Category Archives: Europe

Smash Imperialism and Terrorism!

In a protest against racism, specifically anti-Muslim racism, members and friends of PLP marched in different areas of Brooklyn on 11/15/15, the day after the terrorist attacks in France.  This is a copy of the leaflet that was distributed to the working class there.  

(Click here for leaflet on Paris Terorist Attack)

Immediately following the Paris attacks, the mass media has ramped up anti-Arab, anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant racism, using them as an excuse for intensified border control and calls for war. These racist responses to a horrendous attack on the working class of Paris are exactly what the ruling class wants (whether they are French, U.S. or Saudi bosses). What we really need is working class unity against all these bosses and their warmongering.

The best way to stand in solidarity with our Parisian sisters and brothers against this most recent carnage is to stand against imperialist war on our jobs, schools and universities. These recent attacks in Paris reflect the continued chaos created by the US and French led oil war in Iraq and Syria.

Same Enemy, Same Fight!

From Paris to Damascus, Baghdad to Brooklyn the workers of the world have no good side in this dogfight for oil profits in the Middle East. Only under the international communist red flag of Progressive Labor Party (PLP) can we turn these racist wars and fascist anti-immigrant policies into a class war and fight for communism: a world without borders, wars for profit, racism or sexism.

With all their rhetoric about creating an Islamic state, ISIS (which is composed primarily of former military of the old Saddam regime and funded by both oil profits sold on the black market and small-time Saudi bosses), has actual dreams of maintaining control of key oil and gas fields in direct competition to the US and French bosses.

Since September, 2015 the French bosses have deployed their only aircraft carrier, and just this past week have expanded their bombing campaign from Iraq into Syria, carrying out over 1,300 sorties and 271 airstrikes murdering thousands of workers “without mercy.”

Workers of the World Unite!

Workers need to unite internationally against all imperialists. Communist revolution is the only solution to the problems of capitalism but we need millions of committed workers to make that happen. Communism means no bosses’ borders creating fake divisions for our class. We will share all of the world’s resources for the benefit of our whole class!

Smash Anti-Muslim racism!

Join the international Progressive Labor Party in the fight for Communism!

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Update on Turkey and Syria 6/4/13

Update Turkey:

We must temper our enthusiasm for the intense class struggle in Turkey.  Keeping in mind the dialectical category of appearance vs. essence, the parallel to Egypt is quite palpable. Like Egypt, there is a succession struggle between the rival political parties, neither of which has the worker’s interests at heart. There is a political narrative of the downfall of Mubarak that makes it look spontaneous, yet, in essence, it was a carefully mediated transition guided by the military and with the force of the working class ousting an entrenched leader trying to build a dynasty.

In Turkey, Erdogan is trying to pull a Putin Medvedev game of musical chairs. By trying to change the constitution, Erdogan is trying to pave the way for him to circumvent the term limits on being Prime Minister by becoming President. So, the crackdown on the peaceful sit in against the tearing down of trees in an urban green space and its subsequent uprising, are now being co-opted by political opportunism.

Though there are revisionists and Anarchists at the center of the protests, the liberal party and disaffected angry youth fighting against the creeping Islamism of the AKP and a growing perception (that) has developed among a growing number of Turks that the party is pursuing an aggressive form of capitalism  will not be able to topple the state itself. With Erdogan in Tunisia, the genesis of the Arab Spring of two years ago, this is an opportune time for a good old-fashioned Turkish coup.  With opposition leaders now openly saying that the protests were justified and criticizing Erdogan, there seems to be a developing front to topple him.

With the sectarian lines dividing the working class based on religion and nationalism, the secular parties with their roots in the urban centers and the Kurdish Parties will challenge the more fundamentalist countryside. The major question is if Turkey will go the way of Syria? If it does, then this means that there are imperialist forces at work with a stake in Turkey’s downfall. Without Turkey to the north sheltering much of Syria’s rebel leadership because it’s mired in its own civil war, Assad will be able to move to an endgame even faster.

Will the US allow their staunch ally and model of a workable Islamic government to topple? Will Saudi Arabia allow the moderate Islam of Turkey and their rivals in the Moslem Brotherhood to challenge their Wahabiism? It is up to the workers to decide. There is a long history of Communist organizing in Turkey and the Red Flag can rise again by the workers and students joining PLP and overthrowing capitalism.

Update on Syria:

The US is now putting Patriot missiles and F-16’s in Jordan. This could signal that they don’t want to use their bullyboy thugs in Israel to bomb Syria’s air defenses and arms caches. With Russia adamant that they will it surrender their last warm water Mediterranean port, the US is escalating the conflict to protect their investment in the Al Qaeda saturated co-opted rebel movement that is a warning to other insurrections as to why a The Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party is needed to smash the state and not allow the uprising to be hijacked. 

