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APRIL 6, 2006 VOL. 48, NO. 13 50¢
Full rights for
Enemigo de Hitler y
organizador de obrer@s
de hospitales 12
Mass protests answer moves to criminalize
By Betsey Piette against employers who hire undocumented workers, classifying
these employers as “alien smugglers.” HR 4437 would also crack
A groundswell of protests involving millions of people, from Los down on religious and community groups who provide assistance
Angeles to Boston, has resoundingly answered attempts to pass the for undocumented workers and their families.
anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner-King bill, passed in December in Other repressive legislation that has been introduced in
the U.S. House of Representatives as HR 4437 and currently being Congress proposes building a steel fence along the 700-mile U.S.
debated in the Senate. and Mexican border and also handing Halliburton Corp. billions
The estimated 11-12 million undocumented workers in the U.S. of dollars to build the equivalent of concentration camps to house
consider this bill an outrageous threat to criminalize them—and detained undocumented workers.
thus a declaration of war. The protests signal that immigrants form Demonstrations have been reported in scores of cities and
a powerful community that can fight back and that has allies. smaller towns, organized by coalitions of Latin@, Caribbean,
“There has never been this kind of mobilization in the immigrant Asian, Pacific Island and African immigrants, unions, churches and
community ever. They have kicked the sleeping giant. It’s the community groups opposed to this draconian legislation and sim-
beginning of a massive immigrant civil rights struggle”, said Joshua ilar measures being proposed in several states.
Hoyt, Executive Director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and
Refugee Rights, a 120-member coalition of organizations. (Los ANTI-IMMIGRANT BILLS
Angeles Times, March 26)
Upwards of 1 million workers, the vast majority from Latin
Why they provoked outrage 7
America, flooded downtown Los Angeles on March 25 in one of In some areas, like Boston, where Service Employees and
Workers, students the largest demonstrations ever held in that city. Organizers had UNITE HERE unions as well as Jobs with Justice helped organize
hit the streets 9 expected around 15,000. The crush of people was so great that the action, European immigrant workers from Ireland and Poland
access to the parade route had to be closed even as buses were still also joined the march of 10,000. Boston’s Puerto Rican City
arriving. The racist “Minutemen” have been active in the area, Councilor Felix Arroyo told the crowd, “The more they try to divide
threatening people along the border, and momentum from that us the more we will unite.”
struggle helped bring many organizations together. The organiz- In Washington, D.C., where 40,000 rallied earlier in the
GM BUYOUTS ers have called for a follow-up boycott of work, school and shop-
ping on May 1.
month, 100 activists wore handcuffs at the Capitol at the start of
the Senate hearings to protest the bill that would criminalize
What will save jobs? 4 More than 150,000 had come out in Chicago two weeks ear- undocumented workers as well as those who provide them with
lier, starting the process, but the sea of people that filled the streets aid or employment.
near Los Angeles City Hall inspired and gave courage to those Tens of thousands rallied in Milwaukee, where dozens of busi-
protesting across the country. Immigrants and their supporters nesses also closed in protest; in Phoenix 20,000 came out in the
are making their voices heard as the debate on immigration largest protest in that city’s history. On Sunday, immigrant rights
“reform” heats up. demonstrations took place in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio,
STRUGGLE VS. HR 4437 a provocation
with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee providing bus trans-
portation from Toledo.
SWEATSHOPS HR 4437 treats undocumented workers as felons, subject not Over the weekend protests were held in Dallas; Trenton, N.J.;
only to deportation but to prison time. It would levy huge fines Continued on page 6
95 years after
Triangle fire 5
the witchhunt 8
Trial subscription: $2 for 8 weeks
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WORKERS WORLD NEWSPAPER
55 W. 17 St. NY, NY 10011 212-627-2994
Los Angeles immigrants rights protest. WW PHOTO: JULIA LARIVA
Page 2 April 6, 2006 www.workers.org
‘Free our brothers and sisters’
Disabled protesters besiege In the U.S.
Tennessee state capitol
Full rights for immigrants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Disabled activists besiege Tenn. state capitol . . . . . . . 2
Lavender & red, part 59. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
By Lou Paulsen Benefit concert supports Somerville 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Black activist wins legal victory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
More than 400 disabled activists from
40 states and the District of Columbia Mumia’s lawyer gives update on case . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
recently staged five days of militant GM uses buyouts to eliminate jobs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
action in Nashville, the capital of Ten- UAW rank and file reach out to Delphi workers . . . . . 4
nessee and a national headquarters of
95 years after Triangle fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
for-profit health care. Mobilized by
American Disabled for Attendant Pro- WW interviews Fred Hampton Jr. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
grams Today (ADAPT), they demanded Draconian anti-immigrant bills outrage millions . . . . . 7
an end to policies that force elderly and Lessons from a historic march . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
disabled people to go into nursing homes
for services that they should be receiving Media witch-hunts Barry Bonds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
in their own homes.
Around the world
On March 19, in front of media and fed- PHOTO: TOM OLIN, ADAPT
eral officials, over 100 present and former residents of “Our homes, not nursing homes.” U.S. troops in Dominican Republic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Tennessee nursing homes testified to the miserable and disobedience action. Broad strike in France . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
oppressive conditions they faced. “I swear to god it was like On the following day they held a long march through the
Black unionist to French workers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
listening to people who just got out of prison,” recalled city to the office of TennCare, the state Medicaid program,
Chicago ADAPT organizer Ed Hoffmans. Being institution- and then to the office of the U.S. Department of Housing Ukraine votes no to NATO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
alized in Tennessee is so bad, and services outside nursing and Urban Development. They chanted, “Free our broth- Iraqi doctor moves So. Carolina audience . . . . . . . . 10
homes are so impossible to get, that activists have had to ers, free our sisters, free our people now!” Attack on Baghdad mosque deepens anger at U.S.. . 11
create strategies to help disabled people escape to other Bredesen, a Democrat, consistently refuses to meet
Koreans debunk U.S. scheme in Brussels . . . . . . . . . 11
states—a system they call the Underground Railroad. with disability activists. He is not a servant of the ruling
The next day, hundreds of protesters, many using wheel- class—he is a member of it. He made his $100 million for-
chairs, marched uphill in cold and wet weather to a rally tune in the health care industry, specifically the managed-
at the War Memorial. They then blockaded several inter- care giants HealthAmerica and Coventry. Tennessee’s History’s rebirth?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
sections around the Capitol building for over five hours, Republican senator, majority leader Bill Frist, likewise
Noticias En Español
while also shutting down the exit from the parking garage. made his fortune from the Tennessee-based Hospital
They chanted, “Just like a nursing home—you can’t get Corporation of America. John Black 1921-2006 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
out!” Sixty were arrested. Bredesen is a great believer in corporate medicine but
On March 21 they returned to the Capitol, rallying not public health care. In February 2005, he told a national WW CALENDAR
across the street and chanting steadily for two and a half conference that Medicaid has “more in common with ...
hours. A delegation attempted to meet with Gov. Phil Bre- socialist economy than the commonsense business princi- LOS ANGELES. NEW YORK.
desen. After being rebuffed, they blockaded Charlotte ples that do such a good job allocating resources efficiently
Sat., April 15 Fri., March 31
Avenue. Police arrested 44 and threatened them with a in other parts of our American life.” Workers World Party Forum.
‘Finding Each Other on the Road
month in jail and a $1,000 fine if they repeated their civil Continued on page 10 to Freedom.’ Minnie Bruce Pratt “Immigrant rights & the class
on Walking to New Orleans and struggle today. Berta Joubert-Ceci,
reading from her book, Walking a Latina leader of WWP, will speak
Mid-1960s gay activists
Back Up Depot Street. 4 p.m. At on the significance of the recent
5274 W Pico Blvd #203, L.A. For huge immigrant rights
info (323) 936-7266. demonstrations for the class
struggle here. Also: “French work-
Sat., April 22 ers & students show the power of
target U.S. gov’t
Stop War on Iran Before it Starts: class solidarity.” G. Dunkel, WW
Hear Ardeshir Ommani, just contributing editor, will report on
returned from Iran, and Sara the three-million-strong strike
Flounders, initiater of the Stop against anti-worker legislation. 7
War on Iran Campaign. 4 p.m. At p.m. (Dinner at 6:30 p.m.) At 55
By Leslie Feinberg 5274 W Pico Blvd #203, L.A. For W. 17 St., 5th Fl., Manhattan. For
Lavender & Red focuses on the relation- info (323) 936-7266. N E W Y O R info phone (212) 627-2994.
ship over more than a century between the
In 1963, activist Franklin Kameny helped set up the East liberation of oppressed sexualities, genders
and sexes, and the communist movement. PART 59
Coast Homophile Organizations (ECHO). ECHO brought
You can read the entire, ongoing Workers World newspaper
together the Washington, D.C., New York and Philadelphia
series by Leslie Feinberg online at www.workers.org. Workers World
branches of Mattachine, the New York branch of the Stop and get a subscription while you're there!
Daughters of Bilitis and the Janus Society of Philadelphia. 55 West 17 Street
The coalition, meant to foster cooperation and to debate icizing the Cuban Revolution was not lost on these New York, N.Y. 10011
tactics, was also an attempt to form an activist network to activists. After all, it was the U.S. that had carried out the Phone: (212) 627-2994
the left of the accommodationist leaders of the homophile “Lavender Scare” as a Cold War bludgeon, unleashed state Fax: (212) 675-7869
movement. repression against lesbians and gay men, bisexuals and E-mail: email@example.com
This more left-leaning activist current of primarily white trans people, marginalized LGBT workers from the labor Web: www.workers.org
gay men and lesbians was not revolutionary. But they were force, and pathologized sexual and gender variation as Vol. 48, No. 13 • April 6, 2006
breaking away from the timid, class-collaborationist polit- criminal and sick behavior. Closing date: March 29, 2006
ical approach of Mattachine and the DOB. It was a courageous move by these activists, still living Editor: Deirdre Griswold
And they denounced the gay-bashing U.S. government in the chill of the Cold War, to face red-baiting for holding Technical Editor: Lal Roohk
when the media here attacked the Cuban Revolution on protests that turned Washington’s charges against the Managing Editors: John Catalinotto, LeiLani Dowell, Leslie
April 16, 1965, saying it was interning gays in labor camps. Cuban Revolution back on the U.S. government. Feinberg, Monica Moorehead, Gary Wilson
Although some of these activists were imbued with anti- Author John D’Emilio concluded, “Lest anyone mis- West Coast Editor: John Parker
communism themselves, they immediately set up demon- take the event as an anti-Castro action, the pickets dis- Contributing Editors: Greg Butterfield, G. Dunkel,
strations in front of the White House and United Nations played signs that made their target clear: ‘Fifteen Million Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Milt
headquarters. The hypocrisy of the U.S. government crit- Continued on page 3
Technical Staff: Shelley Ettinger,
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www.workers.org April 6, 2006 Page 3
Benefit concert supports
By Gerry Scoppettuolo Rapper Optimus of Boston’s popular hip
Boston hop group the Foundation, referring to the
police crackdown on mostly Black youth,
Historic Hibernian Hall in Boston’s shouted from the stage, “Stop the occupa-
Roxbury community rocked to hip hop tions!”—including the Israeli occupation of
sounds, dance and political poetry on Palestine. Imani Henry of the International
March 25 for a benefit concert entitled Action Center took the stage and thanked
“The Fight for Justice.” Some 150 mostly the Somerville 5 for their courage. He
African-American, Latin@ and Asian youth linked their fight against racial profiling
came out to support the Somerville 5 and and police brutality to the growing move-
raise funds for their legal defense. ment of youth of color in oppressed com-
The evening was an exuberant and defi- munities opposing the war and budget cuts,
ant display of a community determined to declaring, “We don’t have to be scared of
fight back against police brutality and racial the word ‘revolutionary.’”
profiling. The Somerville 5 are five Black Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner,
high school youth who were racially pro- Bishop Filipe Teixeira of the Catholic
WW PHOTO: LIZ GREEN
filed, beaten and arrested by Medford, Church of the Americas, and Minister Rod-
Four of Somerville 5 with friends on stage. Foreground from left: Marquis
Mass., cops last April. They were framed ney X of the Nation of Islam were among Anderson, Earl Guerra, a friend, Isiah Anderson and Calvin Belfon.
and charged with numerous crimes. those who took the stage to express solidar-
Calvin Belfon, Jr., Isiah Anderson, Mar- ity and support. Bishop Teixeira told the could not attend because he had broken his “We know they are innocent. It is the police
quis Anderson and Earl Guerra, four of the audience that he had witnessed police bru- leg playing basketball that day), let the officers who committed the crime. If they
Somerville 5, emceed the event. The bene- tality on the way to the concert: “I saw some audience know the depth of his family’s were white they would have been treated
fit concert included local artists Reflect and young Cape Verdeans being stopped by the experience with the police: “What it took differently.”
