HAITÍ ECUADOR 12
Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite!
Nov. 1, 2012
Vol. 54, No. 43
‘NO’ to austerity Strikes, protests target cuts in Europe
By Gene Clancy The story is the same across Europe. Governments are imposing devastating austerity measures in the service of the big banks as a severe global recession deepens. Yet, increasingly, the continent’s workers are responding with massive, militant demonstrations and general strikes. In Britain, tens of thousands of protesters descended on London; Belfast, in the north of Ireland; and Glasgow, Scotland, on Oct. 20. Their militant demonstrations protested the Conservative government’s plans to further cut back on public spending, while it reduces taxes for Britain’s wealthy. Following the mass demonstrations, scores of protesters fought a running battle with police through the streets of London, many wearing Guy Fawkes or “Vendetta” masks, a symbol often used by Occupy protesters in the U.S. Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, which helped organized the march, said the message was that “austerity is simply failing.” (Associated Press, Oct. 20) The TUC, which represents 54 unions and more than 6 million workers, is considering calling the first general strike in Britain since 1926 to show their opposition to the brutal austerity program. Protesters loudly booed opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who supposedly has close ties with unions, when he told those assembled in London’s Hyde Park that “some cuts would have to be made one way or the other.” (AP) In Greece, huge, militant demonstrations occurred in Athens, Thessalonica, and Piraeus and protests swept dozens of other cities on Oct. 18. These actions were accompanied by a general strike which not only shut down the public sector but also shuttered thousands of small businesses that are being devastated by the austerity measures. The message from PAME, the All-Workers Militant Front, was as clear as it was militant. Aleka Papariga, general secretary of the Central Committee of the KKE (Greek Communist Party), emphasized, “The important thing is to build a strong people’s alliance so that the people follow the path of rupture, overthrow, disengagement from the EU [European Union], cancellation of the debt and socialization. There is no other path.” (inter.kke.gr, Oct. 18) Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, on Oct. 15, against the government’s proposed brutal austerity measures. The 2013 draft budget is one of the harshest in the country’s recent history and will cut the equivalent of a month’s wages from many workers’ paychecks. At the same time, taxes are being increased, with the burden falling hardest on the lowest wage earners. The October protests followed similar ones on Sept. 29, which were held in anticipation of the proposed austerity budget. Protesters then marched through downtown
Lisbon, shouting, “Let the fight continue!” Their banners read, “Go to hell Troika, we want our lives back!” (“Troika” refers to the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.) “A year ago the prime minister told us the solution to the country’s problems was the agreement with the troika. … But we have already seen this film in Greece. This is a road without an exit, pushing us toward the precipice,” said Armenio Carlos, leader of the CGTP union. He was speaking to marchers crowded into the city’s main square, Praça de Comércio, on the banks of the Tagus River, reported Reuters on Sept. 29. On Oct. 19, Spain’s main trade unions called a general strike for Nov. 14, coinciding with similar work stoppages in Portugal and Greece, to protest governmentimposed austerity measures and labor reforms. Called by the Workers’ Commissions and General Workers’ unions, it will be the second general strike in Spain this year. A prior stoppage was held on March 29. Fernando Lezcano, speaking for the Workers’ Commissions, said it would be the first joint general strike in neighboring Spain and Portugal. The General Workers’ unions’ statement said the strike was called to press for a change in government policy because “cuts are strangling the economy and dismantling our social model.” (USA Today, Oct. 19) Why capitalists are worried The world’s capitalist bosses are well aware of the tremendous pain and suffering their austerity programs are causing in Europe and elsewhere. They are worried — not about the welfare of poor and working people — but about the possibilities of resistance and even rebellion by those whom they are so cruelly oppressing. On April 1, professor Erik Jones, a prominent economist from Bologna’s Johns Hopkins University, told Continued on page 9
PHOTO: DANIEL ARAUZ
STOP RACISM & KILLER COPS Affirmative action is a right Anti-immigrant store fought Central Park 5 denied justice Anti-Muslim bigot goes free Cops kill Milwaukee man Alan Blueford: No justice, no peace
Detroit Marxist School Youth tells ‘Why I joined’ Post-election struggle conference 1962 missile crisis response
Students strike against cutbacks
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Students in Barcelona in the Spanish state, on Oct. 17, the second day of a student strike.
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‘Voter fraud’ targets EDITORIAL 10 oppressed
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Nov. 1, 2012
‘Marxist School of Theory and Struggle’ draws many activists By David Sole Detroit
In the U.S. Marxist School of Theory and Struggle. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 ‘WWP’s politics went further’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 October 1962: Washington provoked missile crisis . . . . . . .3 Affirmative action under attack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Pride Day march in Atlanta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 NYC families say school bus routes still too long. . . . . . . . . .4 Picket, boycott demand justice for Mi Pueblo workers . . . .5 On the picket line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Central Park case 23 years later . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 ‘ Veronica and the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal’. . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition slams DA’s report. . . . . .7
Kris Hamel, Tachae Davis, Martha Grevatt and Jill White. WW PHOTO: ABAYOMI AZIKIWE
but no less articulate, revolutionaries. Each class included time for extensive questions and comments. A highlight of the weekend was a Saturday evening public meeting featuring WWP First Secretary Larry Holmes, who gave a revolutionary perspective on the coming struggle after the elections. The participation of a large number of youth activists, both in attending and presenting the classes, reflected the growing interest among young people in revolutionary ideology as a guide to struggle against this decaying capitalist system.
‘WWP’s politics went further’ Andy is a student activist and public sector health-care worker in North Carolina. He is currently working as part of the movement to build Student Power Unions, the organizing model used by students in Quebec, Puerto Rico and elsewhere, across North Carolina. He is a member of the Durham, N.C., branch of Workers World Party. I spent most of my teenage years indifferent to politics of any kind, but that didn’t mean I didn’t learn a few things about how capitalist society works. I learned to fear the police after my friends and I were arrested and charged with four different felonies for an act of vanAndy dalism on the back wall of a shut down, abandoned grocery store. Around the same time, I learned about how many people are executed every year in the U.S. I saw that capitalist laws highly value even the unused property of business owners, while considering human lives expendable. In my late teens, I was invited by a friend to see a feminist film screening, and it really opened my eyes! The understanding of women’s oppression I got from that film was the first thread that I pulled at to unravel the rest of the fabric of my prior understanding of society. I got involved in a community group fighting sexism. As I worked with other activists, I came to see that women’s oppression, racism, capitalism and LGBTQ oppression are interlinked. I began to work with several different groups fighting around different issues. I didn’t know it
National Office Workers World Party 55 W. 17 St., 5th Fl. (WWP) fights for New York, NY 10011 socialism and engages 212.627.2994 firstname.lastname@example.org in struggles on all the issues that face Atlanta P.O. Box 5565 the working class & Atlanta, GA 30307 oppressed peoples — Black & white, Latino/a, 404.627.0185 Asian, Arab and Native email@example.com peoples, women & men, Baltimore c/o Solidarity Center young & old, lesbian, 2011 N. Charles St. gay, bi, straight, trans, Baltimore, MD 21218 disabled, working, 443.909.8964 unemployed, firstname.lastname@example.org mented & students. Boston If you would like to 284 Amory St. know more about WWP, Boston, MA 02130 or to join us in these 617.522.6626 Fax 617.983.3836 struggles, contact the email@example.com branch nearest you.
this week ...
Conference will take up: What’s next after elections? . . . . .3
A Marxist School of Theory and Struggle was hosted by Workers World Party in Detroit the weekend of Oct. 20-21. More than 50 people of diverse ages, genders, sexual orientations and nationalities attended some or all of the many classes and discussions. The school drew activists from the Detroit area, as well as from Chicago; Rockford, Ill.; Cleveland; Green Bay, Wis.; and Toronto, Canada. Modern technology allowed participation throughout the weekend by groups in San Francisco, West Virginia, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and elsewhere. Six classes were given on subjects of interest to activists involved in many different struggles. The topics included the basics of Marxism; WWP’s theory of the Global Class War; a Marxist understanding of women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer oppression; the national question and the fight against racism; the theory and application of Trotsky’s “transitional program” in the era of low-wage capitalism; and the Marxist theory of the state. The panels presenting at each class included both longtime Workers World Party members along with younger,
joi n us join
yet, but I had already met several of my future Workers World Party comrades in these groups. I was raised to think that communism was the worst evil that humanity had ever known, and that communists were robot-like villains bent on world domination! Today, I know that’s the furthest thing from the truth. I decided to join WWP after I attended a class on the Marxist understanding of the state presented by a young leader of Workers World Party. I was captivated by the systematic and historical analysis that he presented, and I was moved by his personal experiences with police brutality and home invasion. Here was one orgaWW PHOTO: BEN CARROLL nization that had a crystal clear, objective understanding of the various struggles and oppressions I had fought against and the connections between them all. But Workers World Party’s politics went further. They had a vision of building a society without capitalism or oppression, and a proven strategy to make that vision a reality. And I saw on the streets and in the community that Workers World Party comrades were working hard to carry that strategy out. I spent the better part of the next year investigating other socialist organizations, and reading opposing viewpoints. I learned a lot in that time. And, having looked into the alternatives I might have chosen, I’m all the more confident that Workers World Party is a communist organization that is really doing the work necessary to bring about a socialist revolution in the U.S.
