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OUR FIGHT

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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Thursday
Mar152012

Capitalism’s Solution for Greece: Fascism

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.

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Thursday
Mar152012

World Capitalist Crisis Spurs Workers’ Fight-back

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.

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Thursday
Mar152012

Mexico: Reds Vow to Destroy Capitalism

In early December a group of 30 members and friends of PLP gathered to learn about political economy, and specifically to discuss who produces all wealth and what causes crises. We also discussed the alternatives presented by the Party in Road to Revolution IV.

The majority of participants were youth; nine of them participated in the discussion for the first time. Several workers, members of the Party, presented the topics well, combining the experience of the old with the enthusiasm of the young.

We discussed that our only alternative to this racist, criminal system is to organize ourselves as a working class, as a Party to destroy it. We heard examples of how we workers generate wealth. We also learned that the future capitalism offers is imperialist war for markets and cheap labor. 

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Thursday
Mar152012

Fighting HIV’s Racist Stigma

WASHINGTON, DC, March 8 — Capitalism has always created ways to weaken the unity and militancy of workers.  Its ruling class primarily uses racism to stereotype and demean black, Latino, and Asian workers and divide the entire working class.  These stereotypes portray black workers, in particular, as lazy and criminal.  Politicians then use these lies to explain high rates of unemployment and incarceration among black workers and to justify policies to cut services and benefits even more.   

These negative stereotypes or prejudices are called stigmas.  In ancient times, Greeks branded criminals and slaves with a physical mark called a stigma and treated them as outsiders, people to be scorned, avoided, mistreated and exploited.

 Today, the ruling class and its media brand people whom they want to be considered immoral, dangerous, abnormal, inferior or simply different in some way.  Stigma pushes shame onto people who are poor, women, gay or transgender, incarcerated, mentally ill, or HIV positive. It also contributes to high rates of HIV and AIDS, since people who are blamed for their conditions are less likely to take care of themselves and their partners or to seek health care. 

Need Class Analysis of Stigma

The Health Disparities Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association (MWPHA) has been holding workshops to reduce the stigma associated with HIV. Where some committee members focused on individual biases, which they attempt to counter with facts, Progressive Labor Party members and committee leaders argued for a class analysis of stigma. We linked the stigma placed on people living with HIV to the need for the ruling class to shame and distance workers from one another, leaving the working class weak and divided.  This analysis directs us to involve people targeted by stigma in the fight against capitalism and racism.

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Thursday
Mar152012

CUNY Profs Slam Racist, Sexist ‘Pathway to Ignorance’

NEW YORK CITY, March 8 — Today, International Women’s Day, more than 350 City University of New York (CUNY) faculty and staff, at a mass meeting called by the PSC (Professional Staff Congress)-CUNY union, denounced “Pathways,” a scheme for faster graduation imposed by the CUNY Administration. It would standardize and gut the academic quality of basic required courses.  Many speakers — a majority women — pointed out that this is a sexist move against the 2/3 of students who are women, a racist attack on the 3/4 students who are black and Latino, and a nationalist attack on the large percentage of immigrant and undocumented students.  

Even conservative business profs showed outrage at this insult to their working-class students, calling out “the subtle racism of low expectations.”  Other speakers expressed solidarity with K-12 teachers who have already been hit hard by standardized, dumbed-down curriculums, pushed nationally by the think-tanks and government agencies of the capitalist class.  The mood was angry and ready for action; we all felt the need to stand up for our students and defend our efforts to teach them well; there was power in our common outrage.

The union is organizing an online petition (2,500 signers in the first two days, 500 in the first hour), two major lawsuits defending both faculty control of curriculum and students’ right to a quality education, and grassroots faculty action to organized non-compliance.  Student speakers said they would stand by us in this fight to repeal Pathways — “a pathway to ignorance,” the Queens College student newspaper called it.  We need to reach many more students, because the opportunist bosses are appealing to their desire to graduate sooner, downplaying their loss of science labs and languages.

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Thursday
Mar152012

Syria: Russian, U.S. Imperialists’ Battle Leading to Wider War?

U.S. rulers are hypocritically decrying the slaughter raging across Syria while they seek to intervene there in the guise of “humanitarianism.” But Syria’s regime has a history of savagery that stretches back decades, and it never seemed to bother Washington before. Now that their Russian rivals are backing Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, U.S. rulers suddenly care. Why? They see an opportunity to strike a blow against their Russian adversaries in this oil-rich region.

