The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 5 #2


February 15, 1989

[Front page: The government's "war on drugs" is a war on black people and youth; Michigan NOW issues statement denouncing "direct confrontation"--NOW vs. the pro-choice militants]


Western hypocrisy on chemical weapons......................... 2
Why is Washington attacking Libya?............................... 3

Chicago mayoral primary................................................. 5

Reinstate mail carrier Mark Mitchell!.............................. 7
Detroit casuals and regulars vs. harassment..................... 8

No to speedup at Swingline.............................................. 9

Study plan on socialism (part one)................................... 10
From the Third Congress: Discussion on speech on stage of work on socialism.............................. 11

Trotskyist BT against Afghanistan................................... 16
Workers victimized by capitalist war on drugs................ 23

The government's "war on drugs" is a war on black people and youth

Incredible hypocrisy of the top anti-drug crusaders

Michigan NOW issues statement denouncing "direct confrontation"

NOW vs. the pro-choice militants



On the Chicago mayoral primary: To hell with backroom politics for the spoils of office


Why we are picketing today:


At the Fort Street General Mail Facility in Detroit:




The Trotskyist "BT" backs Soviet revisionist military action against the "great majority of Afghanistan's population"


Victims of capitalist "war on drugs" at Great Lakes Steel plant:


More on the drug war at Great Lakes Steel: How the union hacks were elected...

The government's "war on drugs" is a war on black people and youth

Reprinted from a leaflet of Jan, 16 produced jointly by the Revolutionary Action Group and the Seattle Branch of the Marxist-Leninist Party:

The U.S. government has declared war on drugs. Each politician is out to prove his credentials as the toughest fighter against drugs. "War! war! war!" chanted the Congressmen when a recent "anti-drug" bill was passed: The crusade has swept up government officials, the management of many companies, school administrators and the law enforcement agencies, including the National Guard, The Pentagon has given preliminary approval for the National Guard units in 44 states to join local law-enforcement efforts in the "war". Their artillery will include "11 Huey transport helicopters, 19 Kiowa helicopter gunships, 29 vessels docked at the Port of Tacoma and M-60A3 tanks". (Seattle Times, 1/11/89)

Unfortunately, these government figures have no intention of solving the many problems associated with drug abuse, or even starting to solve them. The pretext of fighting drugs is being used to attack the rights of all working and poor people. In particular, police repression of Black people and youth is being stepped up. And drug testing is spreading to more workplaces, adding a new means of arbitrary termination in the hands of employers.

The righteous anti-drug crusaders are cutting back even the token pennies they spend for drug treatment. On February 1, Governor Booth Gardner's cutback will shut down the Alcohol and Drugs Addiction Treatment and Support Act services, ending treatment for 1,400 persons in King County alone. But the politicians won't even talk about the social and economic conditions that give rise to( drug addiction and the growth of drug rings.

No, the only "solution" the government can think of is to bring down the iron fist on persons with small quantities of drugs, including marijuana. The stated target of police measures includes casual drug users, a very broad category. Even the wildest dreams of Edwin Meese could not seriously consider jailing 1/3 or more of the U.S. population. This itself shows that the police are being given powers for selective enforcement. And in practice the Seattle Police Department's "war on drugs and gangs" has targeted anyone who "meets the description" of a gang member. This racist concept has meant a green light for indiscriminate harassment, arrests, beatings, shooting and two murders of ordinary Black people in Seattle.

How the Police Fight "Drugs and Gangs"

The Bickerstaff incident rated coverage in the press. But many sons and daughters of Black working people have received the same treatment in recent years and the white bourgeois media never found it newsworthy. As well, there have been many arbitrary and mass arrests of youth with no real evidence of connection to the drug trade. When brave youth refuse to bow down to the arrogant Clint Eastwoods, the police resort to beatings. The cowardly beating of a handcuffed black youth in Seward Park last summer backfired, however. In that incident, another young black intervened and ended up sending four cops to the hospital, three of them on stretchers. Hundreds of onlookers cheered the valiant resistance to police racism.

As many blacks have found out, simply living in the Central Area warrants police harassment such as being pulled over and searched with guns drawn under pretexts such as bogus traffic violations or suspicion of being a criminal, etc.

And then there are the murderous raids on crack houses. The visit of one user of drugs on the say-so of an informant is enough to declare someone's home a "crack house." The police gangs crash in with guns blazing. That's why two Black workers are dead, one of them guilty of holding a television remote control in his hand. Neither had possession of any drugs.

In other cities the "crackdown" is as bad or worse. For example the Los Angeles Police Department carried out "Operation Hammer" in April of 1988. One thousand cops swept through Latino and Black ghettos battering down doors and searching youth at gunpoint. 1453 people were arrested but only 10 to 15 people were charged with serious offenses.

Eight Years of Retrogression for Black Working People

The systematic strengthening of police repression of Blacks illustrates that the real motive of government's war is not pious concern about drug abuse. No, they are concerned about the explosive situation that is building up in the Black communities.

The Reagan years have driven down the conditions of Black working and poor people. On the one hand, cutbacks in housing, education, welfare, medicare, etc, have hit Blacks disproportionately hard. On the other hand, the discrimination against Blacks has increased in many spheres. Blacks have been hit hardest with industrial layoffs and have found the least new jobs. The spreading of two-tier labor contracts has often been coupled with the holding of Black and Asian workers in the lower wage and benefit categories. New studies of housing discrimination show that in many cities, where Blacks are moving into suburbs, these neighborhoods are even more segregated than the central cities. (Wall Street Journal, 11-23-88)

In most cities, the old Jim Crow separate school system has been at least partially integrated. (Of the 67 Seattle elementary schools, 35 have been integrated, 25 are arbitrarily exempt from busing and remain segregated, 21 of these schools are in white neighborhoods.) But integration hasn't stopped the discrimination. The Seattle public schools are a perfect example of how, using methods including segregated classrooms (Horizon, remedial programs, etc.), the old tracking system is directed against the Black students. Factors such as oversize classes and bare-bones curriculum also devastate the education of Black students. Instead of drawing the Black students into the educational process, the school district finds it cheaper to bring down discipline on those who are bored with the situation. And higher education is within reach of fewer and fewer Black youth.

The overall racist offensive is also reflected in various government statistics. In 1987, the official poverty rate among whites dropped from 11% to 10.5%. Among Blacks, it rose from 31.1% to 33.1% (Wall Street Journal, 9-1-88) At the beginning of 1988, the median income for all Blacks was 58% of that of whites, the same per cent as in 1968. But the income of the upper 20% of blacks has risen since 1968, while that of the lower 80% has fallen. (Wall Street Journal, 2-26-88) Between 1984 and 1986, the life expectancy of whites remained at 75.4 years, while for Blacks it fell from 69.7 to 69.4 (Seattle Times, 12-15-88) In most Black communities, the economic situation among Black working people is.."worse today than it was in the 1960's.

The top government officials know full well that a powerful revolt is building up among Black working people against their deteriorating conditions. That's the reason they are pushing hysteria about drugs and gangs, Willie Horton, etc., and are unleashing the police in the Black communities. They want the repressive apparatus in place and tuned up to counter any militant movement among Blacks.

The war on drugs is a convenient cover for strengthening the police apparatus against Blacks. But this policy predates the drug crusade. For example, since 1980 Royer has built two new police stations in the Black community (Capital Hill and Holly Park), in addition to the one downtown.

Most white youth also face a dismal future. The government fears them too and is using the war on drugs as a pretext for attack. For example, police swept through the University District last fall and arrested over a hundred youth. The fierce battle against police repression at Gorilla Gardens gave a glimpse of the potential resistance of youth.

What is the Stand of Certain "Community Leaders" Towards the Police?

On December 13, Seattle Police chief Fitzsimons met with Seattle NAACP president Lacy Steele, Mt. Zion Rev. Sam McKinney and chairman of the NAACP task force on drug abuse and prostitution, Oscar Eason. Fitzsimons outlined his latest ID scheme for fighting "gangs."

After the meeting, Mr. Eason met with reporters and made radio broadcasts supporting the fascist ID plan. Eason again went on the radio after the Bickerstaff incident, saying that the police were "only doing their job".

Following the Nazi skinhead murder of an Ethiopian man in Portland last November, the same Mr. Eason told Seattle protesters that, "we must love the skinheads." (speech at University of Washington, Nov. 18, 1988) The antics of Oscar Eason show that the upper class Black sellouts, in a rush to accommodate themselves to the white racist power structure, are willing to support the most racist police abuse of Black working people.

Lacy Steele and Rev. McKinney quickly sought to disassociate themselves from Eason. Rev. McKinney, for example, issued a statement, declaring that he supported the war on drugs as long as the police carried it out legally, but that he would not support "passcards for Black citizens and poor folk" and "gestapo like tactics...that can be utilized by a 'Clint Eastwood' mentality of some police." McKinney added, "Chief Fitzsimons said he would (not tolerate this among his officers." (The Medium, 12-2-88)

Rev. McKinney advocates a war on drugs by the Seattle Police Department that is done legally and is not racist. But the experience of the last three years has shown that this is an impossible dream.

Certainly the stranglers of Riley Frost and executioners of John Rodney and Robert Baldwin have a "Clint Eastwood" mentality. But the problem does not end there. For example, what difference does the attitude of a cop make when he is sent crashing in the doors of workers' homes with guns drawn? The police murders of William Tucker and Ernie Bascomb were perpetrated not only by the cops who pulled the triggers, but also by the smooth-talking liberals downtown who gave the orders for the murderous raids. Fitzsimons and Royer send the Clint Eastwoods out to do the dirty work. Then they smile for the reporters and talk nice to the Black leaders.