Buffalo, N.Y. 367 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY 14202 716.883.2534 firstname.lastname@example.org Chicago 27 N. Wacker Dr. #138 Chicago, IL 60606 email@example.com 312.229.0161 Cleveland P.O. Box 5963 Cleveland, OH 44101 216.738.0320 firstname.lastname@example.org Denver email@example.com Detroit 5920 Second Ave. Detroit, MI 48202 313.459.0777 firstname.lastname@example.org
Durham, N.C. 331 W. Main St., Ste. 408 Durham, NC 27701 919.322.9970 email@example.com Houston P.O. Box 3454 Houston, TX 77253-3454 713.503.2633 firstname.lastname@example.org Los Angeles 5278 W Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90019 email@example.com 323.306.6240 Milwaukee firstname.lastname@example.org Philadelphia P.O. Box 34249 Philadelphia, PA 19101 610.931.2615 email@example.com
Pittsburgh firstname.lastname@example.org Rochester, N.Y. 585.436.6458 email@example.com San Diego P.O. Box 33447 San Diego, CA 92163 619.692.0355 firstname.lastname@example.org San Francisco 2940 16th St., #207 San Francisco CA 94103 415.738.4739 email@example.com Tucson, Ariz. firstname.lastname@example.org Washington, D.C. P.O. Box 57300 Washington, DC 20037 email@example.com
Billboards demand for justice for Derek Williams . . . . . . . . .7 Charges against banker dropped in anti-Muslim attack. . .7
Around the world Strikes, protests target cuts in Europe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 More on political meaning of Bo Xilai’s suppression . . . . . .8 Syria defends itself from imperialist onslaught . . . . . . . . . . .9 Colombian Asotrecol worker talks with WW. . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Imperialists prepare for war in Mali . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Colombian peace talks begin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Puppets use chemical weapons against Bani Walid. . . . . 11
Editorial Not an act of charity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Noticias En Español Haití . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Ecuador . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Workers World 55 West 17 Street New York, N.Y. 10011 Phone: 212.627.2994 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.workers.org Vol. 54, No. 43 • Nov. 1, 2012 Closing date: Oct. 23, 2012 Editor: Deirdre Griswold Technical Editor: Lal Roohk Managing Editors: John Catalinotto, LeiLani Dowell, Leslie Feinberg, Kris Hamel, Monica Moorehead, Gary Wilson West Coast Editor: John Parker Contributing Editors: Abayomi Azikiwe, Greg Butterfield, Jaimeson Champion, G. Dunkel, Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Hales, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Cheryl LaBash, Milt Neidenberg, Betsey Piette, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Gloria Rubac Technical Staff: Sue Davis, Shelley Ettinger, Bob McCubbin, Maggie Vascassenno Mundo Obrero: Carl Glenn, Teresa Gutierrez, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Donna Lazarus, Michael Martínez, Carlos Vargas Supporter Program: Sue Davis, coordinator Copyright © 2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of articles is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World (ISSN-1070-4205) is published weekly except the first week of January by WW Publishers, 55 W. 17 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10011. Phone: 212.627.2994. Subscriptions: One year: $30; institutions: $35. Letters to the editor may be condensed and edited. Articles can be freely reprinted, with credit to Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., New York, NY 10011. Back issues and individual articles are available on microfilm and/or photocopy from University Microfilms International, 300 Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106. A searchable archive is available on the Web at www.workers.org. A headline digest is available via e-mail subscription. Subscription information is at workers.org/email.php. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to
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Nov. 1, 2012
Conference will take up: What’s next after elections? By Monica Moorehead The U.S. presidential elections — which the bourgeois media promote 24/7 on behalf of the predatory 1% — will come and then go after the final vote is taken on Nov. 6. What won’t come and go are the worsening conditions that face working and oppressed peoples inside the U.S. and worldwide. No amount of wishing and hoping will take away the fact that whether the pro-1% Democrats or the pro-1% Republicans win the White House, neither outcome will prevent the bloodletting of more economic austerity, political repression and desperation hoisted on the backs of the 99% — part and parcel of this intractable global capitalist economic crisis. The elections won’t stop the insatiable greed of the banks and transnational corporations to make more and more profits by any way possible, including cutbacks in health, education and nutrition; massive layoffs; debt payments to the banks that destroy social services; foreclosures and evictions; union busting; slave wages; and increased militarism and wars for occupation. They also won’t stop increased police brutality, mass incarcerations, stop and frisks and other forms of racism and national oppression, along with attacks on the rights of immigrants, women, LGBTQ people, the youth, the elderly and the disabled. The role of the president and Congress is to willingly implement the anti-worker and anti-poor program of the billionaire and multimillionaire ruling class as smoothly as possible but not stop at enforcing by brute suppression if necessary. That is why the annual national conference of Workers World Party could not come at a more opportune time. With the theme, “Beyond the 2012 elections: How
to get back to the struggle vs the 1%,” the conference will take place on the weekend of Nov. 17 and 18 at the Native American community center at 124 W. 29th St. in Manhattan, New York City. Assessing conditions, planning fightback Along with taking up conditions inside the U.S., this conference will also assess this economic crisis from a global perspective in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America and parts of Europe, where the struggle against austerity has intensified over the past several years, especially in Greece and Spain. The WWP conference will not only review these conditions but also assess the growing fightback response inside the belly of the imperialist beast, including the Occupy movements, the heroic Chicago teachers’ strike, the Wisconsin Capitol takeover, the March on Wall Street South, the growing national campaign to unionize Walmart and more. With the aid of plenaries and break-out groups, the conference will also deliberate on various perspectives for fightback, including People’s Power Assemblies to help build a united, independent movement of important struggles led by workers, youth and the oppressed. The conference will include a special discussion session led by Workers World Party youth organizers to reach out to youth and young workers interested in an anti-capitalist and pro-socialist orientation. The 2012 Workers World Party conference will confirm what so many classconscious fighters already know — that capitalism is at a dead end. Capitalism cannot meet human needs, now or in the future. Capitalism is innately driven
ORLD PARTY WORKERS W WORLD CONFERENC CONFEREN CE CONFERENCE
CCONFERENCIA ONF NFERE ERENNCIA DEL PART ERE PPARTIDO ARTIDO WW/MUN WW/MU NDO OB OBRERO RERO WW/MUNDO
Beyond the 2012 elections:
Más allá de las elecciones de 2012,
How to get back Cómo volver to the struggle a la lucha vs the 1% contra el 1% SATURDAY & SUNDAY
SÁBADO Y DOMINGO
17-18 de noviembre
124 West 29th Street, New York City
Calle 29 #124 West, Ciudad de Nueva York
A discussion among socialists, revolutionaries and activists:
Una discusión entre socialistas, revolucionarios/as y activistas:
¿Cuál fue la lección de las elecciones capitalistas? Racism • national oppression Racismo • opresión nacional and police terror y terror policial Next phase of the anti-capitalist La fase siguiente en la lucha fightback anticapitalista Ataques contra sindicatos Recortes Union busting Cutbacks Militarismo y guerras imperialistas Militarism and imperialist wars Attacks on women•lesbian, gay, bi, trans, Ataques contra las mujeres • personas con discapacidades • personas LGBT queer people • people with disabilities Destrucción del ambiente Environmental destruction LIBERACIÓN Y REVOLUCIÓN LIBERATION AND REVOLUTION Estrategias para construir la unidad Strategies to build socialist unity socialista, solidaridad de clase, y muchos otros tópicos más. class solidarity and more Lessons of the capitalist elections
For registration, housing and updates on the conference schedule, go to:
Para registro e información sobre alojamiento y actualización del programa de la conferencia, envíe email a:
to conquer lands and their peoples with wars for occupation in order to intensify superexploitation and plunder. The Pentagon right now is setting its sights on Syria and Iran. What does hold a bright future for all humanity is a society free from racism, oppression and poverty, a society run by workers of all nationalities and skills to meet human needs. Such a society is socialism.
Workers World Party will take up at the conference how this perspective is achievable both in theory and practice. Go to workers.org and click on the “WWP conference Nov. 17-18” tab in the right-hand corner to register, get the schedule and request information about housing, and to download conference fliers in English and Spanish. You can also call 212-627-2994 for more information.
Why I joined WWP
October 1962: Washington provoked missile crisis By John Catalinotto Earth-shaking crises can bring about life-changing decisions. The 1962 October Missile Crisis did for me. In the fall of 1962, I helped about 15 to 20 people in Youth Against War & Fascism, all about 17 to 25 years old, build a demonstration on Oct. 20 in Times Square in New York City. It was my first such experience with YAWF, which was the youth organization of Workers World Party. I was impressed with the seriousness of the people involved. Every chant and slogan expressed clear anti-imperialist, anti-racist, pro-working class politics. They were printed clearly, too, with magic marker on cardboard. In the Oct. 26, 1962, issue of Workers World newspaper, an article reported that 150 people demonstrated “against the U.S. war drive. … [T]he pickets chanted ‘Stop the War in Vietnam — Bring the Troops Home!’ and ‘No Invasion of Cuba.’ Typical of the many colorful signs were ‘No Nuclear War Over Berlin’ and ‘End Racism, Not the Human Race!’” The action was good and shut down the military recruitment center. But some serious youths and one good demonstration still were not enough. It still seemed far-fetched to me that a couple dozen young people would overthrow U.S. capitalism, with its 3-million-strong military, its nuclear weapons, its cops and its me-
dia monopoly. It was the imperialist U.S. ruling class itself, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the John F. Kennedy administration that supplied what was needed, just two days after the YAWF demonstration. Missile Crisis unfolds On the evening of Monday, Oct. 22, 1962, Kennedy informed the country that the U.S. was on the brink of a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Studies of the crisis since then credit the administration with holding back the Pentagon generals who were ready to invade Cuba and launch missiles at Soviet targets. Others say Kennedy had already signed the papers to invade Cuba. My friends who were in the U.S. Army Reserves at that time — and who did not at all share my feelings of solidarity with the Cuban Revolution — recently told me how terrified they were when they saw the troop trains getting ready to take them
south for the Cuban landing. Even the heavy anti-communist propaganda of that period was not enough to inspire them to face death. And the Pentagon itself expected 40,000 U.S. casualties in the first days of a Cuban invasion. The masses were terrified of a nuclear bilexchange. In a worst-case scenario, a bil lion people might die. Nevertheless, the Pentagon generals were ready. That’s mastheir job, serving their billionaire mas ters, no matter how many may die. The U.S. rulers hated having a socialist island just south of Florida, inspiring the rest of the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. had already backed an invasion of Cuba in 1961 by Cuban counterrevolutionaries that flopped miserably at the Bay of Pigs. They would risk humanity’s existence to eliminate the Cuban Revolution. U.S. nuclear-armed Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles in Turkey and other countries threatened the USSR. To defend Cuba and to improve its strategic defense against U.S. aggression, the Soviet Union had begun placing rocket launchers in Cuba. How Leninists respond to crises During the week following Kennedy’s announcement, thousands demonstrated for peace at the United Nations. The message was mainly pacifist, urging “both sides” to pull back from nuclear night-
mare. Through this difficult period WWP kept a principled class position: The USSR and Cuba had the right to defend themselves — it was the imperialists who must disarm. In the end, the USSR pulled its rockets out of Cuba and the U.S. didn’t move the troop trains. A look at the articles written at that time in Workers World, including those by WWP chairperson Sam Marcy, provides a lesson on how Leninists react to a worldwide crisis. We hope to make as many of these articles available on workers.org as possible in the coming weeks. WW’s front page article that Oct. 26 ended this way: “The enemy of the working class, the enemy of the future of the world is here. The main enemy of humanity is the little clique of banker-billionaires that rules the United States.” It was true then. It’s true now. And it convinced me. Not that it was possible to overthrow capitalism here — that came later — but it convinced me then that this ruling class was so dangerous, there was no alternative but to fight this ruling class by mobilizing the workers and oppressed peoples, and that Workers World Party had the intransigent attitude toward capitalist and imperialist rule that gave it the best chance of success. Catalinotto has been a managing editor of WW since 1982.
