The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 3 #7


July 20, 1987

[Front page: Twenty years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip]


Also on the struggle of the Palestinians:

The new turn of the PLO and the old national-reformism........ 3
On some plans of the CP of Iran for the resurgence of world Marxism-Leninism........................................................................ 5
News from Iran.............................................................................. 8
How to contact the CP of Iran...................................................... 9

--Arms control talks--

Reagan's Zero Option is Zero Honesty........................................ 10
Gorbachev is No Peace Hero......................................................... 11

Goetz Verdict--Invitation to Racist Murder............................... 12

Demonstration at site of National YoungReaganites convention................................................................... 13

No to Repression of Activists at M.I.T......................................... 14

Drug Testing -- Inaccurate, Repressive...................................... 15
Why the Overheated Street Cars in Summer?........................... 16
Ravishing of Public Health in California.................................... 17
Workplace News in Brief.............................................................. 18
At Oscar Mayer: Differing Stands of the union bureaucracy and the communists on the right to vote...................................... 19
Bureaucrats and the Canadian Postal Strike.............................. 21

Prisoner Correspondence.............................................................. 22
Defend Prison Activist Alberto Aranda!...................................... 23

Twenty years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip





Reagan's "Zero option"











Differing stands of the union bureaucracy and the communists on workers' rights





Twenty years of Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip

This June marked 20 years since the Israeli Zionists seized control of the West Bank and Gaza strip.

The Israeli government put up a massive military presence to prevent demonstrations on the anniversary of the occupation. But the courageous youth of these territories defied the occupiers and organized another round of protest.

In Nablus, a 15-year-old was killed in his home as soldiers fired on protesters. A 10-year-old was also injured. Afterwards, youth set up barricades and threw stones at soldiers.

The next day, several Palestinians were wounded as Israeli troops attacked student protests south of Jerusalem and other demonstrations on the West Bank.

Life Under Occupation

These acts of resistance are a tribute to the fighting spirit of the Palestinians. For 20 years, the Palestinian people in these areas have put up an unrelenting resistance. Despite every kind of repression and the indignities they have been subjected to, their spirit remains unbent.

Just take a look at a few of the brutalities they have endured only during 1986.

According to one organization which documents Israeli atrocities, in this one year there were 13 political killings by the army, 10 deportations, 61 house demolitions for "security reasons", 100 curfews, 100 "temporary closures" of Palestinian institutions, and two permanent shutdowns of newspapers. And that does not include torture, disappearance, arbitrary arrests, other forms of expulsions, restrictions of travel, and so forth-- the compilers of the data excluded them because they were too numerous, too difficult to count.

Israeli Rule -- Based On the Oppression of an Entire People

In fact, the entire existence of the Israeli state is based upon the denial of the rights of the Palestinian people.

In 1948, the Zionists established Israel by forcing out a huge section of the Palestinian people. These people went on to languish in refugee camps in the neighboring countries of Jordan, Lebanon, and Egypt or even further abroad in exile. Those Palestinians who remained within the borders of the new state became second-class citizens, suffering all sorts of humiliation and discrimination.

In 1967, Israel went to war again and occupied the West Bank of the Jordan River, a historic Palestinian community. And it also seized the Gaza Strip. For two decades, the people in these areas have lived under what can only be described as fascist rule.

The people under occupation have no rights. Trade unions and political parties are banned. Three hundred thousand, more than a fourth of the entire population, have served sentences in Israeli jails. Torture is routine. And people regularly are shot, beaten up, and or see their houses destroyed whenever they take up protest against their oppression.

The military rule is backed up by armed settlers which Israel has encouraged to take over land in these territories. Fifty-two percent of the West Bank and 40% of Gaza have been confiscated by force. There are more than 30,000 Israeli settlers. And they keep on expanding.

U.S. Imperialism Backs Up Israeli Oppression

But Israel does not carry out this oppression all by itself. No, it has another, even more powerful backer -- the U.S. imperialists. The U.S. government has a "strategic alliance" with Israeli Zionism and it bankrolls the Israeli government. A third of U.S. foreign aid goes to Israel. Close to $5 billion went to Israel last year alone.

And this policy is not just Reagan's but a bipartisan one. In fact, the liberal Democrats are among the most diehard backers of Israeli zionism.

What does this mean? It means that "our" government is a full accomplice in the brutal oppression of the Palestinian people. It means that workers in the U.S. have a special responsibility to stand up in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Salute the Palestinian Resistance!

The Palestinians in the occupied territories have never reconciled themselves to the denial of their national rights.

They have repeatedly taken to the streets. They have made untold sacrifices. They have set up underground publications and organizations. In defiance of the occupiers, even trade unions have now re-emerged in Gaza.

On the 20th anniversary of the Israeli occupation, the Workers' Advocate salutes the courage and resilience of the Palestinian people. <>

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At the end of April, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) held its 18th National Council in Algiers. In some quarters, this is being hailed as a great victory, a new turn that means that the crisis in the Palestinian leadership has been solved. Now, they say, the Palestinian movement will march forward.

But unfortunately, the facts do not warrant such conclusions. It is true that the PLO leadership was able at this meeting to somewhat overcome its internal crisis. But this does not mean that now the Palestinian people have a leadership that can advance the liberation movement.

The basic problem of orientation remains. The PLO leadership remains confined to an outlook of national-reformism. What the Palestinian movement needs for its progress is not this type of policy, but a revolutionary orientation based on the struggle of the toilers.

What Happened at the PLO Meeting?

The previous PLO Council had been a complete fiasco. Meeting in the wake of the setbacks suffered during and following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the PLO had endorsed Arafat's capitulationist agreement with King Hussein of Jordan. This had essentially given Hussein the right to represent the Palestinian people in international diplomacy and agreed to an eventual Palestinian-Jordan federation under Jordanian hegemony.

That council meeting had also confirmed a split in the ranks of the PLO's member organizations.

The current council meeting retracted the agreement with Jordan, and a number of groups that had split away returned to the fold.

On the surface, this appears like progress: the rejection of an accommodationist plan and reunification.

But the National-Reformist Outlook Remains

But what is this unity based upon? Is it based on a policy that can advance the struggle?

Unfortunately, no. Only an extreme capitulationist stand was rejected. But the basic national-reformist policy -- which had been the common policy of the PLO since the early 70's -- was reaffirmed.

The PLO Council did not take up the view that the path of struggle and organization of the masses is what can bring liberation to the Palestinian people. No, their eyes are all focused on a new round of international diplomacy.

This time, it is the idea of an international conference, where the fate of the Palestinian people will be determined by the wheeling and dealing between Israel, the PLO, the Arab states, and the "permanent members of the U.N. Security Council" (i.e. U.S., British, and French imperialism and the revisionists of the Soviet Union and China).

Hope for progress through such a conference is just another pipedream. International diplomacy only deals with the situation created by the struggle of forces in the real world. It cannot substitute for it. The imperialists and revisionists will not bring freedom for the Palestinians; they will only haggle over spheres of influence.

Historical Evolution of the PLO

In the 1960's a new leadership emerged within the Palestinian people. It took the place of conservative bourgeois figures. The new resistance organizations had a generally national-revolutionary policy. They believed in fighting for the overthrow of Israel, in favor of a democratic and secular Palestine. They stood for revolutionary methods of struggle and the mobilization of the masses. They opposed imperialism.

They captured the imagination of the Palestinian people. But in the early 70?s, especially after the 1973 war, this leadership -- now in control of the PLO -- took a pronounced turn towards reformism. In essence, it adopted a policy of national-reformism with guns. The armed actions that remained were no longer part of a revolutionary orientation, but merely meant to pressure the international powers for a diplomatic solution. And the goal of overthrowing the Israeli state was abandoned in favor of a "Palestinian entity", which could only be some sort of bantustan-type state for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

But this turn in policy got the Palestinians nowhere. Israeli Zionism was not mollified. The imperialists were not either. And none of the Arab governments -- neither the conservative ones nor the so-called radical ones -- offered any real help to the Palestinians. The invasion of Lebanon in 1982 brought out the depth of the bankruptcy of the PLO's national-reformism.

Look Not to the Reformist Leaders, But to the Fighting Toilers

The national-reformism in the PLO leadership is not some accidental mistake. It is the result of this leadership becoming bourgeoisified. Today it represents the interests of the upper, bourgeois sections of the Palestinians.

