decades, local resentment of the DOE has begun to develop.

There are other perhaps more compelling reasons for the DOE to be so keen on a Hanford dump. First of all, the DOE and its predecessor the Atomic Energy Commission have for years been generating nuclear waste from the Plutonium manufacturing and other military operations that have been carried out at Hanford since its creation during World War II. As is widely known, the Hanford reservation was created in 1943 to produce the plutonium needed for the Manhattan projects first atomic bomb.

The absence of any regulation in the disposal of this waste has left the reservation reeking with all kinds of nuclear contamination. This was typically disposed of by burial under a few feet of top-soil so as to escape immediate detection. As a result, the Columbia River on which the reservation stands, has downstream water which is the most radioactive known. By placing the dump at Hanford, the spillage inevitable with the manipulation of the commercial waste could conveniently be masked by the garbage already there.

Secondly, placing the dump at Hanford would be ideal for the military use of the spent nuclear fuel. Plutonium is an essential ingredient in nuclear bombs. The relatively small amount of plutonium that is produced by the type of fission process which occurs in commercial reactors has not yet been easily extractable from their spent fuel rods. As well, in order to promote nuclear power, the US government has continually stressed the allegedly tremendous gulf between nuclear bombs and nuclear power generation. For example, an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act bars the use of spent civilian fuel for bombs.

Until now, all the plutonium needed for the U.S. nuclear arsenal could be supplied by the special DOE-run nuclear reactors (like the temporarily shut-down N-reactor at Hanford) which carry out a fission process that maximizes the plutonium yield. But some military strategists are worried that the present Plutonium production capabilities will not suffice for an ever-expanding US nuclear arsenal. The DOE has funds budgeted this year for construction of a plant at Hanford that will use a laser to separate plutonium from the used fuel of the Fast Flux Test Facility, an experimental reactor a Hanford. This plant could be useful as well in extracting the plutonium from spent civilian fuel rods (New York Times 12/21/86). It's estimated that all the spent civilian fuel would yield about 100 tons of plutonium, enough for 30,000 warheads.

It certainly makes sense then, to ship all the spent rods to Hanford to extract its plutonium. After all, it would be a shame for all that perfectly good plutonium to go to waste. So much for the facade of the separation of the peaceful and military uses of the atom. <>

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Postal workers: Get prepared for the contract struggle!

The following articles are from the March 15 issue of Detroit Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP- Detroit.



It's time to get ready to fight. The contracts for 600,000 postal workers expire this July. And workers face both the concessions that were forced on them in the 1984 contract and also new take-back demands by the Postal Service.

The most glaring concession in 1984 was the creation of a two-tier wage system. It has been weighing on the workers backs for the past three years -- and that's three years too many. But the

Postal bosses want to extend it and impose even greater wage cuts. Workers must get organized for a fight to completely abolish the two-tier wage system and to raise the pay of all the postal workers.

What is the two-tier wage system?

Two-tier wages is a system to split up the workers and impose years of pay cuts on the new-hires.

Anyone hired after January 1985 started work at wages that have been cut from $2 to $3 an hour "below the beginning wage of those hired before 1985.

It takes several years for a new-hire to reach the former beginning pay of a postal worker (called "Step One" of the pay scale). Exactly how long depends on the wage "grade" level for the particular job. For example, it takes workers at grades 1-3 over five years before they reach Step One. Grade 4 must wait just over 3 years. And grades 5-7 wait almost two and three-quarters years.

But this only gets the new-hire to Step One -- the previous starting pay. This means that all through the next 12 wage steps up to the top wage rate, these new-hires can be up to five years behind in getting their raises compared to the previous system. And it can take up to 13 years to reach the top wage rate.

This system not only cuts the new-hires' pay, it also splits up the workers in the face of the concessions drive of the Postal Service. It opens the door for the Postal Service to cut labor costs (and thereby increase their profits) by getting rid of the high paid workers through harassment and firings. And it adds pressure for a general cut in the pay of postal workers. The Postal bosses aren't content with the present two-tier system. They are pushing for further wage cuts in the upcoming contract.

