workers.org Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite!
DEC. 22, 2005 VOL. 47, NO. 50 50¢
Transit union seeks
El juicio de
Saddam Hussein 12 a decent contract
NYC riders support workers over MTA bosses
WILLIAMS By Milt Neidenberg
legal Dec. 14—With the countdown to a possible transit strike in
lynching 3 New York just two days away, thousands of members of Local
100 of the Transport Workers Union converged on 42nd Street
across from Grand Central Station at rush hour on Dec. 13.
Their chant of “Shut the city down!” was an angry rallying cry
in response to the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s heavy pres-
DELPHI sure to force a weak contract on them.
With their sea of placards and banners, these workers sent a
RUMBLINGS powerful message to the MTA, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and
Gov. George Pataki. They would not be intimidated in their fight
Workers determined for a decent contract. They found a sympathetic ear from work-
to save their jobs 4 ers and shoppers making their way through the congested
streets to subways and buses.
The MTA, top Republican and Democratic city officials, and
the major media are waging a frenzied anti-union campaign to
get the workers to accept a two-tier wage contract that would
END RACIAL create divisions within the union. However, a progressive group
WW PHOTO: G. DUNKEL
of City Council members from working-class neighborhoods
PROFILING held a press conference on Dec. 14 to say that any strike will be
Workers rally as MTA threatens huge fines.
• Al-Arian not guilty 8 the responsibility of the MTA. Another sore point is the tens of thousands of disciplinary
• Air marshals shoot to kill 8 The MTA wants newly hired workers to pay 2 percent of their actions taken against the workers every year. New York 1 televi-
wages toward health benefits. This includes higher premiums, sion news reported that a worker cleaning the platforms can be
deductibles and co-payments. It demands the union extend the disciplined just for answering a rider’s questions about subway
retirement age to 62 from 55. It has offered a paltry wage service.
increase that is far below the cost of living in a city where rent, The contract expires at midnight on Dec. 15. The transit work-
WORKERS IN SOLIDARITY food, energy and other goods and services are rising at an alarm-
ers at a mass rally on Dec. 10, in the most democratic fashion,
voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike. The vote sent a pow-
Cuba, Venezuela, The arrogance of the MTA bosses extends to working condi- erful message to the MTA to start negotiating in good faith.
Mexico, U.S. 5 tions. They demand more productivity from workers who have Instead, the MTA went to State Supreme Court and got a pre-
to labor in an atmosphere fraught with dangers and unhealthy liminary injunction that would impose huge fines on the union
conditions, both in the subways and the streets above. They itself and also punish the 34,000 individual transit workers with
demand tighter restrictions on sick leave. They want a one-per- the loss of two days’ pay for each day they’re on strike.
son train operation—conductors would be removed from trains. The bosses are relying on the Taylor Law, an anti-labor law in
FRANCE, They have closed station booths and reassigned clerks to clean-
ing and other station chores.
New York State passed nearly 40 years ago and signed by then-
Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, a scion of the billionaire Rockefeller
MARTINIQUE There are presently 2,700 conductors and 3,300 station dynasty.
Anti-racist struggles agents in the subway system; they make up almost 18 percent Another billionaire, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has
widen 11 of the union. Continued on page 4
NEW ORLEANS PROTEST .
Latin America’s answer
Katrina survivors demand right to return 6-7
to FTAA 9
Trial subscription: $2 for 8 weeks
One year subscription: $25
WORKERS WORLD NEWSPAPER
55 W. 17 St. NY, NY 10011 212-627-2994
www.workers.org WW PHOTO: GLORIA VERDIEU
Evacuees and their supporters lead off march through the streets of New Orleans Dec. 10.
Page 2 Dec. 22, 2005 www.workers.org
Cause for hope
in Mumia case
By Betsey Piette The Third Circuit Court’s decision was a surprise, how-
# In the U.S.
Transit union seeks a decent contract . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Cause for hope in Mumia case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Philadelphia: ‘Troops out now!’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Philadelphia ever, because the appellate court was only required to con-
Stanley Tookie Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
sider an appeal from the defense on a single guilt-phase
Cops defend Nazis as hundreds protest . . . . . . . . . . . 3
As supporters of imprisoned African-American jour- issue: that the prosecution had illegally removed quali-
Delphi workers launch fightback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
nalist Mumia Abu-Jamal gathered here on Dec. 9 to fied jurors from the case on the basis of race. While Judge
On the picket line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
observe the 24th anniversary of his arrest, there was new Yohn rejected this claim in 2001, the appellate court had
‘Justice after Katrina: The people must decide!’ . . . . . 6
cause for hope. previously agreed to take up the issue.
March on New Orleans. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
The U.S. Court of Appeals of the Third Circuit had just Racism in jury selection was well documented in Abu-
Katrina survivors revisit the Ninth Ward. . . . . . . . . . . 7
decided, on Dec. 7, to hold hearings on three claims by Jamal’s case. The defense appeal was based on the charge
Florida jury rejects anti-Arab charges . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Abu-Jamal that his 1982 trial, overseen by “hanging” that exclusion of 11 of 14 Black jurors constituted an
Air marshals shoot passenger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Judge Albert Sabo, and a subsequent hearing were tainted unconstitutional violation of the Supreme Court ruling on
Richard Pryor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
by constitutional violations. this issue in the case of Batson v. Kentucky.
If any one of the three claims is upheld by a three-judge Prosecutor McGill has a record in murder trials of # Around the world
panel, it could lead to a new trial for Abu-Jamal, who still rejecting roughly three out of four potential Black jurors— Conference builds worker solidarity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
sits on Pennsylvania’s death row despite a 2001 ruling by even after they had already agreed they would vote for Venezuela becomes full member of Mercosur. . . . . . . 9
Federal District Court Judge William Yohn overturning capital punishment. This was a rate of peremptory rejec- Cuba plays key role in Pakistan quake aid . . . . . . . . . 9
his death sentence. tion of qualified jurors three times higher than for poten- Pinter: ‘Bush and Blair are war criminals’ . . . . . . . . . 10
At the annual commemoration, attorneys Leslie Jones tial white jurors. Why the youth rebelled in France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
and Michael Coard explained the significance of the court Under the provisions of the 1996 Anti-terrorism and Martinique: Marchers say no to ‘law of shame’ . . . . . 11
ruling, while reminding Abu-Jamal’s supporters that the Effective Death Penalty Act, the court had no obligation
Third Circuit Court, of which Supreme Court nominee to consider defense challenges to the Federal District
Samuel Alito is a member, has never been a friend of Court ruling, so the fact that the judges agreed to hear two The Montreal summit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
workers and oppressed people. other claims is a major victory for the defense.
# Noticias En Español
The Third Circuit’s rulings granted two “certificates of However, attorney Jones pointed out that Abu-Jamal’s
appealability” that allow Abu-Jamal to challenge alleged previous defense team, led by Attorney Leonard El juicio de Saddam Hussein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
race and judicial bias in his 1995 Post-Conviction Relief Weinglass, submitted 29 claims when filing the Petition
Action proceedings. Like the trial, these proceedings were for Writ of Habeas Corpus on Mumia’s behalf. Jones
also overseen by Sabo, who went to extreme lengths to keep noted, “The Third Circuit Court chooses to ignore the 26 LOS ANGELES. NEW YORK.
evidence of Abu-Jamal’s innocence out of the court record. other claims, as well as the affidavits of former Philadel- Fri., Dec. 16 Fri., Dec. 16
Jones noted that 29 of the 32 people of color on phia Court stenographer Terri Mauer-Carter that she Eyewitness report from the Dec. Workers World Party forum:
Pennsylvania’s death row were put there by Sabo. overheard Sabo in 1982 make the statement ‘Yeah, and 10 Right to Return march in New Eyewitness Reports & Video
Orleans. Hear Gloria Verdieu, Justice After Katrina:
The ruling also allows Abu-Jamal to challenge the trial I’m going to help them fry the n****r’ in reference to Abu- Jefferson Azevedo and John ‘The People Must Decide.’ Also,
summation remarks of the state’s lead prosecutor, Joseph Jamal; nor the affidavit by Arnold Beverly, that he, not Parker report from their trip to the Marsha Goldberg on: “Class soli-
strategy conference for Katrina darity & the transit workers’ fight
McGill, who instructed the jury: “If you find the defen- Abu-Jamal, murdered Officer Faulkner.” survivors and their supporters, for a decent contract.” 7 p.m.
dant guilty of course, there would be appeal after appeal “They are just pulling out some pieces, but it’s okay,” and the march in New Orleans. (Dinner at 6:30) At 55 W. 17 St.,
7:30 pm, 5274 W Pico Blvd #203. 5th Fl., Manhattan. For info phone
and perhaps there could be a reversal of the case, or what- Jones noted. “Mumia has so many issues in his case that (Between Fairfax and LaBrea) (212) 627-2994.
ever, so that may not be final.” This made it easier for the have brought other people home; however, Mumia is still 323-936-7266
jury to convict. on death row.”
McGill also used the fact that Abu-Jamal had been a Attorney Michael Coard, along with Pam Africa of
member of the Black Panther Party when he was 16, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia
claiming Abu-Jamal “had always wanted to kill a police Abu-Jamal, cautioned that this is probably the most crit- Workers World
officer.” ical time ever in the case. “The courts will do what they 55 West 17 Street
According to Abu-Jamal’s lead attorney, Robert R. are forced to do,” said Africa. “These people will never tell New York, N.Y. 10011
Bryan, McGill’s statements had the effect of qualitatively you how powerful the movement is, yet it’s the movement Phone: (212) 627-2994
Fax: (212) 675-7869
lowering the historic burden of proof regarding reason- that has kept Mumia alive for the past 10 years.”
able doubt and presumption of innocence. Similar The case is now on the fast track, with stringent dead-
remarks by Pennsylvania prosecutors have resulted in lines set for filing a series of briefs and counter briefs,
Vol. 47, No. 50 • Dec. 22, 2005
new trials in other cases. However, Jones cautioned that beginning as early as Jan. 17, 2006. Once completed,
Closing date: Dec. 14, 2005
“the rules never seem to apply in Mumia’s case.” the court will issue a decision or set a date for a hearing
and oral arguments. I Editor: Deirdre Griswold
Technical Editor: Lal Roohk
Managing Editors: John Catalinotto, LeiLani Dowell,
Leslie Feinberg, Monica Moorehead, Gary Wilson
PHILADELPHIA: West Coast Editor: John Parker
‘Troops out now!’ Contributing Editors: Greg Butterfield,
Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Berta Joubert-Ceci,
Over 1,000 protesters met George W. Bush as
he arrived in downtown Philadelphia on Dec. Technical Staff: Shelley Ettinger, Maggie
10 to address the World Affairs Council at a Vascassenno
$10,000-a-plate luncheon, held at the Park Mundo Obrero: Carl Glenn, Teresa Gutierrez,
Hyatt hotel. At a rally outside, mothers of GIs Berta Joubert-Ceci, Donna Lazarus, Carlos Vargas,
killed in Iraq, soldiers who had served in Iraq Internet: Janet Mayes
and Vietnam, community and labor activists,
and students and youth all spoke. Over 35 Workers World (ISSN-1070-4205) is published
organizations endorsed the protest to demand weekly except the first week of January by WW
“Troops out now.” Many Center City workers Publishers, 55 W. 17 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10011. Phone:
stopped to join the protest. (212) 627-2994. Subscriptions: One year: $25; foreign
—Betsey Piette and institutions: $35. Letters to the editor may be
WW PHOTO: BERTA JOUBERT-CECI condensed and edited. Articles can be freely
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www.workers.org Dec. 22, 2005 Page 3
Stanley Tookie Williams
Racist governor kills, but
can’t break, an honest man Stanley Tookie Williams
By Deirdre Griswold ing silence by putting their fists in the air mitted the murders for which he was sent the killing of law enforcement.
