The Worker - Full Text 2003

Volume 17, No. 1 January 6, 2003

Editorial: ORGANIZE THE OPPOSITION!

The American people's struggle against the government's war program keeps growing by leaps and bounds.

But this struggle cannot be left to develop spontaneously. To advance and win we must organize, organize, organize.

And the key to organizing is to assist the nonstop politicalization of the people -- to look into the root cause of war in the capitalist-imperialist system, to study the balance of political forces and for the people to take all the questions of strategy, tactics and organization into their own hands.

Winning the struggle for peace means matching and defeating the organized power of the monopoly capitalist class, a class whose very social existence is bound up with war and imperialism. We must face the challenge in all seriousness recognizing that the capitalist class has declared that its so-called "war against terrorism" will last for decades, recognizing that this war is already underway over a vast area from Colombia to Afghanistan to Iraq to the Philippines.

In other words, to win the peace, the people must organize themselves independent of and in opposition to the parties of war and imperialism. We must unite in anti-imperialist organizations and bring the widest majority of people into mass actions against the warmakers. Only the organized strength and active struggles of the people can stay the hand of the warmakers.

The aim of this struggle can only be to replace the government and parties of war, with a new people's government that:

- ends the war program;

- withdraws all U.S. troops stationed abroad;

- carries through a foreign policy of peace and friendship based on recognizing the sovereignty and rights of all.

KOREAN PEOPLE RESIST U.S. PRESSURE AND THREATS

Over the last several weeks, the U.S. government has dramatically stepped up its pressure against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), threatening the country with economic sanctions and even war.

On December 23, for example, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, said the U.S. was prepared to wage war not only against Iraq, but also North Korea: "We are capable of fighting two major regional conflicts. We're capable of winning decisively in one and swiftly defeating in the case of the other, and let there be no doubt about it," he said.

At the same time, Senator Joseph Biden, the outgoing chairman of the U.S. Senate foreign relations committee, warned that the situation on the Korean peninsula was "a greater danger immediately to U.S. interests than Saddam Hussein."

In late December, the New York Times also revealed that the White House had recently adopting a new strategy, labeled "tailored containment," in which it was calling on North Korea's neighbors and allies to cut economic ties with the country unless it gave in to U.S. demands. As part of this strategy, the U.S. is attempting to get the U.N. to impose economic sanctions against the DPRK, and is even considering an aggressive naval campaign to interdict Korean vessels on the open seas. Already, on December 10, the U.S. military stopped and boarded a Korean cargo ship bound for Yemen.

In typical imperialist fashion, the White House is turning truth on its head -- declaring that its actions and threats are necessary because North Korea has violated existing agreements and is now posing a nuclear threat to the region.

But facts are stubborn things and no amount of lies and propaganda can hide the truth that it is the U.S., and not the DPRK, which has broken its commitments, and is the cause of tension and conflict on the Korean peninsula.

While the Bush administration accuses the DPRK of secretly pursuing a nuclear weapons program and breaking the "DPRK-U.S. Agreed Framework" (AF) of 1994, the facts show that it is the U.S. government which has failed to live up to every single provision of the AF. Furthermore, it is the U.S. government which continues to militarize the Korean peninsula and threaten the Korean people with nuclear weapons.

Under the terms of the AF, for example, the DPRK suspended the building of graphite-moderated nuclear energy reactors in return for a U.S. commitment to build a Light Water Reactor (LWR). The U.S. also agreed to provide the DPRK with 500,000 tons of oil annually. Article III of this treaty also states that "The U.S. will provide formal assurances to the DPRK against the threat or use of nuclear weapons by the U.S."

To begin with, the LWR project was to be completed by 2003 but, due to the repeated breaking of deadlines by the U.S., work has only just begun and the LWR could not possibly be completed for many years (This has already caused great losses to the economy of the DPRK). In addition, the U.S. has never provided the quantities of oil guaranteed by the AF and in November the U.S. announced that it would completely suspend oil deliveries.

Perhaps the most telling exposure of the real intentions of U.S. imperialism is that rather than renouncing the use of nuclear weapons, the Pentagon recently published its plan for a first-strike nuclear assault against the DPRK even while the Bush administration continues to brand the DPRK as part of an "axis-of-evil" and a prime target in the U.S. "war against terrorism."

Facing this situation, the DPRK has reserved for itself the right to take whatever measures necessary to defend its sovereignty. It has demanded an end to U.S. imperialism's hostility and called for the signing of a non-aggression treaty between the two countries. In December, North Korea announced it would reactivate its nuclear energy program in order to generate much-needed electricity.

U.S. imperialism's aggressive tactics reflect its growing isolation and weakness. With the last two years, the struggle of the Korean people -- north and south -- for reunification has surged forward dramatically. Every day, new economic, political, social and others ties are being developed between the two parts of the country as the people work to break down all the barriers and partitions created by U.S. imperialism's occupation of South Korea. Across South Korea, millions of people are coming out to demand an end to U.S. military occupation.

In addition, throughout the region, a new wind of reconciliation between countries is breaking down the Cold War barriers put up by U.S. imperialism.

Thus, the Bush administration is again using the phony propaganda about "weapons of mass destruction" as a pretext for fomenting tensions and trying to militarize the situation.

Its goal is to turn back the tide of Korean reunification and Asian reconciliation and to justify the continued occupation of South Korea by 37,000 U.S. troops. Its morbid dream is to reignite the Korean war, recolonize the DPRK and use the Korean peninsula as a springboard for extending its military presence and domination throughout Asia.

Thus in resisting the pressure and threats of U.S. imperialism, the DPRK and the whole Korean nation have once again thrown themselves into the forefront of the worldwide struggle against imperialism and war. By defending their sovereignty and dignity and resolutely exposing the war plans and propaganda of imperialism, the Korean people are assisting the peoples everywhere to defeat U.S. imperialism and its war program.

CHRONOLOGY OF RECENT EVENTS ON THE KOREAN PENINSULA

August, 1994

U.S. and DPRK sign the "Agreed Framework" in which the DPRK agrees to suspend activity at its graphite-based nuclear energy plants in return for fuel and the building of new "light water" reactors by the U.S. The U.S. also agrees to refrain from threatening North Korea with nuclear weapons.

December, 1997

President Clinton signs a secret four-page "Presidential Policy Directive (PPD)" outlining new guidelines for fighting a nuclear war. It states that U.S. strategy will shift its focus from fighting a prolonged nuclear conflict to one of responding quickly and decisively to more limited attacks against so-called "rogue nations," such as Libya, Iran, Iraq, or North Korea. It also says the United States will reserve the option of using nuclear arms to retaliate against "non-nuclear threats."

July, 1998

The "Rumsfeld Commission" concludes report declaring the DPRK and Iran "rogue states" which threaten U.S. interests.

December, 1998

U.S. accuses the DPRK of "developing secret underground nuclear plants" and declares that sanctions won't be lifted until the north's "missile technology" is suspended.

May, 1999

A U.S. inspection team visits the suspected underground site. According to the State Department, the team finds "no evidence of nuclear activity or violation of the Agreed Framework."

December, 1999

Five years after the Agreed Framework was signed, U.S. officials admit that they have delayed signing the contract for the construction of the light-water reactor, citing "complex legal and financial challenges."

June 15, 2000

Following a historic summit, North and South Korea sign a joint declaration stating they will "solve the question of the country's reunification independently by the concerted efforts of the Korean nation responsible for it." The agreement includes promises to reunite families divided by the war and to pursue other economic and cultural exchanges. Five days later, North Korea reaffirms that it will place a moratorium on its missile technology development. The North-South Joint Declaration stimulates a new upsurge in the Korean people's struggle for reunification.

May, 2001

President Bush declares that the U.S. will deploy a new "Ballistic Missile Defense" program in Asia. U.S. officials admit the program will directly target North Korea and may be used in a possible "pre-emptive strike."

June, 2001

The White House announces publicly that the U.S. will abandon the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty.

January 29, 2002

In his State of the Union address, President Bush says that the DPRK, along with Iraq and Iran, represent an "axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world."

March, 2002

The Pentagon reveals portions of its official Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) which contains plans for the first-strike use of nuclear weapons agaisnt non-nuclear countries including North Korea as well as Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.

October, 2002

The DPRK calls for a non-aggression treaty between the DPRK and the U.S. as "a reasonable and realistic" basis for resolving outstanding issues, including the nuclear issue, between the two countries.

November, 2002

The Bush administration says that it will completely cutoff fuel shipments to north Korea.

December, 2002

The DPRK takes steps to restart its graphite-based nuclear reactors in order supply itself with electricity. The DPRK again reiterates its sovereign right to take measures to defend itself and points out that "the United States stopped supplying heavy fuel oil and thus ditched the DPRK-U.S. Agreed Framework (AF) after listing the DPRK as part of an 'axis of evil' and a target of its premptive nuclear attack."

ROBBERY!

As "The Worker" goes to press, the Bush administration is preparing yet another tax cut for the corporations and very wealthy.

Although all the details are not yet known, Bush's plan reportedly includes a sharp cut in taxes on corporate dividends, new tax breaks on corporate investments and more cuts in the tax rate for wealthy individuals.

In fact, all along the line, the government's economic program is simply helping the rich rob the public treasury. Within the last 2 years alone, the Bush administration has cut taxes for the rich by hundreds of billions of dollars and, at the same time, turned hundreds of billions more over to the Pentagon, the insurance companies, the airline capitalists and others.

And while the politicians and the super-rich are robbing the public, the government refuses to make the investments needed to guarantee vital public services. The public schools are falling down for lack of government funding. Medicare, Medicaid and our country's entire health care system is in crisis, leaving tens of millions without needed care. Public housing has been all but abandoned by the government and income-support programs cut to the bone. In fact, the capitalists and politicians keep privatizing vital public services in order to turn these social funds, set aside to guarantee the rights of the people, into yet another source of superprofits.

In sum, the government's power to tax and spend is used to further redistribute the wealth of our country in favor of the capitalist class, to bleed taxes out of the workers and turn these monies over to the corporations. Today as the economic crisis intensifies, the capitalists rely more and more on the government to intervene and guarantee their superprofits.

The workers have no choice but to come into the political arena to fight for a fundamental change in the government's program. In the final analysis, economics is decided by politics - by which class holds the power.

In opposition to capitalist economics, the workers must demand:

- An end to the militarization of the economy and the looting of the public treasury;

- An end to the privatization of public services;

- Expanding the public sector of the economy and social investments so as to guarantee the inalienable economic rights of the people, including the right to a job or a livelihood, to health care, education, etc.

In the final analysis, the workers must gain the political power in order to eliminate the system of exploitation and insure that the aim of economic life is to guarantee the well-being of the people, not the profits of a few.

ANTI-WAR FORUMS

Beginning this month the Anti-Imperialist News Service (AINS) is organizing a regular monthly meeting in Chicago devoted to the topic: "How to Advance the Struggle Against War!"

The first forum will be held on January 19. The meeting will begin with a presentation by Michael Thorburn, editor of "The Worker," entitled "Only the Peoples Can Stop Imperialism's War Program!" An open discussion will follow.

These forums can play an important role in further uniting and organizing the anti-war struggles. The forums will take up the vital work of politicalization and assist activists to look into the causes of the war program, analyze the balance of forces in the struggle for peace, sum up experience and discuss the strategy and tactics of their movement.

The AINS invites anti-war activists and people from all walks of life to take part in these discussions.

For more information: e-mail: ains@anti-imperialist.org or call (312) 409-1127.

ON WHAT BASIS DO WE UNITE --

Everyone can see how busy the capitalist class is preparing and carrying through its war program. Massive military forces are being deployed not only in the Persian Gulf but across the entire globe. Reservists are being called up. The militarization of the economy has increased dramatically. The rights of immigrants and all Americans are being attacked to silence voices of opposition to war. The politicians and media incessantly beat the drums of militarism and chauvinism.

In this environment, it would indeed by naive to forget that the capitalists, as part of their war preparations, are working very hard to contain, fragment, and liquidate the rapidly growing anti-war movement of the American people.

The capitalists use many tactics against the people's movement. Their propaganda machine tries to slander the movement as "marginal" and even "unpatriotic." Outright repression is used. The capitalists also use the tactic of trying to undermine the anti-war movement from within.

Thus, as the anti-war struggles become more widespread and thoroughgoing, the capitalists try ever-harder to keep it under the leadership and domination of an "official opposition," composed of a few capitalist politicians and other media personalities.

The media-anointed "leaders" of the anti-war movement confine their "opposition" to suggesting to the Bush administration that a preemptive, first-strike against Iraq is not the best strategy for the U.S. to follow. Of course, at the same time, these "anti-war" personalities insist on weapons inspections and the disarming of Iraq. They also declare their complete support for the "war against terrorism" including the occupation of Afghanistan, U.S. support for Israel, etc. Many of these "anti-war" politicians have already endorsed a war against Iraq if the U.N. and/or major U.S. allies join in and make it "multilateral."

The great danger here lies especially in the fact that liberalism and opportunism insist that the genuine anti-war activists must tone down their thoroughgoing anti-war, anti-imperialist demands in order to "bring in" and coddle such official "leaders."

In this environment, activists must carry on nonstop ideological and political work to clarify the aims and tactics of the struggle and safeguard and strengthen the independence of the anti-war movement.

By trying to confine the focus to the single question of a preemptive strike against Iraq, the official "opposition" is covering over the real extent, character and aims of imperialism's "international war against terrorism." The reality is that the U.S. government has already declared that this war will last for decades and is already waging it in Afghanistan, Palestine, Colombia, the Philippines as well as Iraq. The anti-war movement must face up to this real challenge in order to win the peace.

Yet more, the official "opposition" keeps spreading American chauvinism inside the anti-war movement. Not only do the "anti-war" capitalists insist on imposing the dictates of U.S. imperialism on Iraq through weapons inspections and sanctions, their virulent racism can be seen in repeated attacks on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, on Cuba, on the Palestinian people and others.

Organizationally, the opportunist line calls on the genuine anti-war activists to be foot soldiers and organizers in "coalitions" oriented towards "winning over" and "bringing in" the capitalist politicians themselves. The narrowest agenda is forced onto such coalitions and the politicians are given pride of place as the speakers and representatives of the "movement." To keep this hierarchy intact, opportunism tries to prohibit any political discussion which would "alienate" the official "leaders." In fact, such coalitions end up extremely narrow because they push away the masses of people who are looking for enlightenment and a real fight against the capitalist warmakers.

For Mass, Anti-Imperialist Organization and Struggle

For our part, the Workers Party welcomes any and all opposition to imperialism's war program. But, firstly, we must never forget to distinguish between what is genuine and what is sham.

Most importantly, we start from the fact that the only force which can be relied on in the struggle against war and militarism is the broad masses of American people. The war program is bringing home to all, the urgent need to organize the people as an independent political force, in opposition to and struggle against the parties of war and imperialism.

Strengthening such an independent movement means sticking to principles. It means cherishing and defending the consciousness and organization of the people above all else. Politically it means opposing chauvinism, militarism and imperialism in all their forms not surrendering to, ignoring or conciliating with the aims and ideology of imperialism. It means struggle against the parties of war and imperialism.

To unite the broadest numbers of people in common actions against the warmakers, the people must, as a first principle, strengthen their own unity and empower themselves by building their own organizations, not surrender their independence in order to cater to a narrow strata.

This means building up mass anti-imperialist organizations as the solid, irreplaceable foundation of a genuinely broad anti-war movement.

CRIMINAL NEGLECT -- PART TWO

The following article was submitted by a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

Most people have probably heard the old saying: "You can't get blood out of a stone!" But, it appears that the government officials in charge of the Chicago Public Schools think they can work school employees past the point of exhaustion.

Let us look, for example, at just what the school authorities expect from speech pathologists, who provide instruction for students with speech problems.

Speech therapy is generally needed by children aged 3 to 9 or 10, with such diverse problems as stuttering, articulation problems, or autism. At these young ages, the children respond well to remediation but this requires detailed, individualized work with each student. In fact, Illinois state law, mandates that an IEP (Individual Education Plan) be worked out for every student diagnosed with the need for speech therapy.

Thus the starting point for a speech pathologist is to draw up an individualized plan of instruction and provide remediation on a weekly basis, generally for a period of 30-40 minutes per student but sometimes for as long as 60-80 minutes. To properly prepare and carry through this work, the professional organizations of speech pathologists recommend caseloads of no more than 30-35 students/instructor.

But an average caseload in the CPS is 65-70 and it keeps going higher every year.

Figure it out. If each student received planned, individual instruction, a speech pathologist would have to work something like 100 hours/week. Thus, speech pathologists are forced to provide "individual remediation" to more than one student at a time and to prepare lesson plans and teaching materials mostly on their own time.

And this is only the beginning.

School authorities never stop piling more duties onto speech pathologists just as they do with teachers and other workers. For one thing, nearly half of the school day is spent rounding up the children who are scheduled for instruction. Mostly they are too young to walk the halls alone or remember their appointment times and the school refuses to hire anyone to take on this responsibility. Thus the speech pathologist is also something like an "in-school bus driver," stopping at classroom after classroom to pick up children.

In addition, every week a speech pathologist has to evaluate several new students as well as prepare annual and tri-annual reviews on the progress of individual students.

The evaluation process includes classroom visits to observe the children, a battery of individualized testing based on direct interaction with the student as well as consultations with other educational professionals and parents. Annual reviews require detailed written reports, including weekly progress notes as well as more meetings with caseworkers, teachers, and parents.

And of course, we must not forget the endless reports and paper work required by the CPS. Progress notes on each meeting with each child must be kept and entered into the computer on a weekly basis. An additional attendance book is also kept and every quarter, a report card, including a paragraph summary of each child's progress, must be prepared. This is why speech pathologists generally put in 2-3 hours/night on homework and as many as 4-6/night during grading periods.

The simple truth is that in the CPS, speech pathologists, like teachers and other educational workers, have more work than any human can physically do.

To me, this daily work routine makes it crystal clear that the politicians and school authorities have no intention whatsoever of providing our children with even the minimum of resources necessary to get a modern education.

I charge the politicians and school authorities with criminal neglect.

MILLIONS GO WITHOUT HEAT

In the midst of winter, the Bush administration is planning to cut $300 million from the $1.7 billion federal program which provides heating subsidies for poor families.

The cut will mean that 438,000 fewer families will receive aid from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which last year helped 4.5 million families (more than 15 million people) keep the heat on during the winter months.

Across the country, millions of people have no heat whatsoever and millions more suffer from insufficient heat. In Chicago alone, People's Energy estimates that at least 10,000 of its customers have had their gas service shut off.

Last month, as Chicago residents came into the streets to demand heating assistance, a spokesperson for the South Austin Coalition, a community group, commented: "It's a grim situation. People are living in the cold, they're trying to get by with kerosene heaters and charcoal grills, electric heaters. There will be fires, hypothermia. Strictly from the perspective of low-income households, it's kind of a third-world situation."

MORE STATE BUDGET CUTS EXPECTED

As we begin the new year, state governments are preparing yet another round of cutbacks in social services, including education, health care, welfare, corrections and public transportation.

The recently released report, The Fiscal Survey of States, published by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers, warned that state governments face "the most dire fiscal situation since WW II" and that most governments will implement a combination of tax increases and budget cutbacks.

This year's fiscal crisis comes on the heels of massive cutbacks in fiscal 2002. Last year, 26 states slashed spending, 20 more cut back on the workforce and 7 increased taxes and fees. As a result, across the country, 10% of all state workers lost their jobs and dramatic cutbacks were carried out in public education, Medicaid, public assistance programs and other vital services.

At the same time, federal and local governments are also cutting investments.

The results are felt everyday by the people. Elementary and secondary schools are falling down while students are stuffed into overcrowded classrooms. Tens of millions of working people are denied needed medical care. The unemployed and poor are left in dire straights, unable to even secure the basics of food, clothing and shelter.

All this, in the country which boasts that it is the "richest in the world."

It is time that the working people set things straight so that the wealth of the country and the vast budget at the disposal of state, local and federal governments are used to guarantee that everyone has such basic rights as food, clothing and shelter, a secure job or livelihood, comprehensive health care, and the best possible education.

These are minimum requirements of any truly modern society.

From the Philippines: THWART PLANS TO RESTORE DIRECT MILITARY RULE!