Revolutionaries in the Palestinian movement should not look towards the PLO leadership for any miracles. No, it is up to the toiling masses among the Palestinians themselves to take the responsibility for leading the liberation struggle forward. The fighting forces exist. They can be seen in the resistance of the Palestinian fighters in Lebanon. They can be seen in resistance in the West Bank and Gaza. From their ranks a new leadership must come forward, one that breaks with national-reformism and embraces a revolutionary policy. <>

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The Communist Party of Iran has taken an internationalist stand towards the world movement. Despite the tremendous hardships of the struggle inside Iran, it has not restricted its view to Iran. It has sought to develop contacts and collaboration with the political movement in other countries. It has also striven to play a role in the development of the world struggle for revolution against both the bourgeoisie and the revisionists.

In its fraternal letter of January 10, 1987 to our Party, the CPI both looked forward "to further contacts between our two Parties" and briefly expounded some of their plans for the development of the world movement (See the Workers' Advocate of May 1, 1987, p. 15). This plan was put forward in more detail in the article "About Our International Relations" in the Sept. 1986 issue of Bolshevik Message, paper of the Committee Abroad of the CPI.

We welcome the enthusiasm of the CPI for the struggle against revisionism and opportunism. They do not shuffle the anti-revisionist struggle aside, but emphasize it in their activity for the international development of the forces of true communism. And they seek to push forward the world anti-revisionist movement.

On the plan

But we believe that the plan set forward by the CPI has certain difficulties.

The CPI sets forward the idea that no trend or grouping has the answers to the burning questions of the world movement. At the same time, the CPI stresses, "Sincere revolutionary elements and forces" from various trends "have started... to criticize radically not only the Russian revisionism but at the same time the time-honored flags and slogans of the trends they descend from." They then hold that international meetings and other forms of discussion on the theoretical issues, such as how the Soviet Union degenerated into revisionism, will build up the movement.

The article in Bolshevik Message lists the following currents which are splitting away from their former stands:

1: "currents with a Trotskyist background";

2: "currents with a Maoist and pro-Albanian background";

3: "currents with a populist background";

4: "currents with a Left Communist background", i.e., former followers of the Italian Bordiga or of various other "left" alternatives which split away from Leninism or from the main communist parties in the 1920's.

What is the basis for dealing with the various trends in the left today?

The result of this is that the CPI tends to evaluate various groups on whether they criticize the Soviet Union of the 30's and similar issues. If such groups do so, it is a sign of progress, of "striving to revitalize the proletarian socialism of Marx", etc.

In dealing with what these trends must do to break with their erroneous backgrounds, the CPI does refer to certain issues concerning their practice. But the emphasis in their approach does not lie in evaluating the practice of these trends in the revolutionary struggle. The CPI plan does not make the stand of these groups in the ongoing struggle the primary way of evaluating these trends and elements and seeing which trends and elements show promise. The planned international meetings may well deal first and foremost with the issue of the historical evolution of the Soviet Union in the 20's and 30's, etc.

So the very structure of this plan focuses attention more onto general theoretical questions rather than on the ongoing revolutionary struggle. In fact, it often tends to downplay the issue of the actual stand of the groups and trends in the struggle or even leads to a failure to see the need to examine it closely.

This aspect of the CPI's plan is in contradiction to the fighting traditions of the CPI in Iran and to various, statements of the CPI concerning the importance of the revolutionary practice of the political trends around the world. Nevertheless this aspect of the CPI's plan comes out when the CPI tries to implement it.

Seeking an active role for revolutionary Marxism-Leninism in today's left

The CPI seeks to have revolutionary Marxism-Leninism have an active role in today's left-wing movement. It has an open attitude to dealing with and trying to influence various groups. This is a good thing. But there is the question of how this is to be done.

The CPI's plan concerning international meetings to sort out theory feed into the attitude that everyone made mistakes, so let's be charitable about the attitude of the different groups towards the class struggle. "The past deviations and defeats of each one of these currents, including ourselves, should be primarily discussed and criticized so far as this contributes to the understanding of the past deviations and increases and reinforces the positive and developing points." But there is also the question of judging whether various trends and currents are serious and revolutionary, which depends first and foremost on their stand to the class struggle.

To those groups that are serious, we must do our utmost to find a common language and to help each other move forward. We must do this patiently, without allowing subjectivity or sectarianism to interfere. But we must also judge just who is serious, who is really fighting the class enemy.

The CPI's plan, however, leads in the direction of ignoring the history and present state of the ongoing class struggle and the role the various groups are playing in it. It leads in the direction of thinking that the difficulties of communist work among the masses will, be overcome if only the correct program is issued. This can become a general plan, independent of a deep investigation of the state of the class struggle in each particular country.

Where will the world movement come from?

In our view, there is a fierce class struggle today. The world movement will be built from those forces that take a revolutionary stand. This must be the first and foremost criterion. And the conscious revolutionary forces must look towards influencing other forces who may be very,backward in theory but who are also in struggle.

The class struggle is also what has posed the theoretical questions before the world movement. We agree with the CPI on the importance of revolutionary theory for the movement. But we must judge the seriousness of the views of various groups by what they actually do in the class struggle: Marxism-Leninism teaches us to judge

political trends by their deeds, not just by their words. And it is also a mistake to neglect the history of the struggle for revolutionary theory.

On the disintegration of trends

The phenomenon of the disintegration of the various trends, which the CPI points to, has been going on for a long time. It is ;not something that new. And the history of this disintegration over decades should teach some lessons from what can be expected from it. This is a history that the CPI tends to ignore with its view that this disintegration of trends is something new. And by ignoring this history, the question of the actual stand in the world of the trends gets lost.

The disintegration of trends shows many different phenomenon.

There are revolutionary parties and elements who have learned hard lessons from the past and have moved forward. This includes us. We began with a revolutionary stand to the class struggle and with loyalty to Marxism-Leninism. We have gone through the harsh school of maintaining this stand by repudiating Mao Zedong Thought, the errors that have come to the fore in the stand of the Party of Labor of Albania, and the general shift of line in the world communist movement that began at the time of the Seventh World Congress of 1935.

But there are also groups and tendencies that constantly split and squabble and give rise to nothing. Indeed, there are trends that are splitting up as they go further to the right in the present liquidationist atmosphere (for example, this is the basic motion among the Trotskyites in the U.S.).

And there are grouplets in the U.S. which cover up their complete subservience to the bourgeoisie with revolutionary-sounding words in theory or concerning the past, etc. These groups have developed a whole practice of combining left words and right deeds. The theory they have developed is an elastic theory that allows this type of treachery.

For example, we have had the occasion to deal polemically with the views on united front tactics of both the OMLWP and of the Trotskyist BT. (See the Sept. 25, 1985 issue of the Supplement for "OMLWP repeats the errors of the 7th Congress of the C.I." and the May 20, 1987 issue for the article on BT, "Underneath the revolutionary phrases, Trotskyism follows in the wake of reformism.") They both claim to have the most radical critique of the Soviet Union and the Communist International of the past, including, of the Seventh World Congress of the C.I. of 1935, while in their present practice they duplicate the opportunist errors and practices of this same Seventh Congress, the Congress which gave up the Leninist teachings on the united front as outdated.

True, as far as CPI's plan goes, the OMLWP and BT are completely different, because the BT has not repudiated Trotskyism and hence is not in a trend of interest of the CPI, while the OMLWP pretends to have repudiated everything (which it does anew every few years). But as for their actual role in the ongoing struggle in the U.S. movement and the way in which they combine denunciation of the Seventh Congress with duplication of utter rightist errors regarding united front tactics, they have some striking similarities.

This last example, of groups that reproduce the errors of the 7th Congress of the C.I., while claiming to have gone much further in their criticism than anyone else, shows that the struggle for theory must be conducted in connection with the class struggle. We must constantly test our theory and tactics against both the necessities of today and the lessons of history.

There is no substitute for a deep study of the actual course of the class struggle in each country

CPI's plan also appears to be connected to some mechanical views concerning the class struggle in certain countries. The CPI has a tendency in certain situations to assume that a program of action is what is needed in various countries without first examining the actual course of the class struggle or what effect such programs have had in the past or whether they actually exist in the present.

Full support for the revolutionary work of the CP of Iran

In our view, the practice of the CPI is revolutionary and communist. The CPI deserves the wholehearted support of all American workers and revolutionaries. And the CPI's stand to the world movement is a positive one. Despite the setbacks that the world movement has suffered, the CPI is not retreating into itself. Instead the CPI is determined to play a role in building up the world revolutionary movement.

