Tag Archives: College Students

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The International PLP Advances

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

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

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

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

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

Arab Spring and Wall Street Occupy Working Class’s Imagination

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May Day

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

Turning Fascist Oppression into Communist Organizing

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

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

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University of California Students and Faculty Fight Back:

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STRIKE AGAINST A SYSTEM THAT CUTS EDUCATION TO EXPAND WAR AND BAIL OUT BANKS!

What kind of system puts the needs of oil profiteers and capitalist bankers over the health, safety and education of the rest of us? A capitalist profit system.

As the University of California increases tuition by 9% now and a total of 32% in the spring, faculty salaries are being cut and campus workers laid off. The current cut in the state budget for higher education (UC’s, CSU’s and community colleges) is $3 billion. Financial aid, loans, and work study are all being cut. The UC’s have reduced freshman enrollment by 6%. Faculty and staff at the UC’s and CSU’s are forced to take unpaid days off, and part time teachers have been laid off or had their hours reduced. The higher student fees will buy larger classes.

These cuts are racist and anti-working class, targeting black, Latino and all low income students and workers the hardest, those who find it harder to pay for school. The cuts come as the official unemployment rate in California is 12% and the actual rate is at least double that, including those who have given up looking for work. The current capitalist crisis is greater than any since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. The California legislature has cut more than $15 billion from the state budget, which includes large cuts for welfare and health care, especially the Healthy Families program serving low income children.

Banks and corporations like General Motors have been bailed out for trillions of dollars of workers’ taxes. The federal budget for expanding wars in Iraq ad Afghanistan for control of oil, oil pipelines and profits is increasing. Since the Iraq war started in 2003, federal grants to the states have fallen steadily, while money spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has constantly risen. The Federal government has been sucking money out of the states to pay for its imperialist wars. In addition, the California prison population has increased about 75% since 1990, three times faster than the adult population. California spends more on prisons than any other state, with $10.3 billion budgeted for “Corrections and Rehabilitation” in 2008-2009 compared with $14.5 billion for higher education.

The priorities of the US Federal and state government are imperialist war, prisons, and fascist social control. Last week, LA cops and Sheriffs killed 4 black workers and youth in separate racist killings. Racist police terror is increasing to try to terrorize youth and workers and keep us from fight back against these attacks.  At the same time, Obama and all the politicians and administrators are pushing the patriotic idea of “shared sacrifice”, that we should all pull together in this economic crisis to share the cuts. But the bankers and the top UC and CSU administrators are not sacrificing—we are! This patriotism only serves the capitalists and imperialists, not us.

The budget cuts and economic crisis are not a natural disaster, or the result of a few greedy speculators (they were certainly greedy!). This crisis is built into the greedy, reckless capitalist system itself, a system whose main goal is profit for the capitalists through exploiting the vast majority, the working class, and through ever-wider wars to defend their empire from rival capitalists. Waiting for the crisis to end is not a plan. In fact, administrators have been told that the current cuts are permanent.

We can’t fall for the administrations’ divide and conquer tactics. We need to build unity between students, faculty, and campus workers to fight any and all cuts and attacks. This unity needs to be expanded to include unity with workers, high school students and soldiers beyond the Universities, all of whom are suffering from this capitalist crisis and expanding wars. We should build actions and strikes, including a statewide strike against the cuts.

Even more important, we should use our unity to strike and fight back against this system, capitalism, that only serves the needs of the capitalists at the expense of the vast majority of workers, students, teachers and soldiers the world over.

Our goal should be to fight for a system that meets the needs of the international working class and its allies among students and professionals. That system is a true communist system, where we produce, learn and fight to meet the needs of our class, not the profits of the bosses. For education to serve the needs of the majority, we need a system based on meeting those needs. Capitalism is based on exploitation, racism, crises and war, moving to wider war leading to WWIII. We need to fight to end it and build a system where those who produce all value also run society. Socialism maintained too many aspects of capitalism, like wages and inequality. Progressive Labor Party fights for communism, where we will produce and share what we produce based on need, not wages or profit.

Read CHALLENGE, PLP’s newspaper. Join us! Call 323-491-5125, www.plp.org

    HUELGA CONTRA SISTEMA CAPITALISTA RACISTA QUE NOS NIEGA EL DERECHO A VIVIR CON DESPIDOS, FASCISMO Y GUERRA IMPERIALISTA

UC esta despidiendo a muchos trabajadores  debido a la crisis economica. Pero, los patrones crean sus crisis economicas y nosotros pagamos por ellas,  Por ejemplo:

    • ¿Creen Uds. que Mark Yudof, el presidente de UC tiene problemas economicos? Crisis o no crisis, esta recibiendo intacto su salario anual de $800,000 dolares. Ademas, recibe $200 mil dolares al año para alquiler de su casa, mientras la mansion donde va a vivir es remodelada a un costo de $10 millones de dolares,
    • La UC tiene en fondo de $4 mil 500 millones que no estan siendo tocados. Aunque les sobra el dinero, estan atacando a los trabajadores con despidos y a los estudiantes con grandes aumentos de cuoatas.

