Friday
Sep292017

Letters of October 11

Hurricane Harvey: No Support from Authorities
On Thursday, August 17, Hurricane Harvey began its furious attack that lasted until the third of September. It’s heart-wrenching here. We thought we would receive the necessary support from the proper authorities and the volunteer organizations, but sadly, that’s not the case at the moment.
At this time, the people affected by this disaster are not being supported. Many are undocumented workers who, for fear of being deported are not asking for assistance and live in an inhumane condition caused by the capitalist state.
Members of PLP have to give support and solidarity to the victims of the hurricane in a way that is characteristic of our international communist party. We have a fight to carry on at this time. We won’t allow the disgraceful corruption of profiteering influence our actions, like the capitalists. No worker is worth more—documented or undocumented. We need to unite forces as a class to keep moving forward and remember that we aren’t alone in the struggle.  
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Trump fiddles with North Korea while Puerto Rico Drowns
Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico (PR) with zero electricity or running water for almost 3.7 million people, mainly members of our own class. In English Puerto Rico means “Rich Port,” but rich for whom? The main problem is there is no forthcoming help. President Donald Trump fiddles with North Korea while PR drowns in floodwaters with millions of homes wiped out, and tens of thousands facing death from dehydration, starvation, or exposure.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. and other ships and planes could deliver food, fresh water, and generators for electricity during the months-long process of restoring the power lines for electricity and running water. All eleven nuclear aircraft carriers and dozens of nuclear submarines from the U.S. arsenal, all run by nuclear reactors, could provide the electricity needed to run electrical necessities. But capitalism and its fake borders prevent one area working with another area. If the U.S. were to send resources to PR, it would be out of their imperialist interest, not the goodness of their heart.
Instead Trump is threatening North Korea with destruction, meaning murdering over 25 million people, again mainly members of the working class. The capitalist regime of North Korea knows that if it cannot maintain a credible threat against the U.S. ruling class. Its location is at a precarious place that puts them at a flashpoint of U.S.-China rivalry. The claim that they are a danger, rather than acting in self-preservation, is a deliberate lie to justify this threatened destruction in the eyes of workers around the world.
But is the neglect of the desperate life-threatening situation of millions of residents of PR—a U.S. “possession” since the 1898 war against Spain—any less an atrocity than the deliberately threatened destruction of millions North Koreans?
And compounding this atrocity, Trump denies global warming. While the rapid sequence of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria may not necessarily be repeated every year, the likelihood is rapidly growing that such sequences will occur more frequently. The trend will continue; warmer oceans produce hurricane-friendly conditions. The warming of the waters is now mainly due to the burning of oil, coal, and natural gas (the fossil fuels). Again, capitalism is to blame.
Workers must rid the world of profit-mad capitalism that spawns such atrocities. Join PLP to bring that day closer to reality.
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Tribute to Lenny at Delegate Assembly
At the Delegate Assembly of my union (Professional Staff Congress), more than hundred delegates paid tribute to Lenny Dick, a math professor, union activist, anti-racist and life-long communist.
In honor of Lenny, delegates pledged to join the campus rally at Bronx Community College (where he taught) on November 30, kicking off a contract campaign that will, among other demands, fight to win a living wage ($7,000 per course) for adjunct professors, whose interests Lenny had always promoted.
One delegate said Lenny fought for a class-conscious trade unionism that challenged our class enemies. Currently, the Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees  case, which the Supreme Court will hear in October, threatens public workers. The Court will likely rule against the unions, this will weaken them. People in the bargaining unit who benefit from union contracts won’t have to pay a penny in either dues or a “fair-share” fee. The conservative National Right to Work Committee and the Liberty Justice Center brought this case. Both organizations are heavily funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. In her book Dark Money, author Jane Mayer describes how the Janus case is part of a long-term project by the Koch brothers and other billionaires to weaken government unions, slash public spending and reduce taxes on capitalists like themselves.
Lenny believed in a labor movement that would have brought thousands of NYC public workers to demonstrate at 740 Park Avenue, the luxury apartment building where David Koch lives. He believed in a labor movement that would be organizing millions of public workers to walk off the job the day the Supreme Court heard the case. This is in stark contrast to the leaders of the public unions who have stuck their heads in the sand and done nothing.
Lenny also believed in a labor movement that would refuse to accept capitalism. Capitalism is a society in which a handful of tycoons amass unparalleled fortunes and political power, while 20 percent of New Yorkers are poor, tens of thousands are homeless and millions more worry every month whether or not they’ll be able to pay their bills.
Lenny is gone, but his dream of an egalitarian, communist society lives on.

