The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 5 #6


June 20, 1989

[Front page: On recent stands of the CP of Colombia (ML)--Marxism-Leninism cannot be reconciled with Castroism]

Native people against pollution........................................ 2
Fraternity promotes rape.................................................. 3
New York homeless against building demolition............. 4
Two years of Simpson-Rodino......................................... 5
Anti-racist news: Ferris State U., Brown U., and end of consent decree in steel...................................................... 6
Bush's bank bailout.......................................................... 12
Guyana: workers against austerity.................................... 41

Prisoner correspondence:

Hunger strike in fourth month.......................................... 9
On Noriega....................................................................... 10

May Day speech: the future belongs to socialism............ 16
RCPB(ML) wants to outlaw blasphemy........................... 20
Some news from Iran........................................................ 21
Swedish Red Dawn on May Day...................................... 22
4th assembly of Portuguese OCPO.................................. 24

What road to World Marxist-Leninist unity?--a comment on MLPN's pamphlet....................................... 28
From the MLP of Nicaragua: On the political organization of world proletariat...................................... 35

Correction......................................................................... 4

CP of Colombia (ML) on Castroism................................ 45

On recent stands of the CP of Colombia (ML)

Marxism-Leninism cannot be reconciled with Castroism

Havasupai indians oppose drilling of uranium mine

Navajo defeat toxic waste dump

At the University of Washington:

Condemn the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Promoters of rape

New York squatters fighting building demolition


Two years of Simpson-Rodino

Ferris State U. students hold four day sit-in

1,000 students denounce racism at Brown U.

Measures against racism terminated in steel

More on the poisoning of postal workers at FDR station in New York

Prisoner correspondence:

Hunger strike continues

On Noriega

Bush's bank bailout

Paying the rich for going bankrupt

May Day speech:

Rightists continue to condemn Rushdie

RCPB(ML) wants to outlaw religious blasphemy

Some news from Iran

In revolutionary Kurdistan

Swedish 'Red Dawn':

On the eve of May Day

Fourth assembly of Portuguese Marxist-Leninists

A comment on the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua's pamphlet "On the International Situation"

International working class unity and the struggle against opportunism

From the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua:

The political organization of the international working class

Workers in Guyana protest austerity

The Communist Party of Colombia (ML) on its knees before Castroism

On the 30th anniversary of the Cuban revolution

Salute to the 15th Congress of the CP of Colombia

On recent stands of the CP of Colombia (ML)

Marxism-Leninism cannot be reconciled with Castroism

Colombia is one of the Latin American countries where the fabric of the social order is falling apart. The economic situation for the workers and the poor is growing desperate under the weight of capitalist economic crisis and the debt to the imperialist banks in New York and elsewhere. Corruption is rampant as the lords of cocaine run amok. The regime has unleashed what is known as "the dirty war" to put down the revolt building among the working people. In the last year, the right-wing, paramilitary death squads have tortured and murdered many hundreds of progressive and working class activists.

But the "dirty war" has not been able to stop the mass movement. There have been massive strikes and protests by workers and farm laborers. And left-wing guerrilla movements continue to gain strength.

One notable feature of the militant mass struggle in Colombia has been the presence of an anti-revisionist party known as the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist- Leninist). The CPC(ML) was formed in the 1960's in a bitter fight with the pro-Soviet revisionist CP of Colombia. The CPC(ML) opposed the reformism of the revisionists as well as the vacillating petty-bourgeois politics of the Castroist groups. By the early 1980's, the CPC(ML) was growing strong in the working class and guerrilla movements. There was potential for Marxism-Leninism to become a powerful, independent force in the midst of the Colombian upheaval.

Unfortunately, this potential is being squandered. The leadership of the CPC(ML) is retreating from previous revolutionary stands. It is giving up the independent standpoint of the revolutionary proletariat in favor of merging with the politics of the petty-bourgeois and bourgeois-reformist forces. Among other things, it is step by step giving up its historic opposition to modern revisionism. It is trying to reconcile Marxism-Leninism with Castroism and other opportunist trends.

Another step in this direction came in January with the 30th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. Revolucion, the official newspaper of the CP of Colombia (ML), came out with a front page article saluting Fidel Castro and his regime as true defenders of "Marxism-Leninism" and "socialism." (Reprinted elsewhere in this issue of the Supplement from Revolucion, #306, Jan. 15-22, '89.)

This must be taken seriously by all revolutionary Marxist-Leninists. This is a step towards removing all barriers between Marxism-Leninism and revisionism, between working class socialism and bureaucratic state capitalism.

The impact of the Cuban revolution

Revolucion stresses the impact the Cuban revolution has had in inspiring the oppressed and exploited throughout Latin America. This is beyond dispute. U.S. imperialism was defeated in its "own backyard" by the aroused Cuban people. Most of the old decadent exploiters were swept away. Major reforms desperately needed by the people were realized. Schools, hospitals and houses were built. All this showed the whole continent and the world the power of the mass revolution.

However, there is another side to the impact of the Cuban experience. The ideas that guided this revolution were also spread. And it turned out that these ideas were not proletarian socialist ideas. They were not Marxist-Leninist. They were ideas of petty-bourgeois revolutionism, and of reformism and revisionism. To that extent Castroism has had an undermining role in the revolutionary movement in Latin America and elsewhere, Castroism has been a transmission belt for revisionism, social-democracy and bourgeois nationalism into the mass movements of the workers and poor.

Focoism and reformism

Especially in the early days of the Cuban revolution, the experience of Castro and Guevara appealed to the revolutionaries across the continent. It looked like they had blazed an alternative to the stifling reformism that gripped the Latin American left. The old pro-Soviet revisionist "communist" parties and others were mired in subservience to the capitalist liberals and illusions in the electoral farces of the ruling classes. Castroism came on the stage looking like a more combative alternative.

Many Latin American revolutionaries took to the mountains in small guerrilla bands like that of Castro, Guevara, and Cienfuegos. The idea was that the heroic action of these small "focos" could initiate the uprising that would bring down the regimes. These focoist attempts led to repeated failures in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Bolivia and elsewhere.

The petty-bourgeois Castroist revolutionism also proved to be politically unstable. It vacillated from adventurism to capitulation. It went from isolated military focos and desperate attempts at coup d'etats, to right opportunist tailism behind the politicians of the bourgeois oppositions. This instability was due, among other things, to a nationalist populism that failed to root the revolutionary movement in the working class. There was a failure to see the need to organize the proletariat as the independent revolutionary force capable of rallying all the exploited and oppressed.

The focoist and Castroist groups had been inspired by the Cuban example. But that did not mean that the Cuban leaders necessarily supported their revolutionism. More and more, the Cuban leadership made links with the more respectable (from the capitalist standpoint) forces of Latin American politics. They made links with the bourgeois nationalists of all types. They made links with the social-democrats. They also became members in good standing of the fraternal club of the pro-Soviet revisionists. This was at a time when the revisionists and others were doing everything they could to smother the armed revolutionary movements and other revolutionary forces. (A major exposure on this front was the assassination of Che Guevara in Bolivia in 1967. It was widely reported at the time that the revisionists of the Bolivian CP had played a two-faced role, left Che Guevara in the lurch, and contributed to his defeat. Yet this did not move the Cuban leadership. Showing where their political loyalties lay, the friendship between the Cuban leaders and the revisionist renegades throughout the region only continued to grow closer.)

Meanwhile, as we shall discuss later on, problems also appeared in Cuba's internal policies. Castroism led not to socialism, but to the building of a new bureaucracy and the establishment of revisionist state capitalism.

Marxism-Leninism against Castroism

The most determined, farsighted revolutionaries across Latin America have been struggling for a proletarian alternative to the dead-end of Castroism. They have been seeking a more thoroughgoing and consistent revolutionary theory. A theory which bases the revolutionary movement in the class struggle of the workers and exploited. A theory that champions the independent interests of the proletariat and liberates the masses from the political domination of the bourgeois nationalist and liberal forces. A theory that guides the struggle towards the destruction of imperialism and capitalism and the triumph of working class socialism. In short, they have been struggling for the anti-revisionist and revolutionary theory of Marxism-Leninism.

This has been a difficult struggle. In the 60's and 70's it was made particularly complex by the influence of Maoism. One of the attractions of Maoism was that, unlike Castroism, it appeared to stand for open struggle against the betrayal by the pro-Soviet revisionists. It turned out, however, that there was actually much in common between the stands promoted by the Chinese leadership with respect to Latin America, and Castroism. In the final analysis, they both often ended up with petty-bourgeois populist stands that vacillated between adventurism and reformist trailing behind the "progressive" or "national" bourgeoisie.

One of the most important gains of the anti-revisionist movement of the 60's and 70's was the formation of Marxist-Leninist parties opposed to revisionism in a number of countries across Latin America (Colombia, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ecuador, etc.). These parties generally declared for Maoism, and usually faced the problem of varying degrees of influence of non-proletarian ideas from Castroism, or Maoism or elsewhere. Nonetheless, the existence of these parties carried the promise of Marxism-Leninism becoming a powerful force in the revolutionary movement in the region.

But this promise has now hit another obstacle. During the 80's, the leaderships of most of these parties have been retreating from their previous positions. Most of these parties have been retreating towards opportunism, along with the Party of Labor of Albania and others internationally. Slowly but surely they have been sliding back into the populist and reformist politics that they were born in struggle against.

An Abrupt and Unexplained Turn

The leaders of the CP of Colombia (ML) have now taken this to the point of accepting the Cuban revisionists as "defenders of Marxism-Leninism and socialism."

One of the most amazing things about this is that they have done so without any explanation. Over the last months their newspaper Revolucion has made repeated references to "socialist countries" in the plural. Which countries were being referred to as "socialist"? This was left a mystery. Then came the front page salute to Fidel Castro and his alleged "Marxism-Leninism and socialism."

This is an abrupt turn. For over two decades they had been loudly denouncing the treachery of Castro and the Cuban leaders. The CPC(ML) had branded them as revisionists and exposed their role in undermining the revolutionary movement. Take for example the article in Revolucion on the July 1985 Havana conference on the foreign debt. This article was entitled "In support of imperialism and the bourgeoisie." It denounced Castro and his fellow revisionists as playing "an increasingly more active role as firefighters of the revolution." It pointed out that this "reactionary commitment" is illustrated by Fidel Castro's statement to the conference promising to not "promote revolutionary changes." Instead Castro called for unity of all classes and governments for economic development.

"This is a magnificent reflection," Revolucion noted, "of what the Cubans think of the revisionist parties and of the Castroite and Guevarist organizations of the region, considering them useless instruments for making revolution, but suited for conciliation with the bourgeoisie." (See Revolucion July 29-August 4 1985, reprinted in the Workers Advocate, Sept. 1,'85.)

How things have changed! Yesterday the Cuban leaders were "in support of imperialism and the bourgeoisie"; today they have emerged as champions of "Marxism-Leninism and socialism." Yesterday the revisionists who gather together in Havana were "firefighters against revolution"; today they have been reincarnated as magnificent "revolutionaries."

What happened? Why such a dramatic change in analysis? Don't the workers and communists deserve some explanation from the leadership of the CPC(ML)? But there is nothing. The readers of Revolucion are left trying to read between the lines for clues.

What is the nature of Castro's differences with Gorbachev?

In fact, there are some revealing clues. There are clear signs that the leadership of the CPC(ML) is speculating about the recent disagreements between Castro and Gorbachev. They are using these disagreements to portray Castro as a staunch "Marxist-Leninist" and "socialist" as opposed to the capitulatory Gorbachev.

This is absurd. For three decades, the Cuban leadership has been the close political ally of Soviet revisionism. Castro has stood with his Russian revisionist friends through thick and thin. Through times of western-style "reforms" in the Khrushchev era of the early 60's, to the invasion of Czechoslovakia and the bureaucratic "orthodoxy" of Brezhnev and company. Through times of "detente" in the Nixon-Brezhnev epoch, to the cooling of "detente" in the late 70's.

Of course, even between long-term revisionist allies there can be a falling out. But that is hardly the case with Gorbachev and Castro. When the Soviet leader visited Havana recently there were plenty of kisses and hugs before the TV cameras. They may have their differences of opinion. They may disapprove of this or that. But Gorbachev and Castro wanted to show that they agree on what is fundamental: they stand on the same side of the fence when it comes down to reformist and pacifist opposition to revolution and to defense of revisionist capitalism.

It would be naked deception to claim that Castro is standing up against Gorbachev for "Marxism-Leninism and socialism." It would be like trying to sell chalk for cheese. But that is just what Revolucion is doing.

Opposition to revolution

"...Cuba, as part of the so-called developing countries," Revolucion assures its readers, "persists in affirming its statements of revolutionary struggle and of the validity of Marxism-Leninism. This is highly significant at a time the bourgeoisie wants to take advantage of the so-called detente, derived from the Reagan-Gorbachev peace accord, in order to try to sell us the 'peace' between the rich and the poor, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and between all the exploiters and aggressors and oppressed and exploited."

This merges on fantasy. Along with the Soviet revisionists, the Cuban revisionists too have pushed pacifist and class conciliationist politics against the liberation war of the workers and oppressed against the rich exploiters.

There is such a war in Central America. And the Cubans oppose it. They have been working hand-in-hand with the Soviets to pacify the region. Together they have been applying pressure on the guerrilla movements in El Salvador and Guatemala and on the people of Nicaragua to lower their revolutionary aims. They have been pushing them to accept the terms of the Arias regional peace plan.

But what is the Arias plan? Under fine words and fancy phrases, it was developed by Arias and imperialism with the aim of preserving the death-squad regimes and disarming the insurgent workers and peasants. It aims at liquidating the gains of the Nicaraguan revolution in favor of the pro-Contra bourgeoisie and U.S. imperialists. It is precisely a peace between the rich and the poor, between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, between the oppressors and the oppressed.

Castro's support for the Arias plan is rooted in his reformist, non-class outlook. This outlook has been documented in the very pages of Revolucion. For example, in the same 1985 article on the debt crisis, Revolucion quoted Castro calling for the unity among all governments and political forces of the "Third World" to unite for economic development. From which Revolucion concluded: "As you can see, he [Castro] calls for a union with no regard for classes, with no regard for economic interests." (Ibid.)

Has Castro changed in the few years since this was written? Hardly. Reformism, pacifism, unity and harmony between the different classes - these have been and remain the hallmarks of Cuban policy.

(This, of course, does not mean that there isn't also a "militant" side to Cuban policy. But sometimes the more "militant" policies are just as bad, if not worse, than their liberal nationalist policies. In Ethiopia, for example, the Cubans have been involved in a military adventure. But there they are fighting on the side of a reactionary dictatorship against the workers and poor, including the heavily oppressed Eritreans and Tigreans. In the past, the leadership of the CP of Colombia (ML) has given support to the liberation struggle of the Tigreans and others. One wonders what they can say about this now that they have discovered that the Cubans have become wonderful revolutionaries.)

Defense of state capitalism

With its claims about Cuba being "socialist" Revolucion must resort to more salesmen's tricks. It declares that Cuba is "not going to apply capitalist formulas nor methods."

The implication is that this is different from Gorbachev's "perestroika" and "market socialism," with its free capitalist markets and private entrepreneurship.

True, Castro may be irritated at the pace of some of Gorbachev's western-style reforms. Several-years ago Cuba attempted its own experiments in free markets. This opened up a nest of contradictions and Castro put the lid back on it, at least for now. But that does not mean that Cuba's state-controlled economy is socialist.

Like Russia and several other revisionist countries, Cuba is a state capitalist society. Power is not in the hands of the workers but in the hands of a bourgeoisified bureaucracy, In the wake of the revolution the masses made major gains in the fields of health, education, housing, and so forth. But exploitation was not ended, a new bureaucracy was built up, and the workers and laborers sweat for the benefit of the managers and bureaucrats. Nor was foreign dependency overcome, as Cuba stagnates with its lopsided sugar economy and the toilers are pressed to make good on billions of rubles in state loans.

We would like to ask Revolucion, if the Cuban reluctance to introduce "market socialism" is proof that Cuba defends true working class socialism, then what about the other state capitalist countries? What about East Germany or Czechoslovakia or others reticent about Gorbachev's reforms? In these countries too the state dominates the economy. However, it is undeniable that these states are in the hands of repressive and wealthy bureaucracies. Or what perhaps about the Soviet Union in the days of Brezhnev, now denounced by the Gorbachevites?

In short, Revolucion is blurring the distinction between working class socialism and bureaucratic state capitalism. This is a serious matter. This distinction has been one of the ideological barricades on which the struggle has taken place between revolutionary Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism. The leaders of the CPC(ML)are crossing this barricade to the revisionist side.

Where is the CP of Colombia (ML) headed?

The attitude towards Cuba has direct, practical repercussions on the left-wing movement in Colombia. Politically Cuba is not a distant or isolated island. It is a player in Colombian politics, with long-standing connections to the pro-Soviet revisionist, Castroist, and social-democratic forces there.

Over the last several years, the leadership of the CPC(ML) has been piece by piece removing the barriers between itself and the Colombian revisionists and Castro-ists, It has adopted their petty-bourgeois nationalist and petty-bourgeois democratic slogans. It has entrenched itself in their reformist campaigns. This includes the campaign for a "democratic convergence" across all class and political lines and for a "national dialogue" with the reactionary capitalist regime. It also includes attempts to form an electoral bloc behind the bourgeois liberals, along with promoting reformist illusions that this will provide "a way out" for the Colombian masses.

One of the particularities of Colombian politics is that all the political forces have their armies. The bourgeoisie has their regular army as well as their paramilitary death squads, which have unleashed a hideous wave of assassinations of left-wing and working class activists. The cocaine kings also have armies. As well, the different tendencies on the left have their armed movements. The nationalist social-democrats have their M-19 guerrilla organization. The pro-Soviet revisionists have their FARC guerrillas. There are the ELN Castroist guerrillas. The CPC(ML) also has its Popular Liberation Army (EPL). There are others too.

Several years ago most of the left-wing guerrilla movements united under the umbrella of the "Simon Bolivar Guerrilla Coordinator" (CGSB). The CPC/FARC is the most powerful element within this front. So the politics of the CGSB tend to be the CPC's reformist politics. While it is an armed movement, revolution is not its aim. Its aims are restricted to adjustments in the present order. Particular stress is put on constitutional guarantees which they hope will allow the left parties to more safely participate in elections.

So far, the attempts to set up such a guerrilla umbrella have been relatively unstable. Sections of the more radical Guevarists have been hesitant to make common cause with the more parliamentarist reformists. As well, different tendencies periodically attempt to "go it alone" in seeking a reconciliation with the regime. Presently, for example, the M-19 is trying for a separate deal with the government. Earlier, before the formation of the CGSB, it was the CPC/FARC forces that hoped to gain from a separate capitulation. It has been the government's intransigence, including its assassination of many CPC cadre, that has so far frustrated these reformist hopes.

In the past, the CPC(ML) was severely critical of the CPC/FARC leaders as representing an armed movement with no objectives beyond reformist conciliation of the class struggle. The CPC/FARC leaders have not changed. However, the CPC(ML) leaders have. More and more the CPC(ML)/EPL is subordinating itself within the CGSB. They have adopted as their own the CGSB's reformist, class conciliationist framework; they have given up any criticism of this reformism and class conciliationism, any expression of an independent revolutionary stand. This is where the Cuba connection comes in. Reconciliation with, revisionist Cuba is part of the further merger of the CPC(ML)/EPL with the revisionist/Castroist forces in Colombia.

Over the last decade and more the Cuban leaders have been urging the unification of the revisionist, Castroist and other left-wing forces in Latin America under a reformist program. The Cubans are instrumental in bringing pressure for rightist stands in the name of uniting all the groups. One common feature of this unity is that it is invariably accompanied by the domination by the more trusted revisionist and reformist elements.

The Colombian CGSB is just such an attempt at unity. Here, too, the Cubans are undoubtedly playing the role of matchmaker. This has been reflected by Radio Havana, which has been promoting the CGSB and its major groups, including both the FARC and the EPL.

Thus, when the leadership of the CPC(ML) drops its denunciation of Cuban revisionism there is something immediately at stake. By declaring Cuba to be "socialist" and "Marxist-Leninist," the CPC(ML) leaders can hope to achieve a yet closer fusion with the revisionist and Castroist groups. This is not to mention gaining invitations to conferences in Havana and the other perks that come with befriending the revisionist club.

Merging the youth wing of the CPC (ML) with the revisionists and reformists?

There is no way to guess how far the CPC(ML) will go towards organizational fusion with the revisionist Castroist forces. What is clear is that is the direction it is going. In fact, moves are afoot for the liquidation of the JRC (the Revolutionary Youth of Colombia, which is the youth wing of the CPC(ML) into a single youth organization with the reformist-revisionist left. The intention to do so was put forward in the declaration of the 1st National Assembly of the JRC held last December. (See Revolucion, #309, Feb. 6-12, '89)

Its change in stand towards Cuba is a sign that the leadership of the CPC(ML) is rapidly retreating from Marxism-Leninism to revisionist opportunism. By embracing Cuban revisionism and state capitalism the gates are being opened for the liquidation of any stand of the CPC(ML) independent from that of the general reformist-revisionist. marsh. This puts into jeopardy all that the comrades of the CPC(ML) have worked and sacrificed and died for through all these years. All those who support the revolutionary cause of the Colombian workers and Marxist-Leninists should do what they can to help the Colombian activists avert this danger. All those who are determined to maintain the class struggle in their own country should oppose reconciliation with revisionism.

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Havasupai indians oppose drilling of uranium mine

Native people in the Grand Canyon are fighting to stop drilling of a uranium mine on their traditional land. In February, 50 activists picketed the federal courthouse in Phoenix, Arizona. They have also filed a law suit against Energy Fuels Nuclear, Inc.

