Tag Archives: Elections

There Are No Shortcuts On The Road To Revolution

There are no shortcuts on the road to revolution, neither are there detours. Voting for socialists will not bring about communism, not will an election convince the ruling class to surrender state power. Elections do not force the ruling class to do anything, with a good case in point being that some of the greatest advances the working class made were under the Nixon administration. He was no friend to the working class and an ardent racist, yet the militant fights in the street, armed guerilla struggles around the world, and a communist, albeit revisionist, center to the movement forced the capitalist class to make concessions they didn’t want to. The elections masked the true force of the class struggle. Murderer in chief Obama is now removing those concessions.

Workers in France thought they were voting in progress when they voted in the socialist Hollande. They are getting a solid lesson in how well Hollande’s socialism serves the interests of French capitalism. French armed forces are now back in the Central African Republic and their former colonial area in West Africa. He was chomping at the bit to send forces into Syria; it was a colony and has always been a French colonial ambition. Now, they have even more of an excuse with the murder of their reporters in Mali.

The Progressive Labor Party does not run in elections and does not support any of the bosses’ politicians. We point out the fact that the bosses’ elections are a choose your own dictator puppet show. Even red diaper babies like the current NYC mayoral candidate will serve the bosses. Some crumbs may fall to us, but the sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry around the world, with its internal contradictions paralyzing the US congress, will ensure that the bosses will choose to use the aegis of discipline over bribes during this time period.

Kerry is saying that he wants to pivot towards Asia. He is going on a whirlwind tour of Japan, South Korea, and Japan in the first week of December to stress this point. Relative to the constant decline if the rate of profit and the normal degeneration of capitalism, China has more constant concrete capital due and the US has more abstract capital. Though the US has a military, the constant internecine capitalist class rivalry is threatening their ability to find the necessary mass military their imperialist empire needs. In fact, Obama was supposed to make the trick but the bickering between the capitalist factions kept him rooted in Washington. A military that cannot be quickly replenished is one Pyrrhic victory away from defeat.

We workers have to see every reform victory as just one more skirmish in the class war. The class war is not being fought to lighten our burden, but to emancipate us, our class, our children, and eventually the whole human race from exploitation.  In other words, we need to throw our burden of exploitation and oppression off forever by organizing a Communist society. 

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Chicago Teachers: Battle Racist Education

CHICAGO, September 18 — The strike of 26,000 rank-and-file teachers who broke the bosses’ law in fighting to defend their students was suspended today after a vote of 800 delegates in the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), pending a membership-wide vote over the next several weeks.

This was a strike for the students and their parents. The teachers’ fight is one which opposes the school bosses racist oppression of the students. The teachers are fighting for better learning conditions for students and better working conditions for themselves. Many were open to Progressive Labor Party’s ideas and leadership shown by over 2,000 CHALLENGES and tens of thousands of fliers were distributed, and several teachers’ agreed to work more closely and learn more about the PLP.

The strike demonstrated that workers, united can defy the bosses’ laws. When teachers strike they openly defy the state’s plan to indoctrinate the next generation of workers in the classroom.

The teachers struck against racism. More than 80 percent of Chicago students are black and Latino and the school bosses run a system founded on racist discrimination that drives students into low-wage jobs, mass unemployment or the military, to kill our sister and brother workers in imperialist wars.

During the strike, the rank and file picketed every one of the system’s 585 schools, every day. Daily rallies of tens of thousands of people, including parents, students, and workers from other unions backed the strikers. Members who had formerly been inactive learned what it means to fight back against the boss. Others stepped forward into leadership roles. A strike changes people!

Smash the Bosses’ Dictatorship

This is only one battle in a long class war of workers against bosses that can be won only when the rulers’ state apparatus is smashed by a communist revolution led a by PLP.

The bosses are pushing their agenda to indoctrinate working class students and blaming teachers for capitalist failures. The leaders of the national unions are helping them; while the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) president Randi Weingarten reluctantly came out in support of the strike. The fact is the trade unions as a whole, including the AFT and the National Education Association are partners with the bosses in opening the door to “reforms”. This will break seniority by re-writing tenure and starting the process to make teacher evaluation dependent on phony test scores.

The strike has already inspired millions of workers and youth and set an example of what kind of fight-back is possible. The experience of defying the bosses’ laws must be extended to a strike against their closing of even one school.

With the national elections just weeks away, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reminds us that we live under a class dictatorship and that the state apparatus (the government) serves the ruling class of billionaires, bankers and school reformers no matter which party is in the White House. The bosses and their politicians may disagree on how to save the U.S. empire but they are united on keeping their class in power and terrorizing workers and youth into accepting a future of racist terror, poverty and war. And part of the bosses’’ purpose in cutting back school budgets is to use these resources to fight their continuing imperialist oil wars.