The liberal Democrats may prefer some different type of war on drugs. But it doesn't work that way in the real world. As soon as one adopts a "lock 'em all up" attitude toward the drug problem and gives the green light to the police agencies, then Blacks and other working people become the target of the war.

For the last three years the Black sellouts have supported the government's war on drugs. Take a look at state representative Jesse Wineberry's anti-drug bill, for example. SHB 1445 consists entirely of provisions to strengthen police powers. Wineberry boasts of changing the law so that if any minor is convicted of a drug violation he will lose his driver's license. Now a youth busted for a joint will be punished by not allowing him to drive to work. What a brilliant plan for pushing young people towards the drug underworld of crime and despair!

Wineberry claims that the legislature also dealt with the "human side" to the drug problem by funding treatment programs. On yes, the legislators were so generous with this that the funds have already run out and the program is being shut down.

The establishment Black leaders are fully aware of the inevitable results of their support for the police "clean up" of the Black communities. A letter to the editor of The Facts hit the nail on the head when it stated that the "Black so-called leaders...are more dangerous to us than the Crips and Bloods."' (12-21-88) The stands of these leaders stem from the class differences in the Black community. The Oscar Easons and Jesse Wineberrys represent the outlook and interests of the Black bourgeoisie. This class has not only grown comfortable, but it looks for continued business expansion through government contracts and other deals with the white racist power structure. That's the dollars and cents basis for their growing accommodation. That's the real logic behind Jesse Jackson's seemingly insane suggestion that after eight years of Reagan, Bush might "reach out" to minorities. Of course, Bush's arm will not reach any farther than the black bourgeoisie.

Militant organization is needed to deal with police violence and all other forms of racism. With organization, the Black liberation struggle can be built despite the vacillation of the liberal bigshots. With organization, the anti-racist sentiment among Black, Asian and white working people can be tapped into and brought out in a political movement.

Unite to smash police repression!

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Incredible hypocrisy of the top anti-drug crusaders

The following article is also from the Jan. 16 leaflet of the Revolutionary Action Group and the MLP-Seattle:


At the same time as drug use is being piously condemned by practically every U.S. official, the CIA backed by Reagan, Bush and Oliver North, have been aiding the importation of cocaine into this country in. order to supply the Nicaraguan contras with weapons. This occurred especially during the two-year ban on U.S. aid. Evidence of this includes statements from numerous ex-drug smugglers about how they were allowed to use U.S. military bases for importing drugs into the U.S., and/or were given information about DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] surveillance patterns in exchange for delivering weapons to the contras.

CIA drug-running for the purpose of funding illegal wars is not a new tactic. From 1948 on, American intelligence activities in the "Golden Triangle" (parts of Burma, Thailand and Laos) were intertwined with the opium trade. Local military forces trained and equipped by the CIA were also opium growers, refiners, and traffickers. The CIA also used its own planes to transport opium for their client strongmen. Of course, heroin produced in the "Golden Triangle" with the help of the CIA ended up in the United States, helping to create a heroin epidemic which left thousands dead on the streets of New York, Detroit, and Los Angeles.

It is obvious from their history of supporting the importation of drugs into this country that the establishment's "War on Drugs" and tough talk against drug gangs is just for show. If they really wanted to stop the crack gangs, there is a lot they could do. In the 1930s to put an end to the alcohol smuggling activities of gangs such as Al Capone's, alcohol was legalized. Why could there not be government-administration of certain drugs for the sake of treatment and rehabilitation? But today, government methadone programs to deal with heroin addiction are starved for funds. And the establishment has shown no intention of setting up similar programs to undermine the crack gangs and bring cocaine addiction under control.

No, there are too much profits to be made; too much secret money to be raised for funding foreign military adventures. Besides, the ruling class finds it in their interests for poor people to be doped-up, and for drug abuse to be used as a pretext for police repression.

What is the Source of Drug Addiction and the Drug Rings

Behind the drug problem lies factors such as the increasing poverty and unemployment among sections of the urban population; the gutting of public education and skyrocketing college tuition; the stress induced by increased overtime, production pace and harassment of workers on the job; etc. Drugs are used by some as an escape from a hopeless situation. As well, drug rings have become major employers of jobless teenagers in the inner cities.

It is nonsense to talk of a war on drugs and gangs without fighting the ocean of hopelessness in the cities. Yet the politicians, big time preachers, management executives, school administrators, cops and other righteous anti-drug crusaders never make this connection. And no wonder. The miserable social conditions that people want to escape from have been exacerbated by the economic policies since 1980. The rich owners of the big corporations and the entire bourgeois establishment has been living the good life based on the increasing misery of millions. A "war on drugs" coming from this establishment will never really aim at solving the drug problem since they are the cause of it.

Drug addiction and especially the crime and criminal elements associated with it cause many hardships for working and poor people. The government's anti-drug crusade uses this fact to try to hide the guilt of the business establishment in causing the drug problem and instead to incite people against each other. The campaigns seek to incite people against particular races, age groups and "anyone looking suspicious."

Moreover, drugs and crime are one small part of the overall decay of U.S. society. Environmental poisoning, homelessness, infant mortality, plant closings, racist attacks, foreign military adventures, etc., are all on the rise. The anti-drug crusade seeks to divert attention from this reality by instilling an emotional focus on drug users and small time criminals as the main source of problems. It is natural for working people to want to deal with the source of their troubles--but that source is big business and the government.

No amount of murderous raids, mass arrests or stuffed jails will ever solve the problem of drug abuse as long as the rotting social conditions remain. The elimination of the plague of drug abuse will only take place in connection with struggle against the racism, police brutality and all the oppressive conditions. The immediate situation is that U.S. capitalism is rotting alive, and the only future for most youth lies in taking up political activism and the development of a mass movement. This is the real alternative to the stultifying social order, compared to drugs and other phoney alternatives.

In the long run, the class struggle is the necessary preparation for workers' socialism--where the working class takes power and employs all in meaningful work to meet the needs of working people. Socialism will completely eliminate the economic and social conditions that give rise to drug addiction.

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Michigan NOW issues statement denouncing "direct confrontation"

NOW vs. the pro-choice militants

The liberal bourgeois leaders of NOW are dead set against any militant resistance to the anti-abortion fanatics of Operation Rescue. All across the country the NOW higher-ups have done their best to prevent the holy hypocrites of Operation Rescue from being confronted by masses of angry people. The Michigan leadership of NOW has gone so far as to issue a disgusting statement on Jan. 21 that denounced the progressive masses up and down and blamed them for the violence at Michigan abortion clinics.

This statement brings into the open the sabotaging role of NOW against the mass movement. It illustrates that the NOW higher-ups are doing their best not to mobilize opposition to Operation Rescue (OR), but to keep people from anti-OR demonstrations. Even some local Michigan chapters of NOW wanted to participate in opposing OR, but the Michigan NOW leaders headed it off.

According to the NOW leaders, the only role for the people is to hide when OR comes to town and to humbly petition the police. NOW goes so far as to say that anyone who disagrees isn't really pro-choice.

The liberal leaders of NOW are afraid to do anything that alienates the bourgeoisie. This is why they make sure to reassure the bourgeoisie, as the first thing in their statement, that they are against any name with the word "revolutionary" or "communist" in it. NOW'S leadership follows the line of winning positions for the higher strata of women among the bourgeoisie. And so they take upon themselves the role of ensuring bourgeois domination over the women's movement and over the struggle for women's rights.

Their class stand was also seen in the recent campaign in Michigan against a proposal to restrict state funding of abortions. The liberal leaders waged a big TV campaign with ads on the theme of saving all the money paid to raise welfare kids. They appealed not to the defense of democratic rights but to bourgeois prejudice against spending money on the poor. The anti-abortion measure passed.

The NOW leaders also appeal to the bourgeois catchphrase of "non-violence". They are against offering mass resistance to OR, and instead claim that the police will protect women's rights. For them, as for all respectable bourgeois, the use of the police and courts, the tools of capitalist violence, is "non-violence". On the other hand, resistance to the oppressors is, for them, illegitimate violence. But to rely on the police is to give the bourgeoisie the right to organize the OR fanatics as shock troops, to be kept gently in line by the police when they go a bit too far or too fast.

The very tone of the statement of Jan. 21 shows the utter viciousness of the liberal bourgeois leaders of NOW. They denounce those who put themselves on the line against OR as being not really pro-choice, as betrayers of Michigan women, etc. It makes clear that the development of a militant mass movement requires active struggle against the sabotaging activities of the NOW leadership.

In the Committee to Defend Abortion Rights, the reformist left which dominates this coalition naturally criticized NOW'S statement. Nevertheless many of the groups in this reformist left still wanted to conciliate NOW or, particularly in the case of various Trotskyists, the labor bureaucrats. But the criticism of the liberal NOW leadership means little if there is no spirit to stand up and develop a militant trend independent of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois liberals.

The following statement was released by the Michigan Conference of the National Organization for Women (NOW) on January 21, 1989:

MICHIGAN NOW DENOUNCES VIOLENCE AT ABORTION CLINICS [IN] DETROIT: The Michigan Conference of the National Organization for Women (NOW) joined with other pro-choice and feminist organizations in the state today in denouncing the actions of the Committee to Defend Abortion Rights.

The Committee is composed of a coalition of groups, such as the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, the Revolutionary. Socialist League and the Revolutionary Workers League. Several of the other organizations that the Committee claims as members, such as UAW Local 600 and the Michigan Organization for Human Rights, deny any affiliation with the group. Still others say that the group has misrepresented their purpose and that they will withdraw their support from any future actions by the Committee.