Historically the Havasupai tribe lived in the South Rim area of the Grand Canyon. Today, the 500 people remaining in the tribe have been pushed into a much smaller reservation inside the canyon. But they continue to use and hold sacred their traditional lands. It is in the Red Butte area, on their traditional lands just outside the reservation, that the National Forest Service has approved the drilling of a uranium mine.

The Havasupai are protesting because dust from the mining will drift into the canyon and poison the air, the water and their land. As well, the trucking of uranium from the mine to the White Mesa Mill in Utah will cross the Navajo and the White Mesa Ute reservations. Tons of uranium has already been spilled onto native lands. It has been cleaned up only slowly, after protests.

Radioactive poisoning, trash incinerators and toxic waste dumps are threatening the health of millions across the country. The impoverished reservations are a favored target for the racist capitalists. Frequently tribal chiefs, who are growing rich off wheeling and dealing with the monopolies, are collaborating with the poisoning of their own people. The working class must support the struggle of the Native Americans against this systematic poisoning.

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Navajo defeat toxic waste dump

A secret deal was in the works between Silicate Technology and Navajo Tribal Chairman Peter McDonald to build a toxic waste dump on the Navajo Reservation in Dilcon, Arizona.

When the Navajo caught wind of this dirty plan, a community meeting was called to speak out against it. A representative of Silicate Technology was present and was hotly denounced by the Navajo and environmentalists. The Navajo of Dilcon are gaining experience in struggle. They had earlier fought off the building of a toxic waste incinerator on the reservation.

By the end of the meeting, the representative of Silicate Technology was forced to back off the plan. Despite the eager approval of their sellout chief, McDonald, the working and poor Navajo have organized themselves, spoken out, and defeated one more attack by the rich capitalists.

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At the University of Washington:

Condemn the Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Promoters of rape

The following is excerpted from the May 19 leaflet of the Revolutionary Action Group (RAG), P.O. Box 18228, Seattle, WA 98118:

Recently the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon has produced a 1989 Greek Week T-shirt with words and graphics promoting rape. The design of this shirt is reproduced below for your reference.

A Daily [officially-sanctioned student newspaper-ed.] commentator who contacted Sigma Alpha Epsilon to find out the motives behind the shirt was told by Rob File, one of the shirt's designers, "I understand what it represents; I can understand why people are offended but I've seen worse things." (The Daily 5-T2-89)

The fact that Rob File arrogantly admits that he helped design a T-shirt advocating rape is enraging enough, but the fact that he tries to trivialize advocating the brutalization of women by saying "I've seen worse things" is a hint at what kind of sexist and reactionary women-hating attitudes exist at Sigma Alpha Epsilon. On top of this Rob File advises us to "lighten up" (Ibid.). Well Rob, we do not think the oppression of women is something to shrug off or take lightly, especially the brutal acts you are promoting. We think that a militant uncompromising struggle should be waged against those who advocate and participate in any form of oppression of women, not just the particularly vicious form being glorified by Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Rob also informs us that the T-shirt is an "inside joke" (Ibid.). We have heard of the gang rapes that occur inside fraternities and we do not think there is anything humorous in the violent brutalization of women' by these smirking arrogant sons of the rich who are sheltered by the affluence of their parents. (We are not forgetting that the vicious psychopath Ted Bundy thought that the torture and homicides of his victims was a big laugh also.)

We intend to help build a powerful movement of students to put an end to this kind of sexist and anti-women "inside jokes".

We encourage everyone to let Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Rob File know what the students think of their advocacy of' rape. Sigma Alpha Epsilon's address is 4506 17th Ave. NE.

Anti-women culture of capitalism is an open sewer

This SIGMA ALPHA EPSILON T-shirt is but one more drop of shit in the open sewer or capitalist culture which is permeated with male supremacy, brutality and every sort of exploitative attitude toward women. Advertizing, TV, magazines and all types of "entertainment" portray women in degrading and humiliating ways. Typical images of women are of weak and not-too-bright housewives or as dehumanized objects of sexual allure. From the ads which subtly suggest that a woman would want to sleep with a man if he buys a certain car to the distorted image of women in TV shows such as "Nightingales", these images support the bourgeois culture's view of women as a commodity existing primarily to serve the needs and desires of men. Women are often depicted as having somewhat less than the full range of human emotions and feeling. It is sometimes even suggested, in a barely disguised way, that women deserve or would even enjoy rape. This anti-women culture and ideology encourages and incites the use of violence and terror against women and is used to shape the attitudes of viewers and readers and condition them to passively accept a reduced and inferior role of women in life and society.

How common are attacks on women? It is commonly estimated that 1 in 4 women experience rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. It is also estimated that 90% of rapes go unreported, often because of the way the police, courts and justice system refuse to take action or treat the victim as the criminal. A common form of rape is "date rape" in which the victim is raped by someone she knows and thought she could trust. This kind of rape is rarely reported and even more rarely prosecuted and is the kind of rape glorified by the SIGMA ALPHA EPSILON T-shirt Beating of women is also very common. According to the March of Dimes Birth Defect Foundation, about 1 in 12 women are beaten while they are pregnant and 3 to 4 million American women are battered each year resulting in one-fifth of all hospital emergency room visits by women (Seattle Times 4-15-89)

Of course not every single rape and beating of women can be directly tied to a particular element of sexist culture, but the intense pressure of anti-women ideology and the atmosphere of acceptance and attacks on women play a huge role in inciting violence.

[The leaflet continued into the issues beyond culture, including discrimination, cutting of social benefits, etc. The remaining subheads were:

Attacks on abortion rights are spearhead of attacks on women;

Attacks on women are part of capitalist offensive against all workers;

Build the movement against the oppression of women.]

[Photo: SAE's T-shirt graphic]

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New York squatters fighting building demolition

A demolition crew guarded by 60 police entered the Tompkins Square area of New York City April 27. They came to tear down a building that had been occupied by squatters for five years.

Word of the attack spread quickly through the neighborhood which has recently been the scene of many altercations between homeless people and police. The police were met by over 150 people at the doors to the building. And the crowd kept growing. Some protesters managed to slip by the police barricades and occupied the building. The confrontation heated up as police grabbed one protester. Police car windows were smashed and the angry crowd demanded the release of the protesters. In all, 11 demonstrators were arrested.

Following this heated confrontation, the city said the demolition would not take place until a report could be

drawn up on the structural soundness of the building. However, without prior notice, on May 2, the city of New York made its move. Over 500 riot-clad police escorted construction workers to the site. The police proceeded to seal off two square blocks and checked IDs of people in the area.

Once again, word of the police attack spread quickly. Soon over 500 people were marching through the streets to protest. Another volatile confrontation was in the works. But a judge issued a restraining order which halted the demolition. The demonstrators dispersed believing that they had once again stopped the destruction.

However, within no time at all, the city got another judge to overturn the restraining order. During the middle of the night, the building was torn down as an army of cops stood guard.

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Below are a few minor corrections to the article "Comment on the letter from Bolshevik Tendency: Trotskyist BT denies the right to self-determination of the Afghanistan" in the last issue of the Supplement (May 15).

Page 16, col. 1 refers to articles on Afghanistan in the May 15, 1988 issue of the Workers' Advocate. That should have said the May 1, 1988 issue.

Page 17, col. 1 recommends the article "Background notes on the situation in Afghanistan" regarding the history of Afghanistan, but neglects to mention where this article can be found. It is in the May 15, 1988 issue of the Supplement.

There should be a paragraph break on page 16, column one, line 8 after the words "over the bodies of the Afghan people" and also on page 18, col. 2, line 2 from the bottom after the words "at least 'socialized.'"

Finally, on page 18, col. 1, line 14 from the bottom, the phrase "But even if it,..." should be "But even if it does have this right,..."

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Two years of Simpson-Rodino

Two years ago Congress and Reagan put into effect the Simpson-Rodino law, the Immigration Reform and Control Act. True to what immigrants' rights activists predicted, this "reform" has worsened the plight of poor immigrants in this country and reinforced racism against "foreign-looking" people, especially Latinos.

The economic devastation of Mexico and other poor countries and the U.S. war in Central America are uprooting hundreds of thousands and forcing them to seek jobs and refuge in this country. Poverty-stricken workers and peasants are in so desperate a situation that they are willing to take the risk of living the harsh life of an "illegal" in the U.S.

Stepped-up exploitation

Life for immigrant workers without legal papers has always been hell, and Simpson-Rodino has put them in an even tighter spot. Since now employers face fines if they hire undocumented immigrants, finding a job has become much more difficult. It has meant that desperate immigrant workers have become the prey of cruel, capitalist bloodsuckers. Workers are being treated like near-slaves. Many are getting paid next to nothing, or not at all.

In one case in Los Angeles, a well-known pizza chain paid three men in pizzas for two days of work. A local church where some 300 immigrants stay says that it is receiving reports from its residents of employer abuse at a sharply increased rate. Five years ago, workers would report such problems, twice a month. Now the church receives about 20 reports a week, sometimes 20 a day.

More government brutality

Meanwhile, the repression from the government has also become worse.

The Simpson-Rodino law has funded increased repression by the INS. It has bolstered the INS in bringing down its racist club on the immigrant workers and anyone who just looks foreign. INS brutality along the border has stepped up. As well, there are more raids in the work places, more checkpoints along the highways, and more deportations.

INS accused in San Jose trial

The INS has a long record of systematic racist savagery. Some of this is being brought out at a trial currently going on in San Jose, California. The INS is being accused of discrimination, racial harassment and other abuses. One should not expect that the trial will change the INS, but its proceedings show its deep-seated racist nature.

For instance, INS memoranda have been discovered which use the word "tonks" when referring to undocumented immigrant workers. When pressed about what this meant, one INS agent eventually admitted that this was a derogatory term used by INS agents for "illegals"; the word was derived from the sound of a flashlight hitting a person's head.

Facts have also been brought out about how the INS routinely attacks anyone who "looks Mexican." A Sacramento businessman of Mexican descent told how, after his business was raided, the agent at the local INS office said, "We can enter a property without a warrant if we see Mexicans in plain view from the street."

The government argues that they may be "deviant behavior" on the part of some personnel, but the INS has no systematic racist policy. However, the fact that no INS agent has ever been formally disciplined for abusing or violating the rights of a person in the work place shows that what the INS dismisses as "deviant behavior" is in fact standard operating procedure.

Another catch-22 for amnesty applicants

To hide the repressive and exploitative intent of the Simpson-Rodino law, a sweetener was added which provided amnesty for some undocumented immigrants. But the rules and limitations of the application process made it nearly impossible for many. Only those who could prove continuous residency from January 1, 1982 were eligible to apply. Then there were the high posts of application fees, lawyers' fees and medical examination, and so on.

But even for those who did go through the process and received amnesty, there have been more traps awaiting them. Many workers who have reported to their employers about their new legal status are now being fired for lying on their job application in the years past! Sometimes they are then hired back immediately but on a lower pay scale, with zero seniority, vacation time or other benefits. In one case, a pregnant woman worker was fired and rehired but had to wait three months to get the company's medical insurance back. She ended up giving birth at a county hospital without insurance coverage.

In the Los Angeles area alone, one estimate is that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, are being fired after revealing they applied for amnesty under Simpson-Rodino.

Such are the cruel fruits of the "immigration reform" which was passed by votes of both Democratic and Republican politicians. It's not that these people didn't know what their policy would do. The Simpson-Rodino law was never designed to help immigrant workers, but to terrorize them so that the capitalists could exploit them.

The fight against Simpson-Rodino must continue. Workers must denounce the abuse of our immigrant comrades. We must organize against those who suck the blood of the undocumented. We must stand up against the racist INS.

Full rights for all immigrant workers!

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Ferris State U. students hold four day sit-in

Eighty students sat-in against racism for four days at the Star Education Center of Ferris State University in western Michigan.

The university eventually agreed to most of their demands. And it agreed to spend $407,000 to implement the agreement. Among the demands won were 18 new minority scholarships; increased minority enrollment and incentives for departments to hire minority teachers; workshops on black awareness; and more office space and increased funding for the Office of Minority Affairs. Currently only 4% of the close to 12,000 students are black. And there are only 29 blacks in the 1,200-member faculty.

Shouts of victory filled the hall outside the Ferris president's office where the students had moved their sit- in on the four day. One student on the negotiating team said the main lesson of the sit-in is that students can change things if they are united and committed.

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1,000 students denounce racism at Brown U.

On May 1--after a weekend of repeated incidents of racist and sexual harassment including the appearance of a crude flier announcing "the Brown chapter of the KKK"--a meeting with the administration was called at the Third World Center of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. The meeting quickly spilled over into the street. It was eventually moved to the campus green where it grew to over 1,000 students. Speaker after speaker denounced the growing climate of racism and the increasingly violent attacks on women, lesbians and gays.

The fascist KKK claims supporters at Brown. This has outraged minority students, who are the target of repeated insults, as well as people throughout Rhode Island. Brown students have a history of over 20 years of anti-racist struggle. Students have also opposed the anti-abortionists of Operation Rescue and denounced them as front men for racism and repression against women. The students were eager for struggle despite the pressure of final exams.

Renewed demands were made for expulsion of racists from campus, complete divestment of investments in apartheid South Africa, increasing admissions and hiring of minorities, and a permanent program for minority studies. Certain fraternities were forced to apologize for the racist themes at their parties.

The promises of the administration, including for the immediate expulsion of racists, did not lull the students into a false sense of security. For years many students have defied arrests and disciplinary action to fight CIA recruiting on campus and the administration's foot-dragging on divestment. Over 500 students came out to another rally against racism on May 8. And hundreds of students and faculty are wearing pins and stickers to acknowledge that a continuing fight is needed.

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Measures against racism terminated in steel

In 1974, the U.S. government, nine major steel companies, and the United Steelworkers union (USW) agreed to the "consent decrees." The steel industry was notoriously racist. There were few minority and women workers, and they were segregated into the hottest, dirtiest and hardest departments and jobs. The consent decrees were supposed to eliminate this situation by increasing the hiring and promotion of black, hispanic and women workers and to eliminate the segregated departments by opening up plant-wide seniority.

But the steel industry went into crisis. And in recent years dozens of mills have closed down and some 200,000 jobs have been eliminated. The United Steel Workers union refused to resist the capitalist concessions drive or unite black and white, men and women workers to fight the layoffs. In the end, the old capitalist cycle of last-hired, first-fired repeated itself, and the minority and women workers have been hardest hit by the layoffs.

But the Bush government is not content with the devastation wreaked especially harshly on the minority and women workers. It wants to eliminate even the past token gestures against racism and forestall equality in hiring and promotion with the opening of new mills. Thus, at the urging of the Bush government, a U.S. district court in Birmingham, Alabama terminated the consent decrees on March 3 of this year.

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More on the poisoning of postal workers at FDR station in New York

The following articles are from the May 26 issue of New York Workers' Voice, paper of the MLP-NY. An earlier article on the fumes appeared in the last issue of the Supplement.

FDR workers organize to fight noxious fumes

Over the last few weeks, many workers at FDR Post Office have become ill from the dangerous fumes around a repair project at the facility. But they have not taken all this lying down. Many have carefully documented their illness, obtaining notes from their doctors, while others have simply refused to work under those conditions. As well, workers have acted collectively: a petition was circulated among clerks, carriers, mail handlers and casuals, gathering over 350 signatures. Close to two dozen postal workers took part in this, between drawing up the petition, collecting signatures, and later taking the petition to postal management and elsewhere.

So far, the results are mixed. For a small number of people who were working the subcellar, conditions have improved, if only slightly. The worst effects of the fumes were reported among these workers, a large portion of whom were casuals. For a larger number of the affected workers, parcel post carriers, for example, things remain the same. And this says something about management's attitude towards the workers.

* * *

How should we view these results? There are two points on this.

Firstly, management cares nothing about the workers' health and safety. Therefore, they will only respond according to the strength shown by postal workers. For instance, if workers had done nothing at all, management would have no worries, and would subject its employees to the worst abuses. On the other hand, if workers were to affect production through an organized slow-down, management might be forced to reconsider its whole plan. At FDR Station, workers displayed a certain limited strength. It is not surprising that the results were limited as well.

In the second place, taking up a struggle, even if only partially successful, is always better than being passive. By taking up the fight, even in a weak and limited way, postal workers establish links with each other, and gain know-how which can be used in future struggles.

This is especially important given that the postal unions consistently refuse to mobilize the rank-and-file. The only role the postal unions can see for a worker is to move the mail, pay dues, contribute donations and, on occasion, lobby Congress. In this instance, while the APWU refused, to go further than filing a grievance, the NALC made it its business to "reassure" a number of carriers that the fumes are "harmless", "non-toxic" and even chided Parcel post carriers for not having learned to cooperate with management.


Workers at FDR Station are totally correct in having acted together to resist management. Only in this way will they be able to show greater strength in the future.

More on the fumes at FDR

Old Policy at FDR: If the fumes from the repair work downstairs make you sick, and you insist that you cannot work under those conditions, you may go home, but on your own time. And you may only use annual leave, of course, because we don't believe you are really sick!

New Policy at FDR: If you still insist the fumes make you sick, we'll let you go home. But since we cannot deny that people have gotten sick (too many people have doctor's notes!), we are making a change: You may now use your sick leave. Of course, you must use your own sick time, and we will count this against you as always. After all, your illness has nothing to do with us or any of our fumes!

Well! Who said postal management couldn't be flexible?


In point of fact, the chemicals being used in this construction work contain quite a few hazardous ingredients. For example, toluene diisocyanate is a potential carcinogen and has been associated, with gastrointestinal, neurological, ocular, dermal and respiratory symptoms including asthma and hypersensitivity. Another chemical, dimefhylformamide, has been associated with liver diseases, and instances of intrauterine death have been reported among laboratory workers exposed to this chemical as well. And the list of hazardous chemicals goes on.

It is also undeniable the dangers aren't simply potential dangers; quite a few people have gotten sick. Many have reported nausea, with at least four people actually vomiting on the job (three of these while working in the subcellar, a few weeks back). Respiratory problems have been reported, including asthma. And there have been skin rashes and even three cases of nose bleeding (all occurring in the vicinity of these chemicals). A number of people have had to miss work due to these illnesses.

* **

But management still claims there is no problem, and even the nurses have been told that the fumes are "harmless". Following this logic, one night tour employee was even refused treatment on the grounds of a long-standing policy at FDR: the medical unit will not treat an employee twice for the same problem within a three week period.

As well, many of the people who get sick are told that some other problem must be causing their symptoms. Women who have vomited, or become nauseous, for instance, have been told that they must be pregnant.

For the government and the powers that be, the U.S. Postal Service exists for one thing only: to serve business. For this reason, management treats the workers in a typically capitalist fashion: they are to be used or discarded as mere tools of machines. In this case the likely repair costs for the Post Office (the workers' health) was worth less than the cost of changing their construction plans.

Postal management is simply sticking to its long-standing safety policy: Cover it up...and keep working. Only one thing matters: keep the mail moving.


Does OSHA defend workers from dangerous working conditions?

OSHA and the Board of Health are governmental agencies, supposedly charged with ensuring the health and safety of the population, the board of Health deals with health matters generally, while OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) deals with on-the-job hazards affecting workers. Concerned about toxic chemicals being used on the job site, FDR workers got in touch with the Board of Health and OSHA over the past couple of weeks. What was their response to the FDR workers' petition?

The Board of Health said they had no jurisdiction so they could not act on the matter. Period. OSHA said they only had two agents for all of Manhattan and could not send anybody to FDR to investigate until six months from now. Imagine! Workers breathing these vapors are getting dizzy, some are throwing up as a result of exposure to the fumes, the labels on the containers of these chemicals warn about a carcinogenic ingredient called toluene diisocyanate and other toxic substances, and OSHA cannot send anybody to investigate for six months.

How is it possible that OSHA should have only two agents for the whole of Manhattan? For the last 8 years we have been treated to Reagan's federal budgetary wonders, namely, handouts for the wealthy, megabucks for the war machine, and cutbacks in social programs. And Bush's 1989 federal budget promises more of the same. For example, Bush wants to cut Medicare, the federal health program for the elderly, by $5 billion. And he has proposed cutbacks in benefits for federal employees and retirees.

It is no wonder then that OSHA should be severely understaffed! While it never amounted to any sort of serious protection for workers, its budget too has been cut. As well, occupational safety and environmental standards have been downgraded through the Reagan-Bush years. This only shows where the government's priorities lie.

* * *

But is it really so surprising that the government shows so little concern for the workers' safety? What is the purpose of agencies such as OSHA, anyway? Consider this. In 1970 the Clean Air Act was passed and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created. Subsequently other environmental bills were passed. Nevertheless, in March Exxon spilled over 240,000 barrels of crude oil near the Alaskan shores, last summer medical waste washed up on our beaches, and a recent' report of the EPA itself acknowledged that 22 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released by industry in the U.S. into the air, land and water. Obviously the EPA has been less than effective in curbing the big corporation's poisoning of the environment. And this is because the EPA is in the corporations' back pockets. Its true purpose is to project an image of governmental concern, while protecting the profits of the rich. OSHA's purpose, as well, is to cover up the government's role in allowing the corporations and the government itself to subject workers to unsafe working conditions. OSHA's response to the FDR workers' petition is a big exposure of its bankruptcy as a guardian of the workers' health and safety.

Should the workers trust OSHA and the government for their health and safety at the work place, or should they, instead, rely on their own strength and organization?

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Prisoner correspondence:

Hunger strike continues

The Texas prisoners are continuing their struggle against the brutal conditions imposed on them by the Texas Department of Corrections. Below is an excerpt from a report we have received from of leaders of Prisoners United for Revolutionary Education. Earlier reports on this strike can be found in the May 15 issue of the Supplement.

