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Progressive Labor Party (PLP) fights to destroy capitalism and the dictatorship of the capitalist class. We organize workers, soldiers and youth into a revolutionary movement for communism.

Only the dictatorship of the working class — communism — can provide a lasting solution to the disaster that is today’s world for billions of people. This cannot be done through electoral politics, but requires a revolutionary movement and a mass Red Army led by PLP.

Worldwide capitalism, in its relentless drive for profit, inevitably leads to war, fascism, poverty, disease, starvation and environmental destruction. The capitalist class, through its state power — governments, armies, police, schools and culture —  maintains a dictatorship over the world’s workers. The capitalist dictatorship supports, and is supported by, the anti-working-class ideologies of racism, sexism, nationalism, individualism and religion.

While the bosses and their mouthpieces claim “communism is dead,” capitalism is the real failure for billions worldwide. Capitalism returned to Russia and China because socialism retained many aspects of the profit system, like wages and privileges. Russia and China did not establish communism.

Communism means working collectively to build a worker-run society. We will abolish work for wages, money and profits. Everyone will share in society’s benefits and burdens. 

Communism means abolishing racism and the concept of “race.” Capitalism uses racism to super-exploit black, Latino, Asian and indigenous workers, and to divide the entire working class.

Communism means abolishing the special oppression of women — sexism — and divisive gender roles created by the class society.

Communism means abolishing nations and nationalism. One international working class, one world, one Party.

Communism means that the minds of millions of workers must become free from religion’s false promises, unscientific thinking and poisonous ideology. Communism will triumph when the masses of workers can use the science of dialectical materialism to understand, analyze and change the world to meet their needs and aspirations.

  Communism means the Party leads every aspect of society. For this to work, millions of workers — eventually everyone — must become communist organizers. Join Us!



Using CHALLENGE to Battle Growing Fascism in Chicago Schools

Recent CHALLENGE articles about fascism’s growth in Haiti (see issue 12/14/11) and its attacks on the Occupy movements worldwide inspired me to report recent efforts to build PLP amid growing fascism in Chicago.

I am a laid-off black schoolteacher here, among the disproportionate number of laid-off black teachers. These racist layoffs and those of all groups reflect the economic and political crises of capitalism.

Global fascism and its imperialist wars make workers’ lives miserable, attacking the working class in many ways. One tactic is forcing government employees (teachers, health workers, among others) to accept lower living standards — reduced wages, skimpier benefits and lousier working conditions. For teachers, this includes layoffs, denied pay raises (or lower pay scales, inducing them to move to a growing number of higher-paying charter schools), more expensive health care coverage and increasingly poor working conditions.

In education, one such condition is overcrowded classrooms. More students per teacher are cheaper for capitalists, whose gain is the working class’s loss in schools. Classroom overcrowding reduces the quality of education for students, often implemented in a racist way. Black and Latino students, already enduring racist oppression, are stuffed into learning environments ill designed to meet their needs.

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Fight Back Against Homelessness Killing AIDS’ Victims

WASHINGTON, DC, December 1 — Progressive Labor Party members today joined a bold group of activists rallying in front of the DC Department of Health to demand housing for the city’s 922 people with AIDS. They are living in shelters or from couch to couch. In a chant aimed at the federally funded program called Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), we called out:  “Housing yes! Racism no! HOPWA wait list has got to go!”

Demonstrators from DC Fights Back and the Metro Washington Public Health Association held signs shaped like homes and took over the sidewalk and median strip. People with HIV need secure housing to adhere to lifesaving medications that reduce the spread of the virus. Homelessness kills!

During World AIDS Day, many organizations hold vigils, educational events, and offer HIV tests and condoms. Meanwhile, liberal politicians make hypocritical pledges they have no intention of fulfilling. All the bosses’ politicians care about is the disease’s destruction of a labor market that they could exploit for profit, especially in Africa.

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Eurocrisis Could Trigger Global Crash and World War III

The “Eurocrisis” is first and foremost about the failure of capitalist over-production as well as about inter-imperialist rivalry. French and German bosses are fighting to make sure their own bankers are not stuck with losses coming from the inability of other European governments to pay their debts. Chinese bosses are looking for opportunities to gain greater economic influence on the European continent. And U.S. bosses are worried about the possibility that the Eurocrisis will trigger a second worldwide financial crash. To analyze the current crisis, we must first look at how current European power relations developed. 