The Committee to Defend Abortion Rights intends to counter the efforts of Operation Rescue through direct confrontation to prevent Operation Rescue participants from blocking entrances to Detroit-area abortion clinics this morning. Operation Rescue has received national attention for their surprise sit-ins at abortion clinics around the country, and confrontations with police in Atlanta and other cities have resulted in numerous arrests.

"Pro-choice organizations in Michigan and around the country carry out their work through peaceful and nonviolent actions," National NOW Board member Marian McCracken said. "The confrontational tactics of the Committee to Defend Abortion Rights, on the other hand, are deplorable, and we are appalled by their actions. They definitely do not represent the pro-choice movement."

Longtime NOW activist Carol King said the Committee to Defend Abortion Rights has an agenda far removed from that of protecting the right of a woman to choose to end a pregnancy. "These people are seeking publicity, and they consider this a prime opportunity to recruit new members into their ranks. They are obscuring the issue and betraying the Michigan women who have a genuine interest in preserving the right to choice," King said.

Michigan NOW President Madeline Hansen said NOW and other like-minded feminist organizations have a long history of denouncing violence of any kind. Over the past six months, National NOW has fought for, and obtained, injunctions to bar Operation Rescue from interfering with the services provided by abortion clinics in several U.S. cities.

"Abortion is legal in this country, and it is the responsibility of law enforcement officials to deal with Operation Rescue participants and others who try to prevent a Woman from obtaining an abortion or other medical services by blocking the entrance to a clinic, bombing it, or undertaking other clearly illegal atrocities," Hansen said.

NOW and other pro-choice groups will rally today at 1 P.M. on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing to commemorate the 16th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

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Last year, the world was again witness to the horror of chemical weapons. The fascist Iraqi regime used poison gas to massacre thousands of Kurdish people.

An international conference on chemical weapons was held in Paris, January 7-11. But did this meeting deal with Iraq's use of chemical weapons against the Kurds? No.

Kurdish representatives weren't allowed to attend on the grounds that the meeting was only open to governments. Kurdish refugees did demonstrate in Paris, but the French government did not allow them near the conference.

The Paris conference was a typical United Nations-style gathering which overflowed with empty phrases. More than anything else, it was a platform for shameless hypocrisy by the big imperialist powers, especially the U.S. government.

Washington's Latest Crusade

Secretary of State Shultz railed in Paris against chemical weapons. For several months now, the White House has been trying to appear as the biggest crusader against chemical weapons.

There was plenty of empty talk from the U.S. delegation about "completely banning" chemical weapons. However the U.S. stressed that the problem today isn't chemical weapons per se but such weapons in what it considers to be the wrong hands. The U.S. turned the Paris conference into a pulpit for its crusade that chemical weapons in the hands of the U.S. and its allies are OK, but they shouldn't be allowed into "irresponsible" hands.

Shultz said that the prospect that countries "with histories of the conduct of terrorist violence" may gain access to chemical weapons was a "nightmare for us all," This was a reference to Libya and other countries that Washington considers to be sponsors of "international terrorism," What the U.S. means by this is not mainly Libya, but those governments it doesn't control.

The U.S. campaign is sheer hypocrisy. Are the U.S. and its allies the "responsible" people that they make themselves out to be?

Remember Agent Orange!

Today more than 20 countries have stockpiles of chemical weapons. The U.S. is at the top of the list. It has considerable stockpiles of some of the deadliest chemicals around. And it is also manufacturing more chemical weapons. Besides, U.S. imperialism has also used chemical warfare on a big scale in recent decades.

In Viet Nam, the Pentagon dumped thousands of tons of poisonous dioxins in the form of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange, This chemical not only destroyed much of the ecology of Viet Nam but it also sickened and killed tens of thousands of Vietnamese people. It also infected thousands of American GI's.

In 1969 the U.S. government temporarily stopped making chemical weapons claiming that it had enough stockpiled. The Reagan administration revived the manufacture of chemical weapons. While in 1983 chemical-related military spending stood at $597 million, this doubled by 1988. The revival of chemical weapons under Reagan has included a new generation of "binary weapons." These are made from two different chemicals, which are kept separate until they are ready to be actually used. They are supposedly "safer," that is, to those who handle them. In other words, they are a more efficient form of chemical warfare.

Given this dirty record, it is obscene for the U.S. government to claim to be a crusader against chemical weapons.

The Other Stalwarts of Purity

The French government, which hosted the Paris conference, was another big hypocrite at the gathering. In 1986, France included a new chemical weapons program in its military planning law. Indeed, throughout the 1980,s the French social-democratic government has been in step with the Reaganite White House in escalating war preparations.

And in the Iraqi case too, the Western imperialists were not the paragons of innocence that they make themselves out to be. Both France and the U.S. were backing up Iraq, last year in the Persian Gulf war. France has supplied Iraq with billions of dollars of weapons. As well, Iraq set up its chemical weapons operations with technology supplied by corporations from West Germany. Scores of capitalist corporations and regimes pocketed-big bucks in the dirty profits they made out of arms sales to both sides in the Iran-Iraq war. This included the state-capitalist rulers of Moscow, who have yet to say one word of criticism of Iraq for its barbarous attacks on the Kurds.

Those who rule in Washington, London, Paris and Bonn pose as the standard-bearers of "civilization" and "humanitarianism." Moscow poses as the defender of the oppressed peoples. But the truth is different. When it comes to instruments of mass destruction, the imperialist powers of the U.S., Europe and Russia, are among the biggest criminals. The reactionary "third world" regimes who stockpile and use chemical weapons do it with the direct or indirect backing of the big powers.

To Fight Chemical Weapons, Fight Against Capitalist Militarism!

Chemical weapons are not the product of some nut somewhere, but the result of modern capitalist "civilization." They are produced by the big chemical monopolies. modern capitalism created poison gas warfare, which was first widely used in the slaughter of World War I. Hitler, the fascist tyrant installed by German capitalism, used poison gas to murder Jews, communists, Poles, etc.

Chemical weapons are a hideous method of mass slaughter. But, as with nuclear weapons and other forms of militarist barbarism, we cannot expect capitalism to solve this problem. It will not be eliminated by some gathering of capitalist states.

No, mass outrage against chemical warfare must be used to build up the struggle towards the overthrow of the capitalist system that spawns such hideous forms of mass killing.

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On January 4, the U.S. Navy shot down two Libyan planes. The Pentagon claims the Libyans were planning to attack U.S. planes which were in the midst of "routine exercises" in the Mediterranean. The U.S. government justified the shootdown as "self-defense."

But it wasn't the Libyans who parked their warships off the California coast. It was the U.S. armada which had massed just outside Libya. The talk of "routine exercises" is malarkey. These exercises were carried out in the midst of a big propaganda blitz against Libya. In mid-December, Reagan openly declared on TV that he was considering plans to bomb Libya again.

The latest shootdown did not end up escalating into a new bombing run over Libya. Washington tested the waters and apparently did not get sufficient support from the European NATO governments. But the latest campaign against Libya was useful at home to influence public opinion in favor of U.S. military force against foreign peoples.

On the Hysteria Over "Chemical Weapons"

The White House justified its recent military threats against Libya with the claim that the Libyans are building a chemical weapons plant.

The U.S. pointing the finger at Libya over chemical weapons is the height of hypocrisy. The U.S. has one of the biggest chemical warfare arsenals in the world today.

We don't know if the Libyans are building a chemical weapons plant. The U.S. evidence for this claim is pretty thin. All they show is that Libya is building a chemical or pharmaceutical factory.

It is true that a major, modern chemical factory can be turned into chemical weapons production. And it can't be ruled out that Libya may be building up chemical weapons capability The Qadhafi regime isn't a revolutionary government of the people; its a military-based, bourgeois nationalist regime. While economic conditions for Libyans are better than they were under the former monarchy, the Qadhafi regime is despotic and it also has its own expansionist interests, especially in North Africa. Other militarist, nationalist regimes similar to Libya have used chemical weapons against peoples they wanted to subjugate. The Iraqi use of poison gas against the Kurds is the most recent example.

If Libya is building a chemical weapons plant, the workers should condemn it. This would be a crime against the people for which the Libyan working people must take the Qadhafi regime to task.

No to Imperialism!

However, the U.S. face-off with Libya has little to do with chemical weapons. It has more to do with demonstrating who's got the biggest stick in the world today. Qadhafi's regime remains linked with world imperialism and right now it is trying to improve its Western ties. It has made peace with Western Europe, but the deal has not yet been consummated with Washington. George Bush was part of the Reagan administration's campaign against Libya, and he has supported the latest aggression. So have the Democrats. Don't think that with Reagan gone, U.S. bullying abroad will stop. Far from the U.S. turning into a "gentler, kinder" world power U.S. imperialism remains aggressive against the peoples of the world.

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On the Chicago mayoral primary: To hell with backroom politics for the spoils of office


Reprinted from the Jan. 5 issue of Chicago Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-Chicago:


Mayoral elections are upon us again. For a while, there were so many candidates running that the mayoral elections seemed to be the new growth industry for Chicago. This campaign has been a cesspool of backroom politics. Mayor Sawyer and Tim Evans are accusing Rich Daley of using fraudulent petitions in his move to have a nonpartisan mayoral ballot (so that he or one of his cronies could be elected more easily). Daley's office is avoiding any thorough investigation of the petitions. Timothy Evans has pulled out of the Democratic primary so that he will not have to face both Eugene Sawyer and Richard Daley at the same time. Meanwhile Evans, and Sawyer argue over who is the real Harold Washington heir.

It's hard to find any discussion about the issues that concern the working people in Chicago. There is little difference on the issues between Daley, Sawyer, Evans or Soliz. The candidates' discussions center on who is going to get what percentage of the vote in various communities (trying to split the white, Black and Latino communities among themselves). There is an issue behind all this hoopla. It is--who is going to get their friends into lucrative jobs? Who will get their cronies lucrative city contracts? The working class is being treated to a spectacle of fighting over the spoils of office.