Texas prisons hunger strike now in its fourth month

Despite vicious reprisals, locking the suspected leaders up in solitary confinement, blanket denials of mail and other desperate acts violating their own rules so as to disrupt communications and by all means break it up, officials of the Texas Department of "Corruptions" (TDC) have been unable to stop the "relay hunger strike" now engulfing not less than 200 prisoners in several TDC units. The strike begun last March when a prisoner at Ellis I (men's) and another at Mt. View (women's) units went on strike in solidarity with at least 300 striking Azanian prisoners at Durban, Port Elizabeth and Diepkloof prisons (southafri-KKK-a) and at least 50 Red Army Fraction political prisoners in various West German prisons.

Texas prisons hunger strikers are organized in teams striking for 2 weeks, until relieved by another team. Many then continue to strike on the 1st and 15th of each month. The strike is being carried out by the Texas Chapter of Prisoners United for Revolutionary Education (PURE) from an unspecified Texas location. Besides solidarity with their West German and Azanian comrades, Texas strikers are demanding an end to barbaric prison conditions which despite several court orders to the contrary still continue in the TDC; including the selective use of physical mistreatment, and sensory deprivation and other psychological techniques aimed at "softening" especially prison rights activists and political prisoners in the TDC. Death Row prisoners joined the strike, additionally, to protest the unconstitutionality of the death penalty and the very restrictive confinement Death Row prisoners suffer in the TDC.

A key demand of the strikers is to halt the de facto and illegal reversal by the TDC of many court-ordered reforms won in Ruiz v. Lynaugh--a landmark Texas prison reform lawsuit won by the prisoners-that the prison bureaucracy ignores more openly by the day, while a Special Master and numerous monitors, assistant monitors and other appointed by the Ruiz Court precisely to watch over possible violations of the court orders by the TDC, look the other way except to collect their juicy paychecks. Ironically, the very additional repression, mail interferences etc. they are suffering as officials try all means, legal or extralegal, to break up the strike, are expressly prohibited by Ruiz Court and other federal court orders: which speaks volumes on how much the Texas prisoncrats care about the law when they smell danger to their privileges. Moreover, if a peaceful and orderly hunger strike is seen threatening the "law'n order" [and met with] such gross and open violations of their own laws, imagine to what extreme they'd go to avert, say, a revolution! So much for the delusions of "demo-KKK-racy" and a society ruled by the law hoped for by many!

Letters of protest/support are needed to:

1) Gov. Bill Clements (a republi-KKK-an), State Capitol, Austin TX 78711;

2) Atty. General Jim Mattox, PO Box 12548, Austin TX 78711 (a demo-KKK-rat);

3) James A. Lynaugh, Director of the Texas Department of Corrections, PO Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77340

4) Write and send a copy of above letters to the striking prisoners: they need your support.

(Prisoners denoted by (*) are addressed at: Ellis I Unit, Huntsville TX 77343)

2-week period: striking team

March 15 and March 29-April 11:

*Alberto Aranda #300832;

Ana Lucia Gelabert #384484 Rt 4 Box 800, Gatesville, TX 76528;

April 11-24:

*Domingo Cantu #924,

*Jesus Romero #801,

*Enrique Bugarin #471789;

Alvaro L. Hernandez #255735, Goree Unit, Huntsville, TX 77344;

April 24-May 7:

*Ruben M. Cantu #804,

*Leo Narvaiz #923,

*Gilberto Garcia #350579;

May 7-20:

*David R. Harris #882,

*John W. Cockrum #854;

May 20-June 2:

*Richard Wayne Jones #882,

Delbert B. Teague #849,

*Matthew W. Wilder #431094;

June 2-15:

*Harvey Earvin #577,

*Terry N. Sterling #794

June 15-28:

*Gerald Mitchell #838,

*Jackie Upton #833,

*Brian Roberson #886

June 28-July 11:

* Warren D. Rivers #928,

*Martin Vega #933;

[...the schedule continued until Nov. 5-18, and it concluded with "further names will be announced when known"]

In the struggle--we shall win!

By the Central Committee of Prisoners United for a Revolutionary Education,

Texas Chapter, at a Texas location

June 2, 1989

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On Noriega

We have received the following letter from comrade Ana Lucia Gelabert, one of the leaders of PURE, who has been corresponding with us on prison issues and a variety of political matters:

On the evening of May 10, 1989 (Mother's day) the President of the Electoral Board of the sovereign Republic of Panama, based on the constitutional and electoral code provisions annulled the May 7 general elections due to "widespread fraud caused and instigated by foreign elements, on behalf of foreign and national parties," which included massive vote buying at precincts, subtracting of unmarked ballots and "disappearance" of actas needed to certify the count on each precinct right after the elections, etc. She made clear that it was not the patriotic coalition COLINA (Coalicion de Liberation Nacional) behind the irregularities, but the U.S.-owned and operated "Cruzada Servilista" (how the people call them) which had received massive U.S. funds and personnel assistance for such purposes.

However UPI (later followed by other U.S. new agencies) from the outset began distorting such declarations by the Electoral Board, and implying it was "Noriega's fraud;" which is the opposite of what the Electoral Board said. And now we see stepped-up U.S. troop deployments and hysteria about "the safety of U.S. citizens" in Panama, which often precede armed aggression by the United States. While the "Left" wing of imperialism does its disorientation, but from the strictest "Marxist-Leninist" orthodoxy.

It isn't a question of whether "Noriega is good or bad," but that such isn't any of the business of the U.S. government or even of the people of the United States, but of the people of the sovereign Republic of Panama. And there are NO halfway positions: either you are for the people of Panama and its patriotic Defense Forces, or against them!

I stand in full and unconditional support of the people of Panama and its Defense forces, including General Manuel Antonio Noriega, and against imperialism in all its guises, be them of the Right, or of the "Left." And urge my fellow Indo-latins, and particularly my Panamanian brethren, that the minute imperialist soldiers invade Panamanian soil be the minute the protracted people's war, an all-out war, begins from the Rio Bravo to the Tierra del Fuega, until all of Latin America is freed from the imperialist yoke. And let's see how long can the Canal be operated against the will of the Panamanian people in arms!

Ana Lucia Gelabert, May 11, 1989

Comment by the Supplement:

We have corresponded with comrade Gelabert for some time. As can be seen, she has a fiery spirit and is well willing to oppose the campaigns and propaganda of U.S. imperialism. Unfortunately, her efforts are only wasted when they are poured out in support of such an unworthy subject as General Noriega.

Comrade Gelabert says the issue "isn't a question of whether 'Noriega is good or bad,'" but then proceeds to declare her full and unconditional support for him, to urge that there are no half way positions, and even to support the twisting and turning of the regime in the last elections.

Actually support for the self-determination of Panama has nothing to do with supporting Noriega. Our Party has consistently, ever since its formation, opposed U.S. dictate over Panama and U.S. control of the Panama Canal. In the current crisis, we have denounced U.S. imperialist hypocrisy, demanded hands off Panama, and exposed the servile nature of the bourgeois opposition in Panama. We have carried out, consistently and with honor, support for the self-determination of the Panamanian people. This, however, also requires exposing the wheeling and dealing of General Noriega with imperialism and the CIA, even if he has had a falling out with them.

Comrade Gelabert says that it isn't any business "even of the people of the United States" to take a stand on Noriega. If this were the case, then her own fervent support for Noriega would be a violation of the self-determination of Panama, since she is one of these people and, to her great credit, a politically active such person, despite jail bars and the oppression of the Texas prison system. But in fact it is not just permissible, it is essential for American workers and progressive people to make up their own minds about the political trends in other countries. We must express our firm class solidarity with the toilers of other countries, and this involves firm support (no halfway position, as Gelabert says) for the revolutionary and toiling forces of other lands, and opposition to anything that oppresses them.

As to Noriega himself, we have written a number of times, mostly recently in article "Hands off Panama" in the June 1 issue of the Workers Advocate. He is a man whose corruption, whose past ties with the CIA, and whose strong- arm regime are notorious. As well, his regime has also clashed with workers and students.

It is true that Noriega uses the language of nationalism and promotes his falling out with imperialism as a great Panamanian cause. Throughout Latin America, the local bourgeoisie has long learned to talk in this way. For example, the very governments that let the streets run red with the blood of protesters against IMF-ordered austerity also talk of their great struggle against the enslaving debt.

To support the liberation movement of the Latin American workers and peasants, to help strike the bonds of the IMF and U.S. imperialism from them, one must support the struggle against the local bloodsuckers, strongman regimes and other oppressors. One cannot take a hands off attitude to them, still less support them. It is absolutely crucial to distinguish between the smooth-talking demagogy of the Latin American oppressors, meant only to deceive "their" own workers and to put a good face on their haggling with imperialism, and the real struggle against imperialism and exploitation.

Our recognition of the class struggle in Latin America, and its relation to the struggle against imperialism, is what comrade Gelabert seems to regard as our dread "strictest 'Marxist-Leninist' orthodoxy" which allegedly makes us into the "'Left' wing of imperialism" on the issue of Panama. But only consistent recognition of the class struggle, and of the tasks that flow from it, can help liberate the Latin American masses from the bonds of traditional radical-sounding phrases that enchain the masses to their local oppressors. Comrade Gelabert herself undoubtedly champions the struggle against various local oppressors and reactionary regimes, for she sympathizes with revolutionary change. But her inconsistency on the issue of the class struggle, her willingness to replace it with fashionable nationalist phrases, has done her an ill-service, and led her even to the point of full and unconditional support for the strong-man regime in Panama.

Comrade Gelabert looks towards a vast struggle in Latin America against its oppressors, from the Rio Bravo to the Tierra del Fuega. And so do we. Indeed throughout Latin America, a great revolt is brewing among the workers and peasants against the miserable conditions, against having their blood sucked by the local exploiters, the imperialist bankers, and other parasites. But, General Noriega is one of the forces of the Latin American bourgeoisie which would like to put down this revolt. If we are to support the simmering revolt of the Latin American toilers, we must learn how to distinguish the class forces that would carry out the revolt and those that are standing on top of it.

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Bush's bank bailout

Paying the rich for going bankrupt

The following is based on comments sent in from a comrade in New York

Over the next few weeks, George Bush and Congress will finish hammering out the details of the Savings and Loan (S&L) bailout plan. This bailout, which is more accurately described as a giant transfer of wealth from the working class through its taxes to a handful of wealthy bankers, speculators and investors, is by far the largest government subsidy to a floundering industry in recorded history. The total cost, somewhere between $150-$400 billion, is perhaps 50 times as great as the combined bailouts of Lockheed, Chrysler and the banks that held New York City bonds. It will cost every man, woman and child in the country around $1000 in direct payments to the wallets of the rich. In fact, this subsidy represents a new pinnacle of "achievement" for state-subsidized monopoly capitalism, where profits go to the rich, but the tab for losses is picked up in name by the government, in actuality by the workers. Risk-free, guaranteed profits capitalism--this is the dream of the bourgeoisie.

What is also notable about this plan is the unanimity with which it is being rushed into effect. Consider the anguished contortions and feverish congressional debate that goes into even defending current pitifully small levels of spending on, say, nutrition programs for pregnant women or drug rehabilitation. Consider the howls from the Reaganites about "waste", "welfare queens", "the importance of private charity". Now look at how this gigantic handout- welfare for the rich-has been hurried through Congress with hardly a word of dissent. Why, there would be more debate about motherhood, or apple pie. Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, White House and Congress, the TV and print media, "responsible" economists and Wall St. analysts have all joined in that "reasonable consensus" that marks policies crucial to the bourgeoisie. Of course, there is some bickering about who will get which slice of the pie. There is the usual rhetorical hand-wringing about "how did this happen?" But there is no argument that when it comes time to foot the bill, the working class must pay and pay.

The Bush plan and its costs

What is the essence of the Bush plan? And how much will it eventually cost? And, especially, how deep-seated is the banking crisis? These are questions that the government would rather not answer in any detail. Yet, as for the cost, just in the last year, the official "worst-case estimate" has ballooned from $25 to $50 to $100 to $150 billion dollars. And this may still be minimizing the scope of the bailout/subsidy.

The essence of the bourgeoisie's crisis is twofold:

First, a large number of banks-and in particular, a very high proportion of S&Ls-have plunged into bankruptcy, Money must be found from somewhere to pay off all the creditors of these banks-including, most importantly, big depositors (such as other banks) whose deposits are much greater than the $100,000 officially guaranteed by the government. As well, the question of how these banks went bankrupt, the shameless plundering, the government complicity, where exactly the wealth went, must all be obscured, lest a public outcry develop.

Second, a crisis of confidence is starting to develop in the deposit insurance system and, as a result, in the stability of the entire American banking system.

We will examine each of these questions in turn.

For a bank, bankruptcy represents the difference between what a bank owes (its debts)-its obligation to be able to repay the money that has been deposited in the bank-and the money that is owed to the bank (its assets)- money it has lent out or invested. For various reasons (see below) much of the money that banks are owed is now unrecoverable. Hence, debts are now greater than assets. Banks are also required to have a certain amount of "capital" on hand-actual cash or securities that can be used as a cushion against bad loans. For commercial banks, this capital requirement is 6%; for S&Ls, it was 3%, In actuality, a bank may even keep operating when its assets are less then its debts, but it is "bankrupt" when its reserves fall below this required amount. A number of accounting loopholes, however, drastically reduce the legal capital requirement, decreasing the banks' margin of error, increasing their potential loss.

Until the 1930's, a bankrupt bank simply went out of business and depositors-those to whom it owed money- lost all or part of their pavings. Today, two government agencies, the FDIC and the FSLIC, insure that all deposits (bank debt) up to $100,000 will be repaid. In previous bankruptcies, until the late 1970's, these agencies had paid off depositors, seized all assets, and sold them for whatever they were worth. Often, the capital requirement and the forfeiture of deposits over $100,000 covered all losses. When it did not, because the number of bankruptcies was relatively small, costs were easily met out of an insurance pool funded by the banks. In recent years, however, the number of bankruptcies has grown by leaps and bounds. As well, especially since the near collapse of the major money-center bank Continental Illinois, the government has taken the stand that all deposits, no matter how large, will be repaid in full.

At a certain point, in the early '80s, it became clear that the insurance pool of the FSLIC was not great enough to cover all S&L bankruptcies. And so the government simply stopped liquidating bankrupt banks. The official explanation was that these banks were simply being given time to right themselves. In fact, this policy encouraged banks that were already in the red to speculate more and more wildly. The more the government procrastinated on liquidation, the larger the losses grew.

What started as government-condoned speculation and plunder has thus developed into a major problem for the bourgeoisie. On the one hand, the banks, the Wall St firms, the junk bond specialists, the takeover artists are all standing in line for their share of the loot. On the other, the capitalist government, the Federal reserve, and all the major players are working hard to ensure that this gigantic subsidy/bailout not herald the collapse of the entire American banking system.

The S&L crisis is, in fact, only a small part of a deeply flawed, highly shaky banking system. Hundreds of billions of dollars of bank and insurance company money is tied up in junk bonds used to finance leveraged buyouts and other takeovers. It is common knowledge that a severe recession will leave many of these bonds worthless. And hundreds of billions of dollars more from the major money-center banks are tied up in loans in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia that can never be repaid. Yet these loans are bought and sold on the open market for between 10-50% of face value (depending on the country).

This shell game continues primarily because the bourgeoisie has no alternative. And so it wallows deeper and deeper in speculative activity in desperate attempts to make the big haul today, never mind the future. And-this was the big revelation of the Reagan years-it plunges further into debt on a world scale to finance its high living. Due to the large size of the American economy, and the spectacular effects worldwide of its collapse, upcoming economic powers like Japan and Germany have no current choice other than to support the profligate living of the American bourgeoisie.

But the "boom" of the Reagan years is a bubble waiting to burst. And while the capitalists pop their champagne corks they are also inching nervously toward the door, hoping to be the first out. In this situation, the role of the government in propping up the economic system is crucial. All bad news, is wiped away by placing "the government's full faith and credit" at the disposal of the capitalists. For the moment by propping up here, subsidizing there, and bailing in a third spot, the leaky ship is kept afloat This is why the S&L bailout/subsidy is a necessity.

Here is what Bush's plan calls for:

First, no qualification or restrictions on the deals made by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in the closing weeks of 1988. These deals, detailed in the Jan., 1989 issue of the Workers' Advocate, were so favorable toward the buyers of failing S&Ls as to attract criticism even in the financial pages of the bourgeois press. Briefly, guaranteed tax breaks, government assumption of all loan losses, and the guarantee of a high rate of return has left these purchasers in a no-lose situation.

Second, the immediate seizure of only 200 of the most bankrupt S & Ls.

Third, a nominal increase in the number of bank examiners, and a shuffling of the regulatory bureaucracy.


The Bush Administration claims that the cost to the taxpayers of this bailout will be "only" $40 billion. The working masses will pay higher taxes, and will also see cuts in social programs to balance the costs of the bailout. And, in fact, the cost of the bailout will be much, much more than Bush says-at least double the $40 billion and possibly four or five times that figure. For example, $20 billion was pared from the estimated cost by counting increased FDIC reserves which, on paper, will decrease the deficit. Another $20 billion was "saved" by underestimating future interest rates, reducing projected interest repayments for money borrowed to pay the bailout. And there is the likelihood of more bank failures. As interest rates have actually risen in the past months, this increases even more both costs and future bank failures (as the insolvent, banks scramble to pay higher interest to their depositors). In addition, recent FDIC regulations forcing savings and loans to increase their capital requirements will overwhelm many S&Ls that are still technically solvent, forcing them into bankruptcy. Estimates now run as high as a total cost of $200 billion and the takeover of 1000 banks. Even this might in the end be too low. Only 6 months ago, the "worst case estimate was $50 billion; 3 months ago, it was $100 billion.

Moreover, there is another way to calculate ultimate costs that makes them seem even greater. The FDIC Chairman William Seidman recently said that the government expects to liquidate $400-500 billion of seized assets (from the failed banks) at only 35-45% of face value (Dreyfus Round Table, April 30). This suggests a total loss of $300 billion. Borrowing this enormous amount of money for bailouts would produce interest costs alone of $30 billion yearly.

Where did the money go

These costs, whether $100 or $200 or $300 billion represent money apparently "lost" by the banking industry. And yet the money is making a lot of people and institutions very rich. How is it that this money is unrecoverable? How is it that the management of 200 banks can perpetrate theft at a rate of at least $500 million per institution yet no one goes to jail? The answer lies at the heart of our capitalist system: wild speculation, public money lining private pockets, and a legal system that protects the wealthy at all times.

Money was and continues to be lost in five ways.


The first, and smallest amount (probably "only" several billion) was lost through open fraud. The bank chairman or Board of directors would take investor money and funnel it into companies owned by them or their friends or relatives without asking for collateral. Or sometimes developers or other corporations would make kickbacks to bank officials to approve loans that otherwise never would have gone through. This money in no way "disappeared". It simply changed form and become luxury cars and expensive homes or Swiss bank accounts. The government now says that over half of all failed banks were involved in fraudulent activities.

Technically, these officials are liable to prosecution when caught. However, it seems that the government has no interest in prosecuting them. Federal prosecutors in Denver, for example, complained that the courts are too swamped with drug cases to try these "white collar" felons. The rich, with their high priced lawyers, can drag cases on endlessly, without the quick results that prosecutors need for promotion. All too often, even when a guilty verdict is reached, the result is simply a slap on the wrist sentence by a judge who probably belongs to the same country club as the convicted banker. This man who stole millions, he explains, is no threat to society. Why, he says, the mortification of being convicted is punishment enough for such pillars of society. The rich, that is, take care of themselves.

Two recent eases make this point very concretely. A Queens, New York banker accused of money-laundering and then extortion was acquitted by a Federal judge. The judge noted that this man had been a "bad banker" and an alert board of directors would have ousted him after he extorted money from a potential client to cover bad loans made to friends. But, the judge explained, the banker was only responding to pressure from Washington to engage in more speculative, riskier activity. The poor man, it seems, was just "trapped" in a hopeless situation. (Newsday 2/24/89) As we all know, the criminal is really a victim too. Meanwhile, across town in Manhattan, the chairman of the United Orient Bank, convicted of an $18 million money-laundering scheme, was fined $25,000, given 3 years probation, and ordered to perform 600 hours of community service. This stiff penalty is sure to scare other potential felons into going straight.

Legal fraud

Secondly, money was channeled out of the banks and into the hands of the rich through what might be known as legal fraud. Wealthy capitalists took over small S&Ls and increased their size a hundred-fold by offering interest rates well above the market rate. Rich coupon clippers would package millions in many bundles small enough to be government-insured. The "premium" they received on their investment (that is, the extra percent or two of interest these banks offered) represents money siphoned to the rich. When the takeovers occur, the government will honor these "super-premium rates", and impose their cost on the taxpayer. Meanwhile, for years, the banks' owners were declaring hefty dividends and paying huge salaries to themselves even at a time when their banks were technically insolvent.

As there was technically no fraud, as this was all being done under the oh-so-watchful eye of the bank regulatory bodies, this money is also deemed unrecoverable and is added to the bailout cost. Just days ago, the New York Times reported that the FDIC is continuing to allow these "super premium" interest rates even at the banks they have already taken over. (5/19/89)

Failed speculation

Third, a certain amount of money has indeed disappeared, has in effect been sucked into the black hole of failed speculation. It is a particular feature of capitalism that supposed "wealth" can simply vanish this way. While real value is determined by labor cost--that is, how many man hours will it take to build this steel mill-capitalist wealth also has a speculative nature.

Traditionally, S&Ls had been barred from all but the least speculative ventures-they had been restricted to home mortgages. During the 1970s however, the government had opened the doors wide for S&Ls to invest in junk bonds, real estate development, stock and land speculation. Ordinarily, a corporation or individual or mutual fund speculates with its own money. If it speculates poorly, it loses capital and goes but of business. (Of course, the fact is that the government rarely lets the truly big corporations go down the drain. It is likely to step in with loans or trade protections. The bank bailout follows this principle but on a larger scale). However, these banks were speculating not with their own money-after all, actual bank capital is only a few percent of invested bank assets. They were speculating knowing that if they were lucky bank management would reap huge bonanzas in profits, while if they guessed wrong the federal government would be left holding the bag. The bailout is now centered on banks that invested in the real estate and oil industries just before various speculative bubbles burst.