Nov. 1, 2012
Affirmative action under attack By Ben Carroll After suffering decades of attacks and setbacks, the limited form in which affirmative action exists today is again in the cross hairs, facing its most serious challenge in nearly a decade. On Oct. 10, the U.S. Supreme Court heard nearly an hour-and-a-half of oral arguments in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Abigail Fisher, a white UT-Austin applicant, has charged the UT system with “reverse discrimination,” claiming that the policy of including race as a factor in determining admission led to her being denied entry to UT-Austin. The school administration says that Fisher would not have been accepted even if race were not a factor in the admissions process. She has since graduated from another university. The UT system’s admissions policy is based on the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger. In that case, two white students sued the University of Michigan with essentially the same argument used in the Fisher case. They claimed that UM’s affirmative action program caused them to be denied admission. The Court ruled 5-4 against Grutter and upheld that race could be used as a factor in college admissions programs. However, while the Grutter ruling upheld the use of affirmative action to further diversity, it weakened the policy’s use as a means to correct historic discrimination. It was a means to whittle away at affirmative action, another in a series of attacks which began with the Bakke case in 1978. Given the balance of forces on the Supreme Court, there is justified concern that a decision in the Fisher case could nearly dismantle affirmative action throughout
the U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts has infamously claimed that “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” This thoroughly white supremacist perspective implies that affirmative action programs, which are designed to address centuries of racism and provide some measure of equality in jobs and education, are themselves a form of discrimination. It is this perspective and the forces behind it which have led the charge throughout the last half century to roll back affirmative action and other gains that were won through struggle by the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. Rollback of affirmative action The Bakke case, heard before the Supreme Court in 1978, began the erosion of affirmative action programs in the U.S. Allen Bakke, a white medical student, sued the University of California at Davis Medical School for “reverse discrimination” after he was denied admission. UC-Davis used a system of racial quotas and set aside a certain number of openings specifically for people of color. Quota systems, employed even by the Nixon administration, were the first manifestation of affirmative action programs in this country to achieve inclusion — after centuries of institutionalized exclusion from jobs and education — for people of color and women. By a vote of 5-4, the Court declared the quota system unconstitutional. Since then, affirmative action programs have faced many legal attacks that have further affected their effectiveness. In recent years, several states, including California, Nebraska, Michigan and Arizona, have passed ballot initiatives barring the use of any form of affirmative action in
jobs and education. A similar initiative is on Oklahoma’s ballot this year. National Public Radio reported that after California’s ban was passed in 1996, every UC campus reported “a very significant percentage” decline in the number of students of color who both applied and were admitted to the system. Even in the Fisher case, the predominating arguments in defense of UT’s affirmative action program center on the value of diversity in the classroom for all students’ education. However, what this line of argument fundamentally obscures are the centuries of brutal exploitation of Native people, the horrific enslavement of African people and the discrimination against Latinos/ as. This country’s sordid racist history includes the overturning of post-Civil War Reconstruction and the decades of institutionalized Jim Crow laws and practices. Racist discrimination exists today in housing, health care and education. It can be seen in the inequities in the criminal justice system and the prison population. It can be seen in the unemployment figures and by nearly any other measure of this society. Racism integral to capitalism It was struggle that ushered in programs like affirmative action, and struggle that is needed to defend the gains that the racist right wing is hell-bent on upending. The Civil Rights movement, Black freedom struggles, and rebellions of Black people across the country against extreme poverty and unemployment pushed the U.S.government into implementing affirmative action. When the Supreme Court’s Bakke ruling was issued in 1978, more than 35,000 people – mostly Black — marched in
Washington, D.C., in protest. This latest attack on affirmative action comes at a time when education and other public services are under attack as federal and state governments ruthlessly implement austerity programs and slash budgets. With tuition skyrocketing, the doors to higher education are being closed to many students from workingclass, African-American, Latino/a and other oppressed communities. This year, student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion. On average, students incur more than $26,000 in debt to the banks on loans for higher education. Everyone should have the right to an education, without having to mortgage their futures away to the banks. Education could be free at all levels, but instead of being used for the benefit of society, it’s another way for the wealthy 1% to garner even more profits. As the capitalist crisis deepens and states slash education budgets, spending on prisons keeps rising. The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world with more than 2 million people locked up; more than half are Black, Latino/a and members of other oppressed nationalities. Capitalism relies on racism, sexism and bigotry to keep us divided. Unity and solidarity are the best tools to use to stop the attacks on affirmative action and to turn the tide against the assaults on working-class and oppressed peoples. Mass struggle is needed to defend all of the gains made through struggle, which will always be endangered in this profitdriven system. A determined fightback is essential, one that aims to ultimately build a society based on solidarity, not racism and bigotry, and where providing human needs, not profits are the goals.
Pride Day march in Atlanta Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to cheer and applaud the huge parade that filled Peachtree Street and ended at Piedmont Park, celebrating Pride 2012 in Atlanta. Among the many floats and contingents marching Oct. 14 were LGBTQ student groups from numerous local universities and colleges, multiple Latino/a and Asian organizations and dozens of worker contingents from many of Atlanta’s largest businesses. Workers World Party members carried a banner that read “Free CeCe McDonald! Justice for All Victims of Transphobia and Racist Violence!” Young people in particular
greeted the banner with chanting, often running up to hug and thank those carrying the banner for bringing the struggle of CeCe — imprisoned in Minnesota for defending herself against anti-trans violence — to the Pride event. Others, who had been unaware of the case, took informational leaflets and could be seen sending photos of the banner to their friends via cellphone. — Dianne Mathiowetz Workers World banner supports CeCe McDonald. PHOTO: SIR JESSE OF DECATUR, ONE OF THE FEMINIST OUTLAWZ
NYC families say school bus routes still too long By Sara Catalinotto New York The New York City borough of Queens chapter of Parents to Improve School Transportation will be at the Office of Pupil Transportation at 44-36 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 31 — Halloween — to protest what PIST calls “scary” yellow school bus routes. This action is also endorsed by leaders of New York City Parents Fed Up with Transportation Troubles, based in Brooklyn, and Common Sense Busing, based in Manhattan. These parent advocates say OPT’s version of busing realities differs from theirs.
“OPT officials keep repeating the line that the problem was one pre-K company, and that they solved it in the third week of school,” says Sharlene Figueroa, a PIST member from Woodside, Queens, “yet our organizations get calls, emails and Facebook comments every week from parents of bus children in all grades, citywide, who are suffering from bad routes created by OPT itself.” Ten-year-old Kwame Stevens says, “Everyone is affected by this stuff. And we kids will fight for our rights, too!” Retired special educator Margaret DePaula of Ridgewood, Queens, insists that the conditions for students in wheelchairs on yellow buses are often unsafe.
“There are no regulations about proper harnesses or headrests. Colleagues tell me buses are arriving without functioning ramps or lifts, aside from having incorrect start and end times for several sites,” De Paula states. “Disabled people fought for access to education, but today OPT’s cost cutting tactics are obstructing this right.” All supporters of “a safer, shorter, sensible ride to school for every New York City student who needs one” are welcome to the Halloween-themed speakout, organizers say. PIST NYC can be reached at pistnyc@gmail. com or 347-504-3310.
ON THE PICKET LINE
By Sue Davis
Workers at second NYC carwash vote union
WW PHOTO: ANNE PRUDEN
Hot & Crusty workers and supporters on the picket line.
Strong rally for Hot & Crusty workers On Oct. 18, about 100 people, including Hot & Crusty food workers and a wide spectrum of union supporters, gathered in front of the former H&C store at 63rd Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan to demand that the owners meet the demands of the immigrant workers. A speaker from the Laundry Workers
Center stressed, “We are going to continue organizing. … We will never back off our mission!” Chants included “Asian, Latino, Black and white, workers of the world unite!” Picketing at 63rd Street has continued daily for many weeks, with rotating protests at other sites like Europan Cafes owned by the same investors.
Picket, boycott demand justice for Mi Pueblo workers By Judy Greenspan Oakland, Calif. Chants of “Mi Pueblo is a racist business!” and “Boycott Mi Pueblo!” echoed loudly on High Street, a very heavily traveled boulevard in East Oakland, as more than 150 people picketed this market chain store which is located in several Bay Area Latino/a communities. The protesters demanded justice for the workers who are trying to organize a union and being threatened with job loss and possible deportation via the anti-immigrant “E-Verify” system. According to organizers of the Dignity and Resistance Coalition, a local coalition of Latino/a organizations and political activists, Mi Pueblo is participating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in E-Verify, a government database that would allow the company to refuse work to undocumented workers. Mi Pueblo management is allowing the government to launch an I-9 Audit, also known as a “silent raid,” that would identify undocumented workers and lead to their firing and possible deportation. Mi Pueblo workers in San Jose,
Nov. 1, 2012
After a six-month organizing drive, the mostly immigrant workers at Webster Carwash in the Bronx, N.Y., voted to join the Department Store Union (RWDSU). The workers charge that Lage Management Corp., which owns several dozen carwashes in New York City, stiffs them by not paying the minimum wage. El Salvadoran immigrant Ernesto Salazar makes $6.50 an hour, which is 75 cents below the federal minimum wage. (But he was making $5.50 an hour before the unionization drive.) Lage has a history of shortchanging workers; in 2009 the firm had to pay $3.4 million in back wages and damages to 1,187 current and former workers. “This is a time for immigrant workers to earn a voice through their union — to speak up to their bosses,” said Salazar. “The union will support us in pushing to raise wages. You can’t afford to live here on the amount they pay us.” (New York Times, Oct. 22) Working with RWDSU are two advocacy groups, Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change, which are taking the fight to two other Lageowned New York City carwashes, in SoHo and Queens. In addition to higher wages, the workers are demanding better safety training and toxic-free cleaning and polishing products. It’s estimated there are 5,000 carwash workers at about 200 carwashes in the city.
One-day strike at Holiday Inn LAX Housekeeping workers at the Los Angeles airport’s Holiday Inn held a one-day strike on Oct. 11 after two workers were fired. The week before, members of UNITE HERE Local 11 had filed a lawsuit claiming they aren’t paid wages required by law, nor are they paid for overtime, and they’re frequently forced to work through lunch breaks. Often they aren’t able to do their jobs properly because the hotel runs out of laundry detergent, dish soap and cleanser, so sheets, towels, cocktail glasses, toilets and sinks are not really clean. As of Oct. 18, Local 11 reported that one worker has been rehired. But more pressure is needed to make management respect the workers by paying them union-contracted wages and giving them the tools with which to do their jobs. Support the workers by signing a petition at tinyurl. com/9f5nwmb.
Cablevision techs vote union, but CEO won’t talk contract
WW PHOTO: JUDY GREENSPAN
Oct. 20 picket at Mi Pueblo store.
Oakland and other parts of the California Bay Area are involved in a union drive with the help of organizers from the Food and Commercial Workers union. Worker activists have been unfairly fired, threatened and intimidated by the owner, Juvenal Chavez, store managers and the federal E-Verify policy. The Dignity and Resistance Coalition, which organized a successful demonstration through East Oakland on May 1 for immigrant and workers’ rights, has called for
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a boycott of Mi Pueblo stores. Educational flyers calling for an end to collaboration with ICE and the Department of Homeland Security, a halt to all unfair labor practices and the rehiring of all fired workers were passed out to shoppers during the Oct. 20 action. A group of Latino/a youth boldly marched up to the door of the Mi Pueblo market, chanting, “Mi Pueblo is a Deportation Center!” The picket line was warmly received by passing motorists, who honked their support.
I enclose: n $75 (supporter) n $100 (sponsor) n $300 (sustainer) $_____ other. I enclose every month: n $6 (supporter) n $10 (sponsor) n $25 (sustainer) $ ___ other. n How can I include Workers World in my will? Fill out the Supporter Program form and send it with your check made out to Workers World to WWP, 55 W. 17th St., 5th Fl., NY, NY 10011. Name ____________________________ Email_____________________ Address _________________________ Phone_____________________
More than 300 Cablevision technicians and dispatchers in Brooklyn, N.Y., voted to join Communication Workers Local 1109 nearly 10 months ago. Two other groups of Cablevision workers there subsequently voted to join the local. But Cablevision is refusing to bargain seriously; it’s not offering living wages or addressing vital safety issues. That’s not surprising — Cablevision’s CEO is none other than James Dolan, the owner of such high-profile profit-makers as the Knicks, the Rangers, Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, Radio City Music Hall and the Rockettes. Talk about the .1% of the 1%! Dolan has sent a clear anti-union message by handing out huge raises to all nonunion Cablevision workers in the tri-state area, except to those in Brooklyn. It’s time Dolan got the message: All Cablevision workers deserve a living wage, safe working conditions and a voice on the job. Tell him that by signing the petition at tinyurg. com/9ajvt5e.
Picketing for justice at Golden Farm market in Brooklyn Golden Farm’s name is probably a sick joke to the mostly immigrant workers at the Brooklyn market. Owner Sonny Kim has refused to honor a court ruling ordering him to pay the workers back wages — shorted from minimum-wage paychecks — and let them hold a government-mandated union election. Labor activists, representing a number of pro-worker groups, have been picketing Kim for months, vowing to fight until the workers have been paid and a contract signed. On Oct. 21, protesters of many nationalities, playing instruments and singing “We Shall Overcome” and “Solidarity Forever,” led a colorful march behind a banner in the Brooklyn neighborhood. In English and Spanish they chanted slogans such as “No contract, no peace!” and “Exploitation, no way! Pay the workers decent pay!”