Occasionally some candidates mention the very real problems of education, homelessness, infant mortality or AIDs. But this is only to blow smoke in the eyes of the masses. None of them have any real program to deal with these problems.

There are real issues facing working people. We need to fight the capitalist offensive against the working class. For the last eight years this offensive has gone under the banner of Reaganism. It will continue under Reagan's right-hand man George Bush.

What has this offensive meant? It has meant hard times. Real wages are falling. Factories are closing down right and left. Social welfare benefits (never very great) have been cut and cut some more. In the Chicago area, Campbell's Soup Co. closed last fall. Rheem, Stewart-Wamer, GM are threatening to close. There are almost 40,000 homeless in Chicago. Meanwhile Reagan says that people sleep out in the cold because they want to.

Education and health care are deteriorating. It is no secret that the situation in the Chicago public schools is atrocious. St. Anne's. Provident, Henrotin, and Chicago Center hospitals have all closed in the last few years.

Changes in federal Medicare payments mean that more inner-city hospitals will close.

Racism is on the rise with official encouragement from Reaganism. The U.S. government has given money to private segregationist academies. It is officially approving the ending of affirmative action. Chicago is one of the moist segregated major U.S. cities. In Chicago racist gangs and racist police attacks flourish. Segregated neighborhoods are maintained by terror attacks. In Uptown, Mount Greenwood, Melrose Park and other neighborhoods, racist gangs have attacked Blacks, Latinos and other minorities.

There is an anti-immigrant offensive. A year and a half ago The Simpson-Rodino law went into effect. Low wages, back breaking work and even further deterioration of conditions for the immigrant has been the result. Even government reports admit that job discrimination and other forms of racism are growing against anyone who looks "foreign", especially Hispanics.

Imperialist exploitation and aggression continues against the working masses of other countries. In El Salvador,Nicaragua, the Persian Gulf, and South Africa, U.S. imperialism backs up the most reactionary regimes. It exploits the working masses of those countries and threatens them with aggression, while it squeezes the working class in the U.S. for more taxes and soldiers for its army.

There has been struggle against this capitalist offensive. There have been demonstrations against Simpson-Rodino and deportation raids. Protests against racist attacks and racist gangs like the KKK and skinheads have been held in Chicago, and other cities. Last summer, in Perth Amboy, N.J. file masses fought the police as they took to the streets to protest the police murder of a young Latino worker. Strikes, protests against plant closings, and demonstrations demanding housing for the homeless have taken place in some cities. This kind of movement is what needs to be organized more widely and made stronger.

None of the candidates in the election are for such a fight. The Republicans certainly are not, nor are the Democrats. One of the candidates in the Republican primary Arthur Jones, is actually a member of the American Nazi Party! And what about Richard Daley, who is the son of the late Mayor Daley. His father was notorious for racism in city hiring and for the attacks against Martin Luther King's demonstrations against segregation. Following in his fathers' footsteps, Richard Daley wants to get rid of affirmative action in city hiring. Eugene Sawyer maneuvered with Alderman Burke and other forces of the old racist Daley machine in order to get elected acting mayor. It is the Sawyer-appointed head of the CHA [Chicago Housing Authority] board who is carrying out massive police raids and harassment of CHA residents, Alderman Soliz's history of wheeling-dealing and switching alliances is amazing even by Chicago standards. His answer to raising money for the city budget is to legalize gambling on Navy Pier. Alderman Evans, now running as an independent, is trying to cloak himself in the mantle of reform without having any reform program.

It isn't strange that these candidates have no plan to fight the serious problems facing the masses. Sometimes the Chicago Democratic party may seem unique in its bankruptcy. However, it is right in line with national Democratic Party politics. The Democratic Party as a whole is for Reaganism. In fact, this Party is just the other face of Reaganism. The Democratic-controlled Congress has voted for Reagan's cuts in social programs. It voted for aid to the contras. It passed the Simpson-Rodino law.

We can have no faith in the Democratic or Republican Parties. We need struggle and organization to fight against the rich Reaganite offensive. We have no need for the bourgeois politicians and their backroom deals. We need to end the rule of the capitalists and their politicians. We workers and poor should control the natural resources, the factories, banks, and government. Then we can make these things serve the interests of the workers and poor; and not the interests of the rich. To put an end once and for all to the wars, unemployment, homelessness, illiteracy and poverty that hangs over the workers and the poor in the U.S., we need Socialism.

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Why we are picketing today:


On Feb. 8, one of the coldest days in the year, a picket was held in front of the Fort Street General Mail Facility which is the divisional headquarters for the Detroit metro area, including Royal Oak. The following appeal is from the Feb. 8 issue of Detroit Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-Detroit. This issue also contained the article "What is the Detroit Workers' Voice?"


Management harassment and abuse-nearly every postal worker has felt it.

But one young black letter carrier, by the name of Mark Mitchell, has felt the whip of management harassment especially fiercely

In late October, a despised 204B named Dave Lemer was put in charge of Mark's unit at the Royal Oak Post Office. Lemer singled out Mark and a few other carriers for particular harassment. On October 25 Mark had had his fill of this abuse. He attempted to leave the station. Lemer grabbed him, Mark defended himself.

For this Mark was severely punished. He was first suspended, then terminated in December. He was charged with felonious assault. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.

But Lemer has been rewarded. Almost continuously since the incident Lemer has enjoyed the position of afternoon supervisor at Royal Oak.

These facts show that USPS [U.S. Postal Service] management endorses Lerner's methods. They are unmoved by the mountains of grievances against Lemer which had accumulated for months at Royal Oak, Madison Heights and Rochester. Grievances which document his crimes, including sexual harassment, against letter carriers. Why is management unmoved? Because harassment is one of their methods to drive the workers to work harder and faster, to create more profits for this so-called "service" agency.

But postal workers in the metro Detroit area have taken Mark's cause to heart. They see that his fight is their fight, that the defense of Mark against harassment is the, defense of all postal workers against harassment.

Much has been done so far: Carriers wrote statements exposing Lemer's treatment of the workers. They signed, petitions holding management responsible for the entire incident. They have several times raised money to help mark, who is without a job.

And more: Detroit Workers' Voice publicized Mark's story and spread it to facilities across the metro area. Then workers passed it on to their friends and relatives at other facilities. DWV distributed buttons at Royal Oak declaring: "No to Harassment! Reinstate Mark Mitchell!" A number of carriers boldly wore them in the office. Then the buttons also spread-from Royal Oak to Madison Hts., Rochester and Birmingham, to Detroit stations and the Bulk Mail Center. And now workers at various facilities are circulating petitions of support for Mark, demanding his reinstatement.

This fight must continue and build. Today we are picketing at Detroit Division headquarters in support of Mark. Take the word of his struggle to your co-workers and friends. Circulate the petitions and wear the buttons.

Come support Mark at his trial on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 8:30 aim., at the Oakland County Courthouse, 1200 N. Telegraph Rd., Pontiac. (Judge Hilda Gage)

Great strength lies in the workers' solidarity and joint action. We must continue the struggle till Mark is reinstated. A victory for Mark will be a victory for all postal workers!

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At the Fort Street General Mail Facility in Detroit:


From the Jan. 26 issue of Detroit Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-Detroit:


NTEs (casuals) in the OCR dept, at the Fort St. GMF are being subjected to increased abuse by postal management. But they aren't' taking it quietly. Recently they protested as a group and compelled management to call a special service meeting with them. So far, management has continually delayed the meeting, hoping to weaken the NTEs' determination.

One of management's outrages against the NTEs has to do with starting time. The NTEs are scheduled to report to work at 3:30 p.m., then frequently ordered to sit in the break area until 5 p.m. without pay. The later ending time at 1:30/2:00 a.m. means waiting on the streets for buses even later into the night and also interferes with the schedules of those who have school the next day Due to the NTEs' mass opposition, management has had to cut down this practice.

Of late, mandatory overtime is often being assigned at the end of the day But the NTEs will not tolerate this abuse and many punch out anyway.

The stepped-up production drive currently going on in the OCR dept, is being accompanied by an increase in harassment. Supervisors have been given the go-ahead to harangue workers while on the job. The NTEs are more readily singled out since they have no official rights.

The NTEs' struggle against this mistreatment is entirely just.

The fight of the NTEs is being backed up by career employees in the OCR dept, who are themselves no strangers to management's harassment and overwork. Career employees are circulating a petition to support the NTEs' struggle. Solidarity between career employees and NTEs is an important development. The Post Office tries to split them up, in order to best exploit them. To fight back, workers have to unite.

The Detroit Workers' Voice supports the protest of the NTEs against harassment and worsening working conditions and encourages all postal workers to stand united in support of the struggle of the NTEs.

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Reprinted from the Jan. 10 issue of New York Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-New York, which also contained the article "No to U.S. warmongering against Libya!":


With the change to new owners (Acco) at Swingline, the brutal exploitation suffered by the workers at the hands of The company has not shown any signs of abating. On the contrary, we see that the new owners are applying themselves quite intently in stepping up this criminal exploitation. Production quotas at the assembly lines are hellish. Line 711, for example, used to make 1,800 to 1,900 machines per day until recently. Now the supervisors are demanding a production of 2,200 between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

In order to maintain this fiendish production rate, management has been introducing "innovations". One of them is job combinations. A worker is no longer responsible for only one job. If before he or she used to place springs in the machines, now they have to put glue and a coating besides the spring. In packing, people are doing two jobs instead of one. In Assembly, there are lines where even three jobs are assigned to a single worker.

