The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 4 #9


September 15, 1988

[Front page: On the character of the Dominican revolution]


Klan and Nazis, out of Marquette Park!........................... 2
More struggle over Boston school busing........................ 4
Red Chronicle on social-democracy in Spain.................. 5

From the Nicaraguan workers' press:

Stop super-exploitation and hunger!................................. 7
Where is support for small peasants?............................... 8
On destabilization of the working class............................ 9
Mass firing of banana workers......................................... 10
Schools for struggle.......................................................... 10
More on the takeover of the sugar complex:

For a new union leadership!............................................. 11
For a collective contract!.................................................. 12
"Mixed economy" in action.............................................. 13
Summing up the construction strike................................. 14

Down with the war on the Kurds!.................................... 16
From the workers' struggle inside Iran............................. 17

On the character of the Dominican revolution




Solidarity with Nicaraguan Workers and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua



KOMALA Communique on



On the character of the Dominican revolution

The April 15 issue of the Supplement began a discussion of the stands of the Communist Labor Party of the Dominican Republic. We replied to letters from Dominican readers of El Estandarte Obrero (the Spanish supplement of the Workers' Advocate). We sketched our views of the importance the founding of the Communist Labor Party (PCT in Spanish) originally had for the revolutionary movement in the Dominican Republic, and of the serious dangers of what we regard as a deeply rightist turn in its politics back towards petty-bourgeois nationalism and populism for the last five years or six years. In this issue of the Supplement we begin a more detailed elaboration of these points. We start with a criticism of The Character of the Dominican Revolution, an important book by comrade Rafael Chaljub Mejia, General Secretary of the PCT. In future issues of the Supplement we will discuss the political practice of the PCT in recent years.


The workers, farmers, youth and students of the Dominican Republic have a fighting revolutionary tradition. Time and again they have thrown themselves into struggle against all the forces that have exploited them and trampled on their rights-- against the capitalists, against the landlords, against brutal regimes, and against U.S. imperialism. This latter includes the heroic resistance in 1965 to an invasion by U.S. marines.

During the 1960's and 1970's the Dominican Popular Movement ("MPD" in Spanish) was an organization that embodied this militant tradition of struggle. It reflected the revolutionary strivings of the masses. It also reflected the ideological and political development of the revolutionary movement in the Dominican Republic. The movement was still under the sway of a populist and nationalist outlook, an outlook which was reinforced by the ideas of Castroism and Maoism. Even after the MPD began to call itself a Marxist-Leninist party, it was more of a broad organization of struggle with unclear views and without a clear working class orientation.

By the late 1970's the MPD was in the grips of internal crisis. The leadership of the organization was weakened by the brutal repression of the regime. The high tide of mass struggle was ebbing. The strong man Balaguer government was to be replaced by the elected social-democratic government of the Dominican Revolutionary Party ("PRD" in Spanish). And internationally, the petty bourgeois concepts of Maoism were proving their bankruptcy. These changes demanded changes on orientation for the revolutionary movement.

The best sections of the MPD saw the need to build a true communist party to provide proletarian guidance to the movement. They strove to give the revolutionary movement a new, proletarian character; to criticize the petty bourgeois democratic dogmas of Maoism; and to base their work on the Marxist-Leninist theory. They began to place stress on the class struggle and giving the workers a socialist perspective. The Communist Party of Labor (PCT) was born in 1980 out of this process of criticism and change.

Unfortunately this process was cut short. By the end of 1982 the PCT had published a book entitled The Character of the Dominican Revolution by the general secretary of the party comrade Rafael Chaljub Mejia. This book marked a political and ideological retreat. This retreat on the part of the PCT leadership was part of a right turn by a number of forces in the international Marxist- Leninist movement. The 8th Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania in November 1981 displayed a rightward drift, which would only go further in the following years. The leadership of a number of other parties followed the PLA in this. Behind the scenes, the pressure was on to back off from deepening the criticism of Maoism and other forms of revisionism; to downplay the independent role of the working class and the perspective of socialism; and in its place to push petty bourgeois democratic and nationalist scheme-mongering.

In Dominican terms this meant a retreat towards the populist politics of the old MPD, but now stripped of much of the previous revolutionary fervor. In Lucha, the PCT's central press, agitation was no longer to be focused on the needs of the working class and exploited, but on elastic appeals to unnamed "progressive," "democratic" or "patriotic" forces. United front tactics were not to be rooted in revolutionary action, or class or political criteria, but on sentimental concepts about unifying "the healthy forces of the nation" across all political or class boundaries.

The turn in the orientation of the PCT has been a source of dismay for many Dominican activists who had been greatly encouraged by the original emergence of the PCT. It has also caused concern in the ranks of our Party, which has had close links with the Dominican movement and welcomed PCT's birth. With the hope of assisting the Dominican communists in fulfilling the PCT's original promise we have written the following critique of The Character of the Dominican Revolution. This book contains the theoretical under-pinnings of the right opportunist blunders that have been plaguing the PCT's work. In a later article we will discuss further how the theories presented in the book have worked out in political terms.

Retreat from a Proletarian Standpoint

The Character was written as a refutation of the pro-Soviet revisionist Communist Party and other right opportunist groupings that have been attempting to come together as a "united left". When this book was written the groups of this reformist marsh were making a lot of play with phrases about socialism. These reformist groups have been political slaves to the social-democratic PRD and other bourgeois forces. At the same time, to distinguish themselves from the then ruling PRD and to justify their political role, they began to define themselves as a "socialist tendency".

One would have expected that the PCT would refute this demagogy by exposing the reformists servility to the bourgeoisie and social-democracy. As it turned out, however, the PCT's response was to lash out against the idea of a socialist revolution in the Dominican Republic. The Character was written to refute what it calls the "semi-anarchist theory of immediate socialism" and to argue in favor of a democratic, anti-imperialist revolution. Tragically the book ends up attacking the right opportunist marsh with blatantly right opportunist arguments.

The Character also provides a self-criticism. It criticizes the PCT for "at one time, [falling] into the error of pronouncing, itself in favor of the socialist character of the Dominican revolution." (Page 9, all references to the Spanish original.) It portrays this alleged mistake as being due to an overzealous effort to draw lines of demarcation with Maoism, which denies the socialist revolution altogether. Unfortunately, with this book the PCT ends up reproducing the same Maoist conceptions that denigrate socialism.

Our objective here is not to give a definitive opinion over whether the socialist revolution in the Dominican Republic must be preceded by a democratic stage of revolution. Nor is it to give any solace to the revisionist and other reformist elements who use socialist signboards to cover their pro-capitalist treachery. Our purpose is to address the arguments presented by the PCT leadership which we believe are not Marxist. They are wrong and harmful arguments whether for a socialist or a democratic revolution. Among other things, these arguments distort the Marxist theory of socialism to the point that if they were taken to their logical conclusion they would deny the possibility of socialist revolution for practically all countries for centuries to come. The arguments are slanted against proletarian socialism and towards petty bourgeois democratic and nationalist prejudices. Practice in recent years has shown that all this is not only a theoretical blunder; it is also reflected in a petty-bourgeois democratic edge to the PCT's practical agitation. In the pages of Lucha (PCT's newspaper) class analysis and a class perspective have been overshadowed by mountains of rhetoric about the unity of "all democratic and patriotic forces."


Reciting Dogmas from the 7th Congress of the Communist International

A large section of the book is devoted to the history of the international communist movement. We are not going to examine this in detail. However, it must be noted that this clarifies that the 7th Congress of the Communist International of 1935 is the theoretical inspiration for this book. It lauds the report to the 7th Congress made by then CI leader George Dimitrov as a model of communist thinking.

What is the 7th Congress model?

Under the signboard of concreteness and flexibility the 7th Congress marked a turn away from the Marxist-Leninist principles which had previously guided the Communist International. The PCT's book praises the CI at this time for supposedly knowing "how to attribute the importance they deserved to the democratic and national tasks of the world revolution." (page 48.) It was supposedly the 7th Congress in the mid-1930's which blazed the path of struggle against reaction, national oppression and war. The logic of this is that, before then, Marx, Engels, Lenin and the other communists had presumably failed to address such matters.

In reality, the 7th Congress rejected the tested and well-known Marxist-Leninist ideas on these cardinal questions in favor of petty-bourgeois democratic, nationalist and pacifist schemes. And these schemes were to be imposed in all countries and under all conditions. (For discussion of the 7th Congress and the backward turn of the CI, see the issues of the Supplement of May 1, 1985, April 15, 1986, April 15, 1988, etc.)

The history of the Communist International provides a valuable store of lessons for the communist movement. It is correct to take this history seriously and to study it. But this study shows the Seventh Congress of the CI trampled on the Leninist teachings and on the whole previous orientation of the CI. It paved the way for the spread of revisionist corruption in the world revolutionary movement.

Half a century later the dogmas of the 7th Congress continue to plague the world revolutionary movement. These dogmas are still embraced by Soviet, Chinese and other major factions of revisionism. Moreover, in recent years the impact of the 7th Congress has been felt strongly among a section of the anti-revisionist forces. The PCT is among a number of parties which have raised the banner of the 7th Congress in their retreat from revolutionary Marxist-Leninist stands. Such is the nature of the book The Character of the Dominican Revolution. It is an awkward attempt to squeeze discussion of the Dominican revolution into the doctrinaire, rigid dogmas of the 7th Congress of the CI.

In part, the book rehashes ideas that have been traditionally popular in the Dominican and much of the Latin American left, but which are not scientific communist views. However, most of the theorizing in the book is borrowed from the wrong anti-Leninist views formulated at the 7th Congress of the CI in 1935. Dimitrov's report is presented as a model of concreteness and flexibility; and this is counterposed to the alleged rigid doctrinairism of the advocates of a socialist revolution.

The book repeats the charge over and over that the advocates of "immediate socialism" are rigid, doctrinaire and inflexible. They fail to take into account, according to the book, the historical development and the concrete conditions of the Dominican Republic. Indeed, the book carries lengthy passages on Dominican history and present conditions. However, the glaring thing about the book is that there is a huge gap between the theoretical conclusions that it draws and the concrete information that it provides (although the presentation of this,information is neither objective nor complete). The book has no rigorous Marxist analysis of the concrete conditions.

Marxism Demands Study of Class Development

If a reader ponders the information presented in The Character about Dominican society, as limited and slanted as this presentation is, it goes against all the main theoretical theses of the book.

The book lays great stress on the Dominican Republic's backward legacy, on the remnants of pre-capitalist relations, on the legacy of military tyranny, on the legacy of colonial and semi-colonial oppression. At the same time, it treats the important class developments of recent decades as almost unimportant for revolutionary strategy. A Marxist strategy, however, must be rooted in a society's development, where this development has brought it and where the society is heading.

In recent decades there have been profound changes in the class structure of Dominican society. These are changes which challenge the petty-bourgeois nationalist and democratic conceptions. The most important of these are:

The strengthening of the modern bourgeoisie as the ruling class. The PCT's book points to a number of the features of this. Among them is the growth and rise of what the book calls the "industrial bourgeoisie," which has been consolidating its positions in the state power, page 10.) Also, the old big landowners have not only been transformed into big agricultural capitalists, but many have also become corporate stockholders and industrialists.

The transformation of agriculture. In place of the old, pre-capitalist relations, modern capitalist farming now predominates. Although there is still a substantial number of independent peasants, in the main yesterday's isolated peasants held in semi-feudal bondage have been transformed into wage laborers or semi-proletarians who work for wages at least part of the time.

The growth of the modern proletariat. There has been a tremendous growth of the work force in industry, mining, construction, transport, etc.

These are three features of the capitalist development in the Dominican Republic, development which has has deepened the class polarization and has been reflected in changes in the methods of capitalist rule. Political power is no longer vested in the hands of the faction of one strong man. At least for the last decade it has been vested, in the capitalist class as a whole through constitutional forms. As well, the bourgeoisie has been forced to rely heavily on social-democracy to hold back the flood of working class struggle. And whether under the social-democratic PRD governments or more recently under the right-wing Balaguer regime, the proletarian movement of protest against exploitation and capitalist austerity has been at the center of Dominican politics.

