Tres crisis del capitalismo Organizando en el sur de EE.UU.
Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite!
Sept. 13, 2012
Vol. 54, No. 36
South African miners cheer as murder charges dropped
By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire Some 50 workers celebrated outside the jail as South African authorities announced on Sept. 2 that they were provisionally dropping murder charges against 270 miners. All the jailed workers were scheduled to be released by Sept. 6. The group had been charged with murder after police on Aug. 16 shot and killed 34 miners during a wildcat strike at the Marikana platinum mine, 80 miles northwest of Johannesburg. Miners from the Lonmin Platinum facilities at Marikana are continuing to pressure their bosses, demanding higher pay and better working conditions. The rock drill operators have been blocking production at the platinum facility for weeks. Early last month, 10 workers had been killed in clashes between miners represented by two rival unions. The police then massacred the 34 workers in a confrontation after failed efforts to break up their occupation of a hill near the mines. A video of the shooting was seen widely. In the aftermath of the unrest and shootings, the prosecuting authorities in the North West Province brought murder charges against 270 mineworkers based on an old apartheid-era law related to “common purpose.” Under this law, any form of unrest resulting in deaths allows the state to prosecute any people involved in the struggle, even if they were fighting against injustice. Broad sections of the South African public expressed outrage at this use of “common purpose” legal provisions against the mineworkers. The Congress of South African Trade Unions, the main federation of trade unions, which does not represent the jailed miners, called the murder charge “absurd.” That’s why the National Prosecuting Authority announced Sept. 2 that it would suspend the murder charges pending the completion of an investigation. South African President Jacob Zuma had launched a commission of inquiry in the immediate aftermath of the Aug. 16 massacre. Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe on Aug. 31 demanded that the NPA provide sound legal reasons for charging the mineworkers with murder. Radebe noted that the charges had sparked “shock, panic and confusion” inside the country. (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 31) The continued detention and murder charges were egregious, since it was the police who fired on the miners. While some workers were armed with traditional weapons, the police used automatic rifles, teargas and water cannons. Autopsies showed many of the miners had been shot in the back. Mathew Phosa, secretary treasurer of the governing African National Congress, spoke out: “Charging some of the role players in the face of a Commission of Inquiry is reckless, incongruous and almost absurd — the consequences too ghastly to contemplate.” (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 1) Mathole Motshekga, the ANC’s chief whip in Parliament, indicated on Sept. 2 that he was glad to see the charges dismissed for now. Nonetheless, the NPA suggested that the prosecution of the miners may resume if the Commission of Inquiry unearths evidence of wrongdoing on the workers’ part. Acting NPA director, Nongcobo Jita, said that those jailed miners who could prove their places of residence would be released pending the outcome of the government inquiry. She blamed the initial murder charges on the North West Province prosecutor, Johan Smit. The Marikana mines are located in the North West Province. Smit continued to defend the murder charges, saying the decision had legal merit. Unrest continues in other mines Since the Marikana massacre, miners have opened struggles at other mining facilities throughout South Africa. In late August and early September, the Royal Bafokeng mines experienced three days of work stoppages. There were strikes and other disruptions in the gold sector. Four workers were injured when police opened fire Sept. 3 with rubber bullets at the Gold One mine located in Modder East. Just four days earlier, Julius Malema, the expelled president of the ANC Youth League, had spoken at the Aurora Mines, where workers from Gold One had been present. However, there had been unrest at Gold One since June. Malema blamed the government for what he called collaboration between ANC officials and mining bosses. At Gold One, bosses dismissed 1,000 workers in June for participation in what the bosses say was an “illegal strike.” Of the fired workers, some 300 have been rehired and mine executives claim that others may be taken back if they apply and go through an interview process. Gold One bosses also claimed that two of their employees were killed in the unrest and another injured due to intimidation by wildcat strikers against other workers. The company has offered a reContinued on page 6
Anatomy of a UNION VICTORY
WW PHOTO; STEVAN KIRSCHBAUM
U.S., ISRAEL & MIDDLE EAST
Murderers, torturers get free pass Anti-war forces set Oct. 5-7 actions Frankfurt action supports Syria Munich Olympics and Palestine
di erent responses
ISAAC: Same storm,
Protesters ood ‘Wall Street South’
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Thousands march through nancial district in Charlotte, N.C., countering the Democratic National Convention with a people’s agenda.
Sept. 13, 2012
For solidarity with CeCe McDonald
Court re-charges transgender author
By Kris Hamel This article uses the gender-neutral pronouns hir and ze. Leslie Feinberg has been recharged by the Hennepin [Minn.] County prosecutor for hir solidarity action in support of CeCe McDonald on June 4, the date of McDonald’s sentencing. Feinberg’s charge, which is classified as a “gross misdemeanor,” carries with it a possible 1-year prison term plus a $1,000 fine. The case of CeCe McDonald in Minneapolis roused support and solidarity from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer activists and supporters around the country. This young, African-American, transgender woman was the victim of a violent, racist, anti-gay, antitrans attack in June 2011. She and her friends were set upon by three bigots as they walked past a bar. One of her attackers smashed a bar glass into McDonald’s face, puncturing her cheek and salivary gland. A melee followed in which McDonald was the only person arrested. She was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and eventually accepted a plea deal that allowed her to avoid possibly decades in prison for a crime she says she did not commit. For defending herself against a violent attack, McDonald was given a prison term of 41 months. Feinberg is an award-winning author, transgender warrior and trailblazer in the LGBTQ liberation movement. Ze is also a revolutionary Marxist and a managing editor of Workers World newspaper. Despite being in poor health, Feinberg traveled to Minnesota to visit McDonald in jail prior to her sentencing, and again for McDonald’s June 4 sentencing. A large “noise” protest took place outside the county jail that night to let McDonald — and her state captors — know she was not alone. Feinberg was arrested and jailed for three nights without bond for hir participation in the actions outside the jail. Mass pressure on the county attorney resulted in Feinberg’s release and the dropping of felony charges. McDonald’s case and unjust incarceration were raised at Pride events in June around the U.S. and in several other countries. “Free CeCe McDonald!” has become a rallying cry for many in the struggle for LGBTQ liberation, against racism, and for the right to self-defense against violence fueled by hateful bigotry. On Aug. 30, Feinberg announced the recharging on hir Facebook group page. “I hope to see friends and other activists in court,” Feinberg wrote. “As defendant, I welcome parents and other caregivers bringing children of all ages, including infants and toddlers. I’ll bring crayons and drawing paper. Please wear purple/buttons/t-shirts in solidarity with CeCe McDonald! I’ll be wearing the free CeCe t-shirt designed by artist/activist Ricardo Levins Morales. “I’ve made a sign in support of CeCe to take with me to court. If you make and post your own sign in support of CeCe McDonald and/or have already posted one online, send me a copy of the photo/credit/location via social media and I’ll do my best to include your solidarity in the multimedia dedication to CeCe.” Feinberg has been ordered to appear in court on Sept. 13, 8:30 a.m., at the Hennepin County District Court, 401 S. Fourth St., in Minneapolis. A statement by Feinberg appears on hir Facebook page.
this week ...
In the U.S.
Court re-charges transgender author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Derrick Duncan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Protesters ood ‘Wall Street South’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Anatomy of a union victory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 On the picket line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Anti-war protests planned across North America . . . . . . . . . 5
Around the world
South African miners cheer as murder charges dropped . 1 Protest defends Syria, hits NATO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 U.S. & Israel exonerate murderers, torturers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The big lie about the Palestinians . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Conditions that led to South Africa massacre. . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Same storm, di erent responses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Still no justice for injured GM workers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Noticias En Español
Tres crisis del capitalismo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Organizando en el sur de EE.UU. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Jamaican immigrant & revolutionary
By Sue Davis
Derrick Duncan speaks at a protest in Brooklyn in 2000.