These bourgeois "advances" have been accompanied by an increase in repression against the workers. Obviously the workers are not about to kill themselves so that the bosses may line their pockets with gold. The new production rates have already had bloody consequences: a woman worker cut her finger when she was forced to do two jobs. Workers are threatened with suspension if they don't fulfill production quotas. They are given written warnings. They are shouted at. The supervisors and foremen, management's running dogs, have become extremely arrogant.

But the wonders of the bourgeois world do not end here. Technology, always in the service of "progress" in capitalist society, has not forgotten Swingline. Now the company has been introducing robots in the assembly lines. At least three lines have been closed down to be replaced by these new machines.

This technology, instead of being utilized to ease and lighten the job of the worker, goes hand in hand with an intensification of work and repression against the workers. And that is not all. Many workers have been forced to withdraw from the company thanks to a dirty trick on the part of management: people who had been hired to work day shifts are transferred to nights. This way Swingline forces a number of people to leave their jobs without itself having to pay any unemployment, while at the same time it gets rid of what it considers superfluous workforce which has now been replaced by new machines.

Reagan claims that his government has brought about an "unprecedented economic recovery," that there is "great prosperity in America." Where is this prosperity for Swingline workers? It is a farce. A lie. Reagan's prosperity has been a shower of gold for the rich. But for the workers it has meant speedups, job combinations, repression and dangerous working conditions. This is capitalism.

The frustration, indignation and anger felt by Swingline workers is not something isolated or peculiar. Workers in transit, the postal service, auto, steel, in factories far and wide across the country, are feeling this same anger and hate against exploitation, against the abuses committed by the capitalists. The day will come when this indignation shall explode in a great torrent of struggle which will wipe' this capitalist system of exploitation off the face of the earth and will establish the rule of the workers, socialism.

Swingline workers are tired of the abuses at the factory. But what can be done to change this situation? Certainly the sell-out trade union "leaders" of Local 808, so used to belly-crawling before management, are not any help. It is on our own mass action and our own independent' organization that we workers must rely upon. We must unite with our fellow workers in the various production lines in order to organize our resistance. We must discuss the possibility of organizing slow-downs or other forms of opposing the attacks of the company.



The speeches on socialism at the Third Congress of the MLP,USA referred to the party-wide study program on the Marxist-Leninist principles of socialism, Below we reproduce the syllabus of study followed in the first part of this study. The numbering does not reflect the length of study, with most divisions requiring a number of study sessions.

1) From the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels:

Ch. II: "Proletarians and Communists"

Ch. Ill: "Socialist and Communist Literature"

2) From Engels' Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Ch. Ill

3) On the Paris Commune

From Marx's The Civil War in France

The introduction by Engels

The first and second address of the General Council of the International Working Men's Association on the Franco-Prussian War

The address of the General Council "The Civil War in France"

Additional reference material:

Lenin's State and Revolution, in particular Ch. Ill and Ch. IV Sec. 5, which discuss the views of Marx and Engels on the Commune.

Some historical notes based on material from Frank Jellinek's book The Paris Commune of 1871.

4) Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program

And Lenin's State and Revolution Ch. V, which elaborates on Marx's Critique.

5) On transitional measures and the October 1917 socialist revolution

Lenin's Can the Bolsheviks Retain State Power?, end of September-October 1917

Also suggested, Lenin's The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat It, September 1917

6) From the immediate post-October period

Three articles by Lenin.

The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government, March-April 1918

Economics and Politics in the Era of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, October 30, 1919

A Great Beginning, July 1919

7) Lenin's views on the revision of the Bolshevik Party program

Preface to the pamphlet "Materials relating to the revision of the party program", April-May 1917. This was written between the February and October revolutions.

Report on the review of the program and on changing fire name of the party, March 1918. It was delivered at the Seventh Party Congress. It deals, among other things, with the controversy with Bukharin over how to describe capitalism during the period of imperialism.

Resolution on changing the name of the party and the party program, which-was adopted by the Seventh Congress of the RCP(B), March 1918

Proposal regarding the revision of the program of the party at the Seventh Congress, March 1918

Rough draft of the program of the R.C.P., March 1919

Report on the party program, March 1919, which is a report to the Eighth Congress of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Among other things, it goes into the controversies with Bukharin on imperialism and self-determination.

Speech closing the debate on the party program, which was the reply to the discussion at the eighth congress, March 1919.

8) The Program of the Russian Communist Party (Bolsheviks) adopted by the Eighth Congress in 1919 during the period of "war communism".

A possible supplementary work on the RCP(B)'s 1919 program is The ABCs of Communism, by Bukharin and Preobrazhensky. This is a commentary on the 1919 program. It was used by the Bolshevik party after the new program was released, as a means for mass public education on the program. While there appear to be some traces of the particular views of Bukharin, in the main it seems to be based on the party's program and not Bukharin's and Preobrazhensky's opinions.

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From the Third Congress of the MLP,USA Fall 1988

Below is a partial summary of the discussion at the Congress following the speech on the stage of work on socialism (see "It Falls to the Communist Party to Deepen and Extend Socialist Consciousness" in the Dec. 20 issue of the Supplement for part of this speech itself). This discussion mainly raised various additional or supplemental issues. Statements on the same subject have been placed together. As well, statements have been edited or, sometimes, summarized. This is not just for clarity and brevity, but also because the transcription apparatus at the Congress was, unfortunately, quite unsatisfactory, especially for statements from the floor, and there were gaps in the record of most statements, some of which were almost entirely lost. Nevertheless, we did our best to preserve the original meaning. We extend our apologies in advance to any comrade whose remarks end up presented incompletely or inaccurately.

As well, it can be borne in mind that comrades speaking did not have the opportunity to rewrite their statements for the better comprehension of a broad audience, or to do further work to refine the presentation. The value of summary of the discussion is, therefore, not in well-considered-formulations, but in outlining further areas of interest and investigation. Certain internal Party issues have been omitted in this summary.

The discussion was chaired by two comrades, the comrade who gave the speech (Ch1) and another comrade (Ch2). Comments and questions from the floor are denoted (Fl).

On the Albanian critique of Soviet revisionist state capitalism

Fl: You.mentioned that the Chinese and Albanian critique of Soviet-style state monopoly capitalism was flawed. Is it possible for you to tell us what are some the major flaws we're looking into?

Ch1: There are two issues.

One of the central features of the Chinese and Albanian critiques of state capitalism in the USSR is that ostensibly there was a Khrushchov coup in the mid-50's, actually the '57 or '56-'57 period. And this coup was put forward as the dramatic change from socialism to capitalism.

As well, they tend to focus on various features of introducing market forms and extending the realm of private property; for instance, the sale of the machine and tractor stations to the collective farms, the reorganization of the industrial ministries, and things like that, which are in the realm of the type of market socialist reforms that Gorbachev is also currently talking about. But state capitalism isn't necessarily just a question of the introduction of market features. They tend to place a great deal of stress on private forms of private, or near-private, forms of property as the crucial line of differentiation.

Ch2: Although overemphasizing the question of the private forms, as the comrade pointed out, the Albanians made an attempt to deal with state monopoly capitalism. But when we put together their main articles on the subject in [the March 1982 issue of] Proletarian Internationalism, and as we studied it, certain weaknesses appeared. Yes, they say there is such a thing as state monopoly capitalism, and that if you have state monopoly capitalism, the bureaucrats exploit the wealth from the workers. But what they had a hard time doing is distinguishing state monopoly capitalism from socialist state-owned industry. How is that distinguished from state monopoly capitalism? That is what they're actually relatively weak on. They give a whole series of general phrases on this, but when one tries to get more concrete and go behind the general phrases, there is no elaboration.

Fl: It seems to me that we also somewhat lack a fully fleshed-out analysis of how state monopoly capitalism differs from socialism. Sometimes in the articles in the Workers' Advocate, it might say "workers' struggles in Eastern Europe", where we're dealing, with the fact that obviously workers are coming up against the state. We just say that this shows that Poland, Hungary, fill in the blank, is not a socialist country, but is a state monopoly capitalist country. Just like that. So it just leaves it kind of hanging.

Ch1: We do have a general analysis of state capitalist countries. As well, some of the countries in Eastern Europe are somewhat easier to deal with, in the sense that they've actually been pretty much mixed economy-type countries for a whole period of time. What Gorbachev is trying to do in the Soviet Union today has long been done in places like Hungary, even Poland.

So we do have a general idea of what we consider state capitalism -- a country where, despite the means of production, distribution and so forth being owned, or largely owned, by the state, there is a class of rich bureaucrats and managers and so forth functioning as a ruling class, living off of the labor, exploited labor, of the working masses.

What we don't have is a fully fleshed out analysis of how this whole situation works, as well as distinguishing it from the situation for instance in the mid-30s, which we'll get to in a separate speech. The point of the speech was that there is an issue of developing further the theory on this front. It wasn't to say that we already have a fleshed out complete theory and analysis of revisionist state capitalism. That is something we face.

Today state capitalism is obviously in acute crisis, and one can point to the big fat managers and bureaucrats in the Soviet Union; at the same time there's a lot of promotion that East Germany is allegedly an "efficient socialist country", and that it has planning and nationalized property and so forth. The Spartacist League writes long, long articles promoting East Germany as the model of where planned economy works today in a "deformed workers' state". The SWP promotes Castro and his speech of July 26, where he claims he will not follow the Gorbachev model, and says that they made an experiment with private farmers and decided that this just creates capitalism. So state capitalist models are promoted, and they do need to be refuted, and we do need to develop the analysis of those things beyond what we have.

Fl: [The comrade referred to the recognition of the issue of revisionist state capitalism by the Albanians and the Chinese and went on:] I assume that you have some facts, some indications, some other indications why that is state capitalism. However, when the comrade gave the presentation on the question of the concept of socialism, I believe that what was said was not different from what Enver Hoxha says about state capitalism and revisionism.

