Letters of July 13

Salty Anti-communist Novel Full of Historical Lies
In an attempt to discredit the contributions of the Soviet Union during World War II and communism in general, the June 13 New York Times gloriously praised Ruta Sepetys’s inaccurate depiction of the Soviet Union in her novel “Salt to the Sea.”
While the capitalists claim communism is dead, they’re bent on killing it again and again. Once more the bosses’ media are confirming what the first communist collective of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in their1848 Manifesto: the spectre of communism haunts the rulers.
In this novel the main characters are trying to flee to Hitler’s Germany to escape the advancing Red Army. The main “heroine,” for example, is “a young Lithuanian nurse fleeing from East Prussia.” The Red Army, however, was about to liberate East Prussia, the Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and Poland from Nazi occupation.
Ignoring this fact, the Times — the leading U.S. imperialist mouthpiece — declares that the novel’s young heroes’ “only hope of survival is to gain passage on one of the German ships ferrying people across the Baltic Sea.” The implication is clear: the Red Army is going to kill them; the Nazis won’t.
The novel’s heroes eventually board the German military transport ship “Wilhelm Gustloff,” which the Soviet Navy sank on January 30, 1945 — during the war. During the attack more than 9,000 died, including more than a thousand German officers. Sepetys considers the sinking of this ship a war crime because there were thousands of civilians on board. But it wasn’t a war crime:
According to primary source documents at The Avalon Project at Yale Law School, while the ship had been fitted with anti-aircraft guns, the Germans — following the rules of war — gave no indication that it was operating in a hospital capacity. And as it was transporting military personnel, under international accords it did not have any protection as a hospital ship.
Many anticommunist writers repeat the lie that the Soviet Union was the same as Nazi Germany and communism was like Nazism. But Sepetys goes further by implying that the Soviet Union was worse than Nazi Germany. She says the Soviets were guilty of “genocide” in the Baltics — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Her assertion is false. The Soviets deported the pro-Nazi elite of these countries. The three Baltic countries and Poland were in fact more viciously anti-Jewish than Nazi Germany. The “nationalists” in these countries raped and massacred Jews without any urging from the Nazis. Unsurprisingly, none of this was mentioned in the novel or the review. The Times’ review even goes as far to say, “The novel’s climactic moments include brutal scenes,” depicting “a young woman being dragged off by Russian soldiers who plan to rape her.”
After World War II the U.S. and its capitalist Allies saved thousands of Eastern European Nazis from getting what they deserved: trial and execution by the Soviets. Now these same people and their followers are running the post-Soviet states. Sepetys has been awarded a medal by the pro-fascist government of today’s Lithuania.
Let’s remember this when reading the New York Times and other capitalist media outlets. Naturally, the capitalists will choose fascism over communism every time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Chris Hedges: CIA Dupe or Stooge?
The CHALLENGE report on the Left Forum (6/15) correctly called out journalist Chris Hedges as “just another faker posing as a revolutionary.” But the case against Hedges runs deeper than his contention that it is “not our job to take power.”
Hedges was a speechwriter for Ralph Nader’s 2008 presidential run and an active backer of Jill Stein and the pacifist Green Party in 2012 and again this year. While paying lip service to Marxist theory, he promotes “outsider” politicians and the big lie that capitalism can be reformed to serve the international working class.
Hedges showed his true colors toward the end of his 15-year run as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, the number-one mouthpiece for U.S. finance capitalism. He served as Times bureau chief in two inter-imperialist hotspots, the Middle East and the Balkans. On November 8, 2001, the Times published on its front page the first of three Hedges stories based on accounts from Iraqi military defectors. Hedges’ top source, described as a former general and “once one of the most senior officers in the Iraqi intelligence service,” claimed he had trained “Islamic radicals…to attack installations important to the United States”—even to hijack planes without guns! “The Gulf War never ended for Saddam Hussein,” the defector said. “He is at war with the United States.”
Hedges’ reportage enabled George W. Bush and his band of genocidal liars to substantiate the alleged link between Saddam and the 9/11 attackers, helping to pave the way for the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But Hedges’ story was a fraud. The former general was in fact a former sergeant who’d made it all up. He’d been steered to Hedges by the U.S.-funded Iraqi National Congress and Ahmad Chalabi, the politician-in-exile who’d spent years on the payroll of the CIA and the U.S. State Department (Mother Jones, March/April 2006). Chalabi’s bogus accounts of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, as reported by the Times’ Judith Miller, were also instrumental in the run-up to the U.S. imperialist oil war that has killed more than half a million Iraqis.