Nov. 1, 2012
Central Park case 23 years later:
Justice still denied By Dolores Cox New York It has been nine years since the Central Park 5 filed federal Civil Rights lawsuits against the city of New York and its police department. Plaintiffs are convicted Black and Latino men who seek financial compensation for false arrests, unjust convictions and lengthy incarcerations for crimes they didn’t commit. The young men, who have never even gotten an apology, want to see a correction of this great miscarriage of justice. Despite lack of physical or DNA evidence placing them at the crime scene, the youth were arrested, indicted and convicted in a New York State Supreme Court of gang-raping and brutally beating a 28-year-old white investment banker in the park in April 1989. Yusef Salaam, Kharey Wise, Kevin Richardson, Ramond Santana and Antron McCray, then 14 to 16 years old, were sentenced to five to 15 years incarceration. Each served seven – to 13-year terms in adult maximum-security prisons before they were exonerated and their 1990 convictions overturned in 2002. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau was forced to reopen this case in 2002, when Matias Reyes, an imprisoned, convicted rapist, confessed to raping and beating the victim. DNA evidence identified him. 1989: Police coerced confessions After their arrests, the police interrogated and intimidated the five youth for up to 30 hours, coercing them to confess and plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit. Their parents were kept away during the questioning. The media rushed to judgment and found them “guilty.” Several New York newspapers called the youth a “wolf pack” and “savage kids,” who were “wilding.” This shows the racism of the corporate media, which often does not believe Black people are innocent and insists on punishment, even without evidence. Real estate mogul Donald Trump paid $85,000 for full-page ads in four newspapers, headlined “Bring Back the Death
NATIONAL DAY OF MOURNING 2012 THURS., NOV. 22
Cole’s Hill, Plymouth, MA For more information: uaine.org and facebook.com/ events/528639163818793/ Bus leaving from Solidarity Center, 55 W. 17th St., 5th flr., Manhattan. 6 am sharp to DOM; $30/$40 round-trip. See Marie for tickets or call 212.633.6646, weekdays (3 pm – 8 pm).
Penalty” — for minors in a non-murder case! Trump’s ads helped foster a divisive, racist and hostile environment in New York before the trial. His incendiary language contributed to injustice for the youth. It also resulted in many new state laws allowing juveniles to be tried and jailed as adults. This case is reminiscent of the history of racist mistreatment, aggression, violence and murder in the U.S. by white racists, police and the criminal justice system. Race has long been a factor in justice being denied or delayed. Demonization of Black suspects is routine, even when charges are false. African Americans have been arrested, prosecuted and convicted of crimes they did not commit, jailed without evidence or probable cause, and sentenced to lengthy imprisonments. Inadequate legal representation is ram-
E U N I T N O C STRUGGLE S I C A R D N A VS. COPS
pant. Violations of defendants’ constitutional rights are commonplace, especially when the victims are white. When crime victims are Black and suspects are white, courts often recommend leniency or dismissal of charges. Blacks and Latinos/as have been targeted and framed up; entire communities stereotyped, profiled, criminalized or destroyed. Today, police shootings of Black men have become routine, while the criminal justice system continues legal lynchings. 2012: City still denies justice The city of New York has so far refused to settle the plaintiffs’ lawsuits, claiming that the charges brought against them were based on probable cause, including the confessions, in full and fair pretrial
‘Veronica and the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal’
By Betsey Piette Philadelphia
Over the years, since the 1982 frameup conviction of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, witnesses have come forward one by one to reveal that the testimony they gave during the trial supporting the prosecution’s case was coerced. One of the most poignant accounts of prosecutorial coercion came from Veronica Jones. Her courageous story is the basis of the book, “Veronica & the Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal as Told to Her Sister Valerie Jones,” which was released posthumously this year. Veronica Jones died on Dec. 1, 2009. A book launch and signing was held Oct. 20 at Black and Nobel Bookstore in North Philadelphia. Valerie Jones introduced the book, and Veronica Jones’ three adult daughters gave readings from the book. Other family members were on hand for support. Veronica Jones was slated to be a defense witness in Abu-Jamal’s 1982 trial. She had told police she saw two men running from the scene where police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot on Dec. 9, 1981. But at the trial she denied this, saying, “I didn’t see anything.” At Abu-Jamal’s 1996 Pennsylvania state court hearing challenging his conviction, Jones finally told the truth. She admitted she had lied at the 1982 trial because police threatened her with five to 15 years in prison unless she said Abu-Jamal shot Faulkner.
From left, Veronica Jones’ daughters Kiyra Jones, Sherri Jones-Caliste and Tiffany Jones. WW PHOTO: BETSEY PIETTE
The state’s response to Jones’ courageous admission was to arrest her on the witness stand in the middle of the hearing. Since that time and until her death at age 48, Jones remained a stalwart supporter and activist on Abu-Jamal’s behalf. Several speakers at the book launch described the torture and abuse that the mother of the three young girls was subjected to at the hands of police in 1982 when they forced her to change her testimony to help convict Abu-Jamal. A taped reading from Mumia of his forward to the book was played at the event. Attorney Rachel Wolkenstein, cocounsel for Abu-Jamal in his 1996 Post Conviction Relief Act hearing, who is currently handling his appeal of a lifein-prison-without-parole sentence, explained the significance of Jones’ memoir in “exposing the racist, corrupt and class-driven workings of the criminal justice system.” The book can be purchased through orders@Xlibris.com.
hearings and two lengthy trials. In 2010, Councilperson Charles Barron sponsored Resolution 81, calling for New York City to monetarily compensate the families for the youths’ wrongful accusation, arrest and incarceration; it also requested a Council hearing. Barron stressed that the men should be compensated without trial, since the best years of their lives were stolen and financial devastation was brought on their families. Barron suggested that the city won’t settle with the youth because it would expose the abuses of the criminal justice system and force the administration to address police coercion and convictions of innocent people without evidence. Additionally, the judge and jury would be seen as racist and incompetent. Supporters of the Central Park 5 packed a Manhattan courtroom on Sept. 24 for a status conference on the lawsuits. Attending were Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise, two of the exonerated men. Judge Ronald Ellis has presided over the long fight for restitution for these wrongful convictions. At last month’s status conference, the judge ordered city attorneys to give plaintiffs’ lawyers previously requested “missing” documents and records of two detectives who helped erroneously convict the innocent teens. Ellis set a deadline for producing the records and stressed getting the case ready for trial in a timely manner. His decision will be based on a 2002 affidavit regarding the district attorney’s investigation. The defendant is the police department. The cops’ credibility and a possible coverup remain in question. They are yet to be deposed. The judge will determine which requested documents are relevant and confidential. He said information regarding the detectives’ character is appropriate grounds for producing the documents. All parties are to return to court on Oct. 29. The lawsuits are still in the discovery phase, and any trials appear to be months away. On Nov. 23, a documentary film shown at the Cannes Film Festival, entitled “The Central Park Five,” will be shown in New York theaters. Based on a book by Sarah Burns, it alleges that racism played a significant role in the arrests. The film was written, directed and produced by Burns; her spouse, David McMahon; and her father, filmmaker Ken Burns, who wants the film to move the city to settle this lawsuit. However, the city just subpoenaed Ken Burns’ film production company, Florentine Films, demanding unpublished interviews and unreleased film footage about the case. Ken Burns refuses to comply. In a letter to the NYC Law Department, his attorney, John Siegal, states that the filmmakers’ ability to make films about matters of public interest would be compromised by complying with the subpoena. Further, the letter asserts the filmmakers’ intent to invoke their legal rights and withhold unpublished materials the city seeks. Meanwhile, the Central Park 5 are still seeking justice.
MarxisM, reparations & the Black Freedom Str
Anthology of writings from Workers World newspaper. Edited by Monica Moorehead. Racism, National Oppression & Self-Determination Larry Holmes Black Labor from Chattel Slavery to Wage Slavery Sam Marcy Alabama’s Black Belt: Legacy of Slaver and Segregation Consuela Lee Black Youth: Repression & Resistance LeiLani Dowell Are Conditions Ripe Again Today? 40th The Struggle for Socialism Is Key Monica Moorehead of the 1965 Watts Rebellion John Parke Harriet Tubman, Woman Warrior Mumia Abu-Jamal Racism & Poverty in the Delta Larry Hal Domestic Workers United Demand Passage Haiti Needs Reparations, Not Sanction of a Bill of Rights Imani Henry Available at Amazon.com and bookstore Black & Brown Unity: A Pillar of Struggle for Human Rights & Global Justice! Saladin Muhammad www. workers.org/reparations
Nov. 1, 2012
Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition slams DA’s report By Terri Kay Oakland, Calif. The Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition (J4AB) held a press conference Oct. 16 in front of Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s office in response to her announcement that police officer Miguel Masso would not be charged for the killing of Alan Blueford. The African-American youth was killed by Masso, a member of the Oakland Police Department, on May 6. At the press conference O’Malley’s report was slammed as “biased and deficient.” A release issued by the J4AB stated, “The District Attorney’s failure to carefully review and challenge statements contained in the report of the Oakland Police Department go against the community’s need for answers in this tragic officer-involved shooting.” John Burris, a civil rights attorney, referred to the federal monitors who supervise reforms the OPD was ordered to make by a federal judge in a case won against the OPD in 2000, in which Burris was lead counsel. He said the monitors found that there was “a predisposition to find support for the [OPD] officers’ conduct, often sanctioned by the DA.” Burris said, “The issue of whether Alan had a gun was not raised, and the DA never considered whether he had a gun when he
was shot and killed.” Burris said the picture of the purported gun “taken in a bed of rocks … clearly was never found there. This was a staged situation. How did it get there? Who moved it? When did that take place?” Burris pointed out that Masso is quoted as saying, “I swear I saw a gun” — but Burris said that is “not the kind of statement one would make if [they really] saw the gun!” He said there was “No consideration given [that] maybe it didn’t happen the way the officer said it did.” Burris discussed how it was “Racial profiling which served as the basis for the stop” of Blueford in the first place, and said, “[We] will continue to move forward on our civil rights case.” Blueford’s parents: ‘Justice for Alan!’ Responding to Burris’ statement about racial profiling, Adam Blueford opened his remarks by stating, “I am the proud father of Alan Blueford.” He described how his son was just walking with his two friends, but “The DA report tries to make this out as a drug transaction.” The coroner’s report found that there was no gunpowder residue on Alan Blueford’s hands and no drugs or alcohol in his blood. Jeralynn Blueford, Alan’s mother, said, “My son’s last words were ‘I didn’t do anything’” (as quoted by witnesses in the po-
lice report). This clearly is not the threatening stance reported by Officer Masso, for which he claimed he was in fear for his life. She went on to state: “There are too many deaths in California. Stop the killing. We will not stop until we get justice for Alan.” Alan Blueford Walter Riley, also a civil rights attorney, stated: “There is something wrong with the criminal justice system. The DA has given us a shoddy report that looks like boiler plate language. … [It] fails to recognize forensic evidence presented in the coroner’s report, account for the vast majority of witnesses who say Alan was on the ground [when he was shot], and support the argument that Alan didn’t have a gun when he was shot.” DA’s report is ‘biased, shoddy’ The J4AB Coalition has put together a report which reviews the DA’s report, calling it “biased and unprofessional, its workmanship so shoddy that it fails to meet the most basic standards of an investigative report.” Concluding “Alan
Blueford Should Never Have Been Stopped,” the J4AB report states: “In
fact the police reverse cause and effect,
which gives them the excuse they are looking for to stop, question and frisk. Young black men do not generally look nervously at police because they are doing something suspicious, they look nervously at police because police are likely to stop them or worse. Police then claim that ‘being nervous’ is a sufficient reason to stop them. Had there been no racial profiling of Alan and his companions, Alan would not have been stopped, and Alan would still be alive today.” “We reiterate our demands that Officer Masso be fired and prosecuted for the murder of Alan Blueford, and that the OPD cease its de facto practices of racial profiling and stop and frisk,” says J4AB. They are calling for a Bay Area Families March to End Racial Profiling on Nov. 10, starting at noon at 14th and Broadway in Oakland. J4AB is “bringing together families of victims of police intimidation, brutality and murder as a call to end the racial profiling which criminalizes Black and Brown men.” To read the J4AB report and for more information, go to justice4alanblueford.org.
