Category Archives: Marches/Demos

Fascism Grows In The USA, Ukraine, Gaza, And All Over The World

Racism is the other side of the coin of patriotism. Patriotism and nationalism are synonymous and are the ideological foundation that motivates the working class to kill themselves in the interests of their own bosses. Whether it is small nation nationalism or big nation nationalism, borders are artificial and divide the working class. Borders do not stop capital investments from flowing; they just keep the working class producing at the lowest wages possible. When the workers try to flee the harsh economic conditions that US imperialism creates, they are then scapegoated and used to facilitate anti-immigrant racism, thereby dividing the working class and turning it against itself.

The Party recently marched and rallied against anti-immigrant racism in Murrieta, CA. Since we were not defenseless women and children nor liberal pacifists, they did not confront our militant, multi-racial, multi-gender march against the fascist organizing going on. Towns like Murrieta are important to the bosses because they allow them to whip up the kind of hysteria that their fascist designs need with more wars looming against Russia and China.

In Ukraine, hundreds of dead workers litter fields as one group of IMF/EU/US backed workers battles against Russian backed workers. The dead women, men, and children of flight MH17 and the recent victims of Israeli colonial style racism in Gaza are actually victims of capitalism. Russia is pointing out that a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter was trailing the Malaysian plane. Whether or not a Russian made BUK missile is to blame or an air-to-air R-60 is doesn’t change the fact that innocent workers have died in a war zone between rival imperialists trying to geostrategically divide the world. The working class suffering and dying in Gaza is also part of the crimes of modern day capitalism.

How many children does capitalism kill each day? How many children are right now dying of thirst in the desert because they can’t live due to the highly profitable drug wars being fought by destitute working class youth organized into gangs in places like Honduras and Mexico where their blood fuels vast profits in banks that make money from the money laundering.

Today, July 21, is also the one year anniversary of Kyam Livingston who was murdered in a Brooklyn cell. The same racism that killed her took another victim, Eric Garner, last week as a man was murdered by the police for selling loose cigarettes. The same racism that is build and fueled by deporting undocumented workers and their children is the cutting edge of fascism that is being wielded relentlessly on the black working class.

As fascism is being built in the US and around the world, it will be the working class that fights and dies for the super rich to get super richer. WWI saw the world get re-divided as a decaying empire, Britain, had to fend off its rival upstarts in Germany allied with the dying empire of the Ottoman Turks. Communist Revolution caused a quick ending to WWI and gave state power to the working class in The Soviet Union. They fought for Socialism then, and though great advances were made, Socialism will never lead to a Communist transformation of the capitalist economic system as it requires the market, retains the wage system, and does not abolish classes. The Progressive Labor Party knows that with the oncoming World War, the potential for Communist revolution grows. We need to be in it to win it, and we need all workers to join the PLP and help build it where they’re at.

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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.

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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LA PL’ers Defy Occupy LA ‘Leaders’; Spark March vs. Racist Police

LOS ANGELES —In the Occupy movement here, PL’ers led a roaring march of about 50 people — which grew as we marched — around City Hall, chanting, “Stop racist police brutality, stand with Boston in solidarity.” OccupyLA is approaching its 30th day here. To date, the occupiers have gotten very little resistance from the police — in contrast to Oakland, Denver, Atlanta, Boston and New York, where hundreds bravely fought against the cops. The participants here include a hodgepodge of individuals ranging from union hacks and pro-democracy types to fake leftists, undercover cops and disrupters. But most important are the honest youth, students and workers, employed and unemployed, who are enraged at the horrors of capitalism. We found this out first-hand when we helped spark the march against police brutality.

One of the growing frustrations in the camp has been the ineffectiveness of the General Assembly, which is essentially the “leaderless” leadership body with rules that allow one or two individuals to prevent a proposal from passing despite the large majority in agreement. A group trying to form an anti-police brutality committee was shut down and called provocateurs by “leaders” taking advantage of these rules.

But at one meeting we met a few individuals who were upset about the General Assembly.  A small discussion started, and it was announced that up to 100 people had been arrested in Boston. The discussion turned to racist police brutality, and what, if anything, to do about it. Some of the misleaders who later joined the gathering tried to “facilitate” (that is, take over) the meeting. They called for a moment of silence in solidarity with our Boston brothers and sisters. They did not want to “provoke the police” or fight racism and argued that the cops were “part of the 99%.”