and shouting out that the state had killed to death row. His whole mature life was “But the inclusion of George Jackson
Stanley Tookie Williams had great an innocent man. more than mere “atonement” for his on this list defies reason and is a signifi-
courage and integrity. He refused to Outside the prison, over a thousand past—he became a very conscious, organ- cant indicator that Williams is not
betray himself, his people and all those anti-death penalty protesters who had ized influence on young people to never reformed and that he still sees violence
who believed in him—and for that the state kept up a vigil during the night mourned become what he had once been. and lawlessness as a legitimate means to
of California put him to death by lethal his death and vowed to keep up the fight. His inspiring turnaround led to the film address societal problems.”
injection in the early hours of Dec. 13. The Campaign to End the Death Penalty “Redemption” with actor Jamie Foxx, one For hundreds of years, from the kidnap-
Williams could have been pardoned by and other organizations called demon- of the many people who tried to keep the ping of millions of African people to the
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger—who broke strations in dozens of cities across the state from executing him. enslavement of those who survived the
into politics after a film career in which he country. But none of this was enough for the gov- “Middle Passage” to the lynching of their
played the epitome of a killing machine, There are thousands of people on death ernor. This darling of the ultra-rich, who descendants and the murders of civil
the “Terminator.” All Williams had to do rows in the United States, and, as Williams has alienated the public workers of rights activists, Black people in this coun-
was “confess” to murders that he had himself has said, none of them are million- California with his anti-labor budget cut- try have suffered incredible “violence and
always denied committing. aires. The U.S. has executed more than ting, betrayed the political character of his lawlessness” at the hands of those who
In his statement denying clemency, the 1,000 people since the death penalty was decision when he said, in his denial-of- would exploit them. So have Native peo-
governor said: “Without an apology and reinstated in 1976. Many have been clemency statement: ple, who were nearly exterminated by the
atonement for these senseless and brutal posthumously proven innocent. The “The dedication of Williams’ book ‘Life capitalist settler state.
killings there can be no redemption. In “criminal justice” system is distorted at in Prison’ casts significant doubt on his The great historical figures to whom
this case, the one thing that would be the every step of the way by class and racial personal redemption. This book was pub- Williams had the audacity to dedicate
clearest indication of complete remorse oppression. lished in 1998, several years after Wil- his book have been selfless fighters in
and full redemption is the one thing What made Williams stand out was his liams’ claimed redemptive experience. the struggle for freedom, equality and
Williams will not do.” deep transformation from a young African Specifically, the book is dedicated to self-determination. They exemplify the
Williams would not lie—even to save American gang leader, a co-founder of the ‘Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm very best traditions of all progressive
his life. He would not grovel and debase Crips, to an eloquent prison author who X, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, movements.
himself. He would not abandon the dig- reached out to young people and com- Ramona Africa, John Africa, Leonard Schwarzenegger’s statement betrays
nity that he had painfully acquired dur- pellingly urged them to turn away from Peltier, Dhoruba Al-Mujahid, George the utterly reactionary character of this
ing over 20 years on death row. violence against each other and do some- Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the execution, and shows how frightened the
He died at peace with himself because thing positive for themselves and their countless other men, women, and youths plutocrats at the top are that their crimes
he refused to capitulate. And his support- communities. who have to endure the hellish oppression against the people, here and around the
ers shocked the officials at San Quentin Williams had no problem talking and of living behind bars.’ The mix of individ- world, are already igniting another great
when, for the first time since executions writing about the terrible role of gang war- uals on this list is curious. Most have vio- mass struggle for justice. Stanley Tookie
resumed there in the 1970s, those who had fare, or his own lost early years. But he lent pasts and some have been convicted Williams will be remembered and honored
witnessed the execution broke the deafen- always maintained that he had not com- of committing heinous murders, including long after the “Governator” is gone. I
Cops defend Nazis as hundreds protest
By Alex Gould cops used tear gas on the hundreds of
Toledo, Ohio mostly Black youth who had gathered in
the streets to defend their city against both
Chanting “No Nazis, no KKK, no police the Nazi provocation and the racist cops
intimidation,” about 200 anti-fascist who were escorting the Nazis.
demonstrators made themselves heard Parroting the Nazi line, the police and
here on Dec. 10 as the city rolled out the city authorities decried the “violence” of
red carpet for the second “National the protesters as they gassed the people
Socialist Movement” (NSM) Nazi rally in and pursued them with helicopters, horses
Toledo this year. and phalanxes of riot cops.
Toledo residents were joined by groups Knowing that they could not guarantee Police
from other towns in Ohio, from Detroit the Nazis safety in the neighborhoods, the arrested one-
and other points in Michigan, and from city of Toledo obtained a court order from tenth of the
Chicago. The Nazis were far outnumbered Judge Thomas Osowik, which awarded
when they finally peeked out from behind the Nazis center stage in downtown
four massive rows of riot cops and began Toledo for their rally on Dec. 10. While the
spewing their message of terrorism and Nazis protested this limitation in court, into the dense crowd of protesters, stomp- defeat the Nazis and the racist system that
genocide at the multinational and very the weight of the court injunction was not ing on at least one protester’s foot, and supports them.
unwelcoming audience below them at aimed at them but at the protesters, who dragged people out of the crowd by their As political prisoners from the Toledo
City Hall plaza. were confined to a small protest pen. They necks and into the waiting jail cells. protest waited in the county jail—which
The city authorities allowed the Nazis to had to enter through a metal-detector and Elizabeth O’Brien of Lansing, Mich., charges its mostly indigent and Black
use a sound system but forbade anti-Nazi were subjected to a pat-down search while says she was stunned repeatedly with a inmates $100 per night for reeking cells,
protesters from carrying picket signs or the cops took individual photographs of Taser electric-shock gun by the police and putrid food and drinking fountains built
megaphones. each protester. They were not allowed to has 35 welts on her left thigh. Ileana Cortez into toilets—the capitalist media was
What the Nazis lacked in numerical carry bags or backpacks into the desig- of Detroit was charged with assaulting a already spreading lies and justifications
strength, however, was made up for by nated protest area. police horse, although no injuries to police for the police attacks. On Dec. 13 the
political support from the city of Toledo, Even before the rally began, the police animals were reported. No Nazis were Toledo Blade editorialized that the mas-
county sheriffs, state highway patrol, and had set up an assembly-line arrest-and- arrested, although three local racists who sive police violence was “almost a non-
cops and SWAT teams from as far away as booking operation in the police station infiltrated the protest were. event” and lied that “nobody was injured.”
Michigan, who came to harass the anti- next to the rally site, and the arrests City officials showed they would use any What they can’t hide is the overwhelm-
Nazi protesters. started. Five youths in a car from Chicago means necessary to give fascists an unob- ing poverty in a city where the workers
The newspaper Toledo Blade estimated on their way to the protest were pulled structed platform from which to spout have made millions of dollars for Daimler-
that 700 police officers were at the Nazi over and searched by cops. The passengers their genocidal, racist garbage. Chrysler’s Jeep division and other corpo-
rally and counter-demonstration. and driver were thrown to the ground, This time, the protesters were not rate monopolies. They can’t hide the fact
On Oct. 15, the NSM, an avowed terror- cuffed and charged with “contempt of numerous or organized enough to deci- that Black motorists are twice as likely as
ist organization whose stated purpose is court” for violating the anti-free-speech sively defeat the Nazis and their cop whites to be stopped by police and issued
the mass murder of most of the world’s injunction by “congregating” in another friends, but, despite overwhelming police tickets in Toledo, according to USA Today.
population, had accused the African- part of the city. oppression, they made it clear that Nazis They can’t hide the monstrous racist injus-
American residents of Toledo of “Black Judge Francis X. Gorman told the were not welcome in Toledo. tices of the “war on terror” or the genoci-
crime” and attempted to march through Toledo Blade, “We had this whole thing The police carried out a premeditated dal neglect and abandonment of the peo-
their neighborhoods. At that point, the planned out really well,” referring to the plan to violently suppress opposition to ple of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It’s
people of Toledo rose up in a heroic rebel- mass arrests of the protesters. Some 29 the fascist recruitment rally, proving that time to bring this racist system down.
lion against racism that threw the fascists people were arrested—more than a tenth the state is not a neutral arbiter of free Alex Gould was one of those the police
out. Over 100 anti-Nazi protesters were of the protesters. speech but a patron and defender of ultra- dragged from the protest and arrested.
arrested; some are still facing charges. The The cops repeatedly rode their horses right terrorists. Only the working class can
Page 4 Dec. 22, 2005 www.workers.org
WW PHOTOS: G. DUNKEL
Workers rally as MTA threatens huge fines.
Transit union seeks a decent contract
Continued from page 1 plan other actions to get it. TWU president Long Island Rail Road, let the transit
ered up a billion-dollar surplus until they
also filed a lawsuit that asks the court to Roger Toussaint told the crowd at the workers know that the MTA’s plans to get
were exposed for cooking the books. They
fine the TWU $1 million and each striker rally, which stretched over several blocks, Bronx and Queens straphangers into
had already divided up this surplus in
$25,000 on the first day of a strike—and “They’re not going to force a lousy contract Manhattan that way will not happen. “We
their own interests, applying most of the
double the fines every day the strike goes down our throats.” will take care of scabs the Teamster way,”
funds to replacing workers with technol-
on. To end his speech, Toussaint tore a copy he said.
Showing contempt for the right of the of the Bloomberg lawsuit into little pieces, The negotiations will go down to the
The MTA claims the pension fund is
transit workers to exercise their right to to thunderous cheers from the members. wire. If there is a strike, the responsibility
under-funded, a typical corporate maneu-
withhold their labor and express their free Other speakers included the Rev. Al for it lies with the MTA, Governor Pataki
ver, and has promised to put back the
assembly and free speech rights, these Sharpton, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and a and Mayor Bloomberg.
capitalist politicians have torn up the U.S. number of leaders from other labor The money is there and the demands of
The transit workers, who created the
Constitution. unions. the transit workers are just. The labor
wealth of the MTA and should be the
The high-paid MTA executives pro- Chris Silvera, president of Teamsters movement and the straphangers have a
trustee of those funds, want a major part
voked this crisis. Crying poverty, they cov- Local 808, representing Metro North and stake in the outcome of this struggle. I
of this surplus. They may have to strike or
Delphi workers launch fightback
By Martha Grevatt ers from a number of plants described how
Dayton, Ohio they are insisting on obeying all safety reg-
ulations, rejecting parts and vehicles of
Some 1,000 workers from the auto substandard quality, and otherwise refus-
parts company Delphi and their support- ing to cooperate with management unless
ers packed Courthouse Square here on absolutely mandatory.
Dec. 10, sending the message that “labor This is empowering the workers.
rights are human rights” to Delphi CEO “Workers rule when they work to rule,”
Steve Miller and his buddies at federal explained Gregg Shotwell, leader and
bankruptcy court. spearheader of SOS, in his opening
Unions in over 100 cities across the remarks to the Flint meeting. “We are not
country had chosen International Human victims, we have power.” Work to rule pre-
Rights Day to hold rallies on this theme. pares workers psychologically to think
Larry Cohen, president of the Interna- about the next step.
tional Union of Electrical Workers-Com- On the question of whether or not to
munication Workers of America (IUE- strike, Shotwell posed the question, “Why
CWA), announced the M@D campaign. not stay inside?” This sentiment was sec-
M@D, which stands for Mobilize @ onded in a number of comments during a
Delphi, has been launched by the Delphi three-hour meeting dominated by the
Union Coalition: the Autoworkers (UAW), rank and file attendees. At least half a
Steelworkers (USWA), IUE-CWA, and dozen speakers identified themselves as
three other unions that represent Delphi sons or grandsons of the original Flint sit-
WW PHOTO: MARTHA GREVATT
workers in the U.S. down strikers of the 1930s.