It’s tragic when a person in his 40s ‘‘We must work together for a better world’ dies suddenly of a mysterious illness. But it’s especially tragic when he is a working-class revolu- Duncan was a member of 1199, the Service Employees tionary, a staunch unionist, an immigrant from Jamaica union. Anne Pruden remembers that after he was elected a delegate in the early 2000s, Duncan joined other who yearned to visit the motherland in Africa. Derrick Duncan met Workers World Party in 1995 at Workers World members and friends to distribute fliers the annual Caribbean Day celebration held in Brook- at monthly delegate assemblies. “Derrick had a working-class view of everything,” says lyn, N.Y., during the Labor Day weekend. A flier about the fight to end the death penalty and save the life of John Parker. “That’s what attracted him to our politics. political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal attracted him to He was unabashedly biased in favor of the working class. the struggle. Always a fighter to end racism and police And being an immigrant made him an internationalist.” brutality, Duncan’s worldview expanded as he read Abu- Hillel Cohen, who leafleted 1199 meetings with Duncan, Jamal’s essays about the prison-industrial complex and agrees: “Derrick’s experiences in life as a young immigrant worker won him to the struggle.” connected the dots to capitalism. Donatien Bukuba, born in Burundi, shared the immiBoth John Parker in Los Angeles and Steven Ceci in Baltimore remember the enthusiasm and dedication grant experience with Duncan: “We were both trying to Duncan brought to the mobilization in Los Angeles to make a living, often holding two jobs. When we didn’t save Mumia’s life and end the death penalty during pro- have jobs, we would support each other. We took the tests at the Democratic National Convention in 2000. politics of Workers World and the International Action “As an oppressed person, Derrick was inspired by this Center and applied them to ourselves — the poor must work together to support each other.” great revolutionary,” Ceci told Workers World. Bukuba remembers the concern Duncan showed him “Derrick often made clear his opinion that lesbian and gay people must have the same rights as heterosexuals. at a rally demanding reparations for African Americans And I’d call him a workaholic — that’s how strong his in Washington, D.C. a decade ago. “We were talking with a group of young, very militant Black men. Some work ethic was.” A transporter at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Continued on page 3
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Workers World 55 West 17 Street New York, N.Y. 10011 Phone: 212.627.2994 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.workers.org Vol. 54, No. 36 • Sept. 13, 2012 Closing date: Sept. 4, 2012 Editor: Deirdre Griswold Technical Editor: Lal Roohk Managing Editors: John Catalinotto, LeiLani Dowell, Leslie Feinberg, Kris Hamel, Monica Moorehead, Gary Wilson West Coast Editor: John Parker Contributing Editors: Abayomi Azikiwe, Greg Butterfield, Jaimeson Champion, G. Dunkel, Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Hales, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Cheryl LaBash, Milt Neidenberg, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Betsey Piette, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Gloria Rubac Technical Staff: Sue Davis, Shelley Ettinger, Bob McCubbin, Maggie Vascassenno Mundo Obrero: Carl Glenn, Teresa Gutierrez, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Donna Lazarus, Michael Martínez, Carlos Vargas Supporter Program: Sue Davis, coordinator Copyright © 2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of articles is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World (ISSN-1070-4205) is published weekly except the first week of January by WW Publishers, 55 W. 17 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10011. Phone: 212.627.2994. Subscriptions: One year: $30; institutions: $35. Letters to the editor may be condensed and edited. Articles can be freely reprinted, with credit to Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., New York, NY 10011. Back issues and individual articles are available on microfilm and/or photocopy from University Microfilms International, 300 Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106. A searchable archive is available on the Web at www.workers.org. A headline digest is available via e-mail subscription. Subscription information is at workers.org/email.php. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to
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Sept. 13, 2012
Thousands call for jobs and justice before DNC
Protesters ood ‘Wall Street South’
By Workers World North Carolina bureau Charlotte, N.C. Called “the March on Wall Street South,” a demonstration confronting the banks and corporations headquartered here that are wreaking havoc across the country filled the uptown streets of this Southern financial center on Sept. 2. Despite extreme heat, more than 2,500 people from throughout the South and across the U.S. marched past the many gleaming corporate headquarters, shouting out a people’s agenda for jobs and justice as the Democratic National Convention was preparing to convene. Participants came from cities throughout North Carolina, including WinstonSalem, Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount, Greenville, Asheville, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Wilmington. Many more traveled hours from cities such as Baltimore, Atlanta; Greenville, Miss.; Washington, D.C.; Tampa, Fla.; Pittsburgh; and New York. A busload of more than 40 unemployed people whose homes are being foreclosed by Bank of America rode overnight from Detroit. A “No Papers No Fear” bus, which had left Phoenix on July 29 with more than 40 undocumented people to bring their demands to the DNC, also joined the march with a spirited contingent against the deportation and criminalization of immigrant communities. Other contingents in the march included unemployed workers, a group of Southern unionists who face onerous labor laws, people trying to end the many wars being waged by the U.S. government of them wanted to confront the police. Derrick looked at me and said, ‘We don’t have green cards yet. Come over here so we don’t get arrested.’ The brother really cared for me. “I took him to visit my family from Africa in New York. He bonded with them. He was so excited to eat African food. My family was his family. When he became a citizen two years ago, the first thing he did was bring his 14-year-old daughter Dainia here. He said, ‘Now I can do things freely and have peace of mind.’ We talked about going to Africa together this November.” In addition to politics, Bukuba, Ceci and Duncan shared an interest in music, particularly reggae. “We wanted to take Bob Marley’s music and put it into action,” says Bukuba, who describes Duncan as very open minded. Parker remembers him as “very friendly, very sincere, very respectful, a warm person, humble and honest, who made an effort to make everyone comfortable. He had a good way of teaching — questioning and then giving his opinion.” Born on April 5, 1968, Duncan died of a lung infection on June 10. Cohen reports that Duncan’s brother said he died from exposure to a toxic substance that injured his lungs, which never recovered. Noting that such a condition is usually associated with asbestos or radiation, Cohen speculated that such exposure could have occurred while Duncan was remodeling his house in Brooklyn. Derrick Duncan will be remembered as an ardent working-class fighter against racism, police brutality and imperialism, particularly in Africa and the Caribbean, and for workers’ and women’s rights. Though his life was tragically cut short, Derrick’s determination to create a better world for his daughter and all the oppressed lives on. Derrick Duncan presente! on countries abroad and on the poor and oppressed here at home, environmentalists calling for “No war, no warming,” and a group demanding equal rights for lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people. Yen Alcala, an organizer with the Coalition to March on Wall Street South and also with Occupy Charlotte, said the demonstration was “historic” and “built an unprecedented level of unity between so many different groups and struggles on a grassroots level.” “The March on Wall Street South,” continued Alcala, “showed what is possible when we unite, and pointed the finger at those who are responsible for the injustices being experienced by the 99%: the banks and corporations, and a political system that is controlled by the 1%. Building people’s power from the bottom up is the only solution to win jobs and justice for poor and working people.” Along the march, demonstrators stopped in front of the world headquarters of Bank of America and the regional offices of Duke Energy. At each stop, people who have been directly impacted by the practices of these banks and corporations — whose homes are being foreclosed on, who have massive amounts of student loan debt, and whose communities are being devastated by coal mining and energy rate hikes — spoke out and confronted these institutions. Recognizing the popularity of the issues raised by the protesters, the city’s daily newspaper, the Charlotte Observer, reported on Sept. 2, “Sensing the political winds, banks and their lobbyists will be taking low profiles during the convention.” Elena Everett was a tireless organizer with the Coalition to March on Wall Street South. “The march was a tremendous success,” she said. “Our message for jobs and justice was heard loud and clear by the bankers and the politicians of both parties. “But this is just the beginning. We know that the only way that real change has ever been won is when people come
together, get organized and build social movements to raise demands to the powers that be. And that’s exactly what we’re doing — building a movement for jobs, education, health care, the environment and housing, and against wars, racism and bigotry, deportations and jails.” Throughout the remainder of the week, the coalition plans to support actions and events being developed by other groups, including the Undocubus and the Southern Workers Assembly on Sept. 3. It will also be mobilizing support for the reoccupation of Marshall Park, being led by Occupy Charlotte, which was evicted from the park by police eight months ago.