Strengthen, United Roots, Optimus, Catch police. Some day America will change! If me 18 years to build up, it took those cops The first Somerville 5 trial is docketed for
22 and Trayce, Bamboo, Nucleus, DJ the new immigration law is passed, I could 10 minutes to tear down. We can stop racial May 15 in Cambridge, Mass. To reach the
Metaphoric, Urban Essence and Cassandra be jailed just for helping someone.” profiling!” defense committee, contact iacboston@
Clark-Mazariegos, who organized and pro- Calvin Belfon Sr., father of Calvin Jr. and Minister Rodney X of the Nation of Islam iacboston.org, (617) 522-5526.
duced the entire event. of Cassius Belfon, the fifth defendant (who gave strong support to the youth, declaring,
Black militant wins legal victory
By Larry Hales after being denied their right to appeal, but Aleem was not immediately also being attacked by the racist state on
Denver speak in support of an embattled released from jail. The Adams County pros- trumped-up charges. Both activists support
professor. ecutor’s office said the ruling was not in one another’s struggle.
Black community activist Aleem, the only Black man in their computer system and that they had Leaders like Pinkney and Aleem must be
Shareef Aleem went on trial in the crowd, spoke up and was not received the paperwork. Aleem was not supported by the progressive movement,
Denver on March 1, charged with immediately set upon by the released until March 24. along with the right to self-determination
second-degree aggravated assault Shareef Aleem police. A videotape showed Aleem Aleem, who recently helped chase racist for nationally oppressed peoples. This kind
on a cop, for which the minimum sentence never assaulted anyone but was pushed Minutemen away from a rally for immi- of political solidarity is necessary to help
is four years and maximum is 12 years in from behind and pulled down on top of the grants’ rights, has reached out to another reinvigorate the struggle here and world-
prison. The trial was of a fraudulent nature allegedly assaulted cop. embattled Black activist, the Rev. Edward wide for socialism as imperialist military
because Aleem was picked out of a crowded The trial ended in a hung jury on March Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Mich., who is adventurism continues to fail.
audience by cops while students were dis- 2. But Aleem was charged with contempt
senting at a Feb. 3, 2005 public hearing of court for refusing to take off a Tookie
New York City.
Williams T-shirt that included a photo of
the former gang leader and Nobel Peace
Prize nominee along with the words
Continued from page 2
“Redemption” and “Should have been
saved.” Williams was executed at San
U.S. Homosexuals Protest Federal Treat- Quentin on Dec. 13.
Mumia’s lawyer gives
ment,’ one placard read, while another Aleem had worn a shirt the day before
charged that ‘Cuba’s Government Perse- with the words “U.S. History 101” and
cutes Homosexuals—U.S. Government depictions of lynchings of a legal and extra-
update on case
Beat Them to It.’” legal nature. The judge had asked Aleem to Robert R. Bryan, a San Francisco-based Mumia’s
(This series will take up the obstacles fac- remove the shirt, which also included a lawyer and lead counsel for death row polit- attorney
ing the Cuban Revolution, and its subse- photo of a white slave master, and Aleem ical prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, spoke Robert R.
quent accomplishments, in more detail in complied. before a packed auditorium at Fordham Bryan
the future.) The next day, one juror wore a Bob Marley University on March 21. Bryan presented a
In May 1965, left-wing ECHO activists shirt and another wore a NASCAR shirt. Pre- legal update on Abu-Jamal’s current
won their proposal to organize a series of siding Judge Katherine Delgado did not appeals, which are before the U.S. Court of
picket lines in the spring and summer address the Williams shirt that Aleem was Appeals Third Circuit based in Phila-
demanding gay rights. They chose as their wearing until the prosecution objected to it. delphia. (Go to www.millions4mumia.org vists from diverse political persuasions to
targets the White House, Pentagon, State Aleem asserted his right to express himself, to read a Jan. 24, 2006, summary.) unite to strengthen the support move-
Department, Civil Service Commission refused to take off the T-shirt and was held This appeals petition raises specific ment to fight for Abu-Jamal’s freedom.
and, on the Fourth of July, Philadelphia’s in contempt for doing so. issues that are critical to Mumia’s struggle Author and attorney Brian Glick gave a
Independence Hall. The contempt of court trial was held on to ultimately gain his freedom, including brief history of Abu-Jamal’s long-time rev-
Although the picket lines were tiny, these March 22. The judge interrupted Aleem’s the systematic, racist exclusion of Black olutionary activism to illustrate that he is
activists were brave. Homosexuality was attorney, Mark Burton, when he tried to jurors by the Philadelphia prosecution and on death row for his political beliefs and not
still illegal and actively persecuted. bring out the political issues in the case. The racist comments made by the late Judge for the shooting. Mumia sent an audio-
The boldness of public picketing made prosecuting attorney for the assault case Albert Sabo against Abu-Jamal during the taped greeting to the meeting.
the demand for gay and lesbian rights hard appeared at the contempt of court hearing. original trial in 1982. Sabo sat on the bench Deborah Small, a founder of Break the
to ignore. ABC-TV filmed the protest outside Aleem’s family says he sneered as Aleem during the 1982 trial and the 1995-96 post- Chains: Communities of Color and also the
the White House on May 29. Local affiliates was sentenced to 45 days in jail. conviction relief hearing for Abu-Jamal. War on Drugs organization, spoke on the
in nine states broadcast the footage. A report Immediately after the sentencing, fam- A former Black Panther and award-win- relationship between the prison-industrial
on the wire services was printed in papers in ilies of victims of police brutality and ning journalist, Abu-Jamal was shot by complex and U.S. drug laws that criminal-
several U.S. cities. On the eve of the demon- Aleem’s allies rushed to his defense and police and then arrested on Dec. 9, 1981, for ize people of color and the poor.
stration outside the State Department, a held a press conference to explain what had allegedly killing a white policeman in The meeting was organized by the
press reporter asked Secretary of State happened. They included the Denver Philadelphia. A sham of a trial resulted in a National Lawyers Guild’s Fordham Univer-
Dean Rusk about his department’s policy International Action Center, members of first-degree murder conviction for Abu- sity Law School chapter and its national
towards homosexuality. Aurora Copwatch, Danon Gale—who was Jamal on July 3, 1982. He has faced two chapters. An interview with Bryan by
The full day of protest outside the Civil attacked by cops at a Chuck E Cheese death warrants, which were revoked due to WBAI’s Ken Nash and Mimi Rosenberg can
Service Commission forced its officials to restaurant while eating with his children on mass pressure here and worldwide. be heard at www. radio4all.net/ proginfo.
finally agree to a meeting with gay activists. Feb. 27—and others. Bryan—along with Robert Meeropol, php?id=17281.
Next: Old guard Mattachine and DOB Mark Burton filed for a stay in serving son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, —Story & photo by Monica Moorehead
blamed bar crowd for drawing police the sentence with the Colorado Supreme communists who were executed by the
violence. Court, which was granted pending an U.S. government back in 1953—urged acti-
Page 4 April 6, 2006 www.workers.org
What workers can do
GM uses buyouts to eliminate jobs
By Jerry Goldberg Most important, a rank-and-file organi- ing consequences for the future. son said that some autoworkers “almost
Detroit zation, Soldiers of Solidarity (SOS), was For one thing, these job cuts weaken the see their job as a property right.” (New
formed. SOS began organizing rank-and- position of the union at the precise time York Times, March 22) In fact, this idea,
General Motors announced on March 22 file meetings in every city where Delphi had that there is a move led by Delphi to funda- that the workers have a property right to
a historic “buyout” plan available to every plants. It led a “work to rule” campaign in mentally lower the wages and living stan- their jobs, was the very principle upon
one of its over 100,000 hourly workers, as the shops, encouraging workers on the shop dards of the union members. New hires at which the union was founded. The UAW
well as thousands of Delphi workers. Delphi floor to hold the companies to every work Delphi already work under a two-tier sys- was formed when the workers seized and
Automotive was formerly part of General and safety rule, which had the effect of slow- tem, starting at $14 an hour and maxing out occupied the plants in the famous “sit-in”
Motors and was spun off in 1999. Approxi- ing production. A well-publicized demon- at $18. This compares with the $26 an hour strikes in Flint, Mich., in 1936-37.
mately 50 percent of Delphi’s business is stration was held at the Detroit Inter- earned by current Delphi workers. The new The plants that GM and Delphi want to
supplying parts for GM auto production. national Auto show in January. hires have far fewer benefits as well. By close are productive and modern facilities,
The GM plan is a key element in the com- This dynamic organizing by the Delphi cooperating with Delphi in eliminating the most of which have been retooled in recent
pany’s designs to cut its U.S. hourly work- workers and their supporters got the mes- better-paid sector of the workforce, the years. They are not obsolete and neither
force by 30,000 jobs and for Delphi to sage across to Delphi: the workers were not UAW has weakened its own position of are the workers. It is the capitalist drive to
reduce its hourly workforce from 34,000 going to sit back and allow their wages and countering Delphi’s attempt to impose these maximize the rate of profit, fueled by new
workers to about 14,000. living standards to be devastated without a wage cuts on its entire workforce. technology and globalization, that is
It would offer $35,000 to every GM fight. The message was out that if Delphi In addition, how secure will the retirees’ behind their wholesale and irrational job
worker currently eligible to retire under the tried to impose a contract, the rank and file pensions be when the number of workers elimination and wage cutting.