Top union hacks whitewash two-tier

Obviously the two-tier system must be abolished. But, unfortunately, the top union leaders don't want to fight it. Indeed, some union bureaucrats are even trying to claim that there is no two-tier system.

Vincent Sombrotto, president of the NALC (National Association of Letter Carriers), recently declared, "While the present wage scale, fashioned by the arbitration panel in 1984, is not entirely to our liking, it is still a one wage system. While there are more rungs to the promotional ladder and it takes approximately two-and-one-half years longer to move from the bottom rung to the top, nevertheless all postal employees move to the top step of any given level." (The Postal Record, Jan. 1987), How's that for a whitewash! Sombrotto preforms a little hocus-pocus and everything is fine! Why, there is no two-tier wage scale, just "more rungs to the ladder." So what if it takes up to 13 years to get equal pay, it's only a few years longer from the bottom rung (which is now much lower) to the top rung.

Sombrotto is whitewashing the two-tier system because he wants the postal workers to accept this rotten apple again in '87. He has given up any fight for restoring the wages of new-hires to the previous level. His only promise is to try to reduce the amount of time it takes to get to top pay, but not to eliminate the wage cuts involved in getting there. Clearly he is not going to oppose the two-tier system in the '87 negotiations.

Get organized to fight

The postal workers can't trust their union leaders. It's up to the rank-and-file workers to get organized on their own to fight the Postal bosses' wage cutting.

The two-tier system should be completely abolished and all workers should receive a wage increase. But the money-grubbing postal bosses won't give in to these demands easily. The rank and file will have to fight for them. The workers' strength comes from organization and the ability to carry out strikes and other mass actions. Efforts should begin now to organize for the contract struggle this summer. <>

New demerit system at Fort Street


The Postal Service management is always finding new ways to harass the workers. At the, Fort Street station some supervisors are trying to institute a new disciplinary system aimed at keeping the operators of letter sorting machines (LSM) locked with their noses to the consoles at all times.

Management is trying to force operators at each console to sort 3300 letters per hour. But the supervisors complain that workers are off the machines too much -- on breaks, eating lunch, and so forth -- to meet the quota. So supervisors of a few LSM crews are trying to squeeze more time out of the operators with a new demerit system. A demerit would be handed out for almost anything -- each time a worker is a second late getting back from a break, or doesn't jump to the console with lightning speed, etc, and so forth. Ten demerits and the worker would get a written warning.

LSM operators are already driven at a frenzied pace and can't take any more. When a supervisor announced the new system in a meeting, workers' blew up. They wouldn't let the supervisor talk. They denounced the new system as flagrant harassment. And half of the workers eventually stormed out of the meeting. Other LSM workers are also denouncing the new demerit system, and when they heard about their resistance they praised the workers for walking out of the meeting.

This illustrates the outrage that the overworked postal workers feel toward the productivity drive of the Postal Service. Such resistance must be built up. There will be no end to the harassment and speed up unless the workers get together and take action to defend themselves. <>


Over the past two months mail carriers in some areas of Detroit are being overburdened with an avalanche of marriage mail (that is, ads such as for K-Mart and Pizza Hut, that are stuffed with other ads and delivered along with an address card).

For some time carriers throughout Detroit and the suburbs have been required to deliver a couple of hundred pounds of marriage mail house-to-house over a two-day period every week. But now -- in some stations -- carriers are being required to take out two and, sometimes, three sets of marriage mail every week. This is usually on the same two days. The second set started out as only a single flier. But within weeks it snowballed to several times its weight. The second and third sets must be collated with the K-Mart fliers, which can take an extra hour of setup time. Then it must be lugged with all the other mail along the entire route.

