CHICAGO, March 24 — Events and circumstances change if we are prepared, bold and militant! To support the call for justice for Trayvon Martin, twenty Progressive Labor Party members and supporters joined a rally of 300 people at Daley Plaza. The outraged participants demanded that the racist George Zimmerman be arrested for the murder of Trayvon in Sanford, Florida. Speakers called for everything except a communist revolution. Some wanted a U.S. Justice Department investigation, while others took the opportunity to vent about all sorts of past grievances. Only the PL’ers came there to
A capitalist crisis is ravaging Pakistan. The working class is fighting back against its devastating effects and against the bosses’ attacks as the latter tries to shift the crisis onto workers’ backs.
Almost daily workers are organizing demonstrations against the bosses across the country, including railroad and airline workers, and among teachers and women in the healthcare industry who’ve organized huge strikes. In Lahore, the Paramedical Association is waging a militant walkout to win a contract. They have no job security and work long hours at low wages.
Workers Beat Cops
In Faisalabad, during violent street protests against
BRONX, NEW YORK CITY, March 22 — “NYPD KKK!” chanted two hundred demonstrators marching with their fists in the air as they approached the 47th Precinct station house in the north Bronx. Workers and students from the Wakefield section have organized since the New York Police Department’s recent execution of black teenager Rhamarley Graham last month. “That’s what it was!” cried a neighbor of Rhamarley. “They executed Rhamarely and we will have the last word!”
NEW YORK CITY, March 21 — “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” “The Cops, The Courts, The Ku Klux Klan, All Are Part of the Bosses’ Plan!”
About 2,500 demonstrators, mainly black and Latino youth, defied the NYPD and protested the February 26 racist murder of black teenager Trayvon Martin, by George Zimmerman — a racist one-man neighborhood watch vigilante in Sanford, Florida. At this writing, Zimmerman remains free.
Most demonstrators demanded Zimmerman’s arrest and conviction. While hundreds regrouped before a second march, a PLP member pointed out that racism won’t stop until we stop the racist system of capitalism. “They want us to elect Obama again. But Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Patrick Dorismond, Amadou Diallo, Ramarley Graham — how many more people will have to die before we realize we need communist revolution?”
The racist profit system has killed two black teenagers — Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, and Ramarley Graham in the Bronx, N.Y. — and 17 unnamed Afghan working-class civilians. These horrendous murders are nearly beyond comprehension. But the history of capitalism is the story of racist slaughter. These outrageous, cold-blooded killings prove it once again.
A racist vigilante — a self-appointed neighborhood watchdog — stalked Trayvon, 17, who was innocently walking to a friend’s house carrying only candy and soda. Trayvon was fatally shot, the vigilante said, because he was “suspicious” (see page 3 and 4). This “suspicion” was based solely on the fact that he was “walking while black” in a mostly white neighborhood. After local police stated that the killer, George Zimmerman, acted in self-defense, they let him walk free. Only working-class fury over the murder forced the temporary ouster of the Sanford police chief, whose force has a history of ignoring violent crimes against black residents. Only nationwide protests — and the threat of more militant action — forced
As the United States ruling class digs in for an indefinite occupation of the Middle East, weighs its options for war against Iran, and expands its presence in East Asia, it faces a major obstacle: the lack of enthusiasm for this future of expanding war among working-class youth. The bosses’ dilemma is the context for the viral spread of the “Kony 2012” video, an attack on a murderous warlord in Central Africa that collected more than 70 million hits on YouTube within days of its release.
Invisible Children, the organization that created the video, was founded by three former film students at the University of Southern California. They have gained a reputation for profiteering (they’re charging $35 for a Kony 2012 “action kit”) and for on-line “slacktivism,” where social change is supposedly just a mouse click away. They also promote the neocolonialist myth that U.S. do-gooders represent the best hope to cure Central Africa’s ills.
Despite these evident weaknesses, the “Stop Kony” campaign has grown into a dangerous mass phenomenon. Endorsed by celebrities like George Clooney, Rihanna, and Sean “Diddy” Combs, and dovetailing with the needs of U.S. capitalism, it may have the potential to break through cyberspace and spill over into action in the real world — a phenomenon that one blogger called “crowd-sourced internvention.”
An Excuse To Expand Troops in Uganda
In reality, the “Stop Kony” campaign is a carefully crafted call to mobilize young people to support U.S. imperialism in Central Africa. By building public pressure for a stepped-up fight against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, and in particular for the U.S. to expand its current ranks of military advisers in Uganda, the video is misleading millions of well-meaning viewers. By siding against such an easy target, the vicious and brutal Joseph Kony, Invisible Children prompts people to side with the U.S. capitalist class, its politicians and its armed forces.
This is the first of a three-part review of the young adult sci-fi trilogy by Suzanne Collins that made the NY Times best seller list. It is widely being used by high school reading and English teachers and has now been made into a much-anticipated motion picture.
Hunger Games, the first book and also the name of the series, begins at some indeterminate future time after natural disasters, droughts, storms, fires and finally a brutal period of wars have devastated North America. While there are futuristic, sci-fi gimmicks throughout the story, the main characters are very down-to-earth, mostly young adults, from working-class families. The society described is an openly fascist one with many parallels to the current day U.S.
Following the natural disasters, a nation “Panem” was created with a luxurious “Capitol” city of the rich rulers and their allies (somewhere in the Rocky Mountains), surrounded by thirteen districts whose workers and resources are exploited for the profit of the rulers. The districts rebelled but were defeated. District Thirteen was apparently leveled into dust and left abandoned as an example of how futile any acts of revolution would be against the Capitol rulers.