Friday
Sep152017

Letters of September 27

Workers Protest Macron-Style Fascist Attacks
My wife and I are visiting Paris, and joined the big demonstration called by the major unions to protest labor law changes which will take away rights the workers won in struggle over the past century (see photo above).
Tens of thousands marched under union and political banners, with loud chanting and signs. Even the occasional rain didn’t stop them. It was a very integrated march, with white, Black and Asian workers, men and women, young and old, marching together. At one point, there was even a loud singing of the Internationale.
But sadly, because the union leadership is tied to the bourgeois political parties, all the demands were against the changes, not against the system that’s always trying to take back workers’ victories everywhere. The new laws, which president Emmanuel Macron will issue by decree to avoid a fight in the National Assembly, will break workers’ rights to their jobs, reduce pension rights, end limits on night and overtime work and more. All this is in the name of efficiency and competitiveness against other imperialist bosses.
Macron was elected a few months ago, mainly because he’s not an open fascist like Marine Le Pen. Many of the workers who voted for him on that basis must now be realizing that under capitalism there is no lesser evil. Imagine what today’s march of 100,000 workers could have accomplished if they were fighting for communism, not reform.

Mosely & British Fascism
The Guardian published an article (9/8) worth reading about the Nazis in Britain before and after World War II through a discussion of Morris Beckman’s book The 43 Group: Battling with Mosely’s Blackshirts. Sir Osswald Mosley led British Nazis. He was from a wealthy British family and was married into the Mitford family, wealthy and highly placed in British society. Through his in-laws, he met Adolf Hitler in 1936.
Being the chief Nazi in Britain earned Mosley a prison sentence during the war. There were many protests when he was released. Upon his release, he reorganized his British Union of Fascists. Nazis did not need much of an excuse to attack Jews in Britain, and they tramped out the usual anti-Semitism. This led to many racist marches and attacks on Jewish, African, South Asian people in Britain.
On a personal note, I was about nine when the war ended. My family lived in Kilburn in London, one of the centers of Nazi and anti-Nazi activity. At the end of the road I lived on was a Communist Party bookstore. My uncle frequented this store. Besides occasionally buying the comic books I read he would get a copy of his Daily Worker, the newspaper of the Communist Party. There were often discussions in my house between the conservatives (my mother and grandmother), the left-winger (my father), and the communist (my uncle).
My uncle and his friends got involved in fighting the local Nazis. Sometimes he came home looking a bit knocked about. Being one of only three Jewish students in my school, I was under constant anti-Semitic attack. The attacks taught me to fight well. My friends would support me, but I was in a fight a couple of times every week.
According to the Guardian this period of fascism ended around 1949, but there was still plenty of open anti-Semitism around in 1956 when I had to sign up for National Service (British equivalent of the military draft).
The Guardian wrote, “Fascism is one of those creatures which, once its head has been cut off, soon enough grows another one. Little remembered today is that at the end of the war, with German cities in ruins, Hitler dead and Nazism seemingly destroyed, Mosley and his men were released from prison. Undeterred and unrepentant they went straight back to what they’d been doing before the war.”
Fascism is like a hydra, the serpent-like monster from Greek mythology. We have to keep cutting its heads off and bury its roots of capitalism deep. Only communism and hundreds of years would end this process.

