Tag Archives: anti-racism

Hurricane Katrina Was the Disaster It Was Due to Capitalism!

10 years ago, the Progressive Labor Party organized to send many people to the flood ravaged disaster in New Orleans. Challenge was quite clear to point out that the tragedy was far less a natural disaster as a disaster caused by capitalism. Due to the racist manner in which the levies were constructed, the lack of any kind of response, the callous racism showed to the Black working class as the flood waters rose and police officers shot at Black workers fleeing their homes and trying to cross a bridge, PLP condemned the racist capitalist system guilty for being the primary cause in the crime in perpetuating the disaster of Hurricane Katrina.

Here is what Challenge wrote 10 years ago, right after the flood destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of workers, killed over a thousand, and, still 10 years later, over a hundred thousand Black workers have yet to return to New Orleans. The racist US ruling class used the tragedy of Katrina as an opportunity to fire all of the teachers in New Orleans. A whole generation of children had their educations disrupted as part of the greater proof that the capitalists don’t care about meeting the needs of the working class.   They only care about meeting their own needs.

From the fascism forming in Ferguson and all over the US, to Obama’s crocodile tears as he continues to perpetuate the racism that is the cornerstone of US imperialism, to the intensifying inter-imperialist crisis fueling the massive numbers of refugees fleeing the violence that capitalism causes, the working class is crying out for Communism.  Join and help build the PLP so that we can end this dark night of capitalism once and for all.

10 years ago:

SEIZE THE MOMENT!
Millions See Racist Killer Nature of Capitalism

Every so often a rare moment occurs that exposes the racist and brutal nature of the profit system. And in that moment, millions can see the nature of the beast and can be won to a more revolutionary communist outlook. This is such a moment. The rulers are losing a war in Iraq, about 20,000 industrial workers are on strike against Boeing and Northwest Airlines, and the ruling class has turned a hurricane into genocide of black and poor workers in New Orleans. Under different objective conditions, and with a mass PLP base among workers, soldiers and youth, such a moment could spark the armed struggle for the seizure of power.
Those objective conditions are not here yet, and we are a long way from having the mass base for PLP we require. Nevertheless, it is our job to seize this moment and advance the forces of revolution.

From Baghdad to New Orleans, capitalism stands exposed as a mass racist murderer for all to see. From Bush, to the head of FEMA, to the Governor of Louisiana, to the black Democratic Mayor of New Orleans, capitalism has failed. The number of dead — mostly black workers, children and the elderly — will dwarf the number of GI’s killed in Iraq or civilians killed on 9/11.

The racist rulers, especially the liberals like the NY Times, are crying crocodile tears and will try to use this moment to fight for an even bigger army to wage more wars, so the National Guard can be used to protect the rulers’ property and impose martial law at home, and for a larger, more efficient police-state Homeland Security Agency. They will use this disaster of their own making to try to put the White House back under the control of the biggest bosses and curb the neo-cons. We must expose their murderous deception and point out that the Democrats supported all the budget cuts and have said little to nothing in this crisis.

The industrial strikes have a special significance,particularly Boeing. When we say that billions are going to the war in Iraq and Homeland Security, much of it goes to Boeing, a major racist war-maker and strike breaker. The war, the strikes and the mass murder are all intimately tied together. What’s more, PLP has built a base among Boeing workers over decades, and we can advance the revolutionary movement and recruit to the PLP out of this strike.

And not just at Boeing, but everywhere we have a base, we must seize the moment. PLP in Texas is actively taking part in the resettlement of victims from New Orleans, struggling with victims and care-givers alike to build a mass PLP. Postal workers in Chicago are holding a fund raiser in their union hall, while struggling to bring more workers into the Party. This moment can be one of increased revolutionary opportunities, but they will not happen spontaneously, we must work hard and seize them.