The following article is excerpted from the November 2002 edition of "Ang Bayan," the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The Macapagal-Arroyo regime continues to expand and intensify the fascist suppression of democratic rights. Militarization is being intensified both in the countryside and cities. "Anti-terrorist" terror and disorder are relentlessly being fomented. Macapagal-Arroyo's bureaucratic-military rule is rapidly leading to the restoration of outright military rule in the Philippines.

Despite the absence of a formal declaration of a state of emergency or martial law, there is relentless fascist suppression and dominance of military power in the various aspects of social life.

Within the span of a few days, curfews, checkpoints, body searches and inspections of personal belongings were approved and implemented in Metro Manila and other cities. There are likewise plans to arm the barangay tanod and deploy "secret marshalls" in buses, airplanes and other places. Students in schools where activists abound are subjected to strict inspections after such schools were declared as "likely targets of terrorist attack."

Also included among the measures that Macapagal-Arroyo so eagerly wants to put in place is the National ID System, which is set to be implemented following a decision by the National Security Council. It is a means to facilitate surveillance and control of the people. Fidel Ramos pushed for this measure in 1996 as did Joseph Estrada in 1999. But they both failed due to the people's all-out resistance as well as opposition from other politicians.

The anti-terrorism bill is likewise being deliberated again in congress. It aims to legalize the suppression of civil rights, just as what the Marcos dictatorship did through martial law. There is also a proposal to grant Macapagal-Arroyo "emergency powers." ...

[This campaign is] within the framework of the Bush doctrine. The campaign was initiated as early as August-September and marked by the propagation of utterly baseless stories meant to tarnish the integrity of the Party and New People's Army. Its sinister objective is to incite hatred and fear against the revolutionary movement. ...

Macapagal has been creating widespread terror to make it appear that repressive measures are necessary to protect the people "against terrorist threats." Macapagal-Arroyo wants the people to accept, or create the impression that they accept, the imposition of anti-democratic measures.

She also wants to rationalize the imposition of a state of emergency that would lead to outright military rule.

This psywar campaign, with its attendant bombings, are all part of the regime's intensified counter-revolutionary war. Dubbed Oplan Gordian Knot by the AFP, its principal target is the armed revolutionary movement as well as legal organizations and parties, particularly Bayan Muna.

By putting "anti-terrorist" measures in place, the Macapagal-Arroyo regime aims to use them primarily against the people and their revolutionary movement. In the face of the people's spreading anger and protests against the oppressive and exploitative policies of the reactionary state and the rapid advance of the armed revolutionary movement in the countryside, the regime has grown more desperate to defend the rotting and bankrupt ruling system.

On the other hand, as the social crisis further intensifies due to the policy dictates of US imperialism, the reactionary regime clings ever desperately to the coattails of its imperialist master. The Macapagal-Arroyo regime is the most reliable endorser in Southeast Asia of the Bush government's bellicose foreign policy. It now takes the lead in pushing the US agenda in the region.

Macapagal-Arroyo supports US maneuvers to obtain "access rights" for its troops to enter countries in Southeast Asia. For this, Macapagal-Arroyo has been pushing for an "anti-terrorism accord" among the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and other countries in the region.

THOUSANDS PROTEST THE ARREST OF IMMIGRANTS

On December 18, over 3,000 people in Los Angeles demonstrated against the recent arrest of hundreds of immigrants by federal immigration officials in Southern California.

INS officials stated that between 500 to 700 individuals were arrested in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego between December 15-18, after thousands of immigrants were summoned "to comply with a new rule to register with immigration authorities." Some unconfirmed reports put the number of arrests as high as 1,000.

The arrests were part of a recent program that requires all males over 16, from a list of 20 Arab or Middle East countries, who do not have permanent resident status in the U.S., to register with U.S. immigration authorities. December 16 was the deadline for men from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Sudan.

Registration requires immigrants to be fingerprinted, photographed and interrogated. Failure to answer any questions, such as questions concerning political and religious beliefs, friends, family, etc., are grounds for deportation.

The head of the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union compared the arrests to the internment of Japanese Americans in camps during the Second World War. "I think it is shocking what is happening. It is reminiscent of what happened in the past with the internment of Japanese Americans. We are getting a lot of telephone calls from people. We are hearing that people went down wanting to cooperate and then they were detained," said Ramona Ripston, the ACLU's executive director.

One lawyer said local jails were so overcrowded that the immigrants could be sent to Arizona, where they could face weeks or months in prisons awaiting hearings before immigration judges or deportation.

At the protest, many carried signs saying "What Next? Concentration Camps?"

Racist profiling and mass deportations are part of the government's war program. Precisely because U.S. imperialism is preparing new wars against Iraq, Palestine, Iran and other countries, the government is trying to silence any voice of opposition and degrade the peoples of these countries.

U.S. BEGINS DEPLOYMENT OF BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAM

On December 17, President Bush announced that the United States will soon begin deploying its Ballistic Missile Program (BMD).

He said the United States will begin operating these missiles in 2004 and 2005, "and they will include ground-based interceptors, sea-based interceptors, additional Patriot (PAC-3) units, and sensors based on land, at sea, and in space." The Pentagon is already spending $9 billion/year on this missile program and the eventual cost is expected to run into hundreds of billions of dollars.

On the same day, Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, said the missile program "should be seen as a signal to North Korea." In the past, he and other U.S. officials have stated that 16 missiles will be deployed by 2005 at a base in Alaska and four in California to "counter the threat of terrorist groups and rogue states such as Iran, Iraq and North Korea."

Even though the U.S. government advertises its ballistic missile program as a "defensive" program aimed at "shielding the U.S. from nuclear attack," it is, in reality, an offensive weapons system and a key component in Bush's program of further militarizing the world. The ballistic missile program is designed:

1) to be deployed in various "regional military theaters" including the Middle East and the Korean peninsula in order to insure U.S. military superiority. The U.S. and Israeli governments are already planing to deploy short-range ballistic missiles in order to strengthen U.S.-Israeli military dominance.

2) as a first-strike weapon which can wipe out the strategic or short-range missiles of an adversary, thus destroying its deterrent force and leaving it defenseless. This greatly increases the threat and reality of a first-strike nuclear attack by the U.S.

The development of the BMD program reflects the extreme aggressiveness of U.S. imperialism in the present period. The Bush administration flaunts its lawlessness, repeatedly insisting that it will not be bound by arms treaties or put peace negotiations ahead of its militarist ambitions. Trying to create a "unipolar" world, with itself as the sole superpower, U.S. imperialism wants to strengthen its nuclear superiority and nuclear blackmail over the whole world.

 

Volume 17, No. 2 January 21, 2003

WORLDWIDE PROTESTS AGAINST U.S. WAR PLANS

On January 18, hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. -- and over a million people worldwide -- demonstrated in opposition to U.S. war plans in Iraq.

In the U.S., the largest protest took place in Washington D.C., where hundreds of thousands of people (at least a quarter of a million by many estimates) participated in an anti-war rally on the National Mall. In a march to the Washington Navy Yards in the afternoon, a sea of people stretched along the two-mile march route, displaying colorful posters and banners and filling the air with drumbeats and anti-war demands and slogans.

On the other side of the country, in San Francisco, over 100,000 people took part in a massive march. In Portland, 20,000 people marched through downtown.

Numerous protests were also held in scores of other U.S. cities in almost every state in the nation. Everywhere demonstrators took to the streets demanding -- "No War on Iraq!"

People also raised demands against U.S. imperialism's "international war against terrorism" and spoke out in defense of the sovereignty of countries and the right of every people to determine their own affairs free of imperialist interference. Banners and literature denounced U.S. pressure against North Korea and the Korean people and supported the struggles of the peoples in Palestine, Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere. People also spoke out against the nonstop militarization of the country and the government's growing fascism, especially its racist attacks on immigrants, Arab-Americans and Moslems.

Around the world, demonstrations took place in over 30 countries, including largescale protests in Japan, France, Turkey, Russia, Canada, Italy, Germany, Pakistan, India, Britain, Norway, Sweden, China, and the Netherlands.

In Egypt, thousands turned out demanding that U.S. warships not be allowed to pass through the Suez Canal. In Ireland, demonstrators demanded that Shannon airport not be used to refuel U.S. warplanes. Other international demonstrations also targeted U.S. bases, insisting they not be used for war against Iraq.

These demonstrations once again testify to the will of the American people. Like people the world over, we ardently desire a world of peace and friendship. As the U.S. government continues to defy the will of the people and remain on the warpath, the people have no choice but to further organize in opposition to and struggle against the parties of war and imperialism.

Only the Peoples Can Stop the War!

MORE CUTS IN HEALTH CARE

During this year, 49 states and the District of Columbia will cut back on Medicaid, the health care program for low-income people.

According to a report published by the Kaiser Foundation, 25 states are reducing Medicaid services such as hearing aids, physical therapy, dental, eye care, etc. In addition, 27 states are restricting eligibility and throwing people off Medicaid rolls; 17 states are increasing co-payments for recipients; 45 states are cutting back on prescription medicines; and 37 states are freezing or cutting payments to health care providers.

The cutbacks will affect some 40 million people, including as many as 2 million who will lose all coverage. This year's cuts come after many states had already made major cutbacks over the last 2 years. Medicaid financing is divided between federal and states governments and today, while the federal government refuses to increase Medicaid spending, states are choosing to cut these programs in order to balance their budgets. In addition to Medicaid cuts, 17 states will reduce spending on long-term care both in nursing homes and community-based settings. Other states are also slashing funds for the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Some of the cutbacks which are being implemented or proposed include:

- Nebraska: at least 16,000 children and 12,000 adults are being removed from the Medicaid rolls.

- Washington: hearing, vision and dental coverage for adults has been eliminated and 60,000 low-income adults have been cut off of the state's Basic Health Plan.

- Tennessee: as many as 250,000 people will lose Medicaid coverage.

- New Jersey has eliminated coverage for many low-income parents.

- In California, the Governor's proposal would throw 500,000 low-income parents off Medicaid.

These cuts are coming while the recession is undermining the livelihood of millions and health care costs keep skyrocketing. Our health care system is failing to meet the needs of the people and the government - rather than helping in these times of hardships - is making things worse.

U.S. NUKES THREATEN KOREA

The following is excerpted from the Korean Central News Agency, 1/17.

As already reported, the DPRK Government in a statement solemnly declared its complete withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In this regard, the U.S., the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Japan and other countries and dishonest forces expressed "concern," asserting that it should be "reconsidered" and it would "put the nuclear non-proliferation system in danger".

The DPRK was compelled to withdraw from the NPT as a self-defence step taken after careful consideration to cope with the grave situation where its supreme interests are most seriously threatened by the U.S.

A close scrutiny made into how this situation was created, the background against which the nuclear issue surfaced and its nature from a historical point of view and on the basis of facts clearly explains the U.S. is the author of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

The nuclear issue surfaced on the Korean Peninsula as the U.S. has posed a nuclear threat to the DPRK for scores of years by massively deploying and stockpiling nukes in and around South Korea, pursuant to its hostile policy toward Pyongyang in line with its strategy to dominate the world.

The U.S. imperialists tried several times to use an A-bomb against the DPRK already during the last Korean War and began introducing many nuclear weapons into South Korea after the war.

The DPRK clarified its official stand to oppose the U.S. shipment of nuclear weapons into South Korea at the 12th session of its Supreme People's Assembly held in 1956.

In April 1959, the DPRK Government warned the U.S. imperialists against turning South Korea into a nuclear base and put forward a proposal to create a nuclear-free peace zone in Asia.

The U.S. imperialists have staged ceaseless war exercises of different forms such as "Team Spirit", "Ulji Focus Lens" and "Foal Eagle" by mobilizing nuclear forces in South Korea and in its vicinity to threaten the DPRK with nuclear weapons and increase the danger of a nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula.

It was the U.S. that compelled the DPRK to withdraw from the NPT.

Under the DPRK-U.S. Agreed Framework (AF) the U.S. was committed to provide light water reactors to the DPRK by 2003 in return for the DPRK's freezing of its graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities.

Though it is already 9 years since the DPRK froze its nuclear facilities, only site preparation was made in the LWR project.

Under the AF both sides were committed to work for fully normalizing the political and economic relations, but the U.S. has persistently enforced its hostile policy and economic sanctions against the DPRK.

The AF also called on the U.S. to give formal assurances against its use or threat of nuclear weapons to the DPRK, but the U.S. has increased its nuclear threat to the DPRK.

The U.S. stopped the supply of heavy oil to the DPRK from December last year, the only commitment that had been implemented under the AF.

Under the situation where a vacuum is created in the power production due to the U.S. stop of its supply of heavy oil to the DPRK, the latter lifted the freeze on its nuclear facilities . . .

The U.S. has increased its nuclear threat to the DPRK by staging nuclear war exercises one after another in and around South Korea after massively deploying nuclear weapons there in violation of the letter and spirit of the NPT.

U.S. President Bush officially declared its policy of confrontation with North Korea in what he called a "statement on the North Korea policy". Early last year the Bush bellicose forces listed the DPRK as part of an "axis of evil" and later a target of its nuclear strikes.

They stepped up the preparations to develop and deploy a new type of nuclear weapon to be used for destroying underground facilities of the DPRK in case of "emergency" on the Korean Peninsula and ordered the U.S. air force in South Korea to load large warheads which can go down deep into the ground and blow up targets. . . .

Though the DPRK withdrew from the NPT, its nuclear activity at the present stage will be limited to such peaceful purposes as electricity production.

BANKRUPTING THE COUNTRY

The Bush administration expects that the federal budget will wind up $200-$300 billion in deficit this year and that such deficits will continue "for the foreseeable future." These projections do not include the cost of a war with Iraq which has been estimated at another $200 billion. These deficits will be the largest ever.

Bush has managed to turn the federal budget from surplus to deficit in only 2 years by following 2 very simple rules: 1) provide massive tax cuts for the rich, and 2) give the rich hundreds of billions in government funds through various bailouts and especially through the militarization of the economy.

Of course, at the same time, Bush is using the deficit he has created as an excuse to cut spending on vital social programs such as education, health care, housing assistance, welfare, etc.,

In sum, the current fiscal policy -- cut taxes for the rich, militarize the economy, slash social programs -- is bankrupting the public treasury and putting all the government's resources at the disposal of the big capitalists.

A NEW ANTI-WAR FORUM!

On January 19, in Chicago, the Anti-Imperialist News Service (AINS) organized the first in a series of regular monthly forums devoted to discussing the burning political question: "How to Advance the Struggle Against War!"

Activists in the thick of the struggle as well as people eager to learn more took part in the meeting. Some participants had just returned from the big anti-war demonstration in Washington, D.C. and many others had joined in several Chicago actions within the past week. The activists included workers organizing, on a daily basis, against the war in their workplaces and unions, students active on several college campuses in the area, community activists, people working with religious-based organizations and others. In addition to helping organize mass actions, the participants had a good deal of experience organizing anti-war speaking tours, discussion and study groups, literature distribution, research and writing groups, and other forms of activity.

Michael Thorburn, editor of "The Worker," opened up the forum with a talk entitled "Only the Peoples Can Stop Imperialism's War Program." In the beginning, he stressed the importance of the forum, saying:

"It really is exciting to get together with so many sisters and brothers who are actively fighting against the government's war program."

"I think that nothing is needed more than for people like us -- people who are building the anti-war movement on a daily basis -- to sit together and talk about how to advance our work, about our goals and program, about what strategy, tactics and forms of organizations are needed. These questions are not going to be solved in one discussion but it is absolutely necessary to keep developing new space where people can bring out their own agenda and their own thinking."

"I think we are at an important juncture when the very breadth and depth of the movement is bringing new questions to the fore."

In his speech, Michael Thorburn talked first about the extent, the character, aims and basis of the U.S. government's war program. He went on to outline 4 basic tasks of the opposition: 1) standing up against war and imperialism; 2) politicizing our movement; 3) organizing ourselves independent of and in struggle against the parties of war; and 4) building a proactive movement. These tasks all center around the need to develop anti-imperialist politics and organization. (A summary of this speech will be published in the near future.)

The discussion period lasted for 2 hours. In addition to talking about various aspects of the war program, people zeroed in on their experiences in the anti-war struggle. People spoke with great passion and commitment and pointed to the ever-growing breadth of the anti-war movement. People talked about both the advances and roadblocks in enhancing the consciousness and organization of the people, returning again and again to the necessity to develop anti-imperialist politics and organization.

The AINS will continue to sponsor these forums on the third Sunday of each month.

 

Volume 17, No. 3 February 4, 2003

ANTI-WAR COMMENTARY

by Bill Foster

Disinformation and War

To incite war, the U.S. government relies on the tactic of disinformation.

From the very beginning, the Bush administration has simply asserted that the Iraqi government is "building weapons of mass destruction," that it has "links to terrorists," etc. And by repeating these assertions, over and over again, even when all the evidence proves them false, Bush hopes that they will be accepted as facts.

Example one. For months Bush asserted that Iraq is building nuclear weapons. But the facts are that the U.N. nuclear inspectors, after checking 106 sites in Iraq, reported that there is no evidence of Iraq reviving its nuclear weapons program. Yet in his State of the Union speech, Bush again said Iraq is building nuclear weapons.

Example two. During the war against Afghanistan and afterwards, top officials in the Bush administration (and most recently the head of the U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq) repeatedly admitted that there was no link between Iraq and the bombing the World Trade Center or between Iraq and Al Qaeda. But, again, in his State of the Union speech Bush shamelessly repeated this lie.

Example three. The head of the U.N. weapons inspectors, Hans Blix, admitted that "we have been there [in Iraq] for some two months and been covering the country in ever wider sweeps and we haven't found any smoking guns." In 1999, Scott Ritter, former chief weapons inspectors, said, after thousands of inspections: "Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction capability."Yet Bush keeps up his empty refrain about "weapons of mass destruction."

In fact, the Bush administration has admitted again and again that it doesn't need evidence to convict the Iraqi government and launch a war. Most recently Bush claimed that Colin Powell would present "evidence" to the U.N. Already, the governments admits that Powell will not supply a "smoking gun" but "only circumstantial evidence."

In sum, the "evidence" is: Bush says so! Bush thinks that because he has the guns, he can define reality anyway he wants. The Iraqi government is guilty because Bush says so.

All Bush's baseless assertions and lies cannot change the basic issues.

It is not Iraq which threatens the U.S. It is U.S. and British warplanes which very day fly bombing runs over Iraq. It is the U.S. and other powers who impose brutal economic sanctions on the Iraqi people. It is the U.S. that encircles Iraq with hundreds of thousands of troops and weapons of mass destruction. It is the U.S. which has declared its intention to replace the Iraqi government with a U.S. military dictatorship.

In short, it is U.S. imperialism which is the aggressor and all of the "arguments" presented by Bush, boil down to nothing more than variations on the same tune: U.S. Might Makes Right.

Peace and the Sovereignty of States

Yet more. Bush's propaganda about "weapons of mass destruction" is a double and triple fraud because, all along, the U.S. government has raised these issues not in order to bring about disarmament or promote the rule of international law. It has unabashedly used these slogans as a ploy to prepare for war. But war itself is the biggest violation of international law and the rights of humanity.

Over the last 100 years and more, humankind has faced the horrors of WW I, WW II and hundreds of wars launched by the big, imperialist powers. Again and again the peoples have mobilized themselves against aggressive wars. One reflection of this struggle for peace is that the peoples have forced the big powers to sign treaties and establish a system of international law which is based on the renunciation of the use of force by one state against another. For example, the very charter of the U.N. states "all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."

And a U.S.-led war against Iraq will remain aggressive whether it is waged unilaterally by the U.S. or with "multilateral support," which the U.S. is trying to get through its bullying and bribing of other countries. When the U.S. and its big power allies meet behind closed doors, the real subject of discussion is not the veracity of the weapons inspections but how the wealth of Iraq will be divided up. From every angle, U.S. policy towards Iraq, which relies on the threat and reality of war to bring about "regime change," is a plot against the peace and against the peoples.

Similarly when Bush talks of "liberating" Iraq, he is trampling underfoot the sovereignty of peoples. And this principle - recognition of the right of every people to independence and sovereignty - is another of the most important achievements of humanity over the last 100 years. It is a principle which has been fought for especially by the oppressed nations who have risen up to win their right to live free of foreign domination and intervention and to settle their own affairs. It is an elementary principle of democracy that foreign aggression cannot "liberate" a nation.

