Category Archives: Special Oppression of Women

Women Continue To Feel the Brunt of Fascism

As the world’s working class continues to feel the brunt of living in the new dark ages if late capitalism, the special oppression of women intensifies. The bombs falling in Gaza do not discriminate. The hundreds of dead children attest to that. The Islamic State just made female genital mutilation (FGM also called female circumcision) mandatory in the territory that they conquered. Obama is getting ready to send back thousands to potential sex work and violence directly or indirectly financially benefiting US capitalism. It is getting more and more clear every day that a mass communist movement led by PLP is needed.

An international communist movement of millions organized and led by the Progressive Labor Party would have seized state power in one area of the world. Like the communist lead USSR’s example in Spain, we would organize hundreds of thousands of volunteers to engage in armed struggle internationally. We would build and organize to build ties with the working class in dangerous areas like Islamic State. We would make sure that those fascists got exactly what they deserved.

Instead, the US may use this latest information to create a basis for their humanitarian imperialist intervention. Islamic State and the sectarian war now raging in Iraq would never have happened without the US invasion of Iraq and destabilization of and support for the jihadist saturated rebels struggling against the butcher Assad. In fact, the US may not even want to challenge Islamic State too much since they are also the enemies of its enemies: Iran’s puppet Iraq’s Prime Minister Malaki, Iran, and Iran’s other proxy, the butcher Assad. The US may be using the threat of and extreme violence of Islamic State as leverage against Malaki and Assad. If Islamic State takes Baghdad and begins to seriously threaten Saudi Arabia, then the US might intervene immediately, but, right now, it is only the working class, primarily women, suffering under extreme violence. Either way, PLP would not play politics, but, instead, organize to smash the special oppression of women and the religious ideology that fuels it by replacing it with a dialectical materialist outlook that shows a future where the needs of all are met by all and the working class will be the human race.

In Gaza, instead of Hamas’ rotten Islamist ideology whose logical outcome is seen in organizations such as Islamic State, we would fight sexism and seek to unify the working class against all of the bosses’ rotten ideology. The role of nationalism is that it attacks both the Palestinian and Israeli workers who don’t see each other as human, but as Israelis or Palestinians. Both of these nationalist ideologies blur the class nature of the conflict and makes the working class think they have more in common with their respective ruling classes than with their fellow workers. Netanyahu has no problem sending working class youth to murder other workers in Gaza from the safety of his post. Hamas has no problem burying their tunnels under homes of workers that will be targeted by the IDF. Again, PLP in Israel organizes against both Palestinian and Israeli nationalism. We do not support national liberation, oppressed nationalism, or lesser evils like Hamas. We know the answer to the national question: death for workers and reversal of all gains after the struggle for national liberation and the consolidation of power by the local bourgeoisie.

The same racism that allows bombs to fall in Gaza and for Obama to deport millions is the same that allows the racist pigs in the NYPD to murder black workers. The same sexism that allows for pornography to be a multi-billion dollar a year industry, countries to function as locations for sex tourism, and for women to be raped in India with impunity is, in content and essence, the same special oppression of women that Islamic State uses to justify their brutal mutilation of female genitalia. Only a communist revolution led by PLP for the total transformation of the economic base and cultural superstructure can end these rotten ideologies once and for all.

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Capitalism is worried about its own future

There have been several articles within the bosses’ intellectual rags over the past few weeks showing concern for capitalism. This concern continues with FA’s current issue discussing capitalism’s growing inequality.

Inequality is indeed increasing almost everywhere in the postindustrial capitalist world. But despite what many on the left think, this is not the result of politics, nor is politics likely to reverse it, for the problem is more deeply rooted and intractable than generally recognized. Inequality is an inevitable product of capitalist activity, and expanding equality of opportunity only increases it — because some individuals and communities are simply better able than others to exploit the opportunities for development and advancement that capitalism affords. Despite what many on the right think, however, this is a problem for everybody, not just those who are doing poorly or those who are ideologically committed to egalitarianism — because if left unaddressed, rising inequality and economic insecurity can erode social order and generate a populist backlash against the capitalist system at large.

It is telling that the US ruling class fears for their system even though there is no Communist Party led working class ready to challenge them for state power. The bosses fear the fact that the growing inequality that benefits their class will create the animosity in the working class that will eventually lead to uprisings and their demise. They have a good reason to fear, because it is only the lack of a mass international communist movement that is keeping them in power.