Every Party member and club should be involved in some kind of relief effort for the victims of New Orleans, while mapping out a plan to more aggressively build the Party. We should be fighting in the unions, on campus and in the communities and barracks, to march on Washington against the war and racist mass murder at home on September 24 in Washington D.C, L.A. and the Bay Area in California, to organize relief efforts for the flood victims, to support the Boeing and Northwest strikers, to sharpen the class struggle where we are and to build a mass international PLP. This moment will not last, but if we seize it, we can be stronger than we were when it arrived.

PL Volunteers Help Victims of Katrina and Racist Negligence by Rulers
Report from Texas

PLP members and friends are working on storm relief in Texas cities. In a major city near Louisiana, PLP has met many people fleeing New Orleans who blame the rich and government officials on all levels for the disaster that has killed their relatives and forced them into refugee camps across Texas. Multi-racial groups and families are fleeing on foot, pulling shopping carts and hitchhiking to get out after all so-called relief efforts failed or never even got started. Even the medical personnel from Louisiana hospitals are now fleeing on foot. People managing to get out on organized bus caravans move from checkpoint to checkpoint at evacuation centers in Texas which are barely operational.

Tens of thousands of working people are volunteering to help the refugees, inundating organizations like Salvation Army and Red Cross, which are barely able to organize anything, yet are doing a hundred times more than the government agencies like FEMA and Homeland Security. Many of the volunteers met by PL members are veterans of the two Iraq wars, often injured and disabled themselves. Most everyone agrees that the oil war in Iraq has sucked up all the funds that should have paid for relief.

The volunteer efforts are a lesson in the possibilities for communist revolution by the working class. Friends of PLP have called across the state to organize help at Red Cross sites and consider whether or not to go to Louisiana. The thousands of people working in food warehouses and shelters are almost entirely self-organized. The working people show up to volunteer and organize themselves, often fighting off the bureaucrats who do nothing but go to press conferences to announce relief efforts which don’t even exist. Many volunteers, including PLP members, have taken matters into their own hands, picking up refugees stranded by the freeways, searching for victims whose medications have run out and getting them hospital care, and much more.

PLP school teachers in Texas will have (or will propose to have) refugee children in their classes and are discussing how to work with fellow teachers and PTAs to meet these families and build an understanding of how racism, imperialist war and the capitalist system itself, caused this disaster.

The ongoing Katrina crisis is showing the working class what capitalist “democracy” is worth. People are relying on themselves and the goodness of their class brothers and sisters for anything that is positive. A terrible problem is that PLP is so small. It is difficult to reach thousands with our message that communist revolution is the only long-run solution. People fleeing Louisiana and Mississippi, and the volunteers helping them, all can see the problems. They also sense that the only real help is to organize from below, for working people to help working people. But only a rapidly growing PLP can show people that the way to prevent U.S. rulers from continuing their system and its attacks on working people is to get rid of the rich altogether. Only PLP can explain the need to destroy the capitalists who try to stay on top of their European and Asian competitors by endless wars, financed by racist attacks against poor people at home.

Victims of Katrina Treated Like Prisoners

Hundreds of cots not even inches from each other are the living arrangements for New Orleans evacuees in this large Texas city. Although hurricane victims are now getting shelter, food and health care from thousands of volunteers in a show of mass multi-racial and class solidarity, many explain that the events in New Orleans were caused by the government officials who quit offering public services of any kind long ago. (PLP members doing volunteer work are carrying pencils and notebooks to exchange contact information with other volunteers and flood victims. This often requires asking for relatives’ phone numbers from flood victims who have no phone and no homes left in Louisiana and Mississippi.)
Many of the people that fled New Orleans have told PL volunteers helping at evacuation centers that they are being treated like prisoners, endlessly passed from one police checkpoint to another. At a San Antonio relief center people had to get on and off buses several different times before reaching the main registration. In another city, lawyers reported that hundreds of police were awaiting the evacuees, planning to interrogate and search them in a facility without any outside observers.