The legal system that attacked this strike is the same court system and ruling class government that has:

• Enacted laws in Illinois, backed by both parties and signed by a Democratic Party governor forcing teachers to have a super majority (70 percent) to call a strike but CTU members smashed that barrier with a 90 percent vote;

• Passed another law that if a teachers’ strike “presents a clear and present danger,” the Mayor and school bosses can use the courts to force them back to work;

• Created the world’s largest prison population, over 2.4 million, 70% black and Latino;

• Deported over 400,000 immigrants last year alone, with tens of thousands more sitting in immigration jails, separated from family and friends;

• Foreclosed the homes of millions of workers and their families since the economic crash of 2008;

This ruling-class dictatorship must be smashed and replaced by dictatorship of the workers, in which millions of workers and youth will serve the needs of the international working class.

The strike helped expose the Democratic Party and its revolving door between the White House and Chicago’s City Hall. This includes Emanuel, Obama’s former Chief-of Staff (who was replaced by William Daley) and now head of Obama’s political fund-raising committee; Arne Duncan, national education Czar and former Chicago school boss; and Obama himself, former Illinois Senator.

Part of this bosses’ dictatorship is the use of their election circus in which both political parties are used to divert workers from looking to revolt against the ruling class that exploit us. By continuing the fight, the teachers will continue to get the support of parents, students and workers from all industries, in Chicago and beyond. PLP can expose the bosses’ class dictatorship, point workers in another direction, off the treadmill of endless reform and onto the road to revolution, a vital lesson that educators can learn on and off the picket lines!

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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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BOSSES’ ELECTION: CAPITALISM WINS

picture-2COMMUNISM IS ONLY SOLUTION

One of two events, both disasters for the working class, will occur on November 4. Either Barack Obama, spouting his phony “end-of-racism” message, will prevail (as polls predict), or a sudden upsurge in overt racism (always a possibility in the U.S.) might propel John McCain into office. We in Progressive Labor Party do not believe in voting in the bosses’ election system. They completely control this electoral circus and only those who swear allegiance to them are even allowed access to it.

Although important tactical differences exist between Democrats and Republicans, both are committed to capitalism and U.S. “democracy.” The rich and powerful who own and rule the U.S. clearly will never give up their power peacefully. They will also spill the blood of millions of workers and soldiers to protect their imperialist interests overseas from their capitalist rivals, waging wider wars which will lead to another world war.

They offer us the chance to vote for “our representatives” when both parties are actually financed by the richest of the rich, who they serve in all important matters. For instance, in the current financial crisis, polls showed that voters opposed the government bailout plan. But even mere weeks before an “historic” election, the politicians of both parties approved rescuing the banks. The richest bosses feared that panic would undermine their ability to pocket their profits as usual and that imperialist rivals would be able to take advantage of their weakness. After a momentary show of reluctance, the “representatives” fell into line with the rulers’ program.

HOW ELECTORAL SYSTEM  SERVES RULERS’ NEEDS

All politicians work for the ruling class. However, if the parties and politicians were completely alike, the electoral system wouldn’t serve all the rulers’ needs. First they want workers, students and professionals to believe we can elect someone who represents their “interests.” Anti-racists have black and Latin candidates, anti-sexists can vote for women and those concerned about the environment are given candidates who talk about fighting global warming as long as business profits aren’t affected.

The presidential primaries had someone for everyone, an attempt to win workers to see the electoral system as the only option for change.

A secondary effect of drawing workers into the election circus is to build the illusion that voters determine government policy. Workers are encouraged to feel they’re responsible for the government’s actions. If something goes wrong, then just vote for a replacement. But in reality, the candidates and parties will do the opposite of what they campaigned for if important interests of the rulers are involved.

With his broad appeal, probable victor Obama poses the graver danger. Many workers and youth see him as a “solution” to the catastrophe of the Bush years. Obama & Co. seek to lure masses of workers to the rulers’ agenda of ever-expanding wars paid for by workers.

THE ‘CARROT AND THE STICK’

Rulers also use the electoral system to co-opt mass protests against capitalism and its racism, sexism and wars. When millions took to the streets to protest the Vietnam War, liberal Senator Eugene McCarthy was trotted out to entice them back into the fold of dead-end campaigning and voting that changed nothing.
In the 1960s, millions of students and workers rebelling against the harsh racism and segregation, north and south, were given black mayors and “anti-poverty” programs that bought off a few and left masses of black workers still facing police brutality and the lower wages of a racist system.

However, while the rulers can use the “carrot” of an “anti-war” Eugene McCarthy or black legislators and “anti-poverty” programs, they simultaneously will use the “stick:” the cops, National Guard and the Army to kill anti-war demonstrators (Kent State and Jackson State); repress black uprisings (sending the 82nd Airborne to put down the 1967 Detroit black rebellion); covert state terror (the FBI’s COINTELPRO); and imprison 2.4 million people, 70% black and Latino.

When the rulers worry that our struggles may threaten their profits, they may give us a crumb: a dollar more on the minimum wage, OSHA laws (governmental on-the-job safety regulations) with one inspector for every 10,000 workplaces, laws against discrimination that are rarely enforced. Later, those crumbs are taken away when they see that we’ve bought into the election shell game instead of militant working-class struggle.