The bosses will do their best to infiltrate and divide the Communist movement that they know will oppose them. They will use lies like calling us racist for opposing Black Nationalism or sexist for rejecting identity politics and feminism. They are desperate and will push any lie they can as a mass disinformation campaign to discredit their enemy — the Communist Progressive Labor Party!

Only a communist party with the correct line, immersed in the masses, dedicated to building Communism before, during, and after the revolution, and organizing for the armed struggle can challenge the capitalists for state power and the world.

It wasn’t long ago, historically speaking, that Red led armies defeated the most powerful armies the capitalist class could muster, that guerilla fighters led by moral incentives, not material incentives, challenges and defeated “invincible” armies in South America and Asia. PLP is building a brand new international Communist movement. The bosses know that our movement is their doom.

The PLP will continue to struggle to smash sexism and racism, to bury capitalism, and to sweep systemic inequality into the dustbin of history once and for all. We will make sure that they continue to fear a communist revolution, because they are right to fear us. We are their doom.

Communism is needed to Smash the Sexist Assaults on Women in India and all over the World

All of the people that are outraged that the woman that was gang raped, tossed off of the bus, and then left for dead, has died need to join PLP in order to destroy sexism and the brutality that it engenders once and for all.  The last blog written condemned the Communist movement in India for not going far enough and channeling the rage of the working class into narrow reformist avenues of discontent instead of the road of revolution.  Exactly what would a revolutionary Communist Party, like PLP, have done had they had the mass base of the CPI and the rest of the Red Indian alphabet soup Communist left?

With hundreds of thousands of members in the student unions and trade unions already marching on the center of parliament, we would have struggled to arm them while simultaneously marching directly on the police station where the men who did the raping were being held.  We would have held a public working class tribunal where they would have been tried and punished as the working class saw fit.  We would have not sent condolences on Christmas Day to any pigs who got blasted by the working class, like the CPI had the audacity to do.    The Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of India sends its deep condolences to the family of the police constable, Tomar, who died in hospital after the police clash with protestors. It is an unfortunate incident. While CPI condemns the violence, but feels that the police could have shown more restraint.   We would have pushed the correct understanding that armed struggle is necessary in order to defeat capitalism.  We would have pointed out that this struggle isn’t about showing the poverty of one government or another, but that this is a consequence of the ideology of sexism – an ideology that capitalism needs in order to preserve its stranglehold on the world. 

 A young 19 year old attacked a police officer attempting to arrest him for jumping the turnstile. The young man’s crime of not having enough money to lay the ever increasing fare justified the pig who got a big old case of what’s what when the young man slammed him and started choking him.

 Random acts against the state’s constant dispossession and oppression of the working class will not stop capitalism in and of themselves, but they do inspire the working class to resist the state.

 The bourgeois media is trying to tie this crime into the hate crime of a woman who bought the bosses’ anti-South-East Asian racism hook line and sinker. She said she hated all Muslims and Hindus due to the terrorist attack over ten years ago on September 11, 2001, that the US capitalist class has been using as Reichtag-esque call to arms ever since. 

 A young man hospitalizing a kkkkop who was trying to arrest him for the crime of being poor and working class is not the same as the racist hate crime. This attack will hopefully make more kkkops afraid to harass our youth so that they can continue to perpetuate their New Jim Crow.

 PLP is a revolutionary Communist Party because it does a lot more than just talk a good game.  Whenever there is a way to expand the limits of the struggle past what the limits of what the capitalist state permits, PL does so.  The massive Communist movements in India, like the revisionists all over the world, are betraying the Red Flag and the working class that still holds it high and believes in fighting for an egalitarian society. 

 

The tragedy of the woman dying after being gang raped has been repeated how many times since her attack, as every 22 minutes a woman is raped in India?  The need to struggle against sexism is at the forefront of the revolutionary struggle for Communism. 

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Inter-Imperialist Conflict murders in Bangladesh and Gaza

Imperialism and Inter Imperialist rivalry plays out and it’s the workers that suffer.  As the major capitalist class wrangles on the macro level, hundreds and hundreds of workers die at the micro level.  The workers are rising up again in Egypt, while the global ambitions of a rising China and Russia challenging a crumbling US empire and their bullyboy Israel has had ramifications that have not only affected the working class in Gaza and the West Bank, but also over a hundred dead workers burned alive in Bangladesh.  The designs and plottings of the ruling class are paid in blood by the working class.