UAW/GM “30 and out” plan, under which were prepared to strike. contributing to the plan keeps being re- GM made huge profits until a few years
workers receive full pensions after working The Delphi workers were actually in a duced? Under current law, if the pension ago, when sales plummeted primarily due
30 years, regardless of age. good position for a strike, unlike many funds go bankrupt, the pensions will be to changes in the market brought on by (1)
It would pay 60 percent of their wages to workers in a bankruptcy situation. A strike reduced and, most importantly, the the overproduction of trucks and SUVs and
workers within three years of retirement at Delphi would almost immediately shut retirees’ health benefits will be eliminated. (2) management ignoring the impact of
who opted to leave the company now and down GM production. General Motors had Historically, the UAW leadership has high gas prices on the vehicles people
who would be eligible to receive full retire- just launched several new car models in a understood that the union must fight not might actually need. Now that sales are
ment when they reached 30 years. desperate attempt to regain market share, just for benefits for the current workers, but down, GM and Delphi management, and
The plan also includes a $140,000 buy- which had fallen to historic lows, in large for the future workforce as well. For exam- the Wall Street sharks behind them, see an
out for workers with over 10 years’ senior- part because GM had continued to produce ple, the movement for “30 and out” pen- opportunity to maximize the rate of profit
ity who choose to leave the company now almost nothing but gas-guzzling SUVs and sions was seen as a struggle to both shorten by gutting the workers.
and who would forgo all benefits, except for trucks. General Motors feared that a strike the working life for factory workers who per- In this period, rather than buying into
their vested pension benefits. Workers with at Delphi would cripple its new model form hard labor and to open up jobs for new the big business ideology that downsizing,
less than 10 years’ seniority who chose to launch and further weaken the competitive workers in the auto industry. The UAW was wage cutting and benefit elimination are
sever ties with the corporation would get position of the corporation. in the forefront of the movement for a inevitable, unions must advance their own
$70,000. It was in this context that GM entered the shorter workweek and led strikes in the Big program based on the needs of the work-
This plan would also apply to Delphi negotiations between Delphi and the UAW 3 in 1976 that won a once-a-month four-day ers, not the bosses. That program should
workers currently eligible for retirement. An and that the buyout agreement was workweek for five days’ pay. This shorter assert that a job IS a property right of the
additional 5,000 of Delphi’s 24,000 UAW reached. Significantly, there still is no workweek forced the automakers to hire workers, and that if the bosses won’t run
members would be offered the opportunity agreement between Delphi and the UAW tens of thousands of workers. the plants, the workers must be ready to
to return to the GM workforce. on a new contract, and Delphi has In the 1980s and 1990s, the UAW nego- occupy them and run them ourselves to
What is behind this unprecedented buy- announced that it still plans to go forward tiated important programs to maintain defend our property.
out plan? How should it be viewed by class- with asking the bankruptcy court to throw employment levels in the face of corporate There is plenty of need for fuel-efficient
conscious workers? out its current contract with the UAW. restructuring. One plan mandated that, for and ecologically sensible cars, as well as
The announcement of this plan comes On the one hand, this buyout agreement every two workers who retired, a worker had mass transit. The workers should not
about one week before the March 31 dead- is a significant concession by GM to auto to be hired. The union also negotiated the abandon the jobs and the factories they
line that Delphi Automotive announced for workers. GM is spending over $2 billion to Guaranteed Employment Numbers (GENs). built and maintained just because the
asking the bankruptcy court to overturn its try to avoid what it viewed as a very real This meant that during the course of the bosses decide they are no longer “useful,”
contract with the Auto Workers union. Del- prospect of a strike that could have devas- contract, a snapshot was taken of the that is, profitable enough.
phi went into bankruptcy in October 2005 tated the company. GM took the strike employment level at each plant. The corpo- The struggle between the autoworkers
after the UAW rejected its arrogant threat seriously, saw the rank-and-file ration had to maintain at least 95 of that and GM and Delphi is far from over. The
demands for a 63 percent wage cut for its anger that was brewing, and decided to level for the entire contract. The union also rank and file should demand that the UAW
hourly workforce and the right to eliminate cough up significant dollars to try to stem negotiated a moratorium on plant closings leadership enforce the provisions in the
jobs wholesale, close plants and fundamen- the tide. And certainly, for many workers during the course of the union contract. current contract to maintain jobs and not
tally reduce the benefits the workers who were already contemplating retire- Significantly, these elements are still allow the wholesale gutting of the work-
received. ment, the extra dollars will be welcome. contained in UAW’s contracts with GM, as force. The rank and file must continue to
But there is another side to this agree- well as with Ford and Chrysler. Unfort- prepare to fight back against Delphi’s
Delphi uses bankruptcy ment between GM, Delphi and the UAW. It unately, the union leadership has ignored attempts to fundamentally lower their
to cut pay, benefits appears that rather than fight GM and Del- some of these provisions over the last few wages and benefits, which would be a pre-
The Delphi announcement galvanized a phi’s plans for massive job cuts, the UAW years and now is in a wholesale retreat from cursor to similar cutbacks across the auto
struggle against this blatant attempt to use leadership has accepted the inevitability of any demands to maintain the workforce lev- industry. Every progressive worker must
the bankruptcy court to destroy the liveli- wholesale job elimination by the two com- els mandated in the contracts it negotiated. be ready to lend solidarity and assistance
hoods of its 34,000 union members. The six panies and opted to negotiate to soften the in the struggle to come, because it will have
Delphi unions formed a coalition called blow for the current workers rather than Jobs as a ‘property right’ consequences not just for autoworkers, but
Mobilizing At Delphi that led significant fight back. This amounts to a historic rever- Commenting on GM’s buyout announce- for the entire working class.
demonstrations across the country. sal for the union that could have devastat- ment, labor relations professor Gary Chai-
Soldiers of Solidarity
UAW rank & file reach out to Delphi workers
By Martha Grevatt Delphi operates have America. discussion was the massive number of buy-
Youngstown, Ohio become magnets for mil- The process of building inter-union sol- outs offered to GM and Delphi workers.
itant worker-activists. idarity took a major step forward on March Thousands of workers are being put in a
After four postponements, Close to a dozen SOS 26 with an SOS meeting here in position of either staying at GM/Delphi,
the management of Delphi organizing sessions have Youngstown that drew many IUE/CWA where their future is uncertain, or taking a
Automotive has set March 30 taken place in Michigan, members from the Delphi plant in Warren, lump sum payment but giving up their
as the day it will ask a federal Ohio, New York and Ohio. Many were former steelworkers who health insurance.
bankruptcy court to throw out Indiana. Initiated by had witnessed the decimation of the “This is a rotten deal,” stated SOS organ-
its union contracts. As workers members of the United Mahoning Valley by the steel barons in the izer Gregg Shotwell. “It is essentially anti-
face this latest deadline with Auto Workers, these ses- 1980s and 1990s. Other workers who came union. There isn’t a comprehensive, collec-
anxiety and uncertainty, the sions are bringing in to offer their support included letter carri- tive agreement.” Every worker is forced to
rank-and-file group Soldiers of members of other unions ers, bus drivers, government workers and make an individual decision.
Solidarity continues to spread that represent another retired and disabled workers—all with their The massive buyoff of workers one by
PHOTO: SOLDIERS OF SOLIDARITY
its in-plant resistance to In Flint, Mich., home of 10,000 of the 34,000 own personal work-to-rule anecdotes one changes the contract. Workers should
Delphi’s threats to slash wages, the historic sit-downs. Delphi workers in the about following the orders of typically have the right to vote on it. Contractual
destroy pensions and health United States, including incompetent bosses. changes include allowing the unlimited use
benefits. the International Union of Electrical After strategizing around resisting con- by GM of temporary workers and eliminat-
Work-to-rule meetings in cities where Workers/Communication Workers of cessions at Delphi, the other major topic of Continued on page 5
www.workers.org April 6, 2006 Page 5
95 years after deadly fire:
Workers worldwide combat sweatshops
By Kathy Durkin The Triangle fire spurred by paying workers there all of 9 cents an
New York on unionization of the hour to make clothing for its stores. (USA
garment industry, the Today, Aug. 14, 2001)
struggle to win better
Sophie Stoller was ill and did not go to Much clothing is produced in death-traps
working conditions and
work on March 25, 1911. even the socialist without fire protection. In 2000, locked
A momentous event took place that movement. exits and other hazards caused 52 workers,
day—the worst industrial fire in New York including 10 children, to die in a fire near
history, in which 146 of her co-workers and loss of life were the Dhaka at the Chowdhury Knitwear and
died. Sophie Stoller worked for the price the workers paid for Garment factory. Nearly 80 died in a simi-
Triangle Shirtwaist Co. their bosses’ greed. lar fire this February at Chittagong’s KTS
Ninety-five years ago, the cry of “Fire!” And the owners escaped garment factory.
rang out just minutes before the 5 p.m. clos- culpability. Though the
ing time at the garment factory. On the top surviving Triangle workers and strong pub- ter working conditions and even the social- Sweatshops return here
three floors of the Asch Building, 500 young lic pressure demanded the indictment of ist movement. Workers joined unions in Even within the U.S.—the richest coun-
people were working overtime that Sat- the company’s owners, Max Blanck and droves, especially the International Ladies try in the world—profit-hungry business
urday to add to the $6 a week they earned Isaac Harris, for responsibility in the work- Garment Workers Union, which fought for owners, with government collusion, are try-
sewing women’s shirts. ers’ deaths, they were not convicted of these legal protections for workers. It led a march ing to turn back decades of safety and health
Terrified workers ran for the elevators crimes. of 100,000 to demand safety legislation. standards, including fire protection.
and stairs; many were trapped by locked Rose Schneiderman of the ILGWU and Half of clothing factories here are sweat-
exits or doors that opened inward. Flam- A jury of rich men Women’s Trade Union League said at a New shops, says the U.S. Department of Labor,
mable materials were everywhere. Hun- The all-male, wealthy jurors stood by York City memorial for the workers on April which reports dangerous conditions at
dreds were saved by heroic elevator opera- their fellow manufacturers. Despite the 2, 1911: “Every year thousands of us are nearly all Los Angeles clothing factories.
tors who transported them downstairs. testimony of over 100 witnesses, the jury maimed. The life of men and women is so This impacts the youth, women, people of
But when Fire Department hoses and acquitted the owners of manslaughter cheap and property is so sacred. ... it is up to color and immigrants who toil inside them.
ladders didn’t reach high enough, many charges after less than two hours of delib- the working people to save themselves. The Safety measures are defied in other
workers fell, trying to leap to the ladders. eration. only way they can save themselves is by a industries, too. A poultry factory fire in
Fire escapes collapsed under the weight of When 23 families who lost loved ones strong working-class movement.” Hamlet, N.C., in 1991 killed 25 workers; as
those waiting to be rescued. Many, desper- sued the Triangle company, they received Workers’ struggles and mass pressure at Triangle, the exits had been locked or
ately fleeing the flames and suffocation, only $75 each; that was deemed the value did bring about New York State fire codes blocked.
jumped 100 feet and perished. of a lost worker’s life. The employers, how- and protections, followed by city and fed- For 15 years in the 1980s to 1990s, many
In minutes, 146 workers had died. Bodies ever, profited well from the disaster. They eral regulations. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores locked in
were found trapped behind doors, on stair- got $60,000 in insurance benefits. But now, nearly a century later, is capi- workers at night without keys. They were
ways and piled on the ground. Of the The Triangle fire exposed the horrors of talism any kinder? The opposite is true. threatened with termination if they used fire
deceased, 123 were women and girls as capitalism and industrial greed for the Capitalist globalization has fueled world- exits; sometimes those doors were chained
young as 11 years old. Others were severely world to see. It showed the callous attitude wide the growth of brutal garment sweat- shut. Even with medical emergencies, work-
injured. of the business owners toward their shops, from Honduras to the Philippines. ers could not leave the facilities. (New York
Sophie Stoller was my grandmother. I employees: they were the means to produce Many U.S.-based corporations make Times, Jan. 18, 2004)
exist because she didn’t go to work that goods and create profits; their lives were mega-profits by super-exploiting workers, Sophie Stoller was a fierce advocate for
day. insignificant. mostly women and children, paying little, the working class. She would have sup-
Those who perished were immigrants, as And it proved how needed labor unions denying benefits, and flouting safety and ported the rights of all workers today to
she was. Many were her friends. The com- were to win any safety measures in the health protections. labor in safe workplaces, with decent pay
pany’s owners and officers were all rescued. workplaces. In the global economy, profits constantly and benefits, and the undisputed right to
This horrific fire was preventable. The trump workers’ safety. unionize. She staunchly believed a better
factory doors were kept locked to tie work- Unionization led to regulations U.S. companies, including Wal-Mart and world was possible, one without exploita-
ers ceaselessly to their sewing machines— This event spurred on unionization of the The Gap, contract most of Bangladesh’s tion and oppression, based on equality and
a common garment industry practice. garment industry, the struggle to win bet- garment manufacturing. Wal-Mart profits respect for all working people.