This capitalist evolution, as the book correctly points out, has brought terrible hardships and poverty to the masses. But there is another side to this that the book does not examine: the proletarian revolution and socialism have been brought that much closer. Whether this means society has come to the stage where the next step is the socialist revolution, or whether a democratic revolution is still necessary, these changes demand new thinking for revolutionaries. The class struggle is broader and deeper. The proletarian nature of the movement is stronger. These changes demand liberating the revolutionary movement of all the old populist concepts that slur over the class contradictions, that underestimate the independent movement of the proletariat, that fail to prepare the working class for its socialist mission.

Unfortunately, The Character does not draw conclusions from the changes which have taken placed It treats these changes as almost inconsequential or transitory. It begrudges that there has been certain development, only to argue that as long as any remnants of the backward pre-capitalist relations remain (or, for example, the possibility exists of a new tyranny being restored) then the social conditions and the tasks of the revolutionary movement have essentially remained the same over the last century and more. This has supposedly left, on the agenda an all-class, popular, democratic and anti-feudal movement.

No Country Fits These Criteria for Socialist Revolution

This static view of development comes out sharply in the criteria that the book sets forth as the necessary conditions for socialist revolution. The Character condemns the idea of a socialist revolution in the Dominican Republic for allegedly "ignoring the objective and subjective factors that define the Dominican reality." (page 57) But what are these factors that supposedly make socialist revolution impossible in the Dominican Republic? The Character holds that the Dominican Republic must first have a pure capitalism, defined by criteria that are so doctrinaire, rigid and metaphysical that no country could meet them.

First Criterion

The book chastises its opponents for talking about socialism

"As if in the Dominican Republic there had taken place an already effective democratic and anti-imperialist revolution." (page 57)

This is a fundamental theme of the book: all the previous attempts at a democratic revolution in the country over the last century have fallen short of completion; hence, therefore, it must still be on the agenda.

The problem is that the book reveals an exaggerated, idealized conception of an "effective democratic revolution," that it is something quite pure that brings complete, stable and thorough democratic freedoms, etc. However, in the real world dominated by bloodstained exploiters, the "effective" transfer of power to the capitalist class has always taken place through democratic revolutions which have been to varying degrees betrayed or mutilated. And at times this transfer doesn't take place in revolutionary ways as much as or even entirely through agonizing evolution.

There is probably no capitalist country that fits the book's idealized concept of having an "effective democratic revolution". Just look at Japan or Britain or other modern capitalist countries that still have emperors, lords and monarchs. Or look at France where the most thorough bourgeois democratic revolution was set back to the extent that the exploiters imposed a restored monarchy or despotic emperors for the better part of a century. Or take the U.S. where the American Civil War ended in a compromise with the ex-slave holders and the remaining semi-slavery was never eliminated in a revolutionary way. Nonetheless, no one could deny that capitalist development has brought these countries to the stage of socialist revolution. This is because capitalism takes hold sometimes in a more and in sometimes a less revolutionary fashion. The revolutionary way is faster, more thorough and far more advantageous to the working masses. However, even in the most painful evolutionary way; capitalist development willy-nilly clears the ground for the socialist revolution.

The Character refuses to recognize this. It stresses that development has been painful, that it hasn't been thorough; but it refuses to see the qualitative capitalist development in Dominican society and what that means for the revolutionary movement.

Even Russia in the months after the overthrow of the tsar did not fulfill the criteria of "an effective democratic revolution" as defined in the book. Fundamental tasks of the democratic revolution (overthrowing landlordism, liberating the oppressed nations) had been frustrated by the capitalist provisional government. And it was the Menshevik social-democrats and other defenders of the provisional government who argued that the democratic revolution had to be completed before one could speak of socialism. Meanwhile, it was Lenin and the Bolsheviks who demonstrated that class polarization had brought Russia to the socialist revolution. With the October Revolution they showed that only through the socialist rule of the working class could the burning democratic tasks be completed.

The PCT's book does not even pose the possibility of the socialist revolution resolving the uncompleted democratic tasks. On the contrary, it sets up the democratic tasks as a prejudice against socialism.

Second Criterion

The book chastises its opponents for advocating socialism

"As if in the countryside there didn't exist the latifundia and... rudimentary work instruments and other elements that belong to feudalism." (page 57)

This, however, is just another dodge, another expression of prejudice against socialism. There are few capitalist countries that don't have huge private landholders ('latifundia') of one type or another or without at least pockets of backward farming methods. The questions must be posed: Are these 'latifundia' organized on semi-feudal or on capitalist lines? Do the semi-feudal remnants predominate or have they been overwhelmed by the use of wage labor, and other forms of modern farming?

We cannot give precise answers to these questions with regard to the Dominican Republic; however, on both counts the information in The Character itself actually indicates that Dominican agriculture has been transformed to a large extent on modern, capitalist lines. If this is the case, then why does the book use phrases like "latifundia" and "elements that belong to feudalism" as alleged obstacles to socialism?

If it is not the case, and a pre-capitalist yoke still weighs heavily on the Dominican countryside, then it would still be wrongs to mock at the alleged absurdity of advocating a socialist revolution. What would be required is a precise discussion of whether or not the urban working class movement, combined with the rural proletariat, would have the strength to win the shackled peasants to the side of a socialist revolution. Indeed, the October Revolution in Russia was such an example, where the relatively small but militant proletariat was able to rally the huge mass of the peasantry during the October socialist revolution by liberating the peasants from the landlord yoke.

Third Criterion

The Character ridicules its opponents for advocating socialism

"As if the social structure of the country were so simple that only the bourgeoisie and the proletariat existed as classes and the fundamental contradiction between them was the only one that had to be taken into account." (page 57.)

This passage captures the spirit of The Character's line of argument. And it shows just how far these arguments are from Marxism-Leninism.

The book places a great stress that, despite the growth of capitalism, despite the manifold growth of the proletariat, non-proletarian classes and strata are still present in the Dominican Republic. Unfortunately the book does not provide precise figures. Nonetheless, the line of argument that socialism requires a class structure "so simple that only the bourgeoisie and the proletariat exist" is another rigid, mechanical formula that makes socialism just about impossible for all countries and all times.

Just think about it. What country doesn't have a large number of intermediate and petty bourgeois strata in between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie? Even in a highly developed country such as the U.S. there are tens of millions of small owners and petty bourgeois elements.

From the earliest writings of Marx and Engels, scientific communist literature has discussed these intermediate strata. For 140 years this literature has addressed the relationship between these elements and the socialist revolution. In regard to the exploited peasants and other non-proletarian working people, this literature has held that through its socialist revolution the proletariat not only emancipates itself but all the masses exploited and oppressed by capital.

The Soviet Revolution in petty bourgeois peasant Russia followed precisely this plan. The modern working class was only a small minority, yet it successfully organized its socialist dictatorship. In the process it emancipated from the yoke, of the big capitalists and landlords tens of millions of peasants and other non-proletarian toilers. And it strove to consolidate this emancipation, and, for example, free the peasantry from the tyranny of the market and the rich peasants or rural bourgeoisie, by organizing these toilers on collective lines. The social-democratic chieftains of the Second International objected. Among other things, they argued that the socialist revolution was impermissible in Russia as the working class was not yet a majority of the population. The Character has picked up a similar objection. But if anything they have gone further: the proletariat must not only be the majority, there must be no classes at all between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie before the socialist revolution can be posed.

Fourth Criterion

The book ridicules its opponents for advocating socialist revolution in a country with a legacy of reactionary regimes.

"As if the political judicial and ideological superstructure were not characterized by the present traits in a country like ours, without a tradition of democracy, politically oppressed by the permanence of tyrannical and reactionary regimes, interrupted with periods of chaos and civil wars In the past, by military operations of foreign Intervention and very exceptionally and briefly by democratic-representative civil governments, in which the system of repression has occurred, but fundamentally have maintained the same instruments of force, legal and coercive, traditionally used, although in one question or another they registered secondary modifications." (page 57)

This reads more like an attempt to frighten people from thinking than a consideration of the relationship between political reaction and the socialist revolution.

First of all, the problem cannot be posed as whether or not "democratic-representative civil governments" are in power "briefly" or not. In Russia in the days after the tsar was overthrown the Mensheviks opposed the Bolshevik plan for a proletarian revolution on the grounds that Russia lacked a democratic tradition, that the new born bourgeois republic was fragile, threatened by military coups, etc. The Bolsheviks countered that the only way out from the threat of coups and a reactionary restoration was through the overthrow of bourgeois rule---the breeding ground of reaction. The Bolsheviks made use of the freedoms gained under the bourgeois-democratic government to organize the workers and toilers as quickly as possible to achieve a socialist government.

When the book was written the Dominican Republic had had four years of "democratic-representative civil government". Now it has a decade. How many more years are necessary before the socialist revolution can be posed? Maybe another decade? Just asking the question underscores the error in stressing whether such a government is in power "briefly" or not. A more substantial issue in judging the present tasks of the revolution lies in the amount of room, the political possibilities that the proletariat presently has to organize itself.

Unfortunately, The Character ducks this question. It talks about "secondary modifications" without even touching on whether or not these changes have any bearing on the revolutionary movement. The book slurs over this issue because it doesn't recognize the significance of the very real political changes that reflect the very real capitalist development, and class polarization in the country (as we discussed above).

Instead it dismisses this issue with phrases like "fundamentally have maintained the same instruments of force". But this doesn't get one step closer to a concrete analysis of the political situation in the country. In what capitalist country, it must be asked, has the bourgeoisie not "fundamentally maintained the same instruments of force"?

As Marxists have always stressed, a bourgeois constitutional Representative government in no way implies an end of force and repression against the working class. Even under the most democratic parliamentary republics, when the class struggle grows sharp the capitalists have never hesitated to dispatch police and troops against strikers, to invoke emergency powers, to arrest revolutionaries. Moreover, the bourgeoisie keeps in reserve its paramilitary gangs, its right-wing military officers, and its plans for martial law. And when necessary it unleashes bloody tyranny.

This is why, not only in the Dominican Republic but all over the capitalist-imperialist world, there is a tendency to trample on democracy and resort to extreme reaction against the working masses. As Lenin pointed out in his famous critique of monopoly capitalism or imperialism, one of its "specific political features" is "reaction all along the line". (Imperialism, the Highest Phase of Capitalism, Ch. IX)

This is why the struggle against reaction and tyranny is inseparably bound up with the revolutionary struggle for the overthrow^ of capitalism, with the socialist transformation of society. The Character tries to avoid discussing this connection. In doing so it ends up setting forth a criterion that can only mean that the socialist revolution can be posed only when the bourgeoisie abandons repression and reaction-- something which will never happen.

Fifth Criterion

The Character berates its opponents for advocating socialism when the Dominican Republic lies under U.S. imperialist hegemony.

"As if the fundamental contradiction between imperialism and the Dominican nation had been favorably solved and as if we didn't have the reality of neo-colonial domination before us, and there existed a sovereign republic." (p. 57)

This is the trump card of The Character's theses: as long as there is U.S. imperialist domination then the revolution cannot be socialist but must be of a "patriotic", "national" and "democratic" character. Sadly, the arguments on this issue are as rigid, doctrinaire and prejudiced against socialism as the others.

The crimes of U.S. imperialism against the Dominican people are well-known: the military invasion of 1965; the dirty role of the CIA and State Department in propping up dictators; the ruthless exploitation of Dominican land and labor by U.S. corporations.