WW PHOTO: BRENDA RYAN
WW PHOTOS: BRYAN G. PFIEFER
Sept. 13, 2012
Boston-area bus drivers
Anatomy of a union victory
By Hannah Kirschbaum Boston The bus drivers of Eastern Bus Co. have won the right to join militant Local 8751 of the United Steelworkers. The report of a National Labor Relations Board hearing officer states, “Having recommended that all the Employer’s Objections be overruled, I further recommend that a Certification of Representative be issued.” Eastern Bus is owned by Chuck Winitzer and operates out of several Boston suburbs: Somerville, Cambridge, Waltham, Wellesley and Belmont. The approximately 90 workers at Eastern Bus have been working under oppressive and illegal conditions. They get no affordable health care or retirement benefits. They have no seniority rights or the opportunity to bid on possible bus routes. They receive no overtime. The workplace environment is fraught with favoritism and arbitrary discipline. The employer shows its drivers no respect — there are not even adequate bathrooms on the premises, as mandated by law. Background Local 8751 won a historic contract last December that made Boston’s school bus drivers the only city union in Boston’s school department to have a collective bargaining agreement. Soon after, several Eastern Bus workers approached asking for help to unionize their workplace. They formed an organizing committee and, along with USW International Organizer Steve Kirschbaum, confronted Winitzer on June 4, demanding voluntary recognition for USW 8751. Winitzer refused. After several conversations, Winitzer agreed to a stipulated election within 14 days. The organizing committee was initially going to organize at the Cambridge and Somerville bus yards; however, Winitzer insisted that Waltham, Wellesley and Belmont be included. Kirschbaum says this was an attempt to “dilute the unit.” By adding these additional yards, the total number of employees was nearly doubled and the physical distance between the yards established organizing challenges. There were also many attempts to intimidate the workers by calling the police and issuing a “no trespass” order to Kirschbaum. Despite these bullying tactics, the workers of Eastern Bus continued in their struggle to unionize. The drivers distributed leaflets, posters and buttons, and held rallies and informational meetings. Service Employees Local 888, whose headquarters is located around the corner from the Somerville bus yard, offered the Eastern drivers a room in their hall for a rally. On June 14, the organizing committee held its final meeting before the election to discuss the reasons for forming a union. They received messages of solidarity from Bishop Filipe C. Teixeira, the Black Educators Alliance of Massachusetts and the vice mayor of the city of Cambridge.
School bus drivers at Eastern Bus, working under oppressive and illegal conditions, won a union organizing drive giving them the right to join USW Local 8751, the only city union in Boston’s school department to have a collective bargaining agreement.
WW PHOTO: STEVAN KIRSCHBAUM; PHOTO: ALBERTO BARRETO
By Sue Davis
On the Picket line
Steelworkers on strike in W. Va.
When bosses at Constellium Aluminum refused to budge from a lousy five-year contract, the workers, represented by Steelworkers Local 5668, went on strike Aug. 5. The slogan on the union website is “United we bargain, divided we beg.” (fort-unity.sctp. us) Solidarity with the strikers was alive and kicking at the Aug. 23 rally at the local’s union hall in Ravenswood, W.Va. Not only did other unions respond with signs, but they brought food and checks. The West Virginia chapter of the American Federation of Teachers donated $5,000. A benefit concert is planned for Sept. 8. (wsaz.com, Aug. 23) Y’all come!
In her message of solidarity, Vice Mayor E. Denise Simmons stated: “I am a firm believer in the power of union membership. It is my belief that we are always in a much stronger position to bring about positive conditions, and widespread fairness and respect, when we band together and speak with a unified voice. In unity, we find our strength, and this is essential to ensuring fairness for the individual worker.” The meeting addressed the workers’ questions and concerns, as well as rumors and falsehoods spread by the employer. Most importantly, the workers were able to show one another their unity. Election The election was held on June 18 at the Somerville and Waltham yards, beginning at 5 a.m. Two stalwart organizing committee members, Carlos Fernandez and Tony Chiquillo, arrived at the Somerville yard at 3:30 a.m. to set up a table with refreshments and “Vote Union YES!” placards. Different Eastern drivers, when not on bus trips, were present around the table throughout the day, maintaining enthusiasm and stimulating rank-and-file unity with union shop-talk. Union supporters, including several Boston bus drivers, Ed Childs of Unite HERE Local 26, and Frank Neisser and Gerry Scoppettuolo of the International Action Center, were also present. Local businesses showed solidarity and a National Grid union worker filled the cooler with iced drinks. The tension was palpable as government agents tallied the ballots immediately after the polls closed. Finally, the totals were announced: 41 votes in favor of the union, 36 against. A sigh of relief was followed by blasting music and victory speeches. The core organizing committee had remained firm. Challenges After losing a decisive battle, the employer began to take illegal action against the workers of Eastern Bus. “No Trespass” signs blanketed the facility, high-tech surveillance cameras were positioned throughout the Somerville bus yard, a list of rules that violated collective bargaining rights was produced and disseminat-
ed, and an anti-union consultant was hired as the new director of labor relations. This agent of the boss pro ceeded to physically threaten workers. Perhaps the most grievous antiunion action was the firing without cause of a driver who is a member of the organizing committee after he refused to sign a company-drafted affidavit falsely charging another worker with misconduct. In addition, the employer submitted a petition to the NLRB challenging the validity of the election. At an NLRB hearing on July 16, the workers packed the room. The employer’s case quickly unraveled because of a lack of merit and convincing evidence. The hearing officer took nearly six weeks to return a decision on the matter. However, the wait proved worthwhile. On Aug. 23, she overruled all three of the employer’s objections and recommended union certification. Winitzer has until Sept. 6 to appeal the hearing officer’s report. Struggle for contract The organizing committee’s campaign for a just contract began on Aug. 28. The city of Cambridge held its standard orientation for drivers at the Kennedy-Longfellow School. Following orientation, the drivers acquired control of the room and held a meeting with USW 8751 Vice President Steve Gillis and Kirschbaum. This meeting served two functions: to discuss the next stage of the union fight and to show the director of transportation and the owner of Eastern Bus that the drivers are standing firm in the struggle for their deserved union rights. Joseph Montuna, a founding leader of the union campaign, says: “Our fight is not against one person, but against a system or a culture of favoritism and injustice. With a good union contract, the ownership must treat all drivers equally and provide benefits to all of us, whether you voted for the union or not. Let’s stand together for our rights.” Thus far, the union committee has mapped out several aspects of the contract campaign: to have a union election victory party, form a negotiating committee and formulate demands, follow up on more than a dozen NLRB Unfair Labor Practice charges, protect workers under company attack and build rank-and-file union power. The message is clear: The struggle continues! Workers unite! In unity there is strength!
