Category Archives: education

Capitalism murders in NYC

The bosses press are patting themselves on the back for the bang up job that they are trying to spin that they did in New York after Tropical Storm Sandy obliterated parts of the capital of world capital.  There are parallels to Hurricane Katrina flooding parts of New Orleans and the US bosses taking advantage of that crisis to fire all the teachers and permanently displace the Black population of the 9th ward.  The bosses are up to it again with the displacement of Black and Hispanic workers from Red Hook, Far Rockaway, and other parts affected by the Hurricane that still don’t have heat or running water.

 

The real estate moguls that are the real power behind Baby doc Cuomo, the governor of New York, and the billionaire capitalist mayor Bloomberg who rules New York like its his own personal fife are licking their chops at the prospect of all that valuable oceanside land that they can develop.  They’ve already been developing it in some of these neighborhoods with gated communities and restaurants as the tells that gentrification are right around the corner.  Of course, the real estate moguls are going to have do deal with the contradiction of changing weather patterns which the bourgeoisie have absolutely no answer for since their vast wealth depends on oil remaining king.    

 

The workers who have been displaced due to the storm are in shelters in schools and other large buildings and are being constantly moved around.  Many of them are not getting the food or medical care that they need.  This disaster clearly illustrates that capitalism can not take care of us workers.  They are going to use this disaster to further their practice on how to institute fascism.  They are already rationing gas.  This is getting us conditioned for life under a wartime footing where gas is rationed due to the needs of protecting the bosses’ empire.

 

The whole way that the disaster was handled and continues to be handled clearly illustrates that we workers could do a better job than the bosses can running this society. We would have organized millions of people all over to come and help with the rebuilding while also creating the conditions necessary for surviving a hurricane class storm, whether it be a sea wall or other elements of infrastructure.  The bosses are using this storm to rebuild their decaying infrastructure while looking with an eye to future profit by displacing the working class populations most affected by the storm.    

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Chicago Teachers STRIKE against Apartheid Edcuation

STRIKE AGAINST CAPITALISM!!

The Chicago teachers’ strike is a fight back against the racist conditions (overcrowded classes, segregated schools, etc.) our children face every day.  Strikes allow workers to feel the power that we have as a class to stop the bosses in their tracks.  The liberal Democrats, Obama and Duncan are leading the racist attacks on students and teachers in the U.S. with their “Race to the Top”.  The anti-racist fight that 26,000 Chicago school workers are waging is an inspiration to workers around the world, like the striking Lonmin miners in Marikana, South Africa.

SAME ENEMY, SAME FIGHT! WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!

For better wages, working and living conditions the black mine workers have shut down the world’s third largest platinum mine.  Our working class sisters and brothers in South Africa are waging a strike against the mine owners and the racist liberal African National Congress (ANC).  The response of the liberal black led ANC to these workers demands was the racist police massacre of 8 miners on August 8th and 34 striking miners on August 16th.

 

SMASH APARTHEID EDUCATION WITH COMMUNIST REVOLUTION!!

Chicago school workers are fighting for the schools our children deserve, as workers in South Africa are fighting for the lives they deserve.  The fact remains that capitalism can never provide the quality of life our class deserves.  The liberals Obama, Duncan, Emmanuel & Co. just like the ANC politicians are doing the bidding of their billionaire masters.  These liberals are leading the racist attacks on workers from the U.S. to South Africa.  To get the lives that our class deserves we must fight to take state power away from the bosses and their puppet politicians.  The working class (more than 99%) produces EVERYTHING of value in the world, yet the ruling class (less than 1%) controls it all.  Under communism racism would have no place in our society.  Communism, unlike capitalism, needs unity not division of our class. A communist society will utilize the potential in all workers and students to build the world the international working class deserves.

JOIN PLP!! FIGHT FOR COMMUNISM!!

desafio.challenge@gmail.com    www.plp.org     P.O. Box 204 1634 E. 53rd St. Chicago, IL. 60615

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Chicago Teachers Authorize a Strike

The international assault on education is finding resistance in Chicago. The teachers union there has decided to authorize a strike in Obama’s base town. Over 90% of the teachers have voted to strike.  The attack on workers within the guide of education “reform” is deforming the already pathetically low level of education the working class’ children get.  The US Ruling Class has to walk the contradiction of educating the working class while simultaneously disinforming them with capitalist ideology.  The last thing the Ruling Class of any nation state wants is dialectically thinking, critically engaging, working class capable of unmasking their ideology, propaganda, and outright lies.