Nonetheless, pointing to this imperialist oppression does not answer the question of the character of the revolution. This is because, despite the book's rhetoric about the need for a "sovereign republic", the Dominican Republic obtained its formal independence many decades ago. What's more, today it has not only a formal independence but an actual rule by the local exploiting classes; the big Dominican bourgeoisie is the ruling class and holds state power. This means that one cannot speak of the fight against U.S. domination as if it were a classic "patriotic" struggle of the whole nation against a foreign occupation, as The Character tries to portray it. On the contrary, it means that liberation from U.S. hegemony is inseparably linked with the class struggle of the workers and toilers against the Dominican capitalists who are tied with a thousand threads to imperialism. Instead of sneering against socialism, it was the duty of the book to discuss the form of this class struggle and whether or not it could be steered onto the path of the socialist revolution and the complete rupture with imperialism.

We will return to this and related issues in the later section "How will the Dominican Republic be liberated from imperialism?" However, there is one further side to the question that must be addressed here. The book argues against the advocates of socialist revolution on the grounds that

"the Dominican Republic finds itself geographically situated in a vital point of the U.S. imperialist chain of domination, an aggressive and expansionist superpower, whose resolve to use military force we have already had demonstrations of in our history." (page 58.)

Here is another attempt to frighten people from thinking. Apparently, the book is arguing that if the communists advocate a socialist revolution this will only incite U.S. intervention, whereas if the communists drape themselves in "patriotic" and "democratic" colors this danger won't be so grave.

Yes, the U.S. imperialist threat is very real. This is one reason why the Dominican Marxist-Leninists needs a more active attitude than the PCT leadership has shown towards the revolutionary movements in the region. It needs to pay more attention to the class struggle in Haiti and other close neighbors, as well as in the U.S. This is not only a requirement of proletarian internationalism, but it is vitally necessary to find allies and class brothers to help defeat or hold in check imperialist attacks.

But one cannot deflect the threat of intervention by lowering the declared goals of the revolution. Grenada was invaded by the U.S. military despite the very tame nature of its bourgeois reformist government. Cuba was attacked and is still blockaded despite the initially limited nature of its revolution and the revisionist nature of the Castro regime. U.S. imperialism is bleeding Nicaragua despite the Sandinista's allegiance to "national unity" with the "patriotic" capitalists. In the Dominican Republic itself U.S. marines invaded Santo Domingo to put down the upsurge of the working masses despite the limited "constitutionalist" nature of their struggle.

What this bloody history shows is that the threat of U.S. intervention does not diminish when the revolt of the masses takes place under "democratic" and "patriotic" banners. Toning down the revolutionary objectives of the movement is no barrier to aggression. The only firm barrier is the aroused and armed working masses.

The Paris Commune of 1871 was confronted by Prussian troops. The October Revolution in Russia of 1917 faced invasion by 14 imperialist powers. And the working people of the Commune of Paris and socialist Russia showed unmatched courage and tenacity in their resistance because they were fighting to become the masters of a new society without exploitation.

What this means is that the specter of U.S. aggression must not be used as another prejudice against socialism; it means that whatever the character of the revolution, a successful strategy must unleash the initiative of the working class and toilers and be firmly rooted in their aspirations for social change.

* * *

The arguments presented in The Character imply a number of other criteria for the socialist revolution. However, the five listed above are the main ones. What they boil down to is that the socialist revolution cannot be posed in a country that has not first perfected an idealized democratic revolution that sweeps away all pre-capitalist remnants and all repression and reaction. Or in a country that has intermediate classes. Or in a country that faces imperialist oppression or the threat of intervention.

According to these criteria there is no country on earth in the late 20th century where the socialist revolution is yet on the agenda. Marx and Engels must have been "rigid doctrinaires" for posing the socialist revolution in late 19th century Europe. And Lenin and the Bolsheviks must have been downright "semi-anarchists" for carrying out the overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the socialist revolution in backward Russia 70 years ago. In reality it is the argumentation in The Character which displays a doctrinaire and reformist idea of the socialist revolution. This comes out sharply when it theorizes on the tasks of the revolutionary movement.

A Caricature of the Struggle for Socialism

One method used in The Character is to create a caricature of the socialist revolution to make it into something so rigid that it is absurd; then to shoot down this absurdity as being unsuitable for the Dominican revolutionary movement.

The Character of the Dominican Revolution accuses the advocates of socialism for being inconsistent for not engaging in purely "socialist struggles". It alleges that it is a contradiction that the advocates of socialism have engaged in a series of different struggles in the past:

"against remnants of Trujilloism in 1961, for the preservation of democratic liberties and for popular reforms in 1963, against the threat of military coups... for national sovereignty in the time of the April [1965] war and under the military, occupation of the imperialist troops, against the repression and terrorism,... for amnesty for political prisoners... for economic reforms traditionally that would aid the workers, peasants, students and breads of house-holds...." and so forth. (page 120.)

In other words, the book demands: how can one struggle for socialism and also struggle for such things as freeing political prisoners, democratic rights, and economic reforms for the working masses? By posing the matter in this way the book exposes a complete lack of understanding of what the socialist revolution is. It has created a straw man--a cut and dried caricature of socialist revolution. As if the workers were to stand in a single line, raise a fist in the air and shout "Up with socialism!" and that's that.

This has no connection to the Marxist conception. Marxism-Leninism views the socialist revolution as something living and real. It is propelled by the revolt of the masses against, all the injustices and cruelties of the old capitalist world. This revolt takes place on the most diverse fronts. It takes place against police terror and political persecution, against every type of national and racial oppression, against the oppression of women, and so forth. It takes place against unjust capitalist wars and imperialist aggression. And, of course, it takes place against exploitation and poverty.

(On this last point, The Character does not link the struggle for economic reforms to benefit the workers to the class struggle; instead it repeatedly puts this struggle in the category of "patriotic, popular and democratic movements". Over the last several years this has been a striking feature in Lucha. The austerity measures of the Dominican government, measures imposed by international capital and willingly accepted by Dominican capital, have repeatedly provoked powerful strike waves and even street fighting. But in general Lucha does not portray these struggles as class battles of the poor against the rich, of the exploited against the exploiter, or of workers and toilers against capital. In line with the logic of The Character, these struggles are cast in a "democratic" and "patriotic" light.)

The task of the communists and class conscious workers is to influence these diverse struggles in the direction of a single goal, to merge all the streams of revolt among the working masses into a torrent of revolution against capitalist rule and for socialism.

The Bolshevik October Revolution provides a model of such a revolution. The peasants were in revolt against the landlords. The non-Russian peoples were seething against the yoke of national oppression. The workers were starving and clamoring for bread. The masses could no longer tolerate the burdens of the imperialist world war and the soldiers were in rebellion against their officers. The genius of the Bolshevik Party was that it knew how to channel all these currents of opposition. It knew how to focus the wrath of the hungry, the land-poor, and the war weary against the capitalist republic and to bring these oppressed masses to support the socialist revolution of the proletariat. Meanwhile, the Mensheviks and other opportunists sneered that the Bolsheviks were allegedly contradicting their socialist principles by giving peasants the land. They saw a contradiction in this because, among other things, they rejected the Marxist concept that recognizes that the socialist movement of the proletariat must make good use of the democratic stirrings of the working masses.

Demagogy About the Peasantry

Another theme of the book is that to advocate socialism will frighten away potential allies, especially the peasants.

To advocate socialism, The Character argues, "would precipitate the most infantile adventures, because it would deprive the proletariat of its allies and would have it go forward alone into battle against its powerful enemies, because by attempting to establish a supposed dictatorship of the proletariat and an openly socialist government, it would push various sectors of the population into being reserves of the enemy, sectors which are natural allies of the proletariat such as the peasantry, which, by their attachment to small property and by lack of understanding about socialism, would easily fall victim to confusion." (page 121.)

This verges on demagogy. This is an attempt to frighten the reader with the catastrophe of losing the peasant allies. Nonetheless The Character does not even provide the necessary information to be able to judge the significance of the peasant question in the Dominican Republic: the numbers of remaining peasants, the prospects for the revival of a peasant movement, etc. Moreover, it does not even approach discussing the prospects for linking peasant discontent with the proletarian movement for socialism.

Winning the toiling peasantry as allies is not a question of not frightening them with the word "socialism". It is a question of whether the movement of the urban workers and the agricultural proletariat has the strength to attract the oppressed peasants to its side. The peasantry can be won when they see that it is only the workers1 revolutionary movement that can and will push for concrete measures against the landlords and parasites. That's what it means to refer to the peasantry as "natural allies of the proletariat".

When we speak here of the peasantry we are referring to the vast multitude of the toiling farmers. If one reads The Character carefully it actually presents contradictory views about whether a socialist revolution would alienate the rural semi-proletarians, the poor peasants, or even the middle peasants. The only point it is consistent on is that it would alienate the rich peasants. In other words, when the book speaks in cataclysmic terms about the proletariat losing the peasants as an ally, what's at stake isn't the mass of rural toilers, but the rich peasants, what the book defines as part of the so-called "middle bourgeoisie".

Demagogy About the "Middle Bourgeoisie"

In discussing the classes in the Dominican Republic, The Character stresses the importance of the "middle bourgeoisie". Moreover, it seems that this section of the bourgeoisie plays a big part in PCT's concepts about allies and the very nature of the revolution.

The logic of the PCT's theorizing about this strata reproduces class collaborationist ideas similar to Maoism. Change the word "middle" in The Character for the word "national" and the exaggerated and exalted role of this bourgeoisie is fundamentally the same as the Maoist and "three worldist" glorification of the "national bourgeoisie."

The Character defines the "middle bourgeoisie" as a "non-monopolist bourgeois sector, not directly tied to imperialist capital."

"The middle bourgeoisie," it goes on, "is composed of agricultural producers such as the rich peasants, by medium and small businessmen, national merchants of middle and small scale.

"Their participation in commerce is very important by their size and in industry it is relatively large. The middle bourgeoisie owns the larger part of the private industry in the country." (pages 115-116)

Thus we get a picture that the greatest part of private capitalism in the Dominican Republic is supposedly opposed to imperialism and the ruling class. Moreover, "in specific conditions" it can be won to "collaborating in the struggle to liquidate imperialist domination and the oligarchy." (page 115.)

This is a pretty fantastic picture. It is hard to even imagine small and medium capital being so autonomous from big foreign and domestic capital as this would have one believe. Moreover, its economic weight in society is being grossly exaggerated. How is it figured that small and medium capital is the largest part of industry? The book calculates that "the total industrial establishments... 47% employ five people or less." (page 116.)

When the book cites this figure about five or less employees it is not giving a definition of what it considers to be the "middle bourgeoisie." Many enterprises with so few workers are closer to petty-bourgeois handicraft or artisan production. Presumably the book's general definition of the "middle bourgeoisie" as a "non-monopolist bourgeois sector" also involves larger industries. Non-monopoly enterprises may involve dozens or even hundreds of workers.

Indeed, the impression the book wants to create is that the significance of the small and medium industries must be overwhelming if the tiny shops employing five or less are almost half of all industries. Such an impression is completely misleading. A couple dozen giant enterprises can control more capital, produce more goods, and hire more workers than hundreds or even thousands of small shops.

What would happen if we applied The Character's arithmetic to say the U.S.: the number of huge corporations count in the thousands; the number of small firms count in the millions. So are we to conclude that the small firms make up "the largest part of industry"? Must we not speak of a socialist revolution in the U.S. too for fear of alienating this supposedly largest part of capitalism which has contradictions with the big corporations?

The book's misuse of this figure is typical of its exaggerated arguments to create sympathy for the "middle bourgeoisie". To challenge these arguments is not to say that sections of the bourgeois have never played or can never play a role In the movement against foreign domination. There have been examples in colonial and semi-colonial countries, especially where the class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is relatively undeveloped.

But what about the Dominican Republic in the 1980's? Can anyone with a straight face claim there is a significant bourgeois force engaged in "the struggle to liquidate imperialist domination and the oligarchy"? The Character doesn't even try to name such a force because it would show the flaw in the PCT's thinking. Of course, it may be said that the book is only taking care in case such a phenomenon does arise in the future. If that's the case, its approach is still wrong.