There were no sprinklers, usable emer-
gency exits or fire escapes.
Triangle Shirtwaist was a typical prof-
itable garment sweatshop. The grueling
workweek was 84 to 100 hours. Like other
WW interviews Fred Hampton Jr.
sweatshop owners, the employers hired On March 19 Chairman Fred Hampton Jr.
immigrants, mostly women and children, of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee
violating child labor laws. They were cheap was interviewed by Workers World report-
labor and could be easily fired. The workers er Eric Struch in Chicago. Following are
had to pay for their sewing supplies. excerpts. Go to www.workers.org
Sweatshop workers had begun in August to read more of the interview.
of 1909 to stage walkouts and strikes to
protest their exploitation and the lack of WW: In Cabrini-Green [Chicago Fred Hampton
public housing], the first thing that Jr. speaks at
went on before they started knock- Mumia Abu-
In the historic “Uprising of the 20,000,” Jamal rally
garment workers had gone on strike from ing down any buildings was to put in February
November 1909 to February 1910. Many in a new police station. Is a struggle 2005.
were from the Triangle factory, notorious going on over gentrification on
for its brutal conditions. west Monroe right now? INDYBAY.ORG
But Triangle’s owners were intransigent. Fred Hampton Jr.: That’s U.S. policy.
They rebuffed demands for fire escapes and You see it in Iraq, they placed the military
there, they have to. The police are the front There has
safe emergency exits. The devastating fire
line. It’s what Minister Huey P. Newton been a big
Delphi said—they’re an occupying army in the com-
munity. This is what stops us from address-
Continued from page 4 ing the inadequate health care, lack of hous-
ing the company’s obligation to hire one ing or snatching up of political prisoners. stretch of west Monroe St. after the is facing life [in prison]. Former governor
worker for every two that leave. The police serve to instill fear and terror Chairman of the Illinois branch of of Illinois George Ryan is on trial right now,
What to do? Rank-and-file activist Todd inside the community. The African Anti- the Black Panther Party, Fred they say for the license for bribes scandal.
Jordan of Kokomo, Ind., said in a recent Terrorism Bill includes language about land Hampton. A lot of the current cov- His wife has just acknowledged that he’s
flier, “The model must be built in the spirit grab as opposed to gentrification. And again, erage in the bourgeois media being tried because of the position her hus-
of the great general strikes and mass direct the new housing the government has plan- should be seen in the context of an band took about the death penalty. Aaron
action of Minneapolis, Toledo and San ned for our people, man, are penitentiaries effort by the cops to minimize the put out to the judge, Rebecca Paul Meyer,
Francisco in 1934, the great sit-down and the graveyards. So even though they assassination of your father and ‘You think it’s a coincidence that you got me
movement of 1936/37 and the great civil may come up with these sort of euphem- Mark Clark and instead put the and Governor Ryan’s case? It’s the same
rights movement of the 1960s.” isms, the Chicago 21 plan, Renaissance label of “violent” on the BPP. judge!’ She ran off the bench when Aaron
“We have to make a lot of noise,” stated 2010, they’re going to phase out the com- You can’t talk about Chairman Fred put this out! Aaron came out [of death row]
Shotwell. “Workers have power.” munity, phase out the people, get rid of edu- without talking about the present incarcer- after 17 years, after being tortured. We need
SOS announced future meetings in cation. What role the pigs play in the com- ation of [POCC] Minister of Defense Aaron people to pack that courtroom on April 14,
Toledo and Detroit and plans to picket the munity has to be tied to the case of Michael Patterson, who was locked down and beat Judge Rebecca Paul Meyer, courtroom
Detroit Economic Club on April 3 when Walker, who was gunned down Oct. 18, up in the same courthouse that former 2119, 219 S. Dearborn. The people need to
Delphi CEO “Steve” Miller will be giving 2001, by a Chicago pig in Cabrini-Green. A Chairman of the BPP, Bobby Seale, was support Aaron Patterson ’cause Aaron
the keynote address. lot of these cases are not just accidental. chained and gagged at, 38 years ago. Aaron Patterson supported the people.
Page 6 April 6, 2006 www.workers.org
Mass protests across U.S. demand
Rights for immigrants, not criminalization
Continued from page 1 ough, what began with around 300 people Huntington Park High School in L.A. Rights on Monday, April 10. Protests are
and Sacramento and San Jose, Calif., grew to 1,500 in a march three lanes wide locked the gates after classes started, but already scheduled for several major cities.
where a small rally spontaneously grew to and at least eight blocks long. Marchers the students climbed over a chain-link Over a week of demonstrations has led
a three-mile long walk. In Charlotte, N.C., chanted “La lucha obrera, no tiene fron- fence to join marchers who were walking the Senate Judiciary Committee to amend
some 7,000 people rallied in Marshall Park teras” (There are no borders in the work- the streets and chanting. the House bill by removing a provision to
March 25, saying, “Don’t make me a crim- ers’ struggle) and “Somos trabajadores, no In Houston as many as 10,000 students prosecute churches and charitable groups
inal.” Some 700 also rallied in the small somos criminales” (We are workers, not joined a protest March 25 to support the who provide assistance to undocumented
southern town of Kernersville, N.C. criminals). Across the East River in DREAM Act, which would give immigrant workers. However, the Committee also
In San Francisco, 20 immigrant rights Queens, the U.S. county with immigrants students, even those without documents, approved an amendment that would more
advocates began their fifth day of a hunger from the greatest number of countries, access to higher education and temporary than double the current 11,300 Border
strike in front of the Federal Building. In hundreds packed a school auditorium to residence with a path toward eventual citi- Patrol agents, while doing nothing to stop
Atlanta hundreds of demonstrators con- hear pro-immigrant speeches translated to zenship. On March 27 hundreds more the growth of the neofascist Minutemen.
verged on the steps of the State Capitol, English, Spanish, Bangla and Urdu. youths walked out of Eisenhower High This current anti-worker racist legisla-
while tens of thousands of workers stayed Detroit police estimated that more than School and marched 9 miles to an immigra- tion is in reality directed against all work-
home from their jobs to protest a Georgia 50,000 people came out in that city. The tion office. The next day students walked ers, whether they are organized or unorgan-
state bill that would deny services to undoc- mostly Latin@ throng was the largest polit- out of other schools and, when some were ized, documented or undocumented. Like
umented adults. ical gathering in recent decades. Many arrested by sheriffs, the youths quickly the late 1970’s racist “get tough on crime”
Denver organizers say 150,000 came to businesses had to close as their employees organized defense committees. legislative craze in the post-Vietnam War
the March 25 rally, many more than antic- took to the streets. Immigrant rights activists in Phila- period, which has led to the imprisonment
ipated. They spontaneously turned it into a In addition, high school students in sev- delphia, who had organized a Feb. 14 Day of millions of workers and poor, predomi-
march that led into the downtown areas, eral major cities including Detroit, Los Without an Immigrant rally, held a press nantly people of color, the anti-immigra-
filling up the streets for over half an hour. Angeles, and Dallas walked out of classes conference March 27 to announce plans for tion campaign pits worker against worker
In New York City’s Manhattan bor- on March 27 to join in protests. Officials of a National Day of Action for Immigrant in an attempt to divert attention away from
the growing economic crisis rocking the
Washington Heights, New York capitalist system, fueled by new, unprece-
dented military spending.
Working-class unity and solidarity are
needed more than ever to fight against
attempts by major companies like GM and
Delphi to strip workers of their pensions
and permanently lay off over 125,000; to
oppose the genocidal war against Iraq
being waged for the profits of oil monopo-
lies; and to demand rights for the Katrina
evacuees. To keep the workers from com-
ing together, the bosses and their politi-
cians are trying to place the blame for cap-
italism’s crisis of overproduction on those
workers they think are the least able to
However, as the undocumented take a
stand against these attacks, they are setting
an example for workers everywhere to fol-
low. The workers, united, can never be
John Parker, Arturo Pérez Saad, Bryan
Pfeifer, Gloria Rubac, Larry Hales, Molly
Owen, Kris Hamel, David Dixon and oth-
ers contributed to this article.
WW PHOTO: ARTURO PÉREZ SAAD
San Francisco .
www.workers.org April 6, 2006 Page 7
Draconian anti-immigrant bills
By Arturo Pérez Saad & Heather Cottin Brent Wilkes, executive director of the eroding the ability of people fighting depor- vices. Yet immigrant workers, who remain
League of United Latin American Citizens, tation to be heard in the legal system. at the bottom of the ladder even as they
Congress is debating several anti-immi- called the Hutchison bill a sign of an immi- (Contra Costa Times, March 26). Specter’s contribute enormously to the economy, are
gration bills, each of which is meant to stim- grant-bashing spiral. “They’re getting bill also sets time limits on immigrants’ stay being scapegoated for much of this.
ulate anti-immigrant hysteria. The most more and more aggressive, more and more here and makes permanent residency an The Filipino anti-imperialist group
draconian of these is the Sensenbrenner- outrageous in the proposals. It’s like immi- impossible dream for all but a very few. BAYAN says, “Low-income migrant popula-
King bill. grants are all mass murderers,” he said. Anti-immigrant groups such as the neo- tions are forced into a life of exploited undoc-
Drafted by two Republicans, this bill got “You could turn the whole country into a con NumbersUSA, the Hudson Institute umented status here in the U.S. because of
enough Democratic votes to pass the police state and that still won’t solve the and the Heartland Foundation are pushing a fiscal crisis made possible under the design
House in December and is now before the problem. People come here for jobs that the worst of these bills, while media from of unjust and elitist global economic poli-
Senate. Besides criminalizing the approx- are offered by American employers.” Time Magazine to Fox News conduct polls cies—policies authored by the U.S. corporate
imately 12 million undocumented immi- By comparison, two other bills, the showing anti-immigrant sentiment increas- elite, enforced by the Bush administration
grants living in the United States—man- McCain-Kennedy bill and the Specter bill, ing across the country. and its U.S. puppet regimes in developing
dating jail and deportation—it would even are considered “liberal.” However, they This is a carefully orchestrated campaign nations.”
