It isn’t bad enough that capitalism ruins our health through overwork, unemployment, on-the-job accidents, air and water pollution, toxins in food, and sending young working-class men and women to war to kill other workers or be killed. Nor is it bad enough that it provides a kind of health care that gives us one of the worst overall outcomes for the working class in the entire industrialized part of the world, in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality, and other measures of health.
Comrade John Lee Simon died on November 20 from multiple sclerosis, which he fought for many years and which ultimately debilitated him. Lee had a smile that lit up his face and those of others around him. We remember him with that smile and a bunch of CHALLENGES in his arm, lined up so you could see both the English and Spanish versions.
EL SALVADOR — This is the conclusion to the story that appeared in the January 6 CHALLENGE. It tells of a comrade, an ex-commander in the FMLN guerilla army, who met the PLP through an old ex-fellow combatant with whom he shared many wartime experiences. His old friend related PLP’s communist ideas to him, after which he began reading CHALLENGE and attended several PLP club meetings, along with his wife (another ex-combatant). His subordinates in the war in El Salvador approved of his participation in PLP and asked him to write his history for CHALLENGE. Part I related his poverty-stricken childhood, the influence of the church, his joining the Revolutionary People’s Army and his joining the struggle in Nicaragua to gain experience for the eventual liberation of El Salvador. Part I ended when he arrived in Nicaragua’s northern zone of Estelí.
Given the continuing long-range threat posed by China’s and Russia’s bosses to U.S. rulers, now add the menace of these two rising powers to U.S. plans for control of Iraq’s oil wealth. Chinese and Russian companies scored big in mid-December’s second round of bidding for Iraqi oil fields. This opens yet a new front in the imperialists’ energy dogfight.
The year 2009 started off with newly-inaugurated Barack Obama sending 21,000 troops to the war in Afghanistan, and caps off with him committing 30,000 more, plus 56,000 mercenaries. Obama dealt with this year’s crisis in time-honored capitalist traditions. He bailed out banks and auto-makers while calling on the working class to make sacrifices “for the greater good.” He proclaimed this year a ‘Year of Service’ while announcing these troop increases in Afghanistan, making clear why the ruling class needs our service.
El Salvador — This is the story of a comrade, an ex-commander in the FMLN guerilla army, who met the PLP through an old ex-fellow combatant with whom he shared many wartime experiences. His old friend related PLP’s communist ideas to him, how other workers internationally were organizing in the working class with PLP’s line. This gladdened him, but first he began reading CHALLENGE regularly before participating in discussions.
He was invited to several PLP club meetings but decided to take some time before actually joining due to all the experiences described below. Currently he attends meetings punctually. Initially he listened carefully to the analysis. His level of participation and responsibility in the armed struggle and his analysis of current events make him very prudent.
At West Point on December 1, Obama announced a major “jobs program.” He’s sending 30,000 more troops (and as many mercenaries) to “work” in Afghanistan. His coming force of over 200,000 (including “battlefield contractors”) must perform several critical tasks for U.S. imperialism. One is securing the ground for a gas pipeline planned to bypass both Iran and Russia (see below). Another involves spreading combat operations into neighboring Pakistan.
Undocumented Workers Deal Bosses Blow for Blow
PARIS, December 4 — The two-month strike of 5,500 undocumented workers fighting for immigrants’ rights has been a shining light in a depressed French labor movement. Consequently, the bosses and their government have concentrated their attacks on these workers, but the latter have been returning blow for blow.
The U.S. rulers claim to be champions of “human rights” and throw around charges against China and other countries which they say are violating “human rights.” This is a sick joke. The “human rights” movement was created by the ruling class to divert workers’ anger away from blaming the bosses for the atrocities of capitalism.
BERKELEY, CA, November 20 — Early today, several hundred University of California-Berkeley (UCB) students and workers fought baton-swinging cops when the former rushed to campus to support a lecture-hall occupation and to protest fee hikes and “crisis cuts.” Despite heavy police presence, there were valiant attempts to hold the line at the barricades.