Crystal Sugar employees ‘ready to work’
What happens when a company locks out experienced workers and hires unskilled replacements? Productivity takes a nose dive, production costs soar and profits tank. That’s what’s happened since Aug. 1, 2011, when American Crystal Sugar Co., a cooperative with 3,000 members — farmers who grow sugar beets in North Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota — locked out its skilled workforce of 1,300 workers, represented by Bakery union (BCTGM) Local 167G. On Aug. 29, Local 167G President John Riskey announced that given this year’s bumper crop of sugar beets, the union has drafted a “Ready to Work Plan” to put its skilled workers back in the plants and help the farmers salvage their 500,000-acre harvest. He stressed that unless skilled workers are on the job this fall, Crystal Sugar’s profits could fall even further below the rest of the industry. After American Sugar CEO Dave Berg called the union workers and their contract a “cancerous tumor” at a meeting in November 2011, it’s clear that his agenda is to bust the union. But will the coop members, who have a big investment in this year’s crop, go along with that? Or will they tell Berg to resume negotiations to ensure this year’s profits? Stay tuned. (AFL-CIO blog, Aug. 29)
Surprise: D.C. workers get paid for furlough
When the District of Columbia ended 2011 with an unanticipated budget surplus, instead of a projected gap, the D.C. city council voted to do the right thing and reimburse 22,000 city workers for the days they were furloughed last year. (A combination of more efficient management and an unexpected rise in revenues led to the surplus.) The workers, who were forced to make significant sacrifices when they worked a number of days without pay last year, began seeing their back pay in checks issued the week of Aug. 20. “The welfare of the city is reflected in the welfare of its workers,” noted George T. Johnson, executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 20. (Union City, online newsletter of the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO, Aug. 24)
It’s o cial: Majority of new jobs pay low wages
A new study by the National Employment Law Project reported that 58 percent of new jobs since early 2010 were in the lowest-wage category, with median hourly wages of $7.69 to $13.83, though they only accounted for 21 percent of job losses between the beginning of 2008 and 2010. The highest-wage jobs, whose median hourly wages range from $21.14 to $54.55, stayed relatively the same — 19 percent lost during the recession compared to 20 percent gained since. However, the middle tier, including jobs in construction, manufacturing and information, showed the greatest percentage of job losses at 60 percent, but only 22 percent of job growth. “The overarching message here is we don’t just have a jobs deficit; we have a ‘good jobs’ deficit,” said Annette Bernhardt, author of the NELP report. (New York Times, Aug. 31) That’s no surprise to WW readers. Fred Goldstein published “Low-Wage Capitalism” in 20o8, a Marxist analysis of how end-stage, high-tech capitalism leads inevitably to lower wages. These new statistics back that up.
Sept. 13, 2012
With Syria, Iran under threat
Anti-war protests planned across No. America
By John Catalinotto The United National Anti-war Coalition has called for protest actions across the country on the anniversary of the imperialist U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. At the first national conference call to organize the protests, held at the end of August, 49 people from 17 U.S. states and British Colombia in Canada participated. Many of the areas reported work already underway to organize actions on the Oct. 5-7 weekend. In the Los Angeles area, two coalitions had begun to build demonstrations. Speaking for one of the groups, John Parker of the International Action Center expressed his readiness to discuss holding a common demonstration. This was also the suggestion of the UNAC leaders on the call. In an email inviting people to participate in a second conference call set for Sept. 5, UNAC wrote that it is preparing a website that “will allow people to enter their own information on their actions. Until the site is online, please send details of any actions in your area to UNACpeace@gmail.com. Please include date, time, place, demands, sponsoring organizations and contact information.” Among the slogans UNAC is promoting are “No wars! No sanctions! No drone attacks! Bring all the troops home now!” “Self-determination for the people of Syria and Iran!” and “No to racism, raids and repression! No to Islamophobia!” Syria, Iran threatened The developing civil war that the imperialist powers are imposing on Syria, with the assistance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and NATO member Turkey, gives the Oct. 5-7 demonstrations a growing urgency. On Sept. 3, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius threatened the Syrian government with intervention should it use chemical weapons, which Syria allegedly possesses. Fabius was putting French imperialism behind a similar aggressive threat that U.S. President Barack Obama made in August. These threats — along with the overwhelmingly one-sided propaganda in the corporate media demonizing the Syrian government — are reminiscent of the pretexts used against Iraq before the U.S. invaded that country. Just last year the NATO powers, with a mandate pushed through the United Nations Security Council by the U.S., Britain and France, carried out an air war that destroyed Libya and left its people in the hands of a chaotic and reactionary proimperialist grouping while imperialist corporations have grabbed Libya’s oil. So far, China and Russia have exercised their veto against any similar U.N. mandate regarding Syria. The other major war threat raised at this time is that a U.S.-backed Israel might strike Iran’s nuclear power industry.
Protest defends Syria, hits NATO
On Sept. 1, a broad coalition of people from German, Syrian and Turkish progressive and patriotic groups in Frankfurt, Germany, protested the aggressive intervention of NATO countries and Arab monarchies against Syria. Several thousand joined the protest, answering the call of the Frankfurt Solidarity Committees for Syria to march through the city center on the day the German peace movement commemorates as World Peace Day. In Germany, as in the U.S. and other NATO countries, an avalanche of propaganda in the corporate media has demonized the Syrian government. It is thus all the more important that the Frankfurt committees stood against this pressure. Although a small group of opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tried to provoke the marchers, the demonstration proceeded without disruption. It ended with speeches and live music at an exciting final rally at Römerberg Square, where Frankfurt’s town hall is located. “Sign at right reads “Non-violent solution for Syria.” — Report by Cathrin Schütz from Frankfurt
U.S. & Israel exonerate murderers, torturers
By Gene Clancy Nine years after the crushing to death of Rachel Aliene Corrie by an Israeli bulldozer, a judge in Haifa has absolved the state of Israel of any responsibility, either for her death or for failing to hold a full and credible investigation. On March 16, 2003, Corrie had stood in front of an armored bulldozer operated by the Israeli military in Rafal, Gaza. She was trying to prevent the demolition of a house owned by Samir Nasrallah, a Palestinian pharmacist. It was not a unique situation. More than 1,700 Palestinian homes were crushed that year as collective punishment by the Israeli state for protests against its illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Eyewitnesses stated under oath that the operator clearly saw Corrie, who was wearing a fluorescent jacket, and deliberately ran over her. She was crushed under a pile of debris. According to an autopsy report, “Her death was caused by pressure on the chest (mechanical asphyxiation) with fractures of the ribs and vertebrae of the dorsal spinal column and scapulas, and tear wounds in the right lung with hemorrhaging of the pleural cavities.” The Israeli government has also amended the law under which Corrie’s parents sued for justice, so as to prevent any such lawsuits in the future. Had Corrie not been a U.S. citizen, it is doubtful that the case would have received any attention at all. Both the Israeli and U.S. governments had promptly labeled the incident a “tragic accident” — and then did nothing. Their real intentions were reflected by what followed. In rapid succession, Israeli troops shot three more foreign civilians working in the West Bank and Gaza. On April 5, 2003, Brian Avery, a 24-year-old volunteer from the U.S. working in Jenin was shot in the face by an Israeli sniper and seriously wounded. Six days later, a bullet fired by an Israeli soldier in a Rafah watchtower tore through the back of 21-year-old Tom Hurndall’s skull as the activist stooped to carry two Palestinian girls to safety. On May 2, James Miller, a 35-year-old Briton filming a documentary along the Egyptian border was shot in the neck and killed while walking under a white flag toward an Israeli armored personnel carrier. Israel’s chief of staff, Moshe Ya’alon, announced a crackdown on the group with which Corrie was working. During the following weeks, Israeli troops rounded up a dozen foreign activists; several were deported. Soldiers raided the group’s Beit Sahour headquarters on May 9, detained three people, seized eight computers and “trashed the office,” according to a spokesperson for the international activists. (Mother Jones, Oct. 2003) Getting away with torture About the same time that Rachel Corrie was murdered by the Israeli Defense Force, the CIA was busy torturing people in Afghanistan and Iraq. Out of over 100 cases brought to court, all but two were summarily dismissed and the torturers given amnesty in 2009. President Barack Obama said he wanted to “look forward, not look backward.” (The Guardian, Aug. 31) One case involved the 2002 abuse of Gul Rahman, who froze to death in a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan known as the “Salt Pit” after he was beaten, stripped and then shackled to a cement wall in freezing temperatures. The other was the 2003 death of Manadel al-Jamadi at Abu