After the mass destruction of World War II, the main political goal of U.S. bosses was to limit post-war communist influence in a devastated Europe. According to General Lucius D. Clay, Deputy Governor of the U.S. Occupation in Germany: “There is no choice between being a communist on 1,500 calories a day and a believer in democracy on a thousand.” Although crudely anti-communist, this quote shows why the U.S. backed the resurgence of what was then the West German economy in 1946. French bosses, the long-time enemies of the German ruling class, were initially opposed to this move. But by 1950, under U.S. pressure, they went along. 

In 1952, Stalin had written, in Economic Problems of Socialism: “To eliminate the inevitability of war, it is necessary to abolish imperialism.” Marxist analysis of capitalism showed workers how big economic crises led to mass destruction of productive forces in imperialist wars. But liberal and social democratic politicians claimed that the various national bourgeoisies could reconcile their differences peacefully. To that end, European economic unions like the Coal and Steel Community (founded in 1951) were promoted as a way for countries to avoid the terrible consequences of war. These unions, however, were maintained within the context of U.S. dominance.

After the fall of the Soviet Union and German reunification, European bosses began asserting their independence. The European Union (EU) was formed in 1993. In 1999, eleven EU countries, led by France and Germany, established a common currency, the Euro, in a subset of the EU known as the Eurozone. Now a majority of EU countries use the Euro.

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Israeli Bosses’ Racism Exploits Both Jewish and Arab Workers

HAZOR HAGLILIT, ISRAEL-PALESTINE, November 12 — After declaring Israel an independent state in May 1948, the racist Zionist bosses faced a problem they call: “The Demographic Problem.” Despite expelling some 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and demolishing around 540 of their villages, 20% of the population of the newly created State of Israel, were Palestinian Arabs. The majority of Palestinians, within Israel, were concentrated in two areas: The Triangle (Central Israel) and the Galilee (northern part of Israel). In those areas, Palestinians constituted the majority of the population. In order to change this, the Zionist government started a racist campaign to “Judify” the Galilee.

The heart of the project consisted of creating new settlements called “Maabara” (transitional camps — mostly tents and huts made of wood and metal sheets.) These settlements were populated by Jewish immigrants, mostly Jews from Arab countries and from North Africa.

Jewish Immigrants Source of Cheap Labor

The new immigrants served as cheap labor for local industries set up by the government and the bosses. The new settlers  increased the Jewish population in the Galilee which led to a Jewish majority. The new settlements populated “The Frontier” in the north and south and could serve as cannon fodder and as a first barrier in case of an invasion by a neighboring Arab country. The Zionists gave these settlements a special name calling them a “Development Town”(Ayarat Pituach). Shderot in the South, known as a target for Kassam rockets from Gaza, is one of them, while Hatzor Haglilit is one in the north.

The policy of the Zionist bosses was similar in most of the “Development Towns.” A cheap labor force was at hand so the government, with money from local taxes and donations from rich Jewish bosses overseas, gave grants and subsidies to local bosses who established industrial factories in those towns. They employed the local new immigrants at a minimum wage making millions of dollars, while maximizing their profits. As a result of this policy the “Development Towns” turned out to be towns owned by the local industry. Most of the town’s life revolved around the factory. In Hazor Haglilit it was Vita Inc. producing pickled vegetables in cans.

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France: Joblessness Tops 17%, Union ‘Leaders’ Help Bosses Shift Crisis onto Workers

PARIS, December 29 — Unemployment in November hit new record levels in France, and the bosses’ government and the union misleaders agree: shift the burden of the crisis onto the backs of the working class by putting workers on short time, cutting their income, in order to help maintain the bosses’ profits.

Pôle emploi, the unemployment office, reports an “official” jobless rate of 10.1% — 2,844,800 jobless in an active population of 28,269,000 — a level of unemployment unseen in the past 12 years. However, the real rate rose to 17.1%.

The 1,400,000 persons working part-time but actively seeking full-time work raises the rate to 15.0%. An additional 589,600 workers on the unemployment rolls were sick, in job training or had a government-subsidized job so were not counted in the “official” rate because they were not obliged to actively look for work. This ups the real unemployment rate to 17.1%.

All this hits black and Arab immigrant workers from sub-Saharan and North Africa, and their children, particularly hard (see box). Because of racist discrimination, they are already at the lower end of the jobs and income level and now are being driven deeper into poverty.

On December 27, the Minister for Labor said that a January 18 summit on jobs “will make it possible … to put forward quick-action solutions to limit the effects of the economic crisis as much as possible.” He notably favored making it easier for companies to put workers on short time. French President Nicolas Sarkozy will preside over the labor-management summit.