Here then, we can see the tremendous culpability of the capitalist government. If all bank managers had been just "average" speculators, the industry as a whole would post just "average" return on investment. However, many individual bankers would make great fortunes-which would go into their own pockets. And others would have lost great amounts--the tab for these losses would,be picked up by the FSLIC. And, if the FSLIC goes bankrupt, by the taxpayers, including all of society but weighing disproportionately heavily on the working people. The government has turned bank insurance into a way of insuring speculation.

Government-recycling of the banks

Fourth, the plunder only continues when the government finally takes over and liquidates the bankrupt banks. The seized assets of the banks-mortgages, investments (almost $500 billion in real estate "book value")--are of great interest to the bourgeoisie if they can buy them for a song. And the government shows every indication of selling at "fire sale" prices. For example, FDIC Chairman Seidman recently urged speculators to "come in and make an offer" on pools of tens or hundreds of millions worth of property (Dreyfus). The official explanation: to get this properly out of the government's hands and back to the private sector (which had done such a good job with it) as fast as possible. Meanwhile, the big Wall St. firms are discussing how to finance these purchases most profitably--whether through junk bonds or venture capital.

Who will administer these sales for the government? Why, none other than the same bankers who produced the fiasco in the first place. In a particularly gross example, it was recently revealed that the FSLIC/FDIC hired two bank examiners who are currently under indictment for bank fraud. No one except the industry has any kind of idea how all this property is and will be sold. There is certainly no "set procedure". Using the infamous "revolving door", out-of-work S&L executives will come to work for the government, arrange cushy deals for friends and relatives, then return to the corporate sector to reap the profits.

Paying the rich to buy banks

Finally, the largest profits are reserved for the big financiers and major banks who can afford to purchase whole banks from the FDIC. "Purchase", however, takes on a new meaning here. In return for relatively small infusions of capital, the government agrees to pay the buyer in a number of ways. For example, as outlined in the January '89 Workers Advocate, in return for putting up $315 million to take over a Texas S&L with assets of $12 billion, the government gave financier Ronald Perelman tax breaks worth more than this amount. As well, the government is pouring in an additional $5 billion to cover all bad loans.

Barron's, a major financial magazine, recently outlined the immense profits to be made while risking nothing at all.

"The acquirers made money on tax breaks right off the bat. They had no exposure on the bad loan portfolio. They had very little good asset exposure. In some deals, the minimum rate of return after cost of administration and capital was also guaranteed....the giveaways do not ultimately save a dime-and in the long run will be, far more expensive than just paying off the depositors would have been. [Losses] will still have to be paid off by the taxpayers. The mergers, acquisitions and bailouts will not improve that situation by one iota. The bailouts, in fact, make it worse in that the taxpayers now have to make up the tax subsidy as well as the portfolio losses...the rich get that way because they know how to make the most of their opportunities. The government handed them the steal of the century."

For their "trouble", these major players also receive other advantages. Purchase of an existing bank allows entry into neighborhoods or regions without the trouble of start-up costs. More important, banks had traditionally been allowed to take deposits only in one state. However, the government now relaxes this rule in the case of the takeover of a failed bank. Thus, Citibank, which formerly could only take deposits in New York, now owns S&Ls, and can take deposits, in California, Texas, Illinois, Ohio--all the nation's major markets.

Bank consolidation

The emergence of a number of nationwide banks had been proceeding even before the Bush plan. In the past few years, a number of states have opened, the doors to banks from other states. The development of so-called "non-bank banks" has erased some more of the barriers to national banks. Meanwhile, the government is readying its approval for banks to enter the securities business--handling issues of stocks and bonds, mergers, acquisitions, and buyouts. These were fields of activity specifically denied to banks--to ensure their stability--after the financial debacles of the early '30s.

The Bush plan speeds up consolidation. Not only does it open the door wider for banks to do business in previously restricted states, it eliminates much potential competition. While during the heady years of the '50s and '60s, the big commercial banks spurned mortgage activity, now they have decided that this is a very profitable field. These banks have been competing vigorously in the areas of mortgages and home equity (second mortgage) loans. The Bush plan eliminates much of their potential competition.

By the mid '90s, the banking industry will look far different than today. Hundreds of insolvent banks that had been driving up the cost of money (by jacking up interest rates) will have been liquidated. A thousand or more besides will disappear when they cannot fulfill the increased 6% capital requirement. A smaller core of larger banks will emerge from this shakeout. This increased monopolization is part of the American bourgeoisie's response to the threat to its economic hegemony from Japan and the European Economic Community (EEC). And it represents a big victory of the major commercial banks over the numerically large but financially weak S&L sector.

While the bourgeoisie grapples with the choice of quick profits or long term economic power, we say:

To hell with both these choices!

Neither the profiteering of the speculators nor the imperialist jockeying of the rich is of any benefit to the working class. Under, either circumstance, the workers will be expected to carry the burden, so the wealthy can fatten themselves at our expense.

Reject the propaganda of the bourgeoisie!

Denounce the gigantic subsidy to the rich!

Only the overthrow of capitalism can end this enormous and wasteful transfer of money to the wealthy!


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May Day speech:

The apparent strength and real weakness of capitalism- Why the future belongs to workers' socialism

Below are excerpts from one of the several speeches given at the MLP May Day meeting held in Seattle on April 29. Several other May Day speeches have been reproduced in the Supplement of May 15.

Comrades and friends,

To be very brief, the apparent strength of American (and thus to some extent, world) capitalism is the Reaganite economic "miracle" of a 6 year economic expansion.

The real weakness of it, however, is that this expansion has been achieved at the cost of massive debt-financing, i.e. the federal government borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars. And suffice it to say for now that, when the inevitable economic bust arrives, the "recession" will most probably be comparable only to the great depression of the 1930s.

To say that the future belongs to socialism contradicts today's conventional wisdom of the bourgeoisie. They have been indulging in massive gloating about the economic crisis of the Soviet Union and other countries of Eastern Europe, and about the recent capitalist reforms of Gorbachev.

The majority of this talk will deal with this gloating. Apparently the Seattle Post-Intelligencer is launching a series assaulting socialism this week. It is a topic among workers and will be more so. The recent huge demonstrations in China are being used to throw handfuls of mud too. But our experience is that workers are skeptical. By creating a big discussion, the bourgeoisie is actually presenting us with an opportunity--an opportunity to clarify that what is really going bankrupt is capitalism East and West. And this process is leading inexorably toward another revolutionary upsurge in the world. This is the objective reality. This helps to explain why the capitalist press is doing so much raving. Perhaps their anxiety levels are, too high? And their mudslinging is powerless to stop this process.

* * *

Of course, to a Marxist-Leninist it is absurd to suppose that "glasnost and perestroika" mean the final defeat of socialism and the triumph of capitalism. We have known for decades that the Soviet Union is not socialist but instead is a full-blown bureaucratic state-capitalist country; a country divided between a small, rich, exploiting class and the vast millions of ordinary workers; a country where profits for the rich are the motivation for production, not the needs of the masses; a country where the workers are deprived of political power and in fact are brutally repressed.

And isn't it more than a little strange to proclaim the victory of western-style capitalism, when the U.S. economy is essentially "dead on its feet", where the Reaganites are engaging in an orgiastic festival of profiteering, knowing full well that the music has to stop sooner or later, knowing that the crash is impending, but no one wants to stop the insane dance as long as they can borrow enough gold to keep the feast going?

But what do we mean by state capitalism? What is it in the Soviet Union? We don't-have a full explanation of this yet. And we won't put on airs on this point. Much research and analysis needs to be done.

But a number of points can be made that shed light on this issue.

To some extent, bourgeois ideologists of the west continue to make a pretense of capitalism being guided by principles of laissez-faire, i.e. that the state either does not interfere in economic matters, or tries to keep its intervention to a minimum.

In the 20th century, however, there has been a huge growth of state intervention and regulation of the economy, including various forms of state ownership, e.g. utilities, post office, and Amtrak.

By the turn of the century, competitive capitalism had been fundamentally transformed into monopoly capitalism, with huge corporations and banks dominating the entire economy. These institutions brought state policy completely under their dictate. The state became increasingly used as an instrument to maximize their profits. The system of taxation has been built up as a vast machine for milking the masses. There are vast state expenditures connected to every major facet of the economy, from agricultural price supports to huge state stockpiling of precious metals to regulate the market and keep prices up; to government procurement contracts of every description. Through the university system and otherwise, it finances and conducts scientific research vital for industry. The state itself at all levels employs one-sixth of all workers in U.S. Especially after World War II, the bloated war economy came into existence, often referred to as the military-industrial complex, i.e. the state-industrial complex.

So what has evolved historically is a type of state capitalism. In the U.S. there are a vast mix of property ownership forms: petty commodity production still exists, small private capitalists, private-owned companies, public share owned corporations, state-regulated utilities, banks, insurance companies and so on. And there is some state-owned enterprises. The state participates in regulating the economy through the federal banking institutions, monetary policy, taxation policy, commercial laws, spreading around huge amounts of federal largess for state contractors, just to name a few economic instruments. And there are state planning bodies that debate the use of these instruments, especially, but not restricted to times of war.

* * *

Soviet-style state capitalism has had somewhat different features due to its different historical evolution.

In the Soviet Union, with the revolution of toilers, there was the expropriation of former private owners by workers' government, there was workers' management and control, there were major reforms, there was the spread of organization. This resulted in ownership of industry and land by the new workers' state. But as a result of the devastation wrought by World War I, and then redoubled by the civil war and imperialist intervention, there was also chaos, breakdown and crisis in what was left of the economy. Various means were used to revive the economy, and there was also the need for transitional forms leading to socialism. State capitalism, limited in its expression by its management by the workers' state, was used as one form to revive economy.

They moved toward socialism. How successful they were, we are not ready to say precisely. But problems eventually arose in the harsh conditions that they faced. There was a failure to enliven and deepen the participation of the workers in ruling the society. There was a failure to prevent the consolidation of a new strata of privileged managers and bureaucrats, who more and more came to utilize the expropriated state property in their own interests, both in terms of a privileged consumption compared to the workers, and in terms of the management of the entire national economy to further their interests as an exploiting minority: foreign policy, military, social policy, i.e. all sorts of investment decisions.

We have tentatively assessed that a big turn away from socialism occurred in the mid-30s. Although setting the precise year is not really the main issue. And the system of state capitalism that develops is the system we see in place today.

Bureaucratic-state-monopoly-capitalism might be the most comprehensive term for it, although a bit unwieldy. Not a vast mix. There is comparatively little straight-up private ownership. (Unless one is talking about the the "market reforms" in Yugoslavia and Hungary and elsewhere which have gone much further than Gorbachev toward privatizing formerly state owned industry.) In the Soviet Union, industry is run as if it were one huge corporation.

Today this economic system is in crisis. This is not just our assertion, but is freely admitted by Gorbachev. Rather than go into this, it will do to just mention a few of its features. They include: stagnant industry and agriculture; shortages in all spheres of consumer goods; waste and mismanagement that apparently surpass even that in the West; a growing technology gap with the West and a lack of competitiveness on world markets. The huge military machine sucks off capital investments from other spheres.

And with the world oil glut, Soviet oil exports are bringing in less foreign exchange. There is a resulting drop in ability to purchase grain on foreign markets.

In addition, there is also a foreign policy crisis, most clearly seen in their need to withdraw from Afghanistan.

On both counts, there is vast dissatisfaction of among workers.

And so, as the crisis mounts, there is Gorbachev in 1985. Glasnost and "perestroika".

* * *

To the bourgeoisie, "market socialist" reforms are earthshaking events signifying that socialism is refuted. Obviously, they are trying to demoralize people.

But to the proletariat "market reforms" are a mere footnote in history, a phase in the further evolution of bureaucratic state capitalism.

It is not unknown how these reforms will turn out. "Market socialism" in has existed in Yugoslavia for long time. Outright private ownership of enterprises is the norm. It is in crisis too. There is unemployment, polarization between rich and poor, problems of foreign debt, and there are austerity measures. As well, there is open class struggle, such as the strike movement. And there is the struggle against the oppression of nationalities, as that waged by the Albanians in Kosova.

Hungary also is an example of "market reforms", such as the 1968 reforms. It is nearly a basket case today, it has the highest per capita debt in Eastern Europe. And there is the inevitable accompaniment, strikes.

China has had 10 years of "perestroika". There was the dismantling of the communes, the development of autonomous enterprises. There is a proposal on hand for the privatization of all of industry, and they have been trying to get a stock market going. Open worship of capitalist greed has appeared with slogans like: "Get rich". Results? Growing polarization of rich and poor; workers stripped of social protections, unemployment, inflation, even child labor, the shame of pre-revolutionary days. Corruption is growing, and there is the necessity for laws to limit the banquets of officials who are pigging out. And so, strikes, and the recent huge demonstrations of students and workers, This has varied political trends in it, and we can discuss it after the speech.

Poland, for its part, has two new laws: virtually unlimited rights to private ownership. And ditto regarding foreign ownership: 100% is OK, size is unlimited, and profits can be removed from the country. Meanwhile there is a big working class movement there.

All this is not the defeat of socialism, but further evolution of state capitalism to more western forms. And we are seeing the rise of a working class struggle in these countries.

* * *

The first great assault on world capitalism was ushered in by the Bolshevik revolution. Then there was the antifascist war, the Chinese revolution, the anti-colonial struggles, and Viet Nam.

This assault has played itself out. There seems to be a transitional situation in the world. It might appear that we have in store a long term period of stagnation in the world socialist revolution.

However, a number of factors exist that indicate to the contrary--that another great round of proletarian revolution is incubating:

1. There is the break up of the post-world war II political and economic alignments. There remain two military superpowers, the U.S. and the USSR. But, as the Wall Street Journal is saying, it seems that a five power world is emerging: US, USSR, China, Japan and Western Europe (which is striving to become a more unified market via the reforms scheduled for 1992).

2. There is the immense spread of world capitalism and with it the proletarian movement for emancipation to virtually all countries on all continents. We spoke of this in the earlier speech.

3. A huge world crisis is impending, giving a hollow sound to the proclamations of victory for capitalism. One could make a very long list of icebergs floating in capital's shipping lanes.

4. There is capitalism's inevitable drive to make the workers pay for the already existing crises, and the resulting turmoil and rebellions.

5. And there is the collapse of the revolutionary pretensions of world revisionism: Soviet and Chinese. This

provides a more favorable situation to insert rejuvenated, restored Marxism-Leninism into this vacuum.

* * *

Let us digress on this latter point for awhile.

To assist this process of rejuvenation involves all-round political organizational, and theoretical work and struggle.

We are against the idea that the end all and be all is analysis of the degeneration of the Soviet Union. In essence: it is a non-materialist conception of building the revolutionary working class movement, reduced to "convince people that socialism is really OK". But this winning over does not take place in a straight line fashion. Workers are won over to party-building and socialism in the course of mass struggle. They are drawn into struggle by life-conditions. When they see through their own experience the necessity for a revolution. It is at such times of growing ferment that the issue of providing convincing explanations of historical issues come to the fore and becomes a broader mass issues. So we need all-sided work.

In this context, clearly much needs to be done to make socialism a burning ideal in the working class. We need to refute anti-socialist ravings. We need to work on socialist agitation against the crimes of capitalism, like pollution. We need to resurrect the Marxist-Leninist principles of revolution and socialism from the revisionist trash bins. We also need to apply these principles to the analysis of history to provide a convincing explanation of how the workers' state and its trajectory toward socialism was turned around towards a bureaucratic state capitalist society.

In looking at our tasks on this front of historical analysis, a few basic points stand out:

** *

1. We are against the idea that this is for experts and that rank-and-file activists have no role to play. This is not our style. We were on on the receiving end of the contempt of the snotty professorial Marxists in late 60s. We said they were b.s. Marxism-Leninism is learned via revolutionary practice, specifically building the working class party in actual class struggle. How can you possibly learn any science apart from practice? And especially Marxism-Leninism? The rank-and-file activist striving to apply Marxist-Leninist policy knows more of value than the professor. We called them scholar-despots.

** *

2. History has posed the issue of explaining the demise of the first great socialist assault. Naturally, people make common sense assessments. But common sense falls way short of dealing with it.

For example, at a recent El Salvador demonstration, there was a young man holding a banner. He was self-described anarchist: "no state, autonomy, no bureaucracy", "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely." The anarchists borrow this from the bourgeoisie. Yet the bourgeoisie spins this to deny revolution. After all, the revolutionary overthrow of the old society is power to the nth degree. As Engels said in his article On Authority: "Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon-authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries."

Denigrating the need for a workers' state under socialism is inextricably tied to denigrating the need for revolution. A revolution necessarily involves power, authority, and the state (albeit, a new type of state, not of the minority, but of the workers, the majority, so it begins to lose the features of a "state" as we know it.)

Or another variety of common sense answer goes that the new bosses of Russian society came to power out of the communist party, and hence the problem was having a party. But just try to organize a serious revolution against capitalism without a proletarian party. Serious people quickly realize this. And as for degeneration, isn't it more plausible that the proletarian party was a source of the new bourgeoisie due to weaknesses that sprung up in its proletarian character, that the party should have been strengthened to be able to successfully lead the class in defeating the rise of the new bourgeoisie?

Overthrowing capitalism does not mean instant socialism. There is a profound struggle against the capitalist class, and against the capitalist economic relations that produce bourgeois ideology, for a long period, the entire transition period to socialism. The issue is that the proletariat should hang onto its party and other fighting organizations and not allow them to be taken over by the bourgeoisie, whether the former bourgeoisie or newly-generated varieties.

To denigrate the party under socialism inevitably leads to denigrating it now. The bourgeoisie likes this idea. They want a political 'monopoly for themselves, so there is constant anti-party propaganda. It is very heavy now with respect to China and "all hate the Party."

So we are against leaving things at simplistic, common sense, conclusions. Common sense is subject to the pressure of the prevailing bourgeois ideology.

We need to learn and reconfirm the Marxist-Leninist principles of revolution and socialism while studying

concretely how, in history, departing from these gave rise to the consolidation of a bureaucratic-state capitalism.

* * *

In closing, isn't it absurd that the bourgeoisie should be declaring the death of socialism, when in fact, it is bureaucratic state capitalism that is experiencing all these difficulties?

Isn't it quite obvious that the trajectory toward socialism was reversed in the Soviet Union decades ago? That Socialism is not responsible for the mess in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China?

The proletariat in these places did not succeed in consolidating their rule. But isn't it absurd on that account to say that "you've had your chance and blown it"? This is not how history works, or even most elementary human experience.

The proletariat only gets one or two tries? Absurd.

Take Edison and the light bulb. He had 10,000 tries. Trite? Perhaps, but it does reveal something about human advance.

Let the bourgeoisie huff, puff, and blow a lot of smoke. This reveals their high anxiety about the workers' socialist And we are determined to turn these instincts into solid convictions.

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Rightists continue to condemn Rushdie

RCPB(ML) wants to outlaw religious blasphemy

In the March 15 issue of the Supplement we reported on the disgraceful stand of. the "Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (M-L)" condemning the publication of the Satanic Verses by the liberal author Salman Rushdie. This showed where petty-bourgeois nationalist and liquidationist ideas could lead a group. The RCPB(ML) is closely tied to the CP of Canada (ML) and both support the foreign policy stands of the Party of Labor of Albania.

The RCPB(ML) condemned Rushdie in a front page article in the February 25 issue of its paper Workers' Weekly. Here we simply want to add a brief update on what's happened since then. The RCPB(ML) has continued to campaign against Rushdie. The lead article of the May 27 issue of its paper (Vol. 16, No. 21) is entitled "The demands of the Muslims are just and should be supported by all democratic people." And what demand are they talking about? The article begins

"This weekend many thousands of people are demonstrating in London to demand the banning of the book The Satanic Verses and the extension of the blasphemy laws to cover religions other than Anglican."

Blasphemy laws and other state privileges for religion in Britain are a sign of the falseness and hollowness of bourgeois democracy, Such measures aim at being a chain upon the people, at enslaving them in religious prejudice, and suppressing the sarcastic and impious attitude of broad masses towards religious dogma.

But the RCPB(ML) has become pious and worshipful. It demands that "...there should not be freedom to insult

and denigrate the deeply-held beliefs of millions. It is just... to demand that the blasphemy laws, which at present apply to one religion only, should be extended to others. Salman Rushdie's books should be withdrawn by the publishers or banned."

As you can see, instead of demanding the abolition of all blasphemy laws, it demands their extension. Presumably an imperial censor could ensure that nothing that could offend any believer or upset the beliefs of any school child should be published.

And what about the demands for the death of Salman Rushdie for his blasphemy? The RCPB(ML), which in February dismissed them as irrelevant, now talks about "alleged" death threats against Rushdie. What a servile stand before the hangman regime in Iran! As before, the RCPB(ML) continues to equate the revolutionary masses of Iran with those who are torturing and executing them. It continues to support, not the vast masses yearning for change in the Muslim countries, but the ties of the old and backward over them.

But, dear souls of the RCPB(ML), why so shy about the death threat to Rushdie? After all, historically blasphemy has often been punished by death, and the Iranian regime you support has certainly meted out death to the hilt. Since you have taken the plunge and demanded the suppression of blasphemous books, why draw back from the logical conclusion? Perhaps you could campaign for the joys of the Spanish inquisition and the Salem witch hunt trials being extended for the protection of non-Christian religions as well.