How did Chris Hedges—a seasoned, savvy journalist—get hoodwinked by the notoriously unreliable Chalabi? We can only speculate, but it seems pertinent to note that the Times was a charter participant in the CIA’s “Operation Mockingbird,” a secret Cold War campaign to plant and recruit CIA operatives in top U.S. media outlets, from the Associated Press to ABC News. In the 1950s and 1960s, according to investigative reporter Carl Bernstein (Rolling Stone, 10/20/77), the Times allowed “about 10 CIA employees” to pose as clerks or part-time reporters in the newspaper’s overseas bureaus. In addition, high-profile journalists like C.L. Sulzberger, the Times’ foreign affairs columnist, regularly shared information with the CIA. While these people generally rendered their services free of charge, the bosses considered them CIA operatives nonetheless.
In February 1976, CIA Director (and future U.S. president) George H.W. Bush announced that the CIA would no longer contract with accredited news correspondents. Bush added, however, that the Agency would still “welcome” the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists (Mockingbird: CIA Media Manipulation, Mary Louise, 10/17/05).
Where Hedges is concerned, there are only two possibilities. Either he was an unwitting dupe of the CIA and the imperialist rulers he now lucratively scorns, or he was an active collaborator with the most deadly war criminals of our time.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Dispute: Anti-Fascist or Anti-Capitalist?
The June 1 article “Fascism: Define it to defeat it” continued CHALLENGE’s misleading explanation of fascism and its growth in the U.S. Our literature should not emphasize “the coming of fascism.” Capitalism uses different forms of rule and oppresses segments of the working class differently depending on its internal contradictions and external pressures. All these forms of government, capitalist “democracy,” state socialism and fascist dictatorship are relative. What is absolute is capitalism, which puts profit ahead of working-class lives. Capitalism must be destroyed, not fascism.
We often imply that fascism means untold destruction and suffering. Let’s not forget the bloody history of U.S. capitalism, which was built on the enslavement of Black workers and genocide of indigenous workers. For centuries, Black workers have been lynched and terrorized, whether by the KKK or the kkkops. U.S. imperialism has plundered the world for decades, causing unspeakable suffering, poverty, disease and death. It was U.S. imperialism that dropped the atomic bombs. Will “coming fascism” be worse than that?
Fascism developed in the last century in Germany, Italy and Spain in response to the threat of communism in the Soviet Union. This situation, unfortunately, doesn’t exist today. What we frequently refer to as “fascistic” is just everyday capitalism. For example, Ferguson was not fascism; it was plain old U.S. capitalism — bloody, murderous, racist.
The mistake that life under capitalism was better is a reformist trap: “Let’s take the rough edges off of capitalism and go back to when life was better.” Life for the international working class was never “better” under capitalism. Certain segments of the working class may have had relative prosperity and peace for a short period of time, but always at the expense of another segment of the working class.
We need to express our ideology clearly. We fight for communist revolution to smash capitalism and imperialism. In this statement, there is little need for the word fascism. PLP should not build an anti-fascist movement that obscures what we all fundamentally oppose—capitalism. We should not forget that the communist-built anti-fascist movement during World War II contributed to the demise of the worldwide communist movement. CHALLENGE would express our line more clearly if the word fascism is minimized.
Fascism is not the same as every-day capitalism—true! The brutality of slavery and genocide of the indigenous people was at a different phase of capitalism. That was capitalism on the up and up. Now what exists is capitalism in crisis: the defining element of fascism.
We cannot let our fear of reformism stop us from understanding different phases of capitalism. It’s true that capitalism is always brutal, racist and sexist. However, in capitalist “democracy,” illusion is primary over violent repression. This is not to say that the police do not violently attack workers. Fascism arises when the bosses can no longer rule in their old ways, and must discipline both themselves and our class for a system in perpetual crisis.
The response to the racist murder in Ferguson was a fascistic practice — a moment where repression became primary over ideology. It was a training session for both the rulers and the workers on how to respond to the fractures of this intrinsically brutal system. There was some disciplining of the local bosses through the main ruing-class wing, and some disciplining of the working class to accept the bosses’ response as normal. But Ferguson was a flash, not a change in the era.
To think that by saying we fight fascism will deter workers and the Party from defeating capitalism is essentially an anti-working-class idea. Communists fight and defeat fascists and turn imperialist wars into class war; that’s our proud history! Workers are capable of understanding what fascism is and how to defeat it. That’s part of our job of winning workers to this analysis.
The old communist movement failed not because it fought fascism, but because it didn’t fight directly for communism as the solution. Its internal weaknesses led to its defeat. Yes, let’s not confuse everyday capitalism for fascism, but we all need more confidence in the working class’s ability to understand and fight for these complex ideas.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Workers Shut Down France