Ghraib, who died in CIA custody after he was beaten, stripped, had cold water poured on him, and then was shackled to the wall. Al-Jamadi’s ice-packed body was infamously photographed with a smiling U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Granier standing over it, giving the thumbs-up sign. A U.S. military autopsy declared alJamadi’s death a homicide due to “blunt force trauma to the torso complicated by compromised respiration.” Autopsy photos showed “lacerations and multiple bruises on Jamadi’s feet, thighs and arms,” though “his most significant injuries — five broken ribs — are not visible in the photos.” (The Guardian) On Aug. 30, the U.S. Justice Department completed the whitewashing of the crimes of the Bush adminstration by granting amnesty to those participating in these last two cases. This was done in spite of the findings of Gen. Antonio Taguba, who had investigated the torture regime and said that “there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current [Bush] administration has committed war crimes” and “the only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account.” Even Gen. Barry McCaffrey observed: “We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the CIA.” (The Guardian) Incredibly, although government torturers have now been fully protected by President Obama from any accountability, those who blow the whistle on such crimes continue to be pursued by the administration with unprecedented aggression. “While no one has been prosecuted for the harsh interrogations, a former CIA officer who helped hunt members of al-Qaida in Pakistan and later spoke publicly about waterboarding, John C. Kiriakou, is awaiting trial on criminal charges that he disclosed to journalists the identity of other CIA officers who participated in the interrogations.” (New York Times, Aug. 31)
40 years after Munich Olympics
The big lie about the Palestinians
By Edward Yudelovich International Olympic Committee president, Jacques Rogge, bowing to pressure and threats from U.S. and Israeli officials, paid tribute on July 23 to the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed at the time of the Munich Olympics 40 years ago. He led a minute of silence in the athletes’ village. Rogge had rebuffed calls to do so during the London Games’ opening ceremony. He and the IOC also honored the slain Israelis at a private reception in London during the games on Aug. 6 and will participate in a ceremony in Germany on Sept. 5, the anniversary of the killings at the Furstenfeldbruck military airfield. But nothing is being said about the Palestinians who were also killed at that time. What happened at the Munich Olympics in 1972? Why is imperialism’s “big lie” about it being repeated and retold today? The ancient Olympic Games were revived in 1896 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a French nobleman, to take the minds of the world’s workers off their oppressive working conditions and their daily struggle to survive. In that year, Theodore Herzl published “The Jewish State,” Continued on page 6
Sept. 13, 2012
Conditions that led to South Africa massacre
The following excerpts from the pamphlet “SOUTH AFRICA – Which road to liberation?” were written by Monica Moorehead, now a Workers World Party Secretariat member, in December 1993 after she attended the first unbanned African National Congress conference, held in Durban, South Africa, in July 1991. The pamphlet provides a brief Marxist view of a particular stage of the ongoing South African struggle, up until the end of legalized apartheid and on the eve of the first democratic election in that country, held in 1994. The tragic massacre of 34 Black South African miners earlier this month makes it painfully clear that the South African revolution cannot be completed until the masses, led by the Black working class, liberate themselves from the shackles of capitalist exploitation. A lot of attention is being paid to the African National Congress leadership’s agreement to promote full-scale foreign capital investment in a post-apartheid South Africa. Nelson Mandela was interviewed on this issue in the July 12, 1993, edition of Fortune, a magazine published in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mandela indicated that transnational corporations — as well as investors from Western Europe and elsewhere — would be welcomed in South Africa. The main motivation? The Black working class suffers from a 48 percent unemployment rate and “we are therefore very keen for foreign companies to invest in such a way that there will be a creation of jobs for our people, a generation of wealth,” said Mandela. He went on: “All foreign companies that invest would be guaranteed against expropriation and nationalization. They will be able to recover their profits and dividends — all of them. We are guaranteeing every foreign company that invests in our country.” The ANC leader is seeking material aid from the capitalist West in light of the first general elections, tentatively set for April 27, 1994. It should come as no great surprise that the ANC would move in this direction. Like every national liberation movement throughout the world following the collapse of the socialist camp — especially the fall of the Soviet Union — the ANC has lost most of the material support it had received from progressive governments. The main exception, of course, is Cuba. And while Cuba can provide political and moral support, it is certainly not in a position to provide the kind of material aid the ANC used to receive from the Soviet Union and others. Mandela and other ANC leaders are hoping for the breakup of the handful of corporate monopolies in South Africa that dominate close to 90 percent of the apartheid economy and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Some of these conglomerates include Anglo-American, South Africa Mutual, Sanlam and the Rembrandt Group. The ANC is hoping that with the breakup of these giants, individual Black-owned businesses will have a chance of prospering and putting life into the dismal capitalist economy. The fact is that even if the monopolies are broken up organizationally, capitalist property relations will remain intact, regardless, benefiting the white minority. The Sept. 28, 1993, New York Times reported that the number of U.S. businesses directly investing in the South African economy has jumped from 120 to 135 since the economic sanctions were recently repealed. These figures do not include those corporations that are not U.S. based. The ANC is very much encouraging similar joint ventures along with other forms of capitalist investments to help “repair” any ailing post-apartheid economy. In Marxist terminology, the ANC is attempting to launch a bourgeois democratic revolution in South Africa. What will be the most decisive factor during the course of the South African struggle? A raging class struggle in the form of the impatient South African masses — especially the workers, who do not want to replace one oppressor for another but to seize the reins of state economic and political power away from their racist oppressors. The setbacks in the socialist camp may have helped to temporarily weaken the completion of the South African revolution. But it is just a question of time before the South African masses carry out their historical mission as laid out in the Communist Manifesto: “becoming the gravediggers of the bourgeoisie.”
South African miners cheer as murder charges dropped
Continued from page 1 ward for the identification of those responsible. Most people blame the outbreaks of wildcat strikes throughout the mining sector on the low pay rates and unfavorable conditions of employment. At the profitable Marikana mine, rock drill operators are making less than $500 per month, which cannot sustain the workers and their families. Fundamental change needed The ongoing problems in the mining sector of the South African economy stem from the lack of fundamental transformation in the relations of production. The ANC government, which has been in office since 1994, is coming under tremendous pressure to institute changes that would transfer ownership of the mines and other sectors of the economy to the workers and the communities in which they live. The Congress of South African Trade Unions — COSATU — has 2 million members and is the largest workers’ federation in the country. Founded in 1985 during the struggle against white-minority rule, the federation was instrumental in building support for the ANC in the struggle against apartheid and in winning the first one-person, one-vote elections in 1994. That vote resulted in an overwhelming victory for the ANC and Nelson Mandela, who became the first president in the new South Africa. However, the world capitalist crisis has had a tremendous impact on Africa’s largest economy. Unemployment remains high. The high rates of poverty are totally unacceptable to the majority of people. That the ANC has not instituted sweeping industrial and agricultural reforms has resulted in internal struggles within the union movement itself. The breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which called the Lonmin strike, is a reflection of this crisis within labor. The problem of the declining wages of the working class is not confined to South Africa. In U.S.-backed Kenya, for example, the national teachers’ union has been on strike demanding better salaries. Kenya’s educators say they are not making enough money to send their own children to schools and universities. (BBC News, Sept. 3) The economic crisis is, in fact, worldwide. Even within the imperialist states, workers are facing similar challenges with declining wages, high unemployment and an all-out onslaught on unions within both the private and public sectors. These developments in Africa and in the West illustrate the need for a total break with the capitalist system. Socialism, where the workers control the means of production, is the only real solution to overproduction and the decline in real wages. Socialism can only be won through the building of a revolutionary party of the working class and the oppressed. World socialism can be brought closer when these revolutionary organizations are allied through a process of struggle that places the most oppressed at the center of the fight for equality and self-determination.