It is starting to look like there will be up to 500,000 people sent to different closed military bases and other sites around the U.S. and will live in what will become refugee camps under martial law.

While the rulers’ economic analysts focused first on the disruptions to the U.S. oil supply and its effect on U.S. competitiveness, these geniuses have now realized that the workers who ship, load and unload most of the U.S. agricultural crop that comes down the Mississippi to the Port of New Orleans, are gone. There are no houses, no transportation, no facilities at all left to support the workers that keep U.S. produce moving to make profits for giant corporate agriculture. The bosses are worried that this will cause a crisis as the harvest advances over the next several weeks.

Although this is not spontaneously producing conscious revolutionary communists, it is becoming easier to talk to people about the need for PL’s politics and organization. The breakdown in federal and local government services, as money is siphoned off to imperialist war, shows that increasingly, only the police (who are deserting and committing suicide in New Orleans) and the military physically keep the bosses in power. If PLP can win workers to revolutionary ideology and commitment, the bosses’ ideological hold on the workers will be in jeopardy. PLP-led volunteers can win our brother and sister storm victims to take matters into our own hands for the long run, while helping to provide immediate relief efforts. When workers see that the same enemy that invaded and occupies Iraqi has attacked the New Orleans black working class flood victims, great advances will become possible.

Black Cops and Officials Also Very Racist

One port/railroad worker, whose job ended when his tractor cab got stuck on a median he couldn’t see in two feet of water, explained that the cops and jails in New Orleans are the most racist in the nation. This black worker explained that the black officials and cops treat black working people as bad, or worse, than the racist bosses who run New Orleans. To this worker, the rotten treatment of the working people in New Orleans, which led to their complete abandonment to the hurricane and flood, was completely based on the profit system and its need to suck profits from workers of all races. He explained that if you were a black worker in New Orleans who sounded like you knew what was going on, you were surely going to jail whether you were accosted by a black or white cop.
Several disabled vets from New Orleans explained to PLP that the government has “subcontracted” away government services for everything the past several years, that new pumps to drain the water had never been made operational, that the explanation on TV that water made the pumps quit was a lie, and that one levee might have been broken on purpose so that higher income neighborhoods would be spared.

The “subcontracting,” which is a way government officials get out of their responsibilities, such as opening private jails, make the subcontractors rich. Meanwhile the services supposedly to be provided are not really given. This is happening in a big way today — a city official in Texas announced that FEMA (part of Homeland Security) was “subcontracting” the management of the disaster relief effort for the entire city to private companies like Halliburton. This means that in this city people who don’t know anything about disaster management and who haven’t even worked on it for the past week will now be in charge.

Texas Comrade

UNDER COMMUNISM: How would disasters from hurricanes like Katrina be avoided?

The short answer: Prevention. Under communism the working class would have the power to slow the global warming that causes more violent hurricanes. Global warming may be partly natural, but it is greatly worsened by industrial and transportation pollution that exists under capitalism, because corporate profits, rather than human needs, rule.
Second, since earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes happen, a working-class state could avoid building new cities in danger spots, and could relocate existing ones, like San Francisco and New Orleans. For example, during World War II the Soviet Union mobilized the working class to move entire cities and industrial plants east of the Ural Mountains, beyond the reach of the Nazi armies. And they succeeded, despite the devastating winters and numerous acts of sabotage by Nazi sympathizers.

New Orleans (NO) borders and lies below the level of Lake Pontchartrain. The PLP would mobilize and organize the NO working class to build a new city away from the danger spot and move the households. But before evacuating NO, the Party would have led the workers in shoring up levees, in case a hurricane struck during the building and relocation process.

Since hurricanes give several days’ warning, if there was no time to shore up the levees the city would be evacuated immediately. In contrast to the rich black NO mayor’s departure and call to evacuate — meaningless for people without vehicles or money for food and lodging, particularly the poor black population — the Party would provide adequate transportation to carry everyone out of the city safely and immediately. As during World War II, attempts at capitalist sabotage would be dealt with mercilessly.