“make any relative, employer, coworker, describe the undocumented as “illegal to create xenophobia and worker disunity at But now millions of immigrants and their
clergyman, lawyer or friend of an undocu- aliens.” Their provisions limit immigrants’ a time when anger is growing over the hard- supporters are coming into the streets to
mented immigrant into an ‘alien smuggler’ right to settle legally and permanently in ships caused by capitalism. It is the big cor- fight this reactionary legislation and prop-
and a criminal.” (immigrationforum.org) the United States. porations that have been outsourcing jobs, aganda. While Congress conducts its sham
Blaming immigrants for economic prob- The McCain-Kennedy bill, which is sup- reducing pensions and benefits and cutting debates, the largest working class immi-
lems, from unemployment to low wages, is ported by some liberals, would create a new wages; their paid-for politicians have grant movement in U.S. history is on the
not new. Since the founding of the United temporary visa category. In essence, it is a diverted hundreds of billions from the pub- move.
States, there has been a constant drumbeat guest worker program—a warmed-over lic treasury into war while gutting social ser-
of anti-immigrant sentiment. version of the failed and oppressive bracero
Tennessee’s Bill Frist, Senate majority program that forced so many Mexicans into
leader and an HMO robber baron who has poverty from 1942 to 1964. Under this act,
been trying to privatize Medicare, has cre- any immigrants out of work for more than
ated an anti-immigration bill that would 45 days are subject to deportation.
further militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, Sen. Arlen Specter’s immigration-limi-
hire thousands more Border Patrol agents tation bill is another guest worker plan, one
and build a huge fence along the U.S. that could make it much tougher for immi-
southern border with Mexico. grants fighting deportation or refugees
A bill proposed by Sen. Kay Bailey seeking asylum to press their case in a fed-
Hutchison of Texas would empower state eral appeals court. It, too, has a 45-day limit
and local governments to prosecute undoc- on staying in the country without a job, with
umented immigrants, allowing the Depart- no provisions for retirement, pregnancy,
ment of Homeland Security to legalize vig- downsizing, strikes or recession. The Spec-
ilantism with a “Volunteer Border Marshal ter bill would remove rights granted to
Program.” immigrants by federal courts of appeals,
Detroit. WW PHOTO: CHERYL LABASH
Houston. Charlotte, N.C.. PHOTO: MARISOL JIMENEZ MCGEE
Page 8 April 6, 2006 www.workers.org
‘Walking to New Orleans’
Lessons from a historic march
From a talk given by Minnie Bruce Pratt ‘Walking to a group of nine other neo-Nazis and
at a Workers World Party meeting on Klansmen plotting to invade the Caribbean
March 24 in New York. New Orleans’ island of Dominica, overthrow its govern-
Hear the account from Minnie ment, and turn it into a “white state.”
“Walking to New Orleans” [March 13 to Bruce Pratt, holding newspaper, We were greeted warmly in Slidell by
19] was significant because the two groups on www.workers.org. young white male workers, Latino workers
that organized the march have historically You can subscribe to Workers World eating lunch, a young African-American
been pitted against each other in the U.S. Newspaper online at male truck driver, older white couples and
South—the mostly white working-class vet- www.workers.org or from: young white women in their cars. This warm
erans and relatives, represented by Vet- Workers World response suggests that the double crisis
erans for Peace and Military Families Speak 55 W.17th St., 5th Fl., generated by the ruling class through the
Out, and the mostly African-American NY, NY 10011 war on Iraq and the re-doubled oppression
community leaders responding to the gov- 212-627-2994 of the working-class by way of the Katrina
ernment-induced Katrina catastrophe, rep- catastrophe has opened a possibility for
resented by Saving Our Selves in Mobile working-class unity across national lines.
and the People’s Hurricane Relief Fund in The ruling class—from slave own- At the final rally in historic Congo Square
New Orleans. ers in the 18th century through steel mill in New Orleans, a speaker-phone broadcast
• The South accounts for seven of the 16
We heard from Katrina survivors—a owners in the 20th century—have tried to included Fernando Suarez, whose son died
states where military recruiters enlisted
Peruvian family being aided by the split the working class by instilling and in Iraq and who has became an outspoken
the greatest share of 17- to 24-year-olds
Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance; we fomenting racism within the white working critic of the war, especially the targeting of
(and those seven states include Alabama
marched by tables of Mexican and Guate- class against African Americans and also Latin@ and other youth of color by military
malan male workers at lunch who waved to immigrants of color in the U.S. South. recruiters.
The South is being globalized, perhaps • 51 percent of active-duty U.S. military
us; we heard how Vietnamese fishing peo- Jeff, an Iraq War vet, a young white man
faster than any other part of the U.S. In the personnel in the continental U.S. are
ple in Mobile were put out of work by the in his 20s, a member of a Louisiana Army
1990s the South attracted more than half stationed in the South.
hurricane; in New Orleans, we—and espe- Reserves unit deployed to Iraq during the
cially the Vietnam vets!—were given a place the foreign investment. One out of every • 38 percent of U.S. troops killed in Iraq Katrina catastrophe, said, “When the disas-
to sleep by the Vietnamese community. eight workers in the South now gets her/his and 47 percent killed in Afghanistan had ter hit, I was serving a 13-month sentence
And we heard how Jamaican and Haitian paycheck from a non-U.S. employer. been based in the South. in Iraq. There we drove trucks, cleaned up
workers at the gigantic casinos along the Most of the well-paying factory jobs are • 43 percent of prime military contracts debris, established mortuaries for deaths
Biloxi gulf shore were abandoned by their still going to white workers, and the bosses from the Department of Defense went to caused because the U.S. made preemptive
employers as the fury of the storm struck. are still fighting to keep the region non- the South in 2002, and 32 percent of war against a sovereign country, against the
There were stretches of road where cars union. The U.S. South is the most milita- those contracts in most of 2005. U.N. Charter.” Finally, he spoke of having
and trucks blared their horns in support of rized and the most dependent on military- (Institute for Southern Studies) seen an Iraqi woman lying dead, and how
the march so incessantly that we couldn’t related civilian jobs. In the 1980s, white supremacist David that was the turning point for him. He cried
hear each other chant. This happened in a The following statistics include jobs, Duke tried to resuscitate the Ku Klux Klan out, “I thought to myself, what if that were
region where that symbol of racism, the both military and civilian, in this very in Slidell, La., as a well-educated, articulate, my mother lying there? My sister? What
Confederate flag, has been replaced for the poor region: 20th-century hate group. Duke ran as a would I do? I would fight! I’d be a freedom
most part by the U.S. flag, which overt • 42 percent of U.S. troops came from the Republican for the Louisiana Senate in fighter for my country! Here in the U.S. the
racists can hide behind in voicing their South in 2002 (the region has just one- 1990. But before that, in 1981, Don Black, Iraqis who fight are called terrorists. I call
white supremacist views. third of the country’s population). his right-hand man, put together in Slidell them freedom fighters.”
Media witch-hunts Barry Bonds
By Mike Gimbel Bonds is paid millions of dollars each Bonds has never been convicted of a sin- whether it comes from Black sports figures
year, but the ruling class cannot tolerate gle infraction, yet he is being convicted or Saddam Hussein.
Barry Bonds is the greatest baseball even the smallest indication of rebellious- without a trial by the big business media in Kansas City Star sportswriter Jason
player since Babe Ruth, yet the big business ness or defiance, especially from so what can only be termed a lynch mob Whitlock stated on ESPN’s Sports
media are involved in a frenzied attack prominent a “hero” to so many youth. atmosphere. The same media that has Reporters March 26 that Bonds is being
intended to demonize him. Why are they Sports, just like every other area of lied about the war cannot be trusted witch-hunted because he is pursuing the
doing this instead of praising him for all his
There are many sports figures of all races
that the big business media showers praise
capitalist society, is run by mil-
lionaires and billionaires
who cannot and will not
to tell us the truth, even when it
comes to sports. The ruling
class propaganda doesn’t
home run record of Babe Ruth. By defend-
ing Barry Bonds we defend the right of
every worker to “speak truth to power.”
Roger Clemens, one of the greatest pitch-
tolerate having their “employ- disappear when you flip the
on. Some of those players who receive the ees” talk back to them. It sets a pages from the front to the back of ers in the history of the game, has also
praise are worthy of it, but many are not, bad example that many others may a newspaper. It’s still the same edi- called the attacks on Bonds a “witch-hunt.”
and few if any of them can come remotely soon follow. tors and owners. They cannot and will Is that an indication of things to come from
close to Bonds in terms of dominance in Rickey Henderson had one of the not tolerate even the mildest defiance, other players? We hope so!
their sport. greatest careers in Major League Baseball
U.S. troops in
What is it about Bonds that the big busi- history. Henderson, also a Black baseball
ness media so dislike? They call Bonds player like Bonds, excelled in every area of
“surly.” They might as well call him offense and defense yet was continually
“uppity,” but that term would reveal their dogged by attacks from the media. Unlike
racist and classist attitudes against so Bonds, there never once was any claim of
prominent a Black sports figure. It’s one using steroids against Henderson, yet he
thing to be a “sports hero” who bows his also was reviled even while he was break-
head in respect to the media representatives ing baseball record after record. What was By G. Dunkel have been able to confirm that they have
of the ruling class. That “sports hero” will Henderson’s crime? tanks, armored vehicles, attack helicopters,
generate praise from them as a "model," to He, like Bonds, refused to bow his head The United States hoped sending a radar and many weapons, and we under-
be followed with, "and a real good guy." to his “master” and was dubbed “surly.” He heavily armed brigade of several thousand stand that those are not things used to build
was often attacked for “lackadaisi- troops to Barahona, a small city on the clinics.”
cal defensive play” in the outfield, southern coast of the Dominican Republic There are rumors circulating in Bara-
despite the fact that he was one of 50 miles from the Haitian border, would go hona that the troops are the advanced
the truly great defensive outfield- unnoticed. guard of an eventual 14,000, designed to
ers of his day. But the progressive movement in the pose a major threat to any U.S. opponents
The sports reporters for the big Dominican Republic held a series of in the region.
business media are in no way dif- demonstrations in late February exposing Although René Préval is Haiti’s presi-
ferent from the reporters on the this potential threat to Cuba, Venezuela, dent-elect, after a massive popular struggle,
so-called “hard news” side. They and Puerto Rico, to the elections scheduled he can’t take office until the Haitian parlia-
report to the same editorial staffs for Haiti and to progressives in the ment is seated. The second round of parlia-
and the same media conglomer- Dominican Republic itself. mentary elections is currently scheduled
ates. Bonds is being condemned in The U.S. and the Dominican army put for April 21-23, which means that the votes
a witch-hunt atmosphere created out the cover story that the U.S. troops won’t be counted and the victors seated
by that same media. How is that were there to provide medical assistance. until some time in May.
different from what the media did Oscar Moreta, a member of the Patriotic The danger to Haiti is that the U.S. troops
in the run-up to the Iraq invasion? Anti-Imperialist Committee of Barahona, in Barahona could intervene against Préval,
Where are the WMDs? Bonds has told the Cuban News Agency Prensa whom they see as an ally of deposed
Barry Bonds passed every single urine test. Latina, “Those of us who live in Barahona President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
www.workers.org April 6, 2006 Page 9
Broad strike in France
3 million protest
new anti-worker law
By G. Dunkel began in November 2005.