The Characters principal objection to advocating a socialist revolution is that to do so will supposedly frighten away potential allies, especially, the "middle bourgeoisie". It is not talk of socialism, however, that will frighten the middle capitalists. It is the class struggle of the workers and toilers.

If the communists are serious about the class struggle then their strategy and tactics cannot be guided by concern not to alienate the middle capitalists. The communists must be the foremost champions of the struggle against exploitation and to raise the conditions of the workers and toilers. And it is well-known that the small and middle-sized owners are some of the most vicious exploiters, with the longest hours and lowest pay. So can the communists abandon strikes or protests that affect the smaller companies? Can communists curtail demands for shorter hours and higher wages because such demands may put the economic squeeze on smaller firms and frighten the "middle bourgeoisie" away from the proletariat? No, they cannot if they are to remain communists instead of petty-bourgeois reformers. No, they cannot because such restrictions on the class struggle would pose the greatest danger of weakening the proletarian struggle and limiting the sweep of the revolutionary movement.

This principle, is applicable to both democratic and socialist revolutions. The more active, conscious and organized the workers and toilers are in the struggle for their own interests the stronger, broader and more thoroughgoing the revolution. At the same time, it is precisely the sight of the aroused masses fighting for their independent aims that most frightens the bourgeois factions--even the most "progressive" and "democratic" ones.

This was one of the fundamental issues addressed in Lenin's work Two Tactics of Social-Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. The book was written on the eve of the 1905 revolution. At that time both the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks agreed on the bourgeois-democratic character of the next stage of the revolution in Russia; what they disagreed on was how this revolution was to be carried out.

In their doctrinaire and reformist manner, the Mensheviks held that the bourgeoisie must play an important role given the democratic nature of the struggle. That is why they were frightened by the Bolshevik slogan of "revolutionary-democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry" and the tactics linked to this slogan. The Mensheviks argued that such tactics would provoke the inherent fear that the inconsistent bourgeoisie has of the working masses; that this would compel the bourgeois strata to recoil from the struggle against tsarism; and that this would narrow and weaken the revolution.

In his book Lenin answered these objections by demonstrating that the real live forces of Russia's democratic revolution were the workers and peasants. He showed the danger of "restricting] the sweep of the great Russian revolution to the limits to which the bourgeoisie is prepared to go."

"Those who really understand the role of the peasantry in a victorious Russian revolution," Lenin argued, "would not dream of saying that the sweep of the revolution would be diminished if the bourgeoisie recoiled from it. For, as a matter of fact, the Russian revolution will begin to assume its real sweep, in the epoch of bourgeois-democratic revolution, only when the bourgeoisie recoils from it and when the masses of the peasantry come out as active revolutionaries side by side with the proletariat. In order that it may be consistently carried to its conclusion, our democratic revolution must rely on such forces as are capable of paralyzing the inevitable inconsistency of the bourgeoisie (i.e., capable precisely of causing it to recoil from the revolution, which the [Mensheviks] fear so much because of their lack of judgement.)" (See chapter 12, "Will the sweep of the democratic revolution be diminished if the bourgeoisie recoils from it?")

This question has to be posed in regards to the Dominican revolution as well. Will this restrict and weaken the revolution if it is limited to what's necessary to maintain an alliance with the bourgeoisie? Must the communists strive to unleash the revolutionary struggle of the Dominican workers, peasants and other toilers for their independent aims although the bourgeoisie is bound to recoil from such a struggle? The Character of the Dominican Revolution should have discussed these issues. It is not Marxist analysis to say that since it is a democratic revolution, hence the bourgeoisie must be an ally. Nor is it Marxist to frighten the workers with the dire consequences of being isolated and crushed if their revolutionary movement flows over the bounds of what the bourgeoisie will accept. Unfortunately that's just what The Character tries to do.

How Will the Dominican Republic Be Liberated from Imperialism?

At this point let us return to the question of liberation from imperialism. This is an issue which The Character weaves as a central thread of its arguments.

It is indisputable that the Dominican revolution must settle accounts with the U.S. corporations, confront the interference and blackmail by the U.S. government, and break the grip of all imperialism. The problem is that The Character has no clear idea of how to accomplish this anti-imperialist mission. It repeats phrases about "patriotic tasks" and gaining "national independence". On the one "hand it would like to portray the struggle as if it were still an anti-colonial revolt of the 19th century. On the other hand, it feels compelled to give a formal recognition to the Marxist-Leninist idea that independence from modern imperialism is bound up with the proletarian revolution and socialism. The result is confusion.

"When the PCT speaks of independence and anti-imperialism," The Character theorizes, "it is always clear in saying to the people that only socialist society guarantees real and secure independence and it educates the proletariat to the fact that the overthrow of the power of the imperialists will be i worth little or nothing if the revolution makes only a formal declaration of national liberation, without accompanying that patriotic triumph with the social and economic transformation that will lead the country towards the only regime, capable of taking us out of this backwardness..." (page 126.)

In this passage The Character says, in effect, don't worry that the revolution isn't socialist. It isn't just a "formal declaration" of independence, that would be worthless. It is allegedly the democratic struggle for a true national regime, the revolution that will supposedly not scare away the middle bourgeoisie, that actually will lead to "socialist society". The "patriotic triumph" will itself carry out "social and economic transformation" that will give rise to "socialist society." Presumably there is no need for socialist revolution, not now, not later, not ever, because the patriotic, democratic revolution will achieve the necessary "social and economic transformation."

A communist party should strive to push forward a democratic revolution over to the socialist stage. But the statement in The Character, instead of putting forward the need to continue the revolution, instead anoints a patriotic or democratic revolution with socialist colors.

In Dominican conditions, whatever the character of the revolution, it cannot simply be the establishment of a true national independence. It can certainly not simply be an old-style "patriotic triumph" which establishes a national states.

The problem is that the Dominican Republic declared its sovereignty and national independence a long time ago. It is not under a U.S. military occupation. Nor is it under a U.S.-propped up military dictatorship as was the case say in Somoza's Nicaragua. Nonetheless, The Character tries to portray the Dominican state as merely a tool of foreign domination.

"In spite of the formality of the national state," the book argues, "it is nothing more than a screen to cover up the domination of imperialism of the Dominican Republic." (page 97.)

However, as we have discussed Above, the Dominican state surely is more than that. It is the state of the Dominican capitalists. It is firmly in the hands of the industrialists, financiers, etc., who share power among themselves through a constitutional set up. The Character tends to dismiss this reality by denouncing the ruling capitalists as a "pro-imperialist strata," as if these "anti-national" capitalists were not truly Dominican.

The book's logic circles around a fairy tale concept of a national state. The idea is that if the Dominican Republic had a true national state, and if the Dominican capitalists were bona fide, Dominican, national capitalists, then there would be no links to imperialism, no subservience to a foreign power. But what capitalist country on earth is not part of the imperialist chain of domination and submission? And which capitalist ruling class is not bound up, to one degree or another, to world imperialism?

Yes, the Dominican Republic suffers under this chain of oppression; the ruling bourgeoisie is pro-imperialist; and U.S. imperialism weighs heavily on the backs of the Dominican working class and toilers. This is clear to one and all. The question is: what path to breaking this chain and throwing off this yoke?

There is no way of breaking free of imperialism, of "overthrowing the power of the imperialists", without striking at the social base of imperialist oppression of the Dominican Republic-- the ruling Dominican big bourgeoisie and landlords. Even if the revolution starts as a democratic one, it will have to be based on the toilers and directed against the ruling big bourgeoisie as well as the imperialists. And it will have to be continued into a socialist revolution.

Liberation will not come through a "national revolution" to gain a complete "patriotic triumph" and a perfected "sovereign republic". To try do so would be to get stuck in Dominican history chasing the fairy tale of a glorified national independence.

Liberation from imperialism can only be realized by going forward through the class struggle. It will come through the revolution of the workers, peasants and toilers; through uprooting the exploiting classes which provide the social base of imperialist domination; through carrying forward the revolution to the socialist stage where it brings forth the socialist rule of the working class. In Dominican conditions, with its sharp class polarization, this is the basic content of the struggle to gain freedom from the imperialist yoke.

Harmful Results

This concludes our discussion of the main theoretical errors presented in The Character of the Revolution. Unfortunately these are not just blunders in a book already put on the shelf several years ago. The fundamental ideas in the book remain the guiding spirit of the PCT's work. And these ideas have weakened its practical tactics and agitation. Whether the revolution is socialist, or whether socialist revolution must be preceded by a democratic stage of the revolution, these ideas are harmful. They tend to undermine a proletarian stand and replace it with the illusions of petty-bourgeois democracy.

The Character swears up and down that the PCT will defend the goals of the working class and provide it with a socialist perspective. However, the agitation in their newspaper Lucha does not show this. Countless "democratic", "progressive" and "patriotic" phrases bury the spirit of the class struggle.

To its credit, the PCT has maintained its connection with the mass protest movement against government austerity and other struggles of the workers and the poor. This is in contrast to a number of the reformist groupings of the erstwhile "socialist tendency" which are in severe crisis.

Nonetheless, the PCT appears to have lost its bearings in terms of tactics in the political struggle. It does not present a class basis for its tactics. A class criteria has been replaced with constant appeals for an all-class unity of "patriotic"' or "healthy forces of the nation". This makes tactical principles as elastic as a rubber band. It tends to remove the dividers between the workers, the peasants, the poor barrio residents or the militant youth on the one hand, and the liberal or reformist politicians, including the smooth-talking swindlers of the social-democratic PRD.

This and related points will be the subject of our next article. <>

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From the August 27 issue of Chicago Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-Chicago:


Workers, Black people, Latinos, all anti-racists! The Ku Klux Klan is planning a "White Pride" rally in Marquette Park this Sunday, August 28, at 2 PM. Reaganism has made racism "respectable". The Klan "debates" its racist filth on the Oprah Winfrey Show. It will even take off the hoods and dress up in business suits. But we know them for what they are--racist vigilantes spreading terror against the black people. Remember the murder of over two dozen black children in Atlanta; remember the brutal beating and rape of Tawana Brawley in Wappinger, NY; remember the fire bombing of the homes of black people in the Marquette Park and Gage Park areas of Chicago; remember the Howard Beach racist murder. This is the real face of the Klan and other racists like them.

Why are they insulting us with a public appearance this Sunday?

This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the historic 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. A million people gathered to demand an end to racial discrimination against the black people. The KKK is organizing its rally in opposition to a celebration being held in Marquette Park on the same day. This event, the "Dream Day Quest/Marquette Park Family and Freedom Quest", is being sponsored by the "Global Committee Commemorating King Day". Another group is planning a prayer meeting in the park at the same time to oppose the Klan and support the celebration.

The MLP stands for integration in housing, recreation, schools, employment and all areas of life. The working class and laboring people learned, through the fights of, the 60's, that they need unity to fight the capitalists. The Klan wants to throw slurs at the lessons of the 1963 march. They want to return to the "back-of-the-bus" days of Jim Crow segregationism. They want to eliminate all gains that were made, by the powerful anti-racist struggle. And they want to rebuild the invisible wall of social segregation to divide worker against worker. This is an outrage!

Reaganism revives the Klan

How do these racist scum dare to raise their heads?

One has to look no further than the Reaganite program of American monopoly capitalism. The government, the corporations and institutions of the rich are scrambling to turn back the clock. Reagan vetoed the extension of the Civil Rights Act. The government gives federal funds to racist private academies. The government gutted affirmative action and school integration programs.

The last few years have seen a flowering of racist groups like the KKK, Nazis, Aryan Nation and others. They are the unofficial, terrorist wing of the official capitalist policy. The government joins them in the terror campaign. From New Jersey and New York to Texas, the police have been on a rampage of racist beatings, shootings and murder. It is no accident that racist attacks against Blacks, Latinos and other national minorities are on the rise.