The population outside NO would be called upon to take people into their homes on a short-term basis. Racism would be fought vigorously, not only to eliminate any hesitation in this effort but to unify the working class around this goal. Meanwhile longer-term housing would be constructed by as many workers as the job required, so that people could be housed during clean-up of the city, pending the much longer-term effort of permanent relocation.

Food, water, clothing, sanitary supplies and medicines would continually be imported in plentiful supply and distributed to the neediest first. Peoples’ former occupations would necessarily be interrupted, but clean-up and relocation would require so much effort that no one would be idle.

No income would be lost, because there would be no income under communism. Guided by the communist principle — from each according to commitment, to each according to need — all necessities of life would be provided free, and money would be abolished. Unemployment would be history.

The Party and the workers would struggle with anyone refusing to participate, and the Party would guarantee prevention of interference, including possible imprisonment, and, in cases of deliberate sabotage, execution.

In these processes the Party would first mobilize workers by calling on them to participate and then would organize participants to carry out the necessary coordination of effort and division of labor. In contrast to the armed cops and Guardsmen currently in NO, whose first job is to protect the property of the rich, the Party and each of its hundreds of thousands of members would have a base among her/his fellow workers and neighbors and be known and trusted. If the Party had a large enough presence already in NO and the U.S., this kind of leadership could have organized rescue efforts from the flood and the gathering and distribution of food, water, diapers, medical care, as well as portable toilets and bathing facilities.

The key elements of communist leadership in times of disaster are mobilization, organization, coordination of the vast majority of workers and the disciplining of internal and external enemies of the working class. Over the long term, including the present, the key element of Party leadership has been and continues to be the struggle to arm the international working class with an understanding of communist theory and practice that will enable the workers to rule the world. The distribution of CHALLENGE plays a crucial role in that effort.

The task at hand for the working class of all nations is to organize, with Party leadership, its own hurricane to drown the capitalist ruling classes. Under the distant future of communism, with capitalists out of the picture, the working class will survive future hurricanes, tsunamis and volcanoes with minimal disruption in our lives.

In future issues we will discuss the way that workers in revolutionary China were mobilized by the Communist Party to eliminate public health scourges, like syphilis and parasitic infections.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

PLP Wraps Up Convention

“When you see a Palestinian Arab and Jewish worker standing side by side while saying that they need to build the Party, the bosses better be scared.” This sentiment from a PLer who spent over 40 years fighting for communism was repeated and illustrated time and time again. Comrades from India and Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East, and North and South America defied the ruler’s artificial borders and got together to celebrate the 50 year anniversary of The Progressive Labor Party’s  inexorable struggle for communism.

With hundreds and hundreds of the working class gathered to teach ourselves how to fight back and to discuss our line as illustrated in “Dark Night Shall Have Its End”, the renewing joy of working class solidarity was the vibe of the day. As our Party continues to grow in country after country, continent after continent, and defy border after border, we know that another world is in birth.

The Party’s organizing in the teeth of fascism in Ferguson was directly compared to organizing in a factory in China. The PLers from China pointed out that the corrupt government controls the unions and organizations that are supposed to help the workers. He went on to say that there are no organizations in China that are on the side of the working class except for PLP. As the PLer from China was discussing how the unions sell out the workers, a PLer from the U.S. pointed out that the unions in the U.S. were also on the side of the bosses and anti-working class. This reaffirmed our line that the we the working class have the same enemy and the same fight.

PLP’s line on the necessity of armed revolution; the need to fight sexism; the struggle against nationalism and racism; the need to build the Party; and the historically unprecedented change to a collective leadership and away from a single chairman was reaffirmed to thunderous applause.