 

 

Gaza was a case study in ruling class hypocrisy.  Over a year ago, the US tried to push a UN resolution against the Assad regime in Syria condemning them for dropping bombs on their citizens.  They deplored the kind of government that would dare to drop bombs on their own citizens, the poor innocent people, and all the hand wrangling, false tears, and whatnot that accompany politicians on a humanitarian mission when oil is involved.  Russia and China were all about the fact that Assad may be a dictator and a murderer, but he’s our dictator and he gives us sweetheart deals and lets us have a base and we love him.  So, Russia and China blocked the UN from condemning Syria and following the humanitarian Imperialism that the Libya blueprint laid down.

 

Fast forward a year, and here we have Israel dropping bombs on Gaza.  The USA is blocking any condemnation of Israel dropping bombs on the civilian population of Gaza. Israel being an apartheid society, doesn’t recognize the Palestinians as much more than demi-humans taking up space.  Taking a page out of the How The West Was Won handbook of genocide with another out of the Nazi handbook for How To Treat A Ghetto, they have kept the Palestinian population walled up and sieged in a situation that mirrors all of the worst moments in human history.  The Israelis are carrying out their election year tradition of bombing the civilian population of Gaza to collectively punish the Islamist-Terrorist organization of Hamas.  In Israeli ideology, every Gazan is a terrorist since Hamas is the elected leadership of Gaza.  Subjecting every individual to an all-consuming hegemonic identity is called “racism”, and it is a useful tool for motivating the soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to commit atrocities on the Palestinian working class.  It is not the rich Palestinians that worry about bombs being dropped on them, as it’s the working class’ children who pay the worst price for the designs of the ruling class.  PLP, its allies, and friends in Gaza and Israel, will continue to build the kind of multi-racial, anti-nationalist, anti-capitalist Communist leadership that is needed in Israel and throughout the Levant.

 

As the Imperialists dropped bombs on a civilian population in the Levant, the insatiable need to increase profits at the cost of the working class has murdered over a hundred mostly female workers in Bangladesh.  They were burned beyond recognition, jumping to their deaths, crowded like cattle trying to push their way out of narrow corridors just like a century ago in downtown New York or a few years ago in the very same country!  The racist capitalists do not care about the working class.  They do not care about anything other than exporting their capital to where it can make the greatest return.  Echoing the intense oppression of the textile industry in Europe when Marx was first writing, the capitalists are at it again.

Bangladesh exports about $18 billion worth of garments every year. Workers in the country’s factories are among the lowest-paid in the world with entry-level workers earning a government-stipulated minimum wage of about $37 a month.  

Bangladesh’s garment industry, the second largest exporter of clothing after China, has a notoriously poor record of fire safety. Since 2006, more than 500 Bangladeshi workers have died in garment factory fires, according to Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group based in Amsterdam. Experts say many of the fires could have been easily avoided if the factories had taken the right precautions. Many factories are in cramped neighborhoods, have too few fire escapes and widely flout safety measures. The industry employs more than three million workers in Bangladesh, mostly women. 

Most of the workers who died were on the first and second floors and were killed, fire officials said, because there were not enough exits for them to get out.

“The factory had three staircases, and all of them were down through the ground floor,” said Maj. Mohammad Mahbub, the operations director for the fire department, according to The Associated Press. “So the workers could not come out when the fire engulfed the building.”

The sexist Tazreen Fashions Limited was making over 3 million US dollars a month in profit! They had NO fire exits!  Another element of the tragedy is that they provided childcare in the factory.  How many of the women lost their children to the flames that were fueled by the capitalist’s greed?  How much did the sick fucks who caused this tragedy pocket? And what type of garments does The Tazreen Fashion Factory make you ask? WalMart garments it seems.  While WalMart is attacking its striking workforce in the US, it is literarily murdering them oversees. PLP is organizing with the striking WalMart workers in the US and is with the workers in Bangladesh who have been fighting back against the terrible conditions that capitalism has forced upon them. We will continue to support the brave women and men workers who are struggling in Bangladesh and all over the world.

 

The Url: http://www.alibaba.com/member/bd100182308/company_profile.html can be used to send a message directly to the murdering capitalist scum Mr. Aftab uz Zaman. 