Que la UC no tenga problems economicos no quiere decir que no haya crisis economica. El mundo capitalista enfrenta su peor crisis economica desde la GranDepresion de los 1930. Pero la crisis CAPITALISTA ES UNA CRISIS DE SOBRE PRODUCCION – NO DE ESCASES O sea, los capitalistas han producido mas mercancias de las que pueden vender. Por ejemplo, hay millones de casas pudriéndose vacias, millones de toneladas de comida que son tiradas diariamente y a los USAgricultores se les paga por no sembrar. Sin embargo, mas de 3.5 millones de USAmericanos – 1.6 millones de ellos niños – estan desamparados durante el año y 30 millones – 12 millones de ellos niños – se acuestan con hambre todas las noches.

DINERO PARA BANCOS-POLICIAS – MIGRA FASCISTA Y GUERRA IMPERIALISTA Los patrones no tienen dinero para nosotros pero si para sus cuerpos represivos que usan para aterrorizarnos y obligarnos a aceptar pasivamente sus recortes, despidos y explotacion racista. Mientras Villaraigosa despide trabajadores esta contratando a mil nuevos policias. Obama tiere dinero para rescatar bancos, emplear mas agentes de la Migra y gastar cientos de miles de millones en las guerras imperialistas por petroleo en el Oriente Medio. Sin embargo, les está recortando el presupuesto a las escuelas y universidades, y dejando que millones pierdan sus casas, sus empleos y no tengan cobertura medica.

Ademas, guarda silencio ante los asesinatos impunes de trabajadores negros por sus escuadrones de la muerte gubernamentales – como los cuatro trabajadores negros recientemente asesinados a sangre fria en el area de LA por el Sherifato. Todos los trabajadores y estudiantes debemos protestar estos asesinatos racistas y comprender que es su mensaje para nosotros: ¡No osen rebelarse porque les pasara los mismo!

SOLUCION CAPITALISTA A SU CRISIS: FASCISMO Y GUERRA MUNDIAL La 2ª Guerra Mundial fue necesaria para ponerle fin a la Gran Depresion de los 1930 a un costo de mas de 100 millones de trabajadores y soldados muertos. Ahora los patrones preparan una 3ª Guerra Mundial para salir de su crisis y decidir quien de ellos va a dominar  el mundo. Quieren usar el patriotismo para ganarnos a trabajarles como esclavos y a morir y matar en sus campos de batalla. Si el patriotismo no es suficiente, usaran el terror fascista.

Los trabajadores  no tenemos nada que ganar en esta pelea de buitres y todo que perder. Nuestros intereses yacen en organizarnos con estuditantes y soldados – nacional e internacionalmete – para ponerle fin a este sistema infernal capitalista con una revolucion comunista. Nosotros podemos y debemos construir un mundo donde el sudor de nuestro trabajo sirva  para llenar las necesidades de nuestra clase trabajadora internacional, no los bolsillos de los patrones. Necesitamos un mundo sin patrones, dinero, esclavitud asalariada, racismo, sexismo, explotacion, fronteras y guerras imperialistas. Para lograr eso necesitmaos ingresar y contruir al PLP en un movimiento masivo de estudiantes, soldados y trabajadores.  ¡Unetenos!


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Calif. Dems Pass Budget Cuts; Workers, Students Must Hit Back

The longest budget stalemate in California history ended in September with a budget  “balanced” on the backs of workers and students. The budget, which stands to be cut further,  is a racist attack on the working class that:
• Cut $3.3 billion from base K-12 funding and from community colleges, libraries and adult education
• Cut billions more from low-income seniors and people with disabilities, from the CalWorks job training program, and other social services.
• Cut MediCal benefits, public health, the discount drug program, and payments to MediCal providers
• Will make mid-year cuts to the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU) systems, but not to “debt service” (interest flowing from workers’ taxes to banks)
• Diverted money for public transit to fund $1 billion in transit-related debt service
• Kicked in $250 million extra for COPS, Sheriffs, and more fascist law-enforcement

California’s Racist Cuts

Democratic politicians took advantage of the huge Obama turnout to pass an initiative raising LA County’s sales tax to 8.75%.  Now they’re planning more racist mid-year budget cuts which will hurt all workers. For example, the bosses closed King Hospital in South LA, patients were shunted to public health clinics; now the County Board of Supervisors threatens to cut the clinics.