One sign at the Dayton rally read: ‘IUE-CWA has not forgotten how to fight!’
“To show how ‘M@D’ we are, we’re Other ideas offered include a one-day
wearing red every Thursday,” said Cohen. Both the IUE-CWA and the UAW rep- against Delphi were reactionary appeals to nationwide work stoppage, having retirees
“We need to have actions every week.” resent Delphi workers in the Dayton area national chauvinism and bashing China use their free time to build support among
Delphi CEO Miller’s outrageous attack and around Ohio, and both were well rep- for “stealing jobs,” when it is U.S. corpo- teamsters and dockworkers, and reaching
on organized labor has left the unions no resented at the rally. A large and visible rations who opt to move production over- out to Delphi workers in other countries.
other choice but to fight. Delphi declared contingent also came from the American seas and demand low wages. Workers in Brazil, where Delphi has a sub-
bankruptcy after the UAW rejected a Federation of State, County and Municipal sidiary, have already contacted the group,
package of “proposals” that included Employees. AFSCME and other non- Rank and file is fighting offering support. The SOS steering com-
reducing wages from $27 an hour to Delphi unions know that if the bosses Independent of the official UAW lead- mittee announced plans to demonstrate at
$9.50, gutting the pension plan, eliminat- break the UAW, no union’s wages and ership, rank-and-file Delphi workers and the North American Auto Show and at the
ing Supplementary Unemployment benefits are safe. their supporters have organized them- Delphi world headquarters—on the aptly
Benefits (SUB) and the job bank, dropping Besides Cohen, speakers included selves as “Soldiers of Solidarity” (SOS). named Crooks Road in Troy, Mich.
dental and vision coverage, cutting back Director Lloyd Mahaffey of UAW Region SOS has already held meetings in A leaflet by the Job is a Right Campaign
vacations and holidays, imposing an 2B, which covers all of Ohio; UAW Local Michigan and other states, attracting hun- gave additional ideas for consideration,
attendance policy that would bypass griev- 696 President Joe Buckley; USWA Ohio dreds of workers wherever they go. They including demonstrating at the bank-
ance procedures to fire workers perma- Regional Director Dave McCall; Ohio understand that their real fight is not with ruptcy court in New York, having the UAW
nently, wiping out seniority rights, out- AFL-CIO President Bill Burga; Congress their sluggish and compromising union call a special emergency convention, and
sourcing most skilled trades work, and member Tim Ryan, and Montgomery leaders but with Delphi and ultimately holding a general strike in the entire auto
allowing the company to close plants and County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman. General Motors. They are not, however, industry.
lay off workers at its sole discretion. The crowd waved signs and roared waiting for official approval to begin the While the meeting was taking place in
The only aspect of the current contract approval whenever the speakers talked fight. Flint, 1,000 Delphi workers and allies ral-
that Delphi would keep is the “no strike” fightback. Central to SOS’s strategy is the concept lied in Kokomo, Ind., where Delphi is one
clause. The program had its drawbacks. Out of of “work to rule.” Work to rule involves of the largest private employers.
The UAW has also rejected a second perhaps a dozen speakers, not one was a slowing production solely by following the The fight is taking on many forms, but
offer from Delphi that would “only” reduce person of color and only two were women. company’s own rules to the letter. At a it is clearly on and is not likely to die down
hourly wages to $12 an hour. Interspersed with militant agitation recent SOS meeting in Flint, Mich., work- soon. I
www.workers.org Dec. 22, 2005 Page 5
ON THE PICKET LINE U.S., Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico
By Sue Davis
Special to Workers World
Trade union leaders from Cuba
and Venezuela, along with union-
NYU strikers ignore deadline ists, students and activists from
Mexico, the U.S., and several other
The Graduate Student Organizing Committee, UAW Local
countries, gathered in Tijuana on
2110, has kept its word. The GSOC strike, begun on Nov. 9,
Dec. 9, 10 and 11 for a labor confer-
continues despite New York University President John
ence organized each year by the
Sexton’s ultimatum that all stipends and teaching assign-
US/Cuba Labor Exchange.
ments would be stopped for those who continued to strike
Ignacio Meneses of the US/Cuba
after a Dec. 7 deadline.
Labor Exchange chaired the first
Support for the GSOC continues to pour in. It held a rally,
plenary session, which heard a
including representatives of national and local labor organi-
presentation by Ermela García
zations, on the day of the deadline. A petition signed by
Santiago, director of the National
more than 5,000 scholars around the world urges Sexton to
School of Cadre of the CTC/Lázaro
recognize and negotiate with the union. (Read it at petition
Peña. The CTC is Cuba’s national
online.com.) On Dec. 3 the Collective Bargaining Congress WW PHOTO: BOB MCCUBBIN
labor organization. Ruth Vela of San Diego FIST speaks at plenary of Labor Exchange
of the American Association of University Professors, on
García focused on new govern- conference hosted by Mexican former “braceros.”
behalf of the 28,000 unionized academic employees it repre-
ment measures and plans to bene-
sents, called on Sexton “to rescind immediately his threat to
fit Cuban workers that emphasize aggression the U.S. has in mind. Five—the heroic Cubans now held
retaliate against workers exercising their democratic rights.”
raising the incomes of those who He also dealt with ongoing in U.S. federal prisons for the
A letter signed by about 90 international graduate stu-
earn the least. Recently, the mini- efforts to democratize the Vene- “crime” of exposing terrorist plots
dents notes their special concerns: “We, as international stu-
mum wage was increased from 100 zuelan union movement, which has against their country—and the
dents, feel especially vulnerable to your antagonizing, intim-
pesos to 225 pesos. One and a half been used in the past by the right escalating efforts by Washington to
idating and outrageous threats. Many of us have had to deal
million Cuban workers have bene- wing against the revolution. Rivero keep people in the U.S. from visit-
with increasingly restrictive U.S. immigration policies,
fited from this increase. addressed the important role that ing Cuba.
enhanced surveillance and record keeping and with hostility
New apartments are being built youth have played in bringing Solidarity statements were offer-
when being questioned by immigration officers. Some of us
jointly by the government and the Chávez to power and predicted they ed by a number of conference par-
have suffered the threat of deportation. Thus, we are con-
people who will live in them. There will continue to be active both in ticipants, including a British acti-
cerned with maintaining our legal status in this country.”
is also an expanded effort to make their communities and in the gov- vist, a leader of the Mexican
Despite that, the letter affirms the students’ support for the
medical services more convenient ernment. The youngest member of Electrical Workers Union, a Team-
right to unionize.
by decentralizing facilities. Electric Venezuela’s parliament in history, ster and several teachers from Los
In the meantime there have been several new proposals to
power sources are also being decen- a 27-year-old, was just elected Angeles.
create various graduate-student bodies at NYU. GSOC
tralized. there. A unique, politically powerful
spokesperson Susan Valentine said of them: “All the propos-
New municipality-based univer- The second plenary focused on and highly moving part of the con-
als say the same thing—to get rid of our union. And nothing
sities are being set up and a “univer- the trade pact known as the Free ference was the Sunday morning
has shown us that we need a union more than the adminis-
sity of the elderly” has been estab- Trade Area of the Americas plenary, held at a large hall several
tration’s willingness to threaten and intimidate us as we try
lished. García added that the unions (FTAA—ALCA in Spanish), which blocks from the conference site.
to bargain for better working conditions.”
are playing an active role in all these is being pushed by the U.S. Close to 500 members of the
efforts, and there is a process of con- Speakers said that, if implemented, Mexican Ex-Bracero Movement
NWA mechanics hold the line tinual evaluation and adjustment.
José Ramón Rivero, director of
it would bring to the rest of Latin
America the same economic disas-
were meeting there. These former
immigrant workers have been
Mechanics at Northwest Airlines (NWA), who’ve been on
the Metalworkers Union of Vene- ter already experienced in Mexico engaged in a long battle to recover
strike for nearly four months, are continuing to walk picket
zuela and a member of the Venezue- under NAFTA. the substantial funds deducted
lines despite freezing weather. Rallies were held recently in
lan parliament, spoke about how Leonel González González, direc- from their pay by the Mexican gov-
the Minneapolis area and in Detroit.
the U.S. dominated Venezuela eco- tor of foreign relations of Cuba’s ernment, with the help of the Wells
At the Dec. 7 rally for all NWA workers in Minneapolis,
nomically and militarily for CTC, summarized the current Fargo Bank, while they worked in
the mechanics’ union handed out a leaflet that expressed
decades, but today the Bolivarian debilitated state of the workers’ the U.S.
solidarity with all the workers. It pointed out that NWA’s
Revolution has opened a new and movements in the U.S., Europe and The Braceros generously opened
ultimate aim is crush all the unions and just “monitor out-
inspiring chapter in the country’s Latin America. He said the overrid- their meeting to the Labor Con-
sourcing contracts.” The final paragraph reads: “As an
development. He cited attempts of ing goal of a recent labor conference ference participants and listened
employee group that has been under attack and forced to
the imperialist media to portray the in Havana, attended by representa- attentively to the presentations. A
strike by NWA management, we recognize and uncondition-
government of President Hugo tives from 72 countries, was the high point of this plenary was a
ally support the efforts of all other groups to defend them-
Chávez as a dictatorship when, in renewal of the class struggle. He presentation on immigrant work-
selves, their jobs, and their living standards from company
fact, the Bolivarian revolutionaries urged participants at the Tijuana ers by Ruth Vela of the San Diego
have won 10 elections in a row, elec- conference to get copies of the 28 International Action Center and
tions certified as legitimate by resolutions passed at the Havana the revolutionary youth group
Breakthrough for unionization European Union observers. conference and distribute them FIST—Fight Imperialism, Stand
Rivero indicated that Vene- widely, especially to trade union- Together. The text of her talk is
in South zuelans expect no letup in U.S. plots ists. available in Spanish and English at
In what has been described as “the biggest unionization against their country, but said that Other topics addressed by speak- the WW web site,
drive in the South in decades,” the Service Employees union they are prepared for whatever new ers were the situation of the Cuban www.workers.org. I
has just won collective bargaining rights for thousands of jan-
itors in Houston as part of its Justice for Janitors campaign.