Ch1: The point was not a dispute over definitions. The point was how do you analyze a state capitalist society The Albanians have actually said more than [just that it is private market relations]. In Enver Hoxha's writings and the Albanian articles, you can find things saying just that, but you can also find other things. But it's left at that level [i.e. at the level of general assertions]. And then when you look at their analysis, you see certain inadequacies and flaws.

One flaw, for instance, is trying to make the case that there is this coup, and then after the coup it's a group of capitalists that comes to, power. But these are the same capitalists as before, under Stalin, and they weren't allegedly state capitalists then. But the same bureaucracy which existed under Stalin now becomes a capitalist ruling class. It is very hard to make that distinction, that this coup is the distinction between state capitalism and socialism. That a whole society, a whole ruling class, minus Stalin, Malenkov and Molotov, is state capitalism, and with those guys it's socialism.

There is the question of revisionism. If Khrushchov said something, it's revisionism. But when Stalin said the same thing, it's not [according to the Albanian analysis]. This is linked up with the Khrushchov coup theory

On the other hand [the Albanian analysis] also has this other phenomenon of [focusing on the development of the private sector] as the definition.

So that dispute was not over the general definition of the features of state capitalist society, but over the analysis.


Ch2: The Albanian definition, the Albanian discussion [of revisionist state capitalism] is, I think, superior to the Chinese. It gives various general features. But when one looks at it concretely and tries to question it very deeply, one finds it doesn't give [an elaboration of these features], and it falls back on the things the comrade pointed out.

So one doesn't find that there is this one great flaw [in the Albanian analysis]. It isn't that way. But then one goes much more closely into the subject. They say state capitalism has exploitation and so forth, but why is the Soviet system state capitalism? That's where they're a little bit shaky on giving concrete backing to their general arguments.

What's going on inside Albania?

Fl: The speech outlined a comprehensive theoretical work on socialism which represents a big advance over Second Congress, a big step in filling in the holes. The speech points out that it's an important thing whether there's a socialist country in the world, but we're not basing our whole orientation on whether there is a socialist country.

At the same time, we do, among the theoretical questions and practical questions, among the questions of agitation, still have one irritating one. We have a resolution in the documents of the Second Congress hailing and supporting socialism in Albania, and we also have a distinct lack of enthusiasm about it presently.

Ch1: There's a paragraph on the subject in the resolution on the international movement, which will be in a later speech.

But in any case, in general terms -- sooner or later I think we have to settle the question of Albania. My personal view is that theoretical work on the history of the Soviet Union is actually going to be crucial for this along with examination of the actual situation in Albania. Those two things together will end up settling the question of Albania.

At the moment we do know that there is nothing revolutionary in its foreign, international policy and that's the thing we actually agitate on. And we also know that internally a process of degeneration is taking place. Exactly how far along in that process it is, we don't know; and a lack of actual factual information on Albania is a big factor.

Fl: [Raises that it was mentioned that there is degeneration inside Albania. Apparently asks about the concrete features of this degeneration.]

Fl: Over the years there's been a lot of talk in our literature. We've discussed before that the campaigns for

the internal revolutionization of society simply are no longer discussed in Albania. We don't have the full facts that they don't exist, but actually we do have some facts. Some of our friends from Sweden have gone there and reported to us that these campaigns have in fact disappeared. They've asked the Albanians about them, and gotten very unsatisfactory answers.

The rotation of cadre has either stopped, or is no longer discussed. The question of combining higher education with physical labor has stopped. And a whole series of things like that. I would stress that a complete study of this has not been done, we have not been focusing our attention on Albania. Our Party has limited forces, and it can only concentrate on so many things at once.

We have general outlines of what's happening, and we will get to this issue. I have read in Albania Today various striking things about the danger of the concept of equalization in relation to certain specialists, in regard to artistic work. And the need to reward people adequately for their artistic contributions. And other things. These are to me clear signs of the further creation of a bourgeois intellectual stratum, which is one of the main dangers in the process leading to restoration of capitalism.

I think we're on very firm ground saying that there is an internal process of bureaucratization, internal sclerosis. Even take the accounts of the pro-Albania parties. One of them, for example, has an office in Albania, and its people there report they're shocked that on May Day there is no mass mobilization on May First, or on any day in Albania, among the workers. And the level of political education in Albania, as far as mass education, is no different than the literature we see from abroad. So for example, the main source of news in Albania for the Albanian worker is the Italian news broadcasts --that's the capitalist Italian news broadcasts. Plus the Albanian news reports, which are equivalent to what we see in ATA. It is not a class training that takes place in Albania.

I could go on. We have definite, firm ground for our belief that the general political situation is quite bad.

Fl: [Raised the issue of dealing with Albania with respect to the sympathizers of pro-Albanian groups and such questions. Also went on to say: I think it's important to say, when people ask about socialism today, whether there's a model. My opinion is there's not, there is no model today.]

Fl: [Among other things, there was discussion from several comrades of the' dissemination of various materials to show the nature of what is going on in Albania today. We omit this discussion. It dealt briefly with dissemination of materials and analysis that the Party has developed.]

Fl: A couple of points about elaborating agitation and propaganda that's pro-socialism. [The comrade apparently said that we deal with Albania not to present it as a model today, but to raise various lessons that can be learned from its history]... Albania not as model, but to bring out a whole process taking place after the revolution, to bring the working class forward.

I don't think we can separate the economic structures set up and the political structures. set up, because the question that comes up both in my mind and in discussions with workers is: "What is socialism? What is it you want?"

In respect to that, and with respect to the Soviet Union, the question comes up: "Well, how do you stop that? Is it inevitable?" I think in elaborating that you do have to hit at the point we make about economics, and how you organize the working class to maintain control. How one goes go about setting up workers' control is very important.

Fl: [This comrade gave some examples of what the Western press is saying about developments inside Albania, pointing out that "the source is not particularly reliable."]

Fl: I believe that in the past, when Albania was following a revolutionary proletarian internationalist line in foreign policy, it was a credit to the Party in promoting Albania as socialist, a fine example of proletarian internationalism. Unfortunately that is not the case today. We have a regime that's supporting this Khomeini regime, that's anti-working class, there are so many examples which the Party has given. [The examples of Albanians stands on Greece is given, and the visit of neo-fascist Strauss of Germany to Albania.]

I believe that Albania is socialist right now. I believe that it's socialist technically. But to promote Albania, even saying here is the beacon of socialism, I believe would be wrong. It is not. It is not. Because it is impossible for a regime that is a splendid example of socialism to have a counterrevolutionary, anti-working class foreign policy. It is impossible.

Now we have exposed the Soviet Union beautifully after the Seventh Congress of the Communist International as following a revisionist line. Now there's a connection between when the Soviet Union became state capitalist and the revisionist foreign policy line of the Seventh Congress; there has to be a connection there. And that is not to say that at the moment of the Seventh International, at the moment of the signing of this revisionist line, that the Soviet Union was no longer socialist, that it was now state capitalist. That's a question that's very difficult to test without discussing the question of the Soviet Union internally at that time.

But would we have promoted the Soviet Union and its bureaucratic degeneration, even if it were socialist, would we want to promote the Soviet Union in its state of bureaucratic degeneration, when it was following a revisionist foreign policy as a splendid example of socialism?

But we can be proud of the Bolshevik revolution. We can be proud of the party of Lenin. We can be proud of

the accomplishments of the Soviet Union when it was socialist.... We can give examples. That doesn't mean we're going to copy-cat everything the Bolsheviks did.

Ch1: Comrade, I think nobody in this Congress has suggested raising Albania as a splendid example, so I don't think it's necessary to speak against something that nobody in the Party is raising.

Ch2: The detailed study of Albania... isn't what is needed immediately. My personal opinion is that Albania is going through a process of sclerosis. That is what the other comrade said, and it seems to me these processes can last a long time. Now without the study one doesn't know for sure, maybe the process is over, but it's not unbelievable it could last a long time.

So the issues are (a) Do we promote Albania as a model of socialism? No, we don't. And (b) Is it in a process of sclerosis? And a general idea of what the negative tendencies are -- that's what we need. Exactly how far if s gone isn't that much of a priority at this time. If one wanted to know exactly how far ifs gone, that would require a detailed study. I don't think we can do that now. But we can circulate information concerning this process, and we have done a few articles in our press occasionally on particular atrocities in the Albanian press, on Greece, on Ethiopia. We have actually done these things.

On the foreign debt and socialism

Fl: You hear a lot about the international debt crisis. And in almost every capitalist country, whether they call themselves capitalist or socialist, the fact is they stay indebted to imperialism: I have wondered if it's correct to say, or for comrades to say, that the indebtedness of a country to imperialism is a criterion of whether it's capitalist.

Ch1: Indebtedness to the capitalist bankers and governments definitely squeezes you and cuts into your independence. For a socialist country to go heavily into debt would put you at the mercy of the world's bankers - I don't think there would be any dispute over that, I would hesitate to draw a judgment that whether or not you're in debt determines whether or not you're socialist or capitalist. In the sense that, a country could very well not be in debt, like if it's a somewhat powerful capitalist country -- a country like Iran, which has a lot of oil wealth. But at the same time, that wouldn't determine its social system -- it does provide it with a certain room of independence in foreign relations that certain other countries under a great burden of debt wouldn't have.

For instance, the fact that Albania doesn't have debts is something that does allow Albania to stand outside the capitalist blocs and not be dragged along by some capitalist power or power bloc. But at the same time, that itself would not determine whether a country would be socialist or capitalist.