PLP was born in the struggle against revisionism and for communism in a time when it looked like revolution was on the horizon. That horizon is much further away than we thought. What other group born during that era is still around, still growing, still fighting back, and, more importantly, led and organized by a new young generation of leaders steeled in the struggle against capitalism? The simple answer is none. The reason is the principled struggle against revisionism in order to stay firmly rooted on the road to revolution.

Tagged , , , , ,

Rebellion is the Answer to Racist Police Murder

First Ferguson. Now Baltimore. It was a rebellion. Not a riot. Politicians, preachers, cops and the media all labeled the militant youth everything but what they are — rebels that have lead a powerful and inspiring uprising. On the whole, the youth targeted the racist bosses and their goons.

The anti-racist rebellion shows us that when push comes to shove, the racist police are no match for a united and fighting working class. Youth are fighting against tear gas, The National Guard, and over 7,000 kkkops, all while defying the orders of the mayor and other capitalist officials. We have a lot to learn from them.
The cold-blooded racist police murder of Freddie Gray was not an isolated event; the cops killed them, and continue to target Black workers and youth because the vicious racist ruling class needs to terrorize us into accepting a future of poverty and imperialist war. We refuse to accept it!

We don’t accept a life where being Black means you can be gunned down at any moment with little to no consequence. We don’t accept a system where the lives of Tyrone West, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Shantel Davis, Kyam Livingston, Kimani Gray, Eric Garner, and Rhamarley Graham mean nothing to these killer kkkops! There are too many names! This system doesn’t deserve to exist! The bosses call for “bringing order” and “life back to normal.” This “normal” is racism in our schools, in hospital, and in the streets! A rebellion was long coming! To anti-racists everywhere — protest in solidarity with the rebellion started in Baltimore at your schools, at work, in your churches, unions, and in your neighborhoods.

The rebels broke capitalist laws, the same laws that protect mass murderers that are responsible for millions of deaths from racist profit wars, global drug cartels, mass poverty, and unemployment. These gangsters in suits walk free, run businesses, command armies, and hold government power. The ruling class tries to paint Blacks, Latinos and the immigrant working-class as criminals. The real criminal is this racist system. The bosses close hospitals, schools, and keep people unemployed. They also murder workers and children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Pakistan for oil.

Only a revolutionary communist society where the working class has power can rid the world of racist killer kkkops. The capitalist courts encourage and tolerate cops who murder Black, Latin and immigrant workers. Meanwhile, five million Black and Latin workers and youth are forced into the criminal injustice system, either imprisoned, on probation or on parole. Seventy percent of the 2.4 million in U.S. prisons are Black and Latin. And if cops do get punished, it’s a slap on the wrist.

Join and build the revolutionary communist Progressive Labor Party (PLP) and build an international multi-racial movement to crush racism from New York City to Ferguson to Gaza with armed revolution! Progressive Labor Party is a revolutionary communist party dedicated to eliminating capitalism with communist revolution as the only way to end imperialism, terrorism, racism, sexism, and class inequality.

The growth of a fighting PLP is the only way to guarantee that the bosses won’t get away with racist police murder. PLP fights to lead the working class to smash the bosses’ cops and courts and establish a communist society worthy of every worker struck down by capitalism worldwide.

Join us as we march on May 2 against this racist system and celebrate the militancy of the rebels in Baltimore and Ferguson. Celebrate the working class’s history to overcome divisions the bosses put in our way, to fight back, and our potential to win the war against capitalism! March for a communist world!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

50 Years Strong! Long live the PLP!

From South Carolina to the Middle East, capitalism keeps killing the working class. From bombs falling on Shia to bullets blasting their way into the back of another unarmed Black worker being fired out of the gun of a KKKop, the violence of this economic system continues to brutalize the working class.

Every bomb that falls in Syria or Iraq as the jihadist fascists fight the imperialist puppet fascists and workers keep getting slaughtered is a testament to the need for Progressive Labor Party’s egalitarian vision of Communism. 50 years ago, the international Communist movement appeared to be unstoppable. There were no suicide bombers or Jihadists in the Middle East because there was a powerful Communist movement that inspired the working class with a secular humanist vision grounded in the need to improve our society to benefit everyone. The essence though, was that that movement was flawed due to it being based on maintaining capitalist economic and social relationships.