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Some news from Iran

The following articles are among those in the May 1-15 issue of Report (#52), a biweekly newsletter of the Communist Party of Iran--the Committee Abroad:

Separation of women and men in buses

The plan to separate women from men in buses has always been one of the reactionary policies of the Islamic regime in the areas of discriminating between women and men. The regime has tried time after time to execute this policy, but it has always faced resistance and protest. At the beginning of last winter, the Islamic government tried once again to implement this plan. To do this, iron bars were placed in the middle of buses to separate women passengers from men. This was done in some buses but was met by the protest of commuters. While expressing their discontent, some of the passengers said that this is a disgrace for women, and that it is the regime itself which is the cause of corruption and that such a regime could not claim curbing corruption by using such backward and reactionary methods. As a show of protest, one of the bus drivers refused to let passengers board his bus.

Women's situation in Iran is similar to the situation of blacks in South Africa. According to Islamic laws which are governing the country at the moment, women do not have any rights. In South Africa, blacks are not allowed to sit on park benches designated for whites, nor can they enter certain areas specified for whites. Generally speaking they are under political, social and economic suppression and discrimination because of the color of their skins. In Iran, too, women suffer discrimination and suppression because of their sex.

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In revolutionary Kurdistan

Peshmargas military operations

* Marivan

On 25 April, several units of Komala Peshmargas entered the city of Marivan. [Komala is the Kurdistan organization of the CP of Iran, while peshmargas are armed fighters.] They positioned themselves at different points inside the city and brought it under their control for a few hours. The regime's forces, completely taken by surprise, could not react and were faced with heavy fire from the Peshmargas. Meanwhile, one of the Peshmargas in charge of the operation delivered a speech for the people who had eagerly welcomed the Peshmargas. During this operation, the regime's forces suffered severe casualties and damages.

* Sardasht

On 26 April, Peshmargas from the Sardasht battalion and' the Mahabad 24th brigade passed through an area surrounded by government bases and took position at a point 30 kilometers from the city of Sardasht. Firing began at a. regime's base 50 kilometers from the Peshmargas' positions. The Peshmarags managed to inflict heavy damages on the regime's garrison. They left the area unharmed.

* Saghez

Despite heavy control of the area by the regime's forces, Peshmarga units from the Saghez 26th brigade managed to bring the village of Haji-saman totally under their control. The operation began on the morning of April 25 and ended with the complete retreat of the enemy. In this battle, substantial amounts of the regime's ammunition were destroyed.

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Swedish 'Red Dawn':

On the eve of May Day

Below we reprint the lead article from the April 15 issue of Rod Gryning (Red Dawn), No. 4, 1989, paper of the Communist League of Norrkoping:

So, once again May Day is approaching-the day when the workers and oppressed toilers all over the world survey their ranks, raise their class demands, and give expression to their desire for fighting the rottenness and injustice of capitalism. When they take to the streets and squares to celebrate the class victories that have been won and proclaim their aim of creating a new, socialist society.

This year's May Day finds the workers all around the world engaged in important battles against the capitalist exploiters. Evidence shows that the trend of decline, which has taken place for a number of years, is about to turn. During the last year, an upsurge in militant protest has been taking place in several countries. There have been actions of various kinds and intensities and under differing circumstances. During last spring and summer, there were the development of national popular movements in Balticum and in Armenia, the strikes in Poland, West Germany, South Korea etc. The autumn witnessed what was just about to develop into a victorious revolution in Burma, and shortly thereafter, the mass rebellion in Algeria, as well as strikes in Brazil, Haiti, and, not least, in France and Spain. Further, there was the winter's explosive outburst in Venezuela and, recently, Jordan, the demonstrations in Kosova, Georgia, and China, etc. To this, there must be added the still continuous intifada in Palestine and many, many other things. At one place after another, the masses have risen against austerity measures, national oppression or whatever it may be, and do thereby, consciously or unconsciously, defy the power and order of capital.

Meanwhile, the offensive of capital continues everywhere, In the U.S., Reagan's reactionary policy continues, although now accompanied by mawkish phrases about "a gentler, kinder America", and in the Soviet Union, the "perestroika" leads to price hikes, unemployment and cutbacks of welfare benefits. The huge debt crisis continues, and so does the severe starvation programs of the IMF, which in a number of cases have been the direct cause of protests. In Iran and Iraq, the ceasefire in the war has been followed by mass executions of their respective political prisoners, and the gas war against the Kurds. In Central America, the stranglehold on Nicaragua has hardened, while the only reaction on the part of the Sandinista regime has been further concessions to the bourgeoisie to the disadvantage of the workers and peasants.

The temporary recovery of the world capitalist economy thus does not at all mean any "stabilization" other than in the most superficial sense of the word. Quite the contrary- it indeed lays bare the total hollowness, of the system. The dollar itself, the "backbone" of the currency systems, is just based on speculation and [running up of] debts which are never likely to be paid. As distinguished from the longstanding boom after World War II, but in a striking resemblance to that of the 1920's, it has no room for rises in the standard of living, and even in Sweden, with its peculiarities, the belt-tightening and gradual dismantling of the "general welfare policy" continues, as if the recent slump of 5 to 10 years ago was still here. And also in our country, discontent simmers in the workers' ranks. Fists are clenched in pockets, and more and more people are openly demanding a change. The Dala Statement is a sign of this. [See, for example, the issues of March 15, 1989 and April 15, 1988 of the Supplement for articles from Red Dawn reporting on the "Dala Statement" and the role of the so- called "Dala Uprising" in the trade unions -ed.] Even if the "re-distribution in favor of the toilers" (1) most likely is not achievable within the framework of the system except to a very limited extent, this nevertheless does not change the just character of this demand. It is not up to us, the working class and toiling people, to take care of the "economy of society", i.e., the maximum profit of capital. If the day-to-day demands blow up its framework-then so much the better! The Dala Statement, and its groping attempts to build local committees, is only an initial ripple on the surface, a puff of wind, but it contains within itself the possibility of future storms.

May Day is a day to draw together all the expressions of discontent into a broad gathering under the red banners of class struggle. This can not be done in the social-democratic demonstrations, since they are nothing but demonstrations of support for the government that administers the interests of capital! Nor could the various party demonstrations of the VPK, SP, APK, or KPML(r) (2) be any real alternative, because their very character as party demonstrations means that participation in them would be the same thing as supporting these parties, which in fact, despite their "socialist" slogans, stand for a reformist policy which differs from that of social-democracy only quantitatively, i.e. regarding how "militant" and "radical" their reformism is. For these reasons, only Unity-Solidarity (3) could offer a possible alternative, since it is a non-party united front demonstration on a socialist foundation. This also corresponds to the character of the Dala Statement as a unity movement from below.

Workers! All who are oppressed and exploited! Let us together make May Day a day of protest against capital and its belt-tightening policy, for the Data Statement, and in unity with our class brothers and sisters all around the world.

Long live May Day!

Build the independent movement of the working class!

Workers of the world, unite!

Notes from Red Dawn for the foreign reader:

(1) Referring to a demand in the Dala Statement.

(2) Revisionist organizations.

(3) Unity-Solidarity is a May Day demonstration arranged in Stockholm by various small "left" organizations, mainly Maoist ones, and with critical support from the Communist League of Norrkoping. This demonstration is based on a non-party platform, intended as an expression of the "united front from below". Although there are certain weaknesses in the platform--it is a compromise-it is possible for militant workers to participate with their own slogans; thus, Unity-Solidarity this year provides possibilities for becoming a demonstration for the Dala Uprising, connected with its newly-created rank-and-file committee in Stockholm.

Note from the Supplement:

We would like to comment on one issue in this interesting May Day statement. We don't agree with the significance given by the article to the nationalist strife in the Soviet Union. Along with Red Dawn, we condemn the denial of national rights by the revisionists and we oppose the forcible holding together of the Soviet Union. However, we don't believe that separation is the path for liberation of the Soviet working class now any more than it was in the time of the Tsars. There have been many examples of liberating national movements in the world, but we doubt that this is what is going on in the Soviet Union today.

Also in Red Dawn #4, 1989

Following the lead article, there is the platform of the "Unity-Solidarity" May Day demonstration in Stockholm. Also there is a comment on it by Red Dawn that points out that its support for this platform is critical support.

There is a article on a Stockholm seminar on "experiences of socialism" which, Red Dawn says, was arranged by a small Maoist group with the participation of a lot of Maoist and ex-Maoist groups and individuals. The article is a polemic directed especially against one of the Invited speakers, Pal Steigan, who used to be chairman of the Norwegian Maoist party AKP/ML. Red Dawn says that Pal Steigan advocated the "theory of productive forces", claiming that these forces, and not the class struggle, are the primary motor of history.

There is an excerpt from the discussion at the Third Congress of the MLP,USA on the party-wide study of the Marxist-Leninist concept of socialism, translated from the Workers' Advocate Supplement.

There is the article "Freedom, Equality, Workers' State" by the Iranian communist Mansoor Hekmat, translated from Bolshevik Message, paper of the Communist Party of Iran--the Committee Abroad, #1, 2nd series.

There is a leaflet from the CPI-the Committee Abroad on the situation of the Iranian workers, as well as a statement by the organization of CPI sympathizers in Sweden calling for an immediate boycott of the Iranian Islamic regime.

And the last article is "The Intifada of the Palestinian People, a Dual-Power situation is Emerging". It holds that the rank-and-file committees that have grown up during the Palestinian uprising have a revolutionary character and open up the prospect of the emergence of a revolutionary-democratic power of the toiling people.

Red Dawn can be reached at: [Address.]

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Fourth assembly of Portuguese Marxist-Leninists

The following introduction and articles on the fourth Assembly of the Communist Organization/Workers' Politics are taken from the supplement to the March/April issue of its journal Politica Operaria (Workers' Politics). The translation is by the Workers' Advocate staff.

Fourth Assembly of the OCPO

The fourth assembly of the OCPO was held in Lisbon on arch 5th. In it, the perspective of communist work was debated and resolutions about various fronts of work approved: about the magazine; about implantation in the workers' movement; about the international communist Movement; about the elections for the European parliament; and about organizational work. Finally, in a secret vote, the leadership of the organization was elected

In the two articles which follow, we try to sum up the sense of the debate and of the approved resolutions.

Creating the trend

Since the initiation of our activity we have come to discuss the difficulty in maintaining a constant equilibrium between the continuing work of ideological investigation, of implantation in the working class, and of political intervention. The tendency is to run to the tasks which at the moment appear most pressing, in order to jump afterwards towards the other front which in the meantime requires more attention.

It is certain that, despite these difficulties, the OCPO. has already carried out four years of existence; it has said a series of new things; it is relatively consolidated; and it is becoming known as a new force on the left.

But this doesn't stop each one of us from asking, in looking at living experience: what destiny for the OCPO?


In the editorial statutes of our magazine we have said that "The principal form of political action of the Politica Operaria will consist in the formation of leaders of the working class movement." It is imperative to understand that even now we have not advanced in this direction. In the first period our style of functioning and the effort to broach theoretical themes in the Politica Operaria provoked the withdrawal of some worker comrades, who weren't very interested in our debates. With the Tribuna Operaria [the "Workers' Tribune," which was an attempt at a broad-based journal dealing with, trade union and economic issues--Supplement], we attempted to revive these comrades and tie them to the organization, but this project also had to be abandoned owing to our difficulties. We are now concentrating our forces in this new series of Politica Operaria, hoping that it may give an impulse for a major connection to the factories. Time will show the results.

Two fundamental questions contributed to this situation of relative isolation which has been with us since our founding: first, the crisis of the workers' movement has deepened; and second, the working class experiences serious difficulties.

The capitalist offensive is putting the class to the wall. The reconversion and modernization of the enterprises, with the help of the reformist politics of retreat and capitulation, provoked heavy defeats in the principal workers' centers. In this situation, the difficulty for us to break through in the factories is progressively greater. Sectors who were previously courageous have been completely demobilized while new workers' nuclei disposed to struggle are not emerging.

Implantation among the workers doesn't fall from the skies

The aggravation of the internal crisis of the PCP [the pro-Soviet revisionist Portuguese Communist Party] during its last congress, the big reduction of its ranks, and particularly of its cells in the enterprises, the putrid atmosphere of reigning opportunism and careerism dominating much of the structure, its loss of authority in the eyes of the militant workers-became facts of general knowledge. Our criticisms, received at the time as insults, are regarded today by many workers as clarifying.

Of the same mode, the movement towards the right of the PC(R) [the pro-Albanian Communist Party (Reconstructed)] and the UDP [the "Popular Democratic Union" associated with the PC(R)] has confirmed what we have been saying for four years about the internal dynamic that would lead it to collapse into the reformist camp.

This doesn't negate that, be the crisis of the workers' movement what it may, the political space is today much greater for the OCPO to propagandize, to put forward slogans, to establish contacts, to organize debate, to raise flags that were allowed to fall by the false communists.

If now we still don't profit fully from the situation, it is not just due to our objective difficulties, but also because we are shackled by the fear of taking the step which is needed for us to become as communist group, the base of a future communist party. And this relates to the general weakness of the international current in which we are integrated. It is a question which we deal with in the other article referring to this Assembly.

But our problem is also difficulty in defining the orientation of work. How to gain mass influence through agitation and propaganda? How to defend the workers' interests, resisting the elitist and opportunist pressure? How to have a revolutionary platform survive without yielding to the dominant reformist sea? With whom must we work and with whom do we want to count? These are some of the questions we face.

The answers can only be found in our concrete struggle to open space and to create our current.

Investing the period of time

Our intervention has to give preference to the most combative sectors. So, like the capitalists of the EEC, we will also have to make big investments. We have to invest much more in propaganda, to spread the Politica Operaria; gain worker readers, one by one; and develop a systematic anti-capitalist denunciation.

Today it is decisive to demonstrate, as many times as necessary, that capitalist advances are made at the cost of more exploitation of the working class. Only this will be able to smash through 'the speeches about the "modernity," the "stability," and the "superior interests of the nation," showing the [class] interests in action.

To this "investment in time period," it is necessary to add actions of short reach-more intervention in the workers' struggle and in the political scene.

It is not old earnings, it is new challenges. For example, we dare to put up a left candidate for the European Parliament. Even though it subjects us to compromises [perhaps referring to it being a campaign in conjunction with certain other left groups--Supplement], it is a form of struggle in practice against the monopolies of the EEC [European Economic Community], against the IMF and NATO, and the demagogy of all the bourgeois factions on these issues, raising for the first time our position to millions.

Also the possibilities of mass agitation against repression contained in the SCR [a left-wing organization called "Solidarity Against Repression"] has already been well demonstrated, for which it is only necessary to continue to give the necessary attention to this front of work.

In the field of the workers' struggle against exploitation, we must search for a more consistent intervention and with defined objectives: to be more attentive towards participating in, all the actions where we might be able to succeed, raising the struggles as far as possible; to extend our worker contacts... and enlarge them to diverse points of the country; through the pages and supplements of the Workers Politics, to improve our instruments of intervention in the struggles and our anti-capitalist denunciation.

Working with this perspective we will be able to link up with more militant workers, and through them, to affect the most advanced section of the movement. The goal which we outlined four years ago is realizable. But it won't fall from the sky.


For a new communist movement

From the Marxist-Leninist movement to which we belonged in the past, two international movements with the title Marxist-Leninist remain today: the "International Communist Movement" led by the Party of Labor of Albania, which we left in 1984; and the "Revolutionary International Movement" which defends "Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought."

One can say that these movements are already fossils, decadent relics, without a future, from a failed attempt to revitalize Marxism. One is also able to say that these ruins of the Marxist-Leninist current (or, better, Maoist-Enverist) are not more important, in the panorama of revolutionary left, than other currents of the anarcho-communist type, such as are the "militant communists" (supporters of armed actions in the imperialist countries), the Bordiga-ists, etc.

In our opinion, however... it would be erroneous for us to forget that we have special accounts to settle particularly with the current which was our origin, and not with any other. It is only in criticizing and overcoming our past experience that we will be able to advance as communists. A new communist current does not crystallize while it still has not carried to the end the theoretical and practical separation from its origin. If it lacks the criticism of what remains backwards, it lacks the motor for advancing.

Why hasn't a new communist movement crystallized yet?

We have no doubt that we are moire advanced ideologically than those lame Marxist-Leninists, we know their inevitable decadence, but the truth is that, politically, we are slower than them, because we still have not succeeded in constituting ourselves as an international current.

We established ties with a collection of groups who have broken to the left from "Maoism-Enverism". However, these ties are still tenuous and these groups are making, like us, an ideological transition which is far from over.

And why does this phase of transition drag on when the rupture, in some cases, took place ten years ago? For us, it is not due to objective difficulties but from two types of errors in our attitude to the current which proceeded us. The first is judging it possible to reorganize the communist ranks while writing off the past, identifying Maoism and "Enverism" as revisionism and refusing to extract their contribution for our struggle. The second, of the opposite nature, is for us to see ourselves as a kind of critical conscience of the pro-Albania current and for us to remain imprisoned by the hope of attracting and reviving the "sound forces" of this current.

Or one might put it, If one doesn't recognize the internal contradiction that has moved the Marxism-Leninist current of the 60's, its centrist character, we will be incapable of separating ourselves from it towards the left.

Centrism, a trap door through which we can still fall

The formation of the OCPO resulted from the consciousness, on the part, of the nucleus which broke with the PC(R), that it was already not possible to be revolutionary inside the "Marxist-Leninist" current. The floundering of the Cultural Revolution and the triumph of the counter-revolution in China, weakening the enchantment with the infallibility of Maoism; the more than stubborn suspicions about the external policies of Albania; the spreading of reformist conceptions in various parties and groups, concealed under dogmatic nonsense; the stimulus that the centrists of the PC(R) received from the "brother parties"-- already didn't permit any more doubt that the attempt at reorganizing the international communist movement launched 25 years ago by the communist parties of China and Albania had collapsed.

It was imperative to recognize that the "Marxism- Leninism" of the 60's, with all the merit which it had for its daring declaration of war against modern revisionism, was poorer for the greatness of the task which it proposed bringing back to life the ideas of the October Revolution and the Leninist traditions of the Bolshevik Party.

In truth, after the rising revolutionary dynamic of the first years, expressed with brilliance in the main polemical documents of the Communist Party of China in 1960-63, the Marxist-Leninist current started to be dragged back inexplicably... towards a narrow-minded politics, contaminated with reformism, suffocated with dogmatism, such that it did not succeed in maintaining itself on the terrain of Bolshevism which it claimed to occupy.

Experience revealed little by little the origin of this mystery. The "International Communist Movement," declaring itself the uncompromising heir of Leninism, was in reality guided by a mixture of the sayings of Leninism formulated by Stalin and by Mao. The conceptions of strategy, tactics, building the Party, etc., did not extend I back to those of Lenin and of 1917, but were in line with the decadent period of the Russian Revolution and the Communist International. A period which was not seen as decadent but as one of great splendor for the communist movement.

The opportunist conceptions of "popular democracy" as a substitute for the dictatorship of the proletariat, of the popular fronts based in the worker-petty-bourgeois alliance, of the role of the national bourgeoisie in the anti-imperialist struggle, of the industrialization of the USSR as a model of building socialism, of suppression of the internal struggle in the party as "Bolshevism", and of the terror of the 30's as a manifestation of the "dictatorship of the proletariat"--these were adopted by the Marxist-Leninist current as indisputable expressions of Leninism.

For that reason there was the abstract idea that revision ism was explained by a coup d'etat after the death of Stalin--as it was not admitted that the communist ranks had been gradually penetrated by opportunism and reformism, the change of camp had to be attributed to a conspiracy.

The price paid by the Marxist-Leninist current for claiming continuity with the communist movement of the 50's was to resume the process of degeneration at the point at which it was found, to resume the path of the revisionists after some years of hiatus. It is not strange that they lacked the theoretical forces for a coherent struggle against revisionism, and began in their turn to deflect unavoidably towards the revisionism from which they had broken.

Because of this, we consider designating as centrist the orientation of the communist movement in the 30's-50's, and the orientation of the Marxist-Leninist current which attempted to revive this period, is not a mere question of words. It was centrism because it sought to find a position of a middle road between Leninism and revisionism. And it will be always centrism that attempts to renovate this experience. To remember this seems important to us.

Marxism, we have to make it ourselves

We came into existence as a communist group right at the time when the presentation of the communist ideas reached its lowest point. We live in an epoch in which the wreckage of the first wave of the proletarian revolution rots-encircled, distorted, and finally led by imperialism. The world had never known a half century so revolutionary as that between 1917 and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, but the motor has lost its impulse, has been suffocated, and it finished by stopping. Perestroika is the miserable epitaph of this tumultuous advance which succeeded in grouping one-quarter of humanity outside of the dictatorship of capital.

Now the rhythm of world politics is not marked by insurrections and popular wars but by disputes, divisions, and crises of the financial centers which recovered total control of the world. The bourgeoisie, euphoric, decrees the end of the "collectivist utopias" of Marxism and of the working class itself. The counter-revolution reigns unopposed and the petty-bourgeoisie servilely adapts itself. The national revolutions went bankrupt, in all senses of the word. After which the workers' and trade union movement was registered as the property of the bourgeoisie, whether under social democratic or "communist" trade mark.

It is a brutal retreat which was not foreseen in any book, but we have to judge pitilessly, without disguising it with embellishments; we want to keep our feet on the ground in order to start recovering ground.

Already we know that the crisis of the system is becoming more profound each day, and fascist massacres or technological innovations will not deter the class struggle. We know that the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is not eternal, and that in one form or the other, it will be destroyed. But only when the struggle of the exploited liberates itself from the sea of questions on which it was launched by the historical defeat.

The task placed before the communists in the interval between two revolutionary waves seems clear to us: to criticize the cycle which shackled itself, by creating a politics for the period of the new cycle which is to be formed.