40 years after Munich Olympics
Which Road to Liberation?
by Monica Moorehead
The big lie about the
Continued from page 5 which introduced the big lie of Zionism, which advocated occupation of a territory and displacement of its inhabitants to set up a Jewish homeland — as supposedly the only cure for international anti-Semitism. In 1936, the games were held in Nazi Germany. There, millionaire Avery Brundage, IOC president then and still president at Munich in 1972, defended the Nazi propaganda parades, speeches and activities as “national pride.” When Hitler refused to shake gold medal winner Jessie Owens’ hand because Owens was Black, there wasn’t a murmur of protest from the IOC. But at the 1972 Munich games, the IOC expelled Black runners Vince Matthews and John Collet for “disrespectful and disgraceful” conduct, merely for talking during the opening ceremony. In the U.S., 1972 was a presidential election year. The U.S. imperialist war against Vietnam was still raging. The “peace” candidate, Democrat Sen. George McGovern, was calling for an end to the Vietnam War. His opponent was President Richard Nixon, called by many “the Mad Bomber” for his genocidal attacks on the Vietnamese people. But McGovern, like Nixon, was a hawk when it came to the Middle East. Like every member of Congress then and today, he supported imperialism’s policy there, specifically its support of Israel. Despite all the claims of Zionism, the 1948-created state of Israel was not set up as a refuge for Jewish Holocaust survivors, 80 percent of whom really wanted to go to the U.S., according to a May 5, 1948, New York Times poll. The plight of the Jewish Holocaust refugees pushed into Palestine when no other country wanted them has been compared to a person jumping from a burning building only to land on another person’s back. The capitalist political establishment in the U.S. supported the Zionist settler state, which was built on land stolen from the Palestinian people, because, at a time of rising national liberation movements in the Arab world, they saw Israel as a strategic partner that would protect U.S. corporate interests in the oil-rich Middle East. In September 1972, a group of Pales-
Written in 1993 after a trip to South Africa
How has the disintegation of the Soviet Union impacted on the struggle against apartheid? Has the bourgeois revolution been achieved in South Africa? How does this t with the worldwide revolution described by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in the Communist Manifesto in 1848? www.workers.org/books/SouthAfricaMM.pdf
& the Black Freedom Struggle
Anthology of writings from Workers World Black & Brown Unity: A Pillar newspaper. Edited by Monica Moorehead. of Struggle for Human Rights and Global Justice! Racism, National Oppression Saladin Muhammad & Self-Determination Larry Holmes Alabama’s Black Belt: Legacy Black Labor from Chattel Slavery of Slavery, Sharecropping & to Wage Slavery Sam Marcy Segregation Consuela Lee GRAPHIC : SAHU BARRON Black Youth: Repression & Resistance Harriet Tubman, Woman Warrior Mumia Abu-Jamal LeiLani Dowell Are Conditions Ripe Again Today? Anniversary The Struggle for Socialism Is Key of the 1965 Watts Rebellion John Parker Monica Moorehead Racism & Poverty in the Delta Larry Hales Domestic Workers United Demand Passage of a Bill of Rights Imani Henry Haiti Needs Reparations, Not Sanctions Pat Chin Available at Amazon.com & bookstores around the country www.workers.org/reparations
Sept. 13, 2012
Same storm, di erent responses
By G. Dunkel The storm called Isaac hit Haiti, Cuba and the United States. When it lashed Haiti and Cuba, meteorologists called it a storm; when it brushed Florida and came ashore in Louisiana, they called it a hurricane. No matter what it was called, it was dangerous. Georges Ngwa Anuongong, spokesperson for the United Nations’ humanitarian mission in Haiti, reported Aug. 30 that Isaac had killed 24 people in that impoverished country, injured 42 and left more than 6,000 families without shelter. Major damage was done to Haiti’s agriculture. Most observers expect these figures will worsen. By contrast, the Cuban press agency Granma reported: “There was virtually no social or economic damage in the country. Isaac entered Cuba via Guantánamo in the easternmost part of the island, in the morning of Saturday, Aug. 25 and exited in the evening of the same day from the northern coast of Holguín province.” In the U.S., the AP reported two deaths from Isaac’s winds as it passed through Louisiana and Mississippi. But as flood waters receded in Plaquemines Parish, which stretches from New Orleans to the mouth of the Mississippi, more victims were discovered. Parish President Billy Nungesser said Isaac did more damage to his parish than Katrina did in 2005. At least seven people were killed in the storm in the U.S. — five in Louisiana and two in Mississippi. (Daily News, Sept. 3) Haiti: ‘We don’t exist’ Nearly 400,000 people in Port-auPrince are still living under tarps and in huts 32 months since Haiti’s disastrous 2011 earthquake. This means fatalities from Isaac could have been much higher. Most of the people living in the camps spent the night standing up, cradling their children, for fear that if they lay down they would be drowned. One resident of “Camp Accra” told Haïti-Liberté: “The wind came and blew away our tarp. We spent the night in the rain. All of our things got wet. We didn’t sleep. We didn’t see any authorities. They left us here to die. We live amidst garbage. We don’t have security; all the time criminals steal our things, or rape us. The cholera that Minustah [the U.N. occupation force] brought is killing people in the camp since it started raining. Someone died here [of cholera] already last week. The way we see it, we don’t exist in the eyes of Haitian authorities.” (Aug. 29) Besides urging people to tape their windows — hard to do if you live in a tent — and to stock up — also hard to do if you are poor — the government told people to be prepared to evacuate to suitable shelters. About 15,000 people — less than 4 percent of the people in the camps — actually made it to shelters in churches and schools. According to videos posted by some NGOs, most of the people in the camps, who live without electricity, didn’t know Isaac was coming. When residents of Canapé Vert tried to mobilize on Aug. 25 to make their voices heard, the cops arrested nine of them for the crime of calling on the Haitian state to protect them against the effects of Isaac. All electric power was lost in Port-auPrince and was being restored one neighborhood at a time. The U.S., through the U.N., has spent billions in Haiti for its “stabilization,” which is just a cover for keeping the situation stable for corporate and strategic interests. It extols the government of Michel Martelly as democratic and the situation in Haiti as “improving,” even as cholera sickens hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands more are denied even a minimally adequate existence. Cuba: Infrastructure worked Cuba has much experience in confronting meteorological events. The National Civil Defense chief of staff, Ramón Pardo Guerra, said, “The country has a comprehensive infrastructure created for these events and so — if we use it properly — as has been reported in each territory, nobody is at risk.” There were power outages, and some roofs were lost due to the wind. Flooding caused some damage and some towns were cut off for a time. But no one died, and those most at risk were evacuated. Fox News reported that a number of Cuban tourists were encouraged to go home. The whole effort was designed to minimize the loss of life and damage to the economy. It succeeded. United States: ooding and deaths Since Hurricane Katrina, the federal government has spent $14 billion improving the levee system protecting New Orleans. Even though the system is not complete, New Orleans escaped relatively unscathed. Power was out for most of the city and as of Sept. 3 still has not been completely restored. By some measures, even though Isaac was much less powerful than Katrina in 2005, the storm surge was nearly equivalent. Some streets were flooded but no major flooding was reported — in New Orleans. There were compelling economic reasons for the U.S. government to spend so much money. As a port, New Orleans ranks first in the U.S. based on volume of cargo handled and 13th largest based on the value of cargo. Since it is served by six major railroads, it is a low-cost distribution hub. Losing New Orleans as a port would be a major blow to the whole U.S. economy, especially to the parts, like agriculture, that depend on the cheap transport of bulk goods. However, outside of New Orleans, there was major flooding. Even six days after the storm, Plaquemines Parish is flooded. Its east bank is cupped between federal levees along the Mississippi and local levees on the Gulf. Since the local levees were overtopped, a lot of water remains. Similar problems are occurring on its west bank. While residents of Plaquemines were encouraged to evacuate, and buses were provided by the parish for the poor, there doesn’t appear to have been any major mandatory evacuation. The cops organized some large convoys of cars going north out of the flood zone. A large number of people had to be rescued. Ivy Parker, a militant in the Solidarity Coalition for Katrina & Rita Survivors, pointed out to Workers World: “Living close to the Mississippi River can never be completely safe. The river in a storm can do unexpected things — you have to be prepared.” Haiti is the poorest capitalist country in the Western Hemisphere and the U.S. is the richest. Both relied on voluntary action by individuals to avoid the dangers of Isaac. In the U.S., most individuals had the resources needed, though not all. In Haiti, most people didn’t have the resources and many more died. In Cuba, the response, could be more organized since Cuba’s socialist society rests on solidarity.