Like 18 other states, California is running out of unemployment insurance funds. The official unemployment is over 7.7%, up from 5.5% last year. The San Francisco Chronicle reported (9/11/08) that California hoped to borrow from the Federal Government for the first time since the 1930s.

Meanwhile, workers here are losing their homes at 2½ times the rate a year ago. Tuition is likely to increase in the UC system, and in the CSU system with proportionally more black and latin students.  At community colleges (with even more black and Latin students) fees could rise by 30% or 50%. These fees don’t go to the colleges, but into the general fund where they help pay for bond interest and prisons.

Our Fight

College students protested budget cuts last spring, and are planning statewide rallies for the coming weeks. Students and workers still have illusions about capitalism, but as discussion leads to action, opportunities for communist work expand.  CHALLENGE sales on campuses are increasing, more students are looking to the Progressive Labor Party for leadership. It will be up to us to take this opportunity to show that capitalism is not a viable system for the working class. Join Us.

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Howard U. Students Demand Halt to Racist Execution

WASHINGTON, DC, October 24 — During two days of rallying, members of Howard University’s Political Education and Action Committee (PEAC), were joined by members of Malcolm X Grassroots and the American Civil Liberties Union to fight the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.

PEAC speakers declared that Davis’ execution, scheduled for October 27, is one more example of the entrenched racism of the U.S. system. Davis, a black man, has been in prison almost 20 years for supposedly killing 27-year-old Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989.

The District Attorney and police intimidated and coerced witnesses to get a conviction of then 19-year-old Davis. Now decades later, seven of the nine key witnesses have recanted, and other witnesses have identified a person they believe to be the actual killer — but innocence is not a defense, according to the U.S. Supreme Court and the State of Georgia!

Campus police were sent to stop the PEAC rally, and a leader was detained when he refused to stop speaking on a bullhorn. Students continued their bullhorn rally despite the attack. The University administration’s effort to harass and suppress student activism — using the pretense that the students were “disrupting classes” — stands in stark contrast to the University’s endorsement of ear-splitting concerts and fraternity celebrations on the main campus at the same time of day.

This confrontation demonstrated that the so-called “legacy” of Howard University in civil rights struggle and progressive action is in reality a legacy of student and worker movements in opposition to the University. The University is a corporation dominated by big businessmen and the bosses’ politicians. We have no unity with the University administration which parades behind a fig leaf of liberalism while trying to blunt the revolutionary spirit of its students!

On the second day of the rally, Davis’s lawyer announced he had received a 30-day stay of execution, but this is only a temporary respite while the government figures out how to move forward with the execution of an innocent black man.

The racist (in)justice system is critical to the U.S. ruling class’s strategy of intimidating superexploited black workers and dividing them from other workers. But repression breeds resistance, and racism must give rise to anti-racist revolutionary unity.

Today’s financial crises and wars will give rise to ever-greater racist offensives against the working class as the rulers become increasingly desperate to build their profits and power. It is urgent that struggles like the Troy Davis case be linked to the battles of workers throughout the world. We must turn these into a fight for communist revolution to destroy the capitalist roots of racist oppression.

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Chile’s Students Hit Privatized Education, Seize Schools

SANTIAGO, CHILE, May 28 — For the third successive week, high school and college students have militantly protested a new law which could privatize public education. Students demonstrated on May Day and then again on May 16 (Day of the Fighting Youth) when students took over several colleges and high schools immediately after “socialist” President Michelle Bachelet gave a national speech on education. In one school students hung a banner reading, “If education is a merchandise, students must be rebels.”

Today, the “carabineros” (riot cops) brutally repressed a planned student march, attacking several thousand gathered in Santiago preparing to march to the Ministry of Education. The cops said they “had no march permit.” Some 337 students were arrested battling the vicious police attack. Over 600 were arrested nationwide during this day of protest. The cops beat students viciously as they were being loaded into police vans.

The government’s proposed General Education Law offers some crumbs like computers and a few scholarships, but each municipality would control education, opening the door to privatization. Students say they want free public education like their parents received, not a few computers or scholarships.

Chilean youth, like youth worldwide today, had a reputation of being non-political, but the reality of a local and international capitalist system bent on making workers and youth pay for its crises and wars, is impelling young people to realize they must fight for their interests.

Education under capitalism, whether free or privatized, is based on promoting bourgeois ideology and building the next generation of exploited workers the bosses need. The best education these youth can acquire is in the class struggle against capitalism and its stooges.