More than 150,000 workers and youth shut down France in response to anti-working-class labor reforms. The strike is hitting the bosses where it hurts the most—their profit margin and the rise of class consciousness. Strikers have also blockaded oil refineries and shut down transportation. Half of the country’s 10,000 petrol stations are either partially or completely out of fuel. Many fighters have been arrested. Protesters hurled rocks at police.
“The law eases conditions for laying off workers, strongly regulated in France. It is hoped companies will take on more people if they know they can shed jobs in case of a downturn. The law also gives employers more leeway to negotiate holidays and special leave, such as maternity or for getting married” (Nigerian Bulletin, 5/26).
Clearly, the bosses’ laws can’t and won’t protect workers. Only the working class has the power to fight in its own interests. With communist leadership, the workers of France can turn this strike against labor reforms into a battle against capitalism.
Stand up in international solidarity for the working class of France, the birthplace of the first workers’ revolutionary seizure of power, known as the Paris Commune of 1871.


Honey Well Bosses Say Lockout, Workers Say Fight Back

Four hundred industrial workers from the Honeywell Corporation’s plants in South Bend, Indiana, and Green Island, NY, overwhelmingly rejected a company contract offer that would double their health care costs and increase the use of non-union workers. The workers make specialty aircraft wheels and brake pads for F-35 fighter planes and Boeing 747s.
Honeywell responded by locking out workers from their jobs since May 9, meaning workers aren’t allowed to work until they agree to the bosses’ contract proposals. Multi-billion dollar Honeywell is using scabs to replace strikers in order to maintain their super-profits on the backs of workers who are fighting to maintain basic pay and healthcare.
But workers are fighting back against Honeywell’s intimidation tactics! Black, Latin and white workers from the factories and nearby regions are united and standing strong. Area workers joined the picket lines and donated food to show solidarity. What is really needed is for all workers — Black, white, union, non-union and unemployed — to unite against the capitalist scum who divide and exploit workers in order to churn out billions in profits. Strikes and pickets aren’t enough to get workers their fair share because neither will destroy the profit system. Capitalists will constantly lower wages and benefits for workers. Many benefits won by strikes fifty years ago are being lost.
Since the last five-year contract, Honeywell profits increased by 152 percent while they locked out workers across the country four different times. The company invested over $27 million in the South Bend plant, making it one of its most profitable facilities. Because it successfully wrung concessions out of the United Automobile Workers union (UAW) with each negotiation and each lockout, they see no reason not to squeeze them even more.
Honeywell wants to double the cost of healthcare for workers, charging a family of four almost $7,400/year. Even worse, they want the right to increase these costs in every year of the contract. They also want to outsource more work to non-union workers while eliminating all job classifications, creating a more “flexible” workforce.
The UAW is not on the workers’ side. In March, Honeywell brought the scab replacement workers into the South Bend and Green Island factories to watch the workers doing their jobs. The UAW huffed and puffed but did nothing to stop this threat. Most of these scab workers are ex-offenders and many can’t find work due to the criminal Injustice System. So who is the UAW endorsing in the presidential election? The same politician who supported laws that greatly expanded that very racist system, Hillary Clinton!
UAW is also supporting a local politician and former kkkop who visited the picket lines for publicity. The police are instrumental in attacking and terrorizing striking workers. The police are not the workers’ friend; yet the union continues to endorse politicians favoring the police.
It’s clear that the only people who defend workers are workers themselves. We can’t rely on pro-boss unions or politicians. We can’t let them use racism or sexism to divide us. We can’t divide ourselves from non-union workers. We’re all fighting over crumbs while the capitalists devour the whole loaf! We need a communist revolution to stop all exploitation and ensure that all workers have all our needs met.
By sharpening the class war, it becomes clear that we’re up against the whole racist profit system. This will help us learn how to win. We can get a taste of the power we hold in our collective hands. That’s the difference between the union mis-leadership and ourselves. The capitalists have state power and use it to take back any reforms we may win. Let’s organize with the Progressive Labor Party for a communist revolution!