Relying on elections to improve our conditions is a treadmill to oblivion.

Freeing ourselves from the passive pull-the-voting-lever mentality starts with militant struggle like the Boeing machinists’ strike in Seattle, or the teachers’ strike in Morelos, Mexico. Mass marches, demonstrations and standing up to the boss may help teach us to fight back instead of accepting the “democratic” program. But to really overcome capitalism’s exploitation and wars, we also need to struggle for more profound change — a new system where workers will be in control.
U.S. rulers are desperate to maintain their system of wealth and profits. They killed 3,000,000 Vietnamese and 58,000 U.S. soldiers trying to control a small country’s workers and resources. They’ve killed over a million Iraqi workers with eight years of Clinton bombing surrounded by eight years of Bush aggression trying to maintain control of the world’s oil supply.

RAW DEAL FOR WORKERS

But now, to marshal the forces U.S. imperialism requires, Obama may try an end run around blatant militarism and the draft. With the crippled U.S. economy shedding 200,000 jobs a month, he may opt for a Roosevelt New Deal-style employment program to rally workers around the flag. The Times (10/26/08) reports that Obama “proposes increases for education, infrastructure, research, foreign aid, and the military.”

For workers, voting for warmaker Obama is no better than backing McCain. Viewing Obama’s election as a triumph over racism would be a serious political error. By every measure imaginable — from wages to health to education to imprisonment to jobs and home foreclosures — racist disparity rages in the U.S. Because capitalism breeds racism and imperialist oil wars,  Obama can’t and won’t end or even alleviate either. Only the working class can.

U.S. rulers claim to be “democratic,” but they really preside over a capitalist dictatorship. They own the wealth, control the mass culture and media and use their government and its military and police forces to maintain their power. Communists in PLP believe the working class must overthrow their dictatorship and replace it with a workers’ dictatorship where the vast majority will be armed to prevent the capitalists from ever returning to power.

To achieve this, millions of workers must join PLP to embrace communist ideas of sharing the wealth we produce according to everyone’s needs, along with anti-racist, anti-sexist and internationalist ideas which are necessary to unite the working class in its struggle for power.J

TEAM OBAMA: IMPERIALISTS ONE AND ALL

Before Obama was given the resources to campaign for the presidency, he had to meet with, be vetted by and swear his allegiance to the bosses’ flag of profits before a committee of Wall Street financial tycoons and then they donated $7.9 million to Obama’s campaign (Reuters, 6/5.08).
Obama’s economic advisor is the ruling class’s top economic assassin Paul Volcker, who has frequently met with the candidate since the financial crisis broke. As Federal Reserve chief, Volcker “solved” the bankers’ inflation crisis of the early 1980s by jacking up interest rates and causing unemployment rates unseen since the Great Depression.

Today, Volcker and Obama push for a fascistic concentration of finance under tightened state control. Volcker was chief economist at Chase Manhattan bank when David Rockefeller ran it. With Rockefeller, he co-founded the imperialist Trilateral Commission.

On October 25, The New York Times published a list of “Possible Presidential Appointments.” As Obama’s treasury secretary, the Times pointed to Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers. Geithner, head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, has toiled for Rockefeller’s Council On Foreign Relations and Kissinger Associates, which advises Exxon Mobil and other firms that depend on the U.S war machine. Geithner was a leading engineer of J.P. Morgan Chase’s takeover of Bear Stearns and the $250-billion federal buy-in to major banks.

Summers, who as Clinton’s treasury boss helped dismantle Welfare, tried mightily to restore officer training at Harvard when he was its president. The Times says Richard Lugar may run the State Department. In 1997 and 1998, Lugar sponsored a little-known terrorist attack drill that put local police under Pentagon control in cities from coast to coast.

BOSSES USE ELECTIONS TO SETTLE THEIR OWN CONFLICTS

In addition to countering any worker protests against the system, elections are also used to provide a peaceful way to deal with conflicts among different sections of the ruling class. Various capitalists who are united in pursuing profits can sometimes have different economic and political needs. Those who are deeply invested in oil production internationally (tracing back to the Rockefeller and Morgan fortunes) are sometimes in conflict with those whose fortunes are tied to domestic oil production.

The government is used to mediate these differences. For instance, the “liberal” internationalists use environmental regulations to hamstring domestic oil producers. As a side effect, the liberals can appear to be pursuing the environmental goals of their supporters.

Health care “reform” is an issue where mediating conflicts between the rulers is combined with attempts to con us into believing that the government represents our interests. The older established section of the rulers, whose fortunes are centered in large industrial and financial institutions, provides most of the health care insurance available to U.S. workers. For decades they’ve been trying to reduce that expense by creating a system where more bosses (and also workers in general) will share that burden by increasing the number of workers who are insured but making the coverage considerably poorer and less expensive than the largest bosses pay now.

Small and medium-sized bosses, who rarely provide insurance coverage, fight these plans by having “their” politicians argue that they will lower the quality of health care available to workers (true). But they downplay the reality that tens of millions of uninsured workers must often choose between paying for food or for medical care.