The gathering grew to about 50 people, which showed younger comrades how sharp ideas can influence a larger body. More important, it was good for them to see that many people supported our idea of calling the police racist defenders of the state and Wall Street, in opposition to the more visible “leaders.”  It was a great moment of unity in the fight against racism. That’s when we led this march around City Hall, especially significant after the demoralizing General Assembly.

Friendships that started with this action have become a small base for our Party as we organize anti-racist actions, ignoring the reformist “leadership” group. Our work is a small step in the right direction, but we need do a better job at mobilizing all our clubs and friends to get involved on a more consistent basis. We need to improve our open presence with CHALLENGE.

However, with the modest efforts of some comrades, we’ve gotten to know a few individuals fairly well and more recently have discussed CHALLENGE with one. We’ve also helped mobilize members of one church to participate on a few occasions. One of them has participated in PL events and wants to learn how the Party organizes in such situation.

We know the bosses’ only interest in allowing such Occupy movements to exist is to push patriotism in their “pro-democracy” rhetoric and to lead them toward the voting booth. But they can also be schools for communism if we and our friends are there, in the muck and mire and sleeping bags and tents. Join the struggle! Join Progressive Labor Party!

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Bosses Aim to Pacify Occupy Wall Street

As Occupy Wall Street (OWS) helps to sow mass anger against the billionaires, the liberal wing of the United States ruling class is working full-tilt to make sure that it does not boil over and out of control.  On October 12, a group of about fifty protesters toured the Upper East Side of Manhattan, stopping to rally before the homes of some of the ruling class’s biggest billionaires: Rupert Murdoch, David Koch, Howard Milstein (chief executive of Emigrant Savings Bank),  and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. They made their final stop at hedge-funder John Paulson’s 86th Street townhouse, just east of Fifth Avenue.

The disciplined marchers chanted, “They got bailed out, we got sold out!” Led by Michael Kink, a veteran Democratic Party operative and shill, they brandished a dozen oversized foamboard checks in the amount of five billion dollars, “paid to the order of the top 1%” and drawn on “the 99%.” (The $5 billion, according to Kink’s Stronger Economy for All Coalition, will revert back to the rich if the New York State millionaire’s tax is allowed to lapse at the end of this year.)

A former Legal Aid attorney, Kink currently works as a chief policy adviser and senior counsel to Democrats in the New York State Legislature. The bosses can trust him to lead a demonstration through the heart of a prime residential district, knowing that he would confine any protest within the legal limits. Kink did not let them down. He called the suffocating police presence along the march route “very positive,” less than a week after hundreds were netted and dragged away on the Brooklyn Bridge amid indiscriminate beatings and pepper-spray attacks.  Kink is the liberal bosses’ stooge.

At each fat cat’s home on Kink the Fink’s harmless tour, the demonstrators laid their symbolic checks on the front doorsteps of this or that billionaire.  Revolutionary justice would have dragged those billionaires out of their plush apartments and put them before workers’ tribunals for their crimes: engineering an economy based on racist unemployment; waging imperialist war; wrecking the global environment for profit.  In mass uprisings as old as class society itself, rulers have been eliminated without mercy; in the 20th century, workers under communist leadership in Russia and China disposed of their ruling classes. Eventually, however, these socialist revolutions degraded into state capitalism because of their failure to eliminate the profit system, the system still in place worldwide today.

Wars to carve the world into spheres of interest are, as the Russian communist leader Lenin said, the ultimate expression of capitalists’ drive for wealth and power. The billionaires’ imperialist wars are primarily paid for by taxes on the working class; that’s the way Presidents Kennedy and Johnson funded the genocide in Vietnam, and how the Bushes bankrolled their invasions of Iraq. The profit system cannot be reformed. Only its eradication through communist revolution will put an end to the bosses’ sickening slaughters.

OWS is far from reaching this understanding, but the ruling class is growing nervous over mass anger against their rigged system.  They want to control this new political phenomenon and keep it within the tight bounds of the electoral politics.  Meanwhile, the New York Times highlights dead-end debates between OWS reformists and Latino nationalists. Its narrow reportage shows how hard the bosses are working to build racism and undermine worker unity.  Mainstream reporters are finks, too.