PLP was born out of breaking with the old CP-USA. The CP was Communist in name only because they had abandoned fighting for Communism by then. By breaking with the CP, PLP was then able to continue the fight against revisionism as an integral part of the fight for Communism. Half a century later and Stalin’s warning of the dark ages of human history should the Communist Movement fail have now come true. The worst part is that these are still the good old days. Nobody has fired off the nukes yet, people are still eating, and the first world countries can still live in the bubbles of safety that come at the expense of the rest of the world’s billions of workers remaining in oppressive exploitation at the behest of profit.

China is now the most oppressive regime in the world. It is wantonly destroying the environment in our already damaged oceans by building landing strips on top of corral reefs in the South China Sea in order to impose their imperialistic aims on The Evil Empire. The US Evil Empire is worried about this strategy, as it will be able to deny them from their pivot to Asia. It looks like the US’s pivot to Asia is going as well as their last two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The only war the US has been successfully winning has been the class war they are waging as pigs are free to kill and deport Black and undocumented workers, hospitals are closed and schools are being redesigned to meet the needs of the imperialists. Two years ago, many workers died in a factory fire in Bangladesh, yet the factories are still unsafe and still making vast profits for the bosses. The working class in the US and all over the world is under attack by capitalism.

Half a century ago, the world was divided into two camps, Soviet Imperialism crept under the guise of Communism – even though millions of workers were inspired by Communist ideas, The USSR used them to advance their imperialist aims. Today, the world is still divided by inter-imperialist rivalry and they have no scruples in what fascist groups they use. The Evil Empire uses Nazis in Ukraine and Jihadists in Syria, Iraq, and China to challenge Russian and Chinese imperialism.

In order for a ruling class to build imperialism abroad, they must build fascism at home even more intensely. These fascist attacks in the US use the tried and true strategy of divide and conquer in order to attack the working class as a whole. The fascist attack on education was first done in New York City, and then spread to the mostly white upstate area. It is now affecting them. The attacks on Black workers help to set up the attacks on White workers because “labor in the White skin will never be free so long as Labor in the Black skin is in chains.” Walter Lamer Scott was another victim of the racism that capitalism needs in order to maintain itself. The racist pig Michael Slager who murdered him is on charges of murder, but how many other racist murders have happened since? How many more will happen? It is not just one cop doing the killing, but the system of capitalism requiring the force and terror of the state in order to protect its profit system.

PLP has broken with the Old Communist Movement’s (OCM) focus on reformism, vanguardism, and the two stage theory. Though PLP will always fight to alleviate the burden of wage slavery and the inherent injustice under capitalism, we are clear that this is part of the uncompromising struggle for Communism. We know that capitalism can never be reformed to meet the needs of the working class just as slaves could never run the plantations in order to get rid of slavery. PLP is a mass party dedicated to relying on and trusting the working class. The OCM didn’t believe that the masses could grasp the ideas of Communism and fight for it directly. We do. We know that the working class has built this world and will rebuild a better world. We know that the working class is at its best under Communist leadership. We know that one Party dedicated to creating one world of the working class is what’s needed. Finally, PLP has negated the struggle for socialism. Socialism is just another form of capitalism. Egalitarian profit-based wage slavery can never emancipate the working class. The same ideological superstructure is necessary in order to maintain an economic base predicated upon systemic inequality.