Today it is possible to see that the period which we lived since 1917 was like a general test, strong but immature, of the world proletarian revolution. The shock caused by imperialism upon the societies which had made the transition towards capitalism made them the "weak links" of the system and permitted the proletariat (in Russia, China, etc.) to advance to the capture of power. But, through their own weakness, these instances of the dictatorship of the proletariat were not able to be sustained because they didn't receive the support of the revolution in the advanced capitalist countries.

The errors, the deviations, the tragedies, the rise of revisionism, the bourgeois restoration, was nothing but the expression of an agony that became inevitable. Only by putting the period through which we lived in this historical perspective will we be able to go forward.

The problem is not one of education

Despite the unfavorable conditions in which we had to break with the PC(R)~isolated, encircled on all sides-we are able to pride ourselves on not having lost direction. Not for a moment have we confounded communist criticism with the "renewals" which limit themselves to launching in circulation anew the old social-democratic and anarchist stupidities, welcomed with so much commotion by the bourgeoisies, the better they discard the central question of the modern world: the road towards the dictatorship of the proletariat.

The criticism which we launch is, for us, a weapon for reactivating the revolutionary power of Marxism, for identifying ourselves better with the interests of the working class. For that reason the rubber stamp of "Stalinist curators" which some put on us and which we don't take amiss: the term is inadequate but tries to express our

refusal to take advantage of the crisis [of the communist movement] in order to pass over to "the other side"--and that's true.

This is positive but it is only an initial response. Many major questions remain. A question which is asked frequently in our ranks is how was it possible that the' armies of millions of communists who fought for decades against imperialism and reformism could have disappeared into the abyss of revisionism? How was it possible to extinguish the revolutionary conscience which they manifested?

From this stems, on one hand, a disheartened notion of the weakness of the communist work, which can be destroyed by the bourgeoisie like a castle of cards. On the other hand, the idea that new situations of zenith will only emerge if we succeed in inspiring a new generation in the old revolutionary spirit, cultivating worship for the battles of the past, persisting in the study of the classics.

This is for us an idealist reasoning, which takes the appearance of things for their essence. The consciousness of the militants disappeared because the revolutionary cycle which it had produced and sustained ended. It is not a question of hoping to give life to militants from an ended period. It is a question of liberating new revolutionary class waves, which have to produce in their swellings millions of new combatants, formed directly in the class struggle.

This means to say that the solution for the real crisis can only be found in new Marxist answers for the road of today's revolution, answers which may bear fruit in 'the mass struggles and produce new contingents of communists.

It is not a question of endeavoring to prolong by an act of will a revolutionary cycle which has wound itself up, because it would be a failed effort; it is a question of equipping ourselves for the new cycle which is beginning. What is important above all is that our ideas embrace the contradictions of the real world, in this epoch when the rotting and dying resists desperately. To say that only Marxism can save us is not then a rhetorical phrase.

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A comment on the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua's pamphlet "On the International Situation"

International working class unity and the struggle against opportunism

The Nicaraguan revolution which overthrew the tyrant Somoza in 1979 was a triumph for the cause of the workers and oppressed. It struck a blow at U.S.,imperialism, and this example of mass revolution inspired the exploited and oppressed throughout the region and the world. One of the outstanding features of this revolution was that, besides the dominant petty-bourgeois political forces, there was also a political force of the revolutionary workers. This is the force led by the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua (formerly known as MAP/ML). And the MLPN has come through the insurrection and the complicated years of the revolution since then with its working class and revolutionary banner held high.

In the early 70's, MAP/ML emerged as the organization of the revolutionary workers. It came up in struggle against the pro-Soviet revisionists, who were political slaves of the bourgeois liberals. It was also separate from the petty-bourgeois Sandinista leaders, who combined isolated military adventures with a similar reliance on the bourgeois-liberal opposition. MAP/ML organized the workers as an independent revolutionary force under Marx's watchword "The emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class itself."

During the, 1978-79 insurrection, MAP/ML mobilized thousands of workers and poor into militias known as the MILPAS. Besides the Sandinista (FSLN) forces, these militias of the working masses were the other army of the uprising against the hated Somoza dictatorship.

After Somoza was deposed a coalition government was formed between the FSLN and the big bourgeoisie. (This coalition didn't last long as the bourgeois leaders Adolfo Robelo and Violeta Chamorro were soon to break from this government to join the right-wing opposition and the CIA's contras.) One of the first acts of the new government was to ban the MILPAS. Soon afterwards, MAP/ML organizers were arrested; MAP's daily El Pueblo newspaper was shut down; and their Workers Front (FQ) trade union organization came under attack, forcibly driven from the most important workplaces including the huge San Antonio sugar mill where troops were used against the Marxist-Leninist workers.

Since that time, the MLPN has withstood persecution and pressure from both the government and the capitalist right wing. At every turn it has been true to the cause of the workers and the poor peasants. The MLPN has opposed the plans of the FSLN to build a "mixed economy" in Nicaragua hand-in-hand with the so-called patriotic big capitalists and exploiters. Today it struggles for the rights and needs of the working masses against the capitalists and landlords. It also struggles against the anti-worker and bureaucratic measures of the government. At the same time it calls on the masses to be. vigilant against the right-wing opposition, which represents the capitalists and landlords. (This is unlike the Communist Party and Socialist Party revisionists which have joined up with the bourgeois right-wing coalition.) The MLPN is the only party that exposes the regional Arias peace plan as a means to submit the Nicaraguan revolution to the demands of U.S. imperialism and the Central American regimes. In short, the MLPN is the force in Nicaragua which poses the alternative of unleashing the initiative of the workers and poor peasants to struggle for their own revolutionary aims.

This road that the MLPN has taken is not an easy one. It is difficult and complex. But it is the only truly independent road of the working class and exploited. That is why the MLPN carries with it the aspirations of the Nicaraguan workers and poor peasants to carry the revolution through to the triumph of their own power and to socialism. That is why the MLPN deserves the ardent support of the revolutionary workers and Marxist-Leninists the world over.

Our Party works hard to build up fraternal solidarity with the MLPN. We organize in the workplaces and communities for political and material support for the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninist workers. We also work hard to make their views known in the U.S. and internationally, translating, publishing, and circulating their materials.

Naturally, this may at times include views which we do not agree with. In this issue of the Supplement, following this article we reprint from a pamphlet entitled On the International Situation. It is a collection of documents produced during the 80's. Section V - The political organization of the international working class - is a document from a congress that the MLPN held in early 1987 (although we have only received this pamphlet recently). To ensure that our readers have an all-sided picture of the views of the MLPN we have reprinted Section V. We have also prepared these comments to indicate points of disagreement with this document. This is in the spirit of discussion among close comrades fighting on common barricades against common capitalist and reformist opponents. Our aim is to strengthen fraternal solidarity with MLPN by expressing openly our concerns about certain weaknesses in the MLPN's views that we think do not contribute to strengthening international Marxism- Leninism in general and, in particular, are harmful for building up world solidarity with the Marxist-Leninist workers of the MLP of Nicaragua themselves.

The Link Between Opportunism and Disunity

In this document the Nicaraguan comrades analyze the factors and causes pf the weaknesses and lack of unity in the international Marxist-Leninist movement. In our view, this analysis is flawed by a tendency to not recognize the role played by opportunism in undermining international unity. As a result, the destructive work of opportunism is minimized, or even given a certain justification.

The tenor for this presentation is set in the introduction that discusses the history of the First, Second and Third Internationals. In each case the collapse of the International is blamed on the direct attacks of capital. There is no mention of the destructive role of opportunism which also had so much to do with the collapse of each of these internationals.

The MLPN document, connects the collapse of the First International to persecution after the failure of the Paris Commune in 1871. But there is no mention of the wrecking work of the anarchist followers of Bakunin, which tore the First International apart from within.

The document links the collapse of the Second International with the preparations for the First World War, "which achieved the demobilization of important contingents of workers and a potential revolutionary leadership." But this was a collapse which was waiting to happen, for the Second International was rotting from within from social-democratic opportunism.

The document ties the collapse of the Third International to the butchery of fascism. But, despite this butchery, the communist movement had never gained suck an extension as during this period. It is impossible to explain the collapse of the Third International without pointing to the opportunist course that was adopted by the leaders of the Cl from the mid-30's onwards.

The document treats the present disunity and lack of cohesion of the world movement in a similar fashion. There is examination of a series of economic and other objective factors that are considered to be sources of disunity, such as the "unequal development of capitalism." Here our interest is not to assess the weight of these economic and related considerations. Our concern is that within the context of this generalized presentation, the role of opportunism is minimized and covered over. There is a failure to squarely address the destructive, fragmenting and undermining role that right opportunism and petty- bourgeois nationalism and petty-bourgeois democracy is playing today inside the world movement. What is more, there is a tendency for the document to paper over this opportunism while sharply denouncing those who are struggling against it.

The Albanian Question

The majority of the MLPN's document is devoted to the question of the role that should be played by a socialist state in the international communist movement. The document criticizes what it describes as a tendency to hinge the unity of the international communist movement on the policies of a state where the proletariat holds power.

This is mainly discussed from the angle of general theory. It focuses on what it calls "razones de Estado". This expression appears to mean that the policy of a proletarian party in power is determined in part by the fact that it leads the state. In that sense it means roughly "for reasons of state." For "reasons of state" a party in power is subject to the pressures of bourgeois right from within and from the imperialist economic, military and diplomatic pressures from without, and the document also refers repeatedly to "bourgeois right". Therefore, because of these "razones de Estado", a socialist state cannot be considered the guiding center of the movement. At least this is how we understand the MLPN's presentation.

This is written mainly in general, historical and hypothetical terms. But it is clear that one target of this discussion is what is referred to as the "Albanian problem." We believe that this approach to discussing the role of Albania misses the point. This matter cannot be dealt with by proceeding from general postulates. This approach tends to slur over the issue whether a wrong policy is being followed or there are simply inevitable "reasons of state" for the stands of the Party of Labor of Albania. It also makes it appear as if parties out of power take up these errors only from tailism, since such parties don't have "reasons of state".

Of course, the discussion of "reasons of state" and "bourgeois right" might be understood by readers in different ways. It might be taken as an attempt to explain how opportunism arises. But the document uses these terms to avoid talking about opportunism. And these terms can also be understood as a justification of opportunism. The MLPN document itself refers to Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program, which shows that the existence of bourgeois right during the transition to socialism and communism is not a mistake, not a result of opportunism or revisionism, but inevitable.

Instead of generalities about reasons of state and bourgeois right, what must first of all be posed sharply and clearly is the question of political orientation. What policy does the Party of Labor of Albania advocate? What strategy and tactics does it apply towards the world revolutionary movement? This is because on the basic, fundamental questions of Marxist-Leninism the Party of Labor of Albania has gone off the rails. This not only affects the PLA, but affects the differences on strategy and tactics all through the world movement. There are also a number of other parties that have have taken a similar course, also veering off the rails of Marxism-Leninism.

The hallmark of this new opportunism is petty-bourgeois nationalism and petty-bourgeois democracy that hides the independent class interests of the proletariat and its revolutionary, and socialist tasks. This spirit saturates the stands of the PLA and of a number of parties on one current issue after another of the revolutionary movement

In Western European and other imperialist countries this means that the proletariat is subordinated to the so-called "progressive and democratic forces" -- which is the euphemism used for the social-democrats, revisionists, and other forces of bourgeois reformism. Revolution and revolutionary struggle against war and reaction are down-played. In their place comes illusions about the glories of parliamentary democracy; grand promises about constitutional tinkering; patriotic rhetoric about sovereignty and independence (for imperialist Britain, France, Japan, etc.); and liberal, do-gooder rhetoric about "peace among the peoples."

In the dependent countries, this means that the proletariat is given at most a supporting role behind the bourgeois nationalist forces. The pattern is to paint the national bourgeois regimes in glowing colors. There is praise for liberal regimes like that of Sarney in Brazil, no matter that Sarney's government is the favorite of monopoly capital and is squeezing the workers and exploited. There is the support for the regimes of nationalist demagogy like the strong-man regime of Noriega in Panama, no matter that Noriega and his men have carried out all kinds of crimes against the people of Panama and Central America on the behalf of the CIA and U.S. imperialism. The PLA and some others even support the barbaric regime of Khomeini in Iran, no matter that this capitalist regime slaughters the workers, revolutionaries and oppressed nationalities.

As our readers are aware, we have extensively documented the features of this opportunism in our press. So we will not go into detail here. What we want to emphasize here is that, if one is to deal seriously with the question of the role of Albania in the world movement, then one must address this opportunism. Unfortunately, the MLPN's document fails to do this. Worse, it tends to present justifications for not taking this opportunism seriously.

"Reasons of state" cannot justify opportunism

With its extensive discussion of "reasons of state" and "bourgeois right" the impression from the MLPN document is that it may be quite understandable for the PLA to adopt non-revolutionary stands. This is portrayed as something quite natural and even to be expected from a party in power. For example, the MLPN document discusses tactical and strategic compromises imposed on the proletariat in power by the world forces of capitalism. However, there are compromises and there are compromises. There are compromises within the framework of a proletarian policy and there are compromises within the framework of an opportunist policy. And to fail to differentiate between the two tends to turn into an apology for the latter.

Take how the document explains the PLA's friendship with a number of fascist regimes. It replaces this issue with a different question - whether Albania has diplomatic relations with these countries. It then contends that it is the forces of "bourgeois right" and "reasons of state" which "oblige Albania, as a state, to maintain relations with the retrograde and medieval regime of Khomeini, with the dictatorship in Turkey, and in its time with the military dictatorship in Argentina."

The implication is that these policies have been forced on the PLA; that these are unfortunate concessions imposed on a party in power; that the PLA may perhaps itself regard these polices as concessions and perhaps itself believe that the IRP regime in Iran is "retrograde and medieval"; that they are not expressions of an anti-proletarian policy but of the necessary flexibility of a proletarian state.

In our view, this only covers up the opportunism of the PLA. In the first place, the problem is not that Albania has diplomatic relations with these countries. We recognize the obvious fact that the proletariat in power has to maintain diplomatic relations with capitalist countries in general, and reactionary regimes in particular.

We do not criticize the PLA for, engaging in international diplomacy. We criticize the PLA for giving political and ideological support to the Khomeini regime and other enemies of the workers and oppressed. All kinds of countries have diplomatic relations with Iran, but this doesn't mean they praise the regime to the skies. It cannot explain why the PLA has been so enthusiastic about the Islamic dictatorship, lauding it in exalted terms as a truly revolutionary regime. No "reasons of state" have obliged the PLA to salute the cold-blooded execution of many thousands of Iranian Marxist-Leninists and revolutionaries as an allegedly just measure against the "mercenaries" of the superpowers. No "reasons of state" have obliged the PLA to publish books and speeches by Enver Hoxha and others where Islam is promoted as a liberating doctrine for the people of the Middle East.

Moreover, this is a question that goes beyond Iran and the Middle East. In one form or another, the PLA takes the same approach towards other political events around the globe. This ends up in political support for one capitalist and reactionary regime after the next -- from the Ethiopian Derg, to the PRI government in Mexico. In no way can this be justified. It is opportunist. It is rooted in an ideological framework that discounts the class struggle of the proletariat and exploited masses. This is the,same framework that gave rise to the notorious "three worlds" theory of the Chinese revisionists. It is equally contrary to Marxism-Leninism.

And What of Those Who Disagree?

Unfortunately, the MLPN document does not want to call the sky blue or water wet. It does not criticize in any depth the opportunism being promoted by the leaders of the PLA and other parties. Instead, the document reserves harsh criticism for those who stand up for Marxist-Leninist principle against this opportunism. When it comes to those who speak openly about the PLA's present policies, there is no longer talk in the document about "unequal development," about those who are clearer and those who are weaker, about those with some limitations, about problems of growth, or about general historical and theoretical reasons for differences between parties, etc. No, now the document dismisses discussion of Albanian policies as simply provocation.

"It is clear," the MLPN document concludes its discussion of Albania, "that we dismiss the truly provocative attitudes of some forces, which try to convert the Albanian problem into a line of demarcation, as nothing more than the reverse of the other extreme [tailism towards Albania -- ed.]. That is to say, trying to say that all parties which don't see the PLA as a petty-bourgeois party in its nationalist, bureaucratic and revisionist essence and form, can not be Marxist-Leninist parties."

While it does not explicitly say so, this appears to be intended as a criticism of those groups, our Party among others, that criticize openly the mistakes of the PLA. But it fails to deal seriously with this criticism, and instead presents a caricature. It strives to make all such criticism look absurd, sectarian and provocative.

For example, take the views of our Party. We have published extensively about the stands of the PLA and related matters. But nowhere in these writings do we condemn other revolutionaries simply because they do not make public statements on the PLA's errors or because they disagree with us on Albania. We have repeatedly stressed the necessity to judge political parties and trends by their objective role in the class struggle. We have continually given the most enthusiastic solidarity to the revolutionary deeds of parties or groups who stand up in the class struggle whether they agree with us on Albania and other issues or whether they even recognize us as a party.

Actually, it is the PLA and those parties closest to it who have condemned all who disagree. The MLPN document does talk about those parties who carry out the "closed and un-critical defense of the PLA and the Albanian State as such." It however never labels this attitude as "provocative"; harsh language is reserved for those who discuss openly and scientifically the stands of the PLA.

And what about the Theory and Practice grouping that the document presents as having "advanced and matured" beyond such extremes as either "uncritical defense" or "provocative" public criticism? In fact, the main parties in the Theory and Practice grouping have a similar attitude as the PLA and the "tailist" parties on the question of public discussion of the Albanian question. This was verified again, later in the year after the MLPN's document, in the Madrid Communique of July 26, 1987. This communique (which the MLPN did not take part in) simply wrote off as "provocation" the views of the "Workers' Advocate group" and denied that the MLP,USA was a party. (See the text of this communique and our comments in the 10 September 1987 issue of the Supplement.)

Should there be Rank-and-File Discussion of the Problems of Revolutionary Work?

The MLPN document deals not just with the Albanian question, but also with the question of whether there should be the discussion of other problems of the world anti-revisionist movement. Although it opposes making silence a matter of principle, it ends up presenting justifications for those who have kept such problems quiet. It says that silence is comprehensible as a "problem of growth" and even a "necessary tactic." The passage goes:

"Everybody declares that unity is necessary, but still don't touch this or that burning problem. As a problem of growth, this is comprehensible. But some parties seem to want to convert this necessary tactic into a matter of principle of organization and unity. This is an opportunist path, tailist, creating conditions for hegemonism between parties and to unleash deviations more easily inside the movement."

As we see, the document does denounce making silence into a "matter of principle." It correctly states that this "creates conditions... to unleash deviations more easily inside the movement."

But how could the "tactic" of silence have any other result than what the document says comes from making a "principle" of silence? What concretely is the aim of this tactic? How can the masses of communists be mobilized to solve the problems of the movement if open discussion is banned, whether as a "tactic" or a "principle." If silence is actually a "problem of growth," shouldn't one help the world movement overcome it? And how can one distinguish between those leaders of the Theory and Practice grouping who have been silent for a decade as a "tactic" and the "tailist" parties who are silent as a "principle"? In general, the leading parties in the Theory and Practice grouping declare in ringing statements that they stand for dealing with the burning issues, while in practice they persecute those who actually do discuss these issues.

Meanwhile the MLPN document reserves its strongest condemnation for those who actually do discuss the controversies in the Marxist-Leninist movement openly before the rank-and-file activists and revolutionaries of the world. It says

"Others exaggerate the necessity of polemics. They believe, or seem to believe, that unity is only built in struggle, in a permanent contradiction, through violent demarcation, and fulminating attacks against the forces in which they see some theoretical and practical limitation. This is a provocative liquidationist path, that equally does not contribute to the unifying work."

Here again, while it doesn't say so explicitly, this appears to be a reference to work of our Party, among others. We have published a good deal on the stand of the Marxist-Leninists around the world to the problems of tactics and strategy. We have sought to help communists around the world study the world experience of other parties. It appears that the MLPN document does not see any value in this. In fact, it declares that it is "provocative and liquidationist." This is much sharper language than it uses with respect to any other issue it regards as a problem or mistake in the movement.

What Should Be the Center of Unity?

Let us return to the point in the MLPN document that the party in power (e.g. the PLA) must not be considered the infallible reference point of unity for the international movement. We agree with this point, although not subscribing to some of the ways it is argued. It is un-Marxist to have an unthinking or obsequious attitude, no matter the experience and history of the given party. Moreover, in the present case, to have such an attitude towards the PLA, a party with an opportunist policy, is downright suicidal for revolutionaries.

Unfortunately, the MLPN document underestimates this last point that the danger comes from opportunism. It does not recognize the gravity, the truly life-and-death nature, of the struggle against the opportunist corrosion that has already taken such a heavy toll on the Marxist-Leninist movement.

Instead the MLPN document tends to make the issue one of finding other parties to be the center. It declares: "The center of the communist movement must be the most experienced, clear parties, who are contributing more theoretically and practically to the struggle, who are making more contributions to the world revolution, whether or not they are in power."

But the issue today isn't anointing some party or parties to be the center. The issue is not that parties in power are suspect as compared to other parties because of "reasons of state". What the issue really is, is that the center of the movement has to be the revolutionary class struggle and the Marxist-Leninist theory.

The MLPN document talks of those parties who are "most experienced and clear" and who are contributing the most to the movement. But how is this to be measured? Today there are all too many examples of parties that claim "outstanding contributions" because of their years of experience or by a count of their trade union seats or parliamentary votes, but who in their social practice are flabby reformists and have grown almost indistinguishable from the pro-Soviet revisionists or other groupings of the reformist left. The Communist Party of Brazil (which is not in the Theory and Practice grouping) and the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador (which has been in this grouping) are examples of such parties. There are also examples of other parties who take part in militant mass battles, even armed ones, against the class enemy, but still are floundering in their theory and tactics. Here too, just as with "a party in power," a thoughtful and analytical approach is necessary.