ONLY THE PEOPLES CAN STOP IMPERIALISM'S WAR PROGRAM!

The following article summarizes several of the main points presented by Michael Thorburn at a forum sponsored by the Anti-Imperialist News Service (AINS) on January 19, 2003 in Chicago. The summary has been reviewed by the author.

War Against Terrorism -- Program for World Domination by Force of Arms

Even as we work to bring the widest sections of people out in opposition to the government's plan to invade Iraq, even as we fight to stay the hand of the warmakers, we must keep in mind the full challenge that is facing us.

The problem is not when, or if, the U.S. government will go to war. The war is already on.

Why do I say this?

Well, for one thing, the U.S. government openly says that it's at war. Government officials have repeatedly told us that the so-called "war against terrorism" will last for decades. The government has officially adopted the strategic doctrine of preemptive strikes - declaring that it will launch first-strike, preemptive military action against any country at any time that it wants. In September of last year the U.S. Congress passed a resolution ceding to George Bush the authority to use the full force of the U.S. military against any and every country Bush deems necessary.

And already, within the last 18 months, the U.S. has invaded and occupied Afghanistan and today is preparing an all-out invasion of Iraq with the goal of installing a U.S. military government there. In addition, the U.S. has organized its client regime in Israel to reoccupy Palestine and wage war against the entire Palestinian nation, deployed hundreds of U.S. military advisers in Colombia to wage a fullscale counter-insurgency war, dispatched hundreds of advisers to the Philippines where the U.S. is preparing another all-out counter-insurgency war. The U.S. is also threatening war on the Korean peninsula and elsewhere.

At the same time, the Bush administration is carrying out the most massive military buildup, including the development of a whole generation of new nuclear and strategic weapons of mass destruction.

In other words, the impeding invasion of Iraq is one front in a war which is already being waged across the entire globe.

War Arises from the Crisis of Imperialism

This war program is the product of the all-sided crisis of the capitalist-imperialist system.

Violence and war are at the very foundations of this system because capitalist-imperialism imposes social relations of domination, suppression and exploitation on whole nations and peoples.

The very social existence of the U.S. monopoly capital class - the big banks and multinational corporations which dominate economic life - is completely bound up with not only exploitation of U.S. working class but also with the super-exploitation and domination of countries the world over - 1/3 to 50% of the profits of the U.S.-based multinationals comes from overseas investments. Under this system, the mineral wealth, the land and other natural resources of whole countries and even continents is owned by the U.S. capitalists. And because the productive forces -the very means of life - are owned by the foreign companies, the laboring classes have no choice but to toil for these monopolies - the wealth of other countries and the labor of the peoples goes to enrich the U.S. monopolies. So too, the governmental budgets and economic policies in the dependent countries are dictated by the U.S. and other international bankers.

To police this system of economic domination and privilege - of dependence, colonialism and neo-colonialism - U.S. imperialism has established a network of 500 military bases in other countries. U.S. nuclear submarines and warships span the globe and U.S. weapons fill the skies and outer space. Hundreds of times, the U.S. has waged aggressive wars to "protect" and expand this empire.

For years, the U.S. imperialists have been shifting the burden of their economic crisis onto other countries. But every day this becomes harder. It becomes harder because other imperialist powers keep gaining economic strength and contending with the U.S. for spheres of economic territory and influence, for profits and empire. It becomes harder because everywhere the countries and peoples who toil under the yoke of imperialism are trying to take the path of independence and liberation.

In other words, social development itself keeps undermining the morbid dream of U.S. imperialism to be the world's sole superpower and to impose its dictate everywhere. This is why, the U.S. capitalists want and need war as their last option. They are trying to hold back the laws of social development by force of arms.

This need for war is expressed in Bush's new strategic doctrine of "preemptive war," according to which the U.S. will strike anytime against any country in order to prevent it from rivaling U.S. power in the future. Military might will be used to insure that nothing stands in way of U.S. empire.

Thus, since international law prohibits the use of force to resolve problems between states, international law must be torn up and throw out.

If the U.N. or any country refuses to embrace U.S. war plans, it is "irrelevant."

Since the elected, constitutional government of Venezuela stands in the way of U.S. oil monopolies, the CIA is deployed to try to organize a coup d'etat.

Since the Afghan people are in the way of U.S. global ambitions - the needs of U.S. capital - they are considered just so much "collateral damage."

What does George Bush mean by the "axis of evil?" Who are the terrorists, the "evil ones," he is hunting?

- The Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is part of this "axis of evil" and has been put on the nuclear "hit list" because for 50 years, it has built up an independent country outside the orbit of U.S. domination.

- Iraq is part of the "axis of evil" because the Iraqi government chafes under U.S. dictate and would like to assert its own interests.

- Iran is part of the "axis of evil" because it too is taking a path of development outside the orbit of U.S. imperialism.

- Cuba is a "terrorist country" because it is a Latin American country, in the "backyard" of U.S. imperialism, which threw out the U.S. exploiters, which "dares" to live independently, on its own feet and speak its own mind on world affairs.

- Not only the Palestinian Authority but the Palestinian people are "terrorists" because they are fighting for their national liberation against the occupation and colonial yoke of the U.S. surrogate, Israel.

- Colombian trade unionists, peasants, students and others are "terrorists" because they fighting against a fascist oligarchy and against U.S. domination of their country.

In other words, any country or people who for whatever reason oppose U.S. dictate, who become an impediment to the drive of the U.S. multinationals to grab more economic territory, to exploit more people are condemned as "terrorists," "evil," etc.

In sum, the so-called "war against terrorism" is U.S. imperialism blueprint for global domination by force of arms.

U.S. imperialism wants and needs war in order to beat down its imperialist rivals remain the number one exploiter and oppressor.

U.S. imperialism wants and needs war in order to stop the peoples drive for independence, liberation and social progress.

U.S. imperialism wants and needs war for profit and empire.

This is the problem, the challenge that we must face up to.

It means that in course of fighting against every aggressive step taken by U.S. imperialism and working to stay the hands of the warmakers, we must organize ourselves into a force capable of countering, of politically defeating, the organized force of monopoly capital - the organized parties of war and imperialism.

Organize the Opposition!

In the second part of this speech, Michael Thorburn talked about the new anti-war movement which has emerged and is becoming broader and deeper everyday. He showed how this movement reflects the fundamental interests and profound aspirations of the American people.

Michael Thorburn outlined four vital practical tasks for advancing this movement - 1) standing up against war and imperialism; 2) politicizing our movement; 3) organizing ourselves independent of and in struggle against the parties of war; and 4) building a proactive movement. Michael Thorburn emphasized that these 4 tasks all center around the need to develop anti-imperialist politics and organization.

Standing Up

In reviewing the anti-war struggle over the last 18 months, Michael Thorburn gave many examples of how small groups - by standing up in opposition have helped galvanize millions into the struggle.

Michael Thorburn extended the heartfelt thanks of the Workers Party to all the comrades and friends and to the tens of thousands of activists across the country who, from day one and on every day, have stood up against the chauvinism and militarism of the government and assisted the people to take the path of anti-war struggle. Michael Thorburn said that this kind of courage and conviction is another testament to the profound aspirations of the American people and another sign that the people will carry the struggle against war through to victory.

The issue of standing up does not reduce itself to simply joining an "action" or taking up a particular tactic. Standing up means taking a principled position against war and imperialism and taking it in full view - in the midst of one's peers and in the public arena.

For example, many people took the simple, straightforward action of wearing anti-war buttons to work and this principled action lead to widescale discussion and mobilization. On the campuses and in the communities, such actions as setting up literature tables, distributing anti-war leaflets and newspapers have become starting point for involving hundreds and thousands of people.

Advancing the anti-war struggle means that we must keep initiating such actions and finding the ways to keep this struggle in the forefront amongst our peers and in society as a whole.

Politicizing Our Movement

A second practical task is to continually politicize ourselves and our movement. In other words, we need to know where our movement is going and help show others how and why they should join with us on the path of struggle.

One of the most precious and fundamental things about the new anti-war movement is that it is a deep-going movement for enlightenment; it is people looking into things and finding out. It is people exposing the lies of the monopoly-controlled media, denouncing the hypocrisy and chauvinism of the government. It is people learning the history that has been hidden from us - the real history of the struggles of other countries and peoples. It is people learning about the true aspirations of their neighbors and peers and beginning to feel the strength of the people when they act in their own interests.

In elaborating on the irreplaceable practical role of the work of politicalization, Michael Thorburn gave the example of the Party's work on the question of Palestine. Last year, when this news hit the front pages, many people already active in the struggle against the war in Afghanistan felt unsure of their stand. By bringing people information and analysis about the history of Palestine, about the role of U.S. imperialism as the sponsor of Israel aggression, the Party helped large numbers of people see the justness of the Palestinian liberation struggle and become active in the struggle. Today, a similar thing is going on in relation to Korea -a whole new generation of activists is learning the real history of Korea and coming out to demand an end to U.S. occupation of South Korea.

Politicizing ourselves is not simply a question of finding out some facts, some history. For one thing, no matter how many lies we expose and no matter how many times we expose them, the imperialists will keep telling the same lies and keep inventing new one. To see through the lies, to develop their own independent stand and program, people need to get at the root of the problem. We need to see that the entire U.S. foreign policy is driven by the class aims of monopoly capital and that these aims and this policy are necessarily aggressive because they arise from the capitalist-imperialist relations of exploitation and domination.

Similarly how can we simultaneously do justice to the countless struggles which are already going on against U.S. imperialism - struggles in every corner of the globe? We can do so by merging together the manifold anti-war, anti-militarist struggles into a mighty torrent which targets the common source, the capitalist class and the imperialist system.

In fact, it really is a "no-brainer" to be for peace. The real issue is: "what is required to bring peace into being?" And the answer begins with zeroing in on the cause of war - the imperialist system and the parties that wield power on behalf of those interests. We must build the movement on this basis - on the basis of anti-imperialism. In fact, we must demand that every "somebody" who tries to come to the fore of our movement speak plainly and tell us what are our political tasks. Who are the forces and parties of war? Who are the forces and parties opposed to war and what is required to strengthen that force?

Politicizing ourselves also means linking up with all the forces who are fighting. For the last hundred years and more the working classes have been coming out against aggressive, imperialist wars. For the last hundred years, the colonial peoples have been fighting and have put the issues of sovereignty and national liberation on the agenda. Politicizing ourselves means embracing these and other struggles and taking up for solution the problems which humanity has already put and is putting on the agenda.

In my opinion, nothing can be more harmful than the attempts to de-politicize people coming forward to struggle against the war program.

Many activists here can tell stories about going to anti-war meetings in which political discussion is literally outlawed, in which people are, at best, allowed only to talk about times and dates and bus routes. Such meetings, in turn, demobilize the activists who are "trained" to not politicize others but instead to only sell buttons or bus tickets, get signatures, etc.

This de-politicalization is active suppression. Time and again, activists are told "you can't talk about 'imperialism' or criticize the Democratic Party." And it is usually the so-called "leftists" who insist on "watering down" the message. Such "leftists" are quick to claim that they themselves oppose imperialism but that the rest of the people are at "too low a level to understand." In plain language, opportunism lies to the people.

In my opinion, the basic fact of American political life is that the majority of people are excluded from politics, and they are excluded precisely because all the political "somebodies" gang up to try to silence the people and prevent them from creating new space in which to politicize themselves and organize themselves. People are not going to join or stay with a movement that treats them with contempt and suppresses them. Only a movement which is broad-minded and enlightened, which is based on advanced political theory, will be able to release the initiative of the masses of people who must make the necessary changes to win the peace.

Independent Organization

Already many activists who are coming forward against the war program, recognize the need to build an ongoing movement, to unite their ranks and to develop the struggle in more and more of a planned way in order to advance towards their goal.

Yet still, organizations keep getting liquidated, unprincipled splits take place and again and again people have to start from scratch in order to get organized.

To overcome these problems people need to build their own independent organizations. By independent organizations, I mean organizations based on the people themselves, organizations in which the people have the initiative and make the decisions, in which the politics - the aim, program, strategy, tactics and organization - are all in the hands of those who are doing the work and building the movement.

Often, instead of building organizations on this basis, people are pushed into relying on so-called "coalitions." Of course, coalitions (organizations which bring together various parties, groups, classes, etc. for particular common goals) are a necessary part of the anti-war struggle. But they cannot be the starting point or the primary means of organizing the masses of people. Why? Because in order for the people to be active participants in a coalition they must first have organizations of their own to solidify their ranks, organizations in which they can sum up their experience and sort out their politics and plans.

In the absence of their own independent organizations, people find that the "coalitions" are continually being manipulated by various organized factions and parties. The typical "anti-war coalition" of today is really a hodgepodge of liberal and leftists factions which, while competing with each other remain united on the basis of the lowest common denominator - namely the politics of the Democratic Party. Thus, not only do the people find their demands, experience, politics sidelined, they also find that such coalitions are mired in never-ending intrigues and factionalism.

Of course, people enter the anti-war movement from many different starting points and various points of view and all are welcome. But, if in the course of the struggle, the people are not organized on the basis of their own interests and their own politics, they will inevitably come under the domination of Democratic Party politics which will suppress their initiative and liquidate their struggles and organizations.

The key to developing and strengthening the independent organizations of the people is to build them on the basis of anti-imperialist politics. This means simply to build organizations that are in opposition to and struggle against the parties of war and imperialism. Just as workers would not be wise to put the company vice-president at the head of their union, so too, the classes and stratum opposed to war cannot put military generals and capitalist politicians at the head of the anti-war movement.

Being Proactive

Organizing ourselves independently and in struggle against the parties of war and imperialism, organizing on the basis of anti-imperialist politics empowers people to develop a pro-active movement.

And, we really have no choice but to be proactive.

Our goal is not simply to stop one war in order to sit by while imperialism starts another. Our goal is nothing less than a world of peace.

The fact is that we will have no right to be surprised if in 2 months or 6 months, U.S. imperialism dramatically escalates its counter-insurgency war in Colombia or dispatches troops to Venezuela, etc. We know from long experience that U.S. imperialism lives by militarism and war and the government is telling us it will start more wars.

No, we cannot simply wait and react. We must take the initiative into our own hands and fight to bring about a fundamental change in our country's foreign policy. We must implement a genuinely democratic foreign policy which includes:

- Withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad;

- Ending U.S. intervention and aggression in all its forms;

- Ending the militarization of our country;

- Respecting the sovereignty and rights of all.

Such a program will indeed rally and inspire the broadest sections of American people and help bring them into independent political life on the basis of their own aims and deep aspirations. Such a program will be fully put into practice when the government and parties of war are replaced by a government of the people.

By way of conclusion, let me say that I hope this forum can be a new space which assists us all to go evermore widely amongst the people and together take new initiatives to STAND UP in opposition to and struggle against war and imperialism, that this forum can help us arm ourselves to carry through the continuous work of politicalization which is so decisive in empowering people to build up their own independent, anti-imperialist organizations.

And in all this work, let us aim for and settle for nothing less than our most ardent desire for a world of peace and friendship, a world without colonialism and domination, a world which recognizes and defends the sovereignty and rights of all.

ECONOMICS AND POLITICS

Despite the rosy predictions of economists and the solemn assurances of the politicians, the economic problems facing the people keep getting worse, not better.

The recession continues and millions of workers remain unemployed and underemployed even while the "safety net" of income-support programs is all-but-shredded. With health insurance premiums rising and employers slashing health benefits, tens of millions of people cannot afford decent health care. Again, corporate cutbacks as well as outright thievery have devoured the pensions of millions of seniors. The schools are falling down and the younger generation is growing up with little or no prospects.

And what further stands out is that in this situation, the government, rather than helping, is making matters worse. Federal, state and local governments keep slashing essential public services, including Medicare and Medicaid, public education, public housing, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, welfare, etc.

Why? Because the Republican and Democratic party politicians are taking the workers' tax dollars and giving them away to the Pentagon arms merchants and other big capitalists.

In other words, the capitalist class is relying on its political power and government to protect its profits while shifting an ever-greater burden of misery onto the people. And make no mistake about it, things are going to continue to go from bad to worse!

The workers have no way out except by developing their own independent political movement and challenging the power of the capitalists.

As a starting point, we must come out to demand:

- an end to the militarization of the economy;

- an end to the robbery of the public treasury by the big monopolies;

- full funding for public services and the public sector of the economy;

- ironclad guarantees for all the economic rights of the people, including the right to a secure livelihood, the right to free, comprehensive health care, to a modern education, to food, clothing and shelter.

This is an excellent starting point for bringing about a fundamental change in the economic life of our country, so that the rights and needs of the people come first, not the profits and privileges of a few.

NORTH KOREA RESPONDS TO BUSH

The following article is excerpted from the Korean Central News Agency, January 30.

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea today issued a statement accusing U.S. President Bush of committing a very grave provocation by malignantly slandering the DPRK in a "State of Union address" at Congress on January 29. The statement said:

Bush said an oppressive regime rules a people. He further said we now know that the regime was deceiving the world, and developing those weapons all along, and today the North Korean regime is using its nuclear program to incite fear and seek concessions.

Bush has already earned ill-fame as an emotional backbiter, but his recent address clearly proves that he is a shameless charlatan reversing black and white under the eyes of the world. . . .

No sooner had he come to power than he, prompted by the deep-rooted hostility toward the socialist system in the DPRK, described the DPRK as part of an "axis of evil" only to invite worldwide criticism and condemnation and retract his remarks in less than one year.

When the international community expressed deep apprehensions in the wake of his remarks listing the DPRK as a target of preemptive nuclear attacks, Bush, commander-in-chief, said in great haste that the U.S. had no intention to invade North Korea. But, in actuality, he sent an aircraft carrier to the East Sea of Korea.

The Korean people are a peace-loving people who never had their eyes on other countries, a nation whose history began thousands of years ago when the U.S. did not exist in the world.

The demands of the DPRK still remain simple.

The DPRK does not seek to gain concessions from the U.S. by threatening it as Bush claimed, but urges the U.S. to stop its intervention and threat so that the Korean people may live in peace for themselves as they did when such a country as the U.S. did not exist.

From this purpose the DPRK proposed the U.S. to legally assure each other of non-aggression.

The U.S. has deployed nuclear weapons in one part of Korea . . . And posed a nuclear threat to the DPRK, causing the nuclear issue to surface on the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. was the first to have nuclear weapons and emerged as the world's largest possessor of weapons of mass destruction. Yet it is trying to mislead the public opinion by spreading the rumor that the DPRK is chiefly to blame for the nuclear issue. This is the height of shamelessness.

The reckless remarks made by Bush in his official speech dealing with the year's national policy cannot but reflect the stand and policy of the present U.S. administration.

This policy speech is, in essence, an undisguised declaration of aggression to topple the DPRK system.

The U.S. ulterior motive in having persistently dodged the DPRK's proposal for concluding a non-aggression treaty between the DPRK and the U.S. has now been brought to daylight.

The U.S. is seriously mistaken if it thinks the DPRK will remain a passive onlooker to the U.S. reckless moves to dare topple the DPRK system which was chosen and built by the Korean people themselves and is considered by them as their life and soul.

We will never allow the U.S. to wantonly encroach upon the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK and destroy its system. We will do our utmost to defend our system in view of the U.S. declaration of aggression.

GE WORKERS STRIKE AGAINST HIGHER HEALTH COSTS

Nineteen thousand (19,000) GE workers organized a 2-day national strike on January 14-16 to protest increases in health insurance costs.

On January 1, in mid-contract, GE unilaterally imposed increases in health insurance co-payments which will cost the average employee as much as $400/year. The workers, represented by the International Union of Electrical Workers and the United Electrical workers expect the company to try to further cut health benefits for its 145,000 employees when negotiations for a new contract begin in May. The 2-day strike, which included workers at 48 sites in 23 states, was a first step on the workers' part of organizing their resistance to these attacks.

In the last contract, the union accepted lower raises in order to preserve health care benefits. But even though GE made $16 billion in profits last year, it is going full-steam ahead with attempts to cut benefits and further increase the exploitation of the workers.

The struggle of the GE workers is important to the entire working class. All across the country, employers are trying to shift health care costs onto the backs of the workers. For example, between 2001-2002, workers' premiums for single coverage increased by 27% on average, while family coverage premium increased 16%.