Communism is the answer to the problems wracking the world today. From the way that homosexuals are treated all over the world, to the racist attacks happening in South Africa as one group of workers uses nationalism and racism to attack another group, to racist pigs blasting our working class brothers and sisters on the streets of the US, to fascists massacring villages and rewarding themselves with young girls as sex slaves, the world needs an answer that is based on a scientific understanding of necessity rejecting racism, sexism, and nationalism. We need to organize based on class, the relationship to production, and fight for Communism. In order to do that, we must build PLP wherever we are so that the next 50 years will see victory for the world’s working class. PLP started with less than 20 dedicated revolutionaries in a room of a seedy hotel and has now spread to over 20 countries on 4 continents. We can’t be stopped and we won’t stop until we have ultimately emancipated the working class from all forms of slavery. PLP fighting for Communism is the only hope for mankind.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PL College Forum Links Anti-Racism To Anti-War Movement

New York, NY, Feb. 5 — Recently, some 30 professors, teachers and students attended a PLP forum on racism. In preparation each person was asked to read a packet of articles reprinted from CHALLENGE on the Jena 6 case and the PL History series about the 1975 struggle against the racist ROAR organization in Boston.

The first speaker gave an extensive explanation of the Party’s position that the concept of “race” and racist ideology were created by the capitalist system to divide the working class and maintain power. It was also pointed out that profits capitalists gain from super-exploiting black and Latin workers are essential for survival of their system.

The next presenter led us in discussion about the bosses’ need to win workers to racism in order to get workers to fight in their endless imperialist wars. The student presenter explained that when soldiers enter the U.S. military they are bombarded with racist ideas: “Those people are different from us. They have no respect for human life. They are inferior.” Without this racist brainwashing, workers would balk at orders to massacre non-combatants and torture prisoners.

One of our friends remarked that if racism had a brother it would be nationalism. He said that racism, nationalism and religion were all divisive and that our task was to unite the international working class.

A lively discussion followed about many of the manifestations of racism in education and on the campuses. Not only must we confront military and CIA recruiters when they come to campus, but we must investigate and expose how the university is involved with research that helps the military and promotes racism.

In addition we must increase our efforts to bring the anti-racist struggle into the anti-war movement. Campus anti-war committees should discuss racist issues such as the Jena 6. In our unions we must address racism as well as opposing the war.

After the discussion we saw a documentary film “Another Brother” which deals with the racism faced by black soldiers in Vietnam and upon their return home. Our next planned forum is entitled “For a World Without Borders: A Communist Perspective on Immigration.”

This electoral year, more HS and college youth are being won to vote. Because of the dangerous illusion that Obama and to a lesser extent Hillary represent “change,” it is important to demonstrate more openly our revolutionary alternative to these politicians. Their only “change” will be to expand the current wars and make us pay more for the capitalist economic meltdown. Being involved in mass organizations, using CHALLENGE and having frequent party-building events are necessary to make our Party grow.

Tagged , , ,

Anti-Racism the Main Subject At B’klyn H.S.

BROOKLYN, NY, Nov. 26 — Anti-racist consciousness and actions are mounting at our high school. The frame-up of six black youth in Jena, Louisiana, struck a chord here. As soon as we raised the issue, students began organizing. Proposals for rallies, buttons, petitions, forums and even walkouts emerged.

We decided to start with an anti-racist assembly to be followed by an anti-racist fair. Meanwhile, we produced stickers that said, “Free the Jena 6, Unite Against Racism.” Everyone wanted one. We produced over 1,000 buttons with the same slogan. Students are still asking for them weeks later.

On the day of the big rally in Jena, we organized a “wear-black” day. Many students and staff participated. We had an especially large meeting to hear a report from someone who had attended the Jena 6 rally in Louisiana. Clearly many students and staff wanted to take a stand against racism.

When the students went to the principal to present the idea of an anti-racist assembly, a roomful of administrators awaited them, but the students were not intimidated. The idea of the assembly was generally well received, but there was objection to the term “anti-racist.” “Tolerance” was proposed. This provoked good discussions about the nature of racism. The students were very clear — their goal was to fight racism. They did not want to “tolerate” it or have others do so.