We need to oppose the racist vigilante groups. We need to fight Reaganite racism, whether official or unofficial. We should organize the kind of reception the Klan gets everywhere. In Atlanta, 1,000 protesters kept the Klan from marching at the Democratic Convention. The Klan was trounced in Dallas when they showed up to support the racist police chief The Klan was shouted down by 4,500 anti-racists at a "free speech" forum on the University of Kansas campus. Incidents like this are common. We need to build up a fighting anti-racist movement to deal with the Klan & Co. and to fight for the liberation of black people.

The Democrats play a dirty role

However, when people start to organize, they are advised to rely on the Democratic Party. This party promotes itself as the defender Of the workers and minorities, as liberal and anti-racist. But relying on the Democrats leads the anti-racist fight into a dead end.

No one should forget that the Democratic Party was the backbone of Jim Crow segregationism in the South. Today, too, the Democratic Party has its hands stained with racism. Look at New York where there is a Democratic Party state administration. Tawana Brawley was kidnapped in Wappinger Falls, NY by six racists. They beat and raped her for several days. They wrote "KKK" and "nigger" on her, then put here in a plastic bag and left here on the road for dead. Whoever did this should be punished. But almost a year later, no one has been charged. Worse still, the State's Attorney is persecuting Tawana Brawley and her family. He's even issued an arrest warrant against her mother. This is real Democratic Party justice.

In fact, how is it that the KKK is able to organize a rally in Marquette Park?

Why, the Democratic Party city administration gave them a permit. And two years ago the administration of the late Harold Washington gave them a similar permit.

The old Daley machine was turned out of office. Bernard Epton and the open racists were defeated in the elections. There is a black-police chief. The control of the Park District Board has been wrested from Clifford Kelley.

Does this mean that racist scum like the KKK cannot assemble and spread their filth?

Unfortunately, no. The KKK will hold its racist rally, protected by the law and a heavy police guard given to them by the "liberals". The Democratic Party is not for a real fight against racism. As well, the black bourgeois officials of the Democratic Party in Chicago are not for a real fight either.

When the masses want to fight, the Democratic Party and its leaders stand in the way. Jesse Jackson has played just such a role. He ran for President under the trappings of anti-Reaganism. He had the image of anti-racism and fighting for the poor, the minorities and the working man. Many people voted for him because they want a change, because they want a fight against Reaganism. But two years ago Jesse Jackson showed his true colors. He opposed those who were trying to organize against a similar Klan-Nazi rally. He claimed that building a fighting mass movement was "out of step with the times".

No, Mr. Jackson, we and the militants who have confronted the Klan are only "out of step" with Reaganism. But despite the many protests against the Klan, our movement is not as large and powerful as it should be. It is time to organize a,militant mass movement against racism. We must stand up to this flaunting of the burning cross. We must stand up against the racist attacks and propaganda of the capitalists. We must stand up against the Klan, Nazis and all the racist groups.

In this fight, just as any other, the working people have to rely on their own strength. They have to organize to the left and independent of the sham "progressive" hot air of the Democratic Party. <>

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From the Aug. 27 issue of Boston Worker, voice of the MLP-Boston:



The school committee has finally retreated from its plan to eliminate yellow bus transportation for all high school students. In June they voted to eliminate this service for all high school and middle school students. They wanted to force all high school and middle school students to take the T to school. They had to back off the plan to cut service for middle school students due to a huge uproar of parents against forcing 11-year-olds to take the T across town. But they persisted with the plan for high school students all summer, even after it was revealed that this plan would cost the city more in assessments from the MBTA than shutting down the yellow buses would save. Only when the MBTA advisory board refused to pay to provide extra buses to handle students did the school committed and Mayor Flynn retreat from their position. Only then did they agree to restore most of the yellow school bus service. But even then they took revenge by creating the most disruption of school schedules possible.

Why did the school committee and School Superintendent Laval Wilson once again create chaos at the opening of school? Why did they persist in a transportation plan that would make it more difficult for thousands of students to get to school and cost more money to boot? Why? Because they want to resegregate the school system and they want to drive more poor and working class kids out of the school system. There is no other logical explanation for their stand.

Eliminating yellow bus service would add as much as an hour and a half travel time to the days of thousands of high school students attending the schools outside of their segregated neighborhoods. This would also force black students to walk long distances from T stops to schools through areas where racist thugs are known to be active. This could only discourage attendance at schools in those neighborhoods. And that is why the South Boston Information Center and the racist politicians like James Kelly have been demanding an end to yellow school bus service for years. When you also consider that at the same time the school committee is also embarking on a plan to phase out the non-exam magnet schools, which are among the best and most integrated in the system, you can only conclude that segregation is their intent.

By making it more difficult for high school students to get to and from school, the school committee would only increase the already scandalously high dropout rate. And by reducing the number of students, they would make a great savings of money for the wealthy and for the bureaucrats to spend feathering their nests. It is pretty clear that the school committee, and their black front man Uncle Laval Wilson, consider it a waste of money to educate the poor, black and working class youth. Why else would they be willing to spend more money on a plan that makes it more difficult to get to school?

Although moat school bus service has been restored, the opening of school will again be a chaotic mess because the school committee stubbornly refused to act until the last minute. Despite all the talk about how things have changed with [Mayor] Flynn, the government is just as racist, corrupt and anti-working class as ever. Workers and students, be on guard against the governments attempt to take away what little integration of the schools there is! Don!t let them force more of our youth, out of school! Prepare for fights and protests against the school committee racists! <>

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From the August 1 issue of Red Chronicle, (vol. 1, no. 4):


Trying to recover the citizens' warmth GONZALEZ RESHUFFLES HIS CABINET

When twelve months ago, Felipe Gonzalez [Prime Minister of Spain from the social-democratic Socialist Workers Party] was asked by the press about a possible crisis within his Cabinet, he replied it was only a rumor created to fill the newspapers' pages, so empty of poetical news during the summer months.

A year after, Gonzalez had to admit his Cabinet has fissures. On the 7th of July the crisis broke. And it was inevitable as the erosion of the third of Gonzalez's social-democratic Cabinets was evident. The existing chaos in the main public services (postal, transport, etc.), the evidence of torture, spying on political parties, connections between the police and right-wing terrorism, the stubborn attitude by the authorities of Education and Industry in the negotiations with the teachers and industrial workers, etc., had created an atmosphere that translated to the loss of popularity of Gonzalez and his team, as shown in several opinion polls. Gonzalez could not risk facing the 1990 elections with the same Cabinet. The fear of losing too many seats in the Cortes (Spanish Parliament) was pending as a sword of Damocles.

Therefore Gonzalez dismissed four of his colleagues (of course they will not join the three million unemployed), incorporated six new ministers and changed the posts of two others. The most significant feature of the present crisis has been the backing up by Gonzalez of his economic minister, Carlos Solchaga, responsible with his "neo-liberal" policy for the three million unemployed and eight million poor. Besides, Gonzalez has rewarded the pro-government wing of the social-democratic trade union the UGT, including appointing two of its leaders as new ministers.

A day after the crisis was officially announced, Gonzalez spoke at a meeting of his party in Barcelona, where he expressed being worried by the "disaffection" towards the Cabinet and made a call for "the complete recovery of the support and warmth" by the citizens towards the social-democratic Cabinet. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, in spite of changing some faces in his Cabinet, it is going to be difficult to "recover" the "warmth" of thousands of Spanish workers. Maybe he can resign himself knowing he enjoys the sympathy of the local and foreign capitalists and their representatives. As an example, a few weeks ago, the Swedish ambassador in Spain declared in Seville: "We would very much like to have a Felipe Gonzalez in our country as leader of the right- wing." <>

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Solidarity with Nicaraguan Workers and the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua

[A report based on the article on this subject is contained in the Sept. 1 issue of the Workers' Advocate, page 11.]

Strikes and workplace news

* The port of La Luz in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) was the scene of the violent protest of 2,700 fishermen. After a month-long strike and 70 days of hard negotiations in demand of salary increases, on July 5th the fishermen cut all access to the port and erected barricades, facing the police with Molotov cocktails. As a result, 15 fishermen were arrested. In order to stop the struggle of the fishermen, the local authorities brought 200 mope policemen from the peninsula. On July 16th a demonstration of the fishermen's wives was attacked by the police and several women were injured. New fighting between fishermen and policemen took place on July 18th. A demonstration in solidarity with the fishermen by different sectors of the working population of Las Palmas took place on Thursday the 28th.

* Representatives of the workers of RENFE (Spanish Railways) locked themselves in Several of the company's premises on July 13th as a protest against the dismissal of 5 members of the Madrid-Atocha station committee who had participated in a strike in June.

* The streets of Vigo (Pontevedra) were filled with rubbish for more than week as a result of the. strike of the 1,600 sweeping workers. The strikers prevented the sweeping lorries from moving and concentrated outside the Town Hall.

* Eleven miners of the company Hullasa in Oviedo (Asturias) locked themselves for 24 days in the Jeronimo pit demanding a solution to the future of their, jobs. 300 workers of the company are on strike since May 11th.

* 460 workers of the factory SIVESA in Sagunto (Valencia) stop work two hours every day demanding the negotiation of their contract, reduction of salary differentials, etc.

Peasants in struggle

* On July 3rd, a hundred peasants belonging to the villages of the neighborhood of Illora (Granada) occupied the lands belonging to the Duke of Wellington, who is related to the British royal family. The peasants demand that the lands be included in those to be affected by the so-called "agrarian reform". The peasants concentrated in front of the Duke's palace shouting slogans such as "Go and hunt partridges in England!"


* The brothers Antonio and Domingo Troitino were sentenced by a court to 79 and 55 years in prison as members of the Basque independentist armed organization ETA. During the month of July, 15 people were arrested in several villages of Biscay as members of ETA.

* According to a report by the judge of San Sebastion (Guipuzkoa), Juan Piqueras, the bullet which, went through the head of Lucia Urigoitia was shut by a gun, the muzzle of which was "practically touching the skin". Urigoitia, member of ETA, was shot to death on 23 July 1987 by members of the Guardia Civil police forces who stormed the house in which she was living.

* Prisoners of the Modelo prison in Barcelona occupied the prison's roof as a protest against the situation they are living in. (Red Chronicle will carry a report in its next issue on the situation in % the Spanish jails.)

Other news

* The vice-president of the Spanish businessmen's association, CEOE, met on July 8 with General Pinochet during a visit he paid to Santiago (Chile) in order to participate in the forum "Chilean enterprise and the EEC", Spanish exports to Chile' rose in 1987 to 116 million dollars, 39% more than in 1986.

* Julio Anguita, General Secretary of the revisionist party PCE ["Communist Party of Spain"], declared on July 1 during a meeting of the Central Committee that the party "is at the verge of financial bankruptcy". In the last month, two members of the Central Committee, Palau and Buhigas, have resigned from their posts.

Government finances right-wing terrorists!

* In the criminal process which judges the links between the Spanish police and state institutions With the terrorist right-wing organization GAL, the judge Baltasar Garzon has estimated that part of the funds belonging to the Ministry of the Interior were used to finance GAL's activities. The judge asked the Minister of the Interior, the social-democrat Jose Barrionuevo, to testify about this, but he refused. The Cabinet's president, Gonzalez, expressed his support to Barrionuevo, declaring: "I think the Minister of the Interior is right." Some days later Barrionuevo was removed from his post as a result of the Cabinet's crisis [see article above, "Gonzalez reshuffles his Cabinet"] and appointed Minister of Transport. <>

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Below we carry a number of articles from the Nicaraguan workers' press. They reflect the growing sharpness of the struggle over the peoples' livelihood. It is the class-conscious workers rallied around the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua who defend deepening the revolution instead of the "mixed economy" of the Sandinistas. And they stand firm against the attempts of the right-wing to capitalize on the economic difficulties caused in part by subsidies to the exploiters who stand behind this same right-wing.