In our opinion, when studying the experiences of other parties, it is essential to judge not just the size or prestige of a party but where this party stands -- in practice as well as in general, flowery declarations -- in the class struggle. Does it champion the independent aims of the proletariat and the exploited and work to build its independent organization? Does it advocate revolutionary methods of struggle and work to instill in the masses the socialist goals of the working class? Does it strive to liberate the working masses from the influence of bourgeois" liberalism and nationalism and from the reformism of the revisionists and social-democrats? Does it struggle for revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, neither adapting to nor acquiescing in domestic or international opportunism?

And we don't have the faintest idea how the world's communists are supposed to judge the experience of other parties unless they have the right to discuss the accomplishments and mistakes of these parties openly.

The unity of the world communist movement cannot be built by declaring some party or grouping to be the leaders, but only through taking up the burning issues facing communists everywhere. It must base itself on those in class struggle against the bourgeoisie and on the defense of Marxism-Leninism against opportunism. Without this standpoint there will be more backsliding, more division, more demobilization. Unless opportunism is dealt with, Marxism-Leninism, instead of emerging as a force for revolutionary change in the world, will be on the sidelines of world events.

The unity of the movement and the Theory and Practice grouping

The MLPN document centers on the issue of unity, and, as we have seen, it seems to regard the practical task to be finding a new center for the movement. It seems to see this center as developing out of the work of the Theory and Practice grouping. It ends up by praising the Theory and Practice grouping to the skies as

"a gathering (which) is maturing and for the first time, we can say that neither Russian revisionism, Chinese revisionism, international social-democracy nor reasons of state and Bourgeois Right are determining this unitary process."

It praises the Theory and Practice magazine itself, the Multilateral Meetings of the parties in this grouping, the Youth Camps which are organized by this grouping, and the work of these parties themselves.

But what is the contribution being made by years of such activity by the Theory and Practice grouping? Here the statement ends up in vague generalities. For example, it states that the multilateral meetings

"are an example of the basic agreement among Marxist-Leninist parties whose principal agenda is the concrete construction of the unity of the movement."

The document is unable to give any concrete results of these meetings, any progress on any burning issue in the movement, any step forward in active solidarity against the bourgeoisie, anything other than that unity was on the agenda. Nor can it find anything concrete to mention about the other activities of the Theory and Practice grouping.

Meanwhile the document is silent about the Marxist-Leninist forces around the world who don't accept either the stands of the "tailist" parties nor the views and standpoints of the Theory and Practice grouping. This is astonishing. It is even more astonishing because these forces include precisely those communists who have been most enthusiastic to show unity in practice with the revolutionary struggle of the Nicaraguan class-conscious workers grouped around the MLPN. The movement has to be built on the shoulders of, and embrace all those who stand for proletarian revolutionary struggle against the bourgeoisie, all those who work to break the proletariat away from liberalism, reformism, petty-bourgeois nationalism and other bourgeois and petty-bourgeois political trends, all those who fight for Marxism-Leninism against opportunism and carry forward the anti-revisionist struggle. It cannot be confined to the Theory and Practice grouping; instead the Theory and Practice grouping must be judged by the same standards as apply to everyone else.

From the Bogota meeting of 1983 to the present

And what has been happening to the Theory and Practice grouping? Let us take the example of its stand towards Central America and the Nicaraguan revolution. In particular, let us look at the development of the Theory and Practice grouping since the Bogota meeting of November 1983, which was, essentially, where this grouping was born. Several parties of various political shades - the CP of Colombia (ML), the CP of Spain (ML), the MLCP of Ecuador, and the MAP/ML of Nicaragua, among others - met in the Colombian capital and issued a statement. This provoked interest for a number of reasons.

First, the meeting condemned the suppression of the communists in Iran and Turkey. This appeared to be a hint that these parties were growing dissatisfied with the opportunism of the PLA on these matters.

Second, the Bogota meeting denounced the Contadora Group. This group was formed by the anti-popular capitalist governments of Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama with the purpose of pacifying the revolution in Central America. Contadora helped pave the way for the present Arias plan. It was an attempt on the part of the Latin American ruling classes, and behind them the U.S. State Department, to impose an allegedly "political solution" on the region. This was to be realized by forcing the armed revolutionaries in El Salvador and Guatemala to surrender before the death squad regimes. As well, Nicaragua was to negotiate away the gains of its revolution at the point of the bayonet of the CIA's mercenaries.

The denunciation of Contadora was an encouraging sign. The forces of reformism throughout the region -- from the Cuban leaders, to the other pro-Soviet parties, to the main Trotskyist groups -- had lined up behind the nationalist rhetoric of the bourgeoisie and its appeal for a "Latin American solution" to the conflicts. The PLA had also given its support to Contadora.

Third and finally, the Bogota meeting expressed support for MAP/ML. Social-democracy and revisionism worldwide were singing the praises of the reformist Sandinista regime. The PLA and a number of its friends were doing likewise. Thus, this gesture of solidarity from the Bogota meeting appeared to be a crack in the quarantine against the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninist workers. The development of support for this proletarian revolutionary force had the potential of having an impact on the solidarity movement in different 'countries and on the Nicaraguan revolution itself.

But what has happened in the five and a half years since that meeting?

What happened to the declarations of solidarity with the MLPN?

The criticism of the PLA's opportunism was stillborn. It never went beyond veiled, indirect hints of possible displeasure. Since that time there has been a steady retreat towards the rightist positions of the PLA and its close allies. Any public contradiction has been papered over. The Bogota meeting was not the beginning of the struggle against this new opportunism but the end of it.

Meanwhile, the support for the Marxist-Leninist workers in Nicaragua proved vacillating and short-lived. The Ecuadorans and some others never wanted to give such support in the first place. And the leaderships of such parties as the CP of Colombia (ML) and the CP of Spain (ML) soon had a change of heart. These days they too are supporting the Sandinista regime with its bureaucratic and anti-worker policies.

The denunciation of Contadora was similarly short-lived. The Ecuadorans, Colombians and others have more recently given their blessings to the Quito meeting of November 18-20, 1989 and its resolutions, which, among other things, firmly endorsed Contadora as well as its bastard offspring, the so-called Arias "peace plan." (See the article "Reformist Hot Air" in the January 1, '89 issue of Workers' Advocate.)

Things have gone so far that on the 30th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, Revolucion, the paper of the Communist Party of Colombia (ML), saluted Fidel Castro as a champion of Marxism-Leninism and socialism. (See "Thirty Years of the Cuban Revolution," in issue #306, January 15- 22, 89.) What is left of the anti-revisionist struggle when Castro is now being taken as a model of Marxism-Leninism, the same Castro who is firmly in the Soviet revisionist camp, the same Castro who has substituted state capitalism for the road to socialism?

For revolutionary Marxism-Leninism!

These concrete political facts show that the expectations raised by the Bogota meeting have been betrayed by the leading forces behind this same meeting. By the time of the MLPN document, this evolution was already evident, but it says nothing about it. And it does not see any connection between this degeneration and the Theory and Practice grouping's "tactic" of silence about the controversies in the anti-revisionist movement. Instead it finds "liquidationism" and "provocation" not in the political degeneration of the leaders of the Theory and Practice grouping, but in those who engage in Leninist study and discussion about this and other problems of the world movement.

But it is not those who have been discussing the experience of the world movement who have been liquidating the ideological barriers between Marxism-Leninism and Cuban and other revisionism. It is not those who have criticized the PLA openly who have undertaken all sorts of provocative attacks on the revolutionary Marxist-Leninists, including betraying solidarity with the Nicaraguan Marxist-Leninists of the MLPN. The views in the MLPN document that "provocation" comes from the public discussion of the experience of the world movement is something like the proverbial beheading of the messenger who bears bad news. But only by looking straight in the face at the evolution of the PLA, at the Theory and Practice grouping, and at the various problems of the movement can one find remedies and a course of revolutionary action.

In essence, the MLPN document is an appeal for unity without confronting opportunism. It hopes that this opportunism will go away as time passes, as development takes place, and if no one says anything. But closing one's eyes to the truth would be a grave mistake. It would only allow opportunism to spread unchecked. In our opinion, it would not help the parties suffering from this opportunism, and it is not what true friends of the communists of those parties and countries should do.

In our opinion, this approach to the international Marxist-Leninist movement is a weakness on the part of the MLPN. We think it is an approach that is inconsistent with the proletarian revolutionary course that the Nicaraguan comrades are struggling for in their own country. Indeed, it is because they have courageously adhered to this Marxist-Leninist course that they have been spurned by fairweather friends in the leadership of the Theory and Practice grouping who have been gripped by opportunism and cowardice.

At the same time, the revolutionary line that the Marxist-Leninist workers are struggling for in Nicaragua is the basis of the fraternal solidarity with MLPN of our Party and of the sympathy of other parties and groups around the world who are also struggling for revolutionary Marxism-Leninism.

In short, the unity, cohesion and solidarity desired by the communists and conscious workers the world over will be built on the shoulders of those fighting for revolutionary Marxism-Leninism, All hopes of unity will be lost if we close our eyes to the disintegrating work of opportunism.

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From the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua:

The political organization of the international working class

In January 1987 the Marxist-Leninist Party of Nicaragua held a Congress. Recently we received the pamphlet On the International Situation, which was one of the documents from the Congress and includes materials from MLPN over the 1980s. Below we reprint the fifth and last section of the pamphlet, entitled The Political Organization of the International Working Class, and we comment on this document starting on page 28 of this issue of the Supplement. Translation by the Workers' Advocate staff.

The international proletariat, under the initial impulse of Marx and Engels, knew the path of emancipation indicated by the Communist Manifesto on proletarian internationalism. The unity of the working class, nationally and internationally, is the decisive factor in guaranteeing immediate struggles and in guiding them in the strategic direction to socialism.

For diverse reasons, the three great historic attempts of the world proletariat to build ah international leadership did not have the necessary continuity. But this was always linked to the enormous offensives that capital launched against the politicized working class: the fierce persecution beginning with the failure of the Paris Commune in 1871; the preparations for the first world war until 1914, which achieved the demobilization of important contingents of workers and of a potential revolutionary leadership; the second world war, whose previous period of fascization was complemented with the butchery that resulted in the death of millions of human lives; and postwar, after the military defeat of fascism, with the siren's songs of the re-blooming social-democrats. In this way, the proletariat was deprived of an international strategic leadership that was sufficiently solid and stable to assume command in the offensive and defensive periods of the ebb and flow of the world revolution, throughout the life of the struggles. Nevertheless, the efforts and contributions of Marx and Engels In the First International and of Lenin in his struggle for the Second International and the Third International, showed the fundamental road to take. They provide the profound teachings which are the inheritance of the proletariat in the struggle to achieve internationalist unity and international leadership of the confrontation with the bourgeoisie, imperialism and revisionism for socialism and communism.

The disunity of the international political leadership of the working class, the lack of a world communist party like that proposed by the leaders of the proletariat, has happened place parallel with imperialist and bourgeois expansion, the centralizing tendencies of world capital, the bourgeois common markets, the regional, continental and world military pacts, the monetary homogenization and the trade agreements, the congresses and international bourgeois events, and the multitudinous voluble wars against the proletariat and the peoples in diverse parts of the world.

In this splitting work, the bourgeoisie has had the expensive services of its [political] sectors of the center, liberal and left, in invading, ideologically, the bosom of the working class; appealing with sirens' songs that talk about human happiness, the common good, fraternity and peace among peoples and the rest of the cheap trinkets with which the bourgeoisie swindles the numerous worker and popular sectors. Like Christopher Columbus, with the glass beads, the bourgeoisie obtains precious gains in exchange for nothing, thanks to this work of theirs. Who are its most contemptuous agents? The revisionists who, in the name of the ideology of the emancipation of the working class, help tie the knots of bourgeois domination over the proletariat.

This splitting effect, despite the objective conditions which are not completely unfavorable, prolonged over the decades since the dissolution of the Third International, undoubtedly has caused grave damage, strategic damage to the world proletarian revolution.

If the world bourgeoisie has had success against the working class despite the constant crises of the capitalist system, this has consisted of their being able to impede the elevation of the subjective capacity of the proletariat, its organization, and unity of thought and action at the international level.

For this success, the world bourgeoisie has counted not only on its own disorganizing and repressive capacity against the world proletariat, but also it has known how to take advantage of the weaknesses in maturity and conditions of emergence and development of the diverse detachments of the working class. Because of this, the determination of the correct work to equip the working class with unity of thought and action must take into account the weaknesses and errors of the proletariat as well as the strength and "abilities" of the counterrevolution.

Some problems that affect the international unity of the working class

1. It is beyond doubt that the international unity of the working class can not establish itself without the existence of its communist party at a national level. In order to have an international movement, there has to be a minimum of real, revolutionary organization of the working class at the national level organized on the principles of thought and action of Marxism-Leninism. This has been a determining factor in the weakness of international organization. The quantitative development of the Marxist-Leninist detachments as national forces, which would make up an international objective force, has not been sufficient in general terms to provoke a qualitative leap in the expression of a subjective force at the international level. The proletariat requires strengthening as Marx and Engels already put forward in the Communist Manifesto:

"Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie."

The dialectic between the national and the international, precisely because of the class content to which the Manifesto alludes, requires the assumption of the responsibility for strengthening the internationalism of the working class from the local conditions. No communist party can argue its national dedication to the proletarian revolution in its country in order to avoid its responsibility to the world proletarian revolution. It is the responsibility of all Marxist-Leninist communist parties to work for the emergence of and the strengthening of the class vanguards in those countries, regions, and zones where it is necessary; doing everything necessary so that the organizational, ideological and concrete levels of the proletariat in these countries, regions or zones develop.

We require, therefore, the strengthening of the national presence of the proletariat and this is the first internationalist task which must be achieved, at the level of the country and outside it.

2. The unequal development of capitalism and the international division of labor imposed by world capital, provoke objective limitations for the existence of and the organization of the proletariat; and they cause the expression of non-homogeneous economic, social and political conditions of the international proletariat. This causes an unequal political development at the level of the communist parties, and in the worst of cases, the total absence of this party.

When one treats the problem of unity, without attention to the problem of the inequality of capitalist development and the inequality in the development of the class vanguards in these conditions, one passes very easily to sectarian and anti-unity attitudes and activities, which don't help strategic unity. Here, in all its vulgar expression, is the hegemonic concern of some parties that is usually met with sectarian attitudes by the parties with greater limitations. The unequal development, nevertheless, is not an obstacle to unity given that, even though the dialectic of the class struggle can never be homogeneous in all places, its essential laws are universal. The universalization of the proletariat and therefore of the ideology of the proletariat, Marxism-Leninism, provokes class homogenization at the ideological level of the world working class, almost with the same force with which the social relations of capital--labor homogenize the exploitation and class subordination of the proletariat to the bourgeoisie.

Nevertheless, this objective and subjective internationalization is distorted by the forms of capitalist and imperialist domination which appear, and by the free for all of bourgeois ideology against Marxism-Leninism. In this way, the ideology of the proletariat is combated by the ideology of the bourgeoisie. This has its effect on the form and content of the relations among the Marxist-Leninist parties of different countries. Hegemonism has its symmetry with the nationalist tendencies with which not a few Marxist-Leninist parties are still impregnated. Nationalism, then, together with hegemonism are deviations that have been at work in the weakening of the internationalism of the working class.

3. The internationalist development of the proletariat has been extremely limited, distorted and even repressed by the weight that reasons of state ["razones de Estado" in the Spanish original] have had throughout the history of the international communist movement. The world proletariat has not been able to rid itself of this not very positive tendency to make the discussion, the gathering, and the unity of thought and action of its forces dependent on those states where the proletariat has been able to aim strategic blows at the bourgeoisie and at imperialism and even has come to power or to important levels of power. And we are not disputing the enormous role that a state of the dictatorship of the proletariat plays with respect to the world revolution and its responsibilities in this sense.

One of these responsibilities, is precisely, to defend the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat from all the persecution and attacks by world and local reaction; to push forward the development of the productive forces, secure the well-being of and the satisfaction of the necessities of the working class and the people of its country. A state of the dictatorship of the proletariat is the real power, shaped in the concrete, in certain national conditions by a detachment of the working class and of Marxism-Leninism and as such, it is an achievement of the class and of the communists together. There is not, nor can there be an organic nor therefore political separation between the international proletariat and the proletariat which has seized power and which has gone on to organize its own apparatus, nationally. But at the same time, and because of this, it can't be a national "clandestine" state at the international level. And it must be organized like an apparatus of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the midst of an encirclement of the apparatus of the bourgeois dictatorship. And it must act like such a state at the international level. This single fact exacerbated the hostility and the attacks of international capital and its forces. But also it demands the immediate, necessary, indispensable solidarity and support work from the forces of the proletariat of the rest of the world, who must know to defend its power in a national section where the proletarian revolution has been able to hit at the economical and political forces of capital, even though not necessarily to totally liquidate them in the first phases.

Marx said that bourgeois right continues to operate even after the revolutionary triumph of the working class against the bourgeoisie. [The original has a footnote here, which reads "See Critique of the Gotha Program".]

Marx was referring even to the case of the historic liquidation of capitalism. That is to say, that even when socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat is installed in history in a definitive manner and also has liquidated capitalism, bourgeois right can penetrate certain states of the phase of socialism itself. Meanwhile the proletariat is occupied unleashing the development of the material productive and economic forces and generating new legal conditions. If this is true, even in the case of the HISTORIC liquidation of capitalism, it is even more true when this historic liquidation still has not been carried out, when humanity has not gone beyond the capitalist mode of production, when the proletariat barely has been able to constitute itself as the power in a certain country or in a few of the principal countries. The proletariat confronts, in this way, the historic determination pointed out by Marx and the immediate reality of the joint rising of dozens of bourgeois states-hostile and in a perfect state of health as such.

Bourgeois right, therefore, continues to act internally within the dictatorship of the proletariat, but also at the international level against the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only at the international level bourgeois right also has the fully functioning capitalist economic system from which it originates.

Nevertheless, the dictatorship of the proletariat, as a political and material force, subordinates the effects of the bourgeois right to the task of objective transformation. That is to say, the task of the first order is to pull up the roots of the capitalist tree, knowing that its noxious external ramifications without their objective sustenance- without their base-has no other destiny besides withering and death. Bourgeois right inside the dictatorship of the proletariat is a right condemned to liquidation. Unlike the right that rules the relations of the bourgeois states, which has its economic base practically intact.

Precisely one of the most urgent objectives of the international bourgeoisie, which has put under siege the dictatorship of the proletariat of a definite country, is to impede, through the international right, not only the liquidation of bourgeois right inside the dictatorship of the proletariat, but rather through its combined action to neutralize, to hold up and even push back the transformations of the economic base, which is the roots of capitalism. Naturally, combining this with economic blockade, sabotage, blackmail, anti-communist propaganda, harassment, conspiracies, military attacks, etc.

To what extent is the proletariat capable of resisting in this situation if other worker contingents don't help against this reaction which seeks to restore capital from the inside and outside? How many times must the sacrifice of the workers of the Commune to a "Versailles" international-- relatively passive and seized as a base of counter-revolutionary support--be repeated, even magnified.

This will depend on the level of development of the productive forces which the proletariat has inherited from the previous system. It will depend on the strength and clarity of the communist party which guides it, the firmness and efficiency of the liquidation of the capitalist economic base, the political and ideological power of the overthrown dominant classes, the level of organization and the capacity for mobilization of the international proletariat, and naturally on the strategy chosen by the bourgeoisie for its counterrevolutionary aims.

This phase of struggle between the dictatorship of the proletariat and bourgeois right at a national and international level, taking into account that the international structure of capital, which is relatively intact with its economic laws, has its ups and downs, depending on the specific correlation of forces between capitalism and socialism. And it has, therefore, tactical or strategic effects, depending. on the correlation of forces between the revolution and the counterrevolution.

When this correlation is unfavorable, it demands concessions that have to do with the objective preservation of capital and its manifestations. We are speaking of the moments of revolutionary ebb that oblige the proletariat to carry out not only tactical but strategic retreats. In some strategic retreats, the proletariat loses force, loses control, loses power or even all the power. Capital has launched a counteroffensive and recuperated new economic, political, and ideological room even though still with camouflaged mechanisms, trying to-restore the dictatorship of capital as if it was a transformation in the form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In this way the reasons of state, bourgeois right, which are the justifications of bureaucratic pragmatism, penetrate into the reasonings of the proletariat and of Socialism.

If this supplanting of the dictatorship of the proletariat by the dictatorship of capital under new forms, continues passing itself with relative success and impunity as the power of the working class, it is natural that a tailist policy, an un-critical political relationship, an absence of scientific spirit will make the reasons of state and bourgeois right penetrate the communist forces which in other lands struggle for the power of the proletariat. These reasons of state are spread and penetrate and have historical effect mediating the class struggle, promoting the policy of detente in the battles against capital and imperialism, abandoning the revolutionary edge of Marxism-Leninism. This is when revisionism takes power, when bourgeois ideology takes flesh again as the state, when capital has restored its power.

Under this process, the USSR, the first state of the dictatorship of the proletariat after the Commune, degenerated to a new form of dictatorship of capital; China could not fully [assimilate] working class power with a brief but agitated pass at it and innumerable revolutionary processes where the proletariat had a relevant role although it couldn't seize power or it lost important quotients of power, ending up yielding to the bourgeoisie, capital and imperialism. The ideology of strategic retreat was reproduced in a universal manner and became the dominant ideology, even despite the eventual objective situations which not only showed that the class struggle had come out of its ebb but even that it has on occasions passed to a phase of advance for the proletarian revolution and retreat by capital.