There’s a general consensus among U.S. imperialists that ousting the Syrian ruler would deal a heavy blow to his allies in the Iranian ruling class and their regional ambitions. This would help safeguard both Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the crown jewels of U.S. bosses’ energy-based empire.

But U.S. ruling-class politicians, think tanks and media disagree on how best to profit from Assad’s bloodshed. Their options include “diplomacy” (which, after it failed, could justify an invasion), arming the opposition, or direct, Libya-like military action (another “humanitarian” invasion).

While we can’t predict exactly what Obama will do, any of these scenarios will prove deadly for workers. Thousands of our class brothers and sisters in that region will be killed, not to mention U.S. GI’s. U.S. workers will be attacked with more cutbacks to pay for yet another war. Muslim workers in the U.S. will inevitably be targeted with racist attacks. 

An attack on Syria also has strong potential to widen U.S. oil wars to global dimensions, given the sharpening conflict with Russia as a Syrian ally.

U.S.- and Saudi-led war-making interests recently sent former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on a deliberately doomed UN-Arab League mission to Syria. Royal Military College professor Houchang Hassan-Yari said, “I’m not really sure if Annan is going to be successful.... [T]he UN Security Council is paralyzed with Russia and China using their vetoes to block a resolution condemning the regime. If new attempts to reach a resolution fail and the Syrian government continues its violent crackdown, there may be no other avenue to go down except military” (Canadian CTV, 3/10/12).

How Far to Go for Regime Change?

A “hit now” faction in Congress is already looking down this avenue. On March 6, Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham urged: “The United States should help organize an international effort to protect civilian population centers in Syria through airstrikes on Assad’s forces....This will first require the United States and our partners to suppress the Syrian regime’s air defenses in at least part of the country.”

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Thursday
Mar152012

U.S. Imperialism’s Racism Nurtured Afghan Slaughter

Account of an Iraq War veteran:

On March 11, at least one U.S. Army Staff Sergeant walked off his base, entered three separate homes and killed 16 unarmed Afghan civilians in cold blood before returning to his base and turning himself in. Some witnesses report they heard multiple troops. However, the U.S. military insists it was only one soldier. Until now, the U.S. military has not released any details about the intent behind the killings. But from my experience in the U.S. military, I’m sure that racist indoctrination by U.S. imperialism is at the heart of it. 

When I deployed to Iraq in 2004, the instructors taught my unit to call the local workers “Hajji.” The word is actually a religious title for Muslims who completed their pilgrimage to Mecca. But, the military used it as a racist slur to breed hostility between coalition troops and civilians. It is comparable to the racist term “gook” the U.S. military used during the Vietnam War.  

Our trainers told us it was okay to run over children on the roads or to shoot someone throwing an object, even if it was a rock. These Iraqis, my instructors explained, would use kids strapped with bombs to attack convoys. Since “you never know what hajji may do,” you should use lethal force if you feel threatened. 

An Army friend of mine, James, was on a Small Kill Team (SKT) that followed orders to shoot and kill anyone outside after the U.S.-imposed curfew. Many people in his unit believed that the SKT would help the Iraqis “remember” not to plant anti-U.S. roadside bombs.

Most troops in James’ unit had lost buddies to insurgent attacks. Almost every anti-U.S. attack fed the rage-filled racist lie that all of the Iraqis were responsible because they knew who the anti-U.S. forces are. But James understood racist lies because he knew lots of people in PLP and actively fought against putting the racist blame on the working class in Iraq. 

Like myself, James avoided using the term “hajji.” Instead we spoke to our fellow troops about how imperialist rivalry is to blame for all the bloodshed on all sides. In one instance James, a medic, actively worked on an Iraqi National Guard soldier that his fellow medics refused to work on because he was an Iraqi. Keens, one of James non-medic friends pitched in to try to save the Iraqi soldier’s life even though Keens generally followed the Army’s racist script.

The Iraqi soldier died of his injuries. But what shook Keens the most was the racist behavior of the other medics. James’ anti-racist actions showed Keens there was beter way to respond to the Army’s racism and Keens apologized profusely for days to the troops in the Iraqi National Guard unit attached to the U.S. unit. It’s action around communist ideas like these that can one day transform a racist imperialist army into an anti-racist communist one.