The following account is based on the lead article from the July 1988 Prensa Proletaria, central organ of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua.


The emergency measures of the Sandinista government, especially those in February, and the recent ones of this June, have provoked a great deal of discussion. The Sandinista government tries to present these measures, which are within the World Bank's rules of adjustment and stabilization, as part of the people's revolutionary struggle. But the bourgeoisie, despite the shouting of its politicians against Sandinista austerity, jumped for joy at the state's retreat on national planning and controls on production and distribution of production.

Now we see the result.

The law of supply and demand, which the Sandinistas present as the law of gravity, has not prevented the upward climb of inflation. The masses' purchasing power has been drastically reduced. At the same time, the recessionary effect of the new economic measures is also even more evident. As the masses cannot buy the necessities they need, as thousands and thousands of toilers have been thrown out of work, numerous enterprises are reducing their level of production.

To illustrate, the state egg enterprise is presently destroying no fewer than 200 dozen eggs a day for lack of sales. Meanwhile, the people are suffering from hunger despite working as if they could become millionaires from a couple of days of double-shift work.

This is the true essence of the law of supply and demand: on one side it stimulates the businessmen, on the other it sacrifices the workers, but it can in no way avoid the crisis of the system.

The government decided to index the bank interest rate and the exchange rate of the dollar to the Consumer Price Index. But wages remain frozen as the Consumer Price Index shoots up to alarming levels.

The demand of many workers for also indexing wages is but a minimal demand in the face of massive ruination.

This measure is incomplete in that the adjustment is made after determining the Index, that is, after inflation has already wreaked havoc on the purchasing power of the wage workers. But at least it is a defense against the rapid deterioration of the wage, a deterioration which can only fundamentally be resolved through the radical structural transformation of the economic system.

The indexing procedure is simple: Wages must be adjusted each month at least in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.

Indexing wages to the Consumer Price-Index is part of the struggle against the oppressive super-exploitation to which the toiling population of Nicaragua is being subjected. It is a minimal defense against the danger of starvation which is already bringing ruin to the population, especially its most vulnerable sections, like children and youth.

The trade unions should study this proposal and launch a struggle for its immediate application. It is a complementary step to the struggle for real transformations in the system of production and distribution established among the social classes in Nicaragua, which has to do with the most fundamental political struggle against the rule of property. <>


The following article is from the July issue of Prensa Proletaria, voice of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua. Translated by the Workers' Advocate staff.


By mid-June the bank had not approved loans to the "Rigoberto Lopez Perez" cooperative, which works the Horcones Grandes ranch in Veracruz, in the department of Rivas. One of its members, Antonio Guzman Lopez, explained that they had fulfilled all the requirements made by the bank, but could not get credits. "Through our own strength and sacrifice we plowed four manzanas for rice and 16 for corn, and we're still negotiating for credit," said Guzman. He recalled that the previous year they sowed without help from the bank, even though they sold their produce to the state. Guzman confirmed that the peasant has always sown without help from the bank, "and the only thing we need is the land, then we find a way to work it, be it by borrowing, selling a calf, or with what we have saved," said Guzman. He explained that in this zone most of the peasantry has been denied bank loans.

In his understanding, this policy of the bank is "the fault of the monetary reform the government implemented in February. Also, the Sandinistas are not interested in helping the small ones," he said, referring to the peasantry.

Giving his opinion on the monetary reform and the latest economic measures of the government, another peasant interviewed by Prensa Proletaria, Damaso Valero, said, "It's like when you get out of a movie; everyone's commenting on whether it was good or bad. And the reality is we are shocked by what the government is doing to us."

"Once again they have shown," said this poor peasant from Los Ramos, Carazo department, "that they don't care about the people, but about benefiting the big ones [big producers]. They squeeze us, and to the big ones they give dollars, credits, and all types of support."...

The main problem of the majority of peasants in this area is the land. According to Valerio, the land reform did nothing, and those who have ranches don't rent out land. "We sow in the corners and edges, between the rows of coffee. And we have no hopes that the government is going to solve this problem," he remarked. "The land is fertile and abundant in our country, but they won't give it to the peasant; they would rather leave it unsown."

But, in seeing that the government is not going to solve the peasants' age-old problems, Damaso is not giving in to frustration. Instead he recognizes that "it is necessary to form a party which belongs to the laborers, separate from the bourgeois parties, a party which looks out for the worker and leads our struggle without betrayal or deceit," he concluded.

For his part, the secretary of production of the "Marvin Aquino Mendez" cooperative, between Chinandega and Potosi, accused the bank of holding up loans and also reducing them. "The 10 members of this cooperative work 40 manzanas of basic grains, watermelon, and another fruit, and they qualify to borrow 23,500 cordobas," explained the secretary, Manuel Rojas. For one manzana of corn they are loaned 70 cordobas, when just for preparation and plowing they must spend 1,070. "And on top of that, at the end of the season in November we must pay back double the loan," he added. ..." <>


In the second half of May, Prensa Proletaria, voice of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua, carried an article by it editor, Carlos Lucas, on Destabilization of the Working Class, Basis of the Sandinista Economic Policy. Below are excerpts.


Comrade Lucas points out the recent Sandinista economic measures are based on the simple formula used by all capitalist societies in political crisis: raise the production quotas and... hold down wages and cut social services, giving labor power a salary far below its worth."

To enforce this requires "harsher political and ideological controls on the workers1 movement" and lately "more effective and specialized methods of repression against nonconformity. These range from using declassed turbas against workers1 locals and beating up union leaders, to security work by the state, to using the anti-riot forces (of the Republic and the Ministry of the Interior.

"That is to say, the present economic policy of the Sandinista government includes the launching of extra-economic repressive measures .-against popular sectors which don't conform to the system, whether for better or for worse."

The policy of unemployment

So the Sandinista program includes "cheapening labor power as well as trying to subdue it. It is a policy of unemployment, euphemistically called 'Consolidation' in the Sandinista jargon.

"Through consolidation the government is trying to expand the reserve army of labor even beyond where the crisis itself is pushing it. The campaigns against so-called 'informal' commerce have been aimed at closing off the options of the unemployed population--the distribution sector, the merchant sector, speculation--constricting [the possibilities of the army of the unemployed, to keep labor power as cheap as possible. The competition for jobs creates conditions for a more docile workforce. It pressures the workers to abandon the fight for collective contracts, better s conditions, and other demands. Competition and fragmentation weaken the workers' fighting strength... "The social problems of the policy of unemployment, arising with full force since the monetary reform, are enormous, embracing thousands of men, women, children and elderly, hurt by the job loss of the heads of households. Through the sacrifice of this mass of humanity, the government is hoping to finance the other economic interests--private enterprise, potential foreign investors, and the state bureaucracy.


"The threat of massive layoffs has already affected various factories, ranches and ministries. Panic in the face of unemployment is sweeping the ranks of the wage earners.

"Deproletarianization is affecting important sections of the working class which are now expanding the army of the unemployed. This is taking place through an agrarian reform that is closing down agricultural operations, and a merchant sector that is besieged and confronted by the state's turbas, commercial inspectors and police. In this context the bourgeois-bureaucratic ruling bloc has decided to open negotiations with the contras, broadening the contras' internal political activity and opening discussions with the international forces of capital, especially with the European Common Market. The counterrevolution is thus finding an ideal field for its subversion against the revolution. The economic crisis is generating social cataclysms which will result either in revolution--the dictatorship of the majority over the privileged minority. Or it will result in counterrevolution--the dictatorship of the privileged minority over the majority.

"If the workers cannot fight in these conditions for the defense of their basic right to work and to a livable wage, it will be very difficult to advance the struggle for other legitimate and basic rights. The so-called consolidation, the government's policy of unemployment and deproletarianization, is a sword of Damocles over the workers' movement. Unemployment is the economic nightmare of the dictatorship of capital and the bureaucracy over the masses, who depend on a wage to survive. A firm struggle against. consolidation is a basic step against this dictatorship." <>


The following article is from the late May issue of Prensa Proletaria, voice of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua. Translated by the Workers' Advocate.


Taking advantage of the ministerial order on consolidation, management at EMBANOC has in the last few days laid off some 1,500 workers--meaning that no less than 7,500 persons will be affected (through the loss of income of the head of household).

Many of the laid off were those who were heading up the labor movement of the banana workers in the western plantations, confirmed some who had just lost their jobs. "We always oppose management's repression and protest the bad food, the high production quotas and the low wages."

"It doesn't matter if you were a good worker; the purpose is to decapitate the workers' movement," remarked another worker who confirmed that the enterprise had started replacing the laid off with new workers. One worker still on the job pointed out, "Now they're going to throw the work of those laid off onto us." He added that the high quotas were still in effect.

The 1,500 heads of families were thrown into unemployment without any severance benefits or placement at another job. Many of them said they would try to survive by farming. "We are going to look for someplace to rent, or as a last resort we will take land, if that is necessary, so that we can sow and not starve to death." <>


The following article is from the July issue of Prensa Proletaria, voice of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua. Translated by the Workers' Advocate staff.


Juan Pastor Hernandez, a leader of the Workers' Front, has declared the latest training session for leaders, union activists, and sympathizers a success. The Workers' Front union center has been developing it since May.

This time it covered issues relating to the monetary reform, labor rights and the constitution, trends in the Nicaraguan union movement, and other topics.

The sessions are organized by the Political-Trade Union School of the Workers' Front. The participating workers come from INAA, Carlos Arroyo Brick, the MACEN plastic bag plant, Aceitera Corona vegetable oil, the ENAVE" garment factory, the PRONTO shoe factory, various construction projects, and the city of Managua public sector.

The session which consists of six Saturdays is taking up the union struggle against inflation, workers' control of industry, wage scales adjusted to inflation, the Labor Code, and the old wage scale--SNOTS.

The sessions begin at nine a.m. at the Workers' Front local, and are open to all workers who are interested. <>


The Sept. 1 issue of the Workers' Advocate carried two articles from Prensa Proletaria on the takeover of the San Antonio sugar complex by the Sandinista government.

One article denounced the Sandinista idea of compensating the Pellas group, the former owners of the complex who had run it into the ground. It declared "Don't return a penny to the Pellas!" and pointed out that the Pellas group was draining its other enterprises in Nicaragua just as it had done to the sugar complex. It showed how Pellas had been allowed, thanks to the policy of the Sandinista government and the Sandinista CST trade union center, to drain money and resources from Nicaragua, thus "decapitalizing" it.

The other article pointed out that the takeover of the sugar complex was a partial victory for the work of the Workers' Front at the complex.

Below we carry three more articles on the situation at the San Antonio sugar complex. <>


From the July issue of Prensa Proletaria, voice of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua. Translated by the Workers' Advocate.


The thousands of workers at ISA [the San Antonio sugar complex] are witnesses that for nine years the CST [Sandinista union center] has made itself into a union accomplice of the owners of ISA.

The CST is co-responsible in the situation where the Pellas ran ISA together with the union bureaucracy.

"The volcanoes are about to blow," say the Sandinista leaders, echoed by the CST.

But what is really about to blow is the patience of the masses of workers at ISA who have been overworked, suffered increases in production quotas, and starvation wages. All this justified (as all the workers know) by union leaders who are servile to the state and to the Pellas owners.

All the workers' demands concerning the job, consumption and wages were condemned and repressed, even with the use of turbas [Sandinista gangs], by the union leadership. This Sandinista union leadership was in a thousand ways repressing the workers just struggles--even the workers' denunciation of decapitalization [removing capital from Nicaragua]. And all the time that they were abandoning the workers as they tried to go up against Pellas, the union leaders knew very well that this family of millionaires was pocketing thousands of dollars produced from the hunger and sacrifice of the workers.