The janitors, nearly all of them immigrants, earn just over Marxism, Reparations & the Black Freedom Struggle
$100 a week on average, usually working part time for $5.25 NYC security N Racism, national oppression & the right to self-determination
an hour. No wonder the union billed the union drive as an
anti-poverty movement. Of course, the workers do not
guards unionize N
Black labor from chattel slavery to wage slavery Sam Marcy
receive benefits. As part of its program to organ- N Reparations & Black Liberation Monica Moorehead
Because the union movement is not strong in Texas, the ize 75,000 security guards nation- N Harriet Tubman: woman warrior Mumia Abu-Jamal (Guest Commentary)
union had to use creative ways to pressure the companies wide, Service Employees Local N Black labor & the fight for reparations Bill Cecil
that employ the janitors. Calling a strike at one building in 32BJ will now represent 1,000 N Alabama’s Black Belt: Legacy of slavery, sharecropping & segregation
Houston helped, but sympathy strikes at 75 office buildings security guards with Burns By Consuela Lee (Guest commentary)
in four other states really stepped up pressure. International Security Services in N Black farmers demand justice Monica Moorehead
Office building janitors average $20 an hour in New York New York City. This is the union’s N Greetings from Mumia Abu-Jamal to the 3rd UN World Conference
and $13.30 in Chicago and Philadelphia, where office rents first victory to unionize 10,000 Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia & Related Intolerance
are comparable with those in Houston. In New Jersey a security guards there. Local 32BJ N Nigerian women take over Chevron Texaco Monica Moorehead
recent union contract boosted wages for 4,500 janitors from will soon negotiate better wages N Nigerian women’s takeover ends in victory Monica Moorehead
$5.85 an hour three years ago to $11.90 an hour today. and benefits for guards at City N Causes of turmoil in Jamaica PART I PART II PART III Pat Chin
Many workers also achieved full-time status with health University campuses, Yeshiva N The driving force behind the land seizures Monica Moorehead
benefits. University, AT&T and Pfizer. I Order online at www.LEF TBooks.com
Page 6 Dec. 22, 2005 www.workers.org
‘Justice after Katrina:
The people must decide!’
By Monica Moorehead
More than 400 Hurricane Katrina sur-
vivors and their supporters converged on
Anderson United Methodist Church in
Jackson, Miss., on Dec. 9 for a one-day
conference to help organize a national
movement to rebuild the Gulf Coast in the
interests of the people, not big business.
WW PHOTOS: GLORIA VERDIEU
The conference was organized by the
People’s Hurricane Relief Fund and Workshop reports, left;
Oversight Coalition, founded by Com- Father Luke speaks on
munity Labor United. Its theme was
survivors, above. Northland poster for the conference
based on a popular South African anti- above right. Below, Monica Moorehead and Curtis
apartheid slogan: “Nothing about us Muhammad, Community Labor United leader.
without us is for us.” Besides the sur-
vivors themselves, anti-war, labor and
community activists attended from all
parts of the country.
The purpose of this gathering was to put
forth a united action plan for Katrina sur-
vivors to be able to rebuild their devastated
cities and eventually return to their
Small and large group discussions and federal governments make conditions
plenaries were held throughout the day possible for our immediate return. This
where the Katrina survivors had a platform includes the following:
to express the horrors that they faced “The [Mayor Ray] Nagin administra-
immediately after the hurricane destroyed tion must make temporary housing such
their homes. They described how govern- as apartments, hotel rooms, trailers and
ment agencies and police authorities public housing developments available for
exploited this natural disaster by separat- us while we rebuild our homes.
ing families and imprisoning youth. They “The government must put an end to
spoke for the tens of thousands of mostly price gouging, stop all evictions and make
Black survivors who were abandoned, left rents affordable.
to try to make it on their own without “Local residents must take the lead in
water, food and other basic necessities. An rebuilding our communities and must be
estimated 300,000 Katrina survivors who hired to do the rebuilding work.
once lived in New Orleans and other parts “There must be immediate debt relief people be made public. Gras takes place until the suffering of the
of the Gulf Coast region have been dis- for debt associated with this disaster. “We demand accountability for and people is lifted.
placed. “Quality public education and childcare oversight of the over $50 billion of FEMA “We are calling for survivors and sup-
Labor, youth and women’s caucus must be provided for our children. funds and the money raised by other porters to participate in a Martin Luther
meetings were also held. A youth speak- “Quality affordable health care and access organizations, foundations and funds in King Jr. weekend 2006 conference and
out on the impact of Katrina had been held to free prescriptions must be provided. our name. demonstration to make these demands
the day before at the historically Black col- “The government must immediately “We demand representation on all heard!”
lege of Jackson State. clean up air, water and soil to make it safe boards that are making decisions about The full statement can be found at
At the conference, the Katrina sur- and healthy for people to return home. relief and reconstruction. We also demand www.communitylaborunited.net.
vivors agreed upon a New Orleans “We demand that the government pro- that those most affected by Hurricane Many of these demands were raised the
“People’s Declaration.” It includes the fol- vide funds for all families to be reunited Katrina be part of every stage of the plan- next day, International Human Rights
lowing objectives: and that the databases of FEMA, Red ning process. Day, during a march and rally on New
“We demand that the local, state and Cross and any organizations tracking our “We demand that no commercial Mardi Orleans led by the Katrina survivors. I
March on New Orleans ‘We shall not b
By LeiLani Dowell
The streets of New Orleans were
filled with angry and determined pro-
testers, both survivors of Hurricane
Katrina and their supporters, on Dec.
10, International Human Rights Day.
Chanting “We’re back to take it back”
and “No justice, no peace!” a crowd
estimated at 5,000 marched from the
historic Congo Square—also known as
Louis Armstrong Park and described
by Reuters as “a centuries-old meeting
place where African slaves once gath-
ered to trade, play music and dance”—
to City Hall for a rally, where they
demanded “Justice after Katrina.” lective; Million Worker March Movement; Survivors traveled from as far away as
The march was a vibrant display of Millions More Movement; Troops Out Texas and California to speak their minds
the culture and resistance of the peo- Now Coalition; FIST—Fight Imperialism, and lend their voices and feet to the effort.
ple of New Orleans. Babies were Stand Together; New Black Panther Party; The march and rally were organized by the
pushed in strollers alongside marching ANSWER and others. African drums People’s Hurricane Rights Fund and
youth and elders. Groups represented accompanied the chants, and the march Oversight Coalition, which raised money
WW PHOTOS: GLORIA VERDIEU AND MONICA MOOREHEAD
Historic Congo Square—also known as Louis on the march included Community was led by the Soul Rebels, a New Orleans to bring survivors home for the day. The
Armstrong Park Labor United; Common Ground Col- brass band. PHRF announced a list of demands to be
www.workers.org Dec. 22, 2005 Page 7
Katrina survivors revisit
the Ninth Ward
By Gloria Rubac were twisted and topless. Many, with one will help me. I want to come home so “The African people, the poor, working
New Orleans roofs still intact, had holes in them where badly. I know this government has money people—their culture, their dignity—that’s
people had clawed and chopped their way but I wonder if I will ever see any.” what made New Orleans what it was. When
We met at 4 a.m. in a dark parking lot through to survive the floodwaters. Other evacuees reminisced about the my family and my neighbors were evicted
near Houston’s Mosque #45. About a One of the evacuees recalled being on wonderful meals of seafood gumbo and from public housing in Houston because
third of our group were Hurricane Katrina top of the family house and seeing helicop- crayfish etouffee in days gone by. They our land became too valuable for the poor
evacuees, and we were about to take the ters fly over. When the people waved to get spoke softly of how now their kitchens to live on, I felt violated. But what the gov-
bus from Texas to New Orleans for the their attention, those on the helicopter were ruined, the cast-iron pots rusted and ernment did in New Orleans is beyond
Dec. 10 march and rally. It was decided would mock them and wave back, as if say- their dining-room tables gone. comprehension,” she said.
that afterward we would make time to ing hello. “We were deliberately left to Njeri Shakur, with the Texas Death Pen- “I am more determined than ever to
drive through New Orleans, particularly die,” she said. alty Abolition Movement, said she felt such help our sisters and brothers rebuild their
the lower Ninth Ward. Brother Miller X with the New Black empathy with those from New Orleans. lives and their city.” I
The march and rally charged everyone. Panther Party in Houston said, “When
But the profound impact of the day came we were here right after Katrina, we saw
when we drove through the French Quar- dead bodies floating down these streets.
ter, through the lesbian/gay/bi/trans com- What you see now has been cleaned. It
munity and then entered the Ninth Ward. was horrible.”
We passed a giant red steel barge in the Joy had just fixed up her house and had
middle of a field. Then we saw the house moved in only three weeks before Katrina
of rock and roll legend Fats Domino. His hit. “I have worked all my life and never
possessions were piled in the street like asked anyone for anything. Now I have
garbage. His daughter’s sixth-grade read- been hit by a disaster and I wonder if any-
ing book, stacks of 45-rpm and 78-rpm
records, books, papers and other items
that were surely treasured by the family
were now filthy, mildewed garbage.
While many of us walked around, most
of those from New Orleans stayed on the
bus, too heart-sick to look any closer.
We drove on to the lower Ninth Ward.
The evacuees on the bus were quiet. They
began whispering to themselves and could
barely look up.
The streets were deserted and there was
not a light anywhere, just a vast wasteland
of houses that had floated onto other
houses, cars and trucks. Some houses
Dec. 10 contingents; PHRF activist, Malcolm Suber speaks,
above; Mama Dee at the podium, below.
WW PHOTOS: GLORIA VERDIEU AND MONICA MOOREHEAD
presented to the office of Mayor Ray Nagin a damn about poor people, the working female friend, at the hands of the police. Katrina survivors at City Hall.
that included an end to evictions, the right class, and especially don’t give a damn An environmental justice activist led
to return for evacuees, and a halt to Mardi about Black people.” the crowd in a chant: “We have the right When the hurricane hit, these toxics
Gras festivities in the midst of the devas- Speaker after speaker pressed their to healthy and safe neighborhoods.” She leached out into the rest of the area.
tation of the Black community. demands and told horror stories of the tra- spoke about the high levels of toxic arsenic Mama Dee, a New Orleans resident who
The rally at City Hall was chaired by vails they had to endure at the hands of the that have been found in every area where opened her own home early in the wake of
New Orleans resident and activist government, both local and federal. One flooding occurred, and how the federal Katrina for relief efforts, described the
Malcolm Suber, who told the cheering protester noted, “They could get troops government has consistently done noth- poverty and neglect that Black people in
crowd: “We want our voices heard. We’re over to Iraq overnight, but couldn’t get ing about it. The toxicity in the wake of the the region had suffered long before Katrina
here standing tall, ready to fight. The gov- anyone here to save our people.” Another hurricane was exacerbated by the environ- struck. She demanded, “Come clean, New
ernment promises everything and gives young man told about being beaten, along mental racism that allowed housing for Orleans! Enough of my babies are dead,
you nothing. This government don’t give with his pregnant sister and another the poor to be built on top of a landfill. and it didn’t start with Katrina!” I
Page 8 Dec. 22, 2005 www.workers.org
Florida jury rejects anti-Arab charges
How a government frame up failed
By Dianne Mathiowetz tigators to present intelligence gained getting Congress to consider legislation his Florida home.
Atlanta from foreign surveillance into a domestic outlawing “secret evidence” when 9/11 For six months, prosecutors from the
criminal trial. happened. Justice Department presented some 80
One month before the U.S. launched its The government persecution and sur- After the courts ruled that Al-Najar had witnesses and introduced 400 pieces of
war on Iraq, then-Attorney General John veillance of Sami Al-Arian goes back more to be released, he was deported in August evidence, mostly edited transcripts of the
Ashcroft on Feb. 20, 2003, personally than 10 years. of 2002. more than 20,000 hours of taped phone
announced that the government had filed Born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, Right-wing and pro-Israeli elements, conversations. Many of the tapes had been
charges against Dr. Sami Al-Arian, declar- Al-Arian came to the U.S. as a student in including local reporters for the Tampa recorded prior to 1995, when the
ing him to be the “North American leader 1975. An esteemed computer engineering Tribune and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) was first
of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.” professor at the University of South undeterred by the lack of evidence, pub- included on the “terrorist” list maintained
Ashcroft said Al-Arian’s arrest was a Florida (USF) in Tampa since 1986, Al- licly tried to link Al-Arian to acts of terror- by the government.