Problem with Labeling Fascists as Just “Hate Groups”
When speaking of the Klan and Nazis, the concept of hate is largely misplaced. What these fascist groups, not hate groups, really do is downgrade entire groups of workers to subhuman status, not worthy of rights to thrive or even to live.
The concept of subhuman is rooted in the plantation-owners’ attitude toward enslaved Africans since the 1600s, and the similar regard of Native Americans even before that time. The subhuman status of enslaved Africans allowed the theft of their bodies and forced backbreaking labor, while that of Native Americans justified the theft of their land and genocide. Hate only lent support to the practical needs of this theft of labor and land, and guaranteed enrichment for the planter class.
Regarding the crimes of fascist groups as based on hate, or labeling them “hate crimes,” allows members and supporters of the ruling capitalist class to brand the anti-racist left with the same label. After all, don’t we anti-racists hate racists and fascists? And is it not proper for us to do so? Hate is an accusation that only muddies the water.
Let’s take away from ruling class propagandists this symmetrical branding of the concept of hate—the false idea that both sides are wrong. The real issue is the exploitation and oppression (that necessitate the degradation of the exploited and oppressed to subhuman status through racism and sexism) versus our determined resistance and rebellion against those evils. Acknowledging that there is no symmetry places the blame solely on the exploiters and their fascist helpers, the side where it belongs.
In recognition of this asymmetry, some members and supporters of the capitalist class hypocritically denounce the Klan and Nazis, out of one side of their mouths, for the very racism that they themselves practice daily in a hundred less obvious institutional ways. They profit greatly from doing so, and by dividing the working class in that fashion, they secure their control over their exploitative system. Without racism their days would be numbered.

Eternal War in Afghanistan
Donald Trump administration announced more troops in Afghanistan. Trump ran on an “America First” platform which implied defending the homeland and avoids getting involved abroad. Politicians, ruling-class intellectuals, and former National Security advisors, both Republican and Democrats, pushed for more troops “long-term commitment” to war. National Security Advisor General McMaster proposed sending more troops and was joined by two of Obama’s Defense Secretaries, Leon Panetta and Ash Carter, as well as many U.S. generals, active-duty and retired.
Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon favored using mercenary contractors to replace the U.S. troops and had former Blackwater chief Erik Prince to the White House to push his plan to privatize the Afghan war. Not only was this proposal rejected, but also Trump and 30 advisors held a long-anticipated daylong discussion of Afghanistan at Camp David on the day Bannon was fired.
Adding 5,000 U.S. troops to the 8,400 already in Afghanistan might sound modest. For each 100 U.S. soldiers, there are another 50 on “temporary duty”, 50 allied troops (mostly European), and 500 “contract” workers from mainly Asia and Africa (for equipment maintenance, transporting supplies, and preparing food). So, every 100 U.S. soldiers translates to 500 added to the imperialist war machine.
During Trump’s campaign and since his election, he has repeatedly asked, “Why isn’t the U.S. winning,” and “Why are we still there after 16 years?” As to the first question: in addition to a weakening U.S. and competition from its rivals, Afghanistan’s neighbors, mainly Pakistan, don’t want the U.S. to win. Many in the Pakistan ruling class support the Taliban. When the U.S. armed and funded the Taliban to fight the Soviet invasion, they did so through Pakistani Intelligence. Those bonds remain strong. Another complication is Iran working more with the Taliban, continuing a 20-year history of both fighting against and working with them.
As to the second question, many in the ruling class figure “if we can’t win, then we can at least not lose.” They argue that the war could go on forever without a high cost: “only” $8-10 billion a year (plus another $5 billion a year in bribes and “aid” to Pakistan to guarantee access), and “only” a dozen U.S. soldiers killed each year. This is seen as a cheap and acceptable compared to the $200 billion a year former president Bush spent in Iraq. The comparison is made to South Korea, where U.S. troops have been stationed for 70 years. To these ruling-class voices, it does not matter if deaths of those in Afghanistan are over 8,000 a year and climbing.
Workers have no dog in the fight between the “establishment” rulers and the “America First” gang. The racist profit system only promises more imperialist war. The only way out is to organize to overthrow the entire system.

Friday
Sep152017

Letters of September 12

Bay Area Experiences at anti-Nazi Rallies

Passive Counter-Protesters is Concerning
Going into a city known for its “radical” atmosphere, sometimes called the “People’s Republic of Berkeley”, I was expecting a friendly environment. What I quickly realized was that this image was created and maintained by the staunchly liberal leaders mainly to make its residents feel better about themselves.
Their beliefs did not evoke action, and indeed the atmosphere was incredibly restrictive to harness the true power of the thousands of people that came to kick Nazis out of their city. The crowd was mostly observant, speculative, and self-interested.
There were a large group of these counter-protesters that desired more radical action and change, but were largely unsupported by the liberal majority of the crowd. To take up space is important, but the degree that passive Berkeley supporters were unsupportive of action was definitely scary to see.
As both leftist and fascist movements continue to grow, I am concerned that the unwillingness to listen and act on our side will be a dangerous trend for us all.