It may turn out that the Army Staff Sergeant who committed this latest racist rampage was a long-time Nazi and has had mental problems. Early reports indicate that his current deployment in Afghanistan was his fourth, following three in Iraq. The Staff Sergeant suffered from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, revealing that imperialism injures working-class military occupiers as well as the civilian occupied.

One soldier’s individual rampage is just a symptom of the larger rampage of imperialist rivalry. The generals, politicians, corporate bosses, mullahs, imams, emirs and sheiks ON ALL SIDES push workers — including lower-ranked enlisted coalition troops and the rank-and-file insurgents — to kill and die for the rulers’ profit. Each boss uses racism to blanket each and every one of the opposing forces’ populations as the enemy, including fellow workers. 

The imperialists’ fight to dominate energy-rich areas has launched “small wars” that have killed millions of workers over the past several decades. Workers only hope for justice in war is to organize class war for communism, especially among working-class troops. It will take troops with communist ideas like anti-racism to win working-class troops, insurgents and civilians in the front lines to unite as a class against the bosses.  

The Staff Sergeant responsible for these racist deaths hurt U.S. imperialism’s goal of cutting a deal to keep a large U.S. presence in Afghanistan past 2014. More and more Afghans now want the U.S. out. U.S. imperialism’s racist ideas helped nurture the attacks in the first place. Inter-imperialist rivalry for energy resources in the region means the occupation will continue. 

Drone strikes have killed uncounted thousands in Afghanistan, mostly civilians. But instead of prosecutions against drone commanders and ending the use of inaccurate technology like aerial strikes, U.S. bosses chalk up civilian deaths to “collateral damage.” Last month the U.S. Army admitted to burning Korans in Afghanistan, a symbol of U.S.’s racism to many workers in Afghanistan. 

Obama simply responded with an apology, not action to rid the U.S. military of racist anti-Muslim ideas. The architects of racist mass murders like the 2004 U.S. military attacks on Falluhja, Iraq, where thousands of civilians were systematically murdered, are celebrated as military leaders. But when these same imperialists face unauthorized slayings of dozens by mini-racists they put on show trials to save face.

The U.S. Army is likely to push for a harsh punishment against this soldier to limit Afghan protests to a minimum and to strike a U.S.-friendly deal with the Afghan government to maintain a long-term military presence. However one low-ranking Marine was the only troop convicted for the largest U.S. military atrocity against civilians to go to court, the killing of 24 civilians in the city of Haditha, Iraq in 2005. The convicted Marine’s punishment was a demotion and a pay cut! In the prison torture scandal of Abu Gharib, not one officer was convicted of any criminal wrongdoing.

While the perpetrator of this most recent atrocity will face some punishment, only workers’ revolution against capitalism can smash the imperialist masters that make these relatively small atrocities possible.

Thursday
Mar152012

Hit Democratic Governor’s War on Workers: Hundreds Blast Hospital Closing

BROOKLYN, NY, March 8 — Hundreds of workers left Downstate Hospital, on our lunch hour, eager to blast the Democratic Governor Cuomo’s closing of this vital, viable hospital along with nearby Kingsboro Psychiatric Center, the only adult state psychiatric facility in Brooklyn. The three unions, CSEA, PEF and UUP, finally rallied against the attack. 

For several months, workers have been demanding union leadership to halt the proposed closings. This week, on very short notice, we spread the word and workers were excited to be there. The rank and file organized the only chants. Union “leaders” called for more emails. Politicians shouted they wouldn’t vote for the restructuring, but it’s the Governor’s prerogative — no Legislature voting is involved.

No real change has ever come from e-mails or phone calls to politicians or bosses. The civil rights and labor movements made advances only with strikes, rebellions and masses of people in the streets. To stop these attacks masses from the community, the churches, and many other union members from Kings County Hospital across the street must be involved. 

The community is still unaware of the pending closing. When rank-and-file union members have leafleted the community informing residents of Cuomo’s plan, people are shocked and ask what they can do. Unfortunately the union flier only calls on people to phone their opposition to an AFL-CIO recording that will forward their message to Cuomo, the very politician the union chiefs helped elect.

Workers at the rally were skeptical of the politicians’ promises. When a union leader said CSEA represents 300,000 state workers, one worker commented, “With that number of informed, unified members, something surely could be done to stop this!” One worker remarked that mental health care has already deteriorated so much that there are more psychiatric cases in Rikers Island prison than in all state facilities!