So, one observes why the internationalist development of the proletariat has been so limited, distorted and even repressed by this weight of the reasons of state, which bourgeois right has had in the international communist movement. These reasons of state have been the manifestation of the reasons of capital ["razones de Capital"], under the forms of bourgeois right

The struggle of the proletariat to resist following revisionism, converted into a state, has had enormous costs. It meant the shaking free from Russian revisionist tutelage and therefore a split that objectively weakened the international proletariat, that still has millions of contingents which in good faith believe that the USSR embodies the forces of socialism, even though the revisionists have preferred to speak of "real socialism" to justify their capitalist bureaucratic pragmatism. The segments who were able to see the danger of revisionism in state power at the national and international level turned their eyes towards the China of Mao, whose party seemed to identify, denounce and strongly fight against revisionist defeatism and the restoration of the dictatorship of capital in the USSR.

The effect of this movement was important in historical terms. It not only brought together enormous international contingents facing Russian revisionism, but it also became a kind of international peasant movement. It twisted Marxism-Leninism, trying to forge a new thinking on the class struggle, the conception of the world, strategy and tactics, alliances. This was all from the point of view of the oppressed peasant but which, because of its pragmatism, was only guided by the concern to convert itself into a class for itself until it achieved becoming the owner of its land, its implements, its capital. Under this peasant thought of Marxism-Leninism--a more oriental version than Russian revisionism, which had more European influence-petty proprietor conceptions were strongly introduced into the heart of the international workers' movement. The peasant distrust of technology and modernization, and peasant thinking--the supposed Mao Zedong Thought--depends on imponderable things, the making absolute of the power of objective forces, only trusting in its own strength to squeeze out the fruits of one's own plot of land. In this way the deviation from principle of "support oneself with one's own strength" filtered through all the movement. This made it lose its objective and subjective homogeneity and for the proletariat, the universalization of the class, the fact that the proletariat is a single international class whose struggle is national only in form. The disunity was terrible, adding to the practical effects felt at the national level of isolating the workers' struggle from the peasantry's struggle, the underestimation of the organizational and mobilizing work with the industrial proletariat, and not developing the worker-peasant alliance in the struggle.

In the early phases of this phenomena, the affected parties could not themselves, and with similar elements of this new revisionism, correctly identify the phenomena, nor find the tactic of struggle against this trend. A lapse of time had to pass, during which objective development, practice and concrete results could be observed, known and evaluated. It was not possible to identify with certainty to what extent the ideological struggle of the Communist Party of China with the Communist Party of the USSR was in reality a struggle between Russian and Chinese hegemonisms and nationalisms--a confrontation between ambitious power cliques. The flow of events followed the implacable law; what is rotten always comes to the surface. China went into a phase of strengthening the dictatorship of capital. This signified a new blow to the unity of the international proletariat, which signified a new sorting out and taking of positions for the new conditions. Nevertheless, thousands of worker and popular contingents were, and are today prisoners of the reasons of state of revisionist China. This is not to mention the disillusioned of all types, who fell into a kind of Nirvana, leaving the political struggle, looking for all kinds of bourgeois anticommunist ideology, or who became a part of the belligerent membership of social-democratic tendencies. What was to be done?

The most combative contingents of the international proletariat turned their eyes to the last state where the proletariat had its say: Albania. In the struggle of the Party of Labor of Albania against Russian revisionism, and later against Chinese revisionism, the most advanced of the international proletariat looked for answers that would negate a supposed historical determinism that began to theorize on the inevitability of a transition in the transition, of the gradual development of capitalism to socialism in a special phase which would seem to bring all the classes into harmony. The Party of Labor of Albania in its theoretical struggle defended the historic law of the revolutionary leap of capitalism to socialism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the necessity for the party of the working class, the characterization of the epoch now as that of the proletarian revolution. These pillars served to sweep away the Russian and Chinese refuse in the Marxist-Leninist parties, which showed with their existence and practice that the forces of socialism--in its better expression, consistent political organization--were active and in combat against capitalism, revisionism and imperialism.

Nevertheless, in addition to this genuine interest of the international proletariat that legitimately allowed the Party of Labor of Albania to stand at the front of this new gathering, a strong tendency developed as a product of the objective struggle of imperialism, Chinese and Russian revisionism against Albania and the Party of Labor of Albania. This was changing the nature of the gathering around the defense of the Party of Labor of Albania and Albania. This tendency proposes an international gathering, not around Marxist-Leninist principles and a general line for the entire movement--a line which would be binding on Albania itself--but around a state, a political power constituted as a government in a particular country. This had the rationale of the fact that the millions of inhabitants in the USSR together with the almost one billion from China, contrasted in the international arena to the little more than three million from Albania which, in part, determined the objective weight in the international class struggle--Albania having relatively less affect on that than the USSR or China. Albania was raised as the last bastion where the international proletariat could raise its eyes and see and feel itself dominating the forces of capital and building socialist society. Albania was the last living proof of the revolutionary wave which shook Europe since the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, that awoke the East and spread to Africa, Latin America, and Oceania. Albania, despite its small size, was the banner of socialism still raised high for the fighting proletariat. The historical significance and the political, ideological, and moral importance was immense. But how, in what way, to guarantee that the Party of Labor of Albania was itself vaccinated against bourgeois right and against the veiled, blatant, underground, speculative, conspiratorial, or open attacks of capital and imperialism.

It has been demonstrated that the proletariat in power is not invulnerable, and precisely the dictatorship of the proletariat is the political instrument of force and violence that the working class uses to defend itself and to attack its class enemies. If the dictatorship of the proletariat exists, it is because the proletariat can not advance to construct the new society if it is not protected from the potential weaknesses that may appear in this battle. This is the reason for the dictatorship, the state of the working class: to strengthen the proletariat and to weaken and liquidate the bourgeoisie and the forces of capital.

Can the Party of Labor of Albania itself guarantee the omnipotence, the invincibility of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Albania? Up to what point are the reasons of state that drive Albania already manifestations of the reasons of capital, bourgeois right, which have been able to insert a wedge into Albanian society?

But despite the bitter experiences with the USSR and China (even, though they are part of the process of the maturing of the proletarian revolution, which teaches the assimilation of historical experiences for new stages), many forces of the international communist continued the policy of tailism. And on the basis of the theoretical principle of defending the state of the dictatorship of the proletariat, they went on to reproduce in the interior of the international communist movement--in their conceptions, strategy and tactics--the reasons of state, the principles of bourgeois right, and the interests of capital. An example of this is the immediate but also theoretical consequence of the reasons of state which oblige Albania, as a state, to maintain relations with the retrograde and medieval regime of Khomeini, with the dictatorship of Turkey, and in its time with the military dictatorship in Argentina. These are events which have an impact at the international level and in particular on the struggle of the proletariat in those countries. The whys and hows of unity is right now one of the most important matters in the business of the construction of the international Marxist Leninist communist movement.

In effect, some parties suppose that this unity comes through the closed and un-critical defense of the Party of Labor of Albania and the Albanian state as such. They do not leave room for the ideological and political struggle against bourgeois right in defense of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Albania. Objectively, they strengthen the negative effect of bourgeois right inside Albania. With this position, any possibility of international discussion and practice remains subordinated. The Party of Labor of Albania and the Albanian state are the point of reference for any bilateral and multilateral matter. In this way the very national FORM of the class struggle in Albania is considered to be the CONTENT at the international level. Other parties, despite having once had these positions, have advanced and matured towards positions which approach the problems of international unity of the proletariat in their essence: a general line for the movement; democratic centralism in the organized gatherings; a single leadership that guarantees unity of thought and action, not hegemonism among parties; the defense of the dictatorship of the proletariat against the right and the forces for the restoration of capitalism in Albania. Other, innumerable parties are vacillating between these two positions, including trying to find a way to conciliate them and achieve a third synthesis of equilibrium. It is clear that we dismiss the truly provocative attitudes of some forces, which try to convert the Albanian problem into a line of demarcation, as nothing more than the reverse of the other extreme of the first position. That is to say, trying to say that all parties which do not see the Party of Labor of Albania as a petty-bourgeois party in its nationalist, bureaucratic and revisionist essence and form, can not be Marxist-Leninist parties.

Some positive signs in the construction of unity

The demand to center on the essential tasks for unity and learning from the best experiences of the Communist International is little by little gaining force in the Marxist- Leninist movement. This is serving to lessen the tendency to take up the problem of the unity of the proletariat through a center which must be a party in power. The center of the communist movement must be the most experienced, clear parties, who are contributing more theoretically and practically to the struggle; who are making more contributions to the world revolution, whether or not they are in power.

Obviously, the search for this road is not free of contradictions, ideological struggle, and frictions of greater or lesser importance. This process of growth is a dialectical process in which the old resists giving way to the new; therefore, not points within the growth of internationalist unity are inevitable.

In this process, the problem of the forms utilized for relations between parties, bilateral or multilateral, has singular importance. Because of this, the movement for unity has seemed to be skating on the problem of forms and it seems not to want to take up the problem of the content of unity.

Everybody declares that unity is necessary, but still don't touch this or that burning problem. This is comprehensible as a problem of growth. But some parties seem to want to convert this necessary tactic into a matter of principle of organization and unity. That is to say, to create a unity that doesn't take up the problems or give answers in order not to split this unity, a unity that in this way is inoffensive in all aspects. This is an opportunist path, tailist, creating conditions for hegemonism between parties and for more easily unleashing deviations inside the movement. Others exaggerate the necessity of polemics. They believe, or seem to believe, that unity is only built in struggle, in a permanent contradiction, through violent demarcation, and fulminating attacks against the forces in which they see some theoretical and practical limitation. This is a provocateur liquidationist path that equally does not contribute to the unifying work.

The path is clear: it is necessary for the Marxist-Leninist i parties that are really interested in assuming their historic role towards world proletarian revolution, to immediately come to grips with the discussion and practical tasks that will generate the necessary conditions to build the international unity of the communists. They must enjoy a spirit of unity in action, understanding by this not only the expression of practical efforts but also unity of theoretical action in the taking up of certain themes, accumulating points of agreement on urgent problems that it could be possible to resolve in a unifying manner.

This unity of action, even in the midst of enormous lapses, mistakes, deviations, diverse viewpoints, and frictions, already has some examples that should be studied, evaluated and corrected. The main ones are: the international youth camps, the multilateral meetings, and the Theory and Practice magazine.

The first [i.e. the Youth Camps] is an example of unity in action in the Marxist-Leninists' joint projection towards the international struggle and their linking with broad revolutionary and progressive sectors. The multilaterals [i.e. meetings of the leadership of several parties, as contrasted to bilateral meetings of two parties] are an example of the basic agreement among the Marxist-Leninist parties whose principal agenda is the construction in the concrete of the unity of the movement, The magazine, Theory and Practice is an example of how mutual understanding is developed and how the ideological struggle is organized inside the movement, within the same conditions of this movement, while trying to generate still more favorable conditions.

The multilaterals must be adjusted and brought up to date in light of the new tactical conceptions regarding the international struggle, the character of the youth camps, their scope, and their role. The multilaterals themselves must proceed to their own strengthening as a unifying kernel for the concretizing of a common political line and action. The Theory and Practice magazine must assume a more clarifying, educating and critical role on the problems of the proletarian revolution. These are tasks pending for our Party. But the fact of already having clarity on the required instruments for the concretizing of the unifying process is already a strategic advance. This gathering is maturing, and for the first time we can say that neither Russian revisionism, Chinese revisionism, international social-democracy nor reasons of state and bourgeois right are determining this unitary process. It is a movement in gestation, independent of the superpowers, arisen from parties that in their majority are actively immersed in the class struggle in their country and who have a great history in the revolutionary struggle, putting the proletariat to the forefront of the small and large battles at a national and international level.

To this movement we contribute our own experiences through our participation in the available instruments, and through which therefore we insert our proletariat, the Nicaraguan working class, into the international Marxist-Leninist proletarian tendency. This is to receive in turn the immense contributions, of a scale still not revealed in its totality, of the colossal strength of the world working class, the historic gravedigger of capitalism, revisionism and imperialism.

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Workers in Guyana protest austerity

An explosion is brewing in Guyana. Workers there are building a big movement against the austerity plan hatched by their government together with the multinational financiers of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The new plan was revealed in a government budget made public in early April. Guyanese toilers reacted quickly, shutting down the country with mass strikes and demonstrations.

Raped by imperialism

Guyana is on the northeast coast of South America and was formerly a British colony. It is next door to Venezuela, where a rebellion against austerity shook the country in February. And it's also next door to Trinidad, where there has been a revival of the strike movement against cutbacks. The government is led by President Desmond Hoyte of the reactionary People's National Congress party.

Guyana is rich in natural resources. But while imperialist corporations have grown fat off exploiting these resources, the Guyanese toilers have only seen their living standards decline.

Over the last ten years the IMF has imposed one austerity budget after another. During this time the average worker's real wage declined by 64%. It dropped by another 60% last year, and today workers in basic industry are actually making less than $1 a day.

In early April, Hoyte revealed a new national budget that immediately devalued the currency by 70%. This sent prices of food, transport, and other basic goods skyrocketing. Hoyte also raised wages by 20%, but this wasn't nearly enough to keep up with rising prices.

Shut down by strikes

In response, workers shut down the country with massive strikes. Workers in the main industries, bauxite mining and sugar, went out first, followed by most other workers in the commercial sectors. The strikes have now gone on for more than a month.

Mass demonstrations were also organized. Some sugar estates were burned. Scores of striking workers have been arrested.

People denounce Canadian imperialism

During the recent protests, activists also picketed the Canadian diplomatic mission. In 1987 the Group of Seven, the group of major imperialist countries that controls the IMF and World Bank, decided to divide up responsibility for disciplining chronically indebted countries. The case of Guyana was assigned to Canada, because Canada has significant imperialist holdings in the Caribbean Basin. The Canadian multinational, Alcan, is a major processor of Guyanese bauxite into aluminum.

Canada agreed to allow Guyana new loans from the IMF. They will be used to pay interest on previous loans. In return, Canada demanded the new austerity budget, which Hoyte agreed to. No wonder the Guyanese toilers, while denouncing Hoyte's reactionary policies, are also targeting Canadian imperialism!

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The Communist Party of Colombia (ML) on its knees before Castroism

The following two articles have been taken from Revolucion, organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist) (see issue #306, January 15-22, 1989). The CP of Colombia (ML) is one of the leading parties of the Theory and Practice grouping. The translation is by the Workers' Advocate staff. A slightly abridged and rougher translation of the article on Cuba also appears in the April issue, #3, of the International Supplement of Revolucion, and we have checked our translation with it.

Note that the salute to the 15th Congress is not referring to a congress of the CP of Colombia (ML). It is a salute from the CP of Colombia (ML) to the 15th Congress of the pro-Soviet revisionist CP of Colombia.

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On the 30th anniversary of the Cuban revolution

The Cuban revolution's thirty years of triumph were celebrated in a great display of all the social forces of this country; with a highly significant presence of the revolutionary movement, especially from Latin America, and of some democratic personalities and organizations; in the course of fervent slogans of struggle against imperialism and reactionaries, at the same time proclaiming the defense of socialism and of Marxism-Leninism.

"Socialism or death," "Marxism-Leninism or death," were the final words of Commandante Fidel Castro in the central act of the 30th anniversary.

We stress the significance of the celebration because of the importance of the advances registered in the process of revolutionary construction in Cuba which are reflected in distinct areas of society, particularly in education, health, etc. Also because this triumph, 30 years ago, opens up the possibility of defeating the bourgeoisies and imperialism, when one takes account of a people that is disposed to struggle, including to sacrifice to defend its own destiny.

Early in 1959 a handful of revolutionaries, headed by Fidel Castro and with the company of Ernesto Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos and other guerrilla chiefs, took over the whole island after the panicked exit of the dictator Batista and his followers. A very important, hard, complicated and very controversial process was started which, 30 years later, still continues to energetically declare the necessity of revolution and the importance of socialist construction and revolutionary solidarity

Because among the many things ratified by these 30 years the first is that the road to defeat the bourgeoisie is that of unifying the people, taking up arms to liquidate its army, and working for the unity of the revolutionaries

around an advanced political project to confront the enemy.

There is no doubt about the importance that the Cuban revolution has had for Latin America; we underscore the raising of the anti-imperialist consciousness that it generated; thus also strengthening the confidence of the peoples in the possibility of revolutionary triumph in the "back yard" of imperialism.

Today, 30 years later, this influence is undeniable and the anti-imperialist and revolutionary movement of this region continues to look at Cuba with interest and expectation.

The complex reality of the present world demands studying in detail the phenomenon relating to revolution. Therefore the enormous reactionary offensive that was launched against the Cuban people in these days of their celebration does not go unnoticed by us, nor the streams of ink spreading anti-communism and counter-revolutionary phobia. Undoubtedly the gains of the Cuban revolution are looked at with dread by imperialism and the bourgeoisies and with sympathy by the peoples, and including with some expectation on the part of sectors of the bourgeoisie.

In the development of the Cuban process some particularities stand out, and not only in the field of economic construction, in which according to them, they are not going to apply capitalist formulas nor methods.

Also, in the political field, Cuba, as part of the so-called developing countries, persists in affirming its statements of revolutionary struggle and of the validity of Marxism-Leninism. This is highly significant at a time when the bourgeoisie wants to take advantage of the so-called detente, derived from the Reagan-Gorbachev peace accord, in order to try to sell us "peace" between the rich and the poor, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and between all the exploiters and aggressors and oppressed and exploited. It is also significant as a commitment to defend Marxism-Leninism that is being so all-sidedly attacked today.

While imperialism exists, while the people are attacked, there will be revolutionary struggles for liberation and for socialism. We cannot confuse the relative and unstable accords among the powers with the cancellation of the class struggle, with the elimination of the revolutionary processes.

It can be perceived in this region of the world that the tendency of detente and abandonment of the revolution is not the only, nor the principal one. Enormous potential exists for revolutionary struggle, gaining consensus for the importance of the anti-imperialist struggle, and the search for a broad unity in this sense (of which the Anti-imperialist Meeting to be held in Colombia in November this year is an important act). [Note by the Workers' Advocate Supplement: This "Anti-Imperialist Meeting" follows a similar meeting held in Quito, Ecuador last November. These are meetings of the revisionist "communist" parties, social-democrats, bourgeois nationalists, and Castroists, along with a number of parties which, like the CP of Colombia (ML), have called themselves anti-revisionists. For a discussion of the Quito meeting see the article "Latin American and Caribbean meeting in Quito, Ecuador--Reformist hot air" in the January 1 issue of the Workers' Advocate.]

We know that the Latin American revolutionaries can advance a good ways in joint action against our common enemies for broadening forces and narrowing little by little the targets to hit.

For all these reasons, we. salute the successes of the Cuban people, gained in hard struggle, and we express our militant solidarity for their consolidating, in favor of the struggle against imperialism and the revolution of the whole continent, the triumph gained 30 years ago.

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Salute to the 15th Congress of the CP of Colombia

Between the 12 and 16 of December of the past year the 15th Congress of the Communist Party of Colombia, CPC, convened in Bogota, causing great disillusionment and tantrums in the ranks of reaction given that its conclusions did not fulfill the hopes that the capitalists had conceived in the light of perestroika and of the political fruits that they hoped for from the dirty war.

The bourgeoisie, considering that they had hit the CPC strongly with the assassination of a large number of their leaders and militants, and maintaining the decision to deepen the dirty war, blackmailed and pressured it hoping that the Congress would give up the popular struggle and in a special manner would repudiate the armed revolutionary struggle.

The slogan of "combine all the forms of struggle" was in this respect the center of discussion, being supported by the broad majority of the Congress.

To the event, whose preparation and holding took place in a form open to diverse sectors of national opinion, our Party was invited along with the democratic and revolutionary movement of the country.

As a result, a delegation of the CPC(ML) was present during the whole Congress, and delivered it a message from comrade Francisco Caraballo in the name of the Central Committee. The salute that we reproduce below was received with great enthusiasm and happiness by the official and fraternal delegates of the Congress.

* * *


Central Committee

Delegates to the XV Congress Communist Party of Colombia

Esteemed companeros:

We place on record our most sincere pleasure for the invitation to your Congress, an act on which we place a high political significance.

In wishing you successes in the work of the 15th Congress, we want to insist on the obligatory task of strengthening the unity of the democratic and revolutionary movement, as a basic condition to confront and defeat the forces that are opposed to social development.

As can be seen, the political situation continues to deteriorate, in the sense that fascization advances and that the attitudes for war predominate in the conduct of the government. A reactionary offensive of great scope is underway that we cannot overlook at the time of delineating the political tactics and planning the tasks that concern us.

In the midst of this panorama, laden with new dangers for the forces that struggle for the transformation of society, but at the same time full of favorable elements for our revolutionary action, the work becomes more demanding to mobilize the masses and to foment their mass participation in the different forms of the popular struggle. Only in this way will we be able to stop the assault of the fascist beast that has been unleashed and gain more significant victories.

We are confronted by ferocious enemies that are going all out to annihilate the militants of the popular struggle and energetically repress any manifestation of unconformity whatever. It is evident that the fascists do not make distinctions between the communists, revolutionaries or democrats, since for them we are all subversives and hence worthy of persecution, criminal repression, and death. This reality obliges us to merge our forces and efforts for intensifying the struggle against the common enemies and for common objectives.

Taking into account these considerations, we stress the necessity to make more vigorous efforts in favor of strengthening the different unitary processes, as well as to search for ways so that all these efforts flow towards a common point that allows us to form the most solid political front. Among our tasks of the first order is the effective contribution towards gaining this important aim. For our part, we reaffirm our full disposition in this sense.

Although differences exist between the Communist Party of Colombia and the Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist), including over substantial problems, it is also certain that political coincidences exist that permit the conjunction of forces and are favorable to unified action, so necessary at the present time.

May the conclusions of the XV Congress favor the unity of action of the revolutionary movement.

Fighting united we shall win

December 1988

Central Committee

Communist Party of Colombia (Marxist-Leninist)

Francisco Caraballo

First Secretary

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