From Quebec, to Oaxaca, to Greece, Spain, and the US, capitalism is attacking education and putting in tests and busting unions as their answer.  In the recent CFR report “US education Reform and National Security”, written by Joel Klein and Condoleezza Rice et al, the US bemoans the fact that they are falling behind their imperialist competitors.   The authors advance a strategy of testing and “choice”.  In other words, charter schools and busting of unionized workers in order to grind down teaching from a life-time profession where long term relationships can be developed and fostered into a 3 – 5 year and out program.

Capitalism can only ever reform by culling the best into elite schools or programs.  Discrimination is progress under capitalism.  They need a few to succeed and the rest to be fodder for either the factories or the military.  They need to produce tests to ensure that their ideology is taught in the classroom, as they know that Communists are their mortal enemy.

This is going to be a long summer of protest, and hopefully, uprisings against capitalism.  The state will retaliate and more workers will be angered at what’s going on.  The teachers striking in Chicago are already uniting with parents and students.  This is a valuable opportunity to develop and build the PLP there.

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MAY DAY!!! Fight For Communism!

May Day’s Communist Roots Belie Rulers’ Reform Sham

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:56AM

May Day has always had two sides to it: one that demands reforms, and the revolutionary side that organizes to destroy capitalism. May Day commemorates a massive strike wave in the U.S., and the particular battle in Chicago’s Haymarket Square in 1886. The movement’s leaders demanded an 8-hour day, but also advocated the “abolition of the wage system.” Six of them were hung by the rulers for their allegiance to the working class and defiance of capitalism. Then and now the capitalists feared this revolutionary side to May Day.

In 1848, Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto, “A specter is haunting Europe, the specter of Communism.” By 1886, the rulers of Chicago saw this specter. “The newspapers and industrialists were increasingly declaring that May 1, 1886 was in reality the date for a Communist working-class insurrection modeled on the Paris Commune. According to Melville E. Stone, Head of the Chicago Daily News…a ‘repetition of the Paris Communal riots was freely predicted’ for May 1, 1886” (Page 90, “Labor’s Untold Story,” Boyer and Morais).

In December 1886, San Francisco transit workers joined this rising strike wave. They demanded a workday reduction from 13-15 hours to 12 hours (then 7 days a week), and for a pay increase from $2.25 to $2.50 a day. “Strike-breakers were hired, and there was a great deal of violence. Cars were damaged, strike-breakers were beaten, and one person was killed.” Newspapers reported eight instances of the use of dynamite by the striking workers. In March 1887, the Governor signed a bill “limiting gripmen, drivers, and conductors to a 12-hour day.” (“Transit In San Francisco” published by SF MUNI RR Communications Department.)

In the 1880’s the early leaders of the American Federation of Labor were somewhat radical — it was actually an AFL delegate’s report to the Marxist-led International Workingmen’s Association that led to the call for the first May Day.

But by the 1920’s the pro-capitalist AFL leadership, fearing the growth of communist ideas in the working class, collaborated with the U.S. government to subvert May Day. At the 1928 AFL Convention, the Executive Council supported a Congressional resolution to make May 1 “Child Health Day.” They said, “May 1 will no longer be known as either strike day or communist labor day.”

The revolutionary side of May Day dominated when the communist movement was strong. During the peak of the communist organizing of the CIO’s industrial unions in the 1930’s and ‘40s, May Day was celebrated in the U.S. As many as 250,000 would march to New York’s Union Square. However, with the advent of the Cold War, and U.S. imperialism’s launching of a worldwide anti-communist offensive, the bosses’ government in Washington helped oust communists from union leadership by making it illegal for them to hold union office. With the triumph of business unionism and anti-communism, organized labor discarded May Day and recognized Labor Day in September.

However, in 1971 PLP resurrected the annual May Day march from its abandonment by the old U.S. Communist Party. PLP has marched in many cities every year since.

From the Haymarket battle in 1886, revolutionary workers spread May Day around the globe. But history is written by the conquerors, and many workers born here know nothing of the contribution that the U.S. working class, with the support of the international working class and communist movement, made to the development of this revolutionary holiday. Today May Day is the official Labor Day in most countries, but the leadership of these marches demand reforms, and stress the “common goals” of labor and capital.

PLP has learned from the triumphs of the communist movement in the USSR and China, and from their failure to fight directly for communism. We advocate “Abolish the Wage System” as part of changing the relationship of workers and work in a new communist society.

The abolition of money, of production for sale and profit and of the wage system is absolutely necessary to establish communism. When the international working class wins and holds control over all economic, political and cultural institutions of society, it will unleash a creative power that will propel the human race to its highest accomplishments in all fields of endeavor. We call this the dictatorship of the proletariat. We need a mass revolutionary communist party to achieve this. The capitalists will use every means — including mass, fascist terror and war — to prevent it.