HAITI, CUBA, U.S.
Still no justice for injured GM workers
By Martha Grevatt The struggle continues for a just resolution of the ongoing crisis facing a group of General Motors workers in Colombia who were fired after sustaining debilitating workplace injuries. They have been demanding that GM recognize their workplace injuries, pay their health care costs, reintegrate them into the workplace or provide them with regular income, and recognize their organization. They camped outside the U.S. Embassy for over a year and waged a 22-day “to the death” hunger strike with their lips sewn shut. Plans were announced for worldwide day-of-solidarity demonstrations. Finally, the Association of Injured GM Workers and Ex-workers (Asotrecol) was able to meet with the management of GM’s Colombian subsidiary, Colomotores. The workers’ hopes were raised a little bit when the U.S. Department of Labor sent mediators from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to Colombia to try to resolve the situation. Representatives of GM’s corporate office and of the United Auto Workers GM and Health and Safety departments traveled to Colombia to participate in the talks. Supporters then honored GM’s request and canceled planned protests at its facilities and at the home of GM CEO Dan Akerson near Washington, D.C. In its statement after the mediation was announced, Asotrecol emphasized to international supporters that “this compromise was achieved thanks principally to your collaboration and solidarity with our struggle.” However, Colomotores would not even come close to offering a solution that workers could accept, and management still refused to accept responsibility for the workers’ injuries. As of this writing, plans to restart the hunger strike are being discussed. Asotrecol President Jorge Parra encourages solidarity actions “without restrictions.”
tinians — who were banned from competing in the Olympics — took Israeli athletes hostage to draw attention to the Palestinian people’s suffering. They wanted to exchange the Israeli athletes for 200 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners held in Israeli jails. The U.S., West German and Israeli governments were united in refusing to negotiate with the Palestinians. Workers World Party swam against the stream then. A leaflet written by this reporter, “What every worker should know about the violence at the Olympics,” explained: “This time the West German government got its orders from the Israelis, specifically from an Israeli general [Moshe Dayan] and Israeli representatives at the scene of the bloodshed. Accordingly, the West Germans flew the Palestinians and their Israeli hostages to an airport at a NATO base, as sure a deathtrap for both the Jewish athletes and the Arabs as a bed of quicksand. “West German police and military forces had surrounded the area before the helicopters carrying the Palestinians and Israelis even landed. Almost immediately, the police fired directly into the vehicles containing both Arabs and Jews, and in the end, everyone was killed. Just like [New York Gov.] Rockefeller’s Attica stormtroopers of a year ago , the Israeli state, with the help of the West Germans, had ruthlessly sacrificed their athletes as expendable Jewish blood, so they could have an excuse to bomb Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria.” WWP dispatched squads, which included many Jewish comrades, including this reporter, to distribute the flier. Zionists tried to tear them up because their big lie was threatened by the message. Golda Meir, the Israeli head of state in 1972, once said, “There is no such thing as the Palestinian people.” Forty years later, the indomitable spirit and struggle of the Palestinians, who have stood up to Israel and U.S. imperialism, have inspired a much larger movement than existed 40 years ago. The world’s workers and oppressed have answered Meir’s racist big lie with the solidarity message of “Long live Palestine!”
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Tres crisis del sistema capitalista: 1873, 1929 y 2007
las fuerzas de producción y un enorme aumento en la productividad de la clase trabajadora, esta vez plasmada de manera mucho más nítida en el surgimiento de la revolución científico-tecnológica y en la era digital. Al igual que en las crisis anteriores, el sistema se ha visto superado por la sobreproducción capitalista. Las industrias fundamentales para el capitalismo y el empleo –del automóvil, de la vivienda, del acero y otras– se están contrayendo debido a que los mercados no pueden absorber la enorme producción. Los salarios disminuyen por todas partes y la desigualdad alcanza grados indescriptibles. Aunque estamos en las primeras etapas del desarrollo de la crisis actual, el sistema capitalista al igual que en las dos grandes crisis anteriores, no puede reiniciarse a pesar de todos los esfuerzos de los bancos centrales y los gobiernos capitalistas. Incluso si se observa un ligero repunte en la economía, el desempleo masivo ya no retrocede y en la mayoría de los casos sigue creciendo. El surgimiento de la “recuperación sin empleo” es una característica de la crisis actual, en la que el capitalismo está en un callejón sin salida. Debido al extraordinario desarrollo de la globalización en la producción, el comercio y la banca y las finanzas, la crisis actual se está jugando en un escenario mucho más amplio que las anteriores. La Depresión Prolongada y la Gran Depresión pusieron de manifiesto que el capitalismo había superado el estado nacional. Condujeron a la era del imperialismo, a la rivalidad inter-imperialista y a la guerra. De hecho, el auge del imperialismo significó que el capitalismo había entrado en una fase de crisis general, de la que nunca ha logrado salir. La actual crisis indica que el capitalismo ha crecido más que el propio planeta. Además, es una amenaza para el mantenimiento de la vida humana. Al igual que en las crisis anteriores, conforme esta crisis se profundiza y se prolonga, la clase dominante está intensificando su intervención militar y agravando las tensiones mundiales. Aumenta su arsenal de destrucción. A finales de julio de 2012, Washington y la OTAN están tratando de derrocar al gobierno de Siria tras haber aniquilado al de Libia. La amenaza de guerra contra Irán sigue en aumento. El “reequilibrio” militar en el Pacífico y la coordinación militar más estrecha con el imperialismo japonés es una amenaza para China. Y las tensiones militares con Rusia han sido deliberadamente alimentadas con la construcción de sistemas de defensa de misiles. Pero las opciones que se utilizaron para reactivar el sistema en crisis anteriores ahora se han reducido. La expansión imperialista había logrado diluir la lucha de clases en el país cuando la patronal utilizó parte de sus enormes beneficios para hacer concesiones a una capa superior de los/as trabajadores/as con el fin de mantener la paz entre las clases. Pero hoy, en la era de la producción globalizada, la competencia salarial planetaria significa la propagación en todas partes de los empleos de bajos salarios gracias a la revolución científico-tecnológica. Las tensiones de clase están aumentando en EE.UU., Europa y Japón. La era de las concesiones ha sido reemplazada por la de las revocaciones. La maquinaria militar está ya muy desarrollada y es de alta tecnología. Por lo tanto, la opción de la movilización militar como estímulo económico para alimentar la economía ha disminuido en gran medida. Además, los billones de dólares inyectados por el Estado capitalista no han conseguido reactivar el sistema. A medida que la clase dominante se queda sin opciones y avanza hacia la aventura militar y la reacción política, las medidas tradicionales de recuperación ya no podrán invertir la crisis. Eso hace que la situación sea históricamente favorable a la intervención de la clase obrera y de los/as oprimidos/as para resolver la crisis de manera revolucionaria. El sistema de ganancias está entrando en una fase que sólo puede hacer retroceder a la humanidad. Las masas están llegando a un punto en que les resulta imposible continuar por el viejo camino, porque el capitalismo les bloquea todas las vías hacia la supervivencia. Este es el punto en que la humanidad sólo puede avanzar si limpia el camino hacia la sobrevivencia, lo cual significa nada menos que la destrucción del capitalismo mismo.