But, in the eyes of management, marriage mail doesn't "count." It's not part of the "reference volume," which is the amount of addressed mail (letters, magazines and business mail) a carrier is required to deliver on a given route each day. Normally, management will give a carrier overtime and/or assistance delivering the mail if the amount of mail is larger than the reference volume. But, since marriage mail doesn't count, the carrier is required to do the extra setup and then make up for the lost time by running that much faster in the filed with all the extra poundage on their backs.

This is an outrage. Carriers must find ways of resisting this avalanche of marriage mail and limiting the increasing burden of work being forced on them. <>

The more you do, the more they want


The postal managers are slave drivers. The more work you do the more they demand of you.

Take the example of the workers on the parcel sorting machines (PSM) at the bulk mail facility in Allen Park. Last year workers had a quota of 1400 parcels per hour. This year the quota is up to 1600 parcels per hour. But in practice, the supervisors are now pushing for over 2000 parcels per hour.

Similarly, the workers who sort bundles of letter mail and advertisements by hand are being pushed. At present the quota is to sort 16 bags per hours, (This includes #1 and #2 bags which may be filled so much that two people are needed to lift them.) Now the supervisor is demanding that the quota be raised to 20 bags per hour.

But workers have had enough. The hand sorters are discussing the attempts to increase their quota and many have agreed to work only 16 bags per hour.

Don't slave yourself to death so that the Postal Service can rake in more profits. Get organized, that's the answer. <>

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The following article is from the March 25 issue of Boston Worker, paper of the MLP-Boston.


Michael Dukakis [governor of Massachusetts] has just announced his plans to run for President. And during all the hoopla of a bourgeois campaign we will hear over and over again about the "economic miracle" in Massachusetts. With all the rosy press that Dukakis receives one could only assume that Dukakis has solved most of the problems of life under capitalism.

But the reality is that Massachusetts is a model for the Reaganite offensive of the rich against the working class. 60 per cent of the new jobs in Dukakis' "economic miracle" pay at or near minimum wage. Ever larger sections of the working class are being driven to poverty by low wages and sky-rocketing rents and house prices which are the highest in the country. Despite the fact that the unemployment rate in Boston is 4.8 per cent -- considerably below the national average -- the poverty rate is 20 per cent, way above the national average of 15 per cent. Only rich corporations and real estate speculators are "Making it in Massachusetts".

Dukakis' Reaganomic policy really stands out when it comes to the women and children on welfare. AFDC welfare payments in Massachusetts are 37 per cent below the federal poverty level. A woman with two children is expected to live on less than 500 dollars per month. And this at a time when rent for one room apartments in the poorest sections of Boston is over $500 a month and state and federal rent subsidy programs have funds for less than 20% of the qualified applicants. Is it any wonder that the majority of homeless people in Massachusetts are women and children on welfare? And what is Dukakis' answer to this disgraceful situation. He proposes to raise welfare payments a measly $28 per month. What a generous liberal!

Dukakis tries to put a good face on his treatment of the poor on welfare by pointing to his Employment Training (ET) program, which he says is a model for the whole country. This program pays for job training for women on welfare. While it is nice to provide job training for people, Dukakis' program is not what it is cracked up to be. Dukakis claims that his program helps women move out of poverty to good paying jobs. This is not true. The average woman upon completion of Massachusetts' ET program gets a job paying $5.25 per hour (McDonald's wages). Women are discouraged from getting training for higher paying jobs and are channeled into low paying clerical and assembly jobs. By the time the ET graduate pays her taxes and child care bills she will be back below the poverty level. Only now, more likely than not, she will have lost medical insurance for her children. Dukakis is not out to help the women and children, but rather to help the rich by keeping the condition of families on welfare so desperate that thousands of women will take any low paying job to get off welfare or stay off it.