No Nazis in Sight
I headed to San Francisco on Saturday ready to confront some neo nazis. It was my first time and I was a bit nervous. But knowing my comrades were there with me made me feel better. A friend even texted me this morning asking if I was going to the protest, so I invited her to the group and was so glad when they showed up.
My confidence was boosted by making a sign saying “GOOD NIGHT ALT-RIGHT”, with a fist punching a swastika. Up until we headed out, we kept getting updates about the nazis’ location, so I felt increasingly unsure of their actual plans. I suspected that they would be at Crissy Field anyways, since most counterprotesters would have been diverted to Alamo Square, but nobody knew for sure so I had to trust our team.
When we got to Alamo square, we was immediately swarmed by counterprotesters marching down the street with no nazis in sight. I was relieved, but disappointed.
We spent three hours in a growing counterprotest leading chants and marching.
Our group’s energy was high and I was proud our chants were catching on. I had fun with a comrade making up some new chants too.
When we got back to have some pizza and debrief, we were interrupted by news that some nazis had gathered at Crissy Field and were outnumbering some counterprotesters that some people in our group personally knew. It was clear we had to go there and mobilise others to go as well, but I was stressed because I had to be home half an hour ago.
I debated this conflict between obeying my parents and doing what I knew had to be done. After several stressful minutes, I decided to join my comrades in going back to Crissy Field.
The drive there was much more solemn. We all were aware of the potential danger of the situation. As we trekked down the shoreline, clouded and grey, I found comfort in walking by my friends and knowing that they were in it with me.
I still felt unprepared and unarmed. We reached the given address of the nazis after 20 minutes of walking, only to find nobody there. A few confusing minutes passed we finally confirmed that the nazis left. All the built-up anger in me suddenly dissipated. I was furious that the nazis had led us on this chase, baiting us, and ended up unscathed. They escaped the massive crowd at Alamo Square and they escaped again at Crissy Field.
But in some ways, they were defeated; the Nazis were too scared to show up in front of the counterprotesters. Some older comrades who were driving said that this showed the power of direct action. Hate is driven out by confronting it and making nazis afraid, not by any centrist idea of peacefully protesting in a different part of the city.
I left San Francisco knowing I can’t leave any hate unchallenged, and will bring this experience with me when I continue to organise in the future.

Is Protesting Enough?
I’m feeling very emotionally and spiritually drained after the events that transpired this weekend, and I am still attempting to figure out how I fit into all of this and how, if at all, my actions made any progress. We have a huge fascist movement in the country, spear-headed by Trump and other racist groups across the country and world (neo-nazis, KKK, and other faccists.)
We have a duty to unite as oppressed and working members of this society from all backgrounds, and to raise our voices and act to halt these racist and oppressive ideologies. This weekend’s events were at once beautiful and flawed. On one hand, the shear number of counter-protestors that attended the march against racism came armed with liberal ideas. There were many organized and unorganized groups who said no to this kind of hatred. Many people were warm, beautiful, and loving.
On the other hand, marching with the PLP was a different kind of experience. I believe we were there not just to show up for racial justice and counter fascism, but also to fight for that racial justice. Many antiracist speakers told stories about love defeating hate, or sharing a poem or spoken word. For me, I was frustrated because rather than marching with militant force, the march was pacifist.
Thus my reflection on this weekend is trying to understand and balance those two facts—knowing our numbers scared off these racists but also that the protests didn’t succeed in “winning” the larger battle at hand. At the Berkeley protest in particular, I found myself angry a lot—at the lack of militancy, the large police presence. I am still trying to understand that anger and use it in a productive way to create tangible change. I am still wondering if protesting is enough.