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Lansing, Cairo, and a Golden Dawn Blow up

Workers in Lansing, Michigan and Cairo, Egypt both had to occupy their respective halls of government with similar results. While it was the fascist Muslim Brotherhood attacking the secular liberals and socialists in Egypt, it was the pigs that attacked the protesting union workers in Lansing against a backdrop of fascists getting their headquarters bombed by Anarchists.

The appearance of democracy is fading quickly throughout the world as the bosses continue to succumb to the contradictions of building fascism: they need to raise the fares and taxes to increase their war chest, while simultaneously appearing to allow the working class to have a democratic voice in the decisions that are made in society. The frustration teachers are feeling at being micro-managed by principals and politicians completely out of touch with reality as they impose a standardized national curriculum hell-bent on homogenizing ideology and crushing unions is representative of how the whole working class feels in general. Capitalism is imposing itself and wants us to take it while we give and give. The participatory democratic side of the contradiction of their class rule is at once being exposed for a sham as it is also being pulled back.

Workers driving into work in NYC were greeted with higher tolls. When asked how they felt about it on the local news, they said that they had nobody to complain to. The state apparatus is reflecting the authoritarian shift away from bourgeois democracy as they are now pushing their need for a complacent working class to passively take the beatings they are receiving.

 

While workers in Lansing are shocked that a faction of the US ruling class wants to do away with unionized labor and are organizing massive protests to fight “Right to work” legislation, most of them harbor illusions that the democrats are a better choice. The democrats represent the ruling class and, like the Trojan Horse, appear to be better for the working class because they do a better job lying to, manipulating, and controlling the working class, as the workers trust them. PLP will be there with the protesting workers, but instead of liberalism and trade unionism, we will be arming the workers with the Red ideas of a revolution that will give us the right to work for ourselves in a Communist society under the dictatorship of the working class.

In Greece, the fascist group “Golden Dawn” had their offices bombed by an antifascist group. The group correctly said we have to get those fascists before they grow. The old Communist movement learned the hard way that revolutionary violence is the only solution to fascism. PLP has consistently fought fascists using the same principle of striking first and striking hard as the Greek antifascists, but we do not advocate their tactic of bombing the fascists’ offices. We take a firm stand against the anarchist principle of propaganda by the deed.

The bomb-throwing anarchist was as iconic as the contemporary archetype of the Middle Eastern terrorist during the 19th century, just as wrong, but just as useful to the ruling class. The bomb throwing violence did not blow up the social relationships of production then, neither will it now. When PLP attacked the Nazi headquarters in Chicago, we organized ourselves and community members, Black, Hispanic, White, and Asian; man and woman; to enter their building with bats and other melee weapons and beat the shit out of them. The use of bombs screams a weak individualist group without the ties to the working class, practice, or theory needed to smash the fascists. So, though PLP is pleased that violence is being used against the fascists, we are opposed to the tactics with which it was employed, the lack of mass working class action behind it, and the consequences of this action becoming a blueprint for further action.  PLP knows that no individual or party can replace the working class as agents of our own liberation, and history has clearly illustrated that individuals acting alone can not accomplish the liberation of the working class. 

The bosses love to paint dedicated revolutionaries with the broad strokes of “terrorist”. They fear an organization dedicated to mobilize the masses of workers to confront the fascists and defeat them like what happened in England, and on a smaller scale, in Chicago.

Capitalism is developing fascism at home as the inter-imperialist rivalries sharpen. The military dictatorship in Cairo has seemingly backed down from an open Islamisist coup, but it’s still a dictatorship, just secular and with the appearance of democracy. The workers in Lansing will continue to protest, and the Anarchists in Greece will bash the fasc. The ingredient missing to end the scourge of capitalist dictatorship’s growing fascism is a mass PLP. The only solution to fascism is Communist revolution.

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Socialism a false hope for the Working Class in France

Francoise Hollande, the first Socialist to be elected president of France in decades, has defeated Sarkozy.  Does this mean that the working class has won state power and that private ownership over the means of production is now being socialized as an aggressive state apparatus attacks and disciplines the national bourgeoisie while simultaneously removing French Imperialist forces from Africa?  Nope.  The capitalists will never surrender state power.  The major European capitalists will wring their hands a little bit and discuss the fact that the austerity is necessary while preaching impending economic doom.

Hollande critiqued Sarkozy on mismanaging the crisis.  He is looking forward to “fixing” the capitalist economy mired in a crisis of over-production and drowning in fictitious capital.  The Eurozone is like the Titanic hitting the iceberg of capitalist economic production.  As it sinks like that luxury ship, the only main difference is that it should change its name to “The Ponzi Scheme”.

