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letters of January 4

Airport Cleaners Sweep Out Racist Bosses

For three months there has been some sharp class struggle against racist airport cleaning bosses at a Mid-West airport by a multiracial group of airport workers over the frame-up firing of a shop steward and serious allegations of racist extortion of money from immigrant cleaners.

Cleaning supervisors and managers were trying to instill fear in the workers by targeting and firing their coworker and union steward on fabricated misconduct charges. Shortly after he was fired it became apparent these bogus charges grew out of his leading workers in fighting these racist bosses.

The workers — immigrants and citizens — and the steward presented a signed petition to union officers on their fired coworker’s behalf, charging racist abuse by these bosses and demanding his re-hiring. Their outpouring of political and personal support has been inspiring. Many are CHALLENGE readers. Some immigrant women have shown great leadership in this struggle. No matter what the outcome their fight will not be forgotten.

To expose the extortion of immigrant workers’ money, the workers and the union set up a “sting” operation, filming these bosses taking money (with marked bills). The union pressed the higher-up cleaning bosses with this evidence and the managers and supervisors were fired! One manager was demoted. There may be more firings of other bosses involved in extortion.

Capitalism is legalized thievery. These racist cleaning bosses just took it to its “logical” conclusion. Based on this evidence workers are fighting to get the Steward’s job back. Another CHALLENGE article will report this ongoing struggle.

Capitalism is a system of outright robbery of the value created by workers’ labor. Its managers and supervisors are no better than street robbers. The international working class needs a communist revolution to get rid of all bosses and profits and ensure the working class reaps all the value it creates. The fight for a communist world continues through the Occupy workers at this airport.

Airport Red

Minnesota OWS’ers: ‘Reform capitalism’; PL’er: ‘Can’t be done’

After a demonstration of over 200 multiracial occupiers, Occupy Minnesota defied the county order and had a sleep-in. This winter will be a major test of the Occupiers’ political will, for Minnesota is known for its harsh weather. A PLP comrade has donated some winter wear, books, and CHALLENGEs to the Occupiers’ Peoples’ Library. Self-critically a better effort must be made to present PLP’s communist ideas. Although the Occupy Movement is good in showing workers’ will to fight back, it must also shed the illusions that reforms can make capitalism better.

Occupy Minnesota has had a PL’er participating in teach-ins and marches, trying to present PLP’s ideas. In a teach-in called “Reforming Democracy” I said that what the bosses call “democracy” is capitalism. It can’t be reformed because it has too many built-in contradictions like class, racism, and sexism.

The “Reforming Democracy” teach-in was reformist nonsense about how “voting can get the right people in office to end Wall Street greed.” I explained that you can’t reform democracy. History shows democracy depends on your class position. If you were a slave in the early 1800s there was no democracy in U.S. society. It was a fascist dictatorship oppressing black slaves. 

This teach-in had no class analysis as to why past reform struggles ultimately failed in the long term. One occupier thought just getting the “right people” in office to police Wall Street would help. I told him that you can have all the “right people,” but competition and the drive for maximum profits in capitalism will economically ruin society no matter which Democrat or Republican is in office. This young guy did take a CHALLENGE as did a few others.

Even if working-class people win a reform, the bosses can take it away when it suits them because they have state power — the police, courts, military. There are some good people involved in Occupy Minnesota at the County Government Plaza in Minneapolis. The county board told the occupiers “when 25 degrees hits they can’t sleep in the outdoor Plaza areas.” They use the temperature drop as an excuse to try to oust the occupiers. 

The bosses will only tolerate so much of the Occupiers, who need to stop believing the “cops are a part of the 99%.” This is a political mistake. Working-class history like in Chile in the 1973 fascist counter revolution, shows that this  illusion about cops is dangerous. The cops rounded up and executed thousands of Chilean communists, with the help of the CIA. Only PL’s communist class analysis can point out to honest workers that cops are the fascist bosses’ thugs. Workers from Occupy Minnesota to Tahir Square, Egypt need communism and revolution to end racist, sexist, capitalism and for a communist world led by the workers’ party, PLP!

Minnesota Red

PL Youth Organize Teach-in at Occupy DC

Young PL’ers in DC and Baltimore held a communist school that focused on nationalism as an obstacle to communist revolution. We followed it up with a teach-in at Occupy DC in McPherson Square on the intersection of capitalism, nationalism and racism. Young leaders described how the ruling class profits from these divisions in the working class. They demonstrated the need for increased international class consciousness to fight the oppression and exploitation of the working class worldwide. About 30 to 40 Occupiers attended the teach-in and about 15 CHALLENGEs were distributed. Contacts were made and plans to follow up.

At the morning discussion, young leaders presented a historical perspective on the development of nationalism, showing its origin in capitalism and how today there is a direct relationship among imperialism, capitalism and the spread of nationalist ideas. We discussed how nationalist movements are a frequent response of oppressed groups to imperialist powers.

But nationalist movements don’t liberate the masses, who often shed blood fighting for all-class cooperation. Instead, it leads to the creation of a local group of bosses usually linked to the original or to alternative imperialists. Nationalist movements lack true working-class consciousness and ignore the divisions inherent in nationalism.

Capitalism is a global system against which the working class, on the basis of proletarian internationalism, must act as a global class to defeat it. International solidarity based on class interest is a necessity to end the global exploitation of the working class. Nationalism and patriotism serve to obscure the common working-class interests that would otherwise threaten ruling-class power.

At the later teach-in, one Occupier asked us, “Can workers overcome nationalist ideas?” A comrade responded, saying “ideas that dominate any period are the ideas of the ruling class, and these can change as class power changes. For example, under feudalism, many peasants accepted the idea of kings by divine right. But bourgeois revolution changed those ideas. The struggle for communist revolution will similarly change workers’ ideas about nationalism.”

As living proof of the power of internationalism, our day was capped off by a dinner and forum that evening with a comrade from South Asia who shared stories of struggle, perseverance and solidarity. Efforts at building PL among women in that region and the development of younger leadership were highlighted.

Our comrade from South Asia had previously spoken to 45 students, staff, and faculty at a local university, and observed with pleasure an anti-racist demonstration organized by Occupy DC at a local bank against their financing of the prison-industrial complex.

Problems and difficulties for the working class are similar worldwide as a direct result of capitalism. As we continue to develop new leadership, we remain committed to our Party’s politics and work toward the only solution to the working class’s oppression — communist revolution!

DC Comrades


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