“milestone in the war against terrorism” Arian was a recognized leader in the ism—not only in the Middle East, but even Israeli witnesses to bombings attrib-
and credited the Patriot Act for facilitat- Muslim community. He had founded a in the Oklahoma City bombing—in an uted to the PIJ were brought to Tampa to
ing the case against the Florida professor. mosque, developed a school and initiated unrelenting campaign to vilify him. testify. Videos of exploded buses were
His remarks were carried live on CNN as a research center. He was well-known for For example, the Tampa Tribune has shown to the jury, even though the prose-
breaking news. his active support of the Palestinian peo- printed more than 700 stories about Al- cution agreed that the defendants had
He insinuated that the public would be ple and their struggle to end Israeli occu- Arian and his pro-Palestinian views—an nothing to to with the planning or carry-
safer now that Al-Arian was behind bars, pation, speaking at meetings and confer- average of one article every five days for ing out of these attacks.
demagogically linking him with Osama ences across the country. 10 years. Under cross-examination, the defense
bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Ironically, during the closely contested Following his arrest in February 2003, exposed the lack of any evidence tying the
The Bush administration expected to be 2000 presidential election in Florida, the Al-Arian and his co-defendant Hammou- four men to any terrorist activity.
able to railroad the outspoken supporter well-spoken academic was courted by the deh were imprisoned in the maximum- On Oct. 27, Al-Arian’s lawyers shocked
of the Palestinian people. That plan was Bush campaign to influence Arab and security section of the federal penitentiary the courtroom. William Moffit told the
shattered on Dec. 6, when a Tampa, Fla., Muslim voters to vote Republican. in Coleman, Fla. Kept in solitary confine- jury that the defense would rest without
jury acquitted Al-Arian and his co-defen- The FBI tapped his phone for more than ment in a small cell that was constantly lit, calling a single witness or introducing any
dants of most of the charges lodged nine years and twice raided his home and he was denied regular contact with his evidence.
against them. offices, seizing dozens of boxes of personal family, restricted in the practice of his reli- “Because there is a document called the
Al-Arian was found not guilty of eight belongings. gion, and shackled hand and foot when U.S. Constitution ... it protects Dr. Al-
of the 17 counts, including conspiracy to In 1996, then-USF President Betty allowed limited meetings with his defense Arian’s right to speak and the government
maim and murder and providing material Casto placed him on paid personal leave team. Even getting pencils and paper to has not proven that Dr. Al-Arian has done
support for Islamic Jihad. Two co-defen- after learning he was under investigation aid in his defense became a matter of liti- anything but speak... The fact that Dr. Al-
dants, Ghassan Ballut and Sameeh Ham- by the Justice Department. gation with federal officials. Arian is a Palestinian deprives him of no
moudeh, were acquitted on all charges and Academic organizations came to his civil rights.”
Chicago business owner Hatem Fariz was defense. Two years later, when the FBI 10 years of surveillance Thirteen days later, the jury’s decision
found innocent of 25 of 33 charges. The jury admitted it had no grounds to charge him, Although the government had been shocked the Bush administration. As the
deadlocked on the remaining counts, with Al-Arian was restored to his position as a spying on him and monitoring his activi- four defendants stood in a packed court-
the clear majority in favor of acquittal. tenured professor. ties for close to 10 years, the Justice room of family and supporters, they heard
In the U.S. and around the world, news- Almost immediately, the U.S. govern- Department told the presiding judge in the “not guilty” over and over as the charges
paper articles all commented on what an ment detained his brother-in-law, Mazen trial, U.S. District Judge James Moody, were read.
embarrassing setback and stunning defeat Al-Najar, who worked at the university as that it needed at least two more years to Jurors interviewed by St. Petersburg
the verdict was for the U.S. government in well, and held him in prison without prepare its case. Times reporter Meg Laughlin all men-
its moves to silence dissent in this country. charges on “secret evidence” for three years. The much-hyped trial began on June tioned that they found no evidence of
It was the relaxed provisions of the Al-Arian worked passionately to win the 6, 2005, almost two and a half years crime in the voluminous record presented
Patriot Act that had allowed federal inves- release of Al-Najar. He was on the verge of after Al-Arian’s early-morning arrest at Continued on the next page
Air marshals shoot passenger
Racial profiling behind brutal killing?
By Larry Hales Initial reports given by the two air mar- Another passenger, in Miami, said the marshals
shals who shot Alpizar stated that he John McAlhany, stated, had the right to shoot to
Air marshals shot Rigoberto Alpizar yelled he had a bomb before running off “I heard him saying to stop the “threat” and even
to death on Dec. 7 on a boarding bridge the plane and reaching into his backpack. his wife, ‘I’ve got to get repeated their story that
to an American Airlines jet in Miami However, several witnesses have come off the plane.’ He Alpizar had said he had a
International airport. The naturalized forward and stated that Alpizar never bumped me, bumped a bomb. Amat wasn’t there,
U.S. citizen—Alpizar was born in Costa yelled he had a bomb. couple of stewardesses. and not one passenger
Rica—and his wife had just boarded the Passenger Mike Beshears told He just wanted to get recalled hearing him say
plane for a short flight to Orlando after reporters, “He just was in a hurry and off the plane.” anything about a bomb.
returning to Florida from a trip to Peru. exited the plane.” In fact, not one wit- They first heard the word
ness has come forward from the FBI when being
to substantiate the questioned.
claims of the air mar- “They kept asking if I
shals who brutally shot heard him say the B-word.
Alpizar, a mentally dis- Rigoberto Alpizar and his And I said, ‘What is the B-
abled man diagnosed wife, Anne Buechner. word?’ And they were like,
with bipolar disease. ‘Bomb.’ I said no. They said,
The government agents claimed they ‘Are you sure?’ And I am,” said passenger
were justified in the shooting and have McAlhany, a construction worker.
the right to “neutralize” a suspect This shooting is very similar to the
deemed a threat. Alpizar was clearly no killing of Jean Charles de Menezes in
threat. He was unarmed and made no London. The police who shot the young
threatening motions to anyone. He Brazilian worker there were caught lying
merely wanted to get off the plane. from beginning to end.
His wife, Anne Buechner, who was They said Menezes was wearing a bulky
behind him as he tried to exit the air- jacket, that he appeared agitated, and that
craft, told the air marshals that her hus- he jumped a turnstile and ran into a sub-
band was bipolar, that he was harmless way car. However, videotape doesn’t lie,
but had been off his medication. Her nor did witnesses. The video showed a
words went unheeded. Moments later, calm young man in a light jeans jacket
after Alpizar left the aircraft, followed by who used a subway card and walked,
two marshals, the 44-year-old Home rushing only to catch his train. He was
Depot worker was gunned down. grabbed by several cops while sitting in
John Amat, a federal official and a the subway car, was knocked to the floor
deputy with the U.S. Air Marshals service
Continued on page 11
www.workers.org Dec. 22, 2005 Page 9
As U.S. grip weakens in Latin America
Venezuela becomes full member
By Arturo J. Pérez Saad the Americas at Mar del Plata, Argentina, has imposed on Latin America have under- This new trade bloc now represents
to symbolically bury the U.S.-proposed mined attempts to eradicate poverty, illit- member nations with more than $1.3 tril-
The incorporation of Venezuela into the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). eracy, bigotry and racism in the area. lion in gross domestic product, and asso-
Common Market of the South (Mercosur) Chávez was joined by the representatives In a giant step for the region, Argentina, ciated nations with $2.1 trillion GDP. With
is a historic step in the economic integra- of Mercosur and Cuba in a vote that Brazil and Venezuela have signed an Venezuela’s oil reserves, it will be the third
tion of Latin America. Venezuela was defeated this attempt to extend imperial- agreement to complete a gigantic gas- most important economic and geopolitical
upgraded from associate to full member at ist trade agreements to the whole Western petroleum pipeline within five years. This trading bloc in the world.
Mercosur’s 29th summit meeting, held on Hemisphere. The U.S. and Canada, with agreement, based on cooperation and Venezuela is now the only South Amer-
Dec. 8-9 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Mexico as their lap dog in NAFTA, have integration of the region instead of an ican country with full membership in both
Mercosur’s four founding members are used trade agreements to impoverish the imperialist-imposed FTAA, is part of the the Andean Community of Nations (CAN)
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. producing countries’ working people Venezuelan-initiated Bolivarian Alter- and Mercosur. These two trade blocs are
Its associate members include Bolivia, while enriching the importing countries’ native for the Americas (ALBA). President expected to be fully integrated by 2007,
Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. transnational corporations. Chávez says that “not only is this historic bringing the entire continent into the
The inclusion of Venezuela comes one The defeat of the FTAA and Venezuela’s but we, the heads of state, are responsible South American Community of Nations
month after its president, Hugo Chávez, acquiring full-member status in Mercosur for the demands set upon us” to make sure (CSN)—another step to fulfilling the dream
brought a shovel to the Third Summit of are due in part to the success of the it benefits the 367 million people in the of Simón Bolívar, who in the 19th century
Bolivarian Revolution and “to a large part, region. tried to liberate the continent from colonial
[to Brazilian] President Lula da Silva,” Cuba’s press agency, Prensa Latina, rule. When completed, the CSN would
said President Chávez to a TeleSur corre- explains, “This pipeline would run from have a GDP of over $2.6 trillion and
Anti-Arab frame up spondent in Montevideo, “because he Venezuela over Brazilian territory to encompass 367 million inhabitants.
played a key role for us to be included.” Manaos in the north and then to the north- During the course of the Mercosur sum-
by the government. Prosecution attorney Meanwhile, Washington continues to east, continuing to the south of Brazil, mit meeting, Chinese Minister of
Cherie Krisgman had urged the jury to discredit itself with every unilateral and Buenos Aires and Montevideo.” Construction Wang Guangtao said in a
“trust them” that evidence existed to show undemocratic attempt it makes to alienate The pipeline would extend to between speech that China wants to broaden and
that the defendants belonged to a “terror- Venezuela and overthrow its popularly 4,969 and 6,211 miles long and cost up to deepen bilateral cooperation with Mer-
ist” cell operating in the U.S. elected leader. The neoliberal policies it $10 billion. cosur member states. (Xinhua, Dec. 11) I
One juror said, “We were a hair’s
breadth away from acquitting on four
more Al-Arian charges when the judge
Judge Moody said that a juror had sent
him a note saying she was feeling
Cuba plays key role
“coerced” by the rest of the panel.