Nothing is more threatening to the bosses than multi-racial unity against racist super-exploitation. To the extent that black, Latino and immigrant workers do not join OWS protests across the country, the movement will be less dangerous to capitalism.  The OWS manifesto begins with the words, “As one people, formerly divided by the color of our skin, we acknowledge the reality: there is only one race, the human race.”  This is an important and positive statement, but OWS leaders have failed to take it far enough. Michael Fink and his reformist cronies own a vested interest in the status quo. They target the excesses and corruption of capitalism, but stop short of indicting the system itself. They lack something fundamental: a class analysis of racism and inequality.

History demonstrates that racism is essential to capitalism’s very existence.  The wealth of the U.S. ruling class was rooted in the genocide of Native Americans and the holocaust of the Atlantic slave trade, followed by lynch law segregation. It industrialized by employing massive state violence and child labor against a workforce of new immigrants. It consolidated its global dominance in World War II, culminating in the racist incineration of Japanese workers and children with firebombs and nuclear weapons.

But the bosses’ power is not absolute. Under anti-racist, communist leadership, workers have waged epic struggles against racism and fascism, from the Scottsboro campaign to defend nine black youths framed for rape in the Jim Crow South to the Soviet communists’ annihilation of the Nazi Germany war machine. Since its beginning 50 years ago, PL has waged its own successful struggles against the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis.

Kink’s Stronger Economy For All has three demands: extension of the state’s millionaire’s tax; “real job growth” through infrastructure projects, and the restoration of funding cuts to education and other social services.  These reforms will likely become central planks in the Democratic Party push to retain the White House and shore up U.S. interests in a period of sharpening international rivalries.

As imperialist war inevitably widens across the Middle East and beyond (see editorial page 2), a shaky U.S. empire will need enthusiastic citizens to support a military draft and to kill and die for the bosses. Only a sharp class analysis of the true nature of “the 1%” will lead the masses to the one conclusion that the bosses’ can’t hijack or repackage: that “the 99%” needs communism.

Fighting Wall Street is Good Capitalism Must Be Destroyed

NEW YORK CITY, October 2 — Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has spread to more than 20 U.S. cities, from Philadelphia and Dallas to Seattle and Los Angeles. It adds a significant marker to the growing list of places where the working class is fighting back against the horrors of capitalism. In an era commonly defined by the lack of militant class struggle, recent events in the U.S., Greece, Egypt, Spain, England, Syria, Israel/Palestine and Pakistan are to be celebrated.

But as we celebrate we should be clear: The ideas behind these struggles are overwhelmingly reformist. Most of the participants are fighting to maintain capitalism in one form or another, with disastrous results for the workers in these places.  Without communist ideas in the lead, the battles, won or lost, will pave the road back to capitalist oppression.

The ruling class continues to provide opportunities for us to bring communist ideas to the forefront. In New York, the ruling class pulled back the mask of “democracy” yesterday when more than 700 OWS protestors were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. After having been lured onto the bridge by the cops, the protestors were surrounded with netting and taken away on city buses, over the protests of union drivers.

More than two weeks in, OWS has survived nearly a thousand arrests. It has captured the imagination of both workers and students. Watching more than a hundred transit workers march into Zuccotti Park near Wall Street was inspiring.

Police Action Backfires

The NYPD has been trapping and arresting hundreds at a time in order to identify as many dissenters as they can. The KKKops meant to intimidate the protestors, but the police action may have backfired. Most of the youth seem even angrier and more committed to build their movement. Today, protesters were back at Zuccotti Park in full force.

There are many good things about the ongoing OWS struggle. It includes a growing number of young people, workers (employed and unemployed) and students. For many, this is their first taste of fighting back. They show some understanding of why the ruling class needs racism, sexism and wars for oil. Many of these protesters will be faced with a future draft and a decision either to fight in these wars or to resist them. Some are discussing the role of imperialism. The most prevalent chant is “We are the 99%,” making clear the opposition between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of us.

But there are a number of critical weaknesses that reflect OWS’s lack of communist leadership. The movement lacks black and Latino participation. Amid the push for “fairness,” many fail to understand that capitalism cannot possibly be fair. Inequality is essential to the bosses’ system.

Racism Fundamental to Capitalism

The rule of the capitalist class rests firmly on a foundation of racism. All around the world, the bosses make super-profits from the exploitation of sections of the working class, usually defined by race, ethnicity or religion. In the U.S. this primarily means black and Latino workers. The bosses also rely on racism to divide workers and weaken class struggle. Although the OWS movement claims to be a revolution, it has yet to enlist the most oppressed and exploited sections of the working class. Party members have been raising these and other communist ideas at the OWS protests.