For decades the rich have painted the unemployed workers and the people on welfare as lazy bums responsible for their own predicament. But women do not go on welfare because they are too lazy to work. They do so only because capitalism allows them no other way to support their children. They cannot work because employers will not hire them because they have small children to take care of or fire them when they have to take time off to care for sick kids. And even if they can keep a job, they usually find they cannot make enough to pay for childcare on top of food and rent. The rich want new generations of workers to exploit but they have no regard for the difficulties of those who must raise the children. When a woman winds up on welfare, she finds not only are her kids still going hungry but now the welfare department will treat her like a criminal and her case worker will watch her more closely than a parole officer. Thus, despite the greatest difficulties, 80 per cent of all women on welfare go back to low paying jobs even though it often means their children going even hungrier and losing medical coverage.

Today there is the beginning of a movement among the women on welfare to demand that the government provide them with at least enough money to put a roof over their children's heads and to feed them. Winning even such simple demands from the rich and their government will require militant mass action like in the '60's. This struggle should be supported by all workers. Fighting for the rights of the female half of the working class is an important part of uniting the working class for battle against the rich exploiters who are driving us all down. <>

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On March 11, the MLP took part in a rally and march organized for International Women's Day by the Women's Liberation Front on the Berkeley campus of the University of California. In the evening, as part of a blockade and teach-in at Callahan Hall, the MLP gave a workshop. A comrade who had been there on the scene in the Philippines described the Mendiola massacre in Manila. (On Jan. 22 small farmers and farm laborers had gone to march on the presidential palace to demand land reform and other measures. As they neared Mendiola Bridge the troops of the Aquino regime opened fire, savagely mowing down many of them.) There was also discussion of the role of women in the Filipino struggle.

The next evening, the MLP held a meeting on campus on the ongoing struggle in the Philippines and showed a video.

Not Just an Isolated Incident

The speaker at this meeting pointed out:

The Mendiola massacre is not just an unfortunate incident, it is not an isolated event separated from the realities of the Philippines. In fact, the Mendiola massacre is the logical outcome of these realities.

He showed that there is a whole pattern of atrocities against the masses:

Military atrocities reminiscent of the worst outrages committed by the Marcos dictatorship are taking place today all over the Philippines. On January 22, at Mendiola, about 300 yards from Malacanang Palace (Aquino's presidential office), the military, without warning, opened fire with M-16's on the demonstrators. They killed 20 people and wounded and injured over 100 more people.

On February 10, in a small barrio of Namulandayan, In Nuevia Ecija, the military went on a rampage, razed 3 houses with 7 people inside being burned beyond recognition, lined up men, women and children and shot them dawn. Thirteen people fell dead; others survived to tell this murderous deed of Aquino's military men.

In the last two months, the military have arrested and killed a number of striking workers on the picket lines, poor peasants who are written off as communist sympathizers, and slum dwellers and urban poor for demanding an end to hunger and poverty and a decent place to live.

Why Do the Atrocities Continue After the Fall of Marcos?

There is no let up to these atrocities against the people. Now, why are they still taking place when we have the liberal Aquino in power, who is supposed to be the democratic alternative to the old tyranny?

The Class Nature of Aquino's Liberal Rule

The speaker proceeded to show the reason for these events:

The Aquino government is a government of the rich and powerful. It is a coalition government of the bourgeois liberals and Marcos' military generals, a government that serves the interests of the big landlords and capitalists and of U.S. imperialism. This is not a new discovery. But while everyone's mind is fresh about Marcos and his generals from the past twenty years, everyone saw who Marcos and his generals served and enrich, this very history helps hide the bourgeois liberals and makes them look good.

The fact is that, prior to Marcos' rule, the liberal bourgeois were in positions of leadership of the Philippines.

The masses of the poor and working people were then impoverished as they are today. I know because I was a product of that period of Filipino history. The landlords and capitalists of today accumulated their wealth during that period as well, exploiting and oppressing the masses and selling the country to U.S. imperialism. They [the landlords and capitalists] have been the power behind the liberal bourgeois politicians.