‘Games’ Extreme Version of Capitalist Culture
The rulers also tried to discourage workers’ rebellion by creating a yearly “Hunger Games” in which each district was forced to send a boy and a girl (chosen by lot) between the ages of 12 and 18 to a televised battle to the death where only one child can survive. The Games represent an extreme version of the current capitalist culture’s obsession with “reality” shows where there can be only one winner in survival, love or creative pursuits, or where the lives of working-class young people are exploited for entertainment.
March 10, 2012 – As Senegal prepares for a run-off presidential election on March 25, the 12 candidates who lost in round 1 have unified with the June 23 movement (M23) for a major rally on March 11 against the current president Abdoulaye Wade. The M23 was formed with militant protests in 2011 in response to sharp political and economic attacks on the working class by Wade and the ruling class (see CHALLENGE-DESAFIO, August 17, 2011, p. 6).
Wade is running for an unprecedented third term. In round 1 of the election, Wade won 35% of the vote and Macky Sall won 27%, and so they will compete head to head in round 2.
The March 11 rally in Dakar is aimed solely at supporting Sall against Wade, and represents a step backward for the movement against capitalism in Senegal. Sall is a former prime minister in Wade's cabinet (he resigned in 2008) and has a long history of involvement with the country's corrupt ruling class. In a second round of voting, those who consider themselves leftists and revolutionaries are making the same mistake they made 12 years ago when they uncritically joined forces with Wade and paved the way for his victory over then-President Abdou Diouf. They are blindly coalescing behind Sall, who has the same neo-liberal agenda as Wade, simply to oust the incumbent president. Moustapha Niasse, who came in third in the first round of voting with support from many of the organizations that attended the Youth Summit, has already called for support of Sall and against Wade, saying "Stopping Wade is an imperative, it is a necessity, this is a must." Nonsense. What is a “must” is the building of revolutionary communist consciousness and an orientation towards revolution not elections. As the PLP strengthens its relations with local forces, we hope a branch of PLP will emerge that can provide a vision of a communist future for Senegal and help bring about true liberation of the masses.
PARIS, March 2 — A military dictatorship is the only way to force the Greek people to pay the nation’s debt to international finance capital, according to Michel Rocard, a French Socialist Party (SP) leader. Rocard was prime minister from 1988 to 1991.
“Forced shrinking of the economy leads to civil war,” Rocard told the daily paper Libération. “It’s untenable and it poses a big question for Greece, which is subject to forced shrinking of the economy. In this context, how can you maintain elections? It’s not possible to govern these people while telling them that they’re going to lose 25% of their income over the next ten years in order to pay off all the debt. Nobody says it out loud, but the solution for Greece is a military government.”
War on the Horizon
While Rocard was spilling the beans on the bosses’ vision of a fascist Greece, he also indicated that world war is close:
Nobody [in France] is paying attention to the greater Middle East. We have an Anglo-American strategy, which the other allies, and notably France, have accepted. The strategy is to scuttle any possibility of serious discussion with the Iranians. And even to provoke them a little from time to time. It’s as if it was…preparing a situation of tolerance that would make an Israeli strike possible. In this case, the war will become a Syrian-Iranian war, backed up by China and Russia,…a war broadly against the West and its client states.… This is an affair of millions of deaths, the hypothesis being that it will begin as a nuclear war.
Workers Lose, Banks Collect
The austerity plan imposed on Greece by the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank has slashed wages and pensions. The Greek public debt is $395 billion. Seventy percent of it is owed to foreign institutions, mainly banks.
Andreas Makris, a porter at the Athens public hospital has had his wages cut 40 percent from four years ago when he netted 15,000 euros (USD $19,800) a year on a 37½-hour work-week. Now he nets 9,628 euros (USD $12,712) annually for a 40-hour week.
The international working class is fighting back, from North Africa to the Mid-East, to Europe to the U.S., against the effects of capitalism’s world economic and political crisis. It has sparked social movements that have captured the imagination, with many comparing 2011 to 1968. Wherever PLP is present it is playing a political role in these movements.
Four billion working-class families are trying to exist on $1 to $2 a day under the weight of the International Monetary Fund-induced austerity. This global economic crisis was fed by capitalism’s drive for maximum profits, centered on Wall Street, setting the stage for the 2011 upsurge.
‘68 General Strike Rocked France
“The French 1968 upheaval took the French ruling class by surprise,” said Alan Woods, the English Marxist historian. Students in France responded both to U.S. imperialism’s Vietnam War genocide) and to French bosses’ university repression. When linked up with the working class — suffering as the lowest-paid industrial workers in Europe — it resulted in a general strike which rocked the very foundations of French capitalism. This qualitative change stemmed from quantitative internal contradictions in French capitalism.
The General Strike paralyzed France. The French National Police could barely contain the insurrection. French bosses feared that an Army call-up might induce many working-class soldiers to side with the strikers and mutiny, so they called up reservists but restricted them to military bases and away from television and radio. DeGaulle almost lost his grip on state power and called on the German military to be ready with tank warfare to put down the revolt.
Ultimately the insurrection failed because, without a viable communist party to lead the working class to revolution, the French “Communist” Party made a deal with DeGaulle and took the electoral road, relying on “lesser evil” bosses.