There is a long way to go. A recently released statement from the protest organizers says nothing about capitalism or imperialism. The document urges workers to exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. This is not a political strategy to end the suffering of the worldís working class.

PLP’ers and friends must inject communist ideas into OWS and explain how the police serve the rulers under capitalism. We must show the absolute need to fight to destroy the profit system and to produce for workers’ needs, instead. In the heat of struggle, these ideas will move us one day closer to revolution.

THE WORKING CLASS HAS A WORLD TO WIN!

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Workers, Students Unite vs. U. of Maryland’s Racist, Sexist Abuse

COLLEGE PARK, MD July 15 — University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) workers and students are fighting serious abuses against campus workers in facilities, grounds and housekeeping services. Workers describe working there as being on a plantation.

Managers harass and demean workers, using racist and ethnic slurs against black, white and Latino workers. They sexually harass and assault many of the Latina housekeepers. The managers treat workers unequally, increase their workloads, pass them over for promotions, deny them professional development opportunities and write them up when they are sick. When workers file complaints, they get extra work or are moved to a different zone.

The Black Faculty and Student Association (BFSA) along with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) 1072 compiled workers’  experiences into a 56-page report and met with the university president in May.  More than that, BFSA organized workers, students, alumni and community residents to rally. After two months, the president’s office only responded: “Thank you for your concern.  We are looking into it.” But the workers refused to give up.

On July 15th workers, students, and community residents attended the 4th forum to testify, offer support and organize. The power and energy were clear. Latino, black and white workers all spoke in solidarity with one another:

“You — my black, white and Latino brothers and sisters — are my family. The administration makes you invisible, but you keep this place running.

“We look out for one another. Don’t go to management.”

A PL’er emphasized that “fighting racism is the most important thing you can do to stay strong,” and reminded everyone that in the ‘60s, students and workers were able to shut down that very campus.

The evening’s translator made sure everything was clear in both English and Spanish. Male workers and students again and again expressed their outrage about the sexual abuse of their female co-workers. Three workers from American University also attended, saying that they also are experiencing much of the same on their campus.

Several speakers talked about this struggle in the context of broader anti-racist and anti-sexist fights, and some people attacked capitalism as the root cause. Everyone understood that the university is a business, driven by profits. It wants to make as much money as possible off its facilities workers who keep the buildings running, its students who have to pay rising tuition and its faculty and graduate students who bring the research grants and do the classroom labor.

Those known to have spoken out have experienced retaliation: receiving more work, being moved and having co-workers told not to speak to them. But they are not backing down, and they have strong support from a coalition of other campus employees, students and the community. The students are very serious and engaged. A student leader of a women’s organization spoke about actions they have already taken, including leafleting in one administrator’s neighborhood and letting people know their neighbor is covering up for racist and sexist managers.

Future Plans

Campus workers continue to speak out and organize in spite of retaliation. Following their leadership, students and alumni are organizing further actions, including leafleting at Obama’s Town Hall meeting on campus, information pickets outside the University and a rally at the first football home game of the year. In a show of solidarity, students will walk the halls at 5 am when housekeepers are most vulnerable, to show support and to observe any abuses.

The unity among campus workers and the strong support from students is vital in this struggle. Regardless of the University’s response, it will not eliminate the power of the University managers, President Loh, and the Board to exploit and control workers. We must unite, neither on the basis of race nor sex, but under one working class, one party.For that, Progressive Labor Party invites readers to engage in discussions about the need for communism to build a society free of racism and the oppression of women workers.J

Contact desafio.challenge@gmail.com if you’d like to discuss these ideas and get involved.

Read and see more about this struggle at http://UMDCampusJustice.wordpress.com

NYC Summer Project Youth Learn, Spread and Are Inspired by Communist Ideas

NEW YORK CITY, July 16 — “Fight Back!” could be heard ringing through the streets as Progressive Labor Party marched in Harlem to arouse the working class. We had a flyer that denounced Obama as a racist puppet of the U.S. ruling class. Our militancy, multiracial unity, and revolutionary politics won many workers to pump their fists, clap their hands, and chant along with us. This final march of the Summer Project illustrated our success and power to win workers to PL’s communist ideas.