The elections in Europe, like all elections under capitalism, will not fundamentally alter the systemic oppression of the working class.  What these elections do is cast a light upon the fact that the political system of the Eurozone is having a difficult time democratically installing the austerity programs that the world’s capitalists need in order to protect their profits.

Only a Communist revolution that transforms the actual economic foundation that the whole economy is based upon can stop the austerity programs by eliminating the need for profit and basing production on need.  The working class will never be able to vote in a Communist economic system.  The bosses won’t allow it.  They control state power and will never surrender it peacefully.  Hollande, like Zapatero in Spain before him, will loyally serve his capitalist masters while misleading the working class.  The question isn’t “Will Hollande sell out” so much as “how will Hollande be able to get the working class to sell out”.

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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

Humanitarian Imperialism in Uganda

The US is taking virtually the same paternalistic posture towards Africa that Victorian Britain did. Imperialist Britain was so racist that they considered their mass murdering attacks that colonized the  African and Indian peoples to be a civilizing force.  The US, like Victorian Britain before it, doesn’t care about bringing democracy or values, it only cares about padding its pockets and selling the war to its working class.  The savage truth is that wherever there is a direct clash between US and Russian/Chinese imperialist interests, a “humanitarian crisis” occurs there. Yet, capitalism itself is a humanitarian crisis. How many workers in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are killed by US drones and cluster bombs? Or directly by US soldiers having a bad day?  Who has killed more children, a Ugandan strong man or Obama?

Though once of great concern to governments in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa, primarily Uganda, the LRA exists today as a low-level insurgency. The LRA is estimated to have only 200-300 fighters, and the group sustains itself by recruiting child soldiers during unsophisticated raids with machetes on villages in northwestern Uganda and the nearby corners of South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

The Joseph Kony campaign media blitz that was all over Facebook has already drummed up the popular support needed by US imperialism to invade a nation that has “Newly discovered oil reserves around Uganda’s Lake Albert”.  Yup, billions of barrels of oil that is just now starting to be tapped.  You could already see the dollar signs flashing on the little black and green hearts of the world’s capitalists.

“Stratfor believed that the United States had exaggerated the threat posed by the LRA.” Why would the Kony 2012 video go so viral so quickly? If the united states didn’t need a humanitarian cover to gloss over their insatiable lust for oil and resources.  Obama, willing servant of US capitalists, and bosses are no strangers to using Ugandan workers in their imperialist wars. As they used Ugandans in their wars of conquest at only a fraction of the cost that they paid to US soldiers to do the same potentially lethal jobs.

Though Kony is a terrible human being who deserves to die at the hands of the working class he exploits, how is he any worse than the US’ personal thug Haitian President Martelly who attacked his own college students in their university, smashed whatever he couldn’t steal, and basically destroyed their ability to get an education as he instilled the kind of fascist terror that the racist US bosses call business as usual in Haiti. 

The US fascist attack on workers closes hospitals, creates homeless workers, cuts to Medicaid, attacks special need children, yet they have the absolute hypocrisy to point the finger at small time dictators like Assad and patsies like Joseph Kony!  Yes, they are terrible bad people, but the only reason that they are targets by the US is because they’re somebody else’s terrible bad people.  Super thug Rahm Emanual is basically assaulting students’ educations in Chicago, US capitalists are plotting how to close more hospitals and limit health care (see the letters section in the 3/14/2012 Challenge), European capitalists are destroying whole lives in Europe, and yet we’re supposed to only concentrate on one particular bad guy?  The whole system of capitalism has to go, root and branch.

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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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U.S.-U.K. Imperialists Expand Fascism and War Black, White, Asian Working-Class Youth Battle Racist Cops

Workers produced every item working-class rebels took from shops in English cities. Workers also produce all the Middle East’s energy supplies. So what constitutes real “looting”? Is it a London youth, who may never find a job, grabbing a pair of sneakers? Or is it racist British capitalists joining racist U.S. bosses to murder millions in seizing Iraqi and Libyan oil and Afghan gas routes?

The recent rebellions take place in a context of declining U.S-U.K. imperialism. For survival, the depleted British Empire became the U.S.’s junior partner during World War II. Now, rising China, resurgent Russia, and regional powerhouse Iran have the U.S. & Co. on the defensive. So both U.S. and U.K. rulers are implementing an agenda of widening wars overseas and police terror to enforce massive economic attacks on workers domestically.