Resolving this debate may solve problems for some set of bosses, but whether workers support one side or the other, all of us will wind up with the short end of the stick.

Seeking Cannon Fodder, Obama Enlists Mass Murderer Powell

War criminal Colin Powell’s recent endorsement of Barack Obama speaks volumes about the Obama camp’s militaristic intentions. Powell has a long military history of serving U.S. rulers, from Vietnam to Gulf Wars I and II (see below). This endorsement means Obama embraces the “Powell Doctrine,” which demands rallying wide popular and international support to unleash overwhelming force against any imperialist rivals threatening U.S. bosses’ interests, particularly oil.

As part of this strategy, the Obama-Powell love match aims at reversing the sharp decline — 41% last year — in black enlistment in the armed forces. They especially want to stem the loss — mainly due to the racist nature of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — of black sergeants, who train recruits and thus form the backbone of the Army and Marines. The rulers also count on loyal retired black non commission officers (NCOs) to recruit and spread patriotism in their neighborhoods.

In 1996, Charles Moskos, who later worked on Clinton’s Hart-Rudman Commission reports outlining U.S. imperialism’s goals for the 21st Century, co-wrote a book called “All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way.” In it he said, “The beneficial impact of black sergeants extends beyond the Army. Every year 2,000 black NCOs in the Army (4,000 in the military as a whole) retire from service….The impact of this group of men — and now women as well — on the civilian black community will be tangible and positive.” Obama hopes having Powell on board will help him get the 91,000 additional soldiers he demands for, among other stated aims, expanding the Afghan war into Pakistan.

With 35 years as a professional soldier, Powell rose to full General. He got his start as a captain and later a major in the U.S. invasion of Vietnam, serving as a South Vietnamese Army advisor and as assistant chief of staff for the Americal 23rd Infantry Division. He was assigned to investigate the My Lai Massacre of Vietnamese women and children, which he whitewashed, saying that “relations between American soldiers and the Vietnamese people are excellent.” (So “excellent” that 3,000,000 Vietnamese were slaughtered).
In 2004, Powell told TV interviewer Larry King, “I was in a unit that was responsible for My Lai. I got there after My Lai happened. In war, these sorts of horrible things happen every now and again.”

Adding to his executioner “laurels,” Powell — as senior military assistant to Reagan’s Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger — helped carry out the 1983 invasion of Grenada and the 1986 air strike on Libya.
Powell drips with the blood of the millions of Iraqis he helped kill in Desert Genocides I and II to benefit Exxon Mobil’s oil empire. Powell personally directed the slaughter in the first war as chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs. He “justified” the second invasion by lying to the UN about Iraq’s weapons programs. Powell currently serves as a director in the Rockefeller-led Council on Foreign Relations, U.S. imperialism’s top think-tank.

An Obama presidency would put into practice Powell’s strategy for mass murder, while attempting to win working-class youth, especially black youth, to become cannon fodder for U.S. rulers in present and future oil wars.

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U.S. RULING CLASS, NOT VOTERS, CALLS SHOTS IN ELECTION

(The Following is a Progressive Labor Party Leaflet)

Like all elections, the campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain help the capitalists hide the fact that this is not a democracy. The illusion is that voters, mainly workers, can choose the nation’s leaders. In reality, a ruling class — led by powerful financiers — selects, bankrolls and directs each of the candidates. The dominant section of the U.S. ruling class (the Eastern Establishment), whose interests lie in continuing U.S. world domination, is determined to control the policy of whoever wins in November 2008. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Brookings Institution are the two most important foreign policy think tanks of these capitalists.  They are developing a blueprint for the next U.S. president (no matter who is elected), which can be used as the foundation for the new administration’s Middle-East policy.

Key advisor for Obama is Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski is a former director of the Eastern Establishment backed CFR. He helped President Jimmy Carter frame write the 1979 Carter Doctrine, which promised permanent occupation of Mid-East oilfields. One of McCain’s advisors is CFR member Max Boot, who is pushing for a U.S. Foreign Legion. Other McCain advisors are Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft (CFR member and Bush, Sr.’s National Security Advisor). It is these think-tank policy-makers, bankers and heads of the largest corporations who form the ruling class that runs the country, no matter who sits in the White House.

Today, the economic crises of capitalism in the U.S. and the world are only sharpening the conflict with imperialist rivals. Now, more than ever the U.S. ruling class needs workers and professionals to sacrifice for the needs of U.S. imperialism. They need a capitalist leader who can inspire the masses to support U.S. imperialist ambitions throughout the world. This leader faces a tough challenge. Russia is becoming more aggressive.  China is a rapidly growing economic and military power, and Europe is uniting and growing stronger.