Call It What It Is: Racism
San Francisco’s radio show “Your Call”, usually a great program, was reporting on the fascist rallies this weekend. I was driving and couldn’t stop to call in, but I was struck that in this hour-long program on Nazis and Klan and Klan-like groups occupying areas of San Francisco and Berkeley, the word “racism” was uttered only twice, and only in passing.
Why are we avoiding this word? Quick calculations show that racist pay differentials alone give corporations hundreds of billions of dollars in profits. It’s even more if you consider the billions they save from providing almost zero services and benefits to Black, Latin, Native, and immigrant workers. And white workers’ wages are hugely reduced by racism too. That’s why industry moved to the South, where racism is most strong and overt. In other words, the upstream cause of racism is capitalism, not white people in general. The theories of “white privilege” or “white supremacy” obscure this fact.
White workers must see and fight racism for the survival of all workers as well as themselves. Being oppressed and exploited less, even significantly less, is not a privilege. And the vast, vast majority of white workers are not supreme in any stretch of the imagination. It’s the ruling class that’s supreme and that’s who we need to fight—united. Smash racism!


Friday
Sep152017

Letters of August 30

Chicago Project Helped Me Counter Black Nationalism and other Anti-Worker Ideas
One of the things that I took from the Chicago July Project experience was the idea that we need more multiracial unity in order to fight the system and not be split by identity politics and nationalism. Coming from a Black Nationalist family, I asked a white comrade about his family’s experience with Irish nationalism. He told me about how the British used different religions to oppress and divide and reap maximum profits from the Irish even though they are “white.”
With this knowledge in mind, I was able to talk to a worker who took the paper but was saying how we need Black Nationalism. I countered with the experiences of workers in Africa and the Caribbean to show how capitalism oppresses workers no matter the bosses’ skin color. He ended up giving a donation as well. The enthusiasm of my fellow comrades gave me more confidence to approach workers who I wouldn’t normally and it led to good conversations and more donations.
When I went to Chicago, I was initially apprehensive. I had bad preconceived ideas of how dangerous the working-class neighborhoods were from mainstream, capitalist media. The labor history tour showed me the real history of working class Chicago. It showed me the error of my thought that it is just gangs and violence. It really showed me how capitalism divides the working class immigrant populations and created the gangs.
I hope to take these experiences to help struggle with my family who have these ideas. I hope I can show them CHALLENGE and move them in the right direction. I am excited to attend next year’s summer project.

In Cuba, I Organized to Defend Revolution
I am a communist and was raised in Cuba.  I was four years old at the triumph of the revolution. I was raised during a period when socialism was being built in a country where the communist party led this process.  I was a member of the communist youth and was involved in the revolutionary process until the collapse of the old communist movement due to all the mistakes made building socialism to get to communism.  
Yet, in Cuba mass organizations were created, most of the people were in these organizations.  For example, the Committees to Defend the Revolution, where people organized against imperialist attacks.  Through these committees we would volunteer to take care of the properties on the block, we wouldn’t let any felon do their misdeeds.  
Before becoming law, all bills were discussed in the Peoples’ Power Assemblies and through out the country in mass organizations such as: Federación De Mujeres Cubanas, Federación Estudiantil Universitaria, Federación Estudiantil De La Enseñanza Media And Central De Trabajadores De Cuba.  After discussing the bills, adding or deleting something, after the changes the masses demanded were made, finally those bills were approved by the National Assembly.
The revolutionary committees and other organizations organized the different actions, amongst which was the mass agricultural mobilizations to plant and harvest the different products needed.  