The railroad workers have offered
Three million students, workers, many of the strongest, most class-conscious,
whom first walked off their jobs, retired union-led resistance to the French
workers and supporters demonstrated on state over the past 20 years.
March 28 in every large city in France In an interview on French televi-
against a new anti-worker law. Known as sion, Elisabeth Beddad, a Black
the First Employment Contract (CPE), it is woman conductor on the TGV—
aimed at eliminating job protection for France’s premier high-speed train
workers less than 26 years old. line—said she would strike on March
According to union organizers, 2 million 28 out of solidarity with the students
people marched in Paris, 250,000 in Mar- and youth. “Workers at the SNCF are
seilles, 100,000 in Bordeaux, 30,000 in covered by a special labor code. But
Rennes, 15,000 in Strasbourg, 10,000 in youth and students deserve justice
and job security.” Paris
Lille and 40,000 in Toulouse.
Both police and the demonstrators Jean-René Carcouet, a train operator,
estimated that the March 28 demonstra- pointed out that in fighting to repeal the them said it was “because it is unjust. For
tions were twice as large as earlier ones on CPE, workers were fighting to protect their two years, they can decide to keep us or let
March 18. children and their future. Naturally, the tel- us go. Me, I don’t want to string together
All the labor and student unions turned evision reporter found a worker who was- CPE jobs. I want to be hired permanently.”
out. Many primary schools closed com- Bordeaux n’t totally opposed to the CPE. “Let’s try it Identified only as Kader and Nabil, two
pletely, with teachers, administrators, staff, out for six months or so” was his line. But jobless workers interviewed said they aren’t
parents and their children marching in the Despite this, 85 percent of all salaried the reporter couldn’t find one SNCF worker covered by the CPE because they are over
protests. Even employees in the private sec- French workers still have the right to dis- who solidly supported the government. 26 years old. Nevertheless, Kader said,
tor, who generally refrain from political pute a firing before an elected local court. The youth in Clichy-sous-Bois said that “Frankly, there’s nothing to be gained with
protests, came out in large numbers. In fact, one of the most important functions the protests in October and November were this kind of stuff. We are still losers. What
The sharpest clashes between cops and of French unions is to provide workers rep- about local issues like police harassment, the youth want is a real job.”
protesters were reported in Grenoble, a resentation before this court. lack of respect and lack of a future. They Nabil was even more bitter. “For us to get
university and research-oriented town, All major French trade union confeder- said that the CPE was a national issue and a permanent job, we would have to lose our
where cops used flash grenades and tear gas ations have stuck together in demanding that if it made it easier to hire disadvan- skin [color]. The only laws that apply to us
to disperse protesters. Cops also confronted the repeal of the law authorizing the CPE. taged youth, it also made it far easier to fire are the penal code.” Nabil is supported by
demonstrators in Lille, Paris and Rennes, a Student unions like UNEF and FIDL have them. The mayors interviewed felt that the statistics: a youth coming from the suburbs
very important rail center, when protesters gone further, demanding the resignation of situation was very tense, but not yet out of with a name that is not French is six times
occupied the main railroad station. De Villepin’s center-right government. control. less likely to be hired than a youth not from
On the Paris Metro (subway), cops Students at the Alfred Nobel High School the suburbs with a French name. (Le
Railroad workers in vanguard
roughly searched the bags and clothes of in Clichy-sous-Bois, a few hundred yards Monde Diplomatique, March 2006)
young Black and North African youths who All French-language media since late from where two students died in October, Statement after statement from anti-
were headed towards the protest. Even with February have put the strike and the strug- sparking two months of protests, were racist groups like SOS-Racisme, ATTAC
television news filming them, the police gle against the CPE at the top of the news, interviewed by the French newspaper La and others make the same points as Kader
obviously tried to provoke the young peo- focusing on two key areas: the attitudes of Croix. They were going to protest on March and Nabil: The CPE is no solution for
ple to do something to justify an arrest. the workers on the French railroads (SNCF) 28. They were not sure of the details of the oppressed youth; it is a political trick, a
French Prime Minister Dominique de and opinion in poor suburbs like Clichy- CPE but were strongly against it. One of trap, an empty promise.
Villepin, who designed the new law, pre- sous-Bois, where struggles of youth of
tended he was doing “business as usual” North African and West African origin
during the strike. He greeted King Juan
Carlos of Spain, while asserting he was not
Hand of solidarity
going to withdraw the CPE but was “open
De Villepin is growing increasingly iso-
to French workers
lated. Even his party rival, right-wing
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, sug-
gested the law be withdrawn and negotia-
tions begin. With workers and oppressed The following letter was written on March 21, 2006.
peoples uniting and growing angrier, it is
possible a Constitutional Court decision
The Million Worker March Movement is hereby expressing
March 30 will nullify the law.
its solidarity to the French youth and workers who have organ-
Struggle on since February ized and mobilized in their own name. You are courageously
protesting in the streets against the policy of allowing employ-
Since February, a coalition of students
and trade unions has confronted the ers the right to fire young workers without cause within the first two
French government, which is trying to years of employment.
make it easier for bosses to legally fire The “First Employment Contract” law is clearly an attack not only on French
young workers. youth but the entire working class. In fact, many of the French youth protesting
Alternating “center-left” and conserva- are workers already, while the others represent the future French working class.
tive governments since 1977 have put the There are similarities with how the argument is framed in France, that this law
rights of French workers under attack. Rennes will aid companies to bring down unemployment, and the argument in the U.S.
regarding not raising the minimum wage: “We’ll hire more of you if we can exploit
In the U.S., an employer must show cause before firing a union worker only.
Other workers must be able to prove discrimination to keep from being fired.
If this new law is permitted to stand, French workers can expect the further ero-
sion of hard-fought worker rights.
I was a student activist at San Francisco State College in 1968 and participated
in one of the longest student strikes in American history to establish a Black Studies
Department and a School of Ethnic Studies, which still exist today.
The current struggle of the youth of France reminds me of the student activism
at the Sorbonne in 1968. It is wonderful to see that the youth of France have not
forgotten the history of activism and struggle of French youth and workers.
An injury to one is an injury to all,
Former Secretary-Treasurer, ILWU Local 10
Lille National Co-Chair, Million Worker March Movement
Page 10 April 6, 2006 www.workers.org
History’s rebirth? no to NATO By Stephen Millies Meanwhile, the European Union and the
ver the past year the capitalist organizations in Europe have mounted a U.S. announced March 24 that they would
governments making up the campaign to protect the rights of the Fifteen months after Ukraine’s “orange impose travel sanctions against President
European Union have opened a KSM. (http://4ksm.kke.gr) revolution” made Viktor Yushchenko pres- Alexander Lukashenko and 50 other gov-
reactionary attack on the rights of com- Anyone learning of this might also ident, he has been humiliated in parliamen- ernment officials in Belarus, a neighbor of
munist organizations. This seemed ask, why do European capitalists—and tary elections held March 26. Early returns Ukraine and also a former Soviet republic.
somewhat surprising, given that 15 years especially their right-wing, neoliberal gave his party only 13 percent of the vote. The excuse for these sanctions is that Luka-
ago the capitalists’ most esteemed and parties—believe they now have to use Leading the polls was the “Party of Regions” shenko’s government dispersed protests in
highly paid philosophers declared that police methods to stop the communists of former Prime Minister Viktor Yanuko- the Belarus capital of Minsk against his
history had ended and the eternal reign from organizing? What are they afraid vich, who had been driven from office in reelection. These protests had dwindled
of the free market had begun. The of? 2004. down to a couple hundred people in a coun-
remaining communists were to be In 2005 there were electoral successes The 2004 “orange revolution” was as rot- try of nearly 10 million.
ridiculed, rather than repressed. of the Communist Party in the Czech ten as the 1980 “Reagan revolution.” It over- A Feb. 26 New York Times article admit-
But in 2005 the Council of Europe Republic and of the Portuguese CP, a turned the election of Yanukovich, who had ted that the U.S. and European Union lav-
decided to distort this history—the one party that openly aims for socialism and been the overwhelming choice of the work- ished millions of dollars on the Belarus
that had “ended”—by declaring that the that improved its position in both local ing class. The Bush administration and forces opposed to Lukashenko, with the
Soviet Union’s Red Army, which stopped and national elections for the first time West European governments orchestrated Bush administration spending $11.8 mil-
German imperialism at enormous sacri- in decades. But these were just small and financed protests in the Ukrainian cap- lion to “promote democracy” and other mil-
fice, was equally guilty with the Nazi signs of a turn. Do the capitalist parties ital of Kiev. lions raised through groups like the quasi-
leaders who launched World War II. anticipate a working-class resistance to Fifteen months of the so-called revolu- governmental National Endowment for
That could make it illegal to fly the ban- their own merciless attack? tion was enough to send food prices soar- Democracy and the German organization,
ners of communism as well as the hated The signs are growing stronger. The ing. Workers were fearful of losing their jobs Media Consulta.
swastika. youthful revolt in the oppressed suburbs after the Kryvorizhstal steel works were sold This “opposition” had called for protests
In addition, the government of the of France was the earliest indication of off to Mittal Steel, which in 2006 became on March 25 to mark the anniversary of a
Czech Republic, now a mini-state well real struggle. the largest steel producer in the world. The short-lived republic that was declared in
under the control of German and U.S. Then, beginning in March, hundreds same outfit, whose main office is in London, 1918 at the end of World War I. None of the
imperialism, found it imperative to try to of thousands of German workers turned has also bought up Bethlehem Steel of the capitalist media in the West mentions that
outlaw the Communist Youth Union to the strike weapon. They have gone out U.S. and left 95,000 retirees without health this 1918 “republic” was just a stooge
(KSM), since it dared to proclaim the sporadically, trying to defend the econo- insurance. regime for Kaiser Wilhelm’s collapsing
existence of the class struggle. mic gains they made after World War II, No wonder the “Party of Regions,” whose German empire.
And then the Danish state launched which have been under relentless attack. opponents allowed these sell-offs, is getting It’s appropriate that today’s “opposition”
an attack on Danish communist organi- In Britain, on March 28, a strike of 1.5 80 percent of the vote in the heavily indus- would celebrate the 1918 republic, as these
zations just at a time when these groups million workers rejected a government trialized Donbass area. forces would turn their country over to Ger-
were exposing the reactionary role of the plan to reduce pension benefits. Yushchenko also wants Ukraine to join man and U.S. capital if they got into power.
anti-Muslim caricatures and trying to That British strike went almost NATO. But the 48 million people who live Belarus authorities stopped these right-
mobilize solidarity with the oppressed unnoticed by the world media because, there don’t want their country to be a mili- wingers from gathering strength.