In the coming period, more and more workers will have to follow the path of the GE workers and come out in struggle to defend their health care coverage.

MORE RACIST PROFILING

On January 16, the Department of Justice announced that beginning on March 28, the INS "Special Call-In Registration" program will be expanded to include 5 more countries, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan and Kuwait. All men aged 16 or over from these countries who entered the U.S. before September 30, 2002, on non-immigrant visas will be required to undergo special registration, interrogation and other procedures.

Altogether now, since December of last year, foreign visitors from 25 countries (including 24 Arab or Moslem countries and North Korea) are being forced to undergo this "special registration" which includes registering at an INS office, being photographed, fingerprinted and interrogated about religious beliefs and political affiliations. Failure to provide information, even about family members, is considered grounds for deportation. In addition visitors from these countries must report back to the INS every year, notify the INS within 10 days of any change in address, employment or educational institution and present themselves for further interrogation before leaving the U.S.

The first two rounds of registration have already resulted in more than 1,000 arrests mostly on minor, technical violations, many of which have turned out to be clerical errors on the part of the INS itself. Hundreds are expected to be deported. In addition, many visitors have not even been notified of the new regulations but now stand in violation of immigration procedures and are considered deportable.

This "Special Registration" is out-and-out persecution on the basis of national origin and religion and a brutal violation of basic human rights, including the right to be free of government violence and persecution, the right to be free of religious and political intimidation, the right to equality before the law, etc.

These attacks on the people's rights are part of the government's program of war and repression. Precisely because the government is preparing and waging aggressive, imperialist wars against the Arab and Moslem peoples, it is seeking to silence the voices of opposition.

Make no mistake about it. The attacks against foreign nationals and immigrants show the direction in which the government is moving. As the war program intensifies, so too will the repression. If unchecked by the democratic struggles of the American people, the government will keep marching down the road towards pogroms, concentration camps and fascism.

U.S. MILITARY FACES STIFF RESISTANCE IN AFGHANISTAN

On January 28, the Pentagon revealed that hundreds of U.S. soldiers, backed by B-1 bombers and Apache helicopters, were fighting their largest and fiercest battle in Afghanistan in nearly a year.

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Shields, U.S. operations officer for the task force involved in the new offensive east of the main southern Afghan town of Kandahar, stated "the fighting showed no signs of winding down." U.S. helicopter gunships were "facing small arms fire" and the "search and attack" offensive was expected to last for days, according to Shields.

In two additional operations, U.S. special forces were engaged in battles northeast of Kandahar, in a sweep of Qalot, and in the principal eastern city of Jalalabad. The U.S. forces were using AC-130 gunships, F-16s and Apache attack helicopters.

A U.S. military spokesman commented that "the enemy has been regrouping in southern and eastern parts of the country, from where it has mounted regular, usually small, attacks on U.S. and Afghan government positions...an American army sergeant was killed last month. Their target is mainly the more than 1,000 American troops stationed in a line of bases along the eastern border with Pakistan. But the fighters have also attacked the Afghan police station in nearby Barmal, the main border crossing, where the police chief is open about his cooperation with American forces."

These latest battles show that opposition to the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan is continuing and gaining strength.

While U.S. imperialism prepares to wage war against Iraq, its forces are facing stiff resistance nearby. Clearly, its desire to subjugate Afghanistan and use it as another strategic base in its struggle for world domination is coming under fire.

ANTI-WAR FORUM

The Anti-Imperialist News Service (AINS) will hold its regular monthly forum in Chicago on February 16.

The main topic will be: "The Struggle Against American Chauvinism."

The AINS invites anti-war activists and people from all walks of life to take part in these discussions.

For more information: e-mail: ains@anti-imperialist.org or call (312) 409-1127.

INTERNATIONAL DAYS OF ANTI-WAR STRUGGLE February 15-16 For more information, call: (312) 409-1127 .

 

Volume 17, No. 4 February 18, 2003

THE WORLD SAYS "NO!" TO WAR

On February 15-16, millions upon millions of people, from more than 600 cities in 60 separate countries, came out in mass actions to oppose the war which the U.S. government is preparing against Iraq.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in major cities across Europe, including Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, etc. In Asia, huge demonstrations were organized in Tokyo, Seoul, Manila and elsewhere. Millions more people joined in actions in Africa, Latin America and Australia.

In the U.S., close to 500,000 people rallied in New York City while other demonstrations took place in more than 150 cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia.

In addition to opposing war on Iraq, the people raised demands against the U.S. government's worldwide "war against terrorism." Banners, speakers and literature spoke out in support of the Palestinian people, the Korean people and other people under attack from U.S. imperialism.

These actions show the growing isolation of the U.S. government and its war program which are being opposed not only by the peoples but also by more and more governments across the world.

Bush Remains on the Warpath

Yet while humanity is saying "NO!," the U.S. government remains on the warpath. The Bush administration is arrogantly telling the whole world that it must either join with U.S. imperialism or "become irrelevant." The Pentagon is making "final preparations" for an invasion of Iraq , surrounding the country with more than 150,000 troops and filling the Persian Gulf with aircraft carriers, nuclear-armed submarines, and fighter bombers. U.S. generals are boasting that they are planning a "blitzkrieg" against Baghdad and Iraq which could be launched at any time.

The struggle between the people - who demand and need peace - and the U.S. imperialist warmakers is reaching a turning point. While the U.S. government is planning to set the Persian Gulf on fire in a war for empire and profits, the people are fighting to stay the hand of the warmakers. And if the U.S. launches war, the peoples will have to fight to stop it.

We must be vigilant, determined and ever-more active. We can and must carry the struggle through and win the peace.

TRUTH ABOUT NUCLEAR ISSUE ON KOREAN PENINSULA

The following article is excerpted from the Korean Central News Agency, February 17, 2003.

The information department of the Central Committee of the National Democratic Front of South Korea (NDFSK) on Feb. 11 issued a press release disclosing the truth about the emergence of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. The press release said:

The nuclear issue emerged on the Korean Peninsula because the U.S. has posed a constant nuclear threat to the DPRK after massively deploying nuclear weapons in and around South Korea.

The U.S. adopted it as its policy to deploy nukes in South Korea and worked hard to turn it into a nuclear base.

Right after the ceasefire of the June 25 war, the U.S. declared South Korea as its "vital operation theatre" for carrying out its strategy to dominate Asia and the rest of the world and adopted it as its policy to convert South Korea into its nuclear base.

To this end, the U.S. expelled the neutral nations inspection team from South Korea on June 9, 1956 and in June 1957 it unilaterally scrapped paragraph 13 d of the armistice agreement which bans the introduction of any new type weapons from the outside of Korea. On January 29, 1958 it openly declared the deployment of nuclear weapons in units of the U.S. Forces in South Korea.

In the 1960s it shipped Nike Hercules, Matadon and Hawk missiles, various other types of nuclear and guided weapons and nuclear mines and in the 1970s introduced more new type nukes.

The U.S. moves to beef up its forces in South Korea reached their zenith in the 1980s.

As recorded in the minutes of the 125th South Korean National Assembly held in 1985, 1,720 U.S. nuclear weapons were deployed in South Korea. They include nuclear bombs and shells, missile nuclear warheads, neutron bombs and shells, nuclear mines and backpack nukes. . . .

[Even though, today the U.S. government claims to have removed its nukes from South Korean soil], the U.S. basic strategy aimed to mount a preemptive nuclear attack on the DPRK - the so-called nuclear umbrella strategy - remains unchanged even in the post cold war period. . . .

The U.S. has deployed nearly half of its nuclear weapons totalling over 20,000 and the majority of its strategic forces in the Asia-Pacific region around the Korean Peninsula.

It has in the region 560 military bases and facilities, at least 1,000 aircraft including strategic bombers and over 200 warships including 6 aircraft carriers and 34 nuclear submarines and over 6,500 nuclear weapons.

The U.S. is raising a hue and cry over the groundless "nuclear weapons development program" of the north, watching for a chance to attack the north after massively stockpiling nuclear weapons in and around South Korea. This is just like a provocation made by a thief turning on the master with a club. According to the supplemented and perfected nuclear war scenario, the U.S. has escalated its nuclear war exercises targeted against the north as part of its nuclear blackmail against it.

"9-Day War Plan", "5-Day War Plan" "3-Day War Plan" and "120-Day War Plan", "Operation Plan 5027" and "Operation Plan 5027-98", war scenarios widely known in the 1980s and 1990s, the recently disclosed "Contingency Plan," etc. are all aimed to make nuclear strikes at the north.

Washington's successive rulers and warhawks have made constant nuclear blackmail against the north, pursuant to its anti-north scenario.

The nuclear blackmail and threat to the DPRK has become all the more undisguised since the emergence of the Bush administration. . . .

Its plan to mount a preemptive nuclear attack on the DPRK has been steadily supplemented and specified through its nuclear war exercises targeted against the DPRK.

Typical of them were "Team Spirit", "Foal Eagle", "Ulji Focus Lens" and "Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration" exercises.

The U.S. had staged more than 10,000 nuclear war exercises from the end of the June 25 war till 1999, counting only those large ones and a total of nearly 20 million troops had been involved there.

Even according to official information, war exercises staged against the north in 2001 were almost double as compared with those in the previous year and there was marked growth in their scale.

All these facts go to clearly prove that the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula is not attributable to any nuclear threat posed by the north, a fiction, but a direct product of the U.S. strategy to dominate the whole of Korea and its moves to pose a nuclear threat to the north, pursuant to its policy of strength for hegemony.

TAKE THE FUTURE INTO OUR OWN HANDS

On 2/16, in Chicago, the Anti-Imperialist News Service held its monthly forum.

One day earlier, most of the participants had marched in a local rally organized as part of a weekend of international anti-war actions. In addition, over the last several weeks, the activists at the AINS meeting had helped organize a number of other actions and were deeply involved in organizing the anti-war movement in the schools, communities and workplaces. Thus, the activists brought to the meeting a firm determination and an optimism born out of the ever-widening struggles of the people.

Michael Thorburn, from the Workers Party, gave the opening talk.

Looking at the immediate situation, Michael Thorburn emphasized that even though U.S. imperialism is hellbent on war and will remain aggressive as long as it has a single tooth left, it is the people who are the decisive force. In other words, we must rally all our strength to stay the hand of the warmakers. If the U.S. imperialists launch the war, we must step up the fight to stop it.

Michael Thorburn pointed out that this urgent, immediate struggle to stop the war on Iraq is part of the struggle for the future of humanity. Two perspectives are facing us. On the one hand, U.S. imperialism has declared that its "war against terrorism" will last for decades. If imperialism has its way, the future will be one of continuous war - war fought to impose U.S. domination and colonialism, imperialist exploitation and oppression on the peoples. In opposition to this future, the peoples are fighting for a world of peace and friendship, without racism, colonialism, domination and exploitation - a world which guarantees the sovereignty and rights of every country and people.

Michael Thorburn also emphasized that the current crisis is driving home the fundamental political lesson that while the vast majority of the people want and need peace, the decision-making power - the government - is in the hands of the parties of war. Winning the peace requires that the people take the question of politics into their own hands - that they themselves build the political alternative and power to give expression to their profound aspirations for peace, progress and emancipation.

People also discussed a number of other questions, including the features and origins of American chauvinism, how to address various ideological and political issues which arise in building the anti-war movement, the immediate tasks facing the movement, etc. Future issues of "The Worker" will report on some of these themes.

U.S. MILITARY KILLS 17 CIVILIANS IN AFGHANISTAN

On February 12, officials in Afghanistan reported that 17 civilians, including women and children, were killed by U.S. Special Forces during a U.S.-led bombing campaign in southern Afghanistan.

"The people came crying, saying their relatives had died or were missing," Haji Muhammad Wali, a local Afghan official said in a report by the Reuters news service.

The fighting had been concentrated in Baghran, a mountainous region in the south.

U.S. officials are promising renewed U.S. bombing attacks in eastern and southern parts of the country as a result of increased attacks on U.S. occupation forces.

Last summer, human rights groups estimated that between 1,500 and 8,000 Afghan civilians have been killed by U.S. bombs.

 

Volume 17, No. 5 March 4, 2003

ONLY THE PEOPLE CAN STOP THE WAR!

Even as the world is standing up and saying "NO!" To war, the Bush administration remains hellbent on invading Iraq.

Acting like the dictator of the world, Bush tells the U.N. to join in the U.S. war or "become irrelevant;" he demands that every country accept U.S. dictate or be labeled an "uncivilized, outlaw regime."

Make no mistake about it. The war which the U.S. is preparing against Iraq is an aggressive, imperialist war. It is a war in which the U.S. admits that it will target civilian populations, a war which the Pentagon boasts will begin with a "blitzkrieg" in which "no one in Baghdad will be safe." It is a war which aims to install a colonial regime in Iraq and establish U.S. domination throughout the Middle East. It is a war for oil, for profits, for colonialism.

And the war in Iraq, is only one front in the so-called "war against terrorism." In this issue of The Worker, we report on escalating U.S. military intervention in the Philippines and Colombia and on U.S. war preparations against Korea. According to the Bush administration the "war against terrorism" will last for decades and is already being extended to dozens of countries. As part of this war, the U.S. government has officially adopted the doctrine of "preemptive war," asserting its "right" to launch wars of aggression against any country at any time it deems fit.

All of these wars arise from the capitalist-imperialist system, a system in which the U.S. monopolies live by the superexploitation and domination of countries throughout the world. To "defend" and expand this empire, U.S. imperialism resorts to war. It resorts to war when countries try to throw off the yoke of imperialist domination; it resorts to war when the peoples fight to free themselves of colonialism and neo-colonialism; it resorts to war when rival imperialist powers compete with the U.S. for domination and control.

Recent events have made it crystal clear that rather than heeding the demand of the people for peace, the government is the chief weapon in the hands of the parties of war and imperialism.

This is the challenge which the people must meet. In the course of mobilizing ever-wider sections of people into the struggle to stay the hand of the warmakers, we must build up our own independent, anti-imperialist movement.

Such a movement must be directed against the parties of war and imperialism and aim at bringing to power a new government - a workers' and peoples' government which strikes at the root causes of war and militarism.

We aim at ending U.S. aggression and intervention in all its forms and the withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad. We must end the militarization of our country and carry through a foreign policy of peace and friendship based on recognizing the sovereign rights of every country and people.

Editorial: THE ECONOMIC OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE PEOPLE

In Iraq, the U.S. capitalist class is preparing to launch an all-out war of aggression and the battle lines are sharply drawn.

In their economic offensive against the American working class, the capitalists are proceeding in a piecemeal fashion, cutting a "little bit" here and a "little bit" there. But this offensive also adds up to an all-out war.

For example, federal, state and local governments are cutting back on social programs. Some states focus more on reducing Medicaid benefits or eligibility, while others are slashing funds for the public schools. Because the focus of the attack is different in different states and different cities and because the cuts are made only bit-by-bit, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that a generalized offensive is taking place.

The problem is not only that a "little here" and a "little there" add up to a lot. The problem is that the government keeps eroding and undercutting standards and rights which the workers only gained after decades of struggle.

Bit-by-bit, government is privatizing Medicare and Medicaid - undercutting the entitlement status of these programs. School "choice" and privatization are eroding the foundations of the universal public school system. Companies keep eliminating guaranteed pension benefits and Bush would like to do the same with Social Security. Welfare, housing assistance and other income-support programs are nearly wiped out.

In short, the government is denying any responsibility for the well-being of the people. It is dismantling the public sector of the economy and helping the biggest monopolies plunder the public treasury and public infrastructure.

The workers must address the generalized and fundamental character of these attacks; we cannot just resist in piecemeal fashion.

Rather we must take up the challenge and fight for fundamental change in the economy and the government's economic program.

The workers must insist that the very starting point of the government's policy is to guarantee the inalienable economic rights of the people, including the right to a secure livelihood, to free health care, to a modern education, etc. These rights can only be guaranteed through planned investments in the public sectors of the economy.

To implement such an economic program, to put the huge resources of our country in service of the people instead of the capitalist exploiters, the workers must come out as an independent political force.

AGAINST AMERICAN CHAUVINISM

The following article summarizes portions of a speech given by Michael Thorburn at an anti-war forum organized in Chicago by the Anti-Imperialist News Service on February 16, 2003.

Even as humanity is saying "NO!" To war, George Bush keeps warning the whole world that the U.S. is the sole superpower, that it will pursue its own interests and agenda, that it will go to war whenever and wherever it wants. Again and again, Bush demands that every country must either be "with" the U.S. or "be treated as terrorist," that the United Nations must either support a U.S. invasion of Iraq or be considered "irrelevant," etc., etc.

In fact, all the arguments given by the Bush administration to justify its war against Iraq boil down to nothing more nor less than American chauvinism - to saying that U.S. military power gives it the "right" to do whatever it wants.

This war is not about "eliminating weapons of mass destruction" or disarmament because it is U.S. imperialism itself which is militarizing the Persian Gulf and filling the region with nuclear weapons. The war is about U.S. imperialism imposing its military blackmail and domination throughout the Middle East.

This war is not about enforcing U.N. resolutions or international law because it is U.S. imperialism which is violating countless U.N. resolutions and the very foundation of international law by preparing a preemptive war to bring about regime change in Iraq.

It is not about liberating the people of Iraq but rather about turning the clock backwards to open colonialism. It is about U.S. imperialism asserting that it alone can determine which peoples are civilized enough to be "entitled" to sovereignty and which must remain colonies of the U.S. . .

* * * * * *

Even while relying on military power, American chauvinism claims that American institutions (e.g. capitalism, American-style "democracy,") and the "American way of life" are "morally superior." Time and again, U.S. imperialism has invaded countries in the name of spreading and defending democracy. Time and again, U.S. imperialism has tried to hide its exploiting, colonial aims by advertising itself as a "liberator," fighting to free people from other colonial powers.

Liberalism and the Democratic Party play an especially important role in trying to cover over the stench of U.S. militarism with noble words about "human rights," "democracy," etc. It was, for example, Woodrow Wilson who brought the U.S. into WW I under the slogan of "making the world safe for democracy" just as it was Bill Clinton who dismembered the sovereign state of Yugoslavia in the name of "human rights."

This is the same tune which both the Bush administration and its "loyal opposition" in the Democratic Party are singing today when they talk about "liberating Iraq," about "nation-building," and "democracy" in Afghanistan, etc. Like the old-style colonialists they are "picking up the white man's burden" and bringing "civilization" to the "backward peoples;" they are again waging a "holy war" to "save" the Arab peoples. . . .

* * * * * *

The ideology of American chauvinism and the war program of U.S. imperialism do not come simply from the stupidity and greed of George Bush and his father. American chauvinism is not simply a product of some misguided individuals, of an ultra-right wing of the Republican Party.

The ideology of American chauvinism, like ideology in general, is a product of very definite social relations.

Just as the theories of racial superiority were concocted and propagated to support the social system of slavery, so too, the ideology of American chauvinism is promoted to support the present-day system of imperialism and colonialism.

American chauvinism is the ideology of the monopoly capitalist class.

When American chauvinism declares that every country must accept globalization and the "free market system," it is reflecting the drive of the U.S. monopolies to force open the door of every country, grab control of their resources and take over their economies.

When American chauvinism insists that every country accept U.S.-style "democracy," it is reflecting the drive of the U.S. monopolies to insure their political control of other countries - to establish colonial and neo-colonial regimes.

When American chauvinism demands that every country join the "crusade" against terrorism or the war against Iraq, it is reflecting the drive of U.S. monopoly capital to impose its will on the whole world by force of arms. . . .

* * * * * *

American chauvinism -- the ideology of the monopoly capitalist class -- is not only directed against other nations, it is also directed against the American working class and people. American chauvinism aims to sacrifice the lives of our sons and daughters in order to "defend" the empire and profits of the capitalists. American chauvinism creates a war hysteria in order to rob the public treasury on behalf of the Pentagon arms merchants. It seeks to impose a culture of racism and violence on the American people.

All along the line, American chauvinism is an assault on the conscience, traditions and deepest aspirations of the American people who, as part of their struggle for emancipation, have always fought against the imperialist wars waged by their "own" government.

Today, this struggle against chauvinism and the war program of the capitalist class is unfolding across the length and breadth of our country.

When the issue of Iraq is raised, one of the very first things that workers say is: "There the government goes again, sticking its nose into other people's business."