Letters of June 15

Organize Anti-Sexist Struggle in Schools
I distributed CHALLENGE and anti-sexism buttons at Brooklyn Tech in support of the anti-sexist student struggle against dress codes (see page 1). Within 45 minutes, we had run out of all 150 newspapers and all 200 buttons! My comrade and I received many positive responses, and some students wanted to take extra buttons to give to their friends.
Sometimes it’s tough to get out of bed so early, but it’s always worth it because everywhere the Party goes, we get overwhelming support from fellow anti-sexist and anti-racist students and workers.
Getting out our politics in schools is important because it is where future workers are won to sexist, racist, and elitist capitalist ideologies. This is especially at Brooklyn Tech where students are groomed to be the next generation of doctors, scientists, and politicians. Capitalists try to win these students to work to support the system. They need to make students believe that they are not a part of the working class and that they don’t need to fight sexism or racism. It’s critical to win students to fight capitalism and to use their vast wealth of knowledge to serve the working class.
Whenever students take a stand against these divisive ideologies, the Party must be there to support the fight, sharpen the struggle, and fight for revolution. Students at Brooklyn Tech are eager to fight sexism and racism, and now it is our job to draw the communist connections.
To destroy sexism, we must do more than fight dress codes. We must fight for communist revolution. These students are already fighting back with courage and we must have confidence that the working class will understand and fight for communist ideas. Hundreds of students today just proved that. If you haven’t had a CHALLENGE sale in a while, grab a buddy and a bundle, and see what happens!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Picketing Against Racism
The kkkop Edward Nero who murdered Freddie Gray was found not guilty on all charges. In response, fifteen communists gathered on our regular street corner in Brooklyn,NY to respond to this blatantly racist injustice. At first, we were just passing out CHALLENGEs and talking to workers about police terror and the racist capitalist system that creates it. Some of us were reluctant to do our chants and have a picket without a bullhorn. However, after some young comrades struggled for a picket, we all gathered and started chanting, “Racism means we got to fight back!”
Immediately, workers began to ask us questions and seek out the paper. I had been frustrated earlier because not many people were taking CHALLENGE. Much to my excitement, people who had refused the paper before we started chanting came back to me and asked for one. With persistence and boldness, we ended up getting out more than 400 CHALLENGEs. It reminded me that we should never be afraid to be bold and that even if we don’t have a bullhorn, we can still have our voices heard. When we are unapologetically antiracist, workers respond with raised fists.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
May Day Play: Cascarones at Politicians
We celebrated this year’s May Day in Texas with a barbecue. We invited comrades, family, and friends. We opened with a speech about the history of May Day and the struggles of the working-class all over the world, and PLP’s role in understanding the world today. Then moved into our play that described how both US parties; democrat and republican, are not answers to the caused by capitalism. We had caricatures of the presidential candidates Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. A pie chart showing the profits of other imperialist countries’ and how each candidate proposes to steal from different groups of workers and supports imperialist wars aboard.
It the end the ballot box turned into a tank driven by the three candidates. As this happen the audience members had an active role in throwing cascarones at the tank, symbolizing our fight back against capitalism.
It was a creative way to talk about the current elections. After the play, we closed with a speech about the Progressive Labor Party. Our celebration was a big success and a lot of fun.
May Day: Don’t Vote, Organize!
“Are you angry about racism? Sexism? War?” asked the keynote speaker at our annual May Day Dinner. The audience enthusiastically responded “Yeah!” Seventy-five people of all races and ages, (not including many adorable children running around) attended the Progressive Labor Party’s May Day Dinner in Chicago this year. Although it was a cold, rainy day, the atmosphere inside the dinner was warm and welcoming. There was delicious, home-cooked food, and inspiring posters hung on the wall. A professional sound system, donated and operated by a friend of PL, was set-up for the evening’s songs and speeches. In the outer room from the dining area, art supplies were set up for the kids to enjoy. Everyone was welcomed warmly and chatting happily while we ate.    
The program opened with a welcome and then singing “Bella Ciao.”  The theme of the dinner was “Don’t Vote! Organize for Communist Revolution!” and many of the talks discussed this idea. A Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU) member discussed the difference between the union perspective and the communist analysis PLP provides. We watched a video of our comrades in California share the story of their recent battle with the KKK in Anaheim (see CHALLENGE, 3/10). We “passed the hat,” and everyone donated money for the Anaheim rebels’ court costs. We also did a “table talk,” where a question about experienced racism was posed to the audience and then we all discussed this at our tables with the people around us. We then shared what we discussed at the microphone.
Our main speech addressed why we need more people to join PLP. The speaker was a woman healthcare worker who cares for veterans. She addressed the ways that imperialist war has impacted their lives. Racism and poverty have also hurt these men and she made the connection between the wars they fought in with capitalism, imperialism, and racism. Addressing the question of why some people who agree with the Party politically may be reluctant to join, she emphasized the need for revolutionary violence over voting for a friendlier-faced liberal capitalist. The speaker also addressed the cynicism around the possibility of building a mass revolutionary working class movement through the examples of previous successful revolutions. The speaker concluded saying that learning from history and talking to your comrades are some ways to combat pessimism, but it’s even better to participate in class struggle and join PLP. Struggle builds our trust and confidence in the working class to change the world.