For the last several years some groups now want to “Reclaim May Day.” They want to reform the “evils” of capitalism, but disconnect May Day from its communist roots. PLP seeks to keep May Day as a revolutionary international working-class holiday; to advance and popularize communist production for need as the future of the human race; to develop a strong and healthy class hatred that will destroy wage slavery and fascism everywhere.

Long live the 1st of May, the revolutionary, international, working class holiday! Fight for communism!

plp.org

Students, Parents, Teachers Unite: Fight Fascist Attacks in U.S. Education

The bosses’ assault against students and teachers in the United States has reached epic proportions. The capitalists are using standardized curricula and tests to assert more direct control over what is taught. They are attacking wages and conditions for school workers even as they blame teachers for the system’s decay. In large and overcrowded urban districts, where student populations are predominantly black and Latino, dress codes, rigid discipline, and metal detectors are the norm. Students are treated like criminals, with no time off for good behavior.

These racist attacks serve two related purposes for the ruling class. First, they enable the bosses to lay an ideological foundation for intensified fascism. Second, they make it easier to intimidate and militarize youth for the inevitable broader wars against the bosses’ surging imperialist rivals, such as China. The U.S. rulers need to use the schools to protect their profits and shore up their dominant — but declining — position in an increasingly competitive world economy.

Trillions for War, Zero for Schools

In the current period, the bosses’ economic crisis and the trillions sunk into Afghanistan and Iraq have led to a wave of racist budget cuts and layoffs in public schools throughout the U.S. The results have been devastating. In New York City — the graduation rate hovers around 60 percent — and most graduates require remedial work before they can take college-level courses. In Philadelphia, where the schools had floundered under state stewardship for nearly a decade, district officials estimated it would take until the year 2123 to get all students up to grade level in reading and math. In February, after decades of local mismanagement, the state board of education revoked its accreditation for the entire Kansas City, Missouri school system. Even by the bosses’ own low standards, the public schools are broken.

To distract workers from the real causes of why and how schools are designed to fail, the capitalists push one reform after another. Supported by billionaires like Bill Gates and Eli Broad, these range from the small-school movement to the charter school phenomenon to the bosses’ current vogue, an all-out emphasis on “teacher quality.” By using data-driven teacher evaluations, the bosses claim to have found an objective way to improve substandard schools and weed out unqualified instructors.

Useless Tests A Bosses’ Tool

In fact, these evaluations are based significantly on student performance in standardized testing, where the margin of error is so high that they are statistically useless. But as a political tool for the bosses, the evaluations are invaluable. They give the rulers easy scapegoats for the failure of their schools: “bad teachers” and the unions that “protect” them.

Many of the headlines in the teacher-bashing campaign have been seized by Republicans like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker or by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, or by capitalists like David and Charles Koch. But the main leadership for this attack comes from the dominant liberal wing of U.S. finance capitalism and its loyal servants: mainstream media like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and the Democratic administration of Barack (“Race to the Top”) Obama.

These rulers do have disagreements. Some of their factions on the right, like the Koch brothers, advocate the gutting of collective bargaining rights and even the abolishing of unions altogether. More dangerous, however, are the liberals who want to use the unions to mislead teachers into thinking their interests are best served by the latest reform. Both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the major teacher unions — containing 30 percent of U.S. union members — have willingly collaborated with the bosses in the new evaluation systems. The leaders of these organizations are loyal to the bosses, not to the workers. More insidious are new reformist groups like Educators for Excellence, which has enlisted broad support among young teachers in its reactionary fight against tenure.

In any case, the political fallout is the same. Under increased pressure, teachers tend to become more controllable. Some workers get caught up in the blame game, with teachers blaming students and parents blaming teachers when the evaluation numbers fall short.

In a desperate effort by principals and teachers to keep their jobs, some schools focus their attention on students who are relatively close to grade level, triaging the ones who are further behind. As one New York City high school guidance counselor recently told the school’s staff, “Don’t waste your time on them.” The children he was throwing overboard amounted to nearly one-fourth of the student population!

As always, the school reform’s primary targets — and victims — are the students.

There never was a “golden age” of U.S. public education. While government funding has fluctuated over the past century, the schools’ purpose was always to reinforce capitalist values and the profit system. The overwhelming majority of children are trained for low-paying, subordinate tasks in the rulers’ factories, infrastructure, support services, and military. More than ever, U.S. capitalism requires a politically reliable, highly regimented education system to feed a military that will secure its threatened interests worldwide. It’s no coincidence that Obama’s education reform agenda includes the re-opening of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs at a number of colleges.