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Marine Vet: U.S. Imperialists Are War Criminals

SOUTHWESTERN CAMPUS, April 3 — “War crimes? Heck, the whole war is a crime!” exclaimed a student and Marine veteran of the Iraq war, summing up his contempt for the U.S. imperialist agenda.
Over 175 students, teachers and campus staff applauded enthusiastically. Foregoing classes, many stayed over three hours to hear testimonials from four members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and one from Military Families Speak Out (MFSO).

One army veteran/student quoted from Nazi butcher Hermann Göring at the Nuremberg Trials, exposing how all the rulers think: “Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in England, nor America, nor in Germany….But…it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along….Tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

He should have said, “any capitalist country” because Soviet workers were won to fight the Nazis in their own class interests. This vet said Göring’s statement brought a “chilling familiarity to our experience since 9/11.”
This vet quoted Marine General Smedley Butler: “War is just a racket….It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.”

Urging soldiers to abandon blind pride, the vet noted the growth of anti-imperialist war activism, citing “the growing number of active-duty IVAW chapters.”

Vets revealed their painful understanding of war crimes and the contradictions that soldiers fighting an imperialist war face daily. One ex-Marine in charge of detainees explained how he attempted to protect them from casual abuse by other soldiers. Another witnessed a whole town storm his platoon’s position.
Current reports of corruption and of Iraqi recruits refusing to fight and turning over their weapons to Shiite insurgents mirrored one Marine’s description of outright corruption of Sunni commanders who sold weapons to insurgents. This Marine was disgusted with the “dog and pony show” of the Iraqi military, which is clearly not motivated to defend U.S. imperialism. These experiences provoked him to ask, “What the hell am I doing here [in Iraq].”

The MFSO parent noted how his son couldn’t make a decent living after high school and thus enlisted. This anti-racist MFSO member expressed dismay that after boot camp his son was trained to “hate people he never met.” He said 85% of those killed in Iraq are civilians. His son suffers from PTSD after one tour in Iraq where, on burial detail, he had to collect body parts of deceased soldiers with whom he had trained. This parent stressed the need for everyone to actively oppose the war by reaching out to active-duty soldiers.

The Q and A session revealed the uneven development among these vets. One panelist opposed the war in Iraq but not Afghanistan. Asked about the draft, one vet answered, “Draft all college-age Republicans,” which drew a laugh. Several vets supported a draft as a “wake-up call.” That position is based more on frustration than a real commitment to national service of any kind that’s promoted by the current presidential candidates. A few vets attacked imperialism as a system and opposed any wider wars or military call-up.

The potential for a revolutionary worker/soldier/student alliance was evident during these three brief hours. The panelists are part of the movement against imperialist war, which will ultimately require the fight for a world devoid of profiteers and exploitation. Such forums for political struggle are steps toward that goal.

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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.

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Exposing Bosses’ Politicians Builds Support For PLP


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, January 26 —
During a regular CHALLENGE sale we encountered the student government on our campus urging students to register to vote as a way to stop the tuition increases we’re facing. We were distributing a leaflet exposing Clinton, Obama and the whole lie that voting would end the war and the cutbacks, leading to good conversations about the elections. We also explained to some that the tuition increases were caused by the loss of tax money resulting from the capitalist crisis and the imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

During that sale, a professor invited us to her class where an Obama campaign organizer was speaking. Because of previous discussions in the class, it became clearer to many as he spoke that electoral politics would not produce the social change many students sought. A more fundamental change from the system that is inherently racist, exploitative and imperialist was needed.

When students asked how to end segregation and racism, even the organizer couldn’t explain how electing Obama would help stop school segregation or racism generally. Clearly Obama and electoral politics are incapable of solving the problems the working class faces every day — racism, lack of healthcare and widening wars.

Even the speaker emphasized that change would come from grassroots organizing, that there was little Obama himself could solve alone. When a student said change would stem from us, the working class, the organizer had no reply. He couldn’t challenge the power of the working class, which the Clintons and Obamas try to manipulate on behalf of the ruling class.

Afterwards, we had useful conversations with a few students; some expressed interest in communist politics and a fresh perspective instead of the failing reformist politics presented by the speaker and politicians. One student wanted to join a study group and subscribe to CHALLENGE. Another student invited us to an event later that day where he wanted us to explain our ideas about alternatives to voting. We were welcomed at the event, given time to speak and we invited everyone to read our paper. About 20 CHALLENGES were gladly accepted. We exchanged phone numbers with several students we knew from previous classes who are interested in discussing politics and to plan activities against the cuts.

Between the class and the evening film and discussion, we sold over 30 CHALLENGES and distributed 50 PLP leaflets. We realized how important it is to expose the deceitful electoral campaigns, be they for Obama, Clinton, McCain or Ron Paul.

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