But among the communist forces of the world, there has to be a constant interchange concerning what is the correct viewpoint and tactics. We must study each other's views, help each other, and learn from each other. This requires evaluating both what we believe to be the strong points and the weak points of the views and practices of each other. It is in this comradely spirit of seeking to develop closer contact between the Iranian and American communists that we set forward the above views on how the world movement should be built. <>

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From Report, the bi-weekly newsletter of the Communist Party of Iran-The Committee Abroad, issue #34, 15-30 June 1987:


The Islamic Republic and the First of May

Despite eight years of dictatorship, torture and imprisonment, and despite continuous attempts, the Islamic Republic has not been able to prevent the workers from celebrating the occasion of the 1st of May by holding their independent gatherings, arranging symbolic sport matches, illegal demonstrations, etc. The regime has shown its helplessness in forcing the workers to take part in mandatory ceremonies.

This year, the Islamic Republic tried to use the Iran-Iraq war to bypass the 1st of May and its importance. Propaganda emphasized that more people were to be dispatched to the war fronts, and the workers were threatened. But despite the efforts made, many workers celebrated this day in their large or small gatherings and boycotted the regime's ceremonies.

<> The 1st of May was a Friday which is the official weekend holiday in Iran. In the city of Ghazvin, the regime tried to force the workers to take part in the Friday public prayer session, instead of commemorating the 1st of May, but it did not succeed. Only a few members of the Islamic Societies (which have the function of exerting as much control as possible on the workers and of spying on them) took part.

<> In the Iran Radiator factory, the workers were told that the management would hold a meeting on the occasion of the 1st of May. But the workers did not pay attention and announced that they would have their own independent gathering. On Friday, the management tried to gather the workers for a speech, but most workers chose to sit in circles and talk about the importance of this day and their struggles.

In Revolutionary Kurdistan: the First of May in Sanandaj

The workers in the city of Sanandaj did not respond to the regime's demagogic propaganda over taking part in meetings held by the authorities on the occasion of the 1st of May.

The regime's armed men were on full alert four days before the 1st of May. The armed men, in groups of 10-12, were all over the city trying to take the situation under their control, questioning and body searching the people. The day before the 1st of May all students were body searched before entering the school. It was also announced that no independent gathering could be held and the workers faced difficulties in finding a place to hold their meetings. Despite all these attempts, however, the regime failed to prevent the workers and the toiling people from gathering and holding their own meetings on the 1st of May.

Units of Komala [Kurdistan organization of the CP of Iran] Peshmargas [armed fighters] distributed leaflets all over the city and the people cooperated with them. On the night before the 1st May huge bon fires were made on the surrounding mountains and red flags were raised. Slogans were written on the walls, calling the working men and women to take part in gatherings.

On the 1st of May the workers gathered in different parts in the city. In one gathering 2,000 workers took part. The program started with observing one minute of silence, after which the message of the organizing committee was read out. Then one of the workers talked about the workers' organizations such as trade unions and the necessity for the unification of the workers. A few other workers talked at different points of the program on matters such as the history of the workers' international day, hard work and deduction of working hours, prohibition of child labor, providing medical facilities for the workers and their families, unemployment benefits, lack of work safety, etc. A worker talked about the Iran-Iraq war and the way it has caused further miseries for the workers, unemployment, high prices, shortage of basic materials, insecurity,... Music, songs, a play were also parts of the program.

During the program, slogans such as "unemployment benefits for the workers", "workers of the world, unite", "the Iran-Iraq war is the capitalists' war" were shouted. At the end of the meeting, a resolution in 18 articles was approved by the workers. In the introduction, the social and economic pressures caused by the war were indicated. In one section it was stated: "We demand the recognition of the 1st of May as a holiday and state help to hold ceremonies. We also demand 40-hours weekly work, 2-days weekend holiday, monthly leave of absence, medical facilities, housing and education for the working families". Another part of the resolution was allocated to the question of women and necessary facilities such as nurseries were demanded for women workers.

The ceremony lasted for four hours and ended with the crowd shouting revolutionary slogans.

<>The workers in the Sanandaj clothing factory also celebrated the occasion of the 1st of May. In their gathering, a few workers gave speeches on the history of this day and commemoration of the workers' struggles, wages, unemployment benefits, Iran-Iraq war and miseries the workers have been faced with. A similar gathering took place in Shahowy factory.

<> A number of women had their independent gathering in one section of the city of Sanandaj. Some 300 women took part in this ceremony. The program began with revolutionary songs and broadcasting the recorded programs of the "Voice of the CPI" and the "Voice of the Iranian Revolution" on the occasion of the 1st of May. The program continued with speeches on the necessity of unification against the regime and struggle against the Iran-Iraq war. In this ceremony, contributions were collected for Komala (Kurdistan Organization of the CPI). The meeting ended with a march towards the city center, in solidarity with the workers and their struggles.


Attacks on the People for Dispatching Them to the War Fronts

There have been severe attacks on the people in the city of Sanandaj, by the regime's men, for the purpose of arresting conscripts and dispatching them to the war fronts. In all cases, attacks have been met by the people's resistance and protest. In many cases the people have managed to prevent the arrests. The regime's men not only attack the people in the streets, but also control all main roads to and from the city. Cars are searched and passengers are questioned. Attacks have also been extended to coffee bars and barber shops. On one occasion 13 people were arrested, but with the help of the people only 7 were taken away. <>

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Reagan's "Zero option"


For months the press has been full of talk about arms control. Will Reagan and Gorbachev sign an agreement? How many missiles will go where?

But the U.S. war drive goes on anyway. In the May and June issues of the Workers' Advocate we discussed the secret Pentagon budget and the preparations for World Wars III and IV. These plans are based on the idea of a "winnable nuclear war. Billions are being spent on them. And no one has suggested that this will stop, no matter what the outcome of the arms negotiations.

But while presiding over a massive arms buildup, Reagan had talked of a "zero option" for Europe. This was supposed to give the idea that Reagan was for no nuclear missiles in Europe. Why, Reagan pontificated, he isn't for the arms control deals of the past. These deals just slowed down the rate of increase of nuclear weapons. No, Reagan wouldn't just control arms, but cut them back, and end up with "zero" weapons.

Reagan's "Zero Option" -- Zero Honesty

But it turns out that the "zero option" did not mean no nuclear warheads in Europe, but only no intermediate-range nuclear missiles. It turns out that Reagan wanted to keep over 4,000 battlefield nuclear weapons, additional short-range nuclear missiles, and so forth. In Reagan's arithmetic, zero doesn't mean nothing, but is a bigger number than 4,000. Indeed, Reagan also wanted intermediate-range nuclear missiles from 'France, Britain and Germany to be part of his "zero." Reagan wasn't for "zero" nuclear weapons, but for zero honesty.

So today, now that Gorbachev has said that he likes the "zero option", the Reaganites have decided it is no good. Many of them openly write that it was just a bluff; it wasn't intended seriously. They have suddenly discovered that it doesn't make sense to only eliminate intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe without also having an agreement on short-range nuclear missiles in Europe. And when Gorbachev said fine, let's eliminate short-range nuclear missiles too, the Reaganites suddenly discovered that they needed an agreement on conventional weapons as well. And, the Reaganites added, there had to be agreement in Asia as well as Europe. There has to be agreement on everything (except Star Wars, whose escalation is to be untouched by the agreement).

U.S. Military Policy -- Nuclear First-Strike

Meanwhile the outgoing head of NATO military forces, the American war-lover General Bernard W. Rogers, has denounced the idea of doing without nuclear weapons in Europe. He derisively calls eliminating nuclear weapons making Europe safe for conventional weapons. He stresses that the first-use of nuclear weapons in Europe has been a key part of U.S. military strategy for decades. So the U.S. government, which achieved notoriety for being the only country to have ever dropped nuclear weapons in war, is planning to be the first to drop them in any confrontation in Europe. (This is in addition to the U.S. plans for a "strategic" nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union.)

What a switch! From talk of the "zero option" to an open campaign about the need for the first use of nuclear weapons. So much for Reagan's talk about eliminating nuclear weapons!

Some liberal politicians have objected to Reagan's footdragging on arms control. But when you look at their reasoning, it isn't so different from General Rogers and the Reaganites. The liberals have stressed that arms control doesn't really eliminate nuclear weapons, so why is Reagan so worried. The liberal New York Times and other major bourgeois mouthpieces stress that the "zero option" would leave the vast majority of American nuclear warheads in Europe in place. The U.S. 1ms over 4,000 nuclear bombs in Europe which can be fired from artillery or other "tactical" delivery systems. This number could even be increased under the "zero option." What brilliant arms control!