The NYC Project began with an orientation that included over 50 young people —  teachers, workers, soldiers, students, parents; women and men; black, Latino, Asian, and white — the backbone of our Party and its friends. We discussed why PLP was having the Project.

A group of largely undocumented workers spoke in Spanish about unemployment; a PL soldier outlined the role of imperialism. Racist health care was analyzed as well as PLP’s organizing among transit and hospital workers (see CHALLENGE 7/20). PL brought young people together from all over the U.S. — Chicago, LA, Baltimore, and beyond — to both recognize that we’re fighting the same enemy and that the working class is facing similar conditions everywhere.

Racist Cop’s Threats Fail

Tuesday started off bright and early as we surrounded an unemployment center in Trenton, NJ (see page 7). We rallied outside and handed out flyers. A racist cop almost drove his car into a group of disabled people in his rush to try to intimidate us. He waddled out of his car wearing a bulletproof vest, hoping to scare us, but did not succeed. He would be the first of the bosses’ attempts to shut down our rally.

The unemployment center’s security force confiscated CHALLENGE from all the workers who walked into the building. The state will always break its own laws whenever it chooses to prevent workers from hearing communist politics. New Jersey’s fascist governor Christie is spearheading attacks on the working class’s education, health care and aid checks, the latter amounting to only $140 a month! How are workers and their families expected to live on such a pittance? Our rally could have been a spark in a tinderbox; the bosses fear the potential of the working class to rise up and smash them.

‘Give me a CHALLENGE….They took mine…’

A black woman health care worker came angrily out of the building towards us saying, “Give me a CHALLENGE; they took my copy and I want one.” She was mad about their confiscating her paper.

On Wednesday, we headed to the Bronx. Comrades there did an excellent job organizing our site, ensuring that food and drinks arrived. Young people from LA performed a great skit: some comrades acted the role of bosses; another group were communists; and a much larger group acted as the working class. A debate ensued which helped raise the awareness of all to understand and contrast the bosses’ arguments with the ideas of communism. An enriching discussion followed on what it means to build a base in the working class.

Force Shutdown of  Recruiting Center

After the study group, we all moved in a disciplined manner to a military recruitment center in the Bronx  where we distributed 400 CHALLENGES on the surrounding corners and picketed the center. The recruiter became so upset when we showed up that he shut down the center. Speeches in Spanish and English condemned U.S. imperialism.

After the rally, the HBO film “No Contract, No Cookies” and another “independent” film on the Stella d’Oro strike were screened, with about 10 former Stella d’Oro workers present. A sharp discussion followed, illustrating how the strike was both a school for communism and an inspiration to us in the class struggle.

Thursday was Harlem Day. After individual groups sold the paper in the morning, we picketed the military recruitment center there. We distributed a flyer denouncing Columbia University’s racist expansion, exposing Obama’s racism and attacking U.S. imperialism. The racist KKKops showed up and began following us, “escorting” us over a 10-block march. They told us to turn off our bullhorn. As one young person put it, “I was scared of the police, so I chanted louder to not have to think about them.” When we arrived at the Columbia employment agency, we condemned them for not providing jobs and for stealing homes from black workers.

Afterwards, we attended a forum on anti-communism based on Grover Furr’s book “Khrushchev Lied,” which exposed deceitful questions on the New York High School History exam. We also heard about the attack on PL teachers at Brooklyn’s Clara Barton H.S. The forum helped us sharpen our arguments against those who spread the bosses’ lies about the history of the world communist movement. They spend billions of dollars to portray Stalin as a “mass murderer” because they fear his communist ideas.J

Summer Project Impressions

(The following are three expressions of volunteers’ experiences.)

“I really enjoyed the diversity of the Summer Project and how hospitable the host-comrade was. It inspired me in ways that no other experience could. The rallies we held had an outcome that I did not know was possible from an organization that is frowned upon as much as the PLP. The anti-communism forum was one of the most helpful in teaching us on how to defend communism. It showed how far the bosses and pigs go to make sure their despicable way of living prospers.”

“The NY Summer Project was different in atmosphere and surroundings, but in some ways similar to the LA Project making you realize the struggle is the same everywhere, like the issues with the government. The NY project was a fun experience.”

“My experience during the Summer Project was inspiring, and I learned more about what is going on in the world. My comrades taught me how to be strong and fight for what is right. We are the workers and we will not let the bosses rule us.”

(Write to CHALLENGE with your Summer Project experience.)

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