To meet the rulers’ needs, the schools infect children with capitalist ideology: racism, sexism, individualism, and incessant competition for the best grades and test scores and then jobs, all against a backdrop of extreme racist and sexist inequalities. Rigid discipline and arbitrary rules nurture passive followers. Gross distortions of history — the “bravery” and “heroism” of genocidal monster Christopher Columbus, the “compassion” of white supremacist Abraham Lincoln — rob students of the ability to understand the world. Regimented teaching-to-the-test saps their creativity and analytical thinking. Daily doses of anti-communism steer them away from the one force that can change the world to meet the needs of the working class.

Graduating to Communism

If the situation sounds bleak, it’s crucial to point out that it’s only one side of the story. As the bosses make their plans, so too must the workers. In New York, for example, masses of furious parents, teachers, and students have routinely disrupted the Panel for Educational Policy (the rubber-stamp body that does Mayor Bloomberg’s bidding) with standing-room-only crowds and deafening chants. Rising anger among teachers has led to fresh attempts to form a serious opposition caucus to the sellout union leadership in New York.

But while this anger itself is positive, and the Party must be immersed in these struggles, no reform will help students get the learning they need. It’s our job to point to the systemic failures of education under capitalism and to win teachers, students and parents to fight for communism and join PLP. To truly educate our children, we must abolish the profit system. We need to create a new society to serve the needs of workers, not the tiny, parasitic minority of bosses. Forward to May Day!

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Obama Rescues Bosses’ Profits

The bosses’ attack against teachers has a precedent in their systematic dismantling of the standard of living of industrial workers in steel and auto, which was won through generations of class struggle. As in the schools, this attack was carried out with the express support of the leadership of the unions.

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama claimed victory for “rescuing” the auto industry: “We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.” What he really meant was that the bosses forced the workers to accept a two-tier wage system, with new hires making $14 an hour, or half the wages of their previous hires. This give-back was achieved with the active support of the United Auto Workers union leadership. For the bosses, “settling differences” always means protecting bosses’ profits and attacking workers.

www.plp.org

INTER-IMPERIALIST RIVALRY

ROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY VIEWPOINT

In the decades since the defeat of the first communist revolutions, the major imperialist powers have sharpened their attacks on each other. This rivalry between imperialists underlies and drives world events and will do so until the working class, under communist leadership, again takes the world stage to fight exploitation and racism and make revolution.

Capitalism

Capitalist society is an unstable tension between two great opposed social classes: the tiny capitalist class that owns everything important and runs the government and the huge international working class, whose members survive by selling their labor to a capitalist for a wage. Capitalists and workers constantly struggle over wage and social benefits versus profits; they are locked together in a class society until revolution destroys the bosses. This fundamental tension between unity and conflict in a class society is a contradiction, a unity of opposites that is by its very nature unstable.

Contradictions don’t stay the same. They drive development, turn one thing into another, and get resolved. The contradiction in our class society gets on the side of unity in boss-worker relations, if workers are willing to take the class struggle only so far, if our unified ability to struggle is blunted and diverted by racist ideology or other pro-boss ideas. In that case capitalist society continues with all its horrors, because workers, however reluctantly, still accept capitalism because they feel they simply aren’t strong enough to “fight city hall” or have no vision of an alternative to the capitalist snake pit.

The contradiction can get resolved on the side of the workers, on the side of conflict in boss-worker relations, with revolution to abolish the class of bosses, the racist divisions among the workers, and the entire exploitative system.

Today, unity between the two opposed classes prevails and capitalism continues despite its constant wars, racism, financial crises, and all our efforts for change. But conflict between the two classes will re-emerge and sharpen. Workers with communist leadership can resolve the contradiction in favor of the working class and all humanity by abolishing capital itself and its many harsh conditions including poverty, racism, brutality, and war for profit, as our predecessors did for many decades in the Russian and Chinese revolutions.

Communist Revolution: Resolve the Contradiction

Communist revolution means that we workers form a new kind of government and use our new state power to abolish the capitalist class, the wage-and-profit system, and all aspects of racism, from material differences to ideology. Revolution abolishes capitalists and transforms the working class from the slaves to a wage into the creative producers of all social value building a new society of egalitarian communist sharing where all can contribute mightily to each other.

It may seem that capitalism will go on forever and survive every crisis. But the secret of class contradiction is that its resolution depends mainly not on the capitalist class but on us, the working class. The capitalist class is dominant now, but the working class, and only our class, does have the ability to break their grip and transform society. We do have a future without capitalism, “a world to win.” We will have to pass through the fires of war and revolution to get there. We will have to make conflict with the bosses primary over unity with them. But if we succeed in winning millions of workers to this communist vision, we will have that future.