This mountain of dollars was pulled out of the country, with the complicity of the CST, in such large quantities that the Pellas were able to found the Banco Centroamericano headquartered in the Cayman Islands. This bank, as the Sandinistas, and the CST know, has served to channel funds from Iran-Gate to the contras who have been assassinating, kidnapping, and mutilating the Nicaraguan people. The CST demanded super-sacrifice and patience from the workers, so that for nine years the Pellas amassed more millions--and with the -money founded banks used by the contras.

Now, in the face of the workers' anger, the exhaustion of the limits of their patience with super-exploitation, and their strong demands, the government, by intervening at ISA, is trying to pull a cloud of smoke over the workers' demands.

The ISA workers must be clear that the CST union leaders and MITRAB [the Ministry of Labor] are not going to change their policy and practice, just because the plant has been taken over.

The servility before the state will continue against the class interests and demands of the ISA workers.

Therefore it is important, and vital, that the ISA workers obtain a union leadership with a class mission, independent of the interests of the Pellas owners, but also independent of the Sandinista government.

It is necessary to make an immediate change in the union leadership, with the aim of democratically electing, legitimate representatives who are not servile, who have a class mission; it is necessary to throw out the old leaders who for nine years played the game of the Pellas to the point where ISA was practically destroyed.

Out with the leaders who always try to hold back the workers in the face of the bosses, whether private or government!

The union must promptly disaffiliate from the CST, which is responsible for the last nine years of labor policy at ISA!

Elect a new union leadership--militant, working-class oriented, and revolutionary--independent of the bourgeoisie and the Sandinista government! <>


From the July issue of Prensa Proletaria, central organ of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua. Translated by the Workers' Advocate.


No more servility before the bosses!

The CST dismantled the gains of the ISA [San Antonio sugar complex] workers, and it's necessary to put forward immediately, in addition to a change in union leadership, the discussion and negotiation of a new collective contract--says the coordinator of the Committees of Struggle [CLT's] at ISA. [The workers had managed to wrench a collective contract from the Pellas family in the days of the Somoza dictatorship. When the Sandinistas took power, this contract was eliminated.] The CLT's, under the leadership of the Workers' Front [union center of the MLPN], have been building up class organization among the ISA workers.

The CLT's have been organized independently of the present union leadership, because of the pro-management character the CST has given the union, which is supposed to represent the workers' interests. But we're not trying to substitute the CLT's for the workers' organization in their union apparatus, a Workers' Front comrade explained. The union continues to be the most effective organizational weapon. With the CLT's we are trying to redeem the class, militant, and revolutionary character of the unions.

To this end, the CLT's at ISA call on the workers to concentrate on the discussion and immediate negotiation of a collective contract. This is urgent because the labor situation, the wages and supplies demand a quick response in favor of the workers.

The takeover of ISA in no way means that we continue on the same as before, said the Workers' Front comrade. They are still trying to make us work more, eat less, to earn envelopes with practically no paycheck. For this reason the ISA CLT's are dedicating ourselves to the demand for a new collective contract.

Sandinista "Mixed economy":

From those with nothing, take away more, to those who have, give more

From the July issue of Prensa Proletaria, voice of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua, where it appeared under the title Pellas...against private property? The bourgeoisie, like the bloated millionaire Pellas, is outraged when the major means of production are taken over for general use, such as when the San Antonio sugar complex was taken over. But prior to the takeover of Pellas' sugar complex, his managers thought nothing of stripping the workers of their most essential individual property. Translated by the Workers' Advocate staff.


Some notices have appeared announcing a new directive by the administration of the San Antonio Sugar Refinery [ISA].

The notices say the following: "It is absolutely prohibited to breed horses, cows or bulls." The reason given is that last year over 120 manzanas of ISA sugar cane were eaten by animals owned by the tenants and neighbors on the property. This accusation was made by Tono Vargas, field administrator of this private plantation.

Over 90 families are affected by this arbitrary directive; since the possession of animals has been a tradition among the tenants for facing economic difficulties.

To guarantee the implementation of this directive against the tenants (since it is really against them and not the animals), the management of ISA has formed patrols of about 60 men, armed with different caliber weapons. They patrol the entire area surrounding the complex in three trucks, in the style of the ranch guards in the epoch of Somoza. The chiefs of these patrols are the Sandinistas Francisco Talavera and Manuel Narvaez. These two have instructed the patrols to capture any animal found on the property. They fine the owner, or seize it if it is found on the property again. But it's turning out that these patrols have taken animals right from the yards of the tenants.

In a meeting between the tenants, the police and the ISA management, an ultimatum was given for the tenants to get rid of all of their animals but two by the tenth of May.

Giving up their animals leaves these tenants even worse off in the race of the skyrocketing inflation. Keeping animals allowed them to partially take care of their needs.

This is how the sugar bourgeois (which is supposedly a patriotic bourgeois) run their plantation, with the full support of the Sandinistas. From the workers, they take their wages. From the tenants, they take their animals. The bourgeoisie prides itself in calling itself a fighter for private property, when they delight in depriving those who have no property. "Those who have nothing, take from them; those who have, give them more." That is the formula of the mixed economy and the Sandinista policy in favor of entrepreneurs like Pellas. <>


From the July issue of Prensa Proletaria, voice of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua. Translated by the Workers' Advocate.


Interview with Fernando Malespin, General Secretary of the Workers' Front [Frente Obrero, the trade union center associated with the MLP of Nicaragua].

[The article began with an introduction by Prensa Proletaria.]

The Workers' Front has played a distinguished role in the construction workers' strike, though the fourteen parties [a right-wing coalition of the bourgeois and revisionist parties], the CPT [Permanent Congress of 'Labor, a new coalition of the right-wing and revisionist trade unions] and La Prensa [the CIA-funded right-wing press] have drawn a circle of silence around its activities in support of the workers' demands. They have used k series of lies and slanders to try to undermine the support won by the Workers' Front for the working class union line it maintained during the strike. But the workers at the base, in plants like El Dorado, Belmonte, Tienda Diplomatica, Cauces, etc., are the best witnesses of this, strength shown by the Workers' Front.

Below, Fernando Malespin, General Secretary of the Workers' Front, sums up the construction strike for us.

* * * * *

Four months from February 29, the start of the strike, the necessary elements are there to sum it up. In our view the summation is the following:

1. The global and national context of the strike is characterized by a profound economic crisis which the government is trying to unload onto the workers. It is particularly acute since the monetary reform. The Situation is characterized by union repression; economic, political, and military aggression by U.S. imperialism; by a grouping together of the fourteen parties led by the Sacasa Coordinator [the S.C. is a pro-Contra, right wing bloc]; by the political will of the FSLN to negotiate the revolution with the counterrevolution to determine power-sharing.

2. The first response of the Workers' movement, and in retrospect the most important at the time, to the anti-worker economic policy of the government, was that of the auto and construction workers. Their response had the objective of achieving better wages and working conditions that would help them face the high cost of living. Thousands of workers mobilized around their concrete demands such as the elimination of the Catalogue of Consolidated Norms, and a 200% wage increase.

3. The bourgeoisie, through the Group of Fourteen and the CPT, followed the objective of trying to capitalize on this militant mobilization in which the CGT(i) [the union center of the revisionist Socialist Party] played the role of the Trojan Horse. The CPT at this point only existed in the pages of La Prensa. It was completely unknown to the workers' movement, and the CGT(i) gave it a place in the movement. This place was used to inject the political demands of the right-wing and the counterrevolution. To the placards demanding wage increases were added placards with slogans on the constitutional reforms the right wing is demanding. Even though this section [with the right-wing placards] was a minority, it caused a division among the striking workers.

4. The Sandinista government, for its part, in practice tried to liquidate the movement, a goal for which it left no stone unturned. It did everything from heavy manipulation of the media to direct political repression.

5. The Group of Fourteen tried to take advantage of the arrival of the contras in Managua in the sense that it tried to make the strike part of the counterrevolutionary struggle. The mercenaries' leadership not only claimed to support the strike. As well, the Conservative Party's Negro Chamorro, contra assassin amnestied by the Sandinistas, arrived at the local where the hunger strike was taking place to give money. In Miami members of the FDN [the contra organization] opened "branches" of the hunger strike. In all of this the CPT played a decisive role.

[With respect to these things, the strike] had already escaped the control of the workers and been converted into a political instrument of the counterrevolutionary plans of the Fourteen and the CPT.

6. The hunger strike sacrificed (temporarily) a good number of militant workers. In this sense it was demobilizing. The plants ceased to be the base for the mobilizations, for communication, to prevent the arrival of scabs and prisoners [the government tried to use convicts as strikebreakers]. And instead of increasing the mobilizations in Managua and other regions of the country, everything was concentrated in the local office of the CGT, while the workers were searching for ways to survive.

7. The exit of the hunger strikers from the CGT local was the death of the strike, and the CPT was conscious of this. That is why they tried to dodge the issue when the workers began to demand explanations about the negotiations which resulted in the suspension of the hunger strike. The CPT accused the SP. The SP accused Chaguitillo [a trade union official]. Chaguitillo said: "search me." They were all accomplices. Only the workers knew nothing.

8. The prolonging of the strike [dragging it out desultorily rather than making it into a wider strike]; the giving up of the concrete demands originally pushed by the base of SCAAS [the construction union linked to the CGT(i)]; the including of the right-wing parties and the CPT; the lack of a class direction in the strike; the anti-democratic attitudes of the SCAAS leadership which never consulted the base; the government repression. These, are the essential elements that initiated the quieting of the strike. But of all these, the most important is the weakness that they didn't have a class leadership, militant and independent of the bourgeoisie, which would have given the strike the course being demanded by the workers. The Workers' Front could not completely neutralize either the right wing or the Sandinista repression.

9. At this time neither the CPT, nor the CGT(i), nor the leadership of SCAAS have explained what really happened at the negotiations. On the contrary, now the leadership of SCAAS has recovered its role of controlling the hiring of laborers. This appears to be one of the concrete results of the negotiations. In other words, the CGT(i) and SCAAS suspended the strike in exchange for getting back the bureaucratic control they have over their affiliates during hiring and firing. This is even more auspicious since it is the state's own construction companies which have been seeking to hire SCAAS labor.

And when SCAAS accepted the return to work, even though it was for slightly higher salaries than those established in the Catalogue of Consolidated Norms, SCAAS was officially liquidating the strike.

10. There are two important points to stress. One is the unconditional support that the people gave to the strikers, not only in material terms, but also moral and political. This was the only reason the workers could resist as long as they did.

The other element is the role played by the Workers' Front union center. From the beginning it worked for the deepening of the strike; for the organization of the workers to develop the tasks of propaganda, collecting funds, and visits to other factories in the country, etc. At the same time, the Workers' Front was always insisting on the necessity of the strike developing with independence from the bourgeoisie and from the government. The Workers' Front also insisted that the leadership of SCAAS should have concrete plans of action, to be discussed and approved in an assembly of the workers. The assemblies should be called continually, for unity of action.

The response of SCAAS to these proposals was sectarianism and slander.

The workers learned various basic lessons fro m this strike, among them: that the CPT doesn't represent their interests; SCAAS needs a leadership that is more militant, more democratic toward its base; that more organization is needed; that the Workers' Front is the only class alternative in the struggle of the workers, since the Workers' Front fight guarantees full independence from the bosses and from the state; and that the task of reevaluating, and reorganizing for new battles is urgent. <>

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There is a cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war, but the oppression of these two regimes against their own people continues. As part of this, both the Khomeini regime in Iran and the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq are oppressing the Kurds. The Iraqi regime has launched a new offensive against the Iraqi Kurds and stepped up its use of poison gas. The Iranian regime continues its oppression of the Iranian Kurds.

On Aug 19th, 35 people demonstrated at the Westwood Federal building in Los Angeles against the war on the Iranian Kurds. They were in support of the Aug, 19 general strike throughout Iranian Kurdistan against Khomeini's military occupation forces Supporters of the MLP,USA and of the Communist Party of Iran took part, as well as some other organizations and individuals.

Slogans like those at the end of the following statement from Komala (the Kurdistan organization of the CPI) rang out over the street.