“It shocked us,” said a Vietnamese-
American woman juror.
in Pakistan quake aid
Todd, a 40-year-old truck driver, By G. Dunkel of the 400,000 tents delivered so far are Oliver Behn, coordinator of Médicins
added, “If we had stayed and worked ... we winterized. Oxfam and the UNHCR are Sans Frontiers in the Hattian Bala region,
would have acquitted on everything but The disaster from the powerful earth- trying to buy 20,000 small stoves to heat comments: “When we arrived here with
the immigration fraud charge.” quake that on Oct. 8 devastated the north- the tents that have been winterized. MSF there were great needs in the Hattian
Federal prosecutors are now consider- eastern part of Pakistan in the Himalayan As of Dec. 2, according to the UN Office population which we could only partially
ing retrying Al-Arian and Fariz on the foothills is still unfolding. The quake for the Coordination of Humanitarian satisfy. A few days later the Cuban med-
deadlocked charges. Conviction on a rack- immediately killed an estimated 73,000 Affairs (UNOCHA), just $160 million, or ical team of doctors and nurses arrived.
eteering conspiracy charge carries a pos- people and left 3.5 million homeless. Now, 29 percent, of the $550 million needed for They have made a significant contribution
sible 20-year prison sentence. They say as temperatures plummet, hundreds of the first six months of earthquake relief to cover the needs of the population. I
there is no deadline for when they will thousands remain at risk of extreme suf- had been received, although $240 million think they are doing a very good job.”
announce their decision. fering and death. had been promised for delivery by that
The Immigration and Customs While a variety of groups have rushed date. U.S. and British military
Enforcement Agency (ICE) has said that it tents, food and medical care to the sur- The British, Irish and Australian press According to the English newspaper
will proceed with deportation hearings if vivors, it hasn’t been enough. report scattered deaths, particularly The Guardian of Dec. 4, “large boxes of
Al-Arian is released from jail on bail or if Many international aid agencies among the most vulnerable populations in Stars and Stripes-branded toys and
the Justice Department declines to retry dependent on the rich imperialist coun- isolated villages not reached by relief scarves [are] regularly delivered by U.S.
the case. tries for most of their funds have been teams. As conditions get worse, many helicopters with aid packages.” A large
Defense lawyer Moffit declared any operating in the area, from the Red Cross/ more thousands are expected to die, not number of U.S. helicopters are taking part
effort to deport his client “totally vindic- Red Crescent to Oxfam, the UN children’s just from the cold but from pneumonia in the fighting in Afghanistan, a few hours’
tive,” since he has not been convicted of fund (UNICEF), the UN refugee agency and bronchitis due to lack of shelter. Some flight time away. Given that many roads
any crime. (UNHCR) and Médicins Sans Frontiers/ areas affected by the earthquake normally and bridges were destroyed by the earth-
However, in these much-publicized Doctors Without Borders. Their own per- get 20 feet of snow by midwinter. Some quake, along with houses, schools and
“terrorism” cases, following the arrest of sonnel complain that they haven’t enough survivors are digging graves before the clinics, helicopters are often the only
many thousands of Arab and Muslim men resources to cope with this disaster. ground freezes. mode of transportation in this rugged and
since 9/11, the overwhelming majority of Socialist Cuba, which by contrast is a The Cuban contingent has 17 field hos- devastated area. Britain also has com-
defendants have been found guilty of no relatively poor country after having been pitals in action and plans to set up another mando teams in Pakistan providing engi-
crime but were deported on the basis of blockaded for almost half a century by the 13. Cuba’s deputy minister of foreign neering help to the Pakistani army.
immigration technicalities. U.S., has sent over 1,000 doctors and affairs, Bruno Rodríguez, is responsible After the number of Cuban doctors grew
Like Al-Arian, they suffered months nurses from its Henry Reeve International for coordinating Cuban efforts in from 300 to 789, the U.S. freed up some
and even years of imprisonment, public Medical Contingent. They make up the Pakistan. He says the contingent has 789 of the resources it has been using to
slander, separation from their families, largest medical contingent working in the doctors, about half of them specialists with occupy and control Afghanistan.
loss of jobs and homes, denial of civil area. experience in natural disasters, 315 para- The presence of foreign troops has
rights and deliberate mental and physical The left-wing Pakistan Trade Union medics, all university graduates or techni- raised the hackles of some of the Islamic
anguish at the hands of a clique of right- Defense Committee has tried to bring in cians, and 128 backup staff. This includes groups in Pakistan, in particular the six
wing ideologues in pursuit of a political relief supplies purchased in nearby India, 80 engineers who set up the high technol- major Islamic parties in a coalition called
agenda. but has been blocked by the Musharraf ogy that the field hospitals use—ultra- Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), who
The government counted on fear and government. A variety of Islamic groups sound, electrocardiograms, x-rays and see the troop presence as an extension of
racism to convict Al-Arian and his co- are also helping the people. clinical laboratories. their activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
defendants, but the public distrust of the The U.S. Army, which is fighting a mer- All the Cuban medical personnel live Some of the ethnic groups in this part of
Bush administration’s policies since the ciless war in neighboring Afghanistan and under the same conditions as their Pakistan also live in Afghanistan.
war in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina cer- has enormous military resources in the patients. Washington is urging the Pakistani
tainly gave the jurors a context in which to area, has supplied helicopters to fly in UNICEF’s director of operations in army to take control of all the relief efforts
judge the political views of the Palestinian tents and take out some of the injured. Pakistan, Indiana Gonzalez Mairena, and undercut the Islamic groups. While it
activists. These flights, it should be noted, have told the Cuban newspaper Vanguardia, hasn’t moved against the Islamic groups,
They ultimately agreed with Moffit’s increased in an obvious response to the “I recognize this as valuable humanitar- the Pakistan army did stop the trade
summation: “This case concerns Dr. Al- political impact of Cuba’s solidarity. ian aid which we would not expect from unions’ Fifth Revolutionary Solidarity
Arian’s right to speak, our right to hear According to the UN, about 800,000 of other countries possessing much more Caravan at the border, after it had picked
what he has to say and the attempt by the the homeless have only their blankets to resources than Cuba. It’s just a matter of up supplies in India, and seized all its
powerful to silence him.” I keep off the falling snow. Just 10 percent will.” goods. I
Page 10 Dec. 22, 2005 www.workers.org
RICHARD PRYOR .
The Montreal A comedian who told it like it is
summit By Larry Hales Pryor was born in
n its first term the Bush gang not well as in Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Peoria, Ill., in 1940 in a
only unilaterally sparked aggression France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Richard Pryor, recog- brothel owned by his
against Iraq and Afghanistan, and New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, nized as one of the great- grandmother. He
tried to bully China, North Korea, Iran Russia, South Africa, South Korea and est comedians to take the started stand-up com-
and Venezuela—it also thumbed its nose Turkey—a total of 100,000 people on stage, died from a heart edy as a teenager. He
as the rest of the world attempted to Dec. 4. Some 10,000 people marched attack on Dec. 10. He was began to find himself
come to grips with global warming’s link through London, carrying banners link- only 65 years old and had and his act in the late
to greenhouse gases. That is, Washing- ing Bush and British Prime Minister suffered with multiple 1960s, and by the early
ton refused any cooperation with the Tony Blair as “climate criminals.” That sclerosis for 20 years. to mid-1970s he was in
Kyoto Protocol, a first and limited inter- can be added to the charges against them In all the news articles full stride. His act
national attempt to lessen damage to the for war crimes against Iraq. that have appeared sur- began to reflect his
environment. The biggest demonstration was in rounding the comedian’s frustrations, and those
Now, 30 months of Iraqi resistance Montreal itself, where Inuit people from death, Pryor’s history of of Black people in gen-
have shown that building a foreign pol- the far north explained how the melting drug addiction along eral, as he remarked on
icy based on fear of the Pentagon can ice is ruining their home economy of with other troubles is racist police brutality
expose U.S. military weaknesses and fishing and hunting. dredged up along with and the Black commu-
lead to a disastrous quagmire. Hurricane Many U.S. mayors took part in the interspersed acknow- Richard Pryor nity’s distrust of the
Katrina has shown in a most devastating summit, but the Bush administration ledgment of the come- police, which can never
way that the global warming threat goes remained dead set against in any way dian’s unique talent. Though everything be rectified. He commented on the
beyond South Pacific islands and the subjecting the economic strategy of the that Pryor did and said and every mistake Vietnam War as well and on Richard
frozen tundra in the North. The war, and major U.S. private corporations to the made by him were part of who he was, Nixon, remarking, “If you can pardon
the water, can come home to the U.S., needs of humanity. There, it is clear, is there was no need to addle articles with Nixon, you can pardon anybody.”
which produces 25 percent of the world’s the crux of the problem. The Bush tales of mistakes or addiction. His life was Pryor didn’t tell jokes. He told stories
greenhouse gas emissions with only 5 administration, still in bed with the oil always an open book and he never shied about unforgettable characters, many of
percent of its population. monopolies and serving their greed, away from it. whom he grew up with, that lingered in
After a precedent-setting hurricane refuses all cooperation. But the other Very simply put, Richard Pryor was the mind. He was great at it and drew
season coupled with a shift in the Gulf capitalist governments also have their ingenious. He was the embodiment of endless laughter, but the stories could
Stream and a long-lasting drought in—of hands tied to profit-hungry corpora- the struggle of Black people for justice in just as easily make a person cry. His tal-
all places—the Amazon basin, a large tions. The forces involved represent the United States. Like Paul Robeson, ent was that he would make people dou-
majority of scientists and a solid major- competing capitalist economic entities with his booming baritone voice; or John ble over laughing until tears welled up in
ity of people, including in the U.S., are and their bottom line is—the bottom Coltrane’s abstract jazz improvisation their eyes and, even while being enter-
convinced that global warming is real line, that is, profit. that soared, breaking form, almost taining, at the same time make observa-
and that it is connected with burning oil, Every attempt should and must be imprinting the clouds; or hip-hop artist tions from a Black perspective.
gas and coal. The Bush gang, however, made to slow down the rush toward Tupac Shakur, whose life ended too Richard Pryor will be remembered for
still think they can unilaterally flip a fin- environmental disaster that unre- soon, exclaiming the many degradations his groundbreaking material and how it
ger at the world. strained capitalism represents. But the of being Black in North American society sprang from outrage and hurt and com-
They showed this arrogance once only way for humanity to get a grasp on but who left an indelible mark on the bined both entertainment and social
again at the 10-day-long Global the vast problems caused by global consciousness of so many young Black commentary. He will forever be remem-
Warming Summit in Montreal that warming is for the means of production males—Richard Pryor was able to com- bered as one of a number of Black artists
ended Dec. 12. Washington came in once to be in the hands of that section of municate the Black struggle for self- who brilliantly expressed the anger and
again as the major world power refusing humanity that doesn’t live off of profits— determination with humor devoid of determination of an oppressed people
to cooperate with plans to at least slow the working people. Only they can decide being self-effacing. Comedian Chris through culture.
down the climate’s descent into chaos. how to control development so that the Rock stated, “Richard Pryor was the
The world demanded much more world economy develops without putting Rosa Parks of comedy.”
from the summit. There were protests in the world itself in peril. That means
New Orleans and 40 other U.S. cities, as socialism. I
HAROLD PINTER’S NOBEL SPEECH .
‘Bush & Blair are war criminals’
British playwright Harold Pinter used procedures. No sedative or anaesthetic. it “bringing freedom and democracy to the tograph published on the front page of
the platform of accepting his Nobel Just a tube stuck up your nose and into Middle East.” British newspapers of Tony Blair kissing
prize for literature on Dec. 7 to call for your throat. You vomit blood. This is tor- How many people do you have to kill the cheek of a little Iraqi boy. “A grateful
putting George Bush and Tony Blair on ture. What has the British Foreign Secre- before you qualify to be described as a child,” said the caption. A few days later
trial as war criminals. He was too ill to tary said about this? Nothing. What has mass murderer and a war criminal? One there was a story and photograph, on an
travel from his home in London to the British Prime Minister said about this? hundred thousand? More than enough, I inside page, of another four-year-old boy
Stockholm but recorded his 45-minute Nothing. Why not? Because the United would have thought. Therefore it is just with no arms. His family had been blown
talk on video. Below are excerpts. States has said: to criticise our conduct in that Bush and Blair be arraigned before up by a missile. He was the only sur-
Guantanamo Bay constitutes an unfriendly the International Criminal Court of vivor. “When do I get my arms back?” he
What has happened to our moral sensi- act. You’re either with us or against us. Justice. But Bush has been clever. He asked. The story was dropped. Well,
bility? ... Look at Guantanamo Bay. So Blair shuts up. has not ratified the International Tony Blair wasn’t holding him in his
Hundreds of people detained without The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an Criminal Court of Justice. Therefore, if arms, nor the body of any other muti-
charge for over three years, with no legal act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrat- any American soldier or for that matter lated child, nor the body of any bloody
representation or due process, technically ing absolute contempt for the concept of politician finds himself in the dock, Bush corpse. Blood is dirty. It dirties your
detained forever. This totally illegitimate international law. The invasion was an has warned that he will send in the shirt and tie when you’re making a sin-
structure is maintained in defiance of the arbitrary military action inspired by a Marines. But Tony Blair has ratified the cere speech on television.