Imperialist Bosses Fight among Themselves

Right now we are a long way from our revolutionary goal because the working class is weak and disarmed, having lost much of its communist leadership and party organization when the Soviet and Chinese revolutions turned back to capitalism. The basic overall contradiction in capitalist society—bosses v. workers—has temporarily faded as the main thing driving world events. Now, the battle among the imperialists for profit and power (using workers for cannon fodder in their wars) has become the main contradiction in the world. Capitalists always compete (GM fights Ford). But what is really determining events now is the contradiction between the major capitalist countries (Ford/U.S. fight Toyota/Japan). That is inter-imperialist rivalry. Major capitalist powers became imperialists over 100 years ago as they extended their power and control far beyond their own national borders seeking profits, markets, and sites for investment, dividing up the entire world into competing spheres of interest. They used to call these zones their colonies and empires (British, French, Japanese, or Russian). Now imperialists dominate whole economies and governments without making them into colonies, but it’s the same thing: the biggest capitalists use their corporations, armies, and governments to win away from other capitalists as much of the world’s resources, markets, and labor as they can. Workers won’t remain quiet forever, but for now, the battle among imperialists conditions all world events.

Inter-Imperialist Rivalry Means World War

Imperialists try to limit their conflicts to economics and politics (e.g., through the UN and bilateral negotiations), but military conflict—all-out war to resolve their differences and redivide the world—is on the rise. The many wars being fought today mean that the major imperialists are more and more resorting to military means to secure their empires. It is likely that there will be a world-wide war with major groups of imperialists and their allies on opposing sides, just as happened in the 20th century. Such a third world war would end with yet another capitalist “new world order” if we workers fail to rearm ourselves with the international revolutionary communist party, PLP. But, if workers build the PLP internationally, a third world war will also see another great wave of the communist revolutionary movement, ending capitalism altogether. The end of the story of inter-imperialist rivalry therefore depends on us, on the working class rising again, restoring the primacy of that main contradiction in capitalist class society—workers’ conflict with bosses—and resolving it by revolution.

The World of Imperialism—and How to Change It

The U.S. has been top dog among imperialists since they came out stronger than the others after World War II, and since communist anti-imperialism ended with Russia and China’s return to capitalism. By 1999 the U.S. ruling class faced the fact that they were declining relative to their major rivals. The bipartisan Hart-Rudman Commission that year foresaw a 9/11-type attack and advised the ruling class to use it to build patriotism and support for permanent war and a centralized police state. The U.S. military budget, with 700 bases in 130 countries, is still more than that of the rest of the world combined. But though still top dog militarily, the U.S. is weakening rapidly, its military forces stretched thin without a draft and its economic power being challenged throughout the globe by the EU, China, Russia, Japan, and lesser opponents including Iran and Venezuela. The EU and NATO are no longer automatic supporters of U.S. imperialism. China and Russia have formed an alliance called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which in 2001 linked them to four Central Asian states (and more in line to join), challenging U.S. and its allies’ power in the oil-rich region. Capitalist states including Iran, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, India, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, and Pakistan, can now try to play one imperialist power or alliance off against another to their own advantage. Venezuela is beginning to sell more oil to China instead of to the U.S., and the EU, Japan, and China are rapidly increasing investment in South America at the expense of U.S. market share. Not so long ago, the U.S. might already have invaded Venezuela or changed its regime as they used to do all over South America as they did in Chile in 1973, for example, but they simply cannot take military action yet against Iran or Venezuela because they are too weak. Australia withdrew its tiny military support of the U.S. in Iraq and is growing ever more closely tied to China economically. South Africa has increased ties to China and India at the expense of the U.S. and the EU. Pakistan no longer automatically dances to the tune of the U.S. military. Saudi Arabia refuses to help out the U.S. by increasing oil supplies. This brief glance yields the same picture as our look at the major imperialists: an unstable, shifting, dangerous moment in history, when the U.S. is being driven back and will have to take desperate drastic action to stay on top.

The capitalist future is bleak, especially for the international working class, which suffers the brunt of war, racism, and economic crisis. So we return to the burning need of the moment. We must strengthen the working class side of the class contradiction by joining and building the PLP, fighting racism, struggling against the bosses, and heating the class struggle to a white hot intensity so that we can overthrow capitalism and create a communist world that meets the needs of our class.

Contact the Progressive Labor Party at desafio.challenge@gmail.com,

http://www.plp.org

PO Box 808, Brooklyn, NY 11202

718.630.9440.

Right Opportunism in The Trayvon Martin Tragedy

There is a constelation of contradictions intertwined within the Trayvon tragedy. It is a case that is laying bare the growth of fascism in the US and its assault on the working class. Due to the racist nature of US capitalism, Black workers bear the brunt of any intensification of state violence first. It should be of no surprise that a scared Black male teenager was murdered by a paramilitary extension of the state apparatus paradin about as a “neighborhood watch”. This type of organization divides the working class as it organizes one group of workers to help the state apparatus oppress other workers.