Fl: For a long time we said that one of the indications of Albania's socialist nature was the lack of any foreign debt. On the other hand, the Soviet Union during the best period was looking for [certain foreign "concessions" or investments] to help it build. But this was socialism they were building. They had to make certain compromises, certain sacrifices--one step backward, two steps forward.

Isn't the main question here ownership of the means of production? [As opposed to debt as an accident of the superstructure.]

Ch1: You can't use debts, or lack of debt, as a definition of socialism. We used to use the fact that Albania was free of debt to promote it. There's a certain point to promoting that if a country is free of debt, it allows it much wider ability to be independent of imperialism and the capitalists.

But the problem with the Albanians is they tried to make it a principle. Whether you accepted credits was the dividing line. One can't quite find this principle, especially if you read various of the concessions [investments from other countries] that Lenin and the Bolsheviks were considering allowing or even did allow after the October revolution. Debt is very much a judgmental issue. The question is whether or not one recognizes the dangers of it. There is a definite danger from debt, but debt's not the determining issue.

Ch2: One thing I wanted to raise is that the Albanians came out with this propaganda at a time when there was a big world fuss that you could solve all your problems with borrowing. And a number of the revisionist countries went this route.

Poland is one of the dramatic examples. They borrowed a huge amount of money. And not just for consumer goods, they borrowed it for factories. Oh, great! They're going to build up their productive facilities, factories. And they got smashed by it. Factories didn't work right, nothing worked right, and they ended up with a huge debt.

A whole series of countries went this route. Hungary also now has a huge debt crisis. It financed its alleged great prosperity by simply taking bigger and bigger loans.

So in that situation, some country says "Well, we're not going to take any debt", and it looks pretty good. But they made this into an absolute principle--for all times and all places--and that didn't make sense.

On criticism of social-democratic "socialism"

Fl: I think it's very important to explain what socialism is and is not, and especially to deal with the Soviet Union, and I applaud the Party for taking up that campaign. But I think there's another aspect which was not dealt with in the speech, which I think should be covered. Besides those that have illusions in the Soviet Union or China or whatever, there is another group on the left which seems to have quite a bit of influence that will agree "Yes, the Soviet Union is not socialist; China is not socialist." When you ask them what then do they think socialism is, they point to the Scandinavian countries such as Sweden, or they point to Britain. The social-democrats, the DSA in particular, are propagating the false ideology that socialism means Swedish welfare state capitalism, or even private capitalism. So I think it's necessary that the Party, in dealing with the question of the Soviet Union and its degenerations, should also tack on a discussion of such countries as Sweden, and England.

Ch2: Our Party has paid a certain amount of attention on the question of Western state capitalism and welfarism. At various times we've stressed the fight against social-democracy and against the social-democratic models. But this speech was concentrating on dealing with a different subject.

Actually, there is a certain connection, in that a stronger criticism of Soviet state capitalism rebounds even more on the question of Western state capitalism. Now of course countries such as Sweden actually have very big private sectors, are hardly mainly state capitalist countries. Nevertheless the ideology of state capitalism is very strong, and it's a very common social-democratic conception that these are socialist countries or that the state sector is the socialist sector in capitalist countries. I think in general the study of socialism which we're engaging in, and the criticism of revisionist state capitalism, will rebound even more strongly on social-democratic state capitalism.

Ch1: To add on that: a good part of socialist agitation in this country does have to refute the welfare-state type of ideas, which are fairly common and widespread. If you ask various ordinary people what socialism is, there are certain conceptions that are prevalent.

One is the welfare-state idea. While we're not opposed to welfare measures, the idea that this equals socialism is something that we do refute in our agitation, and it is something that needs to be refuted.

As well, there is the idea that socialism means just nationalization of the enterprises, which is essentially at the heart of the question of state capitalism. In that sense, analysis and study of the Soviet Union will rebound on these other countries. Sweden is somewhat exceptional, but with most of these countries the issue is the state sector being equated to socialism. [The reference to Sweden being somewhat exceptional was to that, although it has much state regulation and it is also one of the most developed welfare states, its actual state sector is fairly small in comparison to other major industrialized powers.]

The speech raised that there is a front of criticism of revisionist and reformist socialism, which should actually be taken broadly in the sense of criticizing various bourgeois and petty-bourgeois concepts. But at this time there is a particular focus that we want to deal with. The phenomenon of Gorbachev, and the capitalist campaign around it, has a particular edge to demoralize the workers, and that's why that question somewhat stands out in this period and work needs to be done on it.

The question comes up all sorts, of ways. Recently we had to write on the upsurge in Burma. When this upsurge took place, the U.S. press originally, and repeatedly, argued that this would be the first case of a socialist country being overthrown by a mass people-power movement for democracy [The regime hasn't fallen yet.] Now most people in the U.S. may not know where Burma is, so the bourgeoisie counted on a certain amount of ignorance, that some people would say "well, it must be one of those socialist countries." I remember when I was out leafletting one time, a cop came up to me and said, "Hong Kong is a socialist country, and people live in cages there." And he brought out a picture from the newspaper of somebody living in a cage in Hong Kong. I said, "Hong Kong is a British colony it's hardly a socialist country," but since he had a gun 1 didn't push the discussion.

True, they try to use any example where some country calls itself socialist. But, for instance, next door across the border in Bangladesh, people actually think, "Burma might be socialist." And these things do have an influence in the world. So we had to actually refute the idea of Burmese socialism in our discussion of Burma, and show that Burma was actually state capitalist. These other models of socialism do come up, and we do deal with them.

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The Trotskyist "BT" backs Soviet revisionist military action against the "great majority of Afghanistan's population"


Trotskyism poses as the great opponent of Soviet revisionism. According to the Trotskyists, one's merit in opposing revisionism is determined by how hysterical one is about "Stalinism", and by seeing "Stalinism" under every comer.

But the concrete examples of trotskyist action shows the fraudulent nature of this claim. Some of the Trotskyite groups are open reformists, supporting both pro-Soviet revisionist forces around the world and the left-wing of the Democratic Party in the U.S. Other Trotskyist sects, such as the "Bolshevik Tendency", take on a more "left-wing" appearance. But scratch below the surface, and their inability to separate from the revisionist and reformist forces also appears. They combine sectarianism towards and denunciations of various struggles, which along with sterile word-chopping is their claim to "left" credentials, with reliance on labor bureaucrat and revisionist forces.

Take one of the "left" Trotskyist groups, the so-called "Bolshevik Tendency", a split off from the Spartacist League. And take the issue of Afghanistan. The winter 1988-89 issue (No. 5) of BT's magazine 1917 carries big articles on Afghanistan, mourning the departure from Afghanistan of the Soviet revisionist army.

It turns out that BT does not believe in the self-determination of the Afghanistan people. It believes that the hideous crimes of Western imperialism against Afghanistan, and of the reactionary forces inside Afghanistan supported by the CIA and Western imperialism, justifies support for the hideous crimes of Russian imperialism. It believes that the hideous crimes that the pro-Western forces are committing, the river of blood they will submerge Afghanistan under, justifies BT support for the Soviet revisionists putting Afghanistan under a revisionist river of blood. It is totally blind to where the actual revolutionary forces in Afghanistan will come from.

Does this sound like a caricature of their stand? Does the reader believe that such open treachery could not exist? Let's see what the BT says in its own words.

First of all, the BT believes that one can only support either one superpower or the other in Afghanistan. This is how they put it:

"Since the formation of our political tendency, six years ago, our polemics with other leftists on Afghanistan have revolved around the fundamental question of which way to point the guns--at the imperialist-backed muhajadeen, or at the Soviet army." (1917, No. 5, p. 6)

As one can see, they do not even admit the possibility of opposing both Russian imperialism and Western imperialism. Ever since their formation, in their eyes the fundamental question on Afghanistan has been which superpower to support. They do not even pose the question of Afghani self-determination against both superpowers, or of the existence of Afghani revolutionary forces.

They firmly support the Soviet revisionists militarily. Not only on Afghanistan. In just about any other bloodletting as well. They

"place them [selves] unambiguously on the same side of the barricades as the Stalinist bureaucracy in any military confrontation with imperialism." (Ibid.)

They say that they

"have always been careful to distinguish between military and political support to the Stalinist bureaucracy." (Ibid., emphasis as in the original)

For them, military and political affairs are two separate things. They support the bloodletting of the Soviet revisionists, that is their pride and joy, the thing they polemicize in favor of. This is their "military support". But they make the absurd claim that they are simultaneously opposing the politics of the Soviet revisionists.

Do they get into this quandary because they believe that the Afghani people welcome and support the Soviet army?

Not at all. They admit that the Afghani people despise the Soviet military presence. They write:

"There is no denying that the great majority of Afghanistan's population supports the jihad against the Soviets and their allies." (Ibid., page 3)

Note carefully. They say that the great majority of the population despises the Soviet military action to the point of being willing to support the savage jihad against it. This means that they admit that the Soviet revisionists are fighting against the great majority of the population. (If anything, BT exaggerates the popularity of the reactionary forces, for BT wipes out the existence of forces in Afghanistan that long to be free of both superpowers or of peasant masses trampled on by both the Russian military and the reactionary bands. For BT, all Afghani resistance to Soviet revisionism is a question of the CIA-sponsored jihad. But here we are studying BT's attitudes, and the point is that it is willing to support a revisionist military jackboot over the great majority of the population. And the Soviet military presence has been a cruel and bloody jackboot indeed.

Even rank-and-file Russian soldiers are shaken by the idea that the Afghani people oppose their presence. But not the BT. No matter. Who cares about national self-determination? Oh, it's a fine phrase all right, but in practice, the BT points out, it knows better.

BT argues that it is irrelevant that the great majority of Afghani oppose Russian military intervention. It states that, after all, it does

"not choose sides in social conflicts on the basis of the relative popularity of the opposing forces."