Friday
Jul282017

Letters of August 9

Healthcare Workers Fight to Unionize, Defy Management

Workers at Morris Heights Health Center in the Bronx are celebrating after voting overwhelmingly to unionize and join 1199 today. The organizing drive was initially spearheaded primarily by Black and Latin women at our center—nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and social workers. The struggle only triumphed, though, after they won the support of the most numerous and oppressed workers—the medical assistants, school health assistants, clerical staff, maintenance workers, and others.
Management did their best to defeat the organizing drive, distributing letters and emails urging the workers to vote no, meeting with them in small groups at their job sites, and in a last ditch effort, calling a center wide “town hall meeting.”  After years of disrespect and being underpaid, workers spoke volumes at that management-sponsored meeting, rejecting their claim that we didn’t need a union because “we are family.” On the day of the election, there was a palpable buzz of expectation and empowerment from this struggle. One co-worker who regularly reads CHALLENGE had the issue with the headline “Demolish Racism” boldly displayed on her desk, a response that inspired me to share PL’s ideas even more.
Management further tried to divide the workers by attempting to prevent “professionals” (Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistant, so forth) from participating in the election and joining the union by claiming that they too are supervisory staff. In fact, the ballot of the professional staff had an additional question to vote on, essentially asking if we are willing to be represented by a union with “non-professionals.” The resounding answer was YES.
The point of being organized is to stand together as one and fight for each other. We want one union, and our own union should not have separate divisions. There may be different job functions, but the important issue is that our strength is in our unity. In the end, workers from all categories stood shoulder to shoulder against the administration’s desperate attempts at divisiveness and intimidation. We all understand that the real struggle is about to begin in our fight for a decent contract, and we will carry our solidarity forward to the negotiation phase of this struggle.
At a time when every aspect of workers’ lives is under attack in this country, our solidarity is a breath of fresh air for all. We see the increasing anti-immigrant and racist violence in daily life across the country and globally. We see the worsening poverty and its disastrous effects up close and personal in our community here in the Bronx. We see the disparate healthcare issues in poor communities of color, the pervasive unemployment, and sadly, we see that the future is not bright for the youth in our school clinics. Our unity is an indication that we can overcome the divisions and racism that this country was founded on, and fight together to end this system that is oppressing and exploiting all workers.
It is important that we at MHHC, who are dedicated to serving one of the most oppressed communities in this country, fight back for a better life. Many of the workers at MHHC in fact come from this same community. Our resolve to stand together can be an inspiration for others to fight back in these increasingly difficult times. It gives us hope that some day we can rid ourselves entirely of the capitalist system that is destroying us and our families.