American Foreign Policy Relies on Nuclear Weapons

The Reaganites will never abandon, nuclear weapons. They hope to develop the capacity to win a nuclear war, and they hope to bankrupt the Soviet Union in a protracted arms race. Faith in superpower arms control deals means abandoning the struggle against war in favor of empty words. Even if a deal is hatched, this won't eliminate the war threat. The famous SALT agreements didn't. Nor will the current proposed arms deals. <>

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At present, the Soviet Union is agreeing to one U.S. proposal after another, and the U.S. is retracting them as fast as Gorbachev can agree with them. This is yet another thing exposing Reagan's hypocrisy. It is the Pentagon that is pushing for a dramatic escalation against Russia in an attempt to bankrupt the Soviet Union and, if that fails, to launch a nuclear first strike.

But That Doesn't Make Gorbachev a Peace Hero

At present, Gorbachev appears to want a slowdown of the nuclear arms race with the U.S. and a relaxation of the U.S. world offensive. But that doesn't mean that Gorbachev is a peace hero. The Soviet Union, like the U.S., depends on a vast military arsenal to enforce its will. Just as the U.S. applies savage military force in Central America today and in Viet Nam yesterday, so the Soviet Union applies savage military force in Afghanistan today and Czechoslovakia yesterday. The U.S. funds a multitude of dirty wars and "covert" wars around the world, from Angola to Afghanistan to the Israeli trampling of Lebanon. Meanwhile the Soviet Union supplies the war efforts of the Ethiopian regime against the Eritreans, Tigreyans, and other insurgent forces in Ethiopia.

The U.S. military presently is on the offensive. But the question isn't which side currently has more crimes to its "credit." The issue is that both sides dominate vast empires abroad and face domestic troubles at home. So neither side can abandon the policy of militarism. For both sides, pacifist words are simply the sugarcoating on the huge munitions dumps and military laboratories.

No Longer Socialist

It is no accident that the Soviet Union has joined in the filthy power politics of the capitalist powers. The present Soviet Union is no longer socialist. It is led by a bureaucratic elite which runs a state capitalist system.

On the economic front, the Gorbachev "reforms" are aimed at giving this system even more blatant capitalist features, such as dismissing millions of workers from their jobs in the name of efficiency. The new productivity drives and quality control drives are not based on worker consciousness but are imposed from above. They have roused wide-scale discontent. The Russian workers are skeptical about Gorbachev. The Western press says this is because Russians are "conservative" and love the bureaucracy that Gorbachev wants to trim. But the truth is that the Russian workers aren't happy about more capitalist exploitation.

In foreign policy, the Russian bureaucratic elite, having lost all faith in the workers of all countries, has turned the Soviet Union into another imperialist superpower. It relies on wheeling and dealing with the capitalists and militarists of other lands, such as Reagan. Gorbachev is continuing this policy.

We oppose the U.S. imperialist superpower not for the sake of its rival superpower, but for the sake of opposing all the capitalist powers.

What Is the Force That Really Opposes Militarism and War?

No, the regimes of exploiters will never end militarism. It has never been the case that the regimes of militarism and war have peacefully balanced among themselves and abandoned war. War takes place for definite reasons, to preserve the profits of the exploiters. So to eliminate aggressive war, one must eliminate the ruling classes that make these profits.

It is the working class in all countries that must rise up to eliminate capitalist rule. It is the class conscious working class that is the real force against international mass murder. The only real way to fight militarism is to organize the working class, to advance the class struggle, and to build the revolutionary movement. To believe In the words of the U.S. politicians about "arms control" and "zero options" is to believe in the sugarcoating over the frenzied preparations for nuclear first strike. To believe in the Gorbachev policy is to lay down and ask to be betrayed as part of a superpower deal or ask to be massacred by the local exploiters like the Ethiopians. <>

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From the June 19 leaflet of the MLP-New York:


The trial of Bernhard Goetz is over. Innocent (!) on all counts of attempted murder and assault! Guilty on a single weapons possession charge. Goetz walks away free, while Darrel Cabey will never walk again. The travesty of justice is complete.

"Self-defense," Slotnick [Goetz' defense lawyer] said. So said the media. But the facts said otherwise. Witnesses placed Darrel Cabey cowering on a seat, shot cold-bloodlessly because Goetz thought he "seem(ed) to be all right." Witnesses saw black youth shot in the back while fleeing. Yet not a single eyewitness testified to any threat made to Goetz. Not a single eyewitness testified that Goetz was surrounded. And Goetz himself confessed on tape that "Robbery has nothing to do with it.... My intention was to murder them...."

The Judge Goes to Work

"Justice was done," said Mayor Koch and District Attorney Morgerithau. Yes, and "Justice" Crane [the judge] did it! He might just as well have pulled up a seat next to Slotnick and Goetz at the defense table! Justice Crane--the same judge who dismissed the original indictment of Goetz back in January 1986--made sure that Goetz, would walk. Throughout the entire trial he allowed the most ridiculous high-priced "expert" testimony on Goetz's behalf, while disallowing testimony of eyewitnesses for the prosecution.

But the real crime was in Judge Crane's instructions to the jury. He revised them three times--each time in a direction more favorable to Goetz. Crane disposed of the hard evidence and eyewitness testimony against Goetz, including the two taped confessions--by instructing the jury to accept the "possible" scenarios concocted by Slotnick and his hired "experts."

Thus Goetz's confession became a mere figment of his imagination. He didn't know what he was saying. The poor man was too Worn down form "life on the lam." Disregard his confessions. Likewise, the eyewitness testimony: too many contradictions. Can't trust peoples' descriptions when they witness a horrible crime. Better to trust the make-believe scenarios of "experts" who weren't even there. After all, anything is possible, isn't it?

Why, it was even "possible" that Darrel Cabey "could have been standing" while shot. Why, Goetz might possibly have gone on "automatic pilot" [i.e. just automatically kept shooting after the first shot]--one bullet or a hundred, what's the difference? Goetz was not to be held accountable. Disregard his confession and testimony about the cold-blooded, deliberate aim he took at Cabey. If there are two "possible" versions of what occurred, pick the one favorable to Goetz--so said the judge. By careful wording of his instructions to the jury, Justice Crane made the acquittal of Goetz "this much easier," in the words of Goetz's attorney.

Relieved of the burden of having to examine the actual facts, the jury patted Bernhard Goetz on the back and stood in line to collect the autograph of this would-be racist killer.

Why this travesty?

The freeing of Bernhard Goetz is a disgusting travesty which spits at the mountain of evidence against him. It is a decision that legitimizes the racist mentality and racist atrocities as "reasonable" behavior. It sets up minority youth as approved targets for racist vigilantes. Shoot first, claim "self-defense" later.

We have no problems with legitimate self-defense. But there is a world of difference between self-defense and racist vigilantism. Ordinary people defend themselves against muggers every day and not big deal is made of it. But Goetz is not such a person. He was known for his statements condemning all black and Latin youth as criminals; and he had been telling his neighbors that he was going to get "them." He carefully prepared for this, purchasing guns and receiving training in their use. He even went without gloves in the winter to be able to grab his gun and shoot as quickly as possible when the opportunity arose.

The Goetz case has nothing to do with self-defense. Goetz has been singled out for praise because he is a bloodthirsty racist. He is being heroized to whip up a lynch-mob spirit against black and national minority youth. That is why the rich racists of the country have turned Goetz into their pet hero. That is why Justice Crane instructed the jury so much in Goetz's favor.

The Goetz decision drives home the utter cynicism of the capitalist justice system. Even when faced with the most damning of evidence, it strains every muscle to protect the racist scum. Black people and all working people have learned to expect no justice from the courts which cannot distinguish fact from fantasy, let alone right from wrong. For justice, we must build up solid organizations and a powerful anti-racist movement to confront the racists and stop them in their tracks. <>

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Below is the leaflet of the MLP-Seattle for a July 10 rally against contragate criminal George Bush and for a protest march and rally on July 11 against the National Young Republicans Convention in Seattle, where the Republican presidential contenders were campaigning. The protests were sponsored by the People's Convention for Peace with Justice. The literature from the sponsors refrained from criticizing the Democrats, thus trying to make the demonstration into a pro- Democratic Party event. For that matter, the bulk of the reformists didn't want any mass action at all, even against the Republican Reaganite candidates.



The 1988 election circus is coming to town! Bush and Dole, Haig and Kemp, Laxalt and Robertson -- all are coming to Seattle to woo the Young Republicans. You can bet that for this crowd they'll be preaching the old-time religion of Reaganism -- God and country and the greenback dollar.

The noisy Republican bandwagon cannot hide the fact that the "Reagan Revolution" is rotting alive. Reagan himself is hopelessly enmeshed in the contragate scandal and has been stripped of his teflon coating. More fundamentally, the scandal has laid bare the seamy reality of U.S. foreign policy that underlies the fancy phases of "U.S. democracy" and "Congressional checks and balances".