May Day is about celebrating working class fightback and we’ve had a lot of that in Chicago this past year!  Chicago PL’ers went to the BLM conference in Cleveland to put forth multi-racial unity instead of nationalism and segregation. We participated in events around the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa when their caravan came to Chicago. We went to Ferguson to demonstrate on the one-year anniversary of the murder of Mike Brown with the courageous fighters there, and then we went to NYC and celebrated 50 years of our party! We marched in the streets when the video of Laquan McDonald’s murder was released. And a few days later we marched in the Black Friday protest, shutting down the Magnificent Mile with workers and students of all races. When Donald Trump came to have a rally at UIC, even though we know “It’s not just Trump, it’s capitalism,” we joined with thousands of students and workers to protest and kept him from speaking. We were part of the one-day Chicago Teacher’s strike—and we’ll be there when they go on strike again for our kids and our class!  When the police murdered 17-year-old Pierre Loury one month ago while he was fleeing, climbing a fence, we were there to protest with hundreds in his community. PLP was there because we know that being shoulder-to-shoulder with our brothers and sisters in the working class, engaged in struggle, is the only way we will build a party that can take on the capitalist class. And taking on the capitalist class in an armed revolution is the only way we can start to build a world that will truly serve the working class. The only solution is communist revolution!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
May Day Reflections
In the San Francisco Bay Area, we collectively planned our pre-May Day March activity to really reach out to everyone. We teamed up and went around a public plaza here, talking to people, distributing our on-point color PLP flyer and CHALLENGE-DESAFIO newspapers while asking for donations. There was the usual Sunday crowd of people shopping, coming to and from places on BART and people arriving for the rally and march. We sold about 75 CHALLENGES and distributed 500 flyers. We got some contacts
In the march, we lead very militant and classic PLP chants the entire way.
We waved awesome PLP flags and with other comrades held our banner with an image of a giant fist smashing a cop car. Our Chants and other banners addressed International Workers Unity and the Fight for Communism.
Finally, I took a try at leading chants and did my best. I need more practice figuring out the rhythms and especially practicing the Spanish chants. I tried to speak a little before a couple of the chants to explain our rhymes and talk to those around us in the march. Even though I have performed and rapped many times in front of all types of crowds, actually figuring out the dynamics of a moving political march will take some time. Perhaps we need more rallies to develop all our skills.
I think we represented well with a multi-racial group of men and women and all generations taking turns on the mic. We had people, especially the march security, smiling and chanting with us, each time we lead a chant.
Our crew had a well-deserved late lunch as we heard news that the Warriors had crushed the Portland Trail Blazers. Just as Golden State has proven their ability to play unselfishly and utilize the team, PLP is shaping up in the SF Bay Area to do the same, except not for capitalist owners but for all the workers. We have a way to go, but we continue to smash borders between age, gender, skin color, language, personal obligations, while committing to our obligations to the working class! Boom shakalaka! In yo face fascist chumps! “We go-in’ fo da win!!!
This year we planned a new approach to involving those who came with informal political discussions. We organized ahead to have “Table Talk” subjects and “break out reports.” The table talks about racism and fight back that people have seen this year really brought the tables to life and opened up conversations that may not have otherwise happened because people are either too shy or unsure of who’s who to say something. The fight against racism is a sure way to solidify our class and bring forward more workers.
The LA comrades shared their amazing story of fighting the Klan in Anaheim earlier this year and how they were abused by “the pigs” who meanwhile protected and were chummy with the KKK.
The talks, poetry, and music, as well as chants in between, really perked up the event. This should remind us that only reading and writing is not the only way to appeal to our class. All forms of culture must be taken back from the thieving capitalists. They have succeeded in making so much of our cultural outlets into commodities and our art just another way to profit. In my grandfather’s family (15 siblings) all knew how to sing and play music on some or several instruments—what has happened? We need to be sure not to underestimate the power of art as a tool to teach, share and inform—it is much older than the written word and still captivates workers. As a rapper in the 90’s once said: “Hiphop outsold crack.”
The after party was great, too, and a chance to have deeper conversations. I hope we will continue to have more dinners though the year. People came who I didn’t expect and some didn’t show up, and I’ll be sure to follow-up with asking those who did show up about why they decided to come.
Salutes to all the comrades, families, friends and all the support from each worker who contributed.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
My First May Day Dinner
This was my first visit to May Day Dinner. I liked hearing the history about what happened to workers in the past, how people suffered and how May Day came up. I liked hearing many individual life experiences. It was a warm and passionate event. The dinner was delicious. Robotic Rap was awesome.
Thank you guys!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Letters of May 18