Muslim immigrants. The government’s in nearby France, some 3 million stu- tary launching pad against Russia. The phony 1918 republic was replaced
excuse: the Danish communists—of dif- dents and workers half shut down the Reports indicate that the Western pow- with a Belarus Soviet Republic of workers
ferent parties—all supported an appeal country and marched in every major city ers are maneuvering to put the “gas and peasants, which transformed Belarus
on the “Rebellion” website whose goal to defend the right to a job for young princess,” Yulia Timoshenko, back into the into a modern industrialized country.
was to challenge national anti-terror workers. prime minister’s office. Her party is getting During World War II, along with the other
legislation, the Danish equivalent of And now, across the Atlantic in the the second-largest share of the votes just republics in the Soviet Union, Belarus
the Patriot Act. This appeal included a United States, the center of world impe- eight months after Yushchenko fired her. helped defeat the Nazi invasion.
request to give financial support to the rialism, where history is not only sup- Timoshenko was president of the local From 1835 to 1916, during czarist rule,
Colombian liberation army, FARC-EP, posed to be ended but buried, some mil- equivalent of Enron—United Energy Sys- only 244 books were published in the
and the Palestinian liberation move- lions of immigrant workers are standing tems (UES). The $10 billion annual sales of Belarusian language, which is not the
ment, PFLP. up and flooding the streets. UES provided Timoshenko with a fleet of jet same as Russian. From 1918 to 1966
All progressive people in the United Those who boasted of having buried planes and she was named as an associate alone, while Belarus was a socialist state
States should defend the rights of the communism really thought that was the in a U.S. indictment for money laundering. and part of the USSR, over 18,000 book
European communists to organize and end of the workers’ struggle. They’re But the Western media have canonized her titles were published.
struggle for their ideas. Communist wrong on both counts. as Ukraine’s “Joan of Arc.”
Iraqi doctor moves So. Carolina audience
By David Dixon Now, she said, most children don’t go to tell the truth to everyone so that the U.S. U.S. government because all their family
Rock Hill, S.C. school, especially girls, for fear of violence. government’s lies are exposed. members in Iraq had been killed. With
Women in Iraq must fight for the rights Her presentation was filmed and will be twisted logic, Washington says these
An Iraqi doctor, Rashad Zidan, gave a they once had before the occupation. aired on public access television. women might try to stay in the U.S., since
powerful and thought-provoking presenta- American soldiers get drunk at night and Rashad is part of a delegation of Iraqi they have no families to go back to. They
tion on the war in her country to a meeting go to Iraqis’ houses, where they tell the women touring the U.S. Two who were had been killed by U.S. troops.
of the American Association of University men they want to “dance” with their scheduled to come were denied visas by the
Women in this small college town on daughters and wives.
March 23. In Baghdad, electric power lasts only
Rashad, a pharmacist, works in
Baghdad and Falluja with the Women and
one hour a day. Iraqis must wait four to five
hours in line to buy gasoline at jacked-up Disabled activists besiege
Tenn. State Capitol
Knowledge Society to aid victims of war, prices while a sea of oil lies beneath their
especially orphans. She told how the Iraqi land. The whole infrastructure and all the
people have nothing against the people of government ministry buildings were inten-
the U.S.; their problem is with the U.S. gov- tionally destroyed and/or looted at the Continued from page 2 “efficiency,” home-based services would
ernment and its troops in their country. time of the U.S. invasion—except the Acting on these principles, he “solved” not only liberate the recipients but cost less
The people of Iraq do not want a civil Ministry of Oil. the budget problems of TennCare by throw- per person. But they would mean less profit
war, she said. Most people in Iraq are There are not enough medicines in the ing 330,000 poor and uninsurable people for the corporations, which view nursing
Muslims; Sunni and Shia people often hospitals. Doctors have had to perform off the rolls. In response, activists occupied homes as a gold mine, given the growing
intermarry. They do not hate or want to surgery by candlelight. Many, many chil- Bredesen’s outer office from June 20 to number of people who need assistive care
fight each other. The top religious leaders dren have been made orphans by this crim- Sept. 4, 2005. This 77-day sit-in is believed due to disability or age.
in Iraq have called for no civil war. But hos- inal war and occupation. to be the longest ever at a U.S. State Capitol Protesters called for the Tennessee leg-
tilities are being generated by the occupa- Rashad showed photos of what the occu- building. islature to pass the Community Choices
tion forces. pation really looks like. These photos are According to ADAPT sources, 77 percent Act, which would allow Medicaid funds to
Rashad spoke of the horrors of the inva- easy for anyone with internet access to of all Medicaid funds in the U.S. are ear- be paid to community providers of the
sion and occupation. Before the war, she find. marked for nursing home care, meaning recipient’s choice.
lived a normal life with her husband and She stressed the responsibility of the they mostly go to private businesses, leav- More information, including photos and
children and had her own pharmacy. Iraq people here doing everything in their ing less than a quarter for home-based serv- video clips, is available at www.adapt.org/
was the most modern country in the Middle power to end the occupation. She said we ices. But in Tennessee the figure is 99 percent. freeourpeople/aar/nash06/.
East, comparable to Western countries. are the only ones who can end it. We must Contrary to the myth about capitalist
www.workers.org April 6, 2006 Page 11
Attack on Baghdad mosque
deepens anger at U.S.
By John Catalinotto Mahdi Army, led by Muqtada al-Sadr, who According to reports from resistance Shiites, rather than shared with the Sun-
is now under attack in the U.S. corporate groups, armed resistance to the occupation nis,” reported Knight-Ridder on March 27.
An attack on a Shiite mosque compound media. began in the mainly Sunni regions, among The SCIRI and Dawa are conservative
in Baghdad March 26 that left up to 37 peo- On top of this, every day reports come in small units of both secular and religious religious forces that have cooperated with
ple dead has sharpened a conflict between from the various regions of Iraq of dozens organizations. Many of the fighters and unit the occupation since 2003; they and their
the U.S. occupation forces and groups that of bodies killed execution-style. Despite leaders came from the disbanded Iraqi militias are hostile to the Ba’ath party and
up to now have been the most reliable U.S. these reports, the U.S. authorities, from army. Until the December 2005 election, other secular and Sunni-based organiza-
allies in the Iraqi government. Gen. Peter Pace to President George W. few organizations in these regions cooper- tions, and are suspected of carrying out
Lt. Col. Sean Swindell, commander of the Bush, continue to say that “civil war has ated with the occupation. (Interview with assassinations of fellow Iraqis.
U.S. unit that took part in the raid, claimed been averted,” and, in Bush’s case, “We will Abdeljabbar al-Kubaysi in the Portuguese Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army gets its
Iraqi soldiers were leading it and targeted complete this mission”—a big step down newspaper Avante, March 16.) support from the poorer portion of Iraq’s
an insurgent group’s compound in north- from his triumphant aircraft carrier speech The leading coalition in the new elected urban Shiite population and is strong in
ern Baghdad. (Washington Post, March 27) on May 1, 2003, before a sign reading government groups together three Shiite- Baghdad. While it, too, is hostile to
In reaction to the raid, Baghdad gover- “Mission accomplished.” based forces: the SCIRI, led by the Grand Ba’athists, it is also the quickest of the
nor Hussein al-Tahan said he would “cease Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Dawa Party and Shiite-based forces to focus blame on the
all political and logistical cooperation with U.S. foments Iraqi differences the Mahdi Army. In the spring of 2004, U.S. occupation for Iraq’s disaster.
American forces” and that the U.S. Under rules set up by the U.S./British Muqtada al-Sadr’s forces were in open bat- The March 28 New York Times quotes a
Embassy and the Iraqi Defense Ministry occupation, elected and appointed posts in tle with the U.S. occupation, but last year young Mahdi Army member, Katheer
should conduct an investigation, “but not the national government are divided they joined this coalition. Abdulla Ridha, as saying: “We are ready to
the American military.” Interior Minister among three main regions determined by resist the Americans and strike their bases.
Bayan Jabr Sulagh called the event an ethnic and/or religious differences: Kurds Washington’s contradictions The Sunnis have nothing to do with this,
“unjustified aggression against the faithful from the Northeast, Sunni Muslims from These three Shiite forces have friendly and we shouldn’t accuse them of everything
as they prayed in a mosque.” (Christian the Northwest and Center, and Shiites from relations with the Iranian government, that’s going on.”
Science Monitor, March 27) the South. Baghdad, the capital, has people which complicates their cooperation with Put on trial at the behest of the occupa-
These differing versions come from from all three of these groups, including a the U.S. Lately Washington has stepped up tion, former Iraqi president Saddam
forces that just recently were allied with the Shiite community of millions. its propaganda war against Iran and has Hussein recently shouted out in the court-
U.S. in the goal of setting up a government These occupation rules encourage even threatened military intervention room an appeal to all Iraqis to put aside their
in Baghdad and crushing the Iraqi resist- organization along religious and ethnic lines there. sectarian and ethnic differences and join to
ance. They indicate no solutions have been and have helped lay the groundwork for the Some Shiite leaders also accused the drive out the occupation. The court quickly
found to the problems facing the illegal U.S. “civil war” everyone is discussing now. Pentagon of conducting the March 26 raid silenced him. The Bush administration’s
occupation of Iraq. The struggle, however, is not just over on the mosque so it could “distance itself” worst nightmare is that all Iraqis, whether
Continuing armed clashes are possible religion but division of the oil reserves from the Shiites, because the U.S. “feared or not they follow Saddam Hussein, will
between U.S. troops and the Shiite-based located in the south and north. that Iraq would be controlled exclusively by unite to fight the occupation.
In answer to ‘Freedom House’
Koreans debunk U.S. scheme in Brussels
By Deirdre Griswold working with progressive Belgian organiza-
tions—especially the Workers Party of Bel-
Koreans are passionate about ending the gium. We held our own international sem-
division of their country and preventing it inar to inform people in Europe about what
from becoming the scene of another U.S. is behind this ‘North Korean human rights’
war. They also are politically sophisticated scheme and the role of the U.S. govern-
and understand that reactionary agendas ment, which is putting $20 million into
often come cloaked in liberal-sounding conferences of this type around the world.
words. We held cultural events and widespread
So when South Koreans heard that a leafleting at rush hours. Our events were
conference on “North Korean human cosponsored by the Korea Truth Commis-
rights” was being organized in Brussels by sion and One Korea for Solidarity.”
PHOTOS: TONGIL NEWS
the U.S. organization Freedom House, The Korean Peace Brigade that went to Korean Peace Brigade pickets U.S.
they checked it out. And when they saw on Belgium was joined by South Koreans from Embassy in Brussels.
Freedom House’s web site that its work on the U.S. and Europe. All spoke out on behalf
Korea had received “generous funding of a reunified Korea. They held meetings
from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau with members of the European Parlia- years after the Korean War. Instead, it is
for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor,” ment—which last year had passed a resolu- trying to elevate the human rights issue to
they decided to act. tion denouncing North Korea, “based, we a crisis level.
Workers World spoke with Yoomi Jeong believe, on distortions and manipulation,” “This correlates directly to inter-Korean
of the Korea Truth Commission about what says Jeong. cooperation. As the north and south come
happened next. The Koreans held a demonstration in together, building joint collaboration in
“We heard that Freedom House was front of the U.S. Embassy, holding up signs the economy and politics, we’ve seen
planning a conference on ‘North Korean saying “No war, no Bush” on one side and increased attacks on North Korea by the
human rights’ in Brussels toward the end of on the other “One Korea, by Koreans, for U.S. government.”