Billboards demand for justice for Derek Williams Special to Workers World In response to the police killing of Derek Williams, 43 billboards asking, “When police kill, where is the mayor?” went up on Oct. 8 throughout Milwaukee. The billboards were paid for by Michael M. Bell, the father of Michael E. Bell, who was killed by Kenosha, Wis., police in 2004. Bell paid for the ads with settlement funds he won from the city of Kenosha. Bell announced the billboards at a community meeting Oct. 7 at Coffee Makes You Black in Milwaukee. This meeting, one of a series of protest actions, demanded justice
for Derek Williams and his family. Williams, an African-American man, was killed by Milwaukee police in July 2011. A police video, published Sept. 23 on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel website, shows in horrifying detail how Williams, handcuffed and fighting to breathe in the back of a Milwaukee police car, was left to die after he passed out. The newspaper fought for 10 months to obtain the video — which the police, district attorney and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett all had access to — through an open records request. Due to community pressure, the Milwaukee County medical examiner’s office changed
its ruling on Williams’ death from natural to homicide in September. Various forms of ongoing protests, led and supported by organizations in the African-American community, are demanding that racist Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn resign immediately; that a federal investigation be conducted; and that a community police review board be enacted, among Derek Williams and his daughter Ta’Nijah other demands. in a family photo. On Oct. 13, a “Hoodie March MKE” in Milwaukee demanded justice ror, and protested the police occupation for Williams and all victims of police ter- of oppressed communities.
Charges against banker dropped in anti-Muslim attack By Chris Fry “This guy is going to get away with it! It’s unfair! I swear to God, it’s really unfair!” Mohammad Ammar, a New York City cabdriver, spoke those words after Connecticut prosecutors dropped charges, including for a racist hate crime, against the investment banker who stabbed him last year. On Dec. 21, Ammar picked up William Bryan Jennings, a Morgan Stanley executive, from a party at a swanky Manhattan
h Anniversary er ales ns Pat Chin es around the country ILLUSTRATION: SAHU BARRON
club. Ammar told Jennings that the fare to his home in Darien, Conn., 42 miles away, would be $204, the officially set rate for this distance. Jennings agreed. However, when the cab arrived at his house, the intoxicated banker refused to pay the fare. He shouted at the Egyptianborn Ammar, “I’m going to kill you! You should go back to your country!” Ammar couldn’t get cell phone service to call the police, so he began to drive to the Darien police station with Jennings in the back seat. On the way, the banker slashed the cabdriver with a knife, causing a hand wound so deep that it required six stitches to close. Jennings then ran to his house. He flew to Florida with his family soon after the assault. Ammar didn’t have Jennings’ name or address and couldn’t find his house again; however, some time later, the executive was identified as the cabdriver’s attacker. Under pressure from Ammar and support organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jennings was ar-
rested and charged with larceny, assault and intimidation with racial slurs as a hate crime. He appeared in court on March 9. Suddenly, on Oct. 15, Connecticut State Attorney David Cohen announced that the prosecution was dropping all charges against Jennings, claiming that because Ammar had “withheld evidence” that it was impossible for the state to go to trial, even though he admitted that Jennings is “most likely guilty of committing a crime.” This “evidence” was Jennings’ knife, which he had dropped in the back of the cab after he stabbed Ammar. A few weeks after the attack, the knife bounced into view from under the cab’s back seat. Hassan Ahmad, Ammar’s attorney, said, “He [Ammar] didn’t know what it was; he didn’t know whose it was. He picked it up and he realized at that point he’s holding the knife that may have been the knife that was used.” (WABC-TV, Oct. 15) Ammar turned the knife over to police five months before the trial date. Jennings admitted that it belonged to him.
The prosecutor’s use of the delay in the knife’s discovery was clearly spurious. CAIR-NY held a press conference on Oct. 15 to “express outrage and to request a federal hate crime investigation of the Wall Street banker.” Executive Director Muneer Awad said, “We believe there is ample evidence to go forward with this case and urge federal authorities to take over from state attorneys who seem unwilling to prosecute this man.” (CAIR. com, Oct. 15) Sara Flounders, International Action Center co-director, supported Ammar and spoke at the press conference. Regarding the dropping of charges against Jennings, Flounders told Workers World: “Nothing exposes more clearly the outrageous class bias of the justice system in the U.S. It is so vitally important that organizations like CAIR take up this case. There must be justice for Mohammad Ammar. Bankers get away with highway robbery by stealing people’s homes through foreclosures. Now they’re even stealing cab fare.”
Nov. 1, 2012
Specter of Mao haunts Beijing
More on political meaning of Bo Xilai’s suppression By Fred Goldstein In this series of articles, which began in March, it has been our contention that the vilification, slander, character assassination and criminal charges against Bo Xilai and his spouse, Gu Kailai, have been a smokescreen put up by the current leadership of the Communist Party of China to conceal an intense political struggle and suppress an emerging left force within the party. Joining in this campaign, even leading it at times, have been the imperialist media. They have worked in concert with the CPC leadership to circulate every rumor, every unsubstantiated accusation against Bo and Gu to a global audience and back to China. This so-called “free press” without hesitation gave its verdict of “guilty as charged,” despite the fact that neither Bo nor Gu has had any opportunity to state their cases to China and the world, nor has the government produced any credible evidence subject to open, adversarial examination. It is therefore ironic that the Oct. 16 issue of Time magazine unintentionally gave weighty evidence about the true political character of the struggle. In a scurrilous, gloating anti-China article, it points out that in “the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship magazine,” called Seeking Truth, “an article appeared entitled ‘Sparing No Effort to Push Forward Reform and Opening Up.’ This is the last issue before the Nov. 8 conference of the Party Congress.” The title of this key article confirms the theme pounded for months now by the right wing in China and by the imperialist media. Of course, a document title does not mean the program can be carried out. There may be strong resistance, from above and below, to opening up further to imperialism and to promoting capitalist political forms that would give a greater opening to both China’s capitalist class and the world bourgeoisie. Significant omission of Mao But, even more important, Time cheerfully points out the conspicuous omission of Mao Zedong from an enumeration of the theoretical leadership of the party. This is the first time that the architect of the Chinese Revolution has been omitted in this manner. It is so scandalous that the leadership may have to pull back in the future. According to Time’s translation, the relevant part of the Chinese article reads: “We should adjust ourselves to the recent domestic and overseas changes, satisfy the expectations of the masses, strengthen our confidence, uphold the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and Three Represents, implement the scientific development outlook, further deepen our understanding of the regular patterns of socialism, the rule of the Communist Party and human society’s development.” Deng Xiaoping Theory pronounced that “to get rich is glorious” and “development is ironclad truth.” It gave pragmatic justification for the rightist line: “Whether a cat is a white cat or a black cat, if it catches mice it is a good cat.” In other words, if capitalism can develop the productive forces, then that is all that counts. The Three Represents is a line developed by Jiang Zemin, who followed Deng. It put serving “the development of the produc-
tive forces” above everything and called for the party to serve “all the people,” meaning not just the workers and peasants but the capitalists, too. Jiang took the dangerous leap of opening the doors of the Communist Party to capitalists. The theory of “scientific development” is associated with outgoing President Hu Jintao. It is supposed to deal with the growing class and social antagonisms and mass outbursts that exploded at the end of the Jiang period. It is aimed at curbing inequalities and creating a so-called “harmonious society” in which the antagonisms between capital and labor will be balanced and reconciled. However, capitalism cannot exist without generating class and social antagonisms, inequality and corruption. At last count, China had 180,000 “mass incidents” in 2011, according to official statistics. These were protests against low wages, harsh conditions, land seizures and other oppressive inequities flowing from the expanding inroads of capitalism and the dramatic erosion of socialist institutions, along with assaults on the socialist spirit accompanying the torrent of pro-market ideology. If the Time translation is accurate, it speaks volumes about the nature of the struggle. Previous enumerations of the ideological foundations of Chinese socialism have always begun with “Marxism-Leninism ideology” and “Mao Zedong thought.” On March 14, the day before Bo Xilai was suspended as Chongqing party leader, outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao called for reform and denounced the Cultural Revolution. Business Week of April 4 reported on Wen’s “remarkable and likely last press conference, at the closing of the National People’s Congress last month. With an intensity of bearing suggesting he meant business, Wen launched into a spirited defense of the necessity of China’s continued economic reform, hearkening back to the Third Plenum of the 11th CPC Committee, a crucial meeting that launched the country on its modern-day path toward opening. More surprisingly, the 69-year-old premier also touted the need for political reforms, saying they must go hand in hand with economic ones — although he did not specify what those political reforms should entail. “But what really caught observers’ attention: Wen raised the topic of the decade-long tragedy of China’s Cultural Revolution, long a taboo subject, and warned its excesses could return. “‘Reforms have reached a critical stage,’ said Wen. ‘Without the success of political reforms, economic reforms cannot be carried out. The results of what we have achieved may be lost. A historical tragedy like the Cultural Revolution may occur again. Each party member and cadre should feel a sense of urgency,’ said the premier.” Issue of socialism in China A detailed exposition of Bo Xilai’s record that further reveals the true character of the struggle has appeared in an essay entitled “The Struggle for Socialism in China: The Bo Xilai Saga and Beyond.” Written by Yuezhi Zhao, Canada Research Chair in Political Economy of Global Communications at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, this contribu-
tion, so valuable for an English-speaking audience, was published in the October 2012 issue of Monthly Review. The author opens by showing that the struggle has been framed by many as between the “Chongqing Model” and the “Guangdong Model.” In Chongqing, Bo had fostered state enterprise, fought inequality and promoted “red culture,” while in Guangdong intense exploitation, deep inequality and the ideology of the capitalist market have become dominant. Zhao then broadens the discussion: “On the one hand, an extraordinary alliance of Anglo-American capitalist media and right-wing Chinese language media and bloggers have portrayed Bo as being corrupt, dangerous, opportunistic, and cynical. On the other hand, some on the left would question the very notion of socialism in China to begin with. The struggle for socialism in China has been virtually absent from the great mélange of news coverage and commentaries on the case so far. “Nevertheless, this struggle constitutes the most crucial part of the story. The intriguing and complex communicative politics around the Bo saga is highly symptomatic of ongoing domestic and international battles over the future of China. The underlying drama, therefore, is larger than Bo, and larger even than the Chongqing Model.” Zhao shines light on what’s behind the struggle against Bo, citing a speech he gave in 2011 on “common prosperity” in which he said: “The polarization of rich and poor is the backward culture of slave owners, feudal lords and capitalists, while common prosperity is the people’s just and advanced culture. The Western culture from the British bourgeois revolution in 1640 has had a history of more than 370 years. They often championed the slogans of ‘freedom, democracy, equality, and fraternity.’ However, they have never mentioned ‘common prosperity’ — a topic that concerns the fundamental interests of the vast majority of humanity. “Only the communists, with their down-to-earth materialist courage and selfless spirit, write ‘common prosperity’ on their own flag. As comrade Hu Jintao proclaimed at the CCP’s 90th anniversary conference, we must steadfastly pursue the path of common prosperity! We firmly believe, sooner or later, the whole humanity will take on the road of common prosperity.” According to Zhao, Bo built up state enterprises in Chongqing after he took over in 2007 and used them to improve the lives of the masses. He “took aggressive steps in bridging the urban-rural gap, enabling as many as 3.22 million rural migrants to settle in the city with urban citizenship entitlements in employment, retirement pensions, public rental housing, children’s education and health care. Beginning in 2009, under a program known as 10 Points on People’s Livelihood, Chongqing spent more than half of all government expenditures on improving public welfare, particularly the livelihoods of workers and farmers.” Where Deng Xiaoping said, “Development is ironclad truth,” Bo said, “People’s livelihood is ironclad truth.” Specter of Mao haunts Beijing Zhao says that Bo launched a genuine campaign against corruption “aimed at the