Since racism is fundamental to capitalism and its drive for super-profits, the racist super-exploitation of black and Asian workers has moved these youth — subjected to the system’s mass racist unemployment and poverty — to openly rebel.

Militant anti-cop uprisings in England come as a mainly healthy reaction to fascist policing. London’s working-class Tottenham district erupted after August 4 when cops gunned down Mark Duggan, a black father of four, on “suspicion” that he had a gun. He, in fact, never displayed one. The rebellion quickly spread to other deprived communities across London, and to the northern cities of Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool.

But although the killing was a source of anger, it was not the primary cause behind the rampage of thousands of black, Asian and white youth that lasted four days before the heavily-reinforced police could clear the streets. The torching of police cars, police stations and public buildings expressed the pent-up frustration and rage of an alienated generation with no opportunities, gripped by poverty, discrimination and joblessness. Many are the second and third generation of their family without jobs. For some African-Caribbean youth unemployment is as high as 50%. A 2007 UNICEF report found that British and U.S youth had the worst quality of life of 21 developed nations.

“We’re sticking it to the police” yelled one  woman, “and to the rich” she added. A Tottenham protestor who appeared on a radio show described the events as, “A war against injustice.”

Their fury against the rich echoed the anger most Britons have against the bankers who paid themselves huge bonuses after taking government bailouts and of the blatant looting by politicians of public funds for their private expenses last year. One of the most notorious cases involved the member of parliament who took £80,000 ($130,000) of tax-payer money to subsidize his second home. This year’s scandal of police officials taking bribes from the Murdoch news organization has only added fuel to the fire.

Even the right-wing Telegraph newspaper (8/8/11) had to admit legitimate grievances, “Tottenham’s unemployment is still among the highest in London. Black people are far more likely to be stopped and searched by the Met [Metropolitan Police] than whites.”

Despite the media focus on burning stores, the so-called riots’ main aspect was black, white and Asian working-class youth uniting in fierce battles against the killer cops. The Independent (London, 8/14/11) quoted one terrified cop, “We could hear time after time on our radios, ‘Officer down,’ ‘Officer injured’ and we knew it was bad.”

Actually, that’s pretty good, given London cops’ reputation for racist brutality. The protests’ weakness, however, lies, not in violence (which was unfocused at times) but the lack of a communist movement with the goal of destroying the profit system, the root cause of workers’ ills.

Bosses’ Media Ignore Libya Massacre for London Blazes

Britain’s prime minister David Cameron, who has never done a day’s work in his life, jetted back from vacationing in Tuscany to decry workers’ “criminality” spreading across his country. But the real criminals are “NATO’s air-strikes [on August 8th] at Majer [in Libya which] killed 85 people, including 33 children, 32 women and 20 men. Reporters and visitors were shown 30 of the bodies in a local morgue, including a mother and two children” (Counterpunch, 8/14/11).

Seeking access to Libyan oil unfettered by dictator Khadafy, British (along with French and Italian) bosses avail themselves of U.S. weapons and leadership. NATO supreme commander, U.S. admiral Stavridis, runs the Libya operation.

While London Burns, Oil Wars Enrich U.K. Bosses

And in Iraq, British rulers’ staunch military support for U.S.-led genocide pays off big time, though stability may never arrive. (On August 14, 42  coordinated attacks in ten cities killed 96 Iraqis and wounded 315.) “Iraq’s oil auctions were portrayed as a model of transparency and a negotiating victory for the Iraqi government,” said Greg Muttitt, author of “Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq,” quoted in the London Observer (7/31/11): “Now we see the reality was the opposite: a backroom deal that gave BP a stranglehold on the Iraqi economy, and even influence over the decisions of OPEC.”

British forces based in Basra fought mostly near the vast Rumalia oil field, which BP (British Petroleum) had owned from 1927 to 1972. BP, to nobody’s surprise, won the potentially 3-million-barrel-per day Rumalia contract at the “transparent” 2009-2010 auctions. Now it’s revealed that in the 2011 backroom deal Baghdad must pay BP for oil not even extracted from the wells should renewed warfare or OPEC quotas curb production. As for Afghanistan, British troops have concentrated on Helmand province, through which much of the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline may run.

PM Cameron Wants Nazi-style  ‘Community Policing’ in Britain; Summons U.S. Top Cop Bratton

Just as in the U.S., British imperialists’ war efforts cost vast sums of money. And, just as in the U.S., the rulers get that cash by stealing from workers with sharp, racist cuts in pay, jobs, health, education, pensions, etc. In Britain, mostly urban African, Caribbean and Asian workers (along with poor white native British and Irish) bear the brunt.