So it is no surprise who Aquino's coalition government serves today. And since it serves the interest of the rich, it cannot satisfy the demands- of the masses.

He discussed Aquino's program in detail, illustrating the following point:

Is a year [since the fall of Marcos] long enough to see changes in the Philippines? Yes and no! NO, we do not expect a miracle in a year. We do not expect all the ills of the society to be solved in a year. It will take many years. But YES! A year is long enough to see what orientation is being followed in the economy and political system.

The Travesty of an Investigation

Is she responsible for the massacre?

I say she is. The Filipino masses also reached the verdict that, although she did not pull the trigger, she is definitely responsible for the mass murder. However, the so-called independent investigative body that Aquino organized found that it was the masses of the poor and their leaders who were at fault. So Jimmy Tadeo and other leaders of the KMP are being charged with sedition. As for those generals and soldiers who ordered and did the shooting, the investigative commission recommended administrative sanctions against them. A mere slap on the wrist.

And the Filipino Left?

What about the left in the Philippines? Unfortunately, the Mendiola massacre did not help dispel illusions with Cory Aquino amongst certain sections of the left. They still hold out hopes that Cory Aquino will stir her regime towards serving the interests of the poor and working masses. After the Mendiola massacre, certain conciliationist statements were made and actions were carried out not in keeping with the overall sentiment of the masses of the Filipino people.

For example:

Lean Alejandro, the secretary of Bayan, a mass organization in the Philippines, did not hold Aquino personally responsible for the killing at Mendiola.

He said 'We are handling her with kid gloves, because we presume she's not directly responsible for the killing -- in Marcos' case, we knew he was responsible for the killing.'

Another unfortunate example is the way the January 26th Indignation rally was led and organized. I was there also. It was organized in the most conciliatory spirit towards the government.

The organizers closely coordinated the march with the regime. A lot of restrictions were placed on the masses: no firecrackers, no big sticks, no military slogans. The regime's ministers even joined in. At the palace, there was almost a love-in with Aquino and her cabinet. Bayan leader Alejandro gushed,

'It goes to show that Ms. Aquino is close to the people.'

After being at Mendiola, this is a sickening statement.

It is this spirit -- of defense of Aquino and constant appeals to her to be enlightened and progressive on the one hand and of restraint upon the masses on the other -- that is the worst disease for the revolutionary movement.

It blunts the ability of the toilers to stand up to the exploiters and their regime. It is what allows the liberals to make bigger and bigger inroads in influencing the masses and disorienting the revolution. The sooner this orientation is overcome, the stronger the revolutionary movement will become.

In the discussion of the speech and video, activists came to grapple with the question of where Corazon Aquino stands and her relationship with the military.

Support the Filipino Struggle!

The speaker also dealt in the discussion with the view put forward by a "left"-trotskyite group that the mistakes of the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines means that one should withdraw support from the mass struggle there. The speaker showed that the wrong stands of the CPP leadership do not mean that we should withhold support for the revolutionary movement of the Filipino masses. We must support the revolutionary toilers and take our place shoulder to shoulder with them in struggle. At the same time we must deal with the weaknesses of the stands taken in the movement and seek to influence our Filipino class brothers towards revolutionary orientations and to help them overcome these serious mistakes. <>

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The following article is from the March 18 issue of The Student, paper of the revolutionary students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


No to reformist wrecking


At the March 6 rally and march on the MIT corporation, the leaders of SACC and PAR turned the event from a denunciation of MIT's Reaganite policies into a denunciation of the revolutionary politics of The Student. Though they launched this vicious attack on The Student under the thin guise of "broadening the movement", their tactics, obviously had the opposite effect: not only did they organize the smallest campus-wide rally in years, by the time they were done spouting off against The Student, the rally had dwindled to 11 people! Unfortunately, in their single-minded drive to attack The Student, these leaders "forgot" to criticize any of MIT's policies on resegregation, investment in South Africa, or militarization of the Institute. By turning the rally into a sectarian attack on the revolutionaries, they provided front-page ammunition for The Tech to ridicule the movement against racism, apartheid and militarism. This sectarian disregard for the interests of the movement was, however, no accident.