On December 27, France’s largest trade union confederation, the CGT, said it will propose to the summit “the elimination of untaxed overtime hours; reinforced checks on financial aid granted to companies, with a firm commitment to maintaining jobs; and the establishment of a mechanism to avoid layoffs by working short time.”

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Asia: Coming Battleground in U.S.-China Rulers’ Dogfight

“The future of politics will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action,” writes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine. In the article, “America’s Pacific Century,” she announces a major change in U.S. foreign policy, a “pivot to new global realities,” that sets its sights among the three giants of the Asia-Pacific: China, India and the U.S.

Crucial in this strategic turn to maintain U.S hegemony is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a vast trade network spread across the Asia-Pacific rim promoted by Obama at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum in November. Currently being negotiated by nine countries, the TPP is essentially a U.S. thrust to exploit the markets, cheap labor and raw materials of the world’s fastest growing region and is also a move to contain China, the main threat to U.S imperialist aims.

In 1997, then Chinese Premier Jiang Zemin likened a similar strategy to having China “play Gulliver to Southeast Asia’s Lilliputians, with the United States supplying the rope and string.” But China is no sleeping giant. The Chinese Global Times warned that, “any country which chooses to be a pawn in the U.S. chess game will lose the opportunity to benefit from China’s economy.”

Obama urged the nine Beijing neighbors to join this “landmark 21st-century trade deal,” noting China’s trade barriers, high tariffs and taxes on foreign investors. Chinese Premier Wen countered that the region’s countries share interests as developing nations with dynamic economies, unlike the West which, “lacks momentum,” and is “plagued by serious financial and debt crises.”

But these threats and promises of economic gains and losses veil serious intentions to control the region’s economy, militarily if necessary.

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10th Anniversary of Haitian Union Group: PLP Points to Road to Revolution

PORT-AU-PRINCE, December 10 — Ten years of struggle by the unions in a progressive federation here have mostly meant heartbreaking frustration for the workers involved. They are still organizing, although their strikes, marches, mass meetings, forums, legal fights, petitions and press conferences have yielded so little. Yet they fight on. Many hundreds have been fired, in several different industries, for union activism. In fact almost every delegate at the dinner was currently jobless for that reason! In two unions they are still battling after three years or more for back pay and reinstatement after mass illegal layoffs of unionists. The workers in one case were rounded up and physically kicked out of their workplace by police swat teams. 

So how do we win? Among the ideas considered by this group of committed men and women workers was the road to revolution, the need for a communist party, and the importance of an international revolutionary movement. These ideas were raised by a union leader from the old communist movement and developed by PLP speakers from two countries. They put it in the context of inter-imperialist rivalry and war, and what this turmoil in global capitalism means for Haitian workers.

They spoke of the bitterness of this period for workers under fascist and imperialist attack like those in Haiti, but also even in the U.S., where workers face frozen wages in union contracts and over 20% unemployment. They showed how Haitian unemployment and labor migration (1 million in North America) are an important tool in the bosses’ plan to drive down wages and divide the working class in this whole region. 

Unemployment in Haiti is between 70% and 90%, which makes any union struggle difficult as bosses use unemployed workers as weapons against those with jobs. Workers here respond to the bosses’ use of the “reserve army of the unemployed” by helping one another day to day, making every job feed many of the jobless. Some progressive unions also seek to cross the divide by including the unemployed in their ranks. In one union there are 400 employed and 400 unemployed members. Those employed have actually taken the jobs of those fired en masse for unionizing. But despite the initial feeling against scabs, they are now accepted as brothers and sisters by those who were kicked out. This union sings a song at the end of its delegate assembly that leads off: “Unions stand up! Strike for liberty!”

Critically and self-critically, one major weakness of the event was the absence of the hospital workers recently on strike — the sharpest struggle of the moment. Inevitably, four of their leaders were fired during the strike. Party members should certainly have made sure these workers were not only present but cheered and supported by the meeting. The anniversary dinner could and should have become a moment of organizing by the federation of more active and militant support of these members under attack.

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Occupiers Blockade West Coast Ports

OAKLAND, CA., December 13 — Thousands of Occupiers, confronted by police in riot gear, shut or disrupted ports from Anchorage, Alaska, to Southern Ca., highlighting economic inequality and high unemployment.

Thousands of pickets chanting “Whose ports? Our Ports!” forced the closing of four shipping terminals here. Hundreds shut two of Portland’s four main terminals. Seattle cops used “flash-bang” percussion grenades against protestors blocking the port entrance, arresting 11.