A Racist Attack

A serious campaign is needed and this is a ripe opportunity. The avalanche of attacks against the working class here by the big capitalist players in New York State are kicking us workers when we are down and showing NO mercy. This is a racist attack. In this borough of 2.5 million, the majority of them black and Latino workers who experience 20 percent poverty with 40 percent uninsured, there is half the number of acute-care hospital beds per capita as across the river in Manhattan.

Cuomo, in the face of Brooklyn’s health crisis, decided to cut state funds for Downstate in half. He and his appointed policy-maker, Stephen Berger, the CEO of a multi-million-dollar slash-and-burn firm, want to close hospitals, tear up our pension plans and bust the unions. There is a heist going on by Cuomo, his Department of Health, and local corporate forces represented by Berger and Brezenoff. The latter is CEO of Continuum, which bankrupted Long Island College Hospital, forcing the state to pick up the bankruptcy note in a non-disclosed partnership.

These times are both similar and different to the Great Depression. Unemployment was also high then, but now U.S. rulers are seriously trying to slash workers’ living standards to compete with other world capitalists. They’re also allotting 60 percent of taxes for their war machine to protect their empire. The rich get richer and workers get poorer.

This capitalist system will always prize profits and world domination over workers’ needs. Become a regular CHALLENGE reader and join with PLP to learn how to break the control of the capitalists and destroy their system with communist revolution.

Friday
Mar022012

Mideast Slaughter Prelude to World War? U.S. Rulers Make War Plans for Syria and Iran

U.S. rulers are shifting focus from encouraging an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities to a Libya-style, “humanitarian” proxy invasion of suddenly strategic Syria. Cynically seizing on the worsening carnage there, the imperialists served by Obama seek to deal the burgeoning China-Russia-Iran axis a major setback. “In the minds of many on President Obama’s team, nothing would undercut Iran’s capability to cause trouble in the region faster than if the mullahs lost [Syria’s ruler] Bashar al-Assad” (New York Times, 2/25/12). (see box)  -

A Libya-like overthrow of the Syrian regime especially would be a blow to Putin’s Russia whose main Mideast base has been Syria, the recipient of huge military supplies from the Kremlin. It would make more secure U.S. control of oil in neighboring Saudi Arabia, which simultaneously raises the question of what to do about Iran itself. 

Bosses Say U.S. Must Occupy, Not Just Bomb, Iran

Early last month, both the Times and the U.S. war department chief Leon Panetta had predicted an imminent attack on Iran from Israel. But by February 20, the Times warned that “pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran’s air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously — and use at least 100 planes.”  

“It ain’t going to be that easy,” said Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who retired last year as the Air Force’s top intelligence official. But Israel’s bosses, whose needs often clash with those of their bankrollers, may strike despite U.S. reservations.

U.S. and allied imperialists, however, realize that they

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Friday
Mar022012

International Women’s Day; Only Communism Can End Sexism

 The only day the world recognizes women is the one to celebrate their “reproductive” role as mother and wife, Mother’s Day. But it was the Soviets, the communist movement, that celebrated women as political beings with revolutionary power. March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD), the day that communists organized to salute the strength and contributions of women workers.

Women are not docile but have been organizing and fighting back for hundreds of years. In the United States, the fight of the slave and of women began from the same thread. The Grimke sisters fought against slavery and for women’s rights as one and the same battle. Angelina Grimke declared, “Until he [a slave] gets his rights, we [women] shall never have ours.” Struggles led up to the German communist Clara Zetkin taking the initiative in 1910 to organize an official International Working Women’s Day. Anti-sexist struggle makes it a historic day for all workers, women and men. 

Communists Fought to Smash Working Women’s Oppression

During Czarist Russia, the struggle for working-class women became synonymous with the open call for the overthrow of the government. During World War I, the Russian Bolshevik Party tried to turn March 8th into a demonstration of women workers against imperialism. On that day, the women of St. Petersburg began and led the February revolution in 1917.

Re-centering IWD within its rich revolutionary communist history helps increase the class-consciousness and organization of working-class women. This militancy is crucial to the future of the working class.  

What is Sexism?

Much like racism, sexism is a systematic tool used by the bosses to divide the working class against itself. It is the special oppression of female workers. This is manifested in many forms. In 1921, Lenin wrote that “under capitalism the female half of the human race is doubly oppressed….

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