And the second thing that workers often say is: "And besides, who is the government to talk about 'helping' others when the problems of poverty, racism, violence and oppression are so widespread here."

Listen to the voice of the American youth who are in the forefront, exposing the hypocrisy and chauvinism of Bush and company, who do not forget that this "bastion of democracy" imposes a system of national oppression and racist violence on the minority peoples, that the U.S. government has the biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons, that the C.I.A. is nothing but a state-sponsored organization of terrorism, that the U.S. seeks to be the dictator of the world, etc.

Every day, people are ripping away the mask and making sure that everyone knows that behind this hypocrisy and chauvinism stand the real economic and strategic interests of the monopolies who are vying for oil and empire in the strategic Middle East...

* * * * * *

In the immediate struggle to stop the war in Iraq, two different perspectives, two different futures, two different worlds are in contention.

On the one hand, there is the perspective of the U.S. monopoly capitalists and their handful of reactionary allies around the world. Bush is telling us plainly what kind of world the capitalists have in mind - a world which remains at war for decades, a unipolar world in which U.S. imperialism imposes its dictate on all of humanity, returning to the days of colonialism to grab the wealth and exploit the labor of billions of human beings.

In opposition to Bush's "war on international terrorism," the peoples are demanding peace and an end to U.S. dictate and domination. In opposition to the world of colonialism and racism, of exploitation and oppression, the people envision and are fighting for a world of peace and friendship based on the sovereign equality of every nation and recognition of the rights of the peoples.

HUMANITY SAYS "NO!" TO WAR!

In cities throughout the world, new protests keep breaking out to oppose the war which the U.S. is preparing against Iraq.

500,000 March in Sudan

More than half a million people marched through the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on February 26. "Bush is War and War is Bush!" Chanted the demonstrators as they headed to the United Nations office in the capital where they delivered an open letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The letter urged him to stop the looming war, adding he would "bear the curse of history" if he follows the path of the U.S.

One of the organizers of the demonstration, told the Associated Press that the march had brought together "virtually every political party, trade union, and sector."

It was the second mass demonstration against a possible invasion of Iraq in two months.

100,000 Egyptians Protest

On February 27, over 100,000 anti-war demonstrators took to the streets of Cairo, Egypt, protesting U.S. threats of war against Iraq.

"We came here because we cannot watch our sisters and brothers being killed in Palestine and about to be killed in Iraq and remain silent," said Safeya Mohamed a 20-year-old student from the Suez Canal city of Ismailia. (AP report). Many are calling it was the largest anti-war protest Egypt has ever seen.

Turkey

On March 1, over 50,000 people participated in an anti-war demonstration in downtown Ankara. Demonstrators shouted anti-war slogans and carried banners that read, "We don't want to be American soldiers," "No War," and "We want a budget for education and not for war." The demonstrators were demanding that Turkish territory not be used as a staging area for a "northern front" in any U.S. war against Iraq.

Yemen

On March 1, 300,000 anti-war protestors took to the streets in Sana, the capital of Yemen.

A day earlier, thousands of people marched on the U.S. embassy in the capital, chanting anti-war slogans and denouncing a possible U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Bahrain

On February 28, over 5,000 people thousands of people demonstrated in Bahrain, marching about a mile from Manama's Ras Rumman mosque to United Nations offices in the capital chanting anti-war slogans and demanding that the government close the U.S. Navy base on the island and expel the U.S. ambassador.

Bahrain is home to the U.S. 5th Fleet and hosts more than 4,000 American military personnel.

Lebanon

On March 1, nearly 2,000 people demonstrated near the U.S. embassy in Beirut. The protesters waved banners that read: "Bush, Sharon and Blair are monsters" and "No to the U.S. aggression on Iraq." On the same day, over 5,000 protestors took to the streets in the city of Tyre in south Lebanon.

Tens of Thousands Protest in Manila

On February 28, tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied against a possible U.S.-led war on Iraq as well as a planned U.S.-Philippine "counterterrorism exercise."

Chanting "U.S. imperialist, No. 1 terrorist" and "Stand for peace, fight for justice, U.S. out of the Middle East," the protestors marched to the seaside Quirino Grandstand near the U.S. Embassy.

"TrainStopping" Protests in Europe

In Italy, the Netherlands, and Belgium, thousands of protesters have participated in blockades of U.S. military bases and the transport of U.S. war material and soldiers. Many dock workers have also agreed not to load military equipment on ships.

On February 27-28, Italian anti-war protesters chained themselves to a civilian ferry carrying U.S. military vehicles from Naples to a U.S. base in Sicily. "Civilian ferries should not be used to transport U.S. military equipment," said one of the protestors, "Our country is not at war." On February 26, anti-war activists throughout Italy held a nationwide protest in an attempt to block trains carrying U.S military equipment from northern Italy to Camp Darby, the U.S. military base near Pisa, in Tuscany.

On February 25, over 20 actions were held across the Netherlands, including a blockade of the office of the U.S. Military Traffic Management Command. On February 20, protestors blocked the first ship to leave the harbor of Rotterdam.

In addition, actions against the use the Belgium harbor of Antwerp by the U.S. military have been going on for weeks, and will continue on March 1-2 with more "trainstopping" actions.

The government of Austria also refused last week to allow U.S. military transports to cross its soil on the way from Germany to Italy, forcing the U.S. to transport equipment through the Netherlands.

Virtual March Against War

On Wednesday, February 26, approximately one million people throughout the U.S. used phones, fax machines, and computers to join in on a "virtual march" against the U.S. war plans in Iraq.

According to one of the organizers of the protest, in just 8 hours, "well over 1 million phone calls were made by people from every state in the country...every senator's office and the White House switchboard received at least two and often more calls per minute." "Many callers could not get through because the switchboard was clogged, he stated."

More than 500,000 people had signed up on the Internet to take part in the protest, and a half a million more were estimated to have participated.

GROWING ISOLATION OF BUSH ADMINISTRATION

While tens of millions of anti-war protestors keep coming out into the streets in cities throughout the world, the Bush administration also finds itself coming up against growing isolation from governments throughout the world.

On March 1, the Arab League passed a resolution "completely rejecting any aggression on Iraq...considering it a threat to Arab national security."

On the same day, the Turkish Parliament rejected the government's plan to allow the basing of U.S. troops in Turkey (polls indicate that 9 out of 10 people in Turkey oppose U.S. war plans against Iraq). This threw a big spoke in the wheel of U.S. plans to establish a northern front for its invasion of Iraq.

While the U.S. continues to use secret diplomacy to bully and threaten countries, the overwhelming majority of governments continue to express opposition to a U.S. war on Iraq.

France, Russia, and China, permanent members of the Security Council, also remain opposed to the war.

U.S. THREATENS WAR ON KOREAN PENINSULA

Recent military moves by the United States are escalating the risk of war on the Korean peninsula.

The Pentagon is staging two large-scale war games, beginning March 4, with South Korean armed forces. These month-long annual war games will involve up to 200,000 U.S. and South Korean soldiers conducting mock battles near the demilitarized zone that divides the north and south.

The United States also recently deployed 24 B-52 bombers to the Pacific island of Guam, and has moved warplanes and ships closer to North Korea. These include special spy planes, E6B aircraft, and the USS Invincible, a guided-missile destroyer. The U.S. Navy has also moved the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson from San Diego to the western Pacific, where it is escorted by four destroyers and a cruiser, most equipped with guided missiles. Last week, the U.S. Army in Korea put a 90-day extension on the one-year tours of thousands of soldiers, thus guaranteeing that U.S. forces in South Korea remain at 37,000 while replacements are diverted to the Persian Gulf.

In addition to these recent wargames and military maneuvers, the U.S. has also been pushing forward, in coordination with Japan and South Korea, the deployment of its regional "ballistic missile system." During the past year, the U.S. air force test-fired missiles over the Pacific and further tests are scheduled this year.

Open Threats of War

When asked by reporters about a possible "pre-emptive strike" against North Korea, Sean McCormack, the White House National Security Council spokesman stated "all options remain on the table." A spokesman for the government of Japan also recently stated that it was considering a possible pre-emptive strike of its own against North Korea.

During the past month, numerous other senior officials from the U.S. and Japanese governments have issued similar military threats against the North.

Despite the fact that it is precisely the U.S. which is militarizing the region, carrying-out massive war games, filling the land, sea, and air with advanced military hardware and sophisticated weapons; despite the fact that it is precisely U.S. officials which are initiating threats and openly warning the Korean people of impending war; despite all this, U.S. propaganda is working overtime in an attempt to portray North Korea as the aggressor.

The Bush administration is using the phony propaganda about "weapons of mass destruction" as a pretext for fomenting tensions and trying to militarize the situation. Its goal is to turn back the tide of Korean reunification and Asian reconciliation and to justify the continued occupation of South Korea by 37,000 U.S. troops.

It is not the peaceful activities of North Korea, but rather the U.S. military forces in Korea which remain the number one source of war and conflict on the peninsula.

U.S. EXPANDING COMBAT MISSION IN PHILIPPINES

On February 20, the Pentagon announced the deployment of nearly 3,000 U.S. troops to the Philippines "to engage in a major combat offensive."

The U.S. troops will initially attack the forces of the Abu Sayaff group but the longer-term objective is all-out military intervention against the Filipino people. Last summer, the Bush administration officially labelled the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army as "terrorist organizations." Already U.S. military "advisers" are conducting inspection tours of Filipino troops engaged in counter-insurgency war in the regions of Bicol and Southern Tagalog.

In the Philippines, as elsewhere, the Bush administration is trying to use the flimsy cover of a so-called "war against international terrorism," to hide its colonial objectives.

In fact, the current deployment of U.S. troops is a direct violation of the constitution of the Philippines which bars foreign military forces from operating in the country. But the Pentagon aims at once again turning the Philippines into a major U.S. military base and using it as a strategic staging ground for dominating Asia.

In addition, the U.S. monopoly capitalist class continues to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of the Filipino people. Some 150 U.S. corporations, including Dole, Dupont, Chevron, Monsanto, GM and others, hold billions in investments, dominating agriculture, manufacturing as well as finance.

The current deployment of U.S. troops is the second in less than a year. In April, 2002, over 1,300 U.S. military personnel were sent to the island of Basilan, allegedly only to "train" Filipino troops. But these U.S. forces repeatedly conducted clandestine military operations and joint missions with Filipino forces. Last year, the Bush administration also sent over $100 million to train and equip Filipino army units.

This time, the Pentagon is admitting that U.S. troops will be engaged not in a training mission but rather "a sustained combat operation with no pre-set termination date."

The new deployment calls for U.S. military special operations teams and 400 support personnel to begin arriving on the island of Jolo in the southern Sulu Archipelago immediately, with the rest of the American force likely to follow on the island of Mindanao in about a month.

In addition, two U.S. amphibious assault ships with 1,300 sailors and 1,000 Marines armed with Cobra attack helicopters and Harrier AV-8B planes will sail from Japan to provide aviation support, logistical assistance and medical help and also serve as a "quick reaction" back-up force.

BUSH SENDS MORE TROOPS TO COLOMBIA

On February 22, George Bush ordered another 150 U.S. soldiers to Colombia to assist military operations in relation to the downing of U.S. spy plane last week. This new deployment brings the total number of regular U.S. troops in Colombia to more than 400, exceeding the legal limit imposed by the U.S. Congress in 2001.

The U.S. plane, which the Pentagon admitted was on an "intelligence mission" over areas controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), either crashed or was shot down on February 13. One U.S. soldier and a Colombian army sergeant died in the crash and 3 other U.S. soldiers are being held by FARC.

For a number of years, the U.S. government has been continually increasing its military operations in Colombia. Over the last 3 years, the U.S. spent more than $2 billion to train and equip the Colombian army and dispatched several hundred U.S. military advisers to the country. Last year, Congress passed a new aid package in which it dropped even the pretense of fighting a "war on drugs" and gave U.S. troops the greenlight to directly engage the insurgent forces in Colombia. While U.S. troops are limited to 400, many observers put the real number of U.S. military personnel - including CIA, "mercenaries" and regular army - at more than 2,000. Last year, U.S. "advisers" led elite Colombian army units in several direct assaults on FARC-controlled areas, dramatically escalating the counter-insurgency war. At the same time, the Colombian government of Alvaro Uribe has declared martial law throughout most of the country.

The counterinsurgency war which the U.S. is waging in Colombia aims not only at maintaining U.S. economic and political domination of Colombia but also at militarizing the entire region. As the peoples in Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia and throughout Latin America increasingly come out against U.S. imperialist exploitation and domination, the U.S. is preparing to wage more counter-revolutionary wars.

U.S. PLANS NEW NUCLEAR WEAPONS

On February 19, the Los Alamos Study Group, a nuclear watchdog organization, revealed that the Bush administration will hold a secret meeting this summer to plan the construction of a new generation of nuclear weapons, including neutron bombs, "bunker busters" and other so-called mini-nukes.

The meeting of senior military officials and U.S. nuclear scientists will be held at the U.S. Strategic Command's bunker headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, in August. According to the document, officials will also make plans to restart nuclear testing and discuss ways to justify the new weapons to the American public. Officials from the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is the agency responsible for building and maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal, confirmed the authenticity of the leaked U.S. plans.

Upon hearing of the plans, Stephen Schwartz, the publisher of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, stated "How can we possibly go to the international community or to these countries and say 'How dare you develop these weapons,' when its exactly what we're doing?"

Currently, the U.S. government maintains a stockpile of over 11,000 nuclear warheads, with 2,500 megatonnage capability. It is able to deploy these weapons through 575 ICBMs, 408 SLBMs, and 102 bombers. Every year, the U.S. spends an average of $33 billion on nuclear weapons development. But the Bush administration is not satisfied with this arsenal of mass destruction and is thus carrying forward a further build-up and "modernization" of U.S. imperialism's nuclear stockpile.

While Bush keeps up the hysterical Big Lie about the so-called "nuclear threat" of Iraq, North Korea, and other countries, it is U.S. imperialism itself which has filled the oceans and continents of the whole world with nuclear weapons so that no country is free of the nuclear threat. Furthermore, to this day the U.S. remains the number one producer of biological and chemical weapons.

These latest plans by U.S. imperialism to develop new and "more usable" nukes demonstrate the need for all peace-loving people to speak out and organize against the growing danger of war. We must oppose any and every step by the government to increase its military budget and build these new weapons of mass destruction.

MILLIONS DENIED A LIVELIHOOD

Statistics show that the economy is growing again.

But statistics also show that within the last 6 months, one million workers have dropped out of the labor force altogether - unable to find work after months of searching. Over the last 2 years, more than 2 million jobs have been wiped out. In other words, this is another "jobless recovery."

The persistently high unemployment rate (which has hovered around 6% for the last year), in turn, is putting downward pressure on the wages of employed workers. During 2002, 2 out of every 3 workers saw their real wages (adjusted for inflation) decline.

These trends are expected to continue as corporations are planning to layoff more workers and "hold the line" on wages.

In sum, the capitalists are trying to revive the economy by shifting a greater burden of poverty and exploitation onto the workers.

Production is increasing again but more workers are laid off while the capitalists sweat more and more production out of fewer and fewer workers.

Profits are growing again but wages are falling and tens of millions of workers do not even earn enough to make ends meet.

This situation must be changed.

The very starting point of economic life must be to guarantee a secure, stable, modern livelihood for the workers, whose labor creates all the material wealth in the first place. . _______ __ __ |__ __| \ \ / / | | \ \ /\ / / | | \ \/ \/ / | | \ /\ / |_| \/ \/

 

Volume 17, No. 6 March 19, 2003

THE PEOPLES WILL STOP THE WAR!

Statement of the Workers Party, U.S.A.

On March 19, the U.S. government launched war against Iraq.

Already, U.S. bombs and cruise missiles are falling on population centers in Baghdad and other cities, taking their toll on the Iraqi people. Already the daughters and sons of the American people are being sacrificed in a war for oil and empire.

In every way, this is an aggressive war which tramples underfoot international law and the sovereignty of countries. This is an imperialist war which aims at taking over Iraq. It is a war waged in opposition to the expressed will of the peoples and governments of the world.

In fact, the Bush administration has repeatedly declared that it will use its occupation of Iraq as a base to extend U.S. domination throughout the Middle East. Even as U.S. planes bomb Iraqi civilians, the Israeli army, always at the command of U.S. imperialism, is attacking the Palestinian people. The Bush administration openly talks about extending the war to Iran and other countries in the region.

The invasion of Iraq is one front in a global "war against terrorism" - the program of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class to gain world domination through force of arms. U.S. imperialism is already occupying Afghanistan, waging counter-insurgency wars in the Philippines and Colombia, preparing to attack North Korea, building up its arsenal of nuclear and conventional weapons, etc.

These wars show that the contradictions of the capitalist-imperialist system have reached the bursting point. In Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. imperialism is turning the clock back to open colonialism, waging war against the independence and sovereignty of countries. In Palestine, Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere, U.S. imperialism is trying to drown in blood the struggles of the peoples for freedom and liberation.

So too, the contradictions and rivalries between competing imperialist powers and capitalist states are at the bursting point. U.S. imperialism is launching war to grab more of the spoils of colonialism, to redraw the world map in the U.S. image and force a new division of spheres of influence and economic territory.

The war program, in turn, is intensifying all the contradictions inside our country. The capitalists are militarizing the economy, robbing the public treasury and further attacking the economic rights and wages of the workers all along the line. The government is increasing its arbitrary police powers, criminalizing political dissent, attacking civil liberties and democratic rights, attacking immigrants and national minorities.

Already, hundreds of millions of people across the world have come out in opposition to the invasion of Iraq and the so-called "war against terrorism." These struggles are isolating U.S. imperialism and branding it as the aggressor. This is a great beginning in the struggle for peace.

But to carry this struggle through, the people must rise to the challenge.

In the course of bringing ever wider sections of people into the anti-war struggle, we must also organize ourselves. We must face up to the facts - to the intensity and all-sided character of the war program, to the fact that none of the forces of the status quo will be able to withstand or defeat the capitalist program of war and fascism. In other words, we must face up to the fact that only the people themselves can find the way out and win the peace.

We must organize, organize and organize. We must strengthen our anti-imperialist struggle as one front of the independent political movement of the workers and people.

We demand peace - a peace based on recognizing the sovereignty and rights of every country and people. Such a peace requires withdrawing all U.S. troops from the Middle East and the world, ending U.S. aggression in all its forms and ending the militarization of our country.

Such a democratic foreign policy can only be won in opposition to and struggle against the parties of war and imperialism and by bringing to power a new, people's government.

Peace is the cause of the peoples and it is up to us to organize to bring it about.

 

Volume 17, No. 7 March 23, 2003

THE PEOPLE WILL HAVE THEIR SAY!

Within only a few hours of the start of the U.S. war against Iraq, people all across the U.S. and the world began coming out in protest. And this movement keeps growing.

On Saturday, March 22, 250,000 people joined a demonstration in New York City while hundreds of thousands more came out in actions in dozens of cities and towns, including San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Los Angeles.

On the same day, at least 500,000 people marched in Barcelona and 200,000 demonstrated in London. Hundreds of thousands more rallied across Europe. A day earlier, more than 11 million workers in Italy organized a two-hour strike.

In Asia, people protested in practically every country, including large actions in Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, Japan, etc. Anti-war actions were also organized across the Middle East, in Africa and Latin America.

Millions upon millions of people -- in thousands of cities and some 100 countries - have already taken to the streets to oppose the war. This immense outpouring shows the common stand of humanity -- "Stop the U.S. War Against Iraq!"

Even though Bush launched this war in defiance of world opinion, the people are refusing to be pushed to the sidelines. The peoples are demanding peace and the need is to further organize ourselves. We must build up our independent movement in opposition to the parties of war and imperialism. We must aim at taking the political power out of the hands of the warmakers and returning it to the people.

Let us all continue to strengthen the worldwide union of the people against war and imperialism.

Let us carry the struggle through to the end by defeating imperialism and creating that new world so ardently desired by the peoples everywhere -- a world of peace and friendship in which the sovereignty and rights of all peoples are recognized.

SAVAGE METHODS REFLECT U.S. AIMS

On March 21, the U.S. government began the bombardment of Baghdad, dropping more than 1,300 bombs and cruise missiles on this city of 5 million people. Similar attacks were launched against the cities of Mosul, Kirkuk and Basra.