In order to protect the U.S. profit empire against challenges from imperialist rivals, particularly China and Russia, the U.S. ruling class needs to dominate the oil-rich Middle East and Central Asia, politically and militarily. Campaign 2008 boils down to which candidate can most effectively mobilize the nation behind the U.S. imperialists and their war and fascism. McCain believes in more troops in Iraq and keeping them there longer while Obama believes in fewer troops in Iraq and pulling them out sooner but sending the troops to other key areas of Mideast. Both believe in occupying Iraq and preparing for war with Iran. Both agree on the absolute importance of maintaining control of oil in the Middle East and Central Asia. They disagree over the tactics to use not the strategy!

Both Obama and McCain offer national service and push patriotism as a way to win workers and professionals to support expanding the U.S. military to prepare for more wars. During a rally on July 3, 2008, Obama said, the quiet following Friday’s Independence Day celebrations would be a good time to consider how to contribute “to our most pressing national challenges,” whether in the military, overseas or just next door. National service, a key part of Obama’s campaign platform, is an important step towards bringing back the draft and winning people to support expanding the U.S. military. Obama, like McCain, understand that the U.S. will need more troops in the future to face threats to its superpower status.

As more people become interested in the elections, the need to expose the candidates’ class allegiance is crucial. They both defend a racist profit system that systematically and brutally exploits workers, often through war, and needs to be eliminated. But the working class cannot just vote away its tormentors. Capitalism’s destruction can only be achieved through the long-term, painstaking process of building a revolutionary communist movement that will ultimately end the rule of profit and put the working class in power. Join us!

Workers, Soldiers, and Students of the World Unite Against Fascism and Imperialist War!  Don’t Vote!  Fight Back!

Progressive Labor Party is a revolutionary communist party dedicated to eliminating capitalism with communist revolution as the only way to end imperialism, fascism, racism, sexism, and class inequality.

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Voting Won’t End Nightmare for 20 Million Unemployed Workers

Voting for either set of warmakers — Obama-Biden or McCain-Palin — won’t end the nightmare suffered by over 20 million workers who are either unemployed, have given up seeking non-existent jobs or are working part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs. Capitalism marches on!

While the “official” jobless rate rose to 6.1% (highest in five years), this excludes the other two categories above, so the real rate is 16.8%. And because of racist discrimination, unemployment rates among black workers are double that of white workers, and 60% higher among Latinos.

This is a full-fledged recession, although — as the saying goes — if your neighbor’s out of work, it’s a recession; if you’re out of work, it’s a depression.

Still worse, inflation has been outstripping wages, so the so-called Misery Index — unemployment + inflation — is at 11.7%, the worst in 17 years.

Of the 600,000 jobs wiped out in August, there are nearly as many college graduates as high school graduates; the jobless are up among adults, many over 45, not just teenagers, as unemployment rose for the 8th straight month, the most sustained increase in 25 years.

Combined with this picture is the home foreclosure rate, triple three years ago and the highest in nearly three decades. Unemployment feeds the foreclosures, leading to a downward spiral for millions of working-class families. In the next four months, the airlines will lay off 36,000. State and local governments will continue to cut back because of lower tax revenues. And the shakiness of the banks, credit and stock markets are heading towards a “financial tsunami,” predicts the manager of the world’s largest bond market — as it was shown by the virtual nationalization of the mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mac. So the Treasury arranged a deal that throws Fannie and Freddie shareholders over the side, but promises to protect Wall Street and foreign creditors (from China, Japan, oil-rich Gulf emirate and even Russia). Without these big lenders, credit would dry up and the blow to the bosses’ economy could be historic. So, the feds couldn’t wait till after the elections. Neither Obama nor McCain opposed this huge robbery of workers’ tax money.

Eventually it could cost $500 billion to save these mortgage giants.

With U.S. imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (and Pakistan and Iran looming?), trillions in workers’ and future workers’ income taxes are being sucked into the bottomless military pit the ruler’s system has created, while simultaneously slaughtering millions of workers internationally.

Meanwhile, Obama and McCain continue to spout “concerns” for the jobless and offer meaningless “programs” for stimulating the economy, even as the last “stimulus” of $160 billion this past spring failed miserably to ward off a deepening recession. And they still propose troop increases for Afghanistan and the Army in general, to funnel more billions down the drain to protect their oil empire against rival imperialists in Europe, Russia, Japan and China.
Not one U.S. president has ever ended unemployment because the profit system by definition cannot provide full employment. Capitalism operates on cutthroat competition. As one set of bosses wins the competition, another set loses and inevitably cuts costs to try to maintain profits by laying off thousands and millions of workers. With “globalization” permeating the capitalist world, Toyota wins and GM loses, cutting tens of thousands of jobs. Even the one GM department that was making money, GMAC (its financial arm) has just announced 5,000 layoffs.
We in PLP call on workers not to vote, instead to organize breaking with all these politicians and union hacks who are all serving the bosses. Instead of blaming immigrant or workers from other countries or even other areas for losing jobs, we must unite internationally. This unity is key to fighting for the only solution to joblessness and endless wars this racist profit system breeds: a workers-led communist society with no bosses, no profits, no wage slavery. That’s PLP’s goal. It’s a lifetime job. Join us.