A lively discussion began on whether racism could ever be ended. Many students thought “no.” Yet many saw that racism is man-made. Starting with the slave trade and plantation slavery, racism had been immensely profitable for the slave-owners. That is still true today as capitalists super-exploit black and Latino workers, and now especially immigrant workers. Additionally, racism divides and weakens the working class. To achieve any improvement, one must confront and fight against racism. As Karl Marx said long ago, “labor in the white skin cannot be free as long as labor in the black skin is enslaved.” Thus, you have to end capitalism to end racism.

Such divisions have been evident at some recent anti-war marches. Students and staff who attended noticed the marchers were mainly white and saw almost no signs mentioning the Jena 6 case.
When racist cops shot and killed a mentally ill, 18-year-old young black man recently (see front page) whose brother attends our school, the administration did not even acknowledge this tragedy until a teacher raised it. Although an announcement was read, grief counseling was never mentioned. The dead youngsters’ brother is devastated. Several students attended a rally and also the wake for the young man. They said at least there should be a moment of silence at the school.

A more recent meeting discussed the anti-racist assembly with the principal and several administrators. What was its goal? “Education about racism” was the answer. It was suggested that some positive activities come out of this assembly. “Good idea” was the reply. When students asked an administrator for suggestions, none were forthcoming — but “don’t get students mad about racism. They will just get riled up and angry. We have a nice school. Don’t get students stirred up. Provide something positive.”

This is a challenge for those of us organizing this anti-racist assembly. However, how can one not get “riled up” when racism still exists everywhere in so many vicious ways? Yet getting upset but doing nothing is useless. So we need to do two things. Firstly, we must organize a series of anti-racist activities in which lots of students and staff can participate. Even more importantly, we must commit ourselves to a lifetime of struggle against racism and against the capitalist system that promotes it.

PLP members are participating in all these activities. We have expanded our membership and developed two study groups. Our goal is to increase CHALLENGE sales and recruit students and teachers to our Party as we intensify the fight against racism in the school.

Tagged , , ,

Back Jena 6 in Union and in Boeing, Subcontractor Plants

SEATTLE, WA — “It has to be brought to light,” insisted a white Boeing machinist as more than a dozen union members — black, Latin and white — prepared an anti-racist resolution to support the Jena 6. “I was just talking with my son about the way high schools are organized. Racism is everywhere.” The resolution now sits in the union’s executive board, but the struggle continues on the shop floor.

Before we entered the meeting, we knew we were in for a fight. We were not disappointed!

One low-level official described how he would shake his head at the roadblocks the union mis-leaders put up anytime our left-led, rank-and-file group raised racism. (He actively supported anti-racists during the battle to get the union to participate in last year’s May Day March calling for international unity.) “How can you run an organization like that!” he bemoaned.

Even as the resolution was tabled until next month’s meeting, debates broke out throughout the hall and in the corridors outside. “I don’t want to be a jerk, but what has this to do with the union?” asked one. We replied that anti-racism was crucial to answering the economic and political attacks on our members, like racist subcontracting. We pointed to the parts of the resolution calling for anti-racist, multi-racial solidarity in the upcoming contract struggle. The question of the class necessity of anti-racism was front and center at this overwhelmingly white union meeting.

We wanted to do more than engage in this useful debate. We planned beforehand to use this resolution to jump-start struggle on the shop floor. Jena 6 defense collections are now being taken in a number of buildings.

These “shop-floor” collections — in alliance with the collections taken among non-union subcontractor workers — can lead the way. There are many more black and Latin workers in the plants than at union meetings. Still more black and Latin workers suffer super-exploitation at the hand of vicious subcontractors.

CHALLENGE sales and mailings have increased modestly, spreading the revolutionary politics necessary to marshal this multi-racial force. We’re mobilizing to raise this resolution at various other meetings and conferences during the next month. We can measure the lasting value of this battle through the expansion and consolidation of our CHALLENGE networks here and among the subcontractors. Stay tuned!

Tagged , , , ,