Eyewitness accounts report that large sections of the city went up in flames and that at least hundreds of civilians were killed or wounded. During the airstrikes, one journalist reported: "There is no safe place in Baghdad now."

This Hitlerite blitzkrieg against defenseless civilian populations shows again just what kind of a war U.S. imperialism is waging against the Iraqi people. The barbaric methods -- the complete disregard for civilian lives -- reflect the fact that the U.S. government is waging a war of aggression, of annexation -- a war which aims at subjugating the Iraqi people, who are considered no more than "collateral" damage in U.S. imperialism's drive for oil and empire.

GOVERNMENTS OPPOSE U.S. WAR AGAINST IRAQ

As is known, despite months of bullying and bribing other countries, the Bush administration was unable to get the U.N. Security Council to endorse its aggression and the U.S. war is in violation of all of international law. In fact the majority of governments across the globe have spoken out against the U.S. war in Iraq and the isolation of U.S. imperialism continues to grow.

Below we print excerpts from official statements released in Cuba and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

DPRK Foreign Ministry

On March 21, a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry gave the following statement:

At dawn of March 20, the United States finally started its military attack on Iraq defying the unanimous protest of the international community.

The U.S. armed attack is a grave encroachment upon sovereignty.

The violation of Iraqi sovereignty already started with demanding disarmament by inspection and gradually led to the war.

The unilateral demand for the disarmament of a sovereign state itself is a wanton encroachment upon this country's sovereignty.

The encroachment upon sovereignty by military attack is the most vivid expression of violation of the rights of the people in this country.

Countries which liked to call for the "protection of human rights" in the past are directly joining in the current armed attack or conniving at it. Such "doctrine of strength" and hypocrisy disturb the international order while seriously threatening peace and security not only in the Middle East but in the rest of the world.

The Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is opposed to a war.

War against the independence of a sovereign state and human rights can never be justified.

This highhanded action of the U.S. against Iraq and the war preparations now being made by the U.S. and its followers in the Korean Peninsula compel the DPRK to do all it can to defend itself and help it clearly know for what it should do more. To save the UN and its collective security mechanisms from collapse; to confront the deliberate flouting of the principles of its Charter

Cuba's Foreign Minister

The following is excerpted from a speech given by Felipe Perez Roque, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, to the senior-level sector of the 59th session of the Human Rights Commission on March 20, 2003.

The illegal, unjust and unnecessary aggression against a Third World country, Iraq -- already unleashed with total brutality despite the unanimous rejection of world public opinion -- is making the right of nations to unfettered self-determination and sovereignty a mere illusion....

The consequences of consistent aggression towards international law, unwonted declarations and doctrines, and the constant use of threats and military blackmail that we have seen during the last year still have to be comprehended in their full extension and significance. An entire planet has become the hostage of the capricious decisions of an unbridled power that ignores any and every international commitment and acts only in line with its own interests and its peculiar concept of national security. We are moving towards a new world order in which agreement is being replaced by threat and threat by fear. That, Madam President, is our dilemma and our challenge: to confront in a unified way a danger that threatens us all.

Well, it might be fitting to wonder whether in fact there are any motives for optimism. Cuba firmly believes that there is a powerful reason for feeling optimistic: in the history of humanity great crises have always opened the way to great solutions. No dictatorship, no empire with hegemonic intentions has been able to impose itself all the time on aspirations to justice and freedom for the peoples. It is a fact that on many occasions fear of confronting the powerful, disheartenment and apathy have made the cost of victory a higher one. That is why, today, while it is still not too late, I repeat with all respect the words which, on behalf of Cuba, I expressed to the Commission last year: "Cuba considers that, despite the political differences among us, there is nevertheless, a danger that is common to all of us: the attempt to impose a world dictatorship in the service of the mighty superpower, which has declared without any circumlocutions that one is with it or against it."

ARRESTS WILL NOT SILENCE THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT

On March 20-21, as the Bush administration launched its war against Iraq, thousands of Americans were arrested for the "crime" of coming out in public to oppose the war.

According to incomplete news reports, at least 1,600 anti-war protestors were arrested in San Francisco, more than 600 in Chicago, 100-plus in Philadelphia and hundreds more in Washington DC, New York, Baltimore and other cities.

The police and the monopoly-controlled media have tried to slander the people, insisting that those arrested were "violent, troublemakers" causing anarchy. But the facts tell a completely different story.

Firsthand accounts from Chicago, for example, show that the police simply "swept up" several hundred protestors, encircling them during a legal march and preventing them from dispersing. After these arbitrary arrests, the people were herded on to buses and jailed overnight with no opportunity to contact family or friends. On release, most were warned that if arrested again within 24 hours they would be charged with a felony -- a clear attempt to intimidate people from joining the next anti-war demonstration.

This attempt to criminalize and repress political dissent shows that the government is losing the battle for public opinion.

For months, the Bush administration and the monopoly-controlled media tried to pretend that there was little or no opposition to the war program. But despite this blockade of silence, the people have organized an enormous and ever-growing anti-war movement and brought it to centerstage in the political life of our country.

The widespread and arbitrary character of the recent arrests indicate that this was a planned, coordinated attack. The government is resorting to intimidation in the hopes of suppressing the anti-war movement.

But this tactic will also be defeated.

Far from being intimidated, those arrested are more determined than ever to organize and stop the war. The repression of the police and the slanders of the media only teach us the need to rely on the independent strength and organization of the people -- of the need to bring the facts to ever-wider sections of the people and bring them into action against the war.

 

Volume 17, No. 8 April 1, 2003

STOP U.S.-BRITISH AGGRESSION AGAINST IRAQ!

As the aggressive war launched by the U.S. and Britain against Iraq enters its third week, the Pentagon admits that it is facing stiff Iraqi resistance. Bush is sending an additional 120,000 troops into combat, bringing the total to more than 200,000.

Already, U.S. forces have used uranium-tipped artillery shells, dropped "bunker buster" bombs weighing 4,700 pounds each on Baghdad and killed and wounded thousands of Iraqi civilians. Already hundreds of U.S. soldiers -- the sons and daughters of the working people -- have been sacrificed as cannon fodder in the war.

These savage methods reflect the character of this war which the U.S. capitalists are waging for oil and empire.

In every way, this is an aggressive war which tramples underfoot international law and the sovereignty of countries. This is an imperialist war which aims at taking over Iraq. It is a war waged in opposition to the expressed will of the peoples and governments of the world.

And the Bush administration has repeatedly declared that it intends to use its occupation of Iraq as a base to extend U.S. domination throughout the Middle East. On March 28, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld threatened to spread U.S. aggression to Syria and Iran.

The invasion of Iraq is one link in a global war; within the last 18 months, the U.S. has occupied Afghanistan, escalated counter-insurgency wars in the Philippines and Colombia and is preparing a possible invasion of North Korea.

These wars show that the world is at a turning point.

On one side, the U.S. capitalists and their reactionary allies have launched a "war against terrorism" which they say will last for decades. Bush has declared that every country must accept U.S. domination and dictate or face the possibility of "preemptive strikes."

U.S. imperialism is resorting to war to grab more of the spoils of colonialism, to redraw the world map in the U.S. image and force a new division of spheres of influence and economic territory.

This war program, in turn, is intensifying all the contradictions inside our country. The capitalists are militarizing the economy, robbing the public treasury and further attacking the economic rights of the workers all along the line. The government is increasing its arbitrary police powers, criminalizing political dissent, attacking civil liberties and democratic rights, attacking immigrants and national minorities.

Anti-War Perspective

On the other side, the peoples of the world are rising up against war and imperialism. Hundreds of millions of people have already come into the streets to brand U.S. imperialism as the aggressor.

In the U.S., tens of millions of people have already come into the public arena to demand an end to the war.

To carry this struggle through and win the peace, the people must strengthen their independent, anti-imperialist movement. Our struggle must be tenacious and steadfast. Already, people can see that all of the capitalist parties and institutions -- the Republicans, the Democrats, the monopoly-controlled media, etc. -- are diehard supporters of war and imperialism.

The people can only rely on their own efforts and organizations. We must continually bring ever-wider sections of people into the public arena and fight to stop the war. We must build up our own anti-war, anti-imperialist organizations. We must bring our agenda to centerstage: we demand an end to U.S. aggression, the withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad, an end to the militarization of our country.

We must strengthen the worldwide union of the peoples against war and imperialism and aim at creating that new world of peace and friendship in which the sovereignty and rights of all peoples are guaranteed.

CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTION SUPPORTS WAR

On March 21, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution expressing "unequivocal support . . . To the President as Commander-in Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the on-going Global War on Terrorism."

The resolution was passed in the Senate by a vote of 99-0 and in the House of Representatives by a vote of 392-11.

This resolution once again shows the bi-partisan support of both the Republican and Democratic parties for the aggressive foreign policy of the monopoly capitalist class against the people of Iraq and the world. (A similar resolution ceding to George Bush the authority to wage "war on terrorism" against any and all countries was passed by Congress in September, 2001 with only 1 dissenting vote.)

The American people should take note and draw all the necessary conclusions.

From the beginning of the "war on terrorism," various forces operating inside the anti-war movement have been telling the people that there was a "split in the ruling class" and that the people have to rely on the Democratic Party as the main force of opposition.

But once again, the deeds of the Democrats prove that, just like the Republicans, they are a party of war and imperialism, a party bought-and-paid-for by the monopoly capitalists.

The anti-war movement must strengthen itself by taking the path of independence, the path of opposition to and struggle against both the Republicans and Democrats.

THE WAR BUDGET

Within days after launching war against Iraq, the Bush administration asked Congress for $75 billion to pay for 6 months of war.

Many government officials admit that this $75 billion is only the tip of the iceberg, a "small downpayment" on the total cost of the war.

And the bill for the war against Iraq comes on top of the Pentagon's annual budget of nearly $400 billion.

This militarization is bankrupting our country. While the working people are taxed to pay for the rich men's wars, the government keeps slashing needed investments in education, health care, income-support programs and other vital social services.

Stopping the war and ending the militarization of the economy can be a new starting point for reorienting economic policy so that the well-being of the people comes first, not the wars and profits of the capitalists.

INDEPENDENT POLITICS AND THE ANTI-WAR STRUGGLE

On March 16, the Anti-Imperialist News Service (AINS) held its regular monthly forum in Chicago.

The meeting focussed on the role of independent politics in the anti-war movement and the discussion was especially lively because the participants are actively involved in organizing the struggle in workplaces, schools, and communities across the city.

Many participants came to the forum immediately after demonstrating against the war in downtown Chicago. Just within the past week those attending the meeting had participated in a broad range of activities, including teach-ins, study and discussion groups, literature distribution, research and writing groups, etc.

During the discussion, people looked into such important issues as:

- the role of independent politics in empowering people to be the active organizers of the movement rather than passive spectators;

- the need for in-depth theoretical work to assist people to zero in on the root cause of war and analyze the balance of political forces;

- the need for continuous ideological and organizational struggle against the influence of capitalist ideology and politics which try to overwhelm, confine and degrade the anti-war movement.

- the need to build anti-imperialist collectives which can develop anti-war politics in a planned and systematic way and on a daily basis amongst the people.

Below we summarize some of the important points presented by Michael Thorburn in his opening speech.

The problem facing us is really quite straightforward: the people want peace. Even Bush has admitted that there is an extensive anti-war movement. But the government is going to war anyway.

In other words, the problem is that the decision-making power is not in the hands of the people. The public authority -- the political power -- has been usurped by the monopoly capitalist class.

The capitalists have always used the state as an instrument of war on behalf of their expansionist, colonial aims. But today, the crisis of the imperialist system is such that the capitalists want and need war.

All the objective processes of the contemporary world -- the growing competition and rivalries amongst the imperialist powers and capitalist states, the struggles of the peoples for liberation and emancipation, the economic crisis of the capitalist system itself -- all these things inexorably undermine the dominant position of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class. And the response of U.S. imperialism is to try to hold back these forces -- to preserve and extend its empire and exploiting system -- through force of arms. Bush's so-called "war against terrorism," which has already been extended to Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq, Colombia, and the Philippines, is U.S. imperialism's strategy for world domination.

In other words, the capitalists can no longer rule in the old way.

Inside the country, the warmakers are so isolated, so incapable of winning the battle for public opinion, that they must resort to calling the anti-war movement "unpatriotic" and to preparing their apparatus of repression.

Internationally, Bush has pitted himself in opposition to humanity. He is trampling underfoot international law and the sovereignty of countries. His doctrine of "preemptive strikes" is tantamount to a declaration of war against the whole world.

And recent events are teaching the peoples that none of the parties and institutions of the old world -- of capitalism and imperialism -- can save the day. People were told, for example, that weapons inspections would prevent the war. But this is not the case. People were told that the U.S. ruling class was "split" and that the Democrats would save the day. But this is not the case.

The entire experience of the last 18 months again confirms that only the people -- their struggle and organization -- can save the day and defeat the program of war and fascism.

This struggle should not be underestimated. Already tens of millions of people in the U.S. have come into the public arena to demand peace. On a world scale, hundreds of millions have come out against the war program. Already this movement is isolating U.S. imperialism and branding it as the aggressor. Already it is weakening imperialism's war drive. The people are forcing their agenda to centerstage.

And this is only the beginning. Everywhere -- at work, in the communities, in the schools, in the churches, in the families, etc. -- the American people are asserting themselves and taking a stand, side-by-side with the peoples of the world, in the struggle against war and colonialism. People are insisting that they want the say-so in the affairs of their country and that our America -- the people's America - - is not about chauvinism and war but about peace and friendship.

Carrying this struggle through means that the people must take up the question of politics -- the question of who holds the power and makes the decisions. Carrying this struggle through means that the people must strengthen their independent political movement and aim at defeating the parties and government of war so that the people can reclaim the public authority.

Everyone knows that if it were up to the American people, the Iraqi people and the peoples of other countries: there would be no wars at all. Our very humanity demands a world of peace and friendship, a world which recognizes the equality and rights of all the peoples. War, racism, colonialism, exploitation -- these things only exist because the public authority has been usurped by an exploiting minority, a tiny class which for the sake of its selfish interests of empire and profits is willing to impose the horror of war on the peoples.

Independent politics, anti-imperialist -- the politics which relies on the people as the decisive force in winning the peace -- is the only way out.

Independent politics targets the capitalist class and imperialist system as the source of war.

Independent politics calls for a genuinely democratic foreign policy which withdraws all U.S. troops stationed abroad, ends U.S. aggression and intervention in all its forms and recognizes the sovereignty and rights of all peoples.

Independent politics maximizes the immediate struggles of the peoples and step by step consolidates the peoples strength and organization with the aim of creating a new political power -- the people themselves.

U.S. AGGRESSION WIDELY CONDEMNED IN U.N.

On March 26-27, the United Nations Security Council held an open debate on the U.S. war against Iraq. More than 80 speakers addressed the Council during the session.

According to a United Nations press release on March 26 : "speakers emphasized that the current war, carried out without Council authorization, was a violation of international law and the United Nations Charter. Many stressed they could not understand how the Council could remain silent in the face of the aggression by two of its permanent members against another United Nations Member State."

It further says: "the Council also heard speakers urge the international community to ensure that the sovereignty and integrity of Iraq were fully preserved. The right of the Iraqi people to determine their political future and exercise control over their natural resources should also be fully respected, they said."

Non-Aligned Movement

During the debate, the 22-member Arab Group and the Non-Aligned Movement, which represents about 115 mainly developing countries, asked the Security Council to denounce the U.S. military action.

"This war should not have been started in the first place. Therefore, it should end immediately," said Malaysia's U.N. Ambassador Rastam Mohamed Isa, whose country chairs the Non-Aligned Movement.

Representatives from Iran, Libya, Jamaica, Vietnam, Brazil, Venezuela and several other countries also called for an end to the fighting.

During the debate, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan cited reports from Baghdad that cruise missiles struck a heavily populated area, killing 14 people and injuring 30.

India urged the United Nations to act "immediately" to stop the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. "India hopes that the hostilities will be brought to an end immediately and the Iraqi people will not be allowed to suffer any more," India's External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said. "The United Nations should act immediately both as far as the conflict is concerned and with regard to the humanitarian dimension of the conflict," he stated.

Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of Russia said the unprovoked military action was a "violation of international law."

The Chinese Ambassador Wang Yingfan also declared that military action against Iraq was "a violation of the basic principles of the UN Charter and international law."

Syria's representative, Fayssal Mekdad, said the UK and the U.S. had carried through their threats outside of international legitimacy. There was no legal or moral justification for waging war against the Iraqi people and the humanitarian need of the Iraqi people was an urgent issue, he added.

France, "regretted that military action had begun without Council authorization." The primary concern now was for the civilian population of Iraq, Ambassador Jean-Marc de La SabliFre said.

The last speaker, Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Al-Douri, called on the Security Council to condemn "this invasion and aggression...that hit civilian targets including homes, schools and mosques and led to thousands of casualties, among whom are women, children and the elderly." He went on to charge that the United States and allies Britain and Australia were trying to exterminate the Iraqi people.

Al-Douri noted that U.S. soldiers were trying to "control the region" even though Iraq has "no weapons of mass destruction" and had no part in the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States. "The warning I would like to make to the members of the Council is that the United States and the British were hoodwinked when they were told that the Iraqi people would receive them with flowers and hugs and ululations, and the children and the mothers will rejoice at the coming of the U.S. forces," he said.

At that point, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, got up from his seat in the Security Council chamber and walked out.

But Al-Douri continued, saying that the United States was now using the humanitarian issue to hide its "criminal aggression." He urged the Security Council to move to adopt a resolution to halt the war. "If the humanitarian issue is very important ... I would like to say that halting the war in more important. It is the cause that leads to this deteriorating humanitarian situation," he said.

Calls to End the War

After the conclusion of the debate on March 27, a United Nations press release stated "The broad majority over the two days emphasized that the current war was a violation of international law and the United Nations Charter...speakers after speaker, whether calling for an immediate end to the conflict or simply expressing the hope that it would soon end with few casualties, stressed the need to: protect Iraqi civilians; provide immediate humanitarian aid; ensure Iraq's territorial integrity; and adjust the Iraqi "oil-for-food" program.

REPORTS FROM ANTI-WAR ACTIVISTS

Anti-War Teach-in

The following report of a recent anti-war teach-in was written by a staff member of the Anti-Imperialist News Service (AINS), who gave one of the main talks at the event.

On March 15, I participated in a Teach-In, organized by a local anti-war coalition, at a college in the Chicago area. Anti-war activists, students and community residents participated.

The teach-in started with a main speech that exposed the U.S. government's war program. The speaker denounced the Bush administration's "international war against terrorism" as nothing but a program for world domination on behalf of the interests of U.S. monopoly corporations. The speaker emphasized that the U.S. war against Iraq is but one link in the program of war; within the last year and a half, the Bush administration has already gone to war against the peoples of Afghanistan, Palestine, the Philippines, and Colombia.

The first speaker also exposed the impact that the Bush program of militarizing the economy will have on the working people. To pay for war, Bush is already cutting social programs which go to benefit the needy.

After the main speech, two panels focused on Iraq and Palestine. The panel on Iraq exposed the real interests of the U.S. monopolies in the Persian Gulf and Iraq and explained the history of U.S. aggression including the sanctions regime that caused the deaths of many Iraqi civilians. The panel also exposed the hypocrisy of the Bush administration's "rationale" for war and pointed out the aggressive nature of the U.S. actions.

The panel on Palestine provided information on the roots and history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine. It also exposed the role of U.S. imperialism which sponsors Israeli aggression and uses Israel as its forward base of operations to wage its attacks against the Palestinian and the Arab peoples.

After each panel presentation, the floor was open for people to discuss what they learned and participate by sharing their experience and desire for peace. People overwhelmingly expressed their opposition to the Bush administration's war program. Again and again, activists emphasized that the agenda of the American people is for peace and that the key to building the anti-war movement is to reach out to the masses of people.

In informal discussion afterwards, many people said that the teach-in was especially helpful because it provided space for the people to talk about the burning issues. Unlike some events, this meeting was not dominated by "experts" or discussions on sidelines issues. Rather the main political issues facing the anti-war movement were brought out and actively discussed by the whole meeting.

From Los Angeles

This letter was sent by a public school teacher in Los Angeles.