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Mis-leading Workers and Youth: Obama Spurs Rulers’ War Agenda

Swelling support for Barack Obama is a two-sided phenomenon. On one hand, it reflects the sincere but misdirected anti-war, anti-racist aspirations of millions of people. On the other, it marks a concerted ruling-class effort to win these millions to the electoral system and thus to implicitly back U.S. imperialism. Communists should work among these masses to turn this around.

So whom does Obama serve, and what’s his agenda? A big hint comes from arch-imperialist Paul Volcker’s recent endorsement of Obama. Chief economist at Chase bank, director of the Rockefeller-led Trilateral Commission, Federal Reserve chairman who put millions out of work by jacking up interest rates to 20% to bail out bankers in the 1980s, Volcker hopes Obama’s “leadership…can restore confidence in our vision, our strength, and our purposes right around the world.” (Wall Street Journal, 1/31/08)

FOR LIBERAL IMPERIALISTS: OBAMA BEST ASSET IN 50 YEARS

Volcker exemplifies U.S. rulers who — facing inevitable clashes with regional rivals like Iran and global ones like China and Russia — need to mobilize and militarize millions of people. Obama, with his broad appeal to young students and workers, is giving the war-makers invaluable help. Robert Putnam, from Harvard’s Kennedy School, a top imperialist policy factory, writes, “Primaries and caucuses…in the last two months have evinced the sharpest increase in civic engagement among American youth in at least a half-century, portending a remarkable revitalization of American democracy.” (Boston Globe, 3/2/08) He could have said more honestly, “of the U.S. war machine.”

Crediting, both the “extraordinary” Obama campaign and 9/11 for the upturn, Putnam calls the new crop of voters a second “Greatest Generation.” He likens them to the tens of millions who, whether enlisted or drafted, fought fascism in World War II. The capitalists Putnam represents (the Ford, Getty, Carnegie, and Rockefeller foundations bankroll his “civic engagement” program at Harvard) hope voting will boost patriotism and, ultimately, troop strength.

HARVARD PROF BACKING OBAMA GIVES THANKS FOR 9/11 SLAUGHTER

Near the end of, and after, the Vietnam War, the rulers tried several tactics to control youth. They dropped the voting age to 18 in 1972. Some bought it. That year 52% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted, while millions received a steady diet of drugs and other aspects of a dead-end “do-your-own-thing” culture. In fact, with war out of the way temporarily, youth apathy pleased the bosses. Youth rates of voting in presidential elections fell steadily throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, reaching barely 36% in 2000. But by then China had emerged, and Russia reemerged, as serious U.S. foes. U.S. bosses now needed major sources of cannon fodder.

As Putnam notes, “Then came the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001… a tragedy, but also the sort of opportunity for civic revival that comes along once or twice a century…. In the 2004 and 2006 elections, turnout among young people began at last to climb after decades of decline.” Like the rulers’ pre-9/11 Hart-Rudman Commission reports, Putnam welcomes terrorist mass murder as an aid in “galvanizing” the U.S. for global war. But, as motivators, 9/11s and Pearl Harbors, however useful, wane over time. They must be sustained by a Roosevelt-style, media-fueled charisma that mis-leads workers into voting booths, against their class interest.

‘BARRACKS’ OBAMA FIRES AIDE WHO LEAKED WAR PLANS

Putnam’s — and U.S. imperialism’s — reputed savior, Obama has a long history of luring people of military age into the system. His “Project Vote” in Chicago in the 1990s registered over 100,000 young first-time voters. Obama, who promises to add 92,000 soldiers to the Army immediately, has participated in the Seminar on Civic Engagement that Putnam leads at Harvard.

Pretending to be the “Out-of-Iraq” peace candidate, Obama supports the war agenda just as much as Clinton and McCain do. He recently fired a foreign policy advisor, Samantha Power, for letting that cat out of the bag. (Power, another Kennedy School guru, specializes in disguising military invasions as “humanitarian interventions.”) On March 6, a BBC reporter asked her: “So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out in 16 months isn’t a commitment?” Power’s answer: “You can’t make a commitment in March 2008 about what circumstances will be like in January of 2009.”

Yes, Obama’s voting numbers present us an opportunity because they show that young people are now less cynical and more open to “talking politics.” But just what politics is crucial. The highly politicized Hitler Youth weren’t cynical. Many earnestly hoped for the better world Nazi imperialism claimed to offer. And Hitler, after all, professing “socialism,” was able to rally many well-meaning people seeking change to support German industrialists’ deadly schemes for territorial expansion.

Unless we actively participate in Obama’s campaign and expose his true purposes, any Obama success at the polls will prove deadly to the working class. The fatally deceptive optimism he sells masks imperialist objectives that are the exact opposite of PLP’s working-class program. Our long-term goals are waging a revolution to destroy the profit system and its endless wars and making a communist-led working class the rulers of society.