From Ferguson to Flatbush
At 27 weeks pregnant, my partner and I packed up our car in Buffalo and headed to NYC to join in the May Day festivities. A couple of friends new to political activism, but eager to stand up for fellow workers joined us on the trip. Donned in all red, we arose from the subway at Flatbush and Nostrand. We walked towards the chanting and were soon greeted by a few of our PL comrades, who we’ve built quite a strong bond with over the last year, since first meeting during protests in Ferguson.
Our group of four from Buffalo ended up holding the leading banner at the front of the march, which read “Long Live Communism!”  We each grabbed one of the custom screen-printed “Revolt Don’t Vote” shirts.
A flatbed truck with over 20 speakers pulled up and positioned itself at the front of the march. We got pumped up when we realized the speakers would be bumping some classic hip-hop and dancehall instrumentals througgout the march, as comrades chanted in unison to the beat. My partner and I absolutely love the idea, and first used music during protest a couple years back in Buffalo to commemorate Fred Hampton. Music is as powerful as the people who create it and can change the entire dynamic of an action, centering and energizing the people.
It was a beautiful sight to behold. With Mom and Dad side by side, screaming “Koupé tet!” [“cut off their heads” in Haitian Creole], my unborn child, right at the front of the march, got his first taste of uprising. With swollen ankles and smile on my face, I pushed on to the end and finished off the two-mile journey at Prospect Park. The crowd remained and listened intently to voices championing the power of the people. The revolutionary spirit was truly in the air.The crowd was rejuvenated by the speeches and at their conclusion all were welcomed to enjoy a May Day picnic in the park.
We were asked to do a quick interview at the conclusion of the march for an upcoming PLP video. We offered our perspectives on first meeting the PLP in Ferguson, growing our relationship with the Party, and how impactful these developing bonds have been in our lives, both personally and politically.
Later that evening, I shared some of the images from the day with friends back home, one of which was a shot of my garishly swollen ankles. One concerned person remarked, “that can be a sign of toxemia!” I assured them I was fine and just needed rest, and that the only thing toxic to my baby’s health was capitalism. Walking a couple uncomfortable miles is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the lengths my growing family will go to see the fall of the bosses and the rise of commUNITY.