Pickets in Longview, Wash., demonstrated in solidarity with longshoremen fighting EGT Investment over the latter’s takeover of their jobs. They were also protesting Goldman-Sachs which owns a stake in the largest cargo terminal operator, SSA Marine. Other demonstrations occurred as far south as Long Beach, CA. and as far north as Vancouver, Canada and Anchorage, Alaska.

Although the longshore union refused to support the actions, an Oakland docker said “the rank and file have spoken today by not crossing the lines.”

Reuters reported (12/13) that in Oakland, “Two longshoremen outside the gate said they would refuse to cross the picket lines to get to their jobs and assumed others would follow suit” (Sacramento Bee 12/13).

Doug Seaman, a 35-year-old unemployed construction worker, told the San Francisco Chronicle (12/12), “We need to make the public aware that Wall Street’s tentacles have infiltrated every facet of our lives.”


Obama’s ‘Populist’ Fascism

“Infusing his speech with the type of populist language that has emerged in the Occupy protests around the nation, Mr. Obama warned that growing income inequality meant that the United States was undermining its middle class” (NY Times, 12/6/11).

On December 6, the 101st anniversary of arch-imperialist president Teddy Roosevelt’s (TR) famous speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, Barack Obama returned to the town in an attempt to steer the momentum of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) to serve U.S. capitalists’ war needs.

TR supposedly had come to Osawatomie to commemorate John Brown’s heroic 1856 anti-slavery battle there (see box). But in reality, like Obama and other politicians now trying to mislead OWS, Roosevelt sought to channel workers’ demands for equality into all-class unity to support imperialist wars. With U.S. rulers seeking to expand beyond their 1898 conquests of former Spanish territories (including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines), he called for a “New Nationalism,” the patriotic ideology that would help push the U.S. into World War I five years later. At the same time, he created a template for Italy’s Fascists and Germany’s Nazis: a highly centralized and regulatory capitalist government that can control all classes, and the propaganda that service to such a state is for the greatest good.

TR aimed to reform capitalism. He ran for president on the so-called Progressive Party” ticket, and became known as a “trustbuster” for wanting to discipline the ruling class and save the system from its own excesses. Meanwhile, he popularized his case for imperialist aggression with a famous saying: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

A century later, Obama is working overtime to revive TR’s deadly pronouncements. Here are some Rooseveltian sound bites that Obama has embraced:

Equality of opportunity means that the commonwealth will get from every citizen the highest [read “military”—ed.] service of which he is capable.

I believe in an efficient army and a navy large enough to secure for us abroad that respect which is the surest guaranty of peace.

[I] ask that we work in a spirit of broad and far-reaching nationalism when we work for what concerns our people as a whole.

By championing the “national interest,” Roosevelt was hiding the fact that the government’s job is to protect the interests of those who control society, namely the capitalist bosses, both in the U.S. and abroad. Throughout the world, local bosses in Africa, Asia, and Latin America have used nationalism to spur workers to oust imperialist powers and “liberate” former colonial countries. Then the local capitalists take their turn in exploiting workers for profit, a common thread in this year’s “Arab Spring.”

The Patriotic ‘Middle Class’

Obama is straining to preserve the concept of a patriotic “middle class,” which serves to deaden class conflict and as a buffer between rulers and most workers. In imperialist economies thriving off colonial mega-profits, bosses can  be forced to respond to class struggle by conceding a higher standard of living for the home country’s working class. The bosses then cite these workers as a new “middle” class (see box below).

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PL’ers Lead Hundreds to Defy Cops

LOS ANGELES, November 30 — Over 2,000 workers converged on LA’s City Hall on November 27, anticipating the police raid to remove the Occupy encampment. PLP mobilized a group of about 20 students and workers to show solidarity and help organize a defense of the camp. In the hours leading up to the midnight deadline, the PL group distributed 100 CHALLENGES and organized a picket line chanting, “The workers united will never be defeated” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”

As midnight neared, PL led the picket into the streets, defying the police who told the PL’er on the bullhorn leading the march to get back on the sidewalk. Eventually, what was a relatively small picket turned into several hundred protestors, taking over a street intersection next to the main Occupy encampment on the south lawn of City Hall.

Many expected a confrontation with the LAPD that night. However, it was not until the following night that the kkkops raided the camp, overwhelming the couple of hundred occupiers with a force of 1,400 cops. Under orders from the “progressive” LA Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, the cops utilized their best “community policing” techniques to avoid an all-out confrontation with the occupiers.

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