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Letters of November 22

Trigger-happy Cops Fear Workers’ Revenge
The Howard University article (CHALLENGE, 10/11) correctly rejects the racist “Ferguson effect” – the false claim that cops are “fearful of...public criticism for being too violent and therefore [are] avoiding confrontations with criminals” (Washington Post, 9/22). However, cops do fear being killed in confrontations that they provoke, through stop-and-search, traffic stops, and other harassments.
Cops kill workers – Black, Latin, and white – at an annual rate four to six times the rate they are killed, and the death rate among cops has fallen by more than 2/3 in the last 30 years (BBC, 7/18/16). Moreover, more than twice as many cops are killed by white than by Black working-class men, a fact hidden generally by the mass media (NY Daily News, 5/11/16). Fear makes cops trigger-happy—shoot first, investigate later – and shoot not to disarm but to kill, for fear of missing the target.
Capitalist rulers and their armed state, particularly police departments, should be filled with fear—fear that masses of workers whom they exploit and oppress will rise up and send our wage-slave masters to well-deserved graves.
During the centuries of U.S. slavery, countless revolts by enslaved Africans kept the slavocracy paralyzed with fear, producing vicious attempts to terrorize their forced laborers into submission. Extreme violence and terrorism is the usual response by rulers to the real, and often actualized, threats of overthrow and executions invited by subjugation to savage servitude. Many laws were passed in Virginia and other slave states in a race to out-terrorize those who kept the slavocracy terrorized—in addition to extra-judicial and unpunished killings of their rebellious victims.
Cops’ fears, combined with racist attitudes that consign Black workers to subhuman status, is a deadly mixture that leads to the judicially sanctioned shoot-first-investigate-later approach. Prosecutors and judges usually exonerate cops for ostensibly defending themselves when cops claim they feared for their lives. Cops even get away with planting guns on their dead victims to support those claims.
Given the extreme exploitation under capitalism, and equally extreme oppression to make that exploitation possible, it is no wonder that cops and their masters are fearful of the working class, and not just of Black workers, but of white and all other workers as well. There is fear on both sides, but only the cops are allowed to kill without fear of punishment, and generally without fear of public criticism.
Can there be any doubt that in this tense standoff between our exploiters and our class, the only solution for the working class is to end the standoff by terminating the existence of the capitalist system that demands exploitation and oppression, as well as state terrorism, for its survival. We invite all workers to join PLP to hasten the day of victory for our class.
Capitalism: An Unnatural Disaster
The editorial (9/27) correctly identified the issue that the flooding in South Asia, West Africa and the U.S. is caused by capitalism’s uncontrolled growth and the anarchy of capitalism. Another aspect of the anarchy of capitalism is the  catastrophe of climate change, caused by hundreds of years of anarchistic capitalism. The floods and hurricanes are from warming oceans creating much greater rainfall from hotter oceans. The fires are caused by years of drought due to global warming.
Climate change is a class issue. Working class folks, and those who are targets of racism are the first and most severely impacted by drought, hurricanes, floods and fires, in part because of racial and class discrimination in housing. The contradictions of capitalism mean that the system cannot stop, slow down or reduce the burning of fossil fuels, which is the main cause of climate change. The profit system requires exploitation to the hilt, or is replaced by competitors. The capitalists must be overthrown by force to stop climate change.
The consequences of burning fossil fuels are palpable today; millions are displaced and killed. In the longer-term future, the habitability of the planet is in doubt. It is certain that capitalism cannot solve the problem; communism is the only answer.
The bosses have tried to take over the environmental movement and claim, “we’re all in this together.” The bosses always try to get in front of movements as they did with Black Lives Matter to mislead the fight against racism. We see the trick the bosses are trying to pull. Climate change is a class issue as highlighted by the movement led by indigenous-led workers against the Dakota Access Pipeline. That movement is an example of the power of multiracial unity against racism and capitalist exploitation.
The Progressive Labor Party’s responsibility is to overthrow the rotting capitalist system. One of the contradictions caused by capitalism is climate change. We must lead that fight.
Two More Battles Before the Spanish Civil War
The editorial (11/8) about Catalonia refers to the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) as “the opening battle of World War II.” It was the opening battle within Europe, but two earlier armed conflicts, one in Asia, one in Africa, also led to World War II: The Japanese invasion and occupation of Manchuria (Sept 1931) and the Italian invasion and annexation of Ethiopia (Oct 1935).
Individual Heroes Do Not Make History
When we describe the history of our communist movement, we should avoid slipping into the error of the “cult of the personality”, just as we avoid it in describing PLP’s own history of struggle. The backpage article on Bolshevik history (CHALLENGE 10/25) was the cult of the personality personified and contradicts our opposition to the “cult.”
Lenin and Stalin are made the “heroes” of the pre-revolutionary working class and Bolshevik struggles, with the rest of the Party and the working class just the supporting cast. This kind of cult approach leads to the capitalist historians’ mistaken “great men make history” which in practice is just as sexist as the name implies, as well as being a gross insult to the mass of workers who in the end were the force that smashed the rulers of imperial Russia and established working class rule.
Leadership is important in all struggles—those who are at the moment most dedicated and disciplined and who have the greatest understanding have an obligation to lead the way. The greatest obligation of that leadership, though, is to continually be developing more communist leaders, particularly among the youth who are our future.
From our earliest days, we have been committed to collectivity and confidence in the power of the working class to understand and lead the fight for communism. We as a Party collectively move our understanding and practice forward. Workers learn from communists and communists learn from the working class how to struggle for and win a new egalitarian world of workers rule.
Any individual glorification detracts from a commitment to and reliance on the working class to rule. We struggle for a mass party of millions, for the idea that every worker will become a leader of the revolution.

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