Community control of the police department was one of the central myths of the Black Nationalist movement. It is not possible for those who are brutally oppressed to control the agentso of the state that oppresses us. It is absurd to think otherwise. With Obama and his tears jumping on board the Trayvon Martin tragedy, a moment of objectivity must be sought.

Obama is a deadly enemy of the working class who specializes in betraying us to his capitalist masters. When he shows his sympathy, then something truly murderous is afoot. Why is it that he didn’t say that Ramarly could have been the son that he never had? There are many examples of young Black males in their youth being murdered by this nation’s finest killing machine. Why didn’t Obama have a public outpouring with Ramarly like he did with Trayvon? Could it be that one was done by a worker who is expandable, whereas the others were done by a police officer and the US needs to deflect criticism of the police and rehabilitate Obama’s image. In one fell opportunist swoop, the US ruling class is beginning to create a public outcry that is distracting the working class from the murderous rampage in Afghanistan and the brutal police murders.

Would convicting that fascist dog Zimmerman really bring justice, or would a group of angry workers led by Trayvon’s parents with some pitchforks, knives, and flames getting medieval on him? The capitalist injustice system is not dedicated to solving racist inequality and police brutality. They have no interest in stopping the stop and frisk law that cost Ramarly his life. No. They are interested in co-opting this movement into carefully managed avenues of discontent while creating sympathy for the murderer and casting doubt on the victim.

PLP recognized the injustice of these attacks from when they first happened, participating in and organizing marches and rallies, and, most importantly, pointing out the need for an armed revolution where we will make the pigs and their assistants pay, but we will not misled into the bosses’ camp by the liar in thief.  We know capitalism is in crisis and will use any opportunity to mislead the working class.  There is no end to the political opportunism of the capitalist class.

Mai Lai 2012 from Zuccotti Park to Afganistan

When images of US soldiers slaughtering hundreds of innocents in Mai Lai resonated around the world, there was an outcry. The US media is in whitewashing mode now as it simultaneously attempts to rehabilitate the soldier by saying he had done four tours and had a misdemeanor while singling him out as the only one who attacked two villages with one assault rifle and within about an hour.

Recent news that he had  15-20 buddies helping rape and kill villagers as a Nazi style reprisal for an earlier attack fits the bill. These soldiers do not belong in Afghanistan and are not there fighting terrorism. The US is negotiating with said terrorists since they already lost the war and are now negotiating their retreat. The only thing left for the US to do is try to hide the fact that this was not an isolated incident, but business as usual for conquering armies that defend dying empires.

Afghanistan is where empires go to die. The British and Soviet empires have led the way for the US.

US bosses aren’t just exploiting workers in other parts of the world.  They are also attacking their own workers.  While US bullets were ripping flesh and bone, NYPD truncheons were splitting skulls and doing what NYC’s finest swine does best. Not only did they enjoy the show of a kid having a seizure while wearing handcuffs, they did their best 3rd world dictator impression on the rest of the OWS protestors. This attack on the protestors parallels the US trying to get Assad to stop his attacks.

As the nightmare scenario from Afghanistan unfolds, and the protests increase in size and militancy against finance capital’s fascist needs, more and more workers will find PLP and we will bury this system and it’s pigs.

Update:  Russia has sent troops to Syria.  Things are heating up in the Levant.  The US is not happy about having Russia usurp their anti-terror line.  Now, Russia will directly help Assad.  Things are moving quickly.

ESL Students Know the Language: A Class Analysis of Capitalism

I teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to adult immigrant working-class students at a community-based organization that works in the Democratic Party/union-led Coalition for a Strong Economy for All. To prepare their members to participate in Occupy Wall Street, the directors of the organization wrote guidelines about the economic crisis for teachers to use in the “organizing” committees and classes.

The guidelines negated class analysis and said the 1% are the bankers and everyone else belongs to the 99% — the “yes-we-can-people” who want democracy, patriotism and unity, where everyone believes in the American dream and “pays their fair share.” The organization’s campaigns focus on four very limited reform Democratic Party demands — a living wage act, a state law which is a mini-version of the Dream Act, federal and state legislation for a “millionaire’s tax” and Obama’s “job plan.”

By bypassing the reformist propaganda, my students and I created our own lesson about OWS and the economic crisis (in English). First I asked my students what they knew about OWS. Some students responded using words like poverty, unemployment, wealth and equality to explain what the movement is about. I then asked who they think is the 1%. They came up with the following:

Politicians, bankers, landlords, bosses, judges, army generals, professional actors, artists and athletes.

Then I asked who they think is the 99%. They said “workers.”

“Anyone else?” I asked.

“Well, no.”