Este artículo es la segunda parte de la introducción al libro, “El capitalismo en un callejón sin salida, Destrucción de empleo, sobreproducción y crisis en la era de la alta tecnología — un punto de vista Marxista”, por Fred Goldstein. Traducido por Manuel Talens y Atenea Acevedo. Revisado por MO. ¿De qué manera ocurrieron estas depresiones? La Depresión Prolongada que había empezado en 1873 terminó solamente cuando condujo a la clase capitalista estadounidense hacia el imperialismo. Las fuerzas productivas y el sistema de ganancias habían superado el estrecho marco del Estado-nación capitalista. El desempleo en EE.UU. sólo se redujo con la denominada Guerra Hispanoamericana de 1898, que llevó a la conquista estadounidense de las Filipinas, Cuba y Puerto Rico y a la influencia en Asia y Latinoamérica. Este proceso sangriento fue el mismo que había llevado a los capitalistas europeos a la “lucha por África” en la década de 1880. De igual modo, la Gran Depresión terminó al desarrollarse la Segunda Guerra Mundial cuando la industria se convirtió en producción para la guerra. En la posguerra, los medios de producción masiva, las infraestructuras y las viviendas destruidas tuvieron que ser reconstruidas. La crisis actual, que se inició en diciembre de 2007, surgió de las mismas condiciones que precedieron a las dos crisis anteriores: el fenomenal crecimiento de
El trabajo, el racismo y organizando en el sur de los EE.UU.
Por Saladin Muhammad A continuación se presentan extractos editados de un artículo publicado el 25 de agosto por Saladin Muhammad, miembro de la Campaña Internacional del Sur pro Justicia Obrera, titulado ¡”El movimiento sindical estadounidense debe luchar contra el racismo y la supremacía blanca para reconstruir su fuerza”! Mientras la crisis económica estadounidense y mundial se intensifica, también se intensifica el echar toda la culpa a los sectores más oprimidos de la clase trabajadora. El uso del perfil racial es una forma educada de decir que los/as negros/as y las personas de color de la clase trabajadora están siendo el blanco de la represión estatal y vigilante. Es importante que reconozcamos este objetivo como una parte importante de la estrategia capitalista para dividir a la clase trabajadora y volver a crear antagonismos importantes y de largo plazo para prolongar la vida del sistema capitalista. Crisis capitalista equivale a una guerra contra la América negra El asesinato del joven Trayvon Martin en Sanford, Florida, por un vigilante blanco racista y el papel del Departamento de la Policía de Sanford y de los gobiernos locales y estatales – y el uso de la ley “Stand Your Ground” al tratar de proteger al asesino y justificar su acto de racismo – han provocado un creciente movimiento de resistencia. El Movimiento Malcolm X Grassroots informa que “Cada 36 horas a partir del 1 de enero de 2012, hasta el 09 de julio de 2012, una persona de raza negra ha sido asesinada por la policía en el interior de los EE.UU”. Las voces y las acciones del movimiento sindical estadounidense deben ser escuchadas desafiando esta guerra en la América negra, que es en gran medida una guerra contra la clase trabajadora negra. Esta guerra está destruyendo comunidades, instituciones y vidas. Además de promover el miedo entre los/as blancos/as, lo que a menudo no se declara o es minimizado por el perfil racial es que se trata de promover la supremacía blanca – un sentido de privilegio blanco y de chauvinismo nacional que se ha estructurado en la cultura económica, social y política de la democracia de los EE.UU. – para alinear la clase obrera blanca con las élites capitalistas y el sistema. El perfil racial es parte de la estrategia neoliberal del capitalismo para forzar la disminución de los salarios, la eliminación de las pensiones y causar desplazamiento económico y social, lo que ha creado un desempleo masivo, desamparo, y la expulsión de millones de personas de sus hogares por el aburguesamiento de sus comunidades, siendo las víctimas principalmente personas negras y trabajadores/as de color. El perfil racial convierte a la persona desplazada en mercancía para el complejo prisión-industrial. Hay más de 2 millones de personas, principalmente negras y de la clase trabajadora de color, presas en el sistema penitenciario de EE.UU. Ellas son una parte súper-explotada de la clase obrera estadounidense. Sin un análisis de clase y de raza de los ataques contra la clase obrera, el movimiento sindical ve a estos ataques de forma estrecha y economista, lo que le impide ser visto como una organización que busca unir y fortalecer a la amplitud de la clase obrera. Movimiento sindical debe organizar el sur Los ataques contra los sindicatos son parte de la estrategia de la empresa para desmantelar las organizaciones que proporcionan un marco organizado y democrático para unir y empoderar a la clase trabajadora multinacional y multirracial para resistir estos ataques. El capital reconoce que los sindicatos, para poder sobrevivir y crecer, deben llegar a ser parte del movimiento social más amplio que está desafiando los ataques corporativos en toda la sociedad e internacionalmente. También hay algo verdaderamente mal cuando el movimiento sindical nacional de los EE.UU. no puede hacer un esfuerzo concertado para organizar a los/as trabajadores/as en el sur, especialmente cuando la economía de EE.UU. ha pasado la mayor parte de su producción a esta región. El sur es también la ubicación de una mayor concentración de las inversiones directas extranjeras. Por lo tanto, el sur como región ha sido víctima de una forma de racismo y chauvinismo nacional que se ha expresado y alineado con la política exterior de Estados Unidos en contra de otros pueblos oprimidos de color en todo el mundo. Si el movimiento sindical estadounidense ha de reconstruir su fortaleza durante este período de crisis económica, debe emprender la lucha contra el racismo y la supremacía blanca y el chauvinismo nacional, no como un debate abstracto, sino como parte de su agenda social, política y organizativa. Los/as trabajadores/as negros/as están tomando la iniciativa para tratar de construir un movimiento para organizar el sur. Los dos partidos políticos dominantes están celebrando sus convenciones nacionales en estados del sur, porque entienden no sólo su papel fundamental en las elecciones presidenciales, sino también en la economía estadounidense y mundial. Apoyemos a la Asamblea de Trabajadores/as del Sur como un paso hacia la creación de una Alianza Sindical del Sur y un movimiento social de masas para organizar el sur.