Other contact information for messages as follows:

Email: noton@tubagroupbd.net  Contact Person: Mr. Aftab uz Zaman

Telephone: 880-01711346642

Mobile: 880-1191827254

 Fax: 8802-8860025 (Head Office)

 

Address: Nischintapur, Zirabo, Savar, Dhaka-1341, Bangladesh 

A Consignee in the US is : INTERNATIONAL DIRECT GROUP INC
. 499 FASHION AVE STE-12, NEW YORK, NY 10018-6803

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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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‘Captain America:’ Making the World Safe for Fascism

“I don’t like bullies.” This is the reply of Steve Rogers (the soon-to-be Captain America) when asked why he was trying so hard to join the military and fight in World War II. This simple platitude, repeated throughout the film, serves to distort the political analysis of an entire generation of the world’s working class. For millions of workers, the fight against fascism was not just a question of battling “bullies” like Hitler and Mussolini. The world’s working class fought the Nazis because it saw both the danger of fascism and the promise for workers that the Soviet Union embodied.

In many ways, the distortion of political motivations in Captain America is just as bad as the racism of films like “300” and “Transformers 2” because it obscures the history of our class and its ability to understand and evaluate complex political situations. Captain America fights with a multi-racial, multi-national squad of soldiers, including a Japanese-American and black soldier (the film fails to address the U.S. Army’s racist policy of segregation during WWII). Where is the story of their understanding of racism, capitalism or imperialist war?

Japanese in the U.S. often went to war under duress, as the only escape from the internment camps and as a way to try to prove that they deserved citizenship. Black soldiers went into war fighting for the Double-V: Victory against fascism abroad and victory against racism at home. This demand came out of the political struggles for civil rights that began in the labor struggles of the early 20th century. The denial of these rights after the war would reignite the struggle when soldiers returned home. In the years leading up to the war, thousands of workers from around the world voluntarily risked their lives to battle the fascists in Franco’s Spain.

Captain America’s distortion of the past reveals many important details about the ruling-class politics of the present. Along with changing the character of working-class resistance against fascism, the film embraces characteristics of fascism that the U.S. ruling class admires.

Capitalism’s fetishism of technology is revealed in both the creation of Captain America and in the military weaponry of the Nazis. Steve Rogers is turned into the hero through a special serum and machine. Using a mystical energy source, the villain creates a weapon that instantly dissolves its targets. The obsession with technology seen in capitalist society reflects a political reality: Vastly outnumbered by the working class, capitalists constantly promote technology as the power to maintain their class rule while pushing workers further to the margins. Inventions like the atom bomb were meant to take workers, who are considered unreliable by capitalists, out of the equation when it came to imperialist war. Yet their technology is no match for a united working class, a lesson the U.S. bosses learned well from their war in Vietnam.

The embrace of the Nazi eugenics program stands at the center of the film, bolstering U.S. racism. After reducing workers’ hatred of fascism to a “dislike of bullies,” the film then proposes a “novel” solution: take a blond-haired, blue-eyed, white man and genetically alter him, turning him into a super soldier to fight the Nazis. They declare a plan to build a whole army of these “supermen,” a “master race” if you will. They take Hitler’s dream and turn it into a celluloid reality. The film exposes the U.S. ruling class’s long obsession with racism and theories of genetic racial superiority (for more on this history see Edwin Black’s “War Against the Weak”).

Ultimately the film embraces the worst realities and myths of Nazism and it wants the viewer to embrace them as well. It distorts the mass worker movement against fascism that eventually crushed the Nazis because the ruling class would prefer that history did not repeat itself. Captain America sells workers (with their children as the target audience) Nazi-esque open fascism by draping it in red, white, and blue and hiding behind the façade of “innocent” comic-book fun.

‘Our Union’s in bed with the Bosses…’ Brookdale Rank-and-File Must Unite and Lead the Struggle

BROOKLYN, N.Y., July 29 — “So what they’re talking about doing here is building a whole working-class movement, beyond our union,” stated one Brookdale worker to another at a home visit by PLP members. Despite torrential rain, we met to discuss the ongoing struggle at Brookdale Hospital, which foreshadows the even bigger racist cuts coming from the Obama-Tea Party circus, such as the $655 billion federal cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Brookdale Hospital and its 3,500 workers, in the majority black and Latino working-class Brownsville neighborhood have been stripped bare by the racist bosses of MediSys. The misleadership of Local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU  — see previous CHALLENGE, 8/3).