To enforce this exploitation, the bosses employ more intense fascist measures. However, Britain’s police establishment is in disarray. Its two top Scotland Yard chiefs were forced to resign amid the Murdoch payoff scandal to squash the media mogul’s bribery of cops. So to head off future rebellions, Cameron is calling in Bill Bratton, formerly top cop in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, to establish sweet-sounding but deadly “community policing.” It resembles the Nazis’ Judenrat scheme, which turned local Jewish leaders into a network of snitches that led millions to the gas chambers.

In Boston, Bratton employed black pastors. According to a 2008 report from Harvard’s Kennedy School, “The ministers…helped the Boston Police manage negative publicity by the local media after several potentially explosive events [such as] the accidental death of a 75-year-old retired minister who suffered a fatal heart attack during a botched drug raid.” Cameron wishes he had agents like these in Tottenham.

Fascism on the Rise

Fascism is being institutionalized. Government laws, surveillance through a vast street camera operation along with Cameron’s deep cuts in social services impoverishing the working class have become the order of the day. Alongside this is the increasing influence of racist organizations like the anti-immigrant British Nationalist Party which recently took over nearly 10% of the local council seats in the extremely-segregated city of Bradford and has gained enough legitimacy to be included in nationally-televised political debates.

However, workers are not giving these fascists a clear path. Last year when the fascist English Defense League, which has held demonstrations against Asians nation-wide, rallied in Bradford, they were confronted by thousands of anti-racists and local residents, both white and Asian.

The rebellions in England hold important lessons in class struggle. They prove that a militant, multi-racial force of workers can take on and beat “highly-trained” cops. They also show the need for a revolutionary communist party and the outlook of seizing state power for our class, not just winning concessions which capitalism inevitably reverses. (See Verizon strike, p. 3.) Ultimately only revolution led by such a communist party can smash the creators of the world’s largest looting system — capitalism — that gives us police brutality, poverty, mass racist unemployment and war.

The Bosses’ Profits Have No Ceiling

The recent drama over the federal debt limit, with politicians in gridlock amid scare stories that the U.S. government might default on its bills, marks a significant move toward fascism by an embattled capitalist ruling class.

A default was averted when Democrats and Republicans agreed to at least $2.1 trillion spending cut over the next decade to counter a hike in the debt “ceiling,” the legal cap set by Congress on government borrowing. But the rulers’ internal crisis remains. The debt ceiling battle reveals their two essential needs in the current period:

To wring extreme profits from the working class with cuts in critical social services in a period of perpetual and massive racist unemployment.

To discipline their own ranks to help fund imperialist wars abroad and repair a crumbling infrastructure at home.

These imperatives are the hallmarks of fascism, the phase of capitalism that forces the ruling class to discard its mask of liberal democracy. President Obama recently took the lead on both fronts with his “Grand Bargain.” This ploy for “shared sacrifice” called for a devastating $3 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years, alongside just $1 trillion in tax increases for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

The Republicans’ “no-new-taxes” (on the rich) pledge, pushed hardest by the elements coalescing around the Tea Party, gives Obama cover to maintain his liberal credentials even as he ruthlessly targets the most vulnerable workers: the old, the sick, the poor. And as the first black president, he is the bosses’ perfect tool to impose racist cutbacks that fall most heavily on black and Latino workers, the same people who were hardest hit by the latest economic crisis (see box on page 5).

Capitalists Divided

Liberal analysts misrepresented Washington’s debt standoff as a battle between crazed GOP ideologues and sane if ineffectual Democrats, like Obama, who are striving to protect a fragile economy.

In fact, both sides are acting rationally, against the working class, in selfish pursuit of profits. They represent two camps of capitalists with conflicting interests. As Lenin noted in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, there is a yawning gulf between entrepreneurs, who profit by managing capital in productive businesses, and financiers, who profit purely from “money capital” and seek to extend their domination over finance capitalists in other countries. The biggest financiers’ massive overseas investments require “the intensification of antagonisms between imperialist nations for the division of the world.” By that, Lenin meant world war.

In the U.S. today, both capitalist factions demand the racist looting of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Their clash stems from how they get their respective wealth. The entrepreneurs (such as Koch Industries; see box) have a short-term, domestic focus that favors younger, rising firms. The financiers, represented by Obama and the banker-backed liberal wing led by the Rockefeller interests, have a longer-term, imperialist outlook to defend their worldwide empire, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan to Somalia and beyond. The financial capitalists still dominate U.S. policy — although, as the debt flap reveals, not absolutely.