Despite this deepening crisis, however, the Reaganite offensive against the masses continues. The contra war of terror against Nicaragua rages on. The employers are still demanding concessions, closing plants, and attacking strikers. Racist terror against blacks and Mexican immigrants is escalating. The Supreme Court continues to hand down one reactionary decision after another, as if to observe the 200th anniversary of the Constitution by nullifying the Bill of Rights.

This is because Reaganism runs deeper than the White House or the Republican Party. Reaganism is the policy of the rich, the rich as a class. It is a policy which is expressed through the Democratic Party, too. After all, for six years Reagan's program has been rubbers tamped by the congressional Democrats. Even as late as this spring-- in the midst of the contragate scandal -- the Democratic-controlled Senate and House both voted to escalate the contra war and to legalize CIA leadership. When the Democrats criticize Reagan today, more likely than not, it's for being a "wimp"-- against Japan, against Gorbachev, against Nicaragua.

Join the protest! Don't wait for salvation in the 1988 elections. Vote against Reaganism today with your feet and your voice. <>

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From the June 11 Boston Worker, paper of the MLP-Boston, with subheads added:


One June 1st about two dozen MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] students were joined by a few campus workers and community activists in staging a protest at MIT's graduation. The protesters were demanding that MIT divest its holdings in South Africa, that it stop its Star Wars research, that it honor its pension commitments to 68 food service workers whose pensions have been eliminated through a deal to subcontract the food service work, and that MIT cease its destruction of Cambridge housing by its Simplex project.

The MIT Administration is Considering Legal Persecution of the Activists

This was a very peaceful demonstration led by very reformist leaders. Similar demonstrations have been held at MIT graduations for the last three years. But now the MIT administration has announced that it is considering filing legal charges and taking student disciplinary actions against the protesters for "disrupting" the graduation ceremonies.

Campus Police Join With Some Reactionaries to Assault the Demonstrators

In actual fact it was MIT and its campus police which disrupted the protest. In combination with a couple of reactionaries from the graduation crowd, the campus police made repeated attacks on the protesters. Whenever a protester would defend himself from a physical attack by one of these reactionaries, the campus police, who were watching everything, would seize the protester, threaten him with arrest, and physically remove him from campus. Nothing would be done to the reactionary who initiated the violence. What developed from the police and the civilian reactionaries was a systematic harassment and assault on the protest demonstration.

Now the administration of MIT wants to take legal and disciplinary action against the protesters. This is a sign that MIT wants to suppress any sign of opposition on campus no matter how mild. MIT is a major Pentagon contractor and it is controlled by the biggest capitalists in the country who do not want to see their future engineers contaminated with any idea that may even question their glorious capitalist system and their world-wide empire.

The Militant Movement of 1984-86

From 1984 to 1986, MIT was the scene of a number of militant student protests against racism on campus and against MIT's and U.S. support for apartheid in South Africa. In the center of all this movement and pushing it ward was a trend of revolutionary-minded pro-working class students. These students put out the newspaper The Student and they linked up closely with the revolutionary workers in the Marxist-Leninist Party. They popularized the orientation of militant struggle and revolutionary solidarity with the workers and oppressed around the world. They had enormous influence in the movement.

Reformists Come to Dominate the Movement

But in the past year this trend has been weakened by graduations, transfers, expulsions, and financial dropouts. At the same time the reformists have come to dominate the movement, and they have been preaching the need to tone down the militancy of the movement, to adopt a more conciliatory attitude toward the administration and its big capitalist bosses. They have preached a policy of persuading the authorities rather than building a movement to confront them. The reformists have had considerable impact at MIT and have helped bring about a sharp decline in the student protest movement.

Giving Up Militancy Doesn't Win Over the MIT Administration

But this has not made MIT any more reasonable. In fact, as the attack on the graduation protesters shows, the administration is preparing to stamp out any opposition. The people who run MIT will not be persuaded by reason to change course. They know that militarism, apartheid, racism and all kinds of evils are very profitable for the imperialist corporations that run MIT. And they don't want anyone to rock the boat.

The students at MIT are faced with a serious offensive of the administration against their rights and against their movement. In their struggle to defend their movement the students deserve the full support of all workers and progressive people. At the same time, in order for the students to rebuild their movement, they will have to reject the policy of the reformists and take up the orientations of mass action and revolutionary politics popularized by The Student.

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Proposals for drug testing of workers are all the rage among the Reaganites and capitalist corporations. Last September, Reagan ordered mandatory testing of some 1.1 million federal employees. And among corporations, drug testing plans of various types are on the rise.

Quite often, Reagan and the capitalists couch their drug testing plans with all sorts of crocodile tears, pretending, to be oh-so concerned about workers trapped in drug abuse. They claim they only want these tests in order to give workers opportunity for counseling, treatment and rehabilitation.

But that is a lie. What they mainly want with drug tests is just another pretext to fire workers. The mandatory drug testing plans are a means to step up harassment and intimidation of workers, so that the capitalists can have a more docile work force.

Drug Tests Are Grossly Inaccurate

What's more, the drug tests are notoriously inaccurate. A positive result doesn't mean that, a worker has actually been taking drugs. And urinalysis even has a race bias, showing a false positive of marijuana usage for many people because of their dark skin.

A recent published report provides new evidence about the inaccuracy of drug tests. According to a report in Psychology Today, lab tests on urine samples are so inaccurate that at least one-third provide false results.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute of Drug Abuse anonymously sent out urine samples spiked with drugs to several labs around the country. Error rates averaged 31%, with a high of 100%. Another group of researchers recently reported a 66.5% inaccuracy rate in 160 samples tested by one lab.

This means that samples with drugs got a clean label, while samples free of drugs were identified as contaminated. And the error rates are higher than the actual rate of drug use in the work force. Therefore the tests are more likely to label innocent people as drug users than to identify real users.

Despite all the studies showing the inaccuracy of drug tests, neither the Reagan administration nor the corporations say they will give up their drug testing plans. This just goes to prove that the drug testing programs are mainly meant for repressing the workers.

A New Arena for Profiteering and Abuse

But it isn't just that the tests are inaccurate. The rage of drug testing also opens doors for new kinds of capitalist "entrepreneurship." The stories are already widespread about the private "clean urine" suppliers which have cropped up around the country. Now comes a report of another method of profiteering out of the drug testing crusades.

A month ago, in Oklahoma City a doctor responsible for drug tests on workers involved in railroad and airplane accidents pleaded guilty to giving federal officials false test results in three train accidents.

He was contracted by the government to conduct blood plasma tests to determine recent drug or alcohol use by railroad workers. But it turns out he didn't have the equipment necessary for these tests. He simply made up the test results!

The reports in the news media we've seen didn't say what was the fate of the workers whose test results the doctor falsified. How many other forms of abuse by such sharks are being opened up by the drug testing crusades? <>

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From the July 7 issue of the Boston Worker, paper of the MLP-Boston (subheads added):


It is summer, and once again the riding public and the operators on the Green Line are suffocating in air-tight street cars whose air conditioning has failed. In recent weeks several Green Line street car operators have been suspended without pay for refusing to drive outrageously hot street cars. Anyone who rides the Green Line would consider the stand of these workers a public service, But as usual the T [short for MBTA, the Boston transit authority] management is attacking the workers to cover up its own incompetence and waste.

Why do drivers need mirrors anyway?

MBTA spokesman Bernard Cohen has stated that, the hot street cars are the result of "union mischief " over the last two months. Mr. Cohen has stated that the T is forced to use hot cars because operators are turning in good cars for frivolous reasons like "broken mirrors". We must ask Mr. Cohen how operators are supposed to close the doors on the street cars without injuring passengers without a mirror. If "union mischief" is the problem, why has the same problem occurred every summer for the last ten years when there has been no "union mischief"? If the air conditioning problem is worse this year it is because of big management blunders, not the mischief of MBTA workers.

Air conditioning requires maintenance work


Air conditioning systems require a lot of maintenance. Air conditioning systems on transportation equipment require even more maintenance which is why the new buses don't have air conditioning, but are fan-cooled. The air conditioning system on the Boeing Yertol street cars is probably the most trouble-prone system ever designed. Anyone with common sense could understand that if you have such a trouble-prone system, you should have a major overhaul and preventive maintenance program during the winter and spring, before the summer heat arrives. This of course is what the repair workers have told the MBTA management for years.