intertwined forces of party-state officials, private businesses and criminals,” which “decidedly manifested left-leaning class politics.” The campaign solicited reports of criminal activity from the masses and contained a “Maoist ‘mass participation’ and revolutionary justice dimension.” In 2008 Bo initiated the “three institutions,” which Zhao describes as follows: “First, the head of a village or urban community CCP Committee must receive public visits for half a day each week to hear public concerns. Second, members of the village or urban community CCP Committee must make two visits to rural or urban households to solicit opinions on government policies and address issues and concerns; third, open lines of communication between the Party Secretary and the public must be established through opinion boxes, emails, and telephone hotlines; feedback must be provided within a given time frame.” In 2009 Bo followed this up with “three going intos and the three togethernesses,’’ which compelled officials to “eat together, live together, and work together with the peasants for extended periods.” In 2008, Bo launched the Singing Red campaign — shorthand for a variety of communications practices “aimed at promoting socialist values and uplifting public morality.” In addition to singing revolutionary songs, the campaign included reading revolutionary tales, classics, emails and other communications. Zhao points out that the practice among the masses of singing revolutionary songs existed as a means of spiritually combating capitalist ideology even before Bo adopted it. A key element in the struggle was the nationally televised satellite channel CQTV. Bo stopped commercial broadcasting on the channel, turned it into a public-interest channel, used it to broadcast “red culture” and established a news program entitled “People’s Livelihoods” and a weekly “Public Forum on Common Prosperity,” devoted to reducing the “three divides” between rich and poor, urban and rural, and coastal and regional. The channel gave a platform to anti-neoliberal academics and others around the country to challenge the dominant market-oriented television. One of the first acts after Bo’s ouster was to restore commercial programming on CQTV. Zhao’s essay has no illusions about Bo and his politics. She shows that he promoted investment by transnational corporations in Chongqing. She points out that there were many left critics of the Chongqing model. And she states flatly: “Bo is certainly no resurrected Mao. But this has certainly not prevented the New York Times, along with its oligopolistic Anglo-American media competitors, from aggressively joining the transnational feeding frenzy that hastened Bo’s downfall.” On the other hand, Zhao shows that the possibility of promoting the Chongqing model on a national level was a “key step toward a left turn of the CCP.” “Bo posed a challenge to the ideological legitimacy of the CCP central leadership and its succession plan. He threatened to split the CCP by exposing the profound contradictions of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics.’ Moreover, what he did in Continued on page 10
Nov. 1, 2012
NYC meeting hears ‘the other side’
Syria defends itself from imperialist onslaught By John Catalinotto New York During the last 19 months of chaotic civil war in Syria, with opposition rebels armed by the U.S., NATO and the Gulf monarchies through Turkey, have you ever heard Syrian government representatives defend their government’s position regarding the fighting in their country? If you live in the imperialist U.S. or Europe, your answer is probably “never.” Why? Syrian television stations are banned by sanctions, and corporate-owned television hardly ever offers the “enemy” sound bites. Even in other Arabic-speaking countries, the Syrian position has been drowned out by the anti-Syrian propaganda from Qatar and Saudi Arabia. For a few hours in a church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side on Oct. 21, there was a chance to hear the Syrian position by an official Syrian spokesperson. The audience also heard other internationalists who support Syria’s defense from what can only be described as an imperialist onslaught. The meeting featured Counselor Dr. Mazim Adi, from the Syrian Mission to the United Nations, along with international human rights activist Ramsey Clark and British journalist Lizzie Phelan, known for her courageous reporting from Libya during the 2011 imperialist assault on that country. Adi explained that the opposition movement in Syria was complex, and in the beginning people raised demands that the government listened to. The government offered “a basket of reforms.” Some in the opposition accepted the reforms and further discussions, but others
WW PHOTOS: BRENDA RYAN
Larry Hales, Lizzie Phelan, Ramsey Clark, Syrian Counselor Mazim Adi.
“wanted to implement their own agenda … to destroy Syria.” “The government wanted to come to the table, but it was met with suicide bombers,” noted Adi. “People fighting the government believed they were doing jihad.” He explained that there are thousands of fighters in Syria from many different countries in dozens of different groups with different programs, making any negotiations nearly impossible. Adi emphasized the role Syria played in welcoming into their country any Arab refugees, especially the more than 1 million people forced to flee Iraq during the U.S.led war there. He also noted that Syria is a very diverse country, with dozens of different religions, sects and ethnic groups. Adi also explained the difficulties Syria faces in getting out its side of the story: ”My country doesn’t have the petrodollars” that Qatar has for Al-Jazeera and Saudi Arabia for Al-Arabia, two satellite broadcasters. “Thus we can’t even get our position out in Arabic. Our broad-
casts from our three national stations are blocked from Europe due to sanctions.” Press-TV, the Peoples Video Network and Truth for a Change recorded the meeting for future broadcast or posting on the Internet, and CPRMetro.org livestreamed the discussion. It will be up to the anti-war and progressive movements here to publicize the meeting and access to it in order to counter the corporate media monopoly. Lizzie Phelan also addressed the West’s media monopoly. In the more recent interventions the imperialist media have been aided by Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabia. Phelan was one of the few international reporters in Libya last year who described that country’s battle against NATO differently from the “official story” reported by the corporate media in Europe and the U.S. Finally, after Gadhafi was murdered and his government thrown out, the Western media started to let some of the truth come out, said Phelan. Now what you see in Libya is chaos and a strong
presence of forces like al-Qaeda, with a “blowback” that resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador. Larry Hales, representing the International Action Center, targeted the capitalist system itself and the current irresolvable economic crisis as the driving force behind the imperialist attempt to reconquer countries like Libya and Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Other speakers at the meeting, beside Clark, included Ardeshir Omani, of the American Iranian Friendship Committee, and Ben Becker, of the Answer Coalition. These groups, the IAC and the New York Peace Council sponsored the meeting. Omani and Clark focused their comments on the threats against Iran. Ellie Omani of the AIFC and Sara Flounders of the IAC co-chaired the event. There were messages of solidarity from the SI Bolivarian Circles, Veterans for Peace-Chapter 21, the International League of People’s Struggles, Solidarity with Iran and an Ecuadoran group.
Colombian Asotrecol worker talks with WW Jorge Parra is president of the Association of Injured Workers and Ex-workers of General Motors Colombia, known as Asotrecol. He was interviewed on Oct. 7 by WW reporter Martha Grevatt, a 25-year Chrysler worker. Parra and other members of Asotrecol had been on a hunger strike to get GM to meet with them. Workers World: Why did you end the hunger strike? Jorge Parra: Because we wanted to show our willingness to seek a just and definitive solution, and we hope that with this gesture of good faith, GM will listen to our pleas. We workers are ill, and we need an urgent solution; we want the United Auto Workers to help us, and we want to be part of the solution. WW: Describe the support of the
working class and community organizations in Detroit. JP: It has been a wonderful experience. We received much support. I believe that in the end we all belong to the same working class with the same dreams. I have learned a lot from all of the people here, and I am grateful for this opportunity. Certainly the workers must organize and share struggles like ours. The basis of union organizing is definitely solidarity with our brothers and sisters. WW: How many groups have you spoken to? JP: I shared our situation with organizations, unions, churches, universities, and I sincerely hope to obtain their help. We really need all their support. It has also been very good to learn from their struggles and share our struggle with them.
Strikes, protests target cuts in Europe Continued from page 1 Reuters, “Populations were prepared to suspend judgment on their politicians and accept sacrifice if they believed there would be long term gain, but not indefinitely.” Jones stated, “We have only got about six months to run before voters start looking at their politicians and taking off the rose-tinted glasses. Once that happens, we are going to find not just a rapid turnover in incumbent governments that happen to go to the polls, but also an increase in the general level of disquiet that will be
expressed in the form of strikes and other forms of social disobedience.” The same article quoted Jean-Paul Fitoussi, an economics professor at Paris’ Sciences Po Institute, who asserted that austerity measures were “a dangerous approach that could trigger social unrest.” Six months later, global resistance to the austerity measures that these capitalist economists opined about earlier this year is increasing. Progressives worldwide should not only take note of this development, but also struggle to turn these resistance movements into vehicles that can fight for fundamental change.
Jorge Parra and Martha Grevatt at Sept. 10 meeting in Detroit. WW PHOTO: ABAYOMI AZIKIWE
WW: How are your compañeros in Bogota? JP: They are very ill and have been so for much of the time of our struggle. The saddest case is that of our friend Ferney. His child is very sick and has cerebral palsy and requires many treatments that have not been done due to lack of medical services; it is a very urgent case. There is also the case of Carlos Trujillo. The bank wants to take his home and is about to expel him from his house. He has four young children and a spouse. He would have no choice but to live with the rest of us in the tents in front of the embassy. Manuel with his five children and Pedro with his two children are without a home in which they can live. Pedro has
already lost his home to the banks, and also Jair, Juan Carlos, Fabio, Wilson Rafael, Daniel, Neira. We are all about to lose everything. WW: Are you closer to a resolution? JP: That’s what we hope for. We tell the truth and we fight for what’s right. GM Corporation has to listen to us and do the right things. We fought hard and our families deserve to be left in peace. WW What is the importance of international solidarity? JP: It is the most important thing, because definitely your support has allowed us to have these opportunities to talk to everyone and make our needs visible. International pressure has been the only thing that might give us the hope of a solution. In our country only international pressure works, and this is why I pray that our international allies continue to help us. WW: Is there anything else ? JP: I thank you all for helping and keeping us in your prayers. We just want for the first time in our country that these injustices can be resolved. Our struggle has become a clear example of how our country should greatly improve these labor conditions and purge the Ministry of Labor of its corrupt employees that cost our government its credibility. All this is written in our laws. The sad thing is that it is not practiced. It’s not fair that we have to wait so long for the government to enforce the laws, but we will not give up our fight for our rights. Today we completed more than 437 days on strike, living in the streets.
Nov. 1, 2012
Imperialists prepare Not an act of charity for war in Mali
ueled by funding from racist, rightwing capitalists, a campaign to restrict and deny voting rights to African-American, Latino/a, and other poor and oppressed communities is raging across the U.S. Just how far will it go? Just three weeks before the elections, billboards saying, “Voter Fraud is a Felony — Up to 3-1/2 years & $10,000 fine,” started popping up in major cities in Wisconsin and Ohio. The signs — all posted in neighborhoods with high African-American populations — are a direct attempt to intimidate voters by trying to convince people that voting is a risky activity. The issue of the right to vote for African Americans dates back to the period following the U.S. Civil War known as the Reconstruction Era. From 1866 until 1876, formerly enslaved people in the South, with armed protection by Northern federal troops, fought for equality on the same par as whites, especially in the areas of political representation, education and land. This profoundly progressive period was violently cut short with the withdrawal of the troops that gave rise to the pro-Confederate Ku Klux Klan, semi-slavery conditions and eventually, entrenched segregation. Many in these communities remember when defiance of Jim Crow laws and other restrictions on Black voters in the South resulted in fines, jail time, beatings or even death. The 1965 Voting Rights Act, won through the Civil Rights movement, has been severely weakened over the decades, like so many other progressive concessions. With stop-and-frisk policies in place in many urban areas, just walking-whileBlack can result in police harassment, arrests or worse. In all but two states, more than 4.4 million formerly incarcerated people, labeled as felons, are permanently disenfranchised. Despite a state court ruling limiting implementation of Pennsylvania’s repressive Voter ID law, the state continues to churn out information through radio and TV ads, bus posters and mailings to thousands of seniors in a prescription drug program that ID is required to vote. In a predominantly Latino/a north Philadelphia neighborhood, a billboard picturing a woman holding a driver’s license still says, “Si Quieres Votar Muéstrala” (If you want to vote, show it.). Further adding to the confusion, the
Philadelphia power company PECO sent 840,000 customers an announcement in their October bills saying people must have a valid photo ID to vote. The hands of U.S. capitalists can be found all over these campaigns. All of the billboard ads in the Midwest were posted by the media monopoly Clear Channel, which claims that an anonymous “family foundation” paid for the nearly 150 threatening voter fraud ads. The billboards come on top of a campaign promoted by the right-wing corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council to pass laws in over 34 states restricting voting by requiring photo identification or other proof of citizenship. Little effort has been made to hide the racism that motivates this campaign. Among the primary partners in ALEC are David and Charles Koch, also the major force behind recent efforts to resegregate public schools in North Carolina. Their father, Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the U.S., earned notoriety in the 1950s as a founding member of the neo-Nazi John Birch Society, a primary opponent of desegregation. Today’s attempt to disenfranchise millions of voters is motivated in large part by racists like the Koch brothers who seem determined to ensure that the first Black president of the U.S. will not see a second term. But it goes deeper than that. The capitalist ruling class in the U.S. has every intention of implementing the type of severe austerity measures already imposed on workers in many European countries, regardless of who wins the 2012 presidential election. In oppressed communities, where police are already an occupying force, discouraging people from exercising their right to vote is yet another way to suppress opposition. What must never be forgotten is that the basic “right to vote” was not given to anyone by the capitalist class. It was won through decades of struggle. Therefore, defense of the right to vote should not be viewed as an act of charity. It is an act of anti-racist solidarity with the most oppressed by left and other progressive forces that helps build class unity. Our sisters and brothers fighting against austerity measures around the world are showing us that the outcome of this fight will also be determined in the streets, not the voting booths.