My Experience at May Day
This year, students and education workers took a bus from the South Bronx to Brooklyn. Our bus ride was spirited and militant as we shared our reasons for coming to May Day and sang songs together. Here are a few reflections about May Day from our group.

My first May Day march was a great experience. I like how people reacted to the march sympathetically. I think it’s great to fight for our rights and against the injustice that is going on.
I had a great experience at May Day. There were so many different groups of people. It was a beautiful experience to see a wide range of working class people come together and fight against the ruling class. In the moment, I felt that me and everyone else felt a sense of invincibility. Before going to May Day, I had my doubts about the working class becoming powerful enough to overthrow the wealthy class. After May Day, I believe that united we can change the system and make a world that works for us.
The march was well organized and synchronized before and during the journey to the park. I liked seeing people of all ages, mothers and parents with their children, young women and men. It was really exciting to see all these people united, chanting, waving flags and their hands to show their lack of conformity with the system.
Moreover, I was impressed how drivers honked and people through windows in the building made signal of support and agreement all the way to the park. At the beginning of the march, I saw people enthusiastic but as it progressed there was more joy! I enjoyed the way people behaved before and during the march.
I loved the sound truck. The group was dynamic and moving as they led chants and beats through the streets of Flatbush. I knew some of the women on the truck and know that they had lost a family member at the hands of the police. It was truly an inspiration to see and hear them on the sound truck!

Salute to the Fierce Women on the May Day Truck
The Brooklyn May Day march this year was inspiring beyond words. On the truck were Black and Latin women whose loved ones—sister, brother, daughter, son—were murdered by the despicable kkkops. These women are living proof that kkkapitalism is a murderous system and that our loved ones deserve communism, nothing less.
This one woman in particular led me to tears. As she screamed the names of each youth murdered, and we responded with “Shut it down!” I felt the anger in her voice. The music paused. Her raw voice echoed down Flatbush. It was the sound of a woman who has to face the fact that capitalism murdered her sister—and no amount of police reforms will bring justice for Shantel Davis. It was the voice of a woman who still dares to fight back.
I salute this working-class woman. She is my hero, as are all the other working-class women in and around the Party who model how to fight, how to respond to crisis, and how to spread the fierce working-class love for a communist world.
I’ve seen many organizations, many countries, and many people. Only in Progressive Labor Party have I witnessed such a staunch example of anti-sexism. Only in PLP did I get a glimpse of what women will be like under communism.
I had joined PLP for many of the obvious reasons—a world without racism and sexism, no borders, no war, and no money. A world where everyone gets what they need and live their lives to potentials never dreamt of in our current material reality.
But there’s another reason that I joined. This reason is one I get to witness in my lifetime. I joined PLP because of the way the Party treated Black workers, especially Black women. I grew up in a capitalist culture where I learned anti-Black racism before I learned to speak English. I was taught to be thankful that at least I am not Black, though I always got hurt for being “too black, too dark, too angry.”
I saw how women are beaten, degraded, and exploited until they have internalized the racist sexism of this society. I’ve witnessed women rise against this sexism, their resolve to continue fighting day in and day out, but still lost without a communist vision. That’s what global capitalism does to the working class.
So to witness an atmosphere where Black workers, Black women workers, give leadership—that’s powerful, to say the least. I am grateful to be part of this international communist movement. Being part of PLP showed me how resilient and inspiring the working-class is. Today reminded me of the PLP song, “Streets of London,” the line that goes like this: “so how can you tell me you are lonely and say for you that the sun don’t shine.” One day, every child, woman, and man in every corner of the earth will bask in the glory of the red sun.