But each year the management waits until the first warm days of spring to begin its air conditioning maintenance program. The air conditioning program only gets into high gear when the really hot weather hits. By the end of October the air conditioning systems on the Green Line fleet are in relatively good condition. The maintenance program is cut down to the minimum, the air conditioning systems fall apart over the winter, and the same process starts all over the next spring.

Another management blunder

But the air conditioning problems are even worse this year because of another blunder of the T management. Since last summer the T has supplanted its overhaul and maintenance program of existing air conditioning systems with a slower program to re-pipe the air conditioning systems and mount new condenser units on the roof. The T management proclaimed to the press that this program of relocating the condenser units on the roof would solve all the air conditioning problems.

But the new condensers did not solve the air conditioning problems. As the workers could tell you, the main problems were not in the location of the condensers, but in the compressors and their leaky seals, in the motors and the couplers. And since noting was done to eliminate these problems, the new "retrofitted" air conditioning systems breakdown just as much as the old ones.

What the T regards as "labor mischief"

And so this summer the great geniuses of the MBTA management have been caught with their air conditioners down. And since these management wizards had also decided to launch a campaign of harassment against the repair workers this spring and to change seniority rules for vacation and overtime, the workers quite understandably refused to work overtime to bail them out of their predicament. This is what the "labor mischief" was all about.

The leaders of the carmen's union have told the workers to end their overtime ban. And now the T is considering punishing the workers by hiring a subcontractor to install roof-mounted condenser units from still another manufacturer. This may punish the workers by taking jobs away from them. It may pad the pockets of a contractor with friendly relations with the T. But it will not make Green Line cars any cooler. <>

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From the June 18 leaflet of the San Francisco Bay Area Branch of the MLP, entitled "No Cutbacks! Prepare for a militant contract struggle!":


Health care for the poor and those without medical insurance in Alameda County [which includes Oakland] is an utter disgrace. Severe understaffing has left many health care workers overworked and exhausted while others have been forced to leave. Patients face enormously long waits in the clinics and inadequate attention on the floors. These conditions threaten lives and create suffering.

Yet, in spite of this ugly situation, [Republican governor] Deukmejian in true Reaganite style is proposing big budget cuts for health care and reductions in Medi-Cal reimbursements. The [Democratic] county officials have, for their part, been sharpening their knives in preparation to implement the cutbacks.

Enough is enough! Workers and patients are fed up. It's time to fight. County workers are in a key position to do something about these attacks. The upcoming contract provides an opportunity to organize for a militant fight that would strike a blow at the government's attacks on the health care system. A determined struggle by the county workers for higher wages and decreased workloads is also a fight for better health care.

Health Care at Highland Hospital is Intolerable

Public health services nationwide have been decimated from years of Reaganite cutbacks and Alameda County is no exception. In the community clinics, dozens of acutely ill patients are denied care daily. They wind up at Highland's emergency room where they may wait for as long as 10 hours before they are seen. Inpatients suffer from the effects of severe understaffing combined with the fact that critically ill patients are often admitted to the wards rather than the intensive care units.

It is no secret that the hospital administration is more concerned with the budget than the welfare of the patients. Few patients leave Highland without stories of waiting forever for an overworked nurse to help them, or of being abandoned in x-ray, or of living in a dirty room because the housekeepers are understaffed and underpaid. Lives are literally threatened when intensive care beds get filled and the administration wants the hospital to make room for more trauma admissions.

Hungry for the revenue that comes from admissions, the administration pushes to open up unit beds by throwing critically ill patients on the wards. Patients who in private hospitals would remain in ICU's or stepdown units find themselves on the wards.

These conditions are not the responsibility of the health care workers, who are the ones who take the heat. They are the responsibility of the government; of the rich which has cut health care funds to the bone and of the administrators who are well-paid for sitting in their remote offices and planning how to implement the next round of cutbacks while squeezing more and more work out of the workers.

Overwork Exhausts Many Highland Workers

There are few county workers who are not facing exorbitant workloads and being constantly asked to do more. At Highland, many clerks are doing the job of two and the empty positions are not being filled due to a hiring freeze. Nurses are so overworked it makes front page news, yet the administration refuses to see any problem.

Recently, the nurses complained about having to deal with too many patients with high acuity levels (acuity reflects how much care a patient requires). How did the administration respond? They came around and arbitrarily lowered the patient acuity levels of several patients and, with the stroke of a pen, the overwork disappeared! Thus, several registry nurses were cancelled for the next shift leaving the floors severely understaffed.

However, the ugly reality of the administration's actions came swiftly the next day when one of the patients whose acuity had been lowered nearly died of a respiratory arrest and other patients were endangered for lack of staff.

These conditions are bad enough but director Joyce Berger added salt to the wound when she announced that we should not "expect any increases" because "it is a very tight year". Sure, she expects us to put up with the overwork, accept the cutbacks to come and get no raise come contract time. Some people will do anything for money. Apparently, for Joyce Berger, $87,000 a year is enough to justify such preposterous statements.

Blood of the Poor on Hands of the Rich

The cutbacks which Deukmejian is proposing (in the face of a large state budget surplus) are nothing short of criminal. He has launched a campaign to cut Medi-Cal reimbursement by 10% and proposed budget cuts that would cut health care spending in Alameda County by several million dollars. The legislature is still fine-tuning the budget, attempting to make it appear more palatable, but it is clear that the overall effect will be cutbacks.

In doing this, Mr. Deukmejian is stating that the lives of the poor are expendable. There is no way these cutbacks can be implemented without the expense of lost lives and increased suffering among the masses of people.

The Board of Supervisors and county health officials, despite their cries about the devastation the cuts will bring, have fallen in line with Deukmejian and are planning the best way to administer the cuts. They have proposed shutting down Fairmont Hospital, closing the pediatric and obstetric clinics (in a county with one of the nation's highest infant mortality rates) and cutting immunization and other preventative health care measures. To shut down any of these services would be murderous. To dare to even talk of carrying out such attacks reveals how these capitalist politicians, despite their liberal cover, are ready to implement Reaganism.

...Yes, many a Democratic Party politician has talked tough against Reagan, but talk is cheap. When push comes to shove, the Democrats stand with Reagan. We see an example of this in front of our eyes with the Board of Supervisors preparing the way for the full impact of Deukmejian's cutbacks.

No Militant Fight, No Victories

... Unfortunately, our top union officials are not calling for a militant struggle. In fact, they are setting the stage to do everything possible to avoid such a struggle. They want to appeal to the goodwill and reasonable nature of the Board of Supervisors. This is outrageous. These are the very people responsible for administering the cutbacks. It is a well-known fact that horrible conditions have existed at highland for years. What have they done about it?

The top union leaders are also calling for the workers to be "part of the solution". This sounds positive until we find what it actually means. According to some union officials, it means that we should search for ways for the county to save money (that is, assist with the cutback).... This amounts to being better administrators than the administration and has nothing to do with organizing an effective fight....

The Marxist-Leninist Party fully supports the struggle of the Alameda County workers and calls on the country workers to take matters into their own hands. We must rely on our own strength and unity. We need to organize for militant mass actions to defend our livelihood and the health care rights of all who utilize the county health system. <>

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Below are additional items from the "Strikes and Workplace News" column that didn't make it into the July issue of the Workers' Advocate due to lack of space.


A "Picket Line"'on Wheels

Since June 3, Teamsters who deliver wine and beer have been on strike against Don Lee Distributors, Inc. which is located in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. The drivers, organized into teams, follow the scabs driving the delivery trucks and picket them at each stop. These picket-lines-on-wheels have forced many storekeepers to refuse deliveries from the scabs.

This strike began when the company proposed to change the driver's commission structure. Depending on the size of the bottle or can, drivers can get a bonus of between 11 and 28 cents per case. Earlier this spring, a scheduled six-cent raise in the bonus was given. But then in contract talks, the company demanded a nine-cent cut in the bonus per case. This was too much.

The strike began against this one distributor. But seven other suburban firms have locked out 450 other drivers. The strike has spread throughout Detroit as contracts with other city distributors expired the first week in July. <>

Coal Miners Organize

Coal miners have been fighting to build up organization through the coal fields in the face of the concessions and union-busting drive of the capitalists. Recently a number of organizing drives have been won.

Miners at the New Windward Coal Co in Lager, West Virginia just finished a two-month strike. Through this struggle they won union recognition and their first contract. Miners at Clinchfield Coal's Brushcutters' unit in Dante, Va. also won their first contract. And miners at Amax Coal's Harco mine in Harrisburg, Ill. won an election for representation by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). After the election, Amax quickly gave in and signed a contract.

