In his State of the Union address, Barack Obama called for “middle-class economics” — a brand of capitalism where workers would keep a bigger piece of the pie. But Obama’s latest promise is so much pie in the sky. A system based on the exploitation of the working class — and enforced by capitalists’ state power — can never serve workers’ needs. The two classes are diametrically opposed. “Middle-class economics” reflects an embattled, crisis-ridden U.S. ruling class that is running scared — scared of what could become a communist working-class revolution.
New York City, January 19 — PLP and friends upped the ante against racist cops and slumlords under the leadership of Black, Latin, and Asian women this Martin Luther King (MLK) weekend. Over 1,000 CHALLENGEs were distributed. This weekend was yet another demonstration that workers will fight back under communist leadership. The ability for the international working class to abolish capitalism hinges on making anti-racism and anti-sexism central to our fight. With PLP, such a world is possible.
BALTIMORE CITY, January 14 — For the 76th time, ever since the brutal racist police murder of unarmed Black worker Tyrone West in July of 2013, a weekly West Wednesday rally was held today, demanding justice!
Mr. West, aged 44, was beaten to death by 12 to 15 cops, after a traffic stop during which they dragged him by his dreads out of his car. The cops called Mr. West the “N” word several times, maced him, tasered him and beat him.
A witness said — after Mr. West tried to escape from the unbearable beating, and ran a short distance to a nearby alley — that officers caught up with him and started beating him again, this time with batons on his head and back. Another witness said he was at a relative’s house and had gone outside when he heard women screaming.
LOS ANGELES, January 28 — PL’ers and friends here got a much-needed boost this weekend with our communist school. It was a short trip but we left energized. We held two workshops: on the fight against racism and on building a base in the working class.
There were several highlights. Two friends joined PLP. One, a masonry worker, who also has some culinary skill, cooked for us with some collective support. In the racism workshop, we deepened our understanding of the history of racism and capitalism. We continued the discussion on Black workers key to communist revolution.
Bogota, Colombia — At the end of the year we held several sport matches and social activities where we collected toys for children and money for comrades in need. More than 60 youth from different areas participated, with some giving reports of their daily lives and activities. We pointed out that we all have the same problems with poverty: racism, low salaries, sexism, fascism and all the rottenness that makes up this criminal profit system.
We’re a youth sporting group of students and workers active in the Party, who get orientation from CHALLENGE and PL comrades. With their help, we’ve structured the group to have communist ideas lead every aspect of our lives. Every May Day we demonstrate our commitment to the revolutionary cause by mobilizing youth for a spirited march on International Workers Day.
Recent violent events in France attracted worldwide attention: the murder of twelve journalists and artists at the offices of the racist magazine Charlie Hebdo, and the murder of 4 hostages at a Kosher supermarket in Paris. Since Muslims committed these acts, the French right-wingers and their colleagues in Israel are quick to blame all Muslims everywhere for these acts. But this is a racist lie: to say that all Muslims are terrorists because a few terrorists happen to be Muslim, is like saying that all Jews are greedy because Bernard Madoff is one. Both are racist ideas, and both serve fascism well, by strengthening nationalism and fear, and pushing workers into the hands of the ruling-class in its plans for war and repression, justified as “fighting terrorism.”
Openly slandering Muslims, and openly attacking its most basic beliefs, helps the Right, such as the neo-Nazi “Front Nationale” (“National Front”) in France.
Selma opens with Martin Luther King, Jr. accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The film, and the portrayal of MLK, is consistent in depicting his pacifism. The march from Selma to Montgomery concludes peacefully. Lyndon Johnson said, “This is why I have chosen you, and not Malcolm X, who advocates violence, to lead the movement.” The film footage from the beginning to the end, however, proves that peaceful movements unprepared-for-violence beget violence.
The film advocates nonviolence and using the legal system. King and other mainstream civil rights leaders argued that working inside the system — by allying with “lesser-evil” bosses and going through the courts and laws — would win the fight against racism. King and others take on collaborationist positions, in which they exploit workers’ anti-racist fights to spread reformist illusions about elections, pacifism, and a seat at the bosses’ table.
Just ten weeks after the historic civil rights march in August of 1963, Malcolm X gave an important speech — “Message to the Grassroots” — in which he attacked the civil rights misleaders who had collaborated with the ruling class and sold out the antiracist struggle of the day.
Guardian Weekly (from the Washington Post) 23 January, Gennevilliers, France:
Rather than fall quiet as requested during a national minute of silence after the Charlie Hebdo killings, three boys in Hamid Abdelaali’s high school class in this heavily Muslim suburb of Paris staged an informal protest, speaking loudly through all 60 seconds.
Across France they were not alone. In one school in Normandy, some Muslim students yelled…during that same moment. In a Paris middle school another group of young Muslims politely asked not to respect the minute, arguing to their teacher: “You reap what you sow.”
As the world’s capitalist powers rally around the racist French cartoonists (dead and alive) of Charlie Hebdo, they are seizing upon the killings to celebrate the myth of “free speech” [see box] and to intensify racism against Muslims and Arabs. French bosses are using the incidents to push through their version of the USA Patriot Act “to authorize more intrusive surveillance” (New York Times, 1/13/15) — code for a fascist crackdown against protesters and dissenters. As they target small-time Islamic terrorists, the biggest terrorists — the U.S., the European Union, China, and Russia — are maneuvering to gain an edge in their escalating inter-imperialist rivalry. They will exploit the victims in Paris in the cause of nationalism and fascism — and for the bigger wars to come.