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KOMALA Communique on

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On August 19, 1979 the Islamic Republic regime declared an all-round war to suppress the freedom-loving and revolutionary people of [Iranian] Kurdistan. The Islamic regime, relying on its war machines and vast military apparatus, has been able to continue its policy of total repression in Kurdistan. At the present, more than 200,000 troops are stationed in over 3,000 army bases in cities, villages and in the mountains, and hence completely disturb the everyday life of the Kurdish people. Under the pretext of the Iran-Iraq war, the regime has increased the number of its troops and its military operations. It has also extended the Iran-Iraq war to the Kurdish borders, thus increasing even more the destruction of the cities and the killings of innocent people. Many cities and hundreds of villages have been destroyed. Under the pretext of war, the Islamic regime has extensively increased drafting the youth as well as deportations. Due to its fear of mass protests the regime has accepted its inevitable defeat and has agreed upon a cease-fire [in the Iran-Iraq war]. However it is continuing its nine-year-old military occupation and brutal crimes in Kurdistan.

Workers! Toiling masses and freedom-loving people of Kurdistan!

Let us turn the ninth anniversary of the Islamic Republic's intervention in Kurdistan into a mass struggle against military occupation and suppression by this regime. Let us call for an end to the war in Kurdistan. All the suppressive forces of the Islamic Republic must immediately evacuate Kurdistan. Kurdish people must have the freedom for their self-determination. They should be able to decide on their political destiny through a democratic referendum. If the Islamic Republic is forced to stop its eight-year-old war with Iraq, we, too, can pressurize the regime to put an end to nine years of war and military occupation of Kurdistan. We can, by relying on the mass movement, the armed struggle and the solidarity of the Iranian people, and by relying on international awareness, put an end to this war.

Now that the regime is completely weakened, and is defeated, the time has come to advance such a struggle. The 19th of August is the day before the official cease-fire between Iran and Iraq. This day has to be turned into a day of general mass protest in all towns and villages of Kurdistan against the oppressive forces of the Islamic regime and the presence of its military forces in Kurdistan.

August the 19th should be announced as a day of protests, strikes and walk-outs. On this day we have to echo our voices against repression and the military occupation of [Kurdistan by] the Islamic Republic and to [increase] the isolation of this aggressive regime by any means possible.

The Kurdish people have continued to fight for nine years and have not held back from any sacrifice in their struggle against the suppression and killings by the Islamic regime in Kurdistan.

We should let out our voices cry out to the world for the evacuation of Kurdistan by the invading forces of the Islamic Republic, and call for the right of self-determination for the Kurdish people.

Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran!

Long live the revolutionary movement of the Kurdish people!

Islamic Republic's troops out of Kurdistan!

The Central Committee of Kurdistan Organization of CPI (KOMALA)

August 15, 1988

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Below are excerpts from the Aug. 1-15 issue of Report, newsletter of the Communist Party of Iran--the Committee Abroad:



Workers in Iran do not have the right to form their own independent organizations. As soon as the Islamic Republic regime came to power, it tried to suppress and abolish workers' assemblies and organizations which were formed shortly after the 1979 uprising. As a result of massive suppression by the regime, the Iranian working class movement had retreated for the past few years, but it has now risen once again and is engaged in the struggle for demands such as wage increases, a halt in conscription, and the reinstatement of those unemployed. At the present, one aspect of workers' struggle in Iran is the struggle to form mass workers' organizations, i.e, the General Assembly.

In order to advance and gain workers' demands, communist and vanguard workers endeavor to organize workers' General Assemblies in defiance of the Islamic Republic regime and its agents in the factories, and in opposition to the reactionary pro-regime-fabricated organizations named "Islamic Councils". These organizations are the regime's tools to suppress workers' struggles on the one hand and to prevent the formation of real workers' organizations on the other hand. To this end they have succeeded [in encouraging] workers in some factories to hold their independent meetings and, where possible, general assemblies.

On May 9, workers at the Indamin factory (producing car parts) called for a general assembly to discuss the question of job classifications. Workers had resorted to this action since their demands had not been met by the management. The management had refused to take any heed of the workers' demands since it had insisted that it was the "Islamic Council"--the anti-worker organizations set up by the regime in factories--which it recognized as the sole representative of the workers. However, the holding of a general assembly by the workers was a clear defiance both against the management and the "Islamic Council".

In order to exert pressure and discredit the "Islamic Council", the Indamin workers demanded that the Council's representatives take part in their assembly and brief it on their conduct on the question of job Classification. Facing workers' unity and anger, the Council's representatives had no alternative but to take full responsibility for the lack of progress made so far on this issue. To save themselves from any further pressure and criticism, they promised that within one week they would take up the issue actively and put forward the workers' demands to the management.


The capitalist system brings about unemployment, a disease which grows every day. Iran, too, is no exception to this rule. The bourgeois government of Islamic Republic has now turned unemployment into one of the grayest social problems facing the workers. Thousands have so far been unemployed, and thousands more face a gloomy prospect without jobs.

The 8-year-old Iran-Iraq war has... exacerbated the problem of unemployment in Iran. (On 27 July the Islamic Republic of Iran accepted the UN's Resolution 598 on cease-fire. From the standpoint of the Iranian people and workers, this cease-fire not only does not end their sufferings and destitution, but also puts more weight on their struggle against the Islamic Republic regime and its reactionary policies such as military conscription, unemployment, expulsion, etc.... ) This war has put, the Iranian regime in such a position that, in order to safeguard its political interests, it has implemented such policies whose effects have been nothing but more unemployment and destitution for the Iranian workers and toilers. In order to prevent the use of hard currency for the purchase of goods and, production materials, and in order to spend this currency on the purchase of weapons, the Islamic regime has resorted to the closure of factories thereby causing more and more unemployment among the workers.

A single day does not pass without a factory closing down due to the lack of necessary machinery and raw materials. For example, since 1985 workers of the Arj factory (producing heaters and coolers) have had to make themselves redundant gradually. As a result, the number of workers at this factory has gone down by 2,300, i.e.-, from 3,000 to 700. Most of the workers have been transferred to defense industries, and after the end of their contract they have no right to return to their previous jobs.

Similar policies have been implemented throughout the country. This massive wave of unemployment caused by the reactionary policy of the regime takes place at a time when there does not exist any form of social security or unemployment benefit or any governmental body helping those seeking new jobs. The outcome of this situation for the workers can be none other than more poverty and destitution.

[People disarm the soldiers sent against mass protest]

On 10 April, the people of Moghan, a city situated in the north of Iran, demonstrated in protest against the lack of basic social facilities in the town, and the lack of concern by the local government officials to overcome this situation concretely. The people of Moghan were outraged since the authorities were about to remove some equipment from the only clinic in the town. The demonstration erupted when this decision was announced by one of the hospital personnel through the mosque's loudspeaker. After this announcement the people of the town gathered in the mosque and demanded an explanation from the district-governor about this decision.

To break up the demonstration, the chief of the local police came to the scene, followed by one of the local clergymen. The latter tried to deceive and pacify the crowd and hence prevent the escalation of the unrest. Initially, the clergyman succeeded in convincing the crowd to disperse peacefully but some of the demonstrators assembled in front of the governor's building and demanded an explanation. Eventually the governor came to the crowd and said:

"The local government officials consider all complaints provided they are made through legal channels but since you have taken to the streets, none of your demands are taken up."

People became outraged when hearing these words, and stayed in front of the offices of the governor. The authorities, who knew that this anger would result in a massive protest, appealed to the military forces in nearby cities to come to their aid. Soon the whole town was occupied by the military. The head of the Pasdaran (the regime's para-military forces) made a list of all those who had delivered speeches at the rallies and put forward the demands of the people of Moghan. He gave the list to the governor and started to arrest those actively involved. The house-search and manhunt continued till 3 a.m.

The next day the people of Moghan organized themselves in order to free those arrested. Shopkeepers closed all the shops and nearly all the inhabitants of the town gathered in the town's main square and demanded the release of those under arrest. To disperse the crowd, the armed forces fired shots in the air. But the demonstrators did not disperse and instead attacked the soldiers and disarmed all of them. They then stormed and occupied the governor's building. The governor himself escaped but the chief of police, the military commander, and the head of the Pasdaran were captured by the people. They were beaten and their cars smashed.

Soon the county governor together with some other officials came to the town to negotiate the release of the town's officials held by the people, and to calm down the situation in the town. On his arrival, people gathered and showed him bullet shells (about 600) and angrily told him that nobody has the right to shoot at them, and demanded the release of all in custody and the dismissal of all government officials responsible. The county governor, who was shocked and scared by the sheer dimension of the event and the bitterness of the people, admitted that responsibility for the unrest was due to the officials, and that they should not have resorted to violent means to settle the matter. He also ordered the release of all those arrested.

People of this town showed that through their unity they can resist the regime and its local lackeys, no matter how powerful they are. They arrested the Pasdaran and the military chief, and demonstrated that they can make the suppressive forces of the regime retreat.

Conscription and the struggle against it

[Despite the cease-fire, the struggle against conscription continues.]

It is now more than eight years since the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war. In this war the Iranian regime has sacrificed the lives of millions of Iranians in order to impose Islamic reaction on the social and political lives of other peoples of the region. The Islamic Republic has sent millions to the war fronts so that in competition with other states in the region it makes them adopt its Islamic kind of government. The Islamic Republic has caused the death and maiming of hundreds of thousands so that it can lead the anti-worker reaction throughout the region. But not only has the regime failed to achieve its objective through this war, it has brought nothing other than more misery, destitution and destruction for the Iranian workers and people.

During recent years, the Islamic regime has tried to forcibly draft new conscripts to the army by means of sending its agents and lackeys into the streets and hunting youngsters. Apart from this, it has also used other methods to force workers to go to the war fronts, i.e., expulsion threats, refusal to pay wages, stopping distribution of food rations, and direct suppression. Everyday,factory notice boards are filled with propaganda leaflets and forms for the military service.

The Iranian workers and people, who know that they have no interest in this reactionary war, have resisted this policy of the regime in different ways. Soldiers have even deserted the war fronts and military schools.

Recently the length of military service was increased by four months. Following this decision, a great number of soldiers whose stay at the army had been unduly lengthened escaped the war fronts.

Another way to resist military service has been direct confrontation with the regime's hunting squads. A few months ago, the government, officials arrested many youngsters in the town of Dasht-e-Moghan (north of Iran) in order to transport them to military schools. but the parents of a number of youngsters protested and sat in front of the official bus which was about to take their children. Despite the presence of armed guards on board, the parents succeeded in dragging their sons out of the bus and freeing them.

The struggle against the conscription policy of the regime, even after its acceptance, of the cease-fire, is still one aspect of the daily struggle of the toiling masses of Iran against the reactionary Islamic Republic regime.

[Pasdars resign]

The cracks in the military machinery of the regime have also damaged its ability to conduct the war. In the present circumstances in which the regime has reached a deadlock and has suffered defeat in its policy of exporting the Islamic reaction and ideology in the gulf region, a considerable number of Pasdars (the regime's paramilitary forces) have resigned. In one case, about 270 Pasdars resigned in Tehran alone. In other cases, Pasdars have left the force without giving official notice. Those who have resigned from the military and para-military guards face from 2 to 6 months imprisonment. To prevent this wave of resignations, which is a great blow to the regime, Khomeini himself announced recently that the military regulations also apply to Pasdars and nobody has the right to leave this force--otherwise they are tried by military courts.

[Anger at the war erupts in Arak]

Another item of news about the popular protest against the war is.the recent unrest in Arak (a town in Tehran County). Following the Iranian regime's defeat in Fao and Shalamche (border towns re-captured by Iraq), the regime ordered martial law in the city of Arak. According to the news received so far, martial law was enforced after protests broke out against the war. Many of those who had been killed in these battles came from this city. The people took to the streets and protested after seeing the bodies of their loved ones brought to the city.


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