Out west, a year long struggle for union recognition at the three Knife River Coal Co. surface mines ended successfully in March. Workers at these mines in North Dakota and Montana have been fighting the unsafe conditions, the lack of seniority rights, and the arbitrary work schedules -- through which Knife River only scheduled work on a day-to-day basis and, even then, would change it at a moments' notice. After a year-long effort, the miners won the election for union certification. Now they have to develop their struggle to win their demands to improve conditions at the mines. <>

Kingsport Workers Bring Back Union

Twenty-five years after five unions struck Kingsport Press and twenty years after they were decertified, over 2,000 Kingsport Press workers have won collective bargaining rights.

In 1963 the walkout at the graphic arts and printing firm was sparked by the company's subcontracting of work, changing the contract without notice, and other issues. Almost five years later, the unions were decertified in an election in which only scabs could vote. Since that time, union drives have been unsuccessful until now.

The Kingsport workers have voted to be represented by the Aluminum, Brick and Glass Workers Union. The workers now must fight on many of the same issues that existed 25 years ago -- lack of job security and unsafe working conditions. <>

Air Traffic Controllers Vote in New Union

Six years after the Reagan government crushed PATCO, the nation's air traffic controllers voted by a better than 2-to-l margin to be represented by a newly formed union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA).

There has been no controllers' union since August 1981. Reagan fired 11,400 workers on the grounds that they were participating in an illegal strike, and he decertified PATCO, the controllers' union. The strike in 1981 was sparked by the heavy workload, the long overtime hours, and the unsafe working conditions.

Today, air controllers still face the same problems, which have only grown worse. Presently there are less air controllers than before the 1981 strike, and there far less who are fully trained. But there is any even greater volume of air traffic. The long hours and overwork are taking their toll. Unfortunately, however, the new leaders of NATCA have already stressed that they will work within the system rather than confronting it. They have even written a no-strike clause into their constitution.

Nevertheless, the fact that the air controllers are again organizing is a good sign. The smashing of PATCO has haunted the labor movement for years. The organization of a new air controllers union is another indication that workers in many industries are getting organized to fight back against the capitalist concessions drive that the Reagan government has spurred on. <>

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Differing stands of the union bureaucracy and the communists on workers' rights


From the June 19 issue of Chicago Workers' Voice, newspaper of the MLP-Chicago. Some subheads have been added.


On May 31 a meeting of Local 100A of the UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers) was held to vote on a new constitution. There was also a proposal on the ballot to have elected stewards. (This is an amalgamated local of over 100 plants representing about 6,000 workers.)

Over 300 hundred workers from several plants attended this meeting, including many from Oscar Mayer. The proposed constitution would have given the UFCW bureaucrats almost unlimited power. It was voted down by the rank and file, many of whom were shocked to learn that the union leaders' annual salaries exceed $100,000. This vote also reflects the distrust that so many workers hold for Piotrowski and his crew who have repeatedly stabbed the workers in the back.

On the Right to Elect One's Stewards

The vote on the proposal to have steward elections was tied however, and this issue is still unresolved.

Now the right to elect your own steward is certainly a reasonable demand. But we see Local 100 and its Executive Secretary Walter Piotrowski lashing out against steward elections. He mobilized workers who would oppose such a demand to come and vote while many plants in the local were not even informed that there was to be a meeting! And Local 100 issued a leaflet railing against steward elections. According to this leaflet, giving the workers the right to vote must be opposed because "communists" support it. And on top of that it might "cause a great division among employees" and would "increase union cost." (Goodness no, we wouldn't want anything to cut into Piotrowski's meager salary, would we?)

"Divisions" in the Union?

Piotrowski has good reason to be worried about "divisions" in the union. The leadership of the UFCW is notorious for betraying the workers in their struggle against the concessions drive of the meatpacking capitalists. Not only did the international leaders of the UFCW sell the workers at Hormel down the river -- opposing their strike from day one, offering bribes to workers to scab on the strike, putting the local into receivership, all to impose the company's demands -- but the leaders of Local 100 in Chicago left the American Meatpacking workers out in the cold during their strike -- helping the company to smash it. And entire books could be written about all the dirty deals Piotrowski and company have dealt the Oscar Mayer workers over the years.

Mr. Piotrowski is not against dividing the union, so long as it weakens the workers when they are facing an attack from the company. But he's afraid that steward elections will break up his network of corruption, cronyism and favoritism in the local. He knows that the workers are likely to use the right to vote for union stewards to help build a struggle against him and the rest of the sold-out trade union hacks.

Furthermore, the workers can use elections to organize a better fight against the company, not just to get good people in is as stewards, but to advance the struggle as well.


Communism and the Right to Vote

And a fight against the company, well that's not what Piotrowski wants. So instead, he crusades against "communism," which, as we've all been taught, is the opposite of democracy.

This is a time when doublespeak is all the rage. War is Peace, Slavery is Freedom. Why according to President Reagan and Prime Minister Botha, denying blacks the right to vote in South Africa is "democracy." Surely then, opposing the right to elect union stewards must also be "democracy."

But Piotrowski is right about one thing. Communists do support the right to vote, not only because it is a basic democratic right, but because union elections can be important for pushing ahead the class struggle.

Attacking the right to vote as "communist" shows a serious feature of today's society. It is the capitalist rulers and their flunkeys who are working to take away as many rights as possible from the working people. It is the communists and other working people fighting against capitalist exploitation and tyranny, who are working hard to fight this strangling of the workers' rights. (And here we are talking about real communists as opposed to the Soviet and Chinese revisionists who betrayed the working class long ago.) Furthermore, the communists organize with their foresightedness that only by the workers organizing a revolutionary movement and fighting for socialism can they establish workers' rights and put an end to capitalist exploitation.

To Fight Concessions and Reaganomics, We Must Also Fight the Union Bureaucrats

Concessions could not have been forced on the workers without the assistance of the trade union leaders. In auto, steel, mining, transportation and in meatpacking, the union bureaucrats [have done] their damndest to sell us all on concessions.

The UFCW Local 100 leaders have soiled themselves pushing concessions. They are now hysterically opposing union democracy. These things show that for the class struggle to go forward, there has to be a militant opposition to the sold-out trade union leaders as well as to the company. <>

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The July 1 issue of the Workers' Advocate supported the Canadian letter carriers strike. The following article was left out due to lack of space. Since then a tentative settlement has been announced. The full details haven't been revealed yet, but it looks fairly bad.


The letter carriers are demonstrating tremendous spirit and determination on the picket lines. They are clearly in the mood for a bitter fight against Canada Post.

But the postal union bureaucrats have only undermined the strength of the workers.

Union Hacks Paint Rotating Strikes in Militant Colors

Take their tactic of rotating strikes.

This tactic is simply a weakened version of a strike. But the LCUC (Letter Carriers Union of Canada) leaders are trying to portray it in flaming militant colors. They argue that rotating strikes create uncertainty in Canada Post, which causes confusion among management and among postal customers. The customers, they say, will hesitate to use Canada Post mail delivery because they won't know if their mail will be delivered.

But if rotating strikes create uncertainty about deliveries, how much more uncertainty would be created by a full nationwide strike! If rotating-strikes cause a little slack in mail volume, a nationwide strike would cut it much, much more. With their talk of "creating uncertainty" the LCUC hacks are in fact simply trying to justify timidity in the use of the workers' strike weapon.

The LCUC 'hacks also argue that rotating strikes are better because workers don't have to sacrifice so much. They are still on the payroll and can survive from week to week during the strike. At the same time, they argue, Canada Post is hurt by being forced to meet its full payroll while its mail deliveries are being cut.

This argument has some appeal, especially since the LCUC has no strike fund of its own with which to support strikers. But the trouble is that while the workers are not forced to sacrifice very much, neither is Canada Post. While they are on picket, the workers have been effective in slowing and in some cases stopping mail deliveries. But while mail is stopped in one city, it continues moving in others. And then, after a couple of days, it moves in that city as well. The result is that mail delivery is slowed down by a day or two, but it continues. To win their struggle against Canada Post, the letter carriers must be able to demonstrate that they can effectively close down mail service.

Union Hacks Oppose Militancy

Meanwhile, the LCUC leaders are doing their best to defeat the militancy displayed by workers in the carriers strike.

Robert McGarry, president of the LCUC, is running around the country quashing wildcats and getting the carriers back to work.

And when McGarry heard of carriers in Ottawa hurling eggs at the scab trucks, he said, "We are better off to put the eggs in our pocket and eat them at a later date." McGarry also expressed sympathy for the police who beat up strikers (while feigning criticism of them), saying, "I appreciate the problem but there's a way to do that job." (Toronto Globe and Mail, June 23)

CUPW Union Leaders Still Have Their Postal Workers at Work!