On July 28, the nation’s biggest imperialist bankers sent a letter to Obama to plead for a resolution to the recent Congressional impasse. The consequences of a default, they wrote, would be “very grave” for “America’s global economic leadership” — a code phrase for imperialism. The signers included the chiefs of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of New York Mellon, and Boston’s State Street, which hold a combined $71 trillion in global assets under custody. By contrast, Forbes magazine estimates the Kochs’ wealth at $44 billion.

Going Where the Money Is

Obama’s cut and tax strategy has been shelved for now. But the president and his cheerleaders at the New York Times, both representing the main wing of the ruling class, will soon be back to demand that bosses big and small pony up — and $1 trillion will be just a down payment.

For the bosses, it’s less a matter of “fairness” than of narrowing options. They are willing and eager to drain the working class, but they’re running into objective limits. The global financial meltdown obliterated millions of jobs in the U.S., along with the tax revenues they generate. (In June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the “real” unemployment rate — including unemployed, under-employed, and people “marginally attached to the workforce” — stood at 16.2 %, or more than 25 million people suffering for lack of work in the third year of Obama’s dead-on-arrival “recovery.” And for black and Latino workers, those jobless rates are double.)

Workers are being sucked dry. Thinning the social safety net will not be enough to keep the war machine humming. Both Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who signed off on the Grand Bargain before buckling to anti-tax Tea Party pressure, know that they’ll eventually have to go to where the money is: to the rich.

In 2008, the median income of the U.S. capitalist elite — the top 0.1% — was $6 million, versus $50,000 for American households as a whole. In 2007, the top 1% of the population controlled 43% of the nation’s financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one’s home), or  1½ times the bottom 95 percent. The federal government has locked in these gross inequalities by slashing capital gains and estate taxes and by failing to enforce anti-trust laws (Vanity Fair, May 2011).

But even as the biggest U.S. capitalists rake in more and more, they are contributing less and less to the government that is dedicated to protect their interests. Corporate income taxes now account for only 7% of federal revenues, as compared to 23% in 1960. The jobless rate tells us that corporations aren’t using this extra cash to hire more workers. Instead, they’re hoarding. The bloodsucking banks aside, non-financial companies are sitting on close to $2 trillion in liquid assets.

The outrageous greed of the super-wealthy fits neatly with the small-government creed of the Tea Party caucus. It works less well, however, with the overriding needs of U.S. imperialism. The debt ceiling fracas was the public face of the rulers’ fight over how to divide their wealth and rule their weakening empire. The bitter struggle over the fallback measure, with no boost in needed revenues, is a mere prelude to the struggle to come. The battle should escalate in the fall, when Obama pitches his “balanced approach” (more taxes) to the new Congressional “supercommittee” charged with fleshing out the deficit reduction deal.

Bosses’ Rx: War and Fascism

In the end, the rulers’ Rockefeller-led main wing must prevail for U.S. imperialism to fend off its competition. The regional wars of today foreshadow the world war to come, as new imperialist rivals (China, India, Brazil) and old ones (France, Germany, Russia) challenge U.S. dominance. Both now and later, huge infusions of cash will be required to expand the military. Meanwhile, Obama’s backers will continue to exploit debt concerns as they build a fascist mass movement — including a military draft and even more extreme worker “sacrifice” — all for the greater good of U.S imperialism.

Fascism represents the ultimate exploitation of workers. The income losses of millions of unemployed and the slashes in wages of tens of millions of those still employed are intensifying the exploitation of workers worldwide. It should be remembered that Germany’s Nazis supplemented their extermination camps with thousands of forced labor camps. Millions of Jews, communists, and others were commonly worked to death at mines, quarries, farms, factories, and construction sites. The free labor both shored up the German bosses’ profits and sustained their war effort.

Under capitalism, economic crises aren’t caused by debts or deficits. They reflect the contradictions of a profit-driven system that can never meet workers’ needs. That’s why we must fight for a world run by workers for the working class, not for the bankrolls of a few parasites on the top. Fight for a communist society for the working class led by PLP! Join us!J

 

 

Kochs Challenge Rockefellers; Workers Must Throw Them All Out

The Koch brothers, who finance the Tea Party and bash Obama, buy oil and manufactured products in many countries. They are heavily invested in industrialist accumulation in the U.S. but do not own a major bank nor do they profit from the huge U.S. war machine. However, they are also trying to establish a niche in their own special form of “imperialism on the cheap.”

The Kochs bankroll the Cato Foundation think-tank. Its Mid-East expert Leon Hadar thinks that the “ballooning deficit and an overstretched military leave Americans no choice but to make major cuts in defense spending by shrinking [the] U.S. role in the Middle East.” (Huffington Post, 7/5/11)

Hadar, no doubt smelling a potential supplier to Koch Oil, sees a deal with Teheran in the offing: “The United States should take part in any negotiations leading to regional agreements on Afghanistan and Iraq, a process that could also become an opportunity to improve the relationship with Iran.” (Cato Institute, 7/1/11) This, of course, runs counter to the interests of the Rockefeller-led, imperialist wing of the U.S. ruling class which controls the largest chunk of Mid-East oil supplies.