My family and I completely oppose Bush's war on the people of Iraq.

My wife, three children and my brother-in-law and his three children marched through the streets of Los Angeles alongside at least 50,000 people of all races, ages and economic backgrounds on February 15. There were nurses, doctors, teachers, students, artists, musicians, factory workers, small business owners, lawyers, government workers, grandmothers and grandfathers, pre-schoolers, and many Hollywood celebrities demonstrating against the war in Iraq.

Being part of the anti-war movement has given my wife and me more resolve to speak out against the war, on the streets and in our work places. As teachers I feel we have an obligation to discuss the war on Iraq, especially for me since I teach predominantly working class Latino youth.

Many of my students have relatives and friends in the armed forces. Unfortunately a number of them plan to join some branch of the U.S. military. They have a right to know that their lives might be used as cannon fodder for the sake of big business in the Middle East, the Philippines, Iran, North Korea, Colombia or Mexico.

Not surprisingly most of them are passionately against Bush's war on Iraq. In fact many were ready to paint antiwar signs and walk out of school when I read them an article in a local paper describing the number of high school and college walkouts that had taken place all over the LA area the day before. According to the local TV news, there were 40 local schools that had some form of student walkouts or lunch time anti-war rallies. In one high school, the vice-principal locked the doors to prevent the students from walking out to protest the war. At other schools the police were called in to make sure the lunch time rallies did not "spill out" into the streets.

The anti-protesting actions weren't confined to the high school level. At my wife's affluent middle school, the vice-principal told the teachers, on the first day of the bombing, that they cannot discuss the war in class with their students nor could they watch coverage of the war on the classroom televisions during class. This mandate also applied to the "history" teachers. The teachers felt left out of the process of deciding the school's policy on how to address the war in the classroom.

Shortly thereafter, the teachers discovered that the main circuit which powers the classroom TV's had been disconnected. The school's union representative contacted the union president, who then confronted the principal. The principal denied that the main circuit had been cut: "They must have just gone out," he claimed. The power mysteriously returned 10 minutes after the final bell.

This sort of censorship is expected in a school where the district has passed a "patriotic resolution." This resolution was passed without a teacher, parent or student vote or discussion. These undemocratic measures just go to show how unjust, immoral and bankrupt this war is. The school's administration, like the U.S. government, fears further opposition to this imperialist war.

Just because Bush feels that it is time for a "regime change" in Baghdad does not give him the right to use state sanctioned terrorism on the men, women and children of Iraq so that our government can impose a pro-American imperialist government on the Iraqi people -- a regime that will guarantee American oil companies the right to dominate and profit from Iraqi oil.

It is up to the people of Iraq to determine their own affairs and not up to any foreign power to decide what kind of government Iraq should have. We as Americans should continue to demand that our government respect the national sovereignty of Iraq and end the war immediately. We should also continue to stand up against the attacks on our democratic right to dissent and speak out against this pre-emptive imperialist intervention.

The federal government has billions of dollars for its rain of terror on the people of Iraq, but there is a fiscal deficit in Washington when it comes to funding education and other social services in this country. District after district across California and the nation are eliminating teaching positions because of the state and local budget deficits. In my district, Chino Valley Unified, they are planning to cut 144 positions. Eighty-four (84) are classroom teachers. The rest are a combination of school nurses, reading specialists, librarians, and counselors. I am one of those 84 teachers who received a "reduction in force" notice two weeks ago. So much for leaving no child behind.

The teachers and our union are not letting this matter go uncontested. We are doing what we can to challenge these "reductions in force." A couple of students have even initiated a petition drive to keep the teachers in their current positions. The working class has to be proactive against the governments anti-social agenda and against its imperialist wars.

The Story of My Arrest

The following item is excerpted from a detailed letter written by Stefanie Shanebrook describing her arrest for participation in an anti-war demonstration of some 15,000 people in Chicago on March 20.

"It is with great urgency I write to you to share my experience of being taken as a political prisoner in my own country. Along with hundreds of other peaceful protesters in Chicago (approximately 900), I was taken into custody and held by the police for over 12 hours. My closest friend was also taken into custody.

On Thursday March 20, the peaceful anti-war protest began, as planned, at 5pm in Federal Plaza, where a huge group of people assembled, and listened to speakers who announced repeatedly that we would soon begin to march. The Chicago Tribune reports that they never announced we would be marching -- this is utterly false....

Leaving Daley Plaza, we marched down Jackson, headed north on Michigan Ave., and east on Monroe.... We had police escorts on horseback trotting at our side as we proceeded across Columbus drive and onto Lakeshore Drive (a major 6 lane artery along Chicago's lakefront.) I will say now, and will continue to reiterate, that at no point was I or anyone around me asked by the police to disperse.... I would like to emphasize how overwhelmingly positive and peaceful the march was -- I witnessed NO acts of violence or aggression by any protester."

After further describing the route of the march and the increasingly restrictive actions of the police, the author writes: "eventually we realized that there was a phalanx of riot police blocking us in on either end and, it seemed to me, from the north as well. These two lines of police officers moved closer and closer towards us. There is simply no other word to describe these actions by the police, and those leading up to them, except corralling. As the police lines moved closer to us we chanted "Let us go" and "Let us go home peacefully."...

We were never read our rights nor told what we were being charged with. Many girls complained that their restraints were painfully tight. Eventually the officers removed some, but many suffered with blue fingers for the entire ride. I was able to slip out of mine, but one girl was not so lucky, screaming in pain as they finally removed them at the precinct. Her wrist was cut, her hand was swollen, and she said that she was sure it was broken....

Throughout our experience it became painfully clear that all actions taken against us were a concerted effort to intimidate us and prevent us from feeling free to speak out or assemble in public....

At one point, we were lined up in the hallway, sworn at and humiliated by female police officers who called us "f-ing idiots" and were told "welcome to the grown-up world," although some of the protesters in custody were over age 60....

We were moved to a fourth cell, where a total of 14 of us ended up, most of us sprawled on the floor. We had to create a barricade each time we needed to use the toilet, as a male officer frequently passed by the open barred cell. My friend witnessed two girls bound together in shackles in the hallway. One was diabetic, and the other epileptic, and had been taken to the hospital so that they could take their medications. They were shackled upon their return....

I have no regrets about my experience, as I never committed a crime.... I want everyone to know exactly what happened to me, so that they may imagine the scope of what goes on in our law enforcement and penal system everyday. We all need to rely on real information, not the mass media, to learn about the real situation in our country. In this sense it's good so many of us were arrested -- this means we will each tell everyone we know about our experiences and the people of Chicago will know what really happened that day. We are truly living in a police state where people are being held as political prisoners. It is clear that the police are actively suppressing the overwhelming anti-war sentiment among U.S. citizens.

FUTURE TEACHERS DEBATE WAR

As a student of secondary education at the University of Illinois in Chicago, politics is a part of my daily life. Often in my classes and among other students, important political issues come under discussion. Recently the leader of a campus organization for future teachers of which I am a member, proposed on our general listserv that we organize a care package drive for soldiers stationed overseas as a way to "support our troops."

His e-mail sparked a flurry of comments and ideas from people on the list who seemed anxious to discuss the topic of war and our roles as teachers in approaching it.

Several people expressed an antiwar sentiment and I proposed that, as an organization, we adopt a resolution against the war and take up regular discussions. To many of us, the best way we can support our troops is to demand that our government withdraw all armed forces stationed abroad immediately.

This was a debate important to all of us as future teachers, and it was obviously a subject that many needed desperately to discuss. Unfortunately the leader of the organization cut off this discussion of pre-professional teachers, abandoning democracy in favor of arbitrary dictate. Sadly enough, I am accustomed to this type of governing. However, just as I am resolved to struggle without end against the fascism of our country's government, I will also work with my peers to ensure that we have a fair and democratic teacher candidates organization.

This experience makes it all the more evident that we must give expression to our desire for peace by bringing consciousness of the conditions our world is faced with to our friends, family, workplaces, and organizations. By taking our politics to these places we will get to the root of war and militarism and step closer toward empowering the people once and for all.

- Clayton Edwards

CONTINUOUS ANTI-WAR PROTESTS

Every day, people are organizing mass, anti-war demonstrations throughout the world. For example, on March 29-30, more than 250,000 people marched in Jakarta, Indonesia; hundreds of thousands demonstrated in Spain; 50,000 marched in Berlin and hundreds of thousands more in Bangladesh, South Korea, Malaysia, Greece, Switzerland, France, Australia, Mexico, Egypt, Jordan, India, China, Ireland, Russia, etc., etc. [Photo shows tens of thousands of Germans in front of the Brandenburg Gate during a demonstration in Berlin on March 29.]

CHICAGO TEACHERS PREPARE FOR CONTRACT BATTLE

In Chicago, and in school districts all across the country, the conditions of public school teachers are getting worse. Salaries are going down while class size and workloads keep increasing.

During the decade of the 1990's teachers' salaries barely kept pace with inflation and fell, on average, 30% compared to workers with similar education and work experience. By the year 2000, the average salary for teachers was $41,820/year while accountants averaged $52,323/year, buyers were paid $57,035/year, engineers received $72,427/year and lawyers got $77,150/year.

In the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), during the 1990's teachers saw their salaries decline dramatically compared not only to other professionals but also to teachers in other major cities. For example, in 1990-01, the pay of beginning teachers in Chicago ranked 6th in the country. But by 2000-01, Chicago teachers' pay had fallen to 22nd place.

Veteran teachers in the CPS find their salaries are as much as $25,000 to $35,000 less than teachers in neighboring districts. For example, while the top pay for Chicago teachers (both elementary and high school) is $65,700/year, New Lenox elementary teachers earn nearly $91,000/year and high school teachers in Deerfield/Highland Park are paid $99,800/year.

As new contract negotiations begin in Chicago, the Board of Education is already crying "poverty" and claiming that it "cannot afford" to offer a decent pay raise to the teachers.

But everyone knows that the government has more than enough money. The real question is one of priorities. Shouldn't a top priority be guarantying the best possible educational system and a decent livelihood for teachers? It seems that Chicago teachers have to prepare for a stern contract struggle in order to teach the government its proper priorities.

GROWING NUMBERS OF UNINSURED

A recently released study, prepared by Families USA, estimates that during the last 2 years, 75 million Americans were without any health insurance for at least part of the time. Nearly 20 million people lacked coverage for the entire 24 months.

These figures show that the current health care system is completely failing to meet the needs of the people. Even though our country has built up a modern health care infrastructure, even though we have an army of trained health care workers, tens of millions of people are denied vital health care service. At the same time, even those who are insured face continually rising health care costs as well as cutbacks in services.

The problem is threefold. To begin with, the current health care system is organized on the for-profit basis. As the big HMO's keep monopolizing the industry, they are simultaneously raising insurance premiums and slashing services. Secondly, the vast majority of workers are covered under employer-sponsored plans but the employers keep shifting a greater portion of the costs onto the workers. Finally, the government keeps cutting back on Medicaid and Medicare -- the publicly-funded health care program which provide care for the poor and the elderly.

This situation must be changed. Health care is a basic right which must be available for everyone. Clearly our country has all the necessary resources to guarantee this right. What is needed is to take the profit motive out of health care and create a nationwide system, funded by the government, which provides universal, comprehensive and free health care.

 

 

Volume 17, No. 9 April 11, 2003

THE WORKER (Update) Newspaper of The Workers Party, USA

BROADEN AND DEEPEN THE ANTI-WAR STRUGGLE!

The U.S. government is setting up its military rule in Baghdad and other areas of Iraq.

This occupation comes after weeks of bombing Iraqi cities. Thousands of Iraqi men, women and children have been killed and wounded. Disastrous refugee and humanitarian crises have been created. Much of the country's infrastructure has been destroyed.

A U.S. occupation government is establishing its headquarters in the port city of Umm Qasr. This colonial administration, named the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), will be headed by former U.S. General Jay Garner and report directly to General Franks, commander of U.S. armed forces in the region. The ORHA will administer and "reconstruct" the country until the U.S. feels that it can install a client regime of Iraqi nationals. Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz has indicated that the U.S. will directly rule the country for "at least six months." More than 100,000 U.S. troops are expected to "police" Iraq and Wolfowitz has admitted that the U.S. may keep a permanent military presence in the country.

On April 10, Vice-President Cheney also reiterated that the U.S. will not share either political or economic power in Iraq with the U.N. or any other international force. In addition to maintaining undivided political power, the Bush administration has already announced that all reconstruction contracts will go to U.S. companies, with foreign concerns permitted only to function as subcontractors.

In further disregard of international law, the Bush administration is preparing to expropriate Iraq's oil. Rumaila, with about 430 oil wells, is now under U.S. military control and a unit of the Halliburton company (formerly headed by Cheney) is taking charge of these wells.

War Continues

Still the war goes on. Street battles and other forms of resistance are continuing in Baghdad and areas "under U.S. control." U.S. military forces are also moving towards the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, another major oil center.

At the same time, the U.S. government, boasting about its military superiority, is preparing new wars against other countries and peoples in the Middle East and the world. On April 10, Cheney warned that the Iraqi campaign was a message sent to "all violent groups." These remarks followed comments by Rumsfeld, Powell and others threatening to spread the war to Syria and Iran. Spokespersons for the Bush administration are saying that the occupation of Iraq will be a new base from which to extend U.S. hegemony throughout the Middle East and that the war itself is only the first test of the new strategic doctrine of "preemptive war" under which the U.S. government will strike against any country at any time in order to prevent any challenge to U.S. imperialism's status as the world superpower.

Tasks Facing the Anti-War Movement

This situation confronts the American people with new challenges.

Bush and the U.S. capitalist class are setting up a colonial administration in Iraq (as they already are in Afghanistan). They are preparing yet more wars against the peoples -- more wars for profits and empire. The capitalists are showing yet again that international law, the sovereignty of countries, the will of the peoples and every standard of civilization and humanity mean nothing to them.

We must remain both urgent and tenacious; we must continue to stand up boldly against U.S. aggression even as we take up the work of further organizing and deepening our movement.

We must not only oppose the ongoing war against Iraq but also demand an end to the U.S. occupation and colonization of the country.

We must struggle against Bush's plans to extend the war to Syria, Iran and elsewhere.

In opposition to U.S. imperialism's strategic doctrine of "preemptive war" -- of war against the world -- we must demand a genuinely democratic foreign policy which withdraws all U.S. troops stationed abroad and forbids U.S. aggression against other countries.

Already, over the last several months the American people have taken colossal steps forward. Starting with practically no organization and in the teeth of the ferocious chauvinism and pressure of all the forces of the status quo, the people -- in their millions and tens of millions - - have boldly come into the public arena to oppose the government's war program.

Already, the anti-war movement -- in the U.S. and the world -- is isolating the warmakers. Already, in this common struggle against imperialism and in support of the rights and sovereignty of every nation, we can see the rise of the new world of the peoples -- a world without colonialism and war, a world of peace and liberation.

This world can be won.

But it can only be won through struggle. Just as the people are already showing their courage and conviction in actions against the war, we must strengthen our courage and conviction through organization, organization and more organization. We must organize ourselves as an independent political force -- in opposition to the parties of war and imperialism. In the course of fighting against every aggressive step taken by U.S. imperialism, we must build up the force of the people so that we become capable of taking the power out of the hands of the warmakers and returning it to the people and the cause of peace.

UPDATES FROM OTHER FRONTS IN BUSH'S WAR

Even while the monopoly-controlled media focuses on the war in Iraq, the Bush administration is continuing its aggression and occupation of Afghanistan and Palestine.

Afghanistan

On April 9, a U.S. warplane dropped a 1,000-pound laser-guided bomb on a house in Afghanistan, killing at least 11 civilians. The bombing was part of a U.S. military operation directed against Afghan resistance forces who are fighting against U.S. occupation and the puppet government in Kabul.

In fact, in recent weeks, the Pentagon has admitted that U.S. troops are coming under attack on a daily basis. The resistance forces are expanding their ranks and include not only the forces of the Taliban but also a broad front of Afghan political and religious groups opposed to U.S. occupation.

The fact that after 18 months, U.S. imperialism has still failed to suppress the resistance or establish a stable colonial government is a harbinger of what it can expect in Iraq.

Palestine

Eighteen months ago, when the Bush administration invaded Afghanistan, it simultaneously gave the Israeli government orders to occupy Palestine and suppress the Palestinian liberation struggle by force of arms.

Similarly, today, the U.S. is using its war against Iraq to screen yet more U.S.-Israeli aggression in Palestine.

- On April 8, 8 Palestinians were killed and 50 wounded when an Israeli F-16 plane bombed a densely populated residential area in the Gaza Strip.

- The next day, 3 more Palestinians were killed in the Gaza after thousands of people poured into the streets for the funerals of those killed.

- On April 2, Israeli occupation troops, supported by helicopters, attacked the refugee camp in Tulkarem, rounding up at least 1,500 citizens and expelling them from the area for 3 days. The Israeli peace group Gush Shalom said that the Tulkaren raid was "a dress rehearsal for 'transfer', an army training exercise for mass expulsion."

CALIFORNIA TEACHERS FACE MASSIVE LAYOFFS

At the end of March, school districts throughout California sent out layoff notices for the next school year (2003-04) to 25,000 primary and secondary school teachers -- 20% of the state's public school teachers.

These layoffs are a result of drastic budget cuts imposed by Democratic Governor Gray Davis who is slashing $1.6 billion in state financing for public education.

Obviously these cuts will have a disastrous effect on California's schools. Class sizes will be increased (perhaps to as high as 40-50 students in certain districts) and the curriculum will be drastically curtailed with many districts planning to eliminate or slash classes in music, art, physical education, language studies, computers, after school programs, etc. Nurses, librarians, and other professionals will also be dismissed as well as janitors, kitchen workers, and others.

These cuts are coming at the worst possible time, when the state is projecting years of increasing student enrollment and a growing shortage of teachers especially in such areas as math, science and special education.

In districts across the state, teachers, parents and students are building coalitions and already unfolding a variety of actions to fight against these cutbacks. These struggles are vital not only for defending the livelihoods of teachers and other school employees but also for the future of the public school system.

NY HEALTH CARE WORKERS STRUGGLE

On April 1, 37,000 health care workers (members of the 1199 Service Employees International Union) rallied in Albany, New York to protest Republican Governor Pataki's plan to slash $2 billion in state funding for health care.

The proposed cuts would come from Medicaid reimbursement rates, state aid to local health departments and other public health programs. As a result many hospitals, especially "safety net" hospitals which serve a high percentage of poor patients and teaching hospitals, would be forced to close while others will drastically cut back on services. In addition, such vital public health services as cancer screenings, home health care, immunization programs, etc. will be curtailed. Dr. Lloyd Novic, President of the State Association of County Health Officials, said that New York "will not have a workable public health system if this budget goes through." Nursing homes and the home care industry would also be hard hit. The jobs of more than 20,000 health care workers are at risk.

Not only in New York, but all across the country, state governments are slashing health care funding as well as other human services, including public education and income-support programs for the poor and most vulnerable. Public employees are facing mass layoffs, wage cuts and other attacks on their livelihood.

By fighting against these cutbacks, New York's health care workers -- like other public employees across the country -- are not only defending their livelihoods but taking the lead in defending vital public services. All the working people must support such struggles and work to give them a generalized, political character -- that is, work to bring all the workers out to demand an end to attacks on the public sector and to demand that the government make all the investments needed to guarantee the economic and human rights of the people.

 

Volume 17, No. 10 April 29, 2003

COLONIAL CONQUEST

Every day the real aims of the U.S. war against Iraq stand out evermore clearly.

- Every day, the Iraqi people pour into the streets to demand that U.S. troops get out of their country, to demand their inalienable national right to determine their own lives free of foreign intervention.

But the U.S. military is not leaving. Rather, it is setting up permanent military bases. It is firing on political demonstrations. It is arresting political and religious leaders and dictating what kind of politics Iraqis can participate in and what kind of government they will have. On April 20, for example, Lt. General David McKiernan, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, publicly warned that any Iraqi political party or group which challenges U.S. authority will be subject to arrest; in an official proclamation, McKiernan declared: "The coalition alone retains absolute authority within Iraq."