The attack of the reformist leaders of PAR on The Student is not simply an attack on The Student as an organization. It is an attack on all the positive developments In the anti-apartheid, anti-racist movement at MIT in the last few years. The accusation that The Student is a little sect which alienates the students is absurd. The Student has always been at the center of building the mass movement. It organized the very first anti-apartheid demonstration of the current wave of the movement on campus on December 9, 1984. It organized a militant MIT contingent in the April 3, 1985 march from Boston University to MIT to Harvard. And it called for the building of the shantytown in the Spring of '86. The Student has drawn in hundreds of activists and aroused the sympathy of thousands for the fight against racism and apartheid. The Student has helped the students to stand up against both the threats and deceptive maneuvers of the administration. For example, The Student pointed out that the first colloquium on apartheid was an attempt by the administration to talk the movement to death. It countered Gray's maneuver by leading a whole section of the movement to build the shantytown in the Spring of '86--the largest and most militant mass action on campus in years. Far from alienating the students, the influence of the revolutionary politics of The Student has helped to build a militant mass movement at MIT. By attacking The Student the leaders of PAR are attacking the trend toward militancy in the movement and the revolutionary politics that help build the movement and orient it in a powerful oppositional direction.

As anyone who was at the March 6 rally could see, The Student was not attacked for the purpose of broadening the movement, but for the purpose of wrecking it. Rich Cowan, Steve Penn and other leaders of PAR are not worried about alienating ordinary students, but rather about alienating administrators, liberal politicians, and others who make a political career of "working within the system."

The attack on The Student is a logical result, of these leaders' efforts to cozy up to the Administration. In fact in the very same leaflet where they attack The Student they go so far as to say the administration is not "...deliberately setting out to screw us over"! Are they talking about the same Paul Gray [President of MIT] that ordered the arrests of the shantytown protesters last spring, that has cut black enrollment in half, that has tied MIT's future to the Star Wars program, etc.? By seeking to tone down the hostility against the administration, these student politicians reveal their intentions of building a cozy relationship with Paul Gray & co., protecting their future careers in such circles.

The ugly sectarian attack displayed at the rally shows the total disdain that the reformists have for the mass struggle. Their role in the movement is to promote the illusion that change can come about "inside the system," i.e. through the MIT administration, or the Democratic Party. When the movement is strong and growing, the reformists pretend to be against the administration at MIT while at the same time opposing the more revolutionary political orientations and the more militant forms of struggle. When the movement is down, they seek a complete return to the status quo of acceptable channels, such as working with the administration to organize colloquiums.

The reformists may claim that the administration is not "out to screw us over", but it is neither accidental nor temporary that the MIT administration supports the imperialist politics of Reagan and the corporations. Imperialism is a system which uses all its institutions--political, academic, media--to carry out its program of exploiting the workers and the poor. No tinkering with this system will change it: progressive change comes only through revolutionary mass struggle. The reformists want to hide this truth and this is why they launched the sectarian attack on The Student. The attack on The Student was an attack on the mass movement itself.

Of course, the current small size of the movement is not entirely due to the wrecking activities of the reformists. There have been arrests and suspensions to intimidate the activists, news blackouts on South Africa, deceptive "anti-apartheid" bills in Congress, etc., all of which help to keep the movement down. But from the March 6 rally, we can see that the reformists assist in liquidating the mass struggle. Only by taking up revolutionary politics and building up the revolutionary wing of the movement will the reformist wrecking activists be stopped. This paves the way for building the mass struggle. <>

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A wave of strikes is sweeping through Yugoslavia. More than 10,000 workers have participated in over 70 strikes since the beginning of March. The strikes are concentrated in the industrialized area of Croatia. The strikes appear to be spontaneous and uncoordinated, but they have a common target: the austerity measures being forced on workers by the Yugoslav government.