Democracy? National self-determination? This does not apply to the Afghani people, according to BT They take an outright imperialist attitude, a Trotskyist-imperialist stand. They say that:

"In general, Marxists do not advocate the imposition of social revolution upon nations by military force from without. The indigenous working class, even when a small minority of the population, is best capable of leading other oppressed classes forward in revolutionary struggle. Afghanistan, however, is so monumentally, backward that the working class does not exist as a significant social force. In this situation, some kind of outside intervention is necessary to emancipate the Afghan masses from quasi-feudal despotism." (Ibid., underlining added)

So here BT actually argues that the Afghani people have to be liberated by the foreign, civilizing bayonet.

And what a "Marxist" argument!

Afghanistan has only a small working class. (And the peasants are apparently all given over by the BT to the side of CIA-reaction, and can only make progress when pricked by the bayonet or blown up by the landmine.) It is very backward, semi-feudal, etc. etc. But haven't other countries succeeded in developing away from feudalism? Did Europe emerge from feudalism because a great outside power, from Mars or Venus perhaps, civilized it?

As a matter of fact, despite its backwardness, Afghanistan has been gradually and slowly developing. It has started to develop its own modern classes, its own class differentiations and its own revolutionary forces. Even the struggle against revisionism made it to Afghanistan, but not on the back of Russian bayonets. On the contrary, the Russian bayonets, as well as the CIA-supplied bayonets and missiles, have apparently submerged or swamped the revolutionary forces that opposed both superpowers. The responsibility for throwing Afghanistan so far backward that large numbers of peasants could support the reactionary bands lies not just in Afghanistan's backwardness, but as well in the brutality and cruelty inseparable from the revisionist military jackboot over Afghanistan.

As for the Trotskyist view that the self-determination of nations does not apply when a country is backward, this is not Marxism, but an imperialist or social-imperialist (socialist in words, but imperialist in actuality) caricature of Marxism. Special attention to self-determination has to be paid especially to backward countries in order for the socialist proletariat of more economically advanced countries to win the trust of the toilers of the backward country.

Mind you, BT insists that it does not take a servile stand before Soviet revisionism. Why, it says it has even given up the slogan "Hail the Red Army in Afghanistan", that it used to support, and instead supports "Military victory to the Soviet Army" (Ibid., page 7). What a big difference. Oh yes indeed.

Two things are therefore illustrated by BT's articles about Afghanistan.

1) That BT, for all its ravings about "Stalinism", that it takes to the verge of Cold War hysteria, cannot separate itself from Soviet revisionism.

2) That BT's Trotskyism, for all its "Marxist" words, is anti-Marxist. It cannot separate itself from even outright imperialist attitudes. Here we see the trotskyist disdain for Leninist principles of self-determination, and for Leninist attitudes toward the masses of toilers. And we also see the fraudulence of their struggle against Soviet revisionism. But this is just part of Trotskyism's negation of one Leninist principle after another, from party-building, to united front tactics, to the struggle against reformism, and to the importance of building up truly independent organization and struggle of the proletariat.

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Victims of capitalist "war on drugs" at Great Lakes Steel plant:


The following articles are from the Jan. 19 issue of Detroit Workers' Voice:


Over the last year Darryl Morton and Emmanuel Martin and a number of other workers were unjustly fired by the company These firings were the result of the company drug testing program. These workers maintain that the testing results, which the company claims show drug use, are false. In one case, a worker was fired for allegedly refusing to take a drug test. But the worker claims the first aid attendant never requested one.

In all these cases the union bureaucrats have refused to lift a finger to help them. Instead, the union hacks, like Mimi Rinna, have tried to pressure these workers into returning to work under the terrible conditions outlined in the new Drug Rehabilitation Program signed between the company and union. But these workers have refused to do this because it would mean admitting guilt to crimes they have not committed.

It is up to us, the rank-and-file workers, to stand up in defense of Darryl and Emmanuel and all the workers who have been fired for the testing, We must demand that Darryl and Emmanuel be returned to work with no penalties and full back pay. We must demand that all workers fired for the testing be returned to their jobs without penalties and with full back pay.



In May 1988 Emmanuel Martin, a 20-year veteran of GLS, was unjustly fired from his job as a millwright at #2 BOP Emmanuel has four children, one of whom is a five-year-old boy needing heart surgery. Without his job, Emmanuel's family has no health insurance which is preventing his son from having the needed surgery.

The facts of Emmanuel's case

During the month of April 1988, Emmanuel was on a medical leave, under the care of a physician for an alcohol-related ulcer. As part of his treatment he was being tested biweekly for substance abuse. These tests, which were independent of the company consistently show negative for any substance abuse.

At the end of April, he was notified to appear at first aid to explain the reason for his medical leave. When he appeared and informed the attendant of his situation the attendant required him to give a specimen.

Emmanuel was fired on May 28, after the company ALLEGEDLY found traces of marijuana byproducts in his


The company's test was administered ONE WEEK after his own independent test found NO such substances. He had another independent test one week after the company's test and again was found to be free of the alleged substances. Both the company and the union have refused to recognize these two independent tests.

Union refuses to arbitrate Emmanuel's case

The union leadership has refused to lift a finger in Emmanuel's defense. They have even refused to take his case to arbitration. Instead, they have argued with him that he should accept the Drug Rehabilitation Program agreement signed between the union and company. But Emmanuel has steadfastly refused to do so. He has refused to admit guilt to a crime he has not committed.


One year ago, Darryl Morton was unjustly fired from his job as an overhead crane operator at GLS. Darryl was fired in February 1988. Darryl has 14 years seniority and a clean record.

He was fired after a routine examination for an operators' license. Unknown to Darryl this included a drug screening. The company alleges it found extremely minute byproducts of marijuana in his urine.

From the beginning the union bureaucrats, in particular Mimi Rinna, have not fought in his defense. They have tried to force him to submit to the company's allegations against him.

But Darryl has maintained his innocence throughout. He reports that he went to first aid for the routine examination at his own initiative. The attendant Kresky has claimed that Darryl was acting suspiciously with "tremors". But Darryl has repeatedly pointed out to the union leaders and Labor Relations the freezing temperatures that day and he was merely cold as he entered first aid, giving him the chills.

As well, Darryl had a witness, one of the plant protection guards, who agrees with him that he was not acting suspiciously. In fact, the attendant OK'd Darryl to return to work once the specimen was given. As well, Darryl was allowed to work for the next two days. The guard has also agreed that the attendant did not explain to Darryl that the specimen would be screened for drugs.

When Darryl had his hearing at Labor Relations he heard for the first time that he was being fired for allegedly having the metabolites of marijuana in his urine. Immediately he went to Trenton Hospital to have his own independent test taken. This test showed NEGATIVE for marijuana. BUT, neither the company or the union have accepted this independent test.

For the last year the union bureaucrats have tried to get Darryl admit guilt for a crime he has not committed. For one year the union has put off taking him to arbitration. Instead they have tried to pressure him into singing a "last chance" agreement, to agree to return to work under the terrible conditions of the new Drug Rehabilitation Program. He has stubbornly refused to do so, pointing out that he has never had a drug problem.


Numerous other workers who were similarly fired have been pressured by the union into signing the "last chance" rehabilitation program agreement. The company's aim in these agreements is to put the workers who sign them under the company's control.

Many of these workers who have only recently been returned to work have already been subjected to the random retesting by the company. These workers are subject to permanent firing at any time by the simple allegation of a positive test result by the company.

We must demand that all the workers who were pressured into signing the rehabilitation agreement keep their jobs. But, with full back pay and without being subjected to the conditions of the program.


A number of workers who have been unjustly fired have banded together for their common defense. Since the union leaders have refused to fight for them, they are pursuing independent legal means to win back their jobs and back pay. Their struggle should be supported by all workers at GLS, since what these workers are fighting for is in the interests of all the workers. It is the long-standing principle of the workers' movement to defend on another against the exploiters. This committee will be appealing to GLS workers to help them in their legal defense. …

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More on the drug war at Great Lakes Steel: How the union hacks were elected...

The present leaders of Local 1299 were elected because the workers were fed up with the notoriously corrupt former officials. The new slate had no program or plan of any sort but posed as an opposition to the local machine (but not to either the district or international hacks). As bureaucrats, their rhetoric has turned out to be as meaningful as a four dollar bill. It wasn't long after the elections that they concluded a secret drug agreement with GLS that has allowed the company to step up the harassment and firings of the workers, scrapping even the existing contract. This is the sharpest of a number of issues that has rapidly discredited them in the eyes of the workers.

Below is an excerpt from the November 1, 1988 issue of the Detroit Workers' Voice on the rhetoric and deeds of these bureaucrats:



Remember the election propaganda of the '88 Slate? Remember how they declared they would "Return to the membership local issues to be discussed and debated with full membership input.... Organize a clear and efficient channel of communication between Local 1299 and every member therein."

Two months have passed since they secretly wrote the agreement with the company to allow drug testing. There was no consultation with the membership before, during, or after the writing of the agreement.

Back in September [Local President] Massengill promised "full details" on the agreement in the October issue of the Local's paper. October has come and gone and still there are NO DETAILS provided.

Drug testing is one of the most important issues that has faced us. The issue is not whether workers are for or against drugs. Rather, the issue is that the company is already using the threat of testing as a club to bully workers into not resisting job combination, forced overtime and unsafe conditions.

We workers are the ones who should decide whether the company has the right to subject us to drug testing and harassment. This is a simple democratic issue. The union bureaucrats do not have the right to write secret agreements, imposing the company's dictate on us. There should be mass open discussion of all the workers where all our views could be aired. Then there should be a vote taken so the majority can really decide, not a handful of bureaucrats.

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