Another Smashing May Day
Another smashing May Day! The workers of Brooklyn welcomed us in grand fashion.
My first May Day march was 70 years ago in 1946 in New York City — 250,000 workers and youth streaming down 8th Avenue in Manhattan from 34th Street to 17th Street and then east to Union Square.
That one was organized by the old Communist Party. But just as they accommodated themselves to capitalism and abandoned the fight for communist revolution, they also abandoned May Day marches by the early 1950s.
However, in 1971 it was Progressive Labor Party that picked up the banners of the international working class as part of the fight for communism and has celebrated and marched on May Day ever since — an achievement to be proud of. PLP truly represents the future. Congratulations comrades!

Fundraiser, A Collective Treat for Budding Communists
Our middle school May Day dessert fundraiser demonstrated that revolutionary politics, creative collaboration, and some sweets are a good mix. Political artists from 6 to 60 worked together to produce some awesome banners and posters for this May Day March (see page 8).
This event was organized by our middle school study group, which has met consistently since the beginning of the 2015 school year. Developing our ideas through friendly political struggle resulted in some great ideas. We had a blast drawing and painting while eating delicious and beautifully designed dessert treats made by our comrades and friends.
The highlights of the day were several speeches presented by our middle-school revolutionary youth explaining why everyone present should join PLP’s May Day march in Brooklyn. These young people also organized over a dozen of their middle school friends, parents, and siblings to attend this event. We also raised funds to help pay the costs of our May Day march.
In contrast to the decadent, frivolous capitalist society around us, we need to experience more of these moments of multi-racial revolutionary celebration, collaboration between young and old, and a sense of unity with the working people of the world.

Fascist Trump, but Need to Attack All Politicians
Our Unitarian church in Indianapolis, Indiana had a forum and presentation on U.S. presidential elections. I gave the analysis and acted as moderator. I tried to incorporate various aspects of PLP’s antiracist line when possible.
My presentation was on Trump and how he is an open fascist running for president. I talked about historical similarities with Hitler. I mentioned how Trump is a ruling-class racist trying to divide and conquer white workers by tricking them into thinking he is their “friend” while painting Black, Muslim, and undocumented workers as “ the enemy.” Trump is a fascist trying to use racist and sexist speech to divide our class from itself. He is America’s version of fascist Marie Le Pen of France.
This racism will hurt white workers in long run. I mentioned white workers need to have multiracial unity to oppose Trump. Also, I mentioned the hate speech by Trump is causing hate crimes against Muslim and Mexican workers. In Fort Wayne, recently, three Blacks Muslim men were executed while Ft. Wayne cops say, “No racism involved.”
Self critically, I should have showed that Clinton and Sanders are just as bad. I told them about how opposing Trump in Chicago was inspirational as it was to see multiracial Black, white, Latin, and Asian do this. We had a modest turnout of Black and white workers. In the short term, these capitalist politicians like Trump are being opposed through protests. What workers need is a communist revolution led by PLP to take down the entire rotten capitalist system!

Debtors’ Jail Hits Home
In school, in history, we learned that in Britain and the U.S. in the “old days” of 19th century, people were put into prison if they couldn’t pay their debts. And we were told that that bizarre practice was abolished. But I’ve learned from recent events that debtors’ prisons do still exist!
After Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson in 2014, the news spread about how small counties in Missouri and elsewhere balanced their budgets on the backs of the Black working class. Workers were fined for the smallest unlawful errors. If unable to pay the fines, they were arrested. Then there would be more fines and jail time—an endless cycle. Many others and I probably thought it was all stuff that happened to other people.
Last year, I got a cell phone ticket, and then a speeding ticket. I paid the tickets, over $300 between them. The end, right? No way. My state’s office of safety sent me a letter demanding another fine, $525 on top of what I’ve paid, in order to keep my driver’s license. They claim it’s for “safety education.”
And finally, a friend of mine was arrested for theft in Maryland. She was sentenced to probation. A good deal, we thought, because she didn’t get jail time. But, she had to pay $207 in court fees and other fines. And, that was only the beginning! Now she has to pay a $175 fee to do her community service and another $50 a month for supervised probation.
What if you don’t have the money? Well, just like in Missouri, it’s jail time for you. This shows that debtors’ prison is very much a practice of U.S. capitalist government today. The bosses and their state find a plethora of ways to steal from the working class and keep us oppressed.

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