Yugoslavia is a country whose government pretends to be socialist, but like Russia, China or Cuba, it is actually capitalist to the, core. The state capitalist bureaucracy recently ordered that wages in many industries be rolled back to the levels of a year ago. This could mean severe pay cuts for tens of thousands of workers who managed to get pay increases, as they tried to keep up with Yugoslavia's rampaging inflation.

Just as in other capitalist countries, the inflation has eroded the workers, living standards. Costs of rent, utilities and other family staples rose steadily in the last year as the rate of inflation was 90%. This year the inflation rate is running at 130%. And while ordering a wage freeze the first of March, the government at the same time ordered new price increases on food, textiles, furniture, and other consumer goods.

Western Capitalist Bankers Want to Squeeze the Yugoslavian Toilers

One reason the government is pushing the workers to the wall right now is because it is in the middle of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, the multinational imperialist bankers' organization. Not satisfied with the high inflation and the 17% unemployment rate in Yugoslavia, the IMF is demanding more drastic austerity measures against the toilers before it will agree to renegotiate Yugoslavia's $19 billion foreign debt.

Government Leaders Threaten to Call Out the Army

In its response to the workers' strikes, the Yugoslav government has also shown its typical capitalist attitude. In a recent interview the prime. minister, Branko Mikkulic, warned that troops would be used if necessary to suppress the strikes. And a top Yugoslav general, Milan Daljevic, warned that the army "cannot live outside or above the system". The governments threat to call out the army against striking workers indicates that the situation in Yugoslavia could get grave.

In the face of workers' discontent, on March 20 the government rescinded its planned price increases on consumer goods. But it is continuing to insist on a wage freeze. The policies of capitalist austerity are putting the Yugoslav revisionist leaders on a collision course with the workers. <>

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The March 12 issue of Chicago Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-Chicago, contains the following report.


500 workers at Douglas Furniture in Bedford Park have been on strike since February 2. The strike began when the workers rejected a wage cutting concessions contract.

For almost a year the workers, who are mainly Latino, worked without a contract. Now the company is demanding a $.50 per hour pay cut across the board and a $.25 per hour cut in bonus pay. Also workers would be forced to pay more for their health care benefits. Working without a contract for one year was bad enough. Now the workers have had enough!

The workers want an improvement in their wages and working conditions. They want to put an end to the company's speedup program with its letters of warning, 3 day suspensions, and firings for not meeting the company's ever increasing productivity demands.

For a month the militant workers have been maintaining a 24-hour a day picket at the plant gates. And so far they have not even received the strike pay which they expected.

On Monday, March 2, there was a spirited mass' picket of 200 strikers and supporters to confront the scabs. Workers pounded their fists on the scabs' cars as they entered and denounced the scabs for strike breaking.

The city and state governments have already shown themselves to be on the side of the company against the workers. The police are protecting the scabs, helping them enter the plant. And the State Employment Agency has been helping the company by sending unemployed workers to scab on the strike.

The Douglas workers are actively working to get support from other workers and the community. A contingent of the strikers participated in the protest organized by the Committee in Defense of the Immigrants on February 28 in front of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) office in the Loop. The strikers denounced the racist anti-immigrant Simpson-Rodino Law and the INS, and they asked for support for their strike.

The Douglas workers are right to stand up and say "enough" to the company's takeback contract. Workers everywhere are facing this Reaganite anti-worker offensive of the rich. The capitalists are trying to grind all the workers into the ground. They are launching all-out attacks on their wages and working conditions and are enacting racist and repressive laws against the immigrant workers.

Fellow workers! The Douglas Furniture workers are standing up against the demands of the capitalists. Let's stand together with them against the rich.

Don't take a scab job at Douglas Furniture!

Spread the news of their strike!

Join the picket line on 73rd St. (east of Cicero)!

Show your support! <>

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