Geneva Convention. It is not only toler- series of lies upon lies and gross manipu- Court and is therefore available for pros- The 2,000 American dead are an
ated but hardly thought about by what’s lation of the media and therefore of the ecution. We can let the Court have his embarrassment. They are transported to
called the”’international community.” public; an act intended to consolidate address if they’re interested. It is their graves in the dark. Funerals are
This criminal outrage is being commit- American military and economic control Number 10, Downing Street, London. unobtrusive, out of harm’s way. The muti-
ted by a country, which declares itself to of the Middle East masquerading—as a Death in this context is irrelevant. Both lated rot in their beds, some for the rest of
be “the leader of the free world.” Do we last resort—all other justifications having Bush and Blair place death well away on their lives. So the dead and the mutilated
think about the inhabitants of Guanta- failed to justify themselves—as liberation. the back burner. At least 100,000 Iraqis both rot, in different kinds of graves. ...
namo Bay? What does the media say about A formidable assertion of military force were killed by American bombs and mis- Many thousands, if not millions, of peo-
them? They pop up occasionally—a small responsible for the death and mutilation siles before the Iraq insurgency began. ple in the United States itself are demon-
item on page six. They have been con- of thousands and thousands of innocent These people are of no moment. Their strably sickened, shamed and angered by
signed to a no man’s land from which people. deaths don’t exist. They are blank. They their government’s actions, but as things
indeed they may never return. We have brought torture, cluster are not even recorded as being dead. “We stand they are not a coherent political force
At present many are on hunger strike, bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable don’t do body counts,” said the American —yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear
being force-fed, including British resi- acts of random murder, misery, degrada- general Tommy Franks. which we can see growing daily in the
dents. No niceties in these force-feeding tion and death to the Iraqi people and call Early in the invasion there was a pho- United States is unlikely to diminish. I
www.workers.org Dec. 22, 2005 Page 11
Why the youth rebelled in France
Below are excerpts from an article by Sarkozy’s remarks not only insulting, but symbol of the French Republic—ed.) has These community movements, effer-
Senegal-based Samir Amin, president also a demonstration of hatred against the brown skin. The evidence is there: in the vescent, disturbing, dispersed, are the
of the Third World Forum and the poor in general. The working class as a working classes, the ordinary people, self-organized expression of the popula-
World Forum of Alternatives, and Rémy whole, employed and unemployed, all many of the young people, and also those tions of the working-class districts, mixed
Herrera, a teacher at the University those who undergo and who resist the not so young, made their choice long ago. French and foreign-born poor, advancing
of Paris and researcher at France’s destructive offensive of neoliberalism, felt Despite the difficulties confronting such side by side toward a progressive transfor-
National Center of Scientific Research they were his targets. an anti-racist project, in the poor dis- mation of society. These struggles
(CNRS). The full article is available at tricts—the fields of battle on which the emerged unceasingly from the cités, fed by
www.workers.org. A class problem decisive combat against racism takes the burdens of living conditions and [lack
Those who interpreted the rebellions place—very broad sectors of the people of] work, exploding after each police
Our goal here is to try to explain the rea- solely through the prism of race and reli- consciously chose to accept each other, excess, starting with the immigrants’
sons for the revolt that the media called gion forget that this revolt is at root a prob- live and build a life together in mutual movements in the 1970s through today.
the “insurrection of the suburbs,” which lem of class. It was a rebellion of the chil- respect. Even if the majority of these To get the demands of these various
took place between the end of October, dren of the common people, whose condi- young rebels are not politicized, their movements to converge is not easy, but the
after the suspicious deaths of two young tions of life are insecure and who are cur- action is political. points of convergence are plentiful—for
people pursued by the police force of rently experiencing the class struggle from The great majority of the young people example, employment. In these suburbs,
Clichy-Sous-Bois, and the end of the blows of the repressive state appara- who rose up are French citizens and have many youth, even when their papers are
November, after the decision of the gov- tus: reinstatement of the double penalty of no need to be “integrated”—into what? in order, cannot find regular jobs. The rate
ernment to extend a state of emergency for prison and deportation, disproportionate They need to be accepted and recognized of unemployment is over 20 percent for
three months. sentences given to first offenders, even the for what they are and what they do. They such youth, and almost 50 percent among
Many reports exaggerated the extent of very night of their first arrest—such as one are French like the others, they will build those of African origin.
these events. The disorders took place only year in prison for setting fire to garbage the France of tomorrow: a society of It is time that the French left express its
in or near the extensive public housing cans and eviction of those holding resi- mutual acceptance, a community of the solidarity with this overexploited sub-pro-
projects, called “cités,” in the poorest dence permits who were picked up during races and nationalities. letariat, with these economically disad-
working-class suburbs, where tourists and the riots. Since Nov. 8, 2005, in the “significant vantaged youth of the suburbs. The peo-
business executives seldom go. The young This is class repression, directed against zones,” the rebels face a state of emer- ple of the cités certainly do not constitute
people who revolted against the estab- the poor, against this underprivileged gency: exception laws that, allow the the whole of the left’s social base, but with-
lished order focused their attack on prop- class of the cités, of diverse origins. That authorities to prohibit circulation, make out them, the French left will never be
erty, setting fire to thousands of cars and many are of North African and sub- house arrests, close performance spaces truly popular.
to shopping centers, police stations and Saharan origin does nothing to diminish and prohibit meetings, search homes, Solidarity with the demands of the
banks but not attacking people—except for the fact that the common feature of those control the press, publications, radio and young people of the suburbs needs to be
the police force. who revolted, whether they be from cinemas, and allow military tribunals to coordinated with the traditional struggles
Without accepting the forms that it French parentage or from immigrants or seize people for crimes and offenses con- of the workers in France—whether they
took, much of France understood this from foreigners, is poverty. cerned with the common law. That is to are French-born, immigrants or foreign-
explosion and, indeed, considered it This class repression, aggravated by the say, a repressive law which the “democ- ers—with those other sectors of the eco-
absolutely inevitable. The entire capitalist race hatred of the narrow, bloated, rats” who control us had resorted to only nomically disadvantaged, the unem-
society here offers nothing to these young coupon-clipping French elite that weighs against the Algerians (1955) or the Kanak ployed, the undocumented, the homeless,
people—neither satisfactory housing con- down the young rebels of the suburbs, can people of New Caledonia (1985)—but those without rights.
ditions, nor education leading to stable expose a fact that is often hidden. The which, in metropolitan France, they did- For the French left and all progressives,
employment, nor hope of social advance- struggles of these young people cry out for n’t use even in 1968 [when there was a this is undoubtedly a historical opportu-
ment, nor recognition—nor does it listen an alternative to the current society, to the general strike of 10 million workers]. nity to rebuild clear, modern class posi-
to them. The capitalist state connects with hard reality of the cités: the failures at tions, a revolutionary spirit and interna-
these young people through its police school, discrimination, unemployment, Role of the left tionalism. Without idealizing the role of
stopping, questioning and searching noisy and deteriorated housing, badly It is nevertheless true that many young the youths of the suburbs or exaggerating
them; this is sometimes brutal, and is served by too-expensive public transport, people of the suburbs, and in France gen- the opportunities for revolutionary strug-
always intimidating and humiliating. with all-too-rare social and cultural infra- erally, are today completely cut off from gle, it is apparent that even if these youth
Many observers rightly condemned the structures. the struggles for emancipation by the in revolt do not form parties, even if they
repression directed at the youths, but in These young people, along with their French labor movement and knowledge of still cause much mistrust and a certain
general concentrate their criticisms on parents, friends and neighbors, are in the its history. But what is undoubtedly more concern in the remainder of the country,
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, a can- front line of the struggle for an alternative serious still is that many militants and the left must see them as allies for the nec-
didate for the 2007 presidential election. being built today of an ethnically mixed, progressives are unaware of all the history essary progressive, social and democratic
His resignation would obviously not of multicolored France, open to the world— and the news of resistance in the cités and transformation of France, not just as a vot-
itself resolve the problems of the suburbs. and especially to the South, the Third of the immigrants in France. ing bloc in the next elections. I
Sarkozy says he wants “to clean with the World, a France strong and proud of its
karcher” (high-pressure water hose) the diversity.
cités of the “rabble” which “pollutes In the very fury of these events, these
them.” young people remind us that France is MARTINIQUE.
The inhabitants of the cités consider growing more diverse, that Marianne (the
Marchers say no
Racial profiling behind to ‘law of shame’
brutal killing? By G. Dunkel clamped a tight lid on angry protests by
young people in October and November in
Continued from page 8 Thousands of inhabitants of the Carib- poor, working-class public housing proj-
France. While the police of all these impe-
and shot at point-blank range. bean island of Martinique marched ects surrounding the major cities of
rialist countries are used to beat down
Had Menezes been agitated or nervous, through the streets of its capital, Fort-de- France, where the residents are mainly
workers and “keep them in their place,”
he would have had due cause. The British France, on Dec. 7 to denounce a ‘law of North African and West African in origin.
the violence and brutality is especially
government had just given greater profil- shame’ recently reaffirmed by France’s Sarkozy, who used inflammatory, racist
intense against people of color and occurs
ing powers to cops and authorized them to parliament. and derogatory language to describe the
daily. That is why the outlying ghettos of
use deadly force after a group of bombings Martinique is one of France’s colonies youth in revolt, was due to visit Martinique
Paris burned recently. Young North and
on subway cars. These had been attributed in the Caribbean. Its 430,000 people are on Dec. 7, igniting a firestorm of anger.
Sub-Saharan African youth expressed out-
to anger among young Muslims over the descendants of Africans kidnapped and Some 30 unions, associations, student
rage by rebelling in the streets after two
brutal war in Iraq and Britain’s junior enslaved to work on sugar plantations. As groups, and the independence movement
youth died while being hunted by cops.
partnership with American imperialism. citizens of France today, they are subject in Martinique called for the mass mobi-
The youths’ righteous clamor came after
It kicked up rampant racism against peo- to its laws. lization in Fort-de-France to make sure
years of brutality by cops and years of
ple of Middle Eastern, Indian and South The controversial law instructs schools Sarkozy knew he was definitely not wel-
oppression and poverty. That outcry can be
East Asian descent, as well as from Latin to teach “the positive aspects of the French come.
heard in oppressed communities through-
America, the Caribbean and Africa. presence overseas and in North Africa.” It Aimé Césaire, who represented Martin-
out the United States, and it should indeed
The two shootings highlight the racism was passed last February, but some pro- ique in the French parliament from 1946
be extended to the racist profiling involved
that is endemic to the U.S., Britain and gressives in the French parliament to 1993 and is a major French literary fig-
in the Alpizar shooting. I
recently tried to amend it by removing the ure, announced he would not meet with
word “positive.” such a “shameful” politician.