I wrote economic crisis on the blackboard and below three more words: consequences, causes, solutions.

I asked students to talk in groups about each word. Around each of the three words, the students wrote more words in a circle:

Consequences: low wages, no jobs, rent, bills, family problems, and cuts in education.

Causes: corrupt politicians, bad government, exploitation, racism, greed, and war.

Solutions: change system, unity, fight back, revolution, jobs, no education cuts, no war, end discrimination against immigrants.

Using English vocabulary and without being prompted, the students came up with a basic analysis of class society and the nature of capitalism. They expressed their desire for systemic change. I then asked students to expand their ideas in English. Finally, we switched to Spanish to add more details and debate our ideas in more depth. “Hey, my friends, you need English to talk to workers who don’t speak Spanish and to build the unity and struggle we need,” I concluded.

The class process allowed me to assess which students to talk with more about CHALLENGE and the Party. Five students in the class receive CHALLENGE, one takes four extras. Three former students are taking extra papers as well. Four students are in one of our four study groups at our organization/workplace, where we can talk fully about capitalism and communism, reform and revolution, and recruit new members to PLP. This is what the “road to communist revolution” looks like.

A comrade teacher

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2011: Crisis-driven Bosses Attack, But Class Struggle Alive and Well

The events of 2011 served to remind us of two important aspects of capitalist society. First, the bosses of the world, caught in a sharpening struggle against their rivals and a spreading financial crisis, always have their knives out to assault the working class. Attacks intensified against our jobs, education, health, homes and families. The myths of democracy, fairness and opportunity for workers were exposed by a worldwide reality: we live under the bosses’ dictatorship. The past year made clear that regardless of national boundaries, no matter the “race” or gender of the boss, the ruling class will eagerly consign workers to hell on earth for the smallest gain in profit.

The ultimate expression of the boss’s callousness to sacrifice the lives of workers is imperialist war, of which there was no shortage in 2011. The U.S., still the main capitalist power in the world, continued its racist massacres in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan in hopes of securing the Middle East’s oil and natural gas. Without the growth of a new worldwide communist movement, the prospects for 2012 and beyond are not much better.

While the U.S. remains the dominant power, other rivals, most prominently China, are gaining power — militarily, economically and politically. This challenge does not go unnoticed by the U.S. ruling class. The recent announcement by President Obama (the Nobel Peace Prize winner) that U.S. Marines will be stationed in northern Australia, alongside the recent diplomatic overtures to Myanmar, which borders China, signal a future where direct military conflict between the U.S. and China will be increasingly likely.

But the deadly maneuvering of the ruling class is only one side of the story of 2011. The second lesson, clearly visible from a quick look back through the pages of any of the bosses’ newspapers, is that workers are not meekly accepting these attacks. Class struggle is alive and well.  The list of places where large-scale rebellion rocked the bosses this past year is a long one: Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, England, France, Greece, Israel/Palestine, Libya, Mexico, Pakistan, Spain, Syria, the U.S., and more.

To advance the cause of communist revolution, the international Progressive Labor Party has joined and led some of these militant struggles. In the pages of CHALLENGE, these battles and many other reports of class struggle were presented with a communist analysis.  If we are ever to defeat the murderous bosses and end their reign of terror, the working class must transform these narrow reform struggles into a fight for the working class to take state power — a fight for communist revolution.

The International PLP Advances

In New York City, the working class took on the racist Department of Education and its plan to impose Jim Crow-style segregation at the John Jay Campus high schools. In Israel/Palestine, a Summer Project participated in the fight against racist evictions and the housing shortage gripping workers there. In Haiti, we struggled to help rebuild a shattered society with communist principles of international solidarity and equality.

PL’s Summer Project in Haiti included a “Freedom School” for the discussion of communist principles. “Serve the working class” became more than a motto; it was put into practice when Party members created a clinic to serve the medical needs for Haitians in tent camps. The racist health care system was also a focus for comrades in the U.S. In New York we fought against the racist closing of Brookdale Hospital. Comrades and friends in Philadelphia fought to prevent the firing of a trusted hospital coworker. In Chicago, where hospital bosses tried to give patients a death sentence by transferring them to a decrepit facility, PL and others fought back.

Chicago was also the battleground for the heroic efforts of students and parents (primarily mothers), supported by the Party, to prevent the racist closing of the Whittier School library. Providing an example for the Occupy movement to follow, the parents (primarily mothers) and students at this majority Latino school, supported by the Party, seized the building and renamed it “La Casita.” For nearly a month, they held off the racist dogs of the Chicago Department of Education from carrying out their plan. Our comrades helped in many ways, from medical care to overnight guard duty. All the while they pointed out that whether we won or lost this particular battle, the bosses would still have state power. Our job is to fight not only “our” bosses, but bosses everywhere.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh, communists infused labor struggles in garment factories and universities with a vision of a society based on need rather than profit. In Mexico, where flooding threatened to destroy a community of 200,000 people, the Party explained that if our communist predecessors in the Soviet Union could move entire factories over the Ural mountains in three months during World War II, we could protect their city — if we had state power.