*****

Political Economy 101: Exploitation of Workers
This summer project has been a fantastic continuation of the Progressive Labor Party’s yearlong work! It is fitting that we found ourselves in Chicago, arguably ground zero now for U.S. bosses’ assaults on the working-class.
The racist Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system is cutting $46 million from its budget, which targets mainly Black and Latin students (who make up nine out of 10 CPS students). Mayor Rahm Emanuel helped suppress information about his kkkops’ racist murder of Black youth Laquan McDonald. And recently, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) train operators passed a strike-authorization vote—the CTA has forced them to work without a contract in squalid conditions for over a year.
The CTA attacks also have a sexist nature to them. Many CTA bus drivers are Black women, who have no access to private rooms to pump breast milk. All the drivers also deal with disgusting port-o-potties the CTA expects them to use during routes.
We held a strong CHALLENGE sale at one of the CTA bus barns. Most workers were receptive. One woman worker who took the paper noted the sell-out union contract bans any actual strike actions. The bosses and the union leaders work together to stop workers from fighting back! To win we have to break the bosses’ rules. We run the trains and we can shut them down. And we’ll never see revolution if we can’t even defy the bosses’ laws!
At another sale at a train station in the city’s Southside area, we got a chance to put working-class theory into action. One comrade met a 17-year-old homeless Black youth. Even though the sale was over, we stayed until we were able to find him a shelter, buy him some food, and offer transportation money. That’s the spirit of communism—sharing resources equally, and not hoarding them.
But perhaps the most important development came during a discussion on political economy, later that day. We all agree that workers of all colors are exploited to varying degrees, with Black workers being super-exploited. However, while we agreed that white workers are also exploited, are they “oppressed?” We argued back and forth about what that term means to our class. I initially said that white workers are exploited, but not oppressed in the sense of laws passed directly disenfranchising them. Black workers, on the other hand, have lived that reality in AmeriKKKa for ages.
But then I wondered—the U.S. ruling class once passed laws limiting Eastern European immigration. Irish workers dealt with direct discrimination in job hiring during the 19th century. So is that an accurate interpretation of the term? I don’t know, but realized it is an imperative conversation to keep on having, as we fight for communism. I’ll remember this Summer Project for years to come!
*
My First Communist Speech
This Summer Project in Chicago was an eye opening experience. The city has such a rich history of class struggle and worker fight back: from the Haymarket Square Riots to being the blueprint for residential segregation and the birthplace of a 14-year-old boy whose murder spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement [Emmett Till was beaten and lynched while visiting Mississippi in 1955, for supposedly whistling at a white woman, who later recanted her original story. Emmett’s mother chose to have an open casket at his funeral in Chicago, to show the world what racism had done. Tens of thousands attended the funeral or viewed his open casket. Photographs of his mutilated body were published all over the United States and galvanized the young Civil Rights Movement]. Being here with PLP, and the work being done here is adding to that history.
Part of the project was looking into the healthcare industry and its racist oppression of workers. We had a rally outside Cook County hospital, and for the first time I made a speech on the bullhorn. At prior rallies, I have done chants on the bullhorn but not a full-fledged speech. I discussed the racist policies plaguing the healthcare system. For example, I pointed out the lack of treatment for common ailments (diabetes, high blood pressure, allergies, and the like). Also how all workers, but especially Black and Latin workers receive subpar care in comparison to the ruling class. The greedy bosses in hospitals, in pharmaceuticals, and other businesses in medicine have turned healing the sick into another way of making profits. As someone who works in health advocacy and equity, this sickens me. But it is this anger I have towards people who exploit the healthcare of workers as well as the optimism I have for the future that drives me to work harder. Talking about healthcare under a communist society will be helpful when I bring that back to my friends and
coworkers. Especially as it is now clearer to me that healthcare is achievable for all workers.  
*****
Hiroshima & Nagasaki: U.S. Bosses Guilty of Genocide
August 6 and 9, 2017, mark the 72nd anniversaries of the two largest terrorist attacks in human history: The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. military in 1945. In the past, CHALLENGE has well-documented the real reasons behind the bomb dropped on Hiroshima: (1) To warn the then-socialist Soviet Union that the U.S. had an atomic bomb and that the U.S. would not hesitate to use it, and (2) to end the war with Japan before the Soviet Union could become part of the surrender negotiations, even though Japan had already offered to surrender and Truman had rebuffed the very same offer that was accepted following use of the bombs.
But why was a second bomb dropped on Nagasaki? The story behind the second bomb is even more horrendous (if that is possible) than the first one. It turns out that the U.S. military developed two different designs for an atomic bomb. The designs differed in the atomic fuel (uranium vs. plutonium) and the method used to actually detonate the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb had been tested in July 1945 in the New Mexico desert. But the other design had not. So what did the racist, murderous U.S. ruling class decide to do? They “tested” the other design by dropping a second bomb on Nagasaki.
I can’t think of anything that any ruling class has done that even comes close to what the U.S. ruling class has done and continues to do to the world’s working class, both nationally and internationally. I hope that we can use this anniversary to rededicate our efforts to rid the world of capitalism, the most deadly, racist, and sexist economic-political system in history.
*****
March to Commemorate 1967 Newark Rebellion
On July 12, several hundred folks gathered for a march and memorial to the men and women who were shot by the police and National Guard during the 1967 Newark rebellion. People testified as to how there were no roof snipers, as reported, or “senseless rioting.” Many of the scores of victims were shot as they sat in their own apartments.
A Newark cab driver, John Smith, had been arrested for an alleged traffic violation. Cab drivers and Newark residents demonstrated outside the precinct, and five days of fight back began. The reaction followed years of racist harassment and oppression, much like the events leading up to the Ferguson rebellion.
At the memorial, a woman read the ballistic record of the victims, citing the names of 27 killed, one as young as 10, another 73 years old.  All were recorded as having “insufficient evidence as to cause of death,” except for one man whose body contained bullet fragments. The woman explained how her pregnant mother had been shot—a line of bullets running from her stomach to her ear—while she sat by the window of her living room caring for other children.
The rally was organized by the People’s Organization for Progress, a reform group that believes in community oversight of the police and the need for revolution, but without changing capitalism. The main spokesperson referenced how racism has been used to divide and conquer the working class, but without mentioning the necessity for Black/white unity to forge the struggle for progress.
One hundred CHALLENGEs were sold. People showed interest in the recent article on the Harlem
rebellion of 1964. One man, who had come in a wheelchair, noted that he had been a part of the Harlem rebellion. Another man asked for two copies of the paper, and said he knew one of our comrades who had been a leader of Progressive Labor at that time.
*****