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Letters of October 24

My high school class speech: fight for what’s right
I am a high school student in the tenth grade and I’m taking Global History. This year my teacher started out by giving us a project. The class was divided into assigned groups—(a) people who believed that enforcing the war on drugs was the only way to help control violence in Mexico, (b) those who wanted to legalize drugs as a reform to end the violence, (c) and those who believed a revolution was the most beneficial solution to ending the violence in Mexico because changing the whole system would be the only solution. I was assigned to advocate for legalizing drugs. Part of the assignment was to stand in front of my peers and convince them that we could rely on the Mexican government to make this reform to improve the lives of workers.
As I was sitting down to write my speech the night before, I realized that I was really upset that I would receive a grade for trying to convince my classmates of something I really disagree with. I knew that if I did what I was asked to do, I would have to say that the Mexican government was good and that capitalism was the fix.
So I decided to possibly sacrifice a good grade and give a speech about what I really believe. This is what I wrote and presented to my class the next day:
“I would first like to start out by saying that I do not at all agree with the idea that our system only needs a couple of tweaks in order to prosper. It shocks me that some people in this class are being forced to argue that the war on drugs was okay and find evidence to back that statement up. I realize that it is always good to see and recognize all the arguments that people have made in the past, but the proposal that keeping a capitalist system the same and starting a revolution against it to make life better are made out to be both equally reasonable arguments, infuriates me. One of the arguments I am supposed to speak about is legalizing drugs and making them more accessible. All this is doing is encouraging people to cope with the corrupt system they are forced to live under, and that is no fix. The only true solution is a revolution. Although that is what I am supposed to be advocating, I will not stand here and try and convince my peers that we should settle on a system that exploits us, whether it’s in Mexico, or in this country. Daily, I am forced to navigate through a system that I disagree with, like walking through racist metal detectors, so this is not about me trying to be difficult. When I finally get the opportunity to speak out about our society, it’s my responsibility to share my true beliefs with my peers. I will never conceal my true thoughts and contradict my morals for the sake of a grade. I have no issue with voicing my opinion and will gladly continue to do it throughout the year. Because of these reasons, I feel uncomfortable reading the paragraph I was assigned to write out loud and will politely ask for it not to be. Thank You.”
After reading this aloud I looked up and noticed that some of my classmates were confused and others were shocked and their jaws dropped. Then my teacher stood up and clarified to the class that I was protesting by refusing to do my assigned work and instead was advocating for revolution. Then the class clapped.
Later, we were asked to vote to see what option we thought was best and unlike his other classes, in mine almost every student voted that a revolution was the best option.
This helped me see that speaking up is really important to do. How will people learn about revolution if we stay quiet about it? How will the working class know what is best for us if the bosses’ opinions are the only ones we hear? It is our job to advocate for what we think is right.
At first, I contemplated not reading this to my peers because I was afraid of the consequences, like a low grade. But I realized this was a small price to pay and know that others have paid a much higher price, like their lives, for standing up against capitalism. In the end, this was an immensely impactful learning experience for me. I was lucky to have my teacher’s support in the end and I did get a high grade. He told me he appreciated that I turned my protest into a learning opportunity for all students.
In the future I may not be so lucky getting an honest teacher who supports real learning and student initiative. Whether or not I got a good grade, I was able to educate my peers, and myself, which is something that no grade, no matter how high, could have done. I believe that if something is important enough to you, pursue it, no matter what the outcomes may be.

Voting is a farce
Our PLP club in New York is circulating a flyer related to the upcoming elections here in the United States of North America.
In this flyer we pointed out that the “vote is a farce” that will never fight against capitalism, the true cause of all the bad things that happen in the world. These elections try to hide the racist character and the genocidal wars that imperialism promotes to seize basic resources and the domination of territories at the hands of the Allied bosses in their misdeeds.
In our club, we are very active and aware of the reality, but when approaching friends of a non-profit organization, where we are activate, we feel great concern since most of them do agree with these elections, because they believe in the lesser of two evils, that being the “democrats”, that they will solve their problems. They do not understand that both Democrats and Republicans are the same coin with different faces.
Finally, we invite all the workers of the world to read and distribute our newspaper, Challenge and fight for a world free of exploitation and racism. The mentioned flyer distribution is happening in friendly communities of the Party.

On the job talk: Republicrats guilty of deportations
I’ve been having conversations with clerical and custodial workers at my library job. I’ve been trying to get to know the staff, who are mostly Black and Latin. We’ve briefly had conversations about current events, mostly about gentrification, which is on the rise in this particular neighborhood where we work. While we were bonding over how tough it is getting to make ends meet, we started discussing the rise of hate groups in the surrounding areas and the rise of fascist attacks on workers under Trump’s racist administration. I commented that this was nothing new: it wasn’t just Trump, since both sides play on workers’ fears of immigrant labor. I said that Democrats are also guilty of this. My co-worker agreed and said, “Yeah, look how many people Obama deported.” When I gave my co-worker the actual statistic, they commented that there were no politicians or mainstream media speaking up for immigrant workers at that time. Then I steered the conversation to then-president Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill that increased the mass incarceration of Black and Latin workers. This is why many didn’t trust Hillary Clinton when she was running for president.I said that presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama laid the foundation for president Donald Trump’s current policies and that Democrats are not as innocent as the media wants us to believe. The politicians are basically telling us to pick our poison. We both laughed in agreement. This is just one of a handful of co-workers who I will be getting to know better and eventually turning conversations like these into collective actions.

Trumpeting of great economy conceals capitalist failure
President Donald Trump’s boasts about the “great economy” are applauded by the media’s constant acceptance of what are really phony reports of the “lowest unemployment rates” — especially “for Black and Latin workers.”  These are totally biased figures manipulated by the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The BLS headline jobless U-3 rate of 3.9 percent counts as unemployed any worker who has been looking for a job within the four weeks prior to the survey. (For Black workers, that figure is 6.6 percent). After that, workers who have been unemployed  for more than a 4-week are dropped from the jobless figures, and become labeled “discouraged workers” — the U-6 rate, now nearly 8 percent — which never sees the light of day. And for Black workers that rate is double, 16 percent. Actually jobless figures for Black youth 18-24, the unemployment rate in most major metropolitan areas approaches 50 percent.
Finally, those unemployed for more than a year are dropped from the labor force figures altogether. The ShadowStats firm has computed that total jobless rate at 21.4 percent. And none of this includes workers on welfare who would seek jobs if they could afford day-care for their children. Nor does it include 1.5 million workers enslaved in the bosses prisons who if released, would swell the jobless figure even higher.
And as far as “prosperity” for the working class, there are the several million workers who, unable to pay their mortgages due to being jobless, lost their homes beginning in the Great Recession of 2007-8. Not to mention the lost wages during these extended periods of unemployment and the unpaid wages for all the work done mainly by women in raising their families.
So the real nature of the “great economy” for the working class overall, and its special oppression of Black and Latin workers, is a far cry from “prosperity.”
Only the overthrow of the capitalist profit system, on which unemployment, racism and sexism is based and thrives, and the building of a communist society that abolishes profits, bosses and the divisiveness of the wage system, can free the working class from all this exploitation.

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