Obama’s Phony ‘Anti-War’ Roots

Obama mirrors both the rulers’ phony anti-war candidates McCarthy (1968) and McGovern (1972) as well as that era’s pro-capitalist, pacifist civil rights misleaders. McCarthy drew thousands of youth into his “anti-Vietnam War” campaign and actually forced the rulers to dump incumbent Lyndon Johnson. But the war went on. In 1972, McGovern again brought thousands of young people around his “anti-war” candidacy, but that effort didn’t end the war either.
When masses were in motion then, demanding change, PLP exposed the imperialist political content of those movements. Politics are primary.

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RULING CLASS, NOT VOTERS, CALL SHOTS IN ELECTION


Like all elections, Obama’s, Clinton’s and McCain’s three-ring circus helps capitalists disguise the class nature of their dictatorship. The illusion is that voters, mainly workers, get to choose the nation’s leaders. In reality, a ruling class — led by powerful financiers — hand-picks, bankrolls and directs each of the candidates.

Sometimes, as with Clinton and Dole in 1996, the race reflects major divisions over policy between factions of U.S. capitalists, usually the main wing which advocates long-range imperialist investment abroad vs. the isolationists who oppose costly foreign profit wars, wanting to concentrate on immediate domestic profits. But this year, the front-runners all promote the main, imperialist wing’s agenda for a domestic police state and ever-expanding war. Campaign 2008 boils down to which candidate can most effectively mobilize the nation for the imperialists’ needs. In Texas recently, Obama and Clinton debated their relative fitness to be commander-in-chief.

The war-making billionaires have high hopes for Obama and Clinton. Both are luring more black and Latino, female and young workers to express patriotic loyalty to the rulers, more so this year to gain support for wider war. Both want health plans that maintain drug and insurance profits, racist plans which will fall most heavily on lower-income black and Latino families who can least afford to pay anything into such schemes. Both advocate “national service” — mandatory drafting of all youth for two years, many of whom (especially black and Latino youth) will serve that time in the military. Both will make workers will pay heavily for the rulers’ domestic and global aims. But both promise to impose wartime economic discipline on reluctant capitalists, eliminating tax cuts on the rich in order to rein in the excesses of the corporations and CEOs in the drive to pay for the racist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But, if the imperialists fail to sell the Democrats’ plans for war taxes and regulation, they can fall back on Nazi goose-stepping militarist McCain. All three candidates get their main funding from the sector of U.S. finance capital that has the greatest interest in broadening the U.S. war machine’s field of operation. [See page 7.] Taking no chances, imperialist Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs backs all three contenders.

YES, VIRGINIA (AND TEXAS AND OHIO), THERE IS A RULING CLASS

The New York Times (2/10) proclaimed that the 2008 campaign proves that a king-making elite does not exist: “This season’s primaries have made the idea of a political establishment, whether Republican or Democratic, hard to take seriously.” Even harder to take seriously is the Times’ denial, given the candidates’ backers and advisers:

• Zbigniew Brzezinski headlines Obama’s cast of counselors. Brzezinski has served as director of the elite, banker-backed Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission. He helped Carter frame his infamous 1979 Doctrine, which vowed permanent occupation of Mid-East oilfields.

• Clinton’s handlers, mainly war criminals from husband Bill’s days, including Madeleine Albright and William Perry, have formed their own think-tank, the Center for a New American Security. Clinton’s CNAS has now joined with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to study U.S. military readiness for challenges from Iran, Pakistan, China and beyond. Hillary’s “peacenik” supporters at Carnegie take “generous financial support” from the A-list of U.S. imperialism: BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, the Rockefellers, Shell and the Pentagon.

• One-time “maverick” McCain now has Establishment CFR pundit Max Boot in his corner pushing for a U.S. Foreign Legion. Boot joins McCain advisors Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft (Bush, Sr.’s National Security Advisor) and Colin Powell.C

RULING CLASS’S TOP
THINK-TANKS DICTATE POLICY

The dominant faction of U.S. imperialists is determined to control the policy of whoever wins in November. The CFR and the Brookings Institution “are undertaking an ambitious initiative to develop a nonpartisan blueprint for the next U.S. president, one which can be used as the foundation for the new administration’s Middle-East policy.” (CFR website) The CFR team has representation from all three camps: Sandy Berger (Clinton), Brzezinski (Obama), and Scowcroft (McCain). Not coincidentally, all three candidates have — in the CFR’s Foreign Affairs journal — pledged to vastly enlarge the U.S. Army. It is these think-tank policy-makers, bankers and heads of the largest corporations who form the ruling class that runs the country, no matter who sits in the White House.

As popular interest in the elections heightens, it is crucial to expose the candidates’ class allegiance. They all defend a racist profit system that systematically and brutally exploits workers, often through war, and is long overdue for extinction. But the working class cannot just vote away its tormentors. Capitalism’s destruction can only be achieved through the long-term, painstaking building of a revolutionary communist party — PLP — that will ultimately put an armed working class in power.