In these places and others around the world, CHALLENGE was ever-present. It consistently hammered home the point that it is only when we take on capitalism itself — when we transform battles against corrupt dictators, greedy bankers and fascist school boards into a world-wide communist movement — will we achieve workers’ liberation.

Arab Spring and Wall Street Occupy Working Class’s Imagination

Perhaps the most significant expressions of working-class fight-back were the upheavals in North Africa and the Middle East, collectively dubbed the Arab Spring, and in the Occupy Wall Street movement, a worldwide rage at the inequality of wealth that is the hallmark of capitalism.

The Arab Spring began with a rebellion in Tunisia that followed the self-immolation of a desperate young worker. But the uprising was fueled by a 13% official unemployment rate (about 30% for youth), skyrocketing prices for food, and political corruption. Similarly, in Egypt, while the bourgeois media focused on Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the struggle for “democracy,” the real battles were over rampant unemployment and the price of food. Strikes at Egypt’s textile mills, pharmaceutical plants, chemical industries, the Cairo airport, the transportation sector, banks, ports and the Suez Canal are the primary source of revolutionary optimism.

Workers throughout the world cheered on scenes from Tunisia and Tahrir Square, which makes the outcome of these battles all the more painful. In Egypt, ruthless dictator Hosni Mubarak was first replaced by a ruthless military and now in addition by the even more ruthless Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists (see CHALLENGE, 10/19). In Tunisia, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted and elections were held in October, but unemployment still crushes the youth there. This is the essence of reform struggles. However militant it may be, any struggle that fails to attack the entire capitalist system will simply replace one set of bosses with another. For workers, the promise of a new society has been met with the reality of continued joblessness and misery.

Nonetheless, the international working class proudly looked on as workers in Tahrir Square held up signs reading, “We are all Wisconsin,” a reference to the 100,000-strong protest against the attack on public sector workers in that state. Months before anyone occupied a park near Wall Street, thousands of workers occupied the state capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.

Just as in Cairo, however, the brave workers of Wisconsin have been misled, this time into backing electoral politics and the Democratic Party. In the midst of this struggle, the Party brought forward the idea that both the fascist Governor Scott Walker and the supposedly “heroic” Democrats were all defenders of capitalism — and were all therefore enemies of the working class. This communist idea attracted many workers in Wisconsin and around the world.

In September, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement began in New York City before spreading to more than 1,500 cities worldwide. OWS captured the attention of workers who were tired of seeing banks get trillions of dollars in bailouts while education, transportation, health care, wages and jobs are slashed. One chant especially reflected this anger: “Banks got bailed out; We got sold out!” Throughout 2011, the Party participated in many of these occupations, picket lines, schools, churches and job sites, armed with leaflets and CHALLENGE.

PLP continues to strive to replace the dead-end reform tactics of the old communist movement with the fight for revolutionary communism for billions of workers in the world.

May Day

This past year was the 140th anniversary of the Paris Commune, the first time workers took control of the state. In this spirit, we celebrated May Day with marches, dinners and songs. From Colombia to El Salvador, in Los Angeles and New York, in Haiti and Palestine, we raised the red flag honoring our revolutionary ancestors. This year our May Day celebrations grew in size and better reflected the international character of the working class.

Turning Fascist Oppression into Communist Organizing

The working class continues to suffer from the racist exploitation and oppression that capitalism requires. In their increasingly desperate competition for dominance, the various national ruling classes outdo one another in making workers homeless, sick, maimed or killed in pursuit of profit. Frantic about “sovereign debt,” collapsing banks, currency disasters (notably the euro) and the industrial crisis of overproduction, the world’s bosses are peeling back their thin masks of “democracy” to reveal the bloody maw of a fascist monster. Meanwhile, the fight over Central Asian and Middle Eastern oil and natural gas appears to be careening toward broader military conflicts.

As we move into 2012, the battles against our capitalist enemies will continue to rage. The workers of the world will continue to fight back, in ways large and small. Everything we do as workers and communists counts: every march or picket line or discussion strengthened by  communist ideas, every time we help another worker and demonstrate how we can build a society without the parasitic bosses. By doing these things and more, the Party will help the working class move closer to ushering in a classless society that produces for need, not profit. Communist ideas are essential for this crucial advance. A mass, international, revolutionary party is necessary to lead the way. PL is that party. Now is the time to join!

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