Obama Fronts for Dominant
Rockefeller Wing; Kochs Want Piece of the Action

The Koch brothers dream of catching up to the Rockefellers but the closest they’ve come to wielding state power is Tea Party obstructionism in Congress. They have a long way to go to match the Rockefellers’ long history of transforming their Standard Oil monopoly into a banking empire. Having trumped the J.P. Morgan clan by the 1930s, World War II left the Rockfellers heading up the biggest U.S. banks and therefore with the resources to supply the controlling capital in the U.S. war industry, putting them in position to shape U.S. foreign policy to protect their imperialist interests abroad.

During the Vietnam genocide of the 1960s and 1970s, James and David Rockefeller personally headed the ancestors of Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase. Nelson Rockefeller was governor of New York and later became U.S. vice-president. David Rockefeller ran U.S. imperialism’s most influential policy foundry as president of the Council on Foreign Relations; its most influential university as president of Harvard’s overseers; and its most influential “philanthropies,” the various Rockefeller foundations.

The Koch brothers’ challenge to this mammoth empire puts them into a fierce dogfight with the world’s most powerful capitalists, a battle over who can exploit the most workers. The Rockefellers have been reaping super-profits from workers on five continents. The Koch brothers were behind the attack on Wisconsin’s state workers and teachers that cut their wages, benefits and bargaining rights. The only interest the working class has in this fight is to overthrow both sides with communist revolution.

 

 

 

Depression Intensifies Racism As Basis of Capitalist Super-profits

A Pew Research analysis (7/26/11) “shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring.” (AP, 7/26)

The net worth of black households in 2009 at $5,677 was one-twentieth of that of white households. For Latino households at $6,325 it was one-eighteenth.

From 2005 to 2009, Latino household net worth declined by 66%. Black household net worth shrank by 56% over that period. Much of this was due to their home equity losses, both from home foreclosures and plummeting home values, as well as double unemployment rates.

The Pew Research report also found that 35% of black households had zero or negative net worth. For Latino households it was 31%.

Said Roderick Harrison, former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau, “Typically in recessions, minorities suffer from being last hired and first fired. They are likely to lose jobs more rapidly at the beginning of a recession, and are far slower to gain jobs as the economy recovers.”

Across all groups, “the wealth gap between rich and poor widened. The share of wealth held by the top 10% of U.S. households increased from 49% in 2005 to 56% in 2009.”

Draft on the Way: Obama’s War Budget Makes Workers Pay

The U.S. ruling class’s “debate” over raising the debt limit above $14 trillion and cutting the budget is all a cover to hide the goal of forcing the working class to foot the bill for U.S. imperialism’s global wars that are slaughtering workers internationally.

Wars for control of Mid-East oil and gas and for strategic footholds against China and Russia cost U.S. imperialists a fortune — $3.7 trillion so far in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But, as battlefields widen to Libya, Yemen, Somalia and beyond, the current depression leaves U.S. rulers with inadequate ready cash. So Obama and the major capitalists he serves are pushing a budget plan that shoves even more war burden onto the backs of workers.

Obama’s proposal for 2012-2020 slashes $655 billion from the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits workers have earned. (White House Budget, published in 2010) This includes lowering Social Security benefits and gradually raising full retirement benefits from age 65 to past 66 and eventually to age 69. Consequently, millions more workers will die on the job before they can retire.

Meanwhile, the needs of struggling U.S. imperialism belie his promise to curb the military budget by 7%. In fact, the imperialists themselves demand a whopping 67% boost. (See CFR’s Sebastian Mallaby quote below.) The only significant “cost-cutting” move likely at the Pentagon, one now pushed by the highest brass, is restoring the draft. Most draftees, unlike career enlistees, get rock-bottom pay and no pension.

Lying Obama Promises Tea Partiers Pentagon Cuts; Bigger Bosses say ‘Forget about ‘em’

Obama’s phony Pentagon pruning aims solely at appeasing obstructionist, anti-tax Tea Party elements in Congress. The latter front for smaller domestically-minded U.S. capitalists who don’t directly benefit from the bigger bosses’ expensive and expanding war agenda. But the main U.S. imperialists, whose profits depend on war, and who bankrolled Obama into office and fill his cabinet, reveal the intentional hollowness of his rhetoric.

Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), U.S. imperialism’s leading think-tank, representing the Rockefeller-dominated wing of U.S. rulers, such as Exxon Mobil and JP Morgan Chase. They seek to undermine Obama’s cheap talk and rally Republican imperialists, the socially-liberal and fiscally-conservatives like Senators John McCain and Maine’s two Senators, part of the old Nelson Rockefeller wing of the G.O.P.

Boot wrote in the conservative Weekly Standard (7/18/11), “Obama’s proposed cuts…would seriously impair the military’s ability to meet its global commitments.” Boot then lets loose a flood of rhetorical questions that pretty much lay out his bosses’ money-burning order of battle for the near term:

“Should we completely pull out of Afghanistan? Even with the overly hasty withdrawal of surge forces ordered by Obama, we still will have 70,000 troops there at the end of next year, costing at least $70 billion. Pulling out troops even faster risks giving jihadists their biggest victory since 9/11.

“Perhaps we [U.S. rulers] should stop fighting pirates off the coast of Africa? Stop fighting in Libya so that arch-terrorist Muammar Qaddafi can claim a victory over the West? Stop targeting al Qaeda in Pakistan and Yemen and elsewhere? Stop deterring China, North Korea, or Iran? Stop patrolling the Persian Gulf through which much of the world’s oil flows? Stop fighting cyberattacks emanating from China and Russia?”

Obama’s Ruling-Class Handlers Want Massive 67% Boost, not Mini 7% Cut, in War Funding

Of course, all this call to expansion of U.S. rulers’ wars means mass murder of untold numbers of workers in these countries. Boot obviously seeks a “No” answer to the military cut question. His colleague, CFR fellow Sebastian Mallaby, goes much further, urging drastically increasing war funding and reducing workers’ living standards. In a piece entitled, “American Power Requires Economic Sacrifice (CFR website, 7/7/11) he says:

“…[I]f the U.S. has the will to allocate a rising share of GDP [Gross Domestic Product] to the Pentagon, it can sustain its global dominance for a long time to come. After all, defense claimed more than a 10th of U.S. GDP during the 1950s, compared with just below 6 per cent today. But military budgets on the scale of the 1950s entail social and economic sacrifices.”

Mallaby refers unmistakably to reducing health care’s 17% share of U.S. GDP. Furthermore, his demand to revert to 1950 military budget allocations of one-tenth (10%) from the current 6% means a two-thirds increase, or 67%.

Anti-Worker Draft Coming Back
as ‘Money-Saver’

From the Korean War in the 1950s to the Vietnam War in the 1960s and ’70s, U.S. rulers maintained the draft. Today, massive unemployment and under-employment of over 30 million workers forces job-seeking youth to enlist, which may help make recruitment adequate for U.S. bosses now. But that won’t be the case if rebellion reaches Saudi Arabia, Big Oil’s biggest energy source, and sets the whole Middle East aflame or if armed conflict breaks out with Iran’s or China’s bosses. Then the U.S. “all-volunteer” forces won’t be able to cut it, economically or politically.

With pay raises, benefits and pensions, the volunteer force costs the bosses too much. And only a shrinking segment of the population, increasingly poor white workers, seems won to enlisting. So here comes conscription again, in the guise of “economizing.” The Air Force Times (7/14/11) reported that, “The Pentagon is considering massive changes to the force — including a draft — amid fears that new and far deeper budget cuts are looming just over the horizon…. It quoted General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: “You may just shift the balance of the services from active to Guard or reserve or to — the dirty word — a draft. Those are all different characters and they have different costs that you can manage.’”

A new draft would force millions of U.S. youth into a war machine that would kill them and millions of our sister and brother workers worldwide. (World War II saw 14 million in the U.S. armed forces, with half the current U.S. population.) But, at the same time, in laying bare to millions the horrors of capitalist war, it would also expand the opportunities for communist revolutionary anti-imperialist organizing in the military.

Historically, the two great communist-led revolutions in the last century, in Russia and China, arose out of the imperialist World Wars I and II.

With our lives, labor, declining wages, and ever-diminishing living conditions, workers have paid for capitalists’ wars for centuries. Aside from the incalculable money loss, their harm to our class amounts to billions of human beings impoverished and murdered. We must turn the tables on the profit-driven killers by building for communist revolution to destroy them.

Our Progressive Labor Party works towards this goal, as is evident from PLP’s immersion in, and helping to lead, class struggles: for a community library (page 7); among transit workers in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. (page 6); for client-worker unity against budget cuts in New Jersey (page 7); among hospital workers in NYC (page 1) and in Chicago (page 6). PLP joins and leads these battles to be able to raise revolutionary communist ideas and recruit these workers to build a mass Party.

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