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Pakistani Bosses’ Election Won’t Solve Workers’ Problems

  Those Pakistanis who did vote in the country’s recent national assembly elections registered their disgust with current president and military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, soundly rejecting his ruling party, (the Pakistani Muslim League, PML-Q). An even greater disbelief in the ability of elections to solve the problems faced by Pakistan’s working class was mirrored in the great majority who didn’t vote. In a country where workers struggle with double-digit inflation and face daily shortages of basic necessities like wheat flour and sugar, barely 20 million — of a possible 100 million+ eligible voters — went to the polls.

  The entire electoral system is thoroughly corrupt, a condition endemic to capitalism. Although winners included the Pakistani People’s Party (PPP), led by Asif Ali Zardari, husband of the recently-assassinated Benazir Bhutto, and ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League–N, the low vote could easily reflect a protest against the big spending of the candidates. They criss-crossed the country in private jets, helicopters, bullet-proof 4-wheelers, protected by heavily-armed private security guards and poured money into extravagant TV and print ads. This campaign blitz cost 200 billion rupees, according to the Times of India. (1,000 rupees roughly equals $16.)

  For many months Pakistani army officers have been moving away from Musharraf as their front-man. His overly-obvious bowing to U.S. orders, plus personal power-grabbing, made it more difficult for the army to control the Pakistani masses. The appearance of a “fair” election was necessary to downgrade the increasingly unpopular general. But “choosing” between the same small group of elites who, using elections, coups or assassinations, have bounced in and out of power for the past 40 years, reflects the “choices” under capitalism where all parties represent the ruling class.

  It was also the most expensive election in the country’s history, completely controlled by those who financed the campaigns, with money mostly coming from wealthy industrialists, stock brokers and real estate businessmen whose “investments” will require pay-offs. This means the same old corrupt government, run on contracts, kickbacks and patronage.

  No party won an outright majority. Power-sharing deals involve U.S.-backed dictator Musharraf, who retains the presidency illegally; PPP leader, Asif Ali Zardari, unable to assume office because of his criminal past, having served eight years in prison on embezzlement charges; and Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistani Muslim League-N,  also barred from office because of past convictions for hijacking, terrorism and attempted murder.

  These two parties engineered a coalition government that excludes Musharraf, who remains president, for now. Meanwhile, the lawyers, journalists, NGO’s, human rights activists and students of the “Democracy Movement“ are pressuring the coalition for a place in the new government.

  One young activist lawyer was skeptical of the movement’s call for “democracy” — as if the state was neutral, above class interests, instead of being an instrument for the ruling class to exploit the working class. Doubtful of producing any lasting changes through a capitalist government, he said, “Nevertheless we’re in this movement, fighting the anti-working class labor laws. As capitalists fight with each other, and show their many weaknesses, we have an opportunity to build a mass party for revolutionary change.” 

  But the U.S. is the main player pulling the strings in Pakistani politics. Shortly after the elections, the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad summoned the PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari to the U.S. embassy. The PPP now says the new government won’t seek Musharraf’s immediate impeachment. The U.S. indicates it will continue working with Musharraf.

  Pakistan, a center of competition among world powers, occupies a position of great geo-strategic importance, bordered by Iran, Afghanistan, China, India and the Arabian Sea. It is crucial to strengthening the U.S. hold on the Middle East. Already the U.S. has four army bases in Pakistan, and launches Predator missile attacks on insurgents from a secret base in Pakistan.

Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the UN, says, “We will look back 10 years from now and say that Af/Pak was even more important to our national security than Iraq.” Both Obama and Clinton favor expanding the “war on terror” in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  The search for Al Qaeda and Bin Laden will be used to justify keeping the U.S in the area for a long time. U.S, Pakistani and Afghan workers and youth will be dragged into fighting more wars. Therefore, the most important task is to build a revolutionary party to lead the working class out of the endless horrors of capitalism. This is PLP’s aim in Pakistan and worldwide. Fight for Communism.

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Top Five Big Business Contributors to the Leading Candidates

Barack Obama:

* Goldman Sachs (Wall Street’s top power broker, whose “alumni” include U.S. Treasury-Secy. Henry Paulson, Citigroup chairman Robert Rubin, British Petroleum CEO Peter Sutherland, and Jon Corzine, New Jersey’s Governor)

* UBS (world’s largest wealth manager, largely owned by Saudi royal family)

* J.P. Morgan Chase (“Rockefeller’s bank,” closely tied to Exxon Mobil)

* Exelon (nuclear power company; ultra-imperialist Cabot family has big stake)

* Kirkland & Ellis (BP’s U.S. law firm)

Hillary Clinton:

* Goldman Sachs

* Citigroup (U.S.’s and world’s biggest bank; Saudi prince main shareholder)

* Morgan Stanley (Wall Street bank, deeply invested in Middle East)

* DLA Piper (world’s biggest law firm, with offices throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.)

* J.P. Morgan Chase

John McCain:

* Citigroup

* Bank Rome (lobbyists for Shell Oil and Chiquita Banana)

*Greenberg Traurig (law firm representing Alcoa worldwide)

* Merrill Lynch (U.S. richest investment firm whose biggest holdings are war beneficiaries GE and Exxon Mobil)

* Goldman Sachs

(Source: Center for Responsive Politics)

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