Another major weakness of the strike is the lack of united action with other postal employees.

The largest postal union is the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which includes clerks and sorters. The CUPW contract expired at the same time as the LCUC contract, but the CUPW hacks are still waiting until the last legal remedies have been played out before they call their workers out on strike.

In the meantime, they made an agreement with the LCUC hacks to lift the letter carriers' picket lines every day so that CUPW employees can go into work. This was done in the name of getting around managements' threat to fire workers who honor the picket lines. But here again, a united nationwide struggle would defeat the threats of firings by the Canada Post. The postal union hacks are just not interested in organizing such a struggle.

Clearly, the development of the Canadian postal strike depends on the workers being able to overcome the timidity and treachery of the union big-shots of the postal unions. <>

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June 27, 1987


Prisoners United for Revolutionary Education (P.U.R.E.), a collective of centrally, politically-conscious prisoners on Texas plantations and an instrument of the Prison Movement, has emerged in determined activity to re-educate the masses of the class of prisoners swollen in the caged bowels of the imperialist pigsty.

My work with the collective in this important effort to transform the common criminal mentality into revolutionary consciousness and action has brought me into contact with you, the comrades of Marxist-Leninist Publications of the Marxist-Leninist Party, USA.

I hope that you will receive me in the warm spirit of proletarian internationalism equal to that with which I greet you.

My dear comrade, Alvaro Luna Hernandez [the chairman of PURE], suggested to me that I make contact with you for the initial purpose of being placed on your subscription's list for the WORKERS' ADVOCATE newspaper and STRUGGLE magazine. This would be a request for complimentary subscription as I am a prisoner presently reduced to the economic status of modern chattel slave.

I am a student of revolutionary Marxism-Leninism with important need of materials for the deepening of my grasp of Marxist dialectics and historical materialism. Materials pointing up the way forward in the class struggle against imperialism on every level of world existence. Such materials are viewed and used by me as essential matter for developing the Prison Movement in raising revolutionary class consciousness as the active expressions of prisoners everywhere. P.U.R.E. has high regard for the more than 600,000 prisoners, the vast majority working class and oppressed nationalities, inside the country and the potential for political work inside their ranks. We refuse to let lay this potential to cultivate and harvest a crop of Dragons, to unleash new and vital forces in the struggle of proletarian internationalism. And our deepest heart-felt salutations go out to you and others who have historically made necessary Marxist-Leninist materials and world outlook and the correct class political line available to us on both past and current issues.

If you're in position at this time--please add me to your mailings' list to receive these important materials for the Prison Movement.

In Solidarity,

[G.W. -- A Texas prisoner]


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A prisoner correspondent of ours has sent us the following information concerning the persecution of prisoner activist Alberto Aranda. Aranda is not only active on prison issues, but he links the oppression inside prison with the sharp class struggle in society as a whole. And he is one of the leaders of P.U.R.E. (Prisoners United for Revolutionary Education). Below are extracts from a document prepared by a legal defense group "Justice for All Prisoners", which can be reached at [Address.].


On the Defense of Alberto Aranda

"Moreover, TDC [Texas Department of Corrections] officials have not been content to hamper inmate access to the courts by the enforcement of restrictive rules and regulations; they have also engaged in a variety of harassing and punitive practices designed to discourage inmates from legal activity..."

-- Chief Judge Wm. Wayne Justice,

Ruiz v. Estelle, 503 F.Supp. 1372 Dec. 12, 1980

On Feb. 19, 1987, the Walker County Grand Jury in Huntsville, Texas, returned a felony indictment against prison activist Alberto Aranda for the offense of aggravated assault alleging that he "caused bodily injury to Peter Miles by striking him in the eyes with a liquid unknown to the Grand Jury" while Miles was a guard employed by the TDC at the Ellis I Unit. If convicted, Alberto faces a range of punishment from 25 years to life imprisonment. This indictment stems from an incident at the Ellis I Unit -- a prison unit where guards are known for their repressive actions and retaliatory practices against prisoners to punish them for their legal and political activities in spite of federal prison reform orders entered in 1980 in the landmark prison reform case styled Ruiz v. Estelle outlawing these practices.

Alberto was singled-out for this selective prosecution since among other prisoners who received similar disciplinary charges arising from this same incidents [all] had their cases dropped and were never charged with felonies. Alberto is a well-known prison activist with a long history of involvement in the prison reform movement and struggles [including] his status as a federal prisoner witness in Ruiz v. Estelle, among other major civil rights litigation against TDC currently active in the federal and state courts; he is a versed jailhouse lawyer and a leader of the prisoners' human rights movement. Local prosecutors in Walker County know Alberto well for the principled assistance he has provided to other prisoners in criminal defense work, in civil rights cases, and in other litigations. Alberto filed a civil rights complaint against TDC officials and local prosecutors in Walker County charging selective discriminatory ^practices in the prosecution of TDC prisoners for criminal offenses while prison guards are never properly investigated nor prosecuted for their history of crimes against prisoners and for other acts of corruption; Alberto is also a co-plaintiff in another landmark civil rights case the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, LA., recently reversed and remanded for trial involving Ellis I prisoner's claims of misappropriation of funds and the interest earned on prisoner's accounts by the controversial Inmate Trust Fund and the Education and Recreation Fund of the TDC. See Eubanks v. McCotter, 802 F.2d 790 (10-17-86).... TDC's financial corruption schemes will be exposed when the Eubanks case comes to trial in federal court in Houston. Those who stand on the side of injustice and corruption seek to punish Alberto, to silence his voice, and to stop him from speaking in the defense of the human rights of all prisoners inside prison walls.

The repressive and selective nature behind Alberto's prosecution in this case is further highlighted by the following facts and circumstances: (1) in the prison disciplinary report issued in the case the guard specifically names the alleged liquid but in the felony indictment it is, listed as being "unknown to the Grand Jury" showing deliberate suppression of material evidence and perjury before the Grand Jury; (2) Alberto was singled-out for this prosecution; (3) Peter Miles, the guard and complainant in this case, is the same guard Alberto had previously accused of being negligent and for conspiracy in the August 1983 stabbing death of prison activist Johnny "Awali" Swift at the Ellis I Unit by another prisoner while Swift was holding a legal consultation visit with another prisoner in the recreation area. (The Office of the Special Master, who oversees compliance with the orders in Ruiz, reported in 1986 that the main cause of violence and deaths in the administrative segregation in TDC were caused by "employee negligence.")

TDC controls the prosecutor's office in Walker County and the Presiding Judge is a former TDC General Counsel. The enforcement of the criminal law in TDC-controlled counties is being used to retaliate against prison activists and to punish them in attempts to silence them from speaking out against these prison injustices," and to suppress the freedom struggles of the prisoners inside prison walls. The recent resignation of former TDC guard Dennis Brennan over the death of prisoner Adolpho Banda on July 30, 1986, at the Ellis I Unit, and Brennan's statements made during a press conference that he feared for his own life since he agreed to testify on behalf of an Ellis prisoner, and other allegations Brennan made involving corruption and thefts of state property by certain guards at the Ellis Unit - is historical proof of what goes on behind prison walls at the Ellis I Unit. (See... TDC Guard Quits Over Death of Inmate -- The Houston Post/Tues., December 30, 1986.) Let us not forget the acquittal of prisoner Leroy Brown of capital murder charges in 1982 for the self-defense homicide of Ellis I Warden Wallace Pack and Ellis I Farm Manager Billy Max Moore. During the Brown trial it was disclosed that these prison officials were planning to take Brown to the "river bottoms" to kill him because the prisoner had stated to prison officials that he was going to publicly expose their corruption and thefts of state property at the Ellis I Unit. The price to pay for exercising a legal and political stand in TDC can mean years of brutalization, having to spend years in solitary for being a "troublemaker," or even death -- for prisoners and TDC guards who believe prisoners should receive humane treatment....

JUSTICE FOR ALL PRISONERS (JFAP) appeals for support and participation from the progressive community to step forward and join JFAP in denouncing this retaliatory prosecution of Alberto, and for the defense of the human rights of all prisoners in the TDC. We call on all freedom and justice loving people to write letters, send telegrams, etc., to state and federal officials demanding that these charges against Alberto be dropped and that an Investigation be held by the Office of the Special, master in this case. JFAP will issue further statements on the status of this case, and if the case comes to trial, a protest march is being planned at the Walker County Courthouse in Huntsville, Texas, in solidarity with the defense of Alberto and with the struggles of TDC prisoners for justice and for human rights.




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