The UMP, France’s ruling party, voted On Dec. 6 Sarkozy canceled his trip,
O N L IN E: the amendment down after a campaign but the demonstration happened any-
W W W.W O R K E R S.O R G led by Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. way because it was about “a law, not the
This was after the French government had man.” I
¡Proletarios y oprimidos de todos los países, uníos!
El juicio de Saddam Hussein
El movimiento en contra de la guerra
tiene que rechazar la ‘justicia’ colonial
Por Sara Flounders Chalabi había regresado a Irak desde su se oculta la brutalidad de la abrumadora 12 años.
exilio con la ayuda de tanquetas de los agresión y da legitimidad a los nuevos Clark, fundador del Centro de Acción
El juicio de Saddam Hussein, que EEUU en abril del 2003. Abrió un despa- soberanos. Internacional, y como asesor legal de
comenzó con mucha publicidad inter- cho de abogados para hacer un ante- Los procesos de Denmark Vesey y Nat Saddam Hussein, ha desafiado valiente-
nacionalmente, es un intento desesperado proyecto de nuevas leyes que abrieran a Turner en el Sur de los EEUU durante el mente la ilegitimidad y la ilegalidad del
para justificar y prestar algo de legitimi- Irak al capital extranjero, en colaboración período anterior a la guerra civil fueron, Tribunal Especial Iraquí.
dad a la criminal invasión y ocupación de con el despacho de abogados de Douglas para los dueños de esclavos, la manera de Como abogado internacional de dere-
Irak. Es un intento por desmoralizar y divi- Feith, un beneficiario de la guerra e ideól- esconder la violencia y brutalidad chos humanos, su posición es totalmente
dir la resistencia a la ocupación. No tiene ogo de la pandilla de Bush, Cheney, Rums- degradante de la esclavitud como dere- consistente con sus 15 años de oposición a
nada que ver con la justicia o la verdad. feld y arquitecto principal de la guerra. chos de propiedad “otorgados por Dios”. la guerra estadounidense en Irak—desde
Todas las fuerzas que internacional- Bremer también nombró a los jueces El secuestro y el proceso del presidente de su visita a Irak en 1991 cuando Estados
mente se han opuesto a la guerra que por del tribunal. El financiamiento y el per- Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic después Unidos bombardeó cada 30 segundos por
15 años ha librado EEUU contra Irak – sonal están controlados totalmente por las del bombardeo estadounidense/NATO de 42 días, a lo largo de los 12 años de san-
la cual ha incluido sanciones causantes de fuerzas militares de los EEUU. El Con- Yugoslavia que duró 78 días, y en que cien- ciones, hasta su oposición a la invasión del
hambruna, bombardeos e invasión, tam- greso de los EEUU ha apropiado $128 mil- tos de personas murieron, fue un caso sim- 2003. Es consistente con su oposición
bién deben oponerse a todos los esfuerzos lones para pagar por el funcionamiento de ilar de justicia del triunfador. ética a otras guerras e intervenciones
para justificar la ocupación, incluyendo el la corte. Por supuesto, la corte no tiene estadounidenses en Vietnam, Nicaragua,
actual juicio del ex mandatario de Irak y ninguna jurisdicción sobre los crímenes Estados Unidos y las Armas Granada, Irán, Libia, Líbano, Panamá y
siete miembros de su gobierno. cometidos por las fuerzas militares de los de Destrucción Masiva Yugoslavia.
No importa la variedad de perspectivas EEUU durante la invasión y la ocupación. Mientras Estados Unidos convierte a Oponerse a la satanización (de Saddam
políticas sobre el carácter del gobierno de Saddam Hussein en un demonio, debe Hussein) es parte de la oposición a la
Saddam Hussein, lo que es esencial es El papel de la satanización recordarse que el Pentágono ha usado guerra estadounidense y su aparato de
oponerse a esta justificación de los EEUU El juicio que ahora está en proceso es armas de destrucción masiva, no solo en propaganda.
para la guerra. Guardar silencio sobre esta parte del esfuerzo sostenido de los EEUU Irak sino en contra de otras innumerables
cuestión significa prestar credibilidad a la por totalmente satanizar a Saddam poblaciones indefensas, desde Corea y las El objetivo político y militar
falsa corte creada por los EEUU en el Hussein. Esto ha sido parte esencial de la Islas Filipinas, hasta Vietnam, Laos, Cam- es la soberanía iraquí
gigantesco centro de comando de los guerra de 15 años contra Irak. boya, Nicaragua, Granada, Libia, Líbano Los agentes del imperialismo estado-
EEUU conocido como la Zona Verde. La propaganda estadounidense ince- y Yugoslavia. unidense han establecido dictaduras bru-
El gobierno de los EEUU no tiene santemente ha descrito a Hussein como Es el aparato militar estadounidense el tales y corruptas y han financiado gobier-
ningún derecho a mantener ni siquiera un un maníaco malévolo, un dictador brutal que debe ser enjuiciado por haber usado nos militares desde una parte del mundo
solo soldado en Irak. No tiene el derecho y una amenaza a todo el planeta, que las armas más horrendas, desde bombas al otro—desde Indonesia, hasta Chile y el
a bombardear, imponer sanciones o forzar estaba listo para atacar con armas nucleares a napalm, pasando por fósforo Congo.
a que la gente de Irak pase hambruna. No nucleares, químicas o biológicas en pocos blanco, armas contra-personales, las lla- Su problema con Saddam Hussein no es
tiene el derecho a imponer un gobierno minutos. Fue acusado de jugar un papel en madas bunker busters (armas de pene- que fuera un dictador. Es que él se negó a
colonial o a establecer cortes en Irak. No el ataque del 11 de septiembre y estar tración), y armas radioactivas de uranio rendir la soberanía de Irak. Él rehusó dar
tiene el derecho a decidir el destino de colaborando con al-Queda. reducido. a las corporaciones estadounidenses con-
Saddam Hussein así como no tiene el Tanto los republicanos como los En Irak, la destrucción civil inten- trol sobre el petróleo iraquí, el cual había
derecho a controlar el petróleo y los demás Demócratas sabían que esto era un fraude. cionada fue calculada, fotografiada, y estu- sido nacionalizado desde los años 60. Para
recursos naturales de Irak. Las bombas de los EEUU habían destru- diada. La infraestructura fue deliberada- los imperialistas, el peor crimen fue que él
La detención de Saddam Hussein y los ido totalmente la capacidad industrial de mente convertida en objetivo militar. Los rechazó someterse al Nuevo Orden
otros acusados, al igual que la de decenas Irak. Pero ningún político fue capaz de depósitos de agua, los sistemas de alcan- Mundial.
de miles de otros iraquíes, está totalmente cuestionar la satanización. tarillado y saneamiento, las estaciones de Son Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld y Blair
basada en una guerra criminal e ilegal de Todas las guerras de los EEUU contra cloro y los surtidores de agua fueron bom- quienes deben estar encausados por sus
agresión. pueblos y naciones oprimidas han comen- bardeados. Redes eléctricas y de comuni- crímenes de guerra y sus crímenes contra
El Tribunal Especial Iraquí y el juicio de zado saturando completamente a la caciones fueron destruidas. La producción la humanidad.
Saddam Hussein también son violaciones población civil con propagandas de guerra de alimentos fue un objetivo militar, desde El movimiento global que se opone a la
al derecho internacional. La Convención que satanizaban tanto al líder de la la irrigación, fertilizantes y pesticidas, hasta ocupación estadounidense de Irak debe
de Ginebra, de la cual los EEUU son fir- población que cualquier crimen era el procesamiento, refrigeración y almace- considerar en serio su responsabilidad de
mantes, explícitamente prohíbe que un entonces tratado como algo aceptable y namiento. En el bombardeo de 1991 más oponerse a cada aspecto de la guerra esta-
poder ocupante cree cortes. Además, el fuera de cuestionamiento. Esto ha sido la de 150.000 iraquíes murieron, comparado dounidense – especialmente a las cortes
juicio en si, junto al aislamiento de los acu- realidad desde las guerras contra las con156 soldados estadounidenses muertos. falsas y las elecciones montadas que tratan
sados, la prohibición del derecho a visitas poblaciones indígenas y la satanización de Año tras año, las delegaciones interna- de legitimar y legalizar esta piratería.
y la privación de los derechos legales, viola Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Jerónimo y cionales que fueron a Irak, incluyendo Implícita en el llamado de regresar las
la Convención Internacional sobre los muchos otros líderes indígenas, hasta los muchas organizadas por el Centro de tropas ahora es la demanda de detener
Derechos Políticos y Civiles. líderes de todas las luchas progresistas y Acción Internacional encabezadas por el todo el brutal proceso de recolonización.
Los abogados defensores que se han revolucionarias durante los últimos 50 ex fiscal general estadounidense Ramsey Esto quiere decir la cancelación de los con-
presentado han sido amenazados e intim- años. Clark, han informado sobre el impacto del tratos de las corporaciones estado-
idados. Dos abogados defensores, miem- No importa cuán comprometido esté el bombardeo de 1991 y los años de san- unidenses que han privatizado y saqueado
bros del equipo de defensa, han sido líder con la no violencia. Consideremos el ciones de la ONU impuestas por los Esta- los recursos iraquíes, la clausura de cien-
asesinados. caso del ex sacerdote secuestrado, el dos Unidos. Las sanciones crearon una tos de bases estadounidenses y los miles
Hoy en Irak no hay sistema judicial. No Presidente Jean-Bertrand Aristide de hambruna artificial. Las importaciones de de puntos de inspección, la cancelación de
hay códigos, ni leyes, ni cortes. Aún no hay Haití, que fue acusado de corrupción, nar- alimentos, medicinas y materiales nece- las misiones de “buscar y destruir” y la
un acuerdo sobre una constitución. La cotráfico y violencia pandillera. Hoy, el sarios para la vida civil eran negadas. clausura de las prisiones secretas donde
estructura completa del estado iraquí fue Presidente Hugo Chávez de Venezuela y el Según cálculos de la misma ONU, más miles y miles de iraquíes están siendo tor-
destruida. En su lugar sólo queda la forma Presidente Mahmoud Ahmadinejad de de 1,5 millones de iraquíes murieron de turados y humillados.
más brutal de dominación militar. Irán están descritos cada vez más como si enfermedades prevenibles. Medio millón Y la clausura de las cortes ilegales
El Tribunal Especial Iraquí ha sido ilegí- fueran maníacos, dictadores y el mal de niñ@s menores de 5 años murió entre creadas por los Estados Unidos.
timo desde su formación. Es la creación de encarnado. 1991 a 1996. Tanto las sanciones como el Sara Flounders es co-directora
L. Paul Bremer III de los EEUU, el ex jefe Desde la época del Imperio Romano, bombardeo, que comenzaron bajo George del Centro de Acción Internacional.
de la Autoridad Provisional de la Coalición la justicia practicada por el vencedor ha H.W. Bush, continuaron a lo largo de los Ha redactado cinco libros sobre Irak
–el poder ilegal de ocupación. Bremer ini- significado la humillación, degradación ocho años de la administración de Clinton. y ha coordinado varias delegaciones,
cialmente nombró a Salem Chalabi, el y el aislamiento del líder vencido para así El bombardeo estadounidense continuó a encabezadas por Ramsey Clark, que
sobrino del Primer Ministro Suplente de establecer un orden nuevo. De este modo un promedio de 25 incursiones al día por han visitado Irak para desafiar el
Irak, Ahmad Chalabi, a que organizara y bombardeo y las sanciones
encabezara la corte. LIBERTAD PARA LOS CINCOS CUBAN@S estadounidenses.