Mexico: Gasolinazo Fight Continues
In Mexico, there continues to be a struggle over the increase in gasoline prices. The majority of people here don’t know how to deal with this situation. Jobs continue to be tough and pay poorly, if jobs can be found at all.
There are millions of families that are living bare bones. This problem brings frustration, anger, and sadness. Many workers have needed to change from a gas stove to firewood or charcoal to cook because our wages don’t go far enough to buy a tank of gas.
The wicked business men and women are bringing the country to the ground for working people. The gasoline price surge affects different aspects of the economy, but in reality, the ones most affected are the workers.
But we keep on fighting and uniting, more workers in states throughout Mexico to stop this damn capitalist system, which by analyzing the situation carefully, we know to be the number one enemy of the working class.
This useless cabinet of President Peña Nieto has already had the nerve to raise the cost of a liter of gasoline from $12.00 to $16.95 pesos, and a tank of gas from $400 to $500 pesos. And this does not stop here—this August, gas prices are expected to rise yet again.
For this, we are out and we will continue fighting, uniting more and more workers day by day to one day take out this pack of thieving bosses and politicians.
Cancer, A Disease Fortified by Capitalism
“I am sorry to tell you this, but you have lung cancer.”
These are words that no one wants to hear, and that I never expected to hear, especially when eating right, exercising and never smoking was a way of life. However, living in a system where the environment around us is polluted and contaminated, all for profit, it is no surprise that 40 percent of all people living in the U.S. will be personally affected by a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime.
Since many rich people also get cancer, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to find a cure, including millions in workers’ tax dollars. But even here, the profit motive is a driving force. New cancer drugs are commonly priced at $100,000 a year or more, making gigantic profits for the big pharmaceutical companies. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of cancer patients either delay care by cutting pills in half or skipping treatment entirely. Whichever company patents a drug that can cure cancer will have struck oil, and will make an astronomical amount of profit from cancer patients.
In addition to the drug companies, hospital bosses are also reaping large profits. Early detection tests for certain cancers can run in the thousands of dollars. For most workers, this becomes cost prohibitive.
For people that never smoked or worked with hazardous material, there is no early detection test for lung cancer. Insurance companies will not approve tests that could be potential indicators for this disease, making it difficult to detect its early, asymptomatic stages.
In my case, there were no warning signs or symptoms? So, how did my diagnosis come about? A close family member in PLP worked in a hospital lab for many years. He was a union delegate and participated in many struggles on the job. His political base and personal ties to his coworkers may have literally saved my life.
Lab workers run all chemistry tests on blood drawn (not only what the doctor ordered), every 6-8 months. The CEA test (carcinoembryonic antigen), which is an indicator for potential colon cancer, came back slightly elevated, by only 2 points. A chest x-ray was done, and again, the lab workers got the results out in a quick and timely fashion. That same evening, I got the call that there was a shadow on the left upper lobe of my lung. And so, my unexpected journey began.
On hearing the news, we decided to reach out to our friends, co-workers and family members, who have given us tremendous support. So far, we are on the road to controlling this disease.
When the working class runs society, we will have a better understanding of how to confront and conquer this disease. And our motivation will be serving the international working class, not the profits of the drug companies.
Hidden Figures Unmasks and Denounces Racism
The Challenge review of the movie Hidden Figures makes some correct points about the role of the civil rights movement in the fight against racism, but it could have been better in some important ways.
The overall one-sidedly critical tone of the article mischaracterizes the antiracist struggle shown in the movie. The three Black women, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, featured in the movie are shown fighting racism on a daily basis.
The movie takes place in 1962 at NASA, a period where Black women and white male scientists had almost no interaction because of segregation, many things we take for granted now had not yet been won and the mass line of the movement was about making America a better democracy. To work in an environment like that and stand up to the racist structures and attitudes those structures reinforce is fighting racism.
The article is critical of the characters for not organizing against racism. But, in the movie Karen Johnson confronts the racism of her co-workers; Dorothy Vaughan fights to get the other Black women computers out of the basement where they’ve been literally hidden; Mary Jackson demands the right to attend an all-white class, to name just three of the several scenes that depict the fight against racism.
The article also dismisses the scene where the white supervisor tears down the racist bathroom designations as a “white savior” moment. But that was a good scene (though it probably didn’t happen that way) that showed a white person fighting racism.
The supervisor also gets won over by Katherine Johnson’s demands to be in the meetings where her work is being discussed. A third example of whites overcoming racism is shown when John Glenn, who was a supporter of the civil rights movement, disregards the NASA officials and goes over to meet the Black women workers when the astronauts arrive at NASA and demands that Katherine Johnson check the figures before he agrees to take off. As we all know, when you are in a very racist environment it is difficult to go against the grain on a daily basis. The movie depicts people doing just that.
Additionally, the review could have said more about the accomplishments of the women who worked at NASA. The movie correctly highlights the reality that Black women were essential to the accomplishments of the space program. In this current environment of the mass acceptance of a racist school system that refuses to fully serve the vast majority of Black children in this country it is a very important point for the movie to make.
Abolishing Sexism, A Class Question
In the Bay Area, we recently had our first study group. Six friends come to learn about the Party’s line on sexism, and Party members learned how to better break things down and lead discussions. By having these study groups, we hope to win people closer to the Party and sharpen ourselves on the line and on explaining it to people.
We read a feminist manifesto from the 1970s because one of our friends wanted to discuss the problems with feminism. We contrasted the feminist manifesto with a Party flyer about sexism. The feminist manifesto said that there is a male class and a female class, and that all of the female class is oppressed and needs to unite. Men should give up their male privilege (though it was unclear how they can do that) to help in women’s liberation. By contrast, the Party says that there is a working class, with men and women workers, and a ruling class with men and women bosses. We tried to explain that economic exploitation and class society is the root of sexist oppression, and that women shouldn’t be uniting with women across class but with all workers to smash capitalism.
We made some good headway on the topic but conversation focused a lot on identity politics and all-class unity. People thought that it’s important to see that bosses like Hillary Clinton suffer from sexism too, and that she would benefit from ending capitalism because then she would not suffer from sexism. One person said CEO of Goldman Sachs, a white man, is oppressed by sexism because he must fall in line with gender roles, so he would also be liberated by communism. Similarly, people thought that Barack Obama and the Black ruling class suffer from racism, and so they should have a stake in ending capitalism too.
Party members tried to show that being rich wins from using sexism and racism to get there. Even if the sexism and racism these ruling-class figures perpetuate comes back to bite them, they profit off of these divisions. The root is exploitation and money. It is in their class interest to maintain racism and sexism. After all, if everyone had an interest in ending racism and sexism, we would be able to do it far more easily!
This was our first of many study groups to come. Though we had trouble explaining and overcoming ideas of all-class unity, feminism, and identity politics, it was good practice for us. We are energized here to continue to fight and grow the Party!