Specter of Mao haunts Beijing
More on political meaning of Bo Xilai’s suppression Continued from page 8 Chongqing undermined vested interests in China’s transnationalized bureaucratic capitalist social formation — even though he had been an integral part of it.” Zhao ends on a hopeful note: “Instead of tarnishing and even burying the cause of socialism once more in China, the ending of the Bo saga may open up other new avenues to the Chinese struggle for socialism, for which popular control of the Chinese political economy will be a defining feature.” Of course, such a perspective looks forward to a revival of the struggle to restore revolutionary socialism in China.
By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire Western imperialist states, with the support of the United Nations Security Council, are preparing for a full-scale military intervention in the West African state of Mali. Since March, the country has been in a severe political crisis after a military coup and its effective partitioning into north and south. The French government of Francois Hollande has moved surveillance drones to West Africa and is holding secret talks with U.S. officials in Paris. Mali was colonized by France in the 19th century but won independence in 1960. Before a coup toppled President Amadou Toumani Toure in March, the U.S. Africa Command had established training programs and joint operations with the Malian army. This planned imperialist intervention is being carried out under the guise of fighting in North and West Africa. The Tuareg people in northern Mali have been at odds with the central government in Bamako in the south for many years. After the U.S.-NATO engineered war of regime change in Libya, many Tuaregs who had worked in Libya relocated back to northern Mali, where Tuaregs have lived for many centuries. The Movement for the Liberation of Azawad is reported to have led the campaign that seized several major cities in the north earlier this year and declared a separate state of Azawad. The MNLA is viewed as a secular organization concerned with addressing grievances between the Tuareg and the central government. Organizations of an Islamic orientation also have a formidable presence in northern Mali. The imperialists are using the presence of groups such as Ansar Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, and Al-Qaeda of the Islamic Magreb to justify intervention and occupation. France has been turning more attention to the entire Sahel region as it accelerates its withdrawal from Afghanistan. It plans to move two surveillance drones to western Africa from Afghanistan. (AP, Oct. 22) Imperialists want to use African troops U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson was involved in the Paris talks on Mali. On Oct. 12, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for the deployment of 3,000 troops under the ostensible authority of the West African regional organization. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was given 45 days to put forward “detailed and actionable recommendations.” In Brussels on Oct. 19, the European Union resolved to “speed up planning
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of a possible (EU) military operation to help reorganize and train the Malian defense forces. The EU will maintain the option to adopt targeted restrictive measures against those involved in the armed groups in northern Mali and those hindering the return to constitutional order.” (skynews.com.au, Oct. 22) Once the imperialists made their plans, they held a meeting in Bamako, Mali’s capital, on Oct. 20-21 with regional leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the recently installed African Union Commission chair, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. France’s special envoy to the Sahel, Jean Felix-Paganon, told the international press during his visit to Mali that “we are at their disposal.” (telegraph.co.uk, Oct. 22) Tuaregs deny influx of Islamist fighters The rationale for imminent military action in northern Mali, according to a wave of news articles, is the claim that fighters from various Islamist groups have been pouring into the region. Voice of America put out an inflammatory report on Oct. 22: “Hundreds of additional Islamist fighters have deployed in northern Mali, as neighboring countries make plans to send troops to the troubled nation.” It claimed, “Residents report seeing hundreds of Tunisian and Egyptian militants in the city of Gao, while many other militants went to the central town of Douentza, close to Malian army positions in Mopti. The al-Qaida linked militants in the region have carried out public executions, amputations and floggings in an effort to enforce their strict version of Islamic law.” The MNLA has denied these reports. Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh, a spokesperson for the organization, said reports of “the arrival of convoys of jihadists from Sudan and the Western Sahara are totally false. We categorically deny it.” (iol.co.za, Oct. 22) Even a Malian security source told the French Press Agency that while “new terrorists” had arrived in the north of Mali, claims of several hundred were “exaggerated.” (Sapa-AFP, Oct. 22) The aims and objectives of the E.U., U.S. and U.N. Security Council are related to the overall imperialist strategy for the African continent, which has oil and other minerals indispensable to the world capitalist market. Western intervention, even if masked by thousands of regional troops from ECOWAS, cannot resolve the problems of underdevelopment and lack of empowerment among the African masses. Africa and its people have no other choice but to take control of their resources and to develop mechanisms for ensuring the security, stability and development of the continent.
Nov. 1, 2012
OSLO – Second phase
Colombian peace talks begin By Berta Joubert-Ceci The eyes of the world were glued to their TV screens. TeleSUR and the BBC in Spanish transmitted live the almost three-hour-long press conference of the representatives of FARC-EP and the Colombian government on Oct. 18, at the end of the establishment of the Peace Negotiation table in Oslo, Norway. All in Latin America have important interests at stake with these talks, because Washington uses the Colombian military to threaten neighboring countries that pursue a development independent of U.S. imperialism. Colombia is even known by the people of the region as “the Israel of Latin America.” For the Colombian people, their lives and future are at stake. Colombia has not known peace for more than 60 years. In 1946, the oligarchy together with the state opened a violent repression against the movement for social and economic justice. This movement’s leader, Jorge Eliecer Gaitán, was murdered in April 1948. His death marked the beginning of “La Violencia,” a period which has lasted until today. Although the FARC-EP was born in 1964, its historical roots are grounded in the response to this tremendous violence that took the lives of more than 300,000 Colombians. The September press conference The FARC-EP’s news conference in early September in Cuba announced the negotiations, which would center around
five main points agreed upon by both parties: comprehensive agricultural development policy; political participation; an end of the conflict; a solution to the problem of illicit drugs; and support for the victims (human rights and a search for the truth). That conference ended the first of three phases of negotiations. First, was the exploratory, in which representatives of both parties held talks for six months in Cuba. This led to the second phase, whose opening was set for Oslo and would continue in the third and final phase in Havana, Cuba, with the signing of the accord and its implementation. Initially scheduled for Oct. 8, the second phase had to be postponed because of the Colombian president’s health problem and most importantly, for the assurance that Interpol would cancel orders to capture the FARC representatives who would have to travel from the mountains of Colombia to Oslo. In Oslo, both parties initiated the conference by reading a joint statement, followed by their own pronouncements. Then, the many international reporters in attendance were to ask questions. These sessions were held separately after short breaks. First, one spokesperson for the Colombian government, Humberto de la Calle, who was vice president (1994-1997) under President Ernesto Samper, would respond. While de la Calle was the interior minister under President César Gaviria, he took part in the failed 1991 peace negotiations. In his article in Kaos en la Red, Alex
Vernot quotes Álvaro Leiva, a politician from the Conservative Party who has taken part in many negotiations. Leiva said de la Calle’s “mission was to go to Caracas [where one part of the 1991 talks would take place] to damage the dialogues.” De la Calle’s statement during the conference in Oslo gave a hint of the extreme difficulties of this process. It showed the intransigence and goals of a government that is not interested in peace for the Colombian people, but in a pacification for the benefit of both national and transnational businesses. De la Calle’s comments regarding the disarming of the FARC, as a condition of their participation in political life — something that is not even part of the five-point agreement — made the government’s intransigence clear. He also said that the “Free Trade Agreements” and the economy, other crucial points, were not part of the discussions. In short, he eliminated the most basic elements of the negotiations, since the first point will be the “comprehensive agricultural development policy,” which by necessity will have to discuss economy and take into consideration that 52 percent of Colombia’s land is controlled by only 1 percent of its people. Iván Márquez, from the FARC Secretariat, opened with a statement that reflects the insurgent group’s profound desire for peace: “We have come to this 60th parallel, to this city of Oslo, from the remote tropics, from the Macondo of Injustice, the third most unequal country in the world, with a collective dream of
peace, with an olive branch in our hands.” He then gave a magnificent account of the origin of the armed conflict. It is worth reading in its entirety at www. anncol.eu since it illustrates the intense inequality in Colombia with facts and figures that show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the criminal usurpation of land and wealth by oligarchs and transnational corporations, leaving behind 70 percent of the population in poverty. He spoke of the violence and repression of the state, along with the role of corporations and the United States military. Márquez ended with the FARC’s demand to include Simón Trinidad, a FARC leader serving a 60-year sentence in a U.S. prison, as part of the negotiations. The Colombian Prosecution Office already has accepted the demand and will make the necessary technological arrangements to facilitate the virtual appearance of Trinidad in the negotiations. The FARC, however, wants his physical presence, and is asking the international community and particularly progressive forces in the United States to help pressure the U.S. government to let Trinidad join them in Cuba. The FARC also invited the international community to accompany them in this process and made a special and strong appeal to the social movements in Colombia to be active participants in the process. Judging by the recent developments in Colombia, this latter request is already being acted on at many levels. The next meeting of both parties will be in Cuba on Nov. 5.