March and that some members of the Euro- Koreans.” They got “tremendous support”
pean Council were holding a small forum,” from the people going by, said Jeong, but
she said. “We knew from their previous no one from the embassy would come out
actions that this was nothing more than to speak to them.
demonizing the North Korean government. These events were “a tremendous oppor-
“Human rights is a highly politicized tunity, especially for young Koreans, to be
issue that the U.S. has been using to under- empowered by their work and by the
mine national sovereignty and prepare for responses they got from European people,”
future attacks on other nations. Look at Jeong says.
what the U.S. did to Iraq, using the issues If Freedom House is truly concerned
of human rights and weapons of mass about human rights for the Korean people,
destruction. she says, they should appeal to their gov-
“In South Korea, when the movement for ernment to end its economic sanctions on
peace and reunification heard about these North Korea and its war exercises simulat-
events, it decided to organize a special ing an attack on that country—like the “Foal
Korean Peace Brigade and asked for volun- Eagle” exercises going on right now.
teers. Over 80 people signed up to go to “Human rights have to be discussed in
Brussels at their own expense—students, the larger context,” Jeong insists, “of
housewives, farmers, workers, profession- achieving peace and reunification on the
als and clergy. Korean peninsula. The U.S. still refuses to
“The brigade organized multiple events, even discuss a peace treaty, more than 50
¡Proletarios y oprimidos de todos los países, uníos!
JOHN BLACK 1921-2006
Enemigo de Hitler y organizador
de obrer@s de hospitales
Por Deirdre Griswold respectivamente, fueron oficiales ejecu- En una historia oral, Moe Foner, fun-
tivos de estas dos compañías. dador del sindicato de trabajador@s de
John Black, que murió el 7 de marzo a la Los padres de John eran conservadores, hospital, narró cómo una huelga en el Hos-
edad de 85 años, fue una persona muy pero él admiraba al jardinero de la familia pital Lawrence en Bronxville, NY, llegó a un
conocida dentro del amplio espacio del quien como muchos trabajadores, era com- acuerdo luego de que una fotografía que
movimiento progresista, no solo en los unista. Ya para su adolescencia, John mostraba a John Black y a otros piqueteros
Estados Unidos, sino en el mundo entero. estaba activo en el movimiento clandestino siendo golpead@s por la policía que invadía
Cuando él se unió a Sam Marcy y a otr@s contra el fascismo, imprimiendo volantes el hospital, apareció en la portada del New
compañer@s en la fundación del partido en el sótano con una máquina reproductora York Times al día siguiente.
Workers World/Mundo Obrero en 1959, manual. Bernice Black recuerda bien esa huelga.
trajo consigo sus experiencias obtenidas Sus padres enviaron al joven rebelde a “Ossie Davis estaba en la línea de piquete,
cuando colaboraba con el movimiento anti- una escuela Huguenot donde algunos de los llevando a nuestro hijo Doug. Estudiantes
fascista clandestino en Alemania siendo futuros líderes estaban siendo preparados del Sarah Lawrence College trajeron bizco-
apenas un adolescente. También ya era vet- para dirigir Alemania. Al poco tiempo fue chos de baba au rhum y otras golosinas para
erano en la lucha para obtener mejores expulsado, junto a otros estudiantes izquier- l@s huelguistas.” William Lawrence había
salarios y beneficios para l@s trabajador@s distas. Años después, aquellos que habían fundado tanto el hospital como la presti-
remunerad@s aquí en los EEUU. sobrevivido la guerra recibieron una rec- giosa universidad de mujeres.
John continuó la lucha hasta llegar a ser ompensa de $10.000 cada uno. John donó Los líderes de la 1199 consideraban el
un líder en la organización de l@s traba- su parte al fondo de defensa de Mae Mallory organizar a trabajador@s dietétic@s, de
jador@s de la salud a la vez que pública- –una nacionalista neoyorquina negra lavandería y conserjes como parte de la
mente se oponía a las intervenciones impe- encarcelada por apoyar gente que se había lucha por los derechos civiles ya que la may-
rialistas de los Estados Unidos y se hizo defendido contra el Ku Klux Klan en el oría eran personas de color a quienes paga-
amigo de los países socialistas como Cuba estado de Carolina del Norte ban sueldos miserables. Malcolm X habló
y la República Democrática Alemana. Parte de su trabajo en la resistencia varias veces en apoyo a la campaña.
Él era franco y honesto hasta el descon- incluía esquiar por áreas montañosas de la Con el tiempo la familia se radicó en
cierto. Su costumbre de mirar fija e inquis- frontera entrando y saliendo por áreas sin State College, Pa., donde John trabajó con
itivamente agradaba a sus amigos y des- vigilancia, cargando documentos y materi- la organización Estudiantes y Jóvenes Con-
armaba a sus adversarios. Sabía mucho, ales valiosos. Un día dejó su casa porque su tra el Racismo en campaña por la libertad
pasó por mucho y utilizó sus habilidades madre amenazó llamar la policía. La policía del periodista revolucionario afroameri-
muy efectivamente tanto en las líneas de lo cogió una vez y lo llevaron a los cuarte- cano Mumia Abu-Jamal. En su libro “En
protesta como en las negociaciones con los les de la GESTAPO. En conversaciones pos- Vivo desde el corredor de la muerte,
patronos en los hospitales. teriores con camaradas, él narró haber vis- “Mumia reconoce el apoyo incansable de
El padre de John era un negociante tejano itado un edificio gubernamental en la John Black. John también trabajó con l@s
que trabajó en Berlín y se casó con una mujer República Democrática de Alemania y John Black estudiantes en el programa semanal,
alemana. Su hijo creció allá durante los tur- haberse dado cuenta de que era el mismo “Perspectiva desde la izquierda,” transmi-
bulentos años que siguieron a la Primera edificio usado por la GESTAPO y que en embargo, la tendencia de Marcy discrepó tido por la estación de radio de la universi-
Guerra Mundial, cuando las duras medidas una de las paredes, su “sangre había sido del liderato del SWP sobre muchas cues- dad de Penn State.
de reparación impuestas sobre Alemania cubierta con pintura”. tiones mundiales. Marcy, y su cercano cola- Siendo líder sindical, participó en dele-
por los aliados victoriosos, incrementaron Antes de cumplir los 18 años de edad, se borador Vince Copeland, argumentaron en gaciones que viajaron a la Unión Soviética,
el caos y el sufrimiento masivo. Millones de fue de Alemania para evitar ser reclutado o el Comité Nacional la necesidad de apoyar la República Democrática Alemana, y a
trabajador@s se unieron al partido Comun- enjuiciado y llegó a Inglaterra, donde cola- fuertemente las revoluciones china, coreana Bulgaria para contrarrestar el anticomu-
ista y al Socialista. La clase media también boró por un tiempo con el Partido Comun- y vietnamita y defender el campo socialista, nismo virulento creado por la Guerra Fría.
estaba en crisis y en búsqueda de un líder. ista. Por su perspectiva de crítica de la que estaba siendo asediado, especialmente Aún después de jubilarse en 1986, John
Cuando la Depresión mundial comenzó situación política en Alemania, fue acusado en Europa del Este. Estas diferencias con- siguió viajando a países satanizados por el
de lleno y millones de alemanes estaban de ser trotskista. Indignado, leyó algunas dujeron a que el grupo se separara del SWP gobierno estadounidense. Desafió la pro-
totalmente destituidos, el Partido Nazi ya escrituras de Trotsky para refutar a sus acu- y se fundara el Partido Mundo Obrero hibición de viajar a Cuba y visitó ese país en
estaba usando la demagogia antisemita y sadores, pero se sorprendió al descubrir (Workers World Party) en 1959. 1998 y 1999. En el 2000, fue a Irak con una
anticapitalista para atraer a los arruinados que estaba de acuerdo con las posiciones Para ese entonces, John Black estaba en delegación de solidaridad encabezada por
y desposeídos, pero secretamente estaba generales de Trotsky. la ciudad de Buffalo en Nueva York traba- Ramsey Clark para ver y regresar con infor-
recibiendo fondos de capitanes de indus- El padre de John le había registrado jando en un hospital. Al poco tiempo se casó mación sobre las sanciones devastadoras
trias tales como Fritz von Thyssen y Alfred como ciudadano de los EEUU, y en 1940 a con Bernice Bates, miembra de un grupo de impuestas sobre Irak, las cuáles fueron pre-
Krupp. la edad de 19 años, se fue a Nueva York. teatro de la comunidad negra. Para el 1961 ludio del ataque militar contra ese país.
El fanatismo de Hitler contra el comu- Trabajó en un restaurante y luego en una estaba trabajando con la Local 1199 organi- Mientras se encontraba regresando de ese
nismo y el odio contra los judíos también fábrica de cartón, donde la mayoría de l@s zando trabajador@s de hospital y del viaje, sufrió un ataque cardiaco. Un grupo
atrajo el financiamiento de multimillonar- trabajador@s eran mujeres inmigrantes cuidado de la salud. de médic@s que había estado en Irak para
ios de los Estados Unidos como Henry Ford mal remuneradas. Allí conoció a Sam Marcy John y Bernice se mudaron varias veces evaluar sus necesidades médicas, le salvó la
de la Ford Motor Co. e Irenee du Pont, y Dorothy Ballan, líderes de muchas luchas al crecer la familia y porque el trabajo de vida usando nitroglicerina.
cabecilla entonces de la General Motors. militantes organizadas por el sindicato de John lo llevaba a montar campañas de A pesar de su precaria salud, John con-
Ellos querían que Estados Unidos se uniera trabajador@s de fábricas de cartón. organización en la Ciudad de Nueva York, tinuó con su agitación política y su interés
a Alemania en contra de la Unión Soviética Como ell@s, se hizo miembro del Partido en Nueva Jersey y en Pensilvania. Even- en la historia revolucionaria. Al morir, él
esperando que salieran de esa guerra con- Socialista de Trabajadores (SWP por las tualmente, se convirtió en el primer presi- todavía estaba haciendo investigaciones
tratos multimillonarios para vender sus siglas en inglés) y creía que proseguir la dente del Distrito 1199P, que representaba sobre dos de sus tópicos favoritos: el
vehículos. lucha de clases, no sucumbiendo al patrio- a emplead@s de hospitales y de hogares de Illuminati, un movimiento que fue precur-
La Union Banking Corp. y la WA Harri- tismo burgués durante la segunda guerra ancianos en Pensilvania. sor de la Revolución Francesa de 1789, y
man & Co. también estaban entre las firmas mundial imperialista, era la manera de der- sobre la vida de Tan
estadounidenses asociadas a Hitler. El bis- rotar al fascismo y la ultra derecha. Malaka, fundador del
abuelo y el abuelo de George W. Bush Una vez que comenzó la Guerra Fría, sin Partido Comunista de
Subscribete a Mundo Obrero A John Black le sobre-
viven su esposa Bernice,
$2 por 8 semanas de prueba $25 por un año sus hij@s Mack,
Douglass y Jennifer, y
Nombre______________________________________________Telephono __________________ dos nietos, Shango y Zoe.
Un homenaje tendrá
Dirección ________________________________________________________________________ lugar el primero de mayo
en el Friends Meeting
Ciudad / Estado / Código Postal ____________________________________________________ House en State College,
WW Publishers, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011 Pa.