Workers expressed their disappointment that the fight hasn’t escalated further, regardless of the militant sit-downs and picketing. “When we go outside now to march, we tell everybody in our department, ‘hey! You all should take your lunch break and come march with us!’“

After the previous months of struggle and confrontation between the workers and bosses, these workers didn’t hide their frustration with the declining militancy, and exasperation at how the hospital bosses are getting away scot-free. “We were telling the union for months what was going on here.” Another worker declared, “but they kept telling us to wait until the legal people did something.” The 1199 leaders are out for their own interests; it’s time to call upon new leadership, ourselves.

The MediSys-owned Peninsula Hospital, located in the borough of Queens, announced last week it is closing. This news was received with surprise and anxiety at Brookdale. The union Local 1199 leadership, is not only uninterested in fighting back at Brookdale, but uninterested in fighting back at all! Peninsula Hospital is closing due to the same series of attacks MediSys has made on Brookdale. Union leadership does not have the workers’ interests; as workers we need to unite and fight for our class interests.

A PL’er asked, “Why didn’t the union, which was aware of Peninsula’s troubles for months, organize any solidarity events between Brookdale, Peninsula, and every union member in the city with it’s 250,000 members?”

“Because our union’s in bed with the bosses!” shot back a worker.

PLP isn’t building some union or electoral party, but a fighting, revolutionary communist working-class party.

CHALLENGE, unlike all other media, is the working class’s paper and shows capitalism as the root cause of our current problems. Brookdale workers are learning that PLP is with them shoulder-to-shoulder. A major aspect of our struggle with the Brookdale workers has been trying to keep a long-term outlook. Strike or no strike, “win” or “lose” this round, the bosses’ racist class war rages on against the working class; the struggle continues.

Distribution of CHALLENGE to Brookdale workers, struggling with the workers over the ideas in the paper, making new friends, and uniting our lives through our struggles are the orders of the day. Communist revolution is necessary, and can happen as growing CHALLENGE networks make PLP’s ideas mass ideas.

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

‘Don’t Buy Scab Food!’ California PL Mobilizes to Back Store Workers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, July 27 — In preparation for a probable strike of the 62,000 Southern California grocery workers, approximately 300 mostly black, Latino and women grocery workers and supporters, rallied and marched this week. The two paths open to workers were on display: On the one hand, the NAACP and the workers’ union, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) push strategies of compromise and concession, proven to lead to wage-cuts and attacks on pensions. PLP, on the other hand, was there with the message that this and other strikes are training grounds, where workers learn that united, we can smash capitalism and its racist exploitation.

Due to capitalist competition, Ralph’s, Albertson’s, Von’s and other chains must continually strive to maximize their profits. The result is a race to the bottom for workers as their wages and benefits are attacked. Now, after suffering through UCFW-approved wage and pension give-backs, the workers are being asked to pick up an additional $7,000 a year in health care costs! For many of these workers this cut would be a third of their annual income. Meanwhile these three stores raked in $5 billion in profits last year!

In this period of economic crisis, expanding imperialist wars and racist unemployment a potential strike of over 60,000 workers is an opportunity for our Party to join the class-struggle, mobilize our friends on the job, campus and in our mass organizations to expose the inherent exploitation of capitalism and the bankrupt tactics of the sellout unions and build the revolutionary communist PLP.

Leading up to the march, about 30 members of a local church gathered at a nearby store where they demonstrated and then marched inside, handing out letters of support to the workers. This was after Party members pushed for a resolution  at a national convention of the Universalist Church (see page 5) to support the strike nationally, pledging to hold demonstrations and walk the picket lines. A contingent of PLP members and friends from the church joined the rally and march wearing stickers “Don’t Buy Scab Food,” which was a hit for many workers.

Several angry workers gave speeches at the rally, including one young black woman worker who boldly condemned the bosses’ attacks and called on the unity of ALL workers. However, under union “leadership” these workers can’t win. These hacks even have the gall to put on their website that they have selected grocery stores where they have weekly pickets and informational leafleting with the aim to apparently win over community support. However, on three separate occasions members and friends have gone to these locations to find no picket lines or anyone handing out information.

On the one hand, it shows the lack of seriousness by the union but on the other hand it gives us the opportunity to expose the essence of union leadership as the bosses’ lackeys. With the union missing, we can pass out our literature, mobilize our base and mass organizations and take on more leadership. We have made modest efforts thus far but can do much better. We must improve our distribution of CHALLENGE and connect the struggles from workers fighting back here to workers fighting back all over the world. This will contribute to the growth of the PLP and the eventual victory of the working class.

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