Puppets use chemical weapons against Bani Walid By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire Supporters of Bani Walid’s people demonstrated outside the General National Congress parliament in Tripoli, Libya, on Oct. 21 calling for a halt to the town’s siege. Bani Walid’s 80,000 people were a bastion of support for the former Jamahiriya government led by the martyred Col. Moammar Gadhafi. Protesters attempted to enter the building but were dispersed by police. For three weeks the rebel militias financed through the U.S.-backed regime in Tripoli have blockaded the city, denying it food, medicine and other essential goods. Eyewitness accounts and videos posted on YouTube show constant shelling, with smoke emanating from targeted sites inside the city. Hospitals report that they are treating people for chemical poisoning and loss of limbs. According to RT satellite television: “Plumes of white and black smoke can be seen rising all over the town and sporadic gunfire can be heard in one of the videos dated October 19. Shells hit civilian buildings. Inside one such house there are patches of blood across what appears to be the living room, while the whole house is strewn with rubble and dust, gaping holes in the walls.” (RT.com, Oct. 22) A young man interviewed by RT said that his family was inside Bani Walid and that his relatives reported: “The situation in Bani Walid is really bad. We don’t have a lot of medicine. We don’t have enough places for wounded civilians. Right now
the hospital is keeping wounded people outside.” This same person reported that people inside the city say that shells with poisonous gas are bombarding the city. Photos of gas masks — found at positions of the militias of Misrata — have been emailed to RT and shown over their network, which is seen worldwide. The GNC regime said the existence of resistance forces in Bani Walid is a threat to the pro-U.S. government in Tripoli. Interim GNC President Mohammed Magarief claims that forces loyal to the former government have “infiltrated the organs of the state, maybe even its leadership, and are plotting” against the NATObacked counterrevolution “with the help of others who are abroad.” Magarief denied allegations that the attacks against Bani Walid were based on tribal conflicts. However, the existence of instability and ongoing conflict throughout Libya indicates that there is no legitimacy for the U.S.-backed regime among many people inside the country as well as internationally. From the eastern regions around Benghazi to the capital of Tripoli and the southern regions, fighting continues with no end in sight. The destabilization brought about as a result of the imperialist-backed war beginning in February 2011 has spilled over into neighboring Mali. There the country has been partitioned between the north and the south. Mali is currently facing the possibility of foreign intervention from the European Union and a regional force
backed by the U.S. and NATO. Other reports have been circulating about the purported arrest of former Libyan governmental spokesperson Moussa Ibrahim. Ibrahim was the public face of the government during the intense U.S. and NATO bombing between March 19 and Oct. 31, 2011. Many have denied these reports, from both inside the GNC government and the pro-Gadhafi forces. One year later, struggle intensifies That an area perceived as a stronghold of Gadhafi supporters has been placed under siege clearly illustrates the major fear of the U.S. and its surrogates — that the resistance to the GNC regime will escalate and take on an anti-imperialist character. The GNC regime has failed to rein in the militias, which terrorize the population and engage in all types of corruption. Unemployment and poverty are escalating, and the imperialist states that instigated and financed the overthrow of Gadhafi and the destruction of the state are primarily concerned with the theft of oil
from Libya, which has the largest known reserves on the continent. These developments in Libya confirm that U.S. imperialism and its NATO allies cannot bring stability to any country in which they intervene. In fact, Libya was one of the most stable countries in Africa and the Middle East until the Western governments and their allies intervened. This pattern has been consistent over the last two decades. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Somalia, Yemen and Syria, the situations have worsened with the involvement of Washington. The only solution to the crisis in Libya and all other countries occupied by the imperialists is to overthrow Western foreign rule and establish governments that represent the interests of the majority of people within these societies. Antiwar activists in the imperialist countries must support and defend the right of oppressed peoples to self-determination and sovereignty.
WAR WITHOUT VICTORY by Sara Flounders “By revealing the underbelly of the empire, Flounders sheds insight on how to stand up to the imperialist war machine and, in so doing, save ourselves and humanity.” – Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, Pres. of U.N. Gen. Ass., 2008-2009, Foreign Min. of Nicaragua’s Sandinista gov. 1979-1990
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¡Proletarios y oprimidos de todos los paises unios!
El cólera y el hambre encuentran resistencia militante
Por G. Dunkel
Mientras el hambre acecha en Haití y el cólera mata a diario a personas debilitadas, a los/as muy jóvenes y los/as más viejos/as, la respuesta del pueblo haitiano ha ido creciendo en militancia. En grandes cantidades han salido a las calles para exigir el fin al régimen corrupto del presidente Michel Martelly. El pueblo haitiano desea poner fin a la fuerza de ocupación de la ONU, llamada MINUSTAH, que trajo el cólera a Haití hace menos de dos años. La epidemia del cólera se ha trazado a los residuos infecciosos de MINUSTAH depositados en el río más grande de Haití, el Artibonite. MINUSTAH — una cortina de humo para las potencias imperialistas, especialmente Estados Unidos, Canadá y Francia - funciona como cualquier otro ejército de ocupación. Bajo la dirección de su comandante de la ONU, el general Fernando Rodrigues Goulart de Brasil, la MINUSTAH se dedica a hacer violaciones, saqueos y arrestos arbitrarios, detenciones y asesinatos sin nada que les detenga. Las tropas de la MINUSTAH son soldados de los países oprimidos, a quienes se les paga mucho menos que a sus colegas de los ejércitos imperialistas. La ocupación de Haití por la ONU y su falta de voluntad para reconocer su responsabilidad por la epidemia de cólera que ha matado a cerca de 8.000 haitianos/ as y ha enfermado a más de medio millón, sigue siendo un problema oculto en los Estados Unidos. La satanización racista del pueblo haitiano en la prensa corporativa es un factor contribuyente. Fuera de la comunidad haitiana, en América Latina y el Caribe, hay una resistencia en masa creciente a la participación de sus países en la MINUSTAH. Una importante delegación de dirigentes sindicales de América Latina pidió a la ONU no extender el mandato de la MINUSTAH. La delegación incluyó a Pablo Micheli, Secretario General, Central de Trabajadores de Argentina; Julio Turra, representante del Comité Ejecutivo Nacional de la Central Única de Trabajadores de Brasil; David Abdulah, Secretario General del Sindicato de Trabajadores Petroleros de Trinidad; y Fignolé St. Cyr, de la Central Autónoma de Trabajadores Haitianos. Esta delegación se reunió con los líderes de la ONU el 11 de octubre, el día antes de que el Consejo de seguridad de la ONU votase sobre la extensión. También hablaron
frente a una manifestación de protesta organizada por una coalición de la comunidad haitiana y grupos políticos en Nueva York el día de la votación. Micheli señaló en su discurso que ese mismo día miles de trabajadores/as protestaban la presencia de soldados argentinos en la MINUSTAH frente al Parlamento argentino. Turra dijo que también hubo una serie de pequeñas manifestaciones en Brasil. Los/as haitianos/as que participaban en la manifestación quedaron visiblemente alentados/as por el apoyo internacional que había obtenido su lucha. Sin embargo, el Consejo de Seguridad extendió la ocupación por otro año. Hambruna debido al mercado capitalista
Hasta los/as trabajadores/as en Haití que tienen un trabajo estable cubierto por las leyes de salario mínimo —una minoría ya que la mayoría de los/as trabajadores/ as, especialmente las mujeres, están en el sector informal— tienen problemas para cubrir el aumento del costo de los alimentos. Según el Instituto de Estadísticas y Procesamiento de Datos Haitiano del gobierno, la inflación fue del 1% para el mes de agosto. Estas cifras oficiales no revelan los costos reales para los/as pobres, quienes sólo pueden comprar pequeñas cantidades de alimentos. El Banco Mundial informa que el precio del arroz, el alimento básico principal haitiano, subió un 1,31 por ciento en septiembre. Un proyecto de ley de 2009 elevando el salario mínimo de $1.69 al día a $4.82 entró en vigor el 1 de octubre de este año, según la ministra de Haití de Asuntos Sociales y Laborales Josefa Gauthier. Para que una familia de cuatro sobreviva en Haití, es generalmente aceptado que se necesitan $12.50 por día. El Gobierno de Martelly ha anunciado que pretende comprar 300.000 sacos de arroz de Japón y descargarlos en el mercado. “La decisión del Gobierno de subsidiar la “descarga” del arroz es una consecuencia directa de las protestas de personas que han visto cómo ha aumentado el costo de vida”, dijo a IPS el agricultor de arroz y líder campesino en Artibonite, Nesly Voltaire. (ipsnews.net, el 1 de octubre) El Gobierno también pudo haber dado el dinero a los agricultores de arroz de Haití para producirlo localmente, lo que significaría que las masas tendrían acceso más fácil al arroz. Entretanto, el arroz japonés todavía está por verse. El 80 por ciento de los/as haitianos/
Puerto Príncipe, Haiti al 30 de septiembre.
as que viven con menos de dos dólares al día tiene hambre porque no tienen suficiente dinero para comprar alimentos que se venden para sacarles ganancias y no basado en las necesidades del pueblo. Si usted no recibe suficientes calorías, es prácticamente imposible trabajar duro un día completo sin colapsar. La demanda de alimentos fue una consigna constante en las manifestaciones masivas y militantes celebradas en todo el país en septiembre, las cuales se intensificaron por las políticas pro imperialistas de Martelly. Las manifestaciones de octubre han sido tan militantes como las de septiembre pero más severamente reprimidas. El 5 de octubre, cuando Martelly y el embajador de los Estados Unidos iban camino a inaugurar una nueva carretera (de menos de una milla) que la Agencia de Desarrollo Internacional de los Estados Unidos (USAID por sus siglas en inglés) había financiado en la ciudad porteña de Petit Goave, un pequeño grupo de motociclistas los reconoció y comenzaron a gritar consignas como ¡”Abajo con Martelly!, ¡Abajo con la corrupción!, ¡que se vaya Martelly”! Los guardaespaldas dispararon grandes cantidades de gas lacrimógeno, golpearon a algunos/as manifestantes, quemaron sus motocicletas, y mataron algunos animales de los agricultores. Facilia Hyppolite de 80 años fue asfixiada por los gases lacrimógenos. El 7 de octubre en Puerto Príncipe, la capital, y en Gonaïves la tercera ciudad de Haití, miles de manifestantes salieron agitando las tarjetas rojas que los árbitros de fútbol dan a los jugadores cuando cometen una falta y deben dejar el juego. Intentaban dar estas tarjetas a Martelly. También hubo grandes protestas en la ciudad sureña de Les Cayes, donde habló el senador Moïse Jean-Charles, líder de
FOTO: LIONEL FORTUNÉ/IPS
las protestas en la norteña ciudad de Cap-Haitien. El 8 de octubre en Fort Liberté, un puerto del noreste de Haití, “una persona fue asesinada, otras tres heridas y una subestación de la policía fue quemada. Esta es la cifra final de una manifestación. . . . Jean-Baptiste Bien-Aimé, senador del Departamento du Sud-Est electo por el Partido Inite [del ex-Presidente Preval], quien se encuentra en la mira, dice que la policía disparó contra los/as manifestantes y utilizó gas lacrimógeno para dispersarlos porque ellos/as habían bloqueado la carretera nacional”. (Radio Kiskeya, grabado por servicio de monitoreo de la BBC, 8 de octubre) Bien-Aimé explicó que toda la población de Fort Liberté, tanto partidarios como opositores de Martelly, se opuso a la decisión del gobierno de no construir instalaciones portuarias, un golpe devastador para su economía. Los/as manifestantes también estaban indignados/as porque la policía disparó y mató a Georges Delius, quién solo estaba pasando por la demostración en camino a su trabajo llevando una pala en las manos. La presencia de la MINUSTAH existe para proteger a Martelly de la justa ira y la determinación heroica del pueblo haitiano. La manera en que la prensa de Haití está reportando sobre las protestas actuales parece ser una extensión de un período semejante cuando la represión extrema no pudo detener a las masas haitianas de forzar fuera del poder al brutal ex-dictador haitiano, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier en 1986. El sitio Web Defend.ht cubrió el incidente en Petit Goave, junto a otros servicios de noticias desde Haití. Defend.ht también tiene extensos videos, en créol y francés, que se enfocan en las protestas.
¿Qué está pasando en Ecuador? Por Michael Kramer Inmigrantes latinoamericanos/as y otros/as activistas asistieron a una reunión en el Centro de Solidaridad de Nueva York sobre el proceso revolucionario que se desarrolla en Ecuador. El Comité de Solidaridad con el Caribe y Latinoamérica del Centro de Acción Internacional fue el anfitrión de la reunión bilingüe del 13 de octubre. Los/as miembros de Alianza PAIS (Patria Altiva I Soberana) del Ecuador
MO FOTO: JOHN CATALINOTTO
utilizaron proyecciones de PowerPoint y videos para apoyar sus conversaciones. Explicaron la historia de la lucha en Ec-
uador, los avances recientes y los planes para el futuro. El presidente Rafael Correa fundó la Alianza PAIS en el 2006; su
objetivo es el de transformar Ecuador por lo que representa el “socialismo del siglo 21” y está en armonía con la naturaleza y protección de la biodiversidad única de este país amazónico. En el espíritu de solidaridad latinoamericana, la reunión fue moderada por una miembro de Honduras USA Resistencia, y una actualización sobre la reciente reelección del presidente Hugo Chávez fue dada por un miembro del Círculo Bolivariano de Nueva York, “Alberto Lovera”.