- Already, Halliburton and other U.S. corporations are pumping Iraqi oil. Billions in contracts are being awarded and the U.S. government has promised these corporations that "private property and payment rights" will be protected in postwar Iraq. Boasting to the whole world, that it will be the sole economic and political authority in Iraq, the Bush administration crows that "to the victor belong the spoils."

- The U.S. is using its occupation of Iraq to threaten and pressure countries throughout the region. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and company advertise the "demonstration effect" of the Iraq war; as Colin Powell has said: "We have been successful in Iraq. There is a new dynamic in that part of the world." (quoted in the "New York Times," 4/17).

Already Bush is warning Syria and Iran that they must "moderate their behavior" or face a U.S. invasion.

The war against Iraq has not "liberated" the Iraqi people but rather imposed a military, colonial regime on them.

This war has not been waged to eliminate "weapons of mass destruction." Rather the U.S. war machine has set up a new base of operations - hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops weigh on the soil of the Arab peoples - and new wars of conquest and colonization are being prepared.

The war against Iraq is only one battle in a worldwide "war against terrorism" which the U.S. government has said will last for decades. The Bush administration has called the war against Iraq a "test case" for its new doctrine of "preemptive war" which asserts that U.S. imperialism will launch war - including even nuclear first strikes - whenever and wherever it wants.

Not only Iraq, but also Afghanistan has been invaded and occupied by U.S. colonialism. The Israeli army - a surrogate for the U.S. - has invaded and occupied Palestine. Within the last 18 months, U.S. imperialism has set up dozens of new military bases in an arc of aggression stretching from Eastern Europe to Central Asia, the Middle East and the Horn of Africa. U.S. troops are stepping up counter-insurgency wars in Colombia and the Philippines. The Korean peninsula is being further militarized and Bush is threatening war against North Korea. To pay for this "war on the world," the military budget keeps growing and growing, bankrupting the public treasury and devouring the funds needed for health care, education and other public needs.

In short, the wars have not ended with the occupation of Iraq. Rather the U.S. government is preparing yet more wars against the peoples - wars for empire and profit, wars motivated solely by the exploiting aims of the monopoly capitalist class. U.S. imperialism is preparing to set the whole world on fire.

These wars can only be ended by the victories of the peoples.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, in Palestine, Colombia and elsewhere, the peoples are organizing against U.S. colonialism and U.S. aggression. In every country the people are coming out - in their millions and tens of millions - to oppose the war program of U.S. imperialism.

So too, the American people are organizing themselves against war and imperialism.

We must step up this struggle, recognizing that these aggressive wars will continue as long as the monopoly capitalist class and its political parties control the government. The task of the anti-war movement is nothing less than bringing to power a new government - a workers' and peoples' government which eliminates the cancers of war and militarism and implements a democratic foreign policy which ends U.S. aggression everywhere, withdraws all U.S. troops stationed abroad and recognizes the sovereign rights of every country and people.

End the Occupation of Iraq!

U.S. Troops, Out of the Middle East!

Only the Peoples Can Defeat the War Program of U.S. Imperialism!

Patriot Act II MORE ATTACKS ON DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS

The Justice Department has drafted a second edition of the U.S.A. Patriot Act. This new legislation, called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, would increase the arbitrary police power of the government, further criminalize political dissent and undermine such basic rights as the right to association, freedom of speech, the right to privacy and freedom from government surveillance.

Below we outline some of the key features of this proposed legislation.

Criminalizing Dissent

The first Patriot Act used the word "terrorism" as a way to give the government arbitrary power to criminalize dissent by outlawing a broad range of political organizations and protests. Amongst other things, the Attorney General and Secretary of State were given the power, solely on the basis of their own prerogative, to proscribe any organization as "terrorist" and in turn subject members and supporters to repression.

Patriot 2 further uses the bogey of "terrorism" to criminalize political opposition. For example, native-born Americans could be stripped of the rights of citizenship for "supporting" an organization labelled as terrorist, even if they only supported lawful activities.

The draft law would give the executive branch of government sole authority (without judicial review) to determine that any "activities threatening the national security interest" are crimes. Recently, for example, the federal government declared that dockworkers "threatened national security" by picketing at various ports. So too, a recent anti-war demonstration in New York City was refused a permit to march on the grounds of "security concerns." Under Patriot II, such workers' pickets and anti-war protests could be treated as federal crimes.

In addition, fifteen new crimes would be added to the list of those punishable by death. Any activity labelled "terrorist" by the government - which could include peaceful protests - which resulted in the accidental death of someone could be punished with a death sentence.

Spying and Surveillance

Patriot II would give government virtually unlimited authority to spy on Americans, conduct secret searches and wiretaps, keep secret dossiers on anyone and everyone, etc.

It would allow the government, in certain instances, to conduct warrantless searches and wiretaps, gain access to credit reports and other records without judicial process and even obtain and catalogue genetic information without a court order.

Limitations on police spying on political and religious organizations would be terminated and the government would be allowed to conduct wiretaps and surveillance of U.S. citizens on behalf of foreign governments.

Immigrants

Patriot II would also further attack the rights of immigrants.

Any immigrant designated by the Attorney General as a "threat to national security" could be summarily deported, without evidence of any crime and without any hearing. Such cases would be exempted from judicial review with even the right to habeas corpus review suspended.

In short, the Bush administration is continuing down the road of fascism and a police state.

Combat This Growing Fascism

Bush tries to justify this fascistization by claiming that the "war against terrorism" has created a "national crisis" and a "national emergency." And according to the government's logic, the "national interests" can only be interpreted and defended by the executive branch of government (i.e. the Bush administration). Thus, it is necessary for the executive to usurp unlimited and absolute power in order to insure the very survival of the American people.

This completely negates the people's democratic rights. The very concept of inalienable rights arose to give expression to the fact that the people are the real, sovereign power and to provide the people with certain guarantees against the arbitrary usurpation of power. In other words, rights are needed, most of all, at the time of "emergencies" in order for the people to protect themselves against the government.

The fact is that today, as in the past, the government uses such terms as "national security" and "national interest" to assert that the interests of the big capitalist class are the interests of the people and country as a whole.

And it is precisely because, in reality, the capitalist program is a program of aggressive, imperialist war, a program of robbery of the public treasury and of increasing the exploitation of the people, a program of racism, that the government finds it necessary to strengthen its apparatus of repression.

The capitalists know that they cannot and are not winning the political allegiance of the people. The capitalists and their government are preparing to suppress dissenting views and the people's rights because they know that the capitalist views cannot stand the light of day and that the people will keep coming forward to oppose their war program. In other words, the very fact that the capitalists are turning towards fascism, that they need fascism, shows their mortal weakness, shows that their aims and program are in opposition to the vast majority of the people.

The struggle against growing fascism is not an isolated thing but one link in the popular struggle against war and exploitation, part of the struggle to defeat the reactionary agenda of the capitalists and make the agenda of the people the guiding line of our country.

The best way to defeat the attacks on the people's rights is to continue to exercise these rights by organizing against the "war on terrorism" and the entire capitalist program. The way to defeat fascism is for the working class and people to strengthen their independent political movement, gain the political power and bring about the fundamental social, economic and political changes necessary to create a society which guarantees peace, democracy and the rights of the people.

LET US CONTINUE THE STRUGGLE!

By Bill Foster

The media and the government say "the war is over." But anyone who looks can see that the Iraqi people are resisting U.S. occupation and that the Bush administration is preparing yet more wars.

The media and the government say that the anti-war movement "accomplished nothing" and that we should just forget about it. But thousands of new activists who have come forward are still speaking out and getting further organized.

The capitalists want the people to forget but we will remember what we have seen and learned.

We have exposed the lies of the media and government; we have seen and learned that the capitalist class is, and will remain, on the warpath.

Most importantly, we have seen a glimpse of the colossal strength of the people when they stand up and come out together. Starting practically from scratch, Americans in every city and town began to speak out amongst their peers in their neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, churches, etc. We stood up against the war in our millions and tens of millions and despite the blockade of the media brought our anti-war movement to centerstage. For many, this movement was a new awakening. The anti-war movement was and is about the American people asserting their aspiration for peace and demanding a say-so in the direction of our country; it is an expression of our people's America which stands with the peoples of the world in the struggle against aggression and colonialism.

Yet it must be admitted that the shortcoming of this movement was that it was largely spontaneous, that the masses of people who marched in the streets and spoke out amongst their peers did not keep the direction and organization of the struggle in their own hands.

In the final analysis, the lesson of the last several months is that we must channel the tremendous energy and courage of the anti-war movement into organization, organization and more organization.

We know that the government is preparing more wars. We know that the people need and demand peace. We cannot afford to wait and react later. We need to organize now and build up a proactive movement.

This means that more than ever, we need to stand up and speak out against war and imperialism. We need to strengthen the foundations of our movement by further politicizing ourselves. We need to build independent, anti-imperialist organizations which empower the people and which target the capitalist class and the imperialist system as the source of war.

The struggle between the parties of war and imperialism, on the one side, and the people, on the other, has not disappeared. It is intensifying.

We have only just begun to fight, let us continue the struggle!

Editorial: APOLOGIES FOR COLONIALISM DO NOT BELONG IN THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT

Right now, anti-war activists are focussing a lot of their work on opposing the military occupation and colonial administration which the U.S. government is setting up in Iraq.

As the Iraqi people fight against U.S. occupation, they are helping ever-wider sections of people see the real aims of U.S. imperialism. It is the elementary duty of every supporter of genuine democracy to oppose the colonialism of "our own" government and support the Iraqi people's struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination.

What is more, the struggle against U.S. occupation and colonialism is a vital part of opposing the Bush administration's aims and plans to spread its war of conquest throughout the Middle East.

This is why anti-war activists must take note of the fact that various self-appointed "leaders" of the anti-war movement are supporting U.S. colonialism in Iraq.

For example, the homepage of "United for Peace" recommends to its readers an article by William Hartung which supports the imposition of a colonial regime in Iraq and only quibbles with the Bush administration over whether such colonialism should be "unilateral" or "international."

Hartung writes: "in Iraq, internationalizing the rebuilding process is the best way to ensure post-war stability. That means putting as much of the rebuilding effort as possible under U.N. auspices, as quickly as possible - from aid delivery, to decisions on which companies will get reconstruction contracts, to selecting an interim government, to training new Iraqi military and police forces, to setting out the steps needed to create a new constitution and elect a legitimate government."

The Iraqi people are completely left out of Hartung's equation; their right to self-determination is ignored and denied.

Hartung's politics comes directly from a section of the Democratic Party which, in typical neo-colonial fashion, seeks ways to cover over the real content and aims of U.S. colonialism in Iraq. Hartung's own words reveal his motives: "a multilateral process would be the best way to . . . Ensure that a post-Saddam regime has maximum international legitimacy. . . . It is also the best option for meeting the long-term U.S. security interests." In other words, Hartung is nothing more than a PR man for the imperialist aims of the U.S. capitalist class.

Yet more. Hartung tries to read the riot act to any anti-war activist who continues to stand on principles. Hartung writes: "Some anti-war activists have expressed unease about a major U.N. role in postwar Iraq, suggesting that it would throw a cloak of legitimacy over what they view as an illegal military action. Those concerns must be counter-balanced by the realities on the ground."

In sum, in the aftermath of Bush's "victory" over Iraq, the anti-war movement must abandon any and all principles, ignore the right of the Iraqi people to independence and self-determination and instead join in lending "legitimacy" to colonialism and U.S. imperialism's "long-term security interests."

Such chauvinism and apologetics for U.S. colonialism simply cannot be allowed to pass inside the anti-war movement.

IRAQI PEOPLE REJECT U.S. OCCUPATION

The people of Iraq are taking to the streets everyday to protest the U.S. occupation of their country.

On April 23, for example, in the city of Karbala, over 1 million people marched in protest, demanding that U.S. troops leave their country. In slogans, banners, and speeches, the people declared "No to the U.S. government, and No to a military authority." "We refuse occupation, we want an elected government that represents the people," many speakers repeatedly demanded.

In Baghdad, protests against the occupation continue to break out everyday all across the city. In downtown street gatherings next to the U.S. military blockades, in front of the hotels and palaces where U.S. troops are garrisoned, and in scores of mosques throughout the capital, tens of thousands of Baghdad residents are calling for U.S. troops to leave the country immediately.

On April 15, at least 20,000 Iraqis marched in Nasiriya, under banners reading: "No to America, No to Saddam." The rally was organized to coincide with and oppose a meeting organized by U.S. occupationist forces as part of the attempt to rig up a puppet administration.

Similar actions have been organized in many other cities throughout Iraq.

U.S. Military Dictatorship

Far from leaving, however, the U.S. is declaring not only that its troops will stay for months and possibly years, but also that U.S. authorities alone will rule the country. On April 20, for example, U.S. Lieutenant-General David McKiernan issued a military proclamation declaring "the coalition and the coalition alone retains absolute authority within Iraq." This was followed up quickly with a warning that any Iraqi leaders "who challenge the edict will be viewed as criminals and subject to arrest."

On April 15, U.S. troops opened fire on a political rally in the northern city of Mosul, killing 15 Iraqis and wounding hundreds. In Baghdad and other cities, U.S. troops are also imposing a reign of terror, systematically beating, arresting and threatening opponents of the occupation. For example, on April 21, Ayatollah Mohamed al Fartusi, a well-known religious leader, was arrested by U.S. troops while traveling on a pilgrimage to the city of Karbala. Al Fartusi and five of his companions were held prisoner for over 24 hours with their hands tied behind their backs. Upon release the next day, the cleric revealed that U.S. troops beat him and the others repeatedly.

On April 25, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also announced that any new government in Iraq would be subject to U.S. approval, and that any "Iranian-style" of government would not be permitted.

At the same time, the Pentagon is flying in hundreds of Iraqi exiles in an attempt to lend legitimacy to its colonial administration. These exiles have been handpicked by Rumsfeld and U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz.

The U.S. occupation of Iraq, like the occupation of Afghanistan, is nothing more than a return to the open colonialism of the 19th century.

It is the duty of the American people to wholeheartedly support the Iraqi people's struggle to end U.S. occupation and regain their sacred national right to self-determination.

NORTH KOREA-U.S. TALKS

On April 25, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) released a statement which read, in part:

"The DPRK-U.S. talks on the nuclear issue was held in Beijing from April 23 to 25, presided over by China, the host country." . . .

"At the talks the DPRK set forth a new bold proposal to clear up bilateral concerns of the DPRK and the U.S., the parties concerned with the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, at the same time."

"The U.S., however, repeated its old assertion that the DPRK should "scrap its nuclear program before dialogue" without advancing any new proposal at the talks. And it persistently avoided the discussion on the essential issues to be discussed between both sides."

"As the DPRK set out a new proposal for the settlement of the nuclear issue, proceeding from its stand to avert a war on the Korean Peninsula and achieve lasting peace and stability, it will follow the U.S. future attitude toward it."

A day earlier, on April 24, the Korean Central News Agency, in a commentary on the talks between the DPRK and the U.S. wrote:

"The U.S. should show its political will to make a bold switchover in its hostile policy toward the DPRK and prove it in practice. This is the master key to making the talks fruitful to satisfy the expectation and concern on the international community."

"It is universally known that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is a product of the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and, therefore, an end to the hostile relations is the most important conditions for the settlement of the issue."

"The DPRK-U.S. joint statement and the DPRK-U.S. agreed framework were published and certain progress could be made in the bilateral relations in the past because the Clinton administration officially clarified its political will to terminate the hostile relations between the two countries and put it into practice."

"The bilateral relations reached rock-bottom as the Bush administration singled out the DPRK as a part of "an axis of evil" and the target of its preemptive attack after its emergence."

"In actuality, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is so tense that a war may break out any moment due to the U.S. moves."

"The Iraqi war launched by the U.S. despite the international community's unanimous opposition teaches all the sovereign states the lesson that there should be only a strong physical deterrent force to protect the sovereignty of the country and the nation. The inspection and disarmament forced by the U.S. upon an independent state in violation of its sovereignty and its right to existence without any proper reason and ground are only aimed to justify and legalize aggression and war."

"If the existence of any "weapons of mass destruction" and capability to develop them and other military capabilities should be considered as preconditions for a war and terrorism and the proliferation of weapons harassing the global peace and posing threat to other countries as far as state relations are concerned, it goes without saying that such military capability of the U.S. should be verifiably inspected before any other country."

"The DPRK-U.S. talks should, therefore, discuss and settle the issue of the U.S. renunciation of its hostile intention and policy toward the DPRK before talking about the "verification" and the dismantlement of physical deterrent force."

"The past DPRK-U.S. dialogue failed to settle fundamental issues as detente gave way to escalated tensions in the bilateral relations due to the U.S. hostile policy."

"Clear and consistent is the principled stand of the DPRK to settle the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula."

FIGHTING CONTINUES IN AFGHANISTAN

On April 25, two U.S. soldiers were killed and five were wounded in a battle in southeastern Afghanistan. F-16 fighter planes, A-10 thunderbolt warplanes, and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters took part in the attack which erupted after a U.S. platoon came under fire near a U.S. base close to the border with Pakistan.

U.S. Colonel Roger King, speaking from U.S.-occupied Bagram air base, stated that "Afghanistan continues to be a combat zone."

About 11,500 U.S.-led troops remain in Afghanistan. In recent weeks, the Pentagon has admitted that U.S. troops are coming under attack on a daily basis. The resistance forces are expanding their ranks and include a broad front of Afghan political and religious groups opposed to U.S. occupation.

For Your Reference: EDUCATION AND CLASS SIZE

As Chicago school teachers prepare for their upcoming contract struggle, class size is one of the most important issues.

Since 1995, the Chicago Teachers Union has been restrained, under special state legislation, from bargaining over class size as well as other vital working conditions, such as privatization, layoffs, staff assignments, class schedules, hours of work, pupil assessment, charter schools, etc.

The results of this legislation have been disastrous for teachers and students alike. The Board of Education, even while boasting to the world about its "reform model," has callously increased class sizes. Today class sizes are officially capped at 28 in elementary school and 31 in high school although in many schools there are more than 35 students per class. So too, special needs teachers, including bilingual teachers, art and music teachers, counselors, speech therapists, librarians, nurses, etc., have impossible numbers of students assigned to them.

The vital importance of class size is not only common sense but supported by voluminous research conducted by independent investigators as well as by the state and federal government.

For example, the "Student/Teacher Ratio" (STAR), an authoritative study by the state of Tennessee concluded that class size for grades 3-12 should be no greater than 17 or 18. The study, which tracked student achievement over time, proved that students in small classes consistently scored higher on achievement and basic skills tests. This study also revealed that smaller classes produced better high-school graduation rates and students who were more likely to attend college. There were significant improvements in grades and test scores for inner-city, minority children especially.

In Wisconsin, the state-sponsored "Student Achievement Guarantee in Education" (SAGE) program, after following the performance of nearly 10,000 students for three years, concluded that 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade classes should be limited to no more than 15 pupils.

Similarly, a largescale project in Indiana found that children in small classes as compared to those in larger classes "obtained higher test scores, participated more in school, demonstrated improved behavior and retained many benefits of early class-size reductions in their later years of schooling."

Even the U.S. Department of Education's (DOE) report: "Reducing Class Size. What Do We Know?," shows that reducing class size from substantially above 20 students per class to below 20 students increased the average student's performance levels from the 50th percentile to above the 60th percentile."

In fact, the DOE officially recommends that class size be limited to no more than 20 students and 21 states have passed laws mandating that classes in early elementary school be kept under 20 pupils.

But, flying in the face of this scientific research and even the law itself, the government refuses to make the investments needed to reduce class size.

As a result, millions of students across the country, are literally stuffed into overcrowded classrooms and schools. In Chicago, some classes meet in hallways or closets because there are not enough classrooms. Special needs teachers often have no place to meet with their students or even store their materials. Thousands of students attend class in trailers in parking lots.

Teachers, in turn, simply cannot keep up with their day-to-day workload (grading, paper work, report cards, etc.) much less provide students with needed individual and group instruction.

Nothing could be more hypocritical than to hear government officials, at all levels, complain about "low student achievement" or condemn teachers as "unprofessional," when it is the government and school authorities who are systematically underfunding the public schools and herding students and teachers into overcrowded, rundown buildings with impossibly high class sizes.

Thus, the struggle of Chicago teachers to reduce class size is not only a necessary part of their struggle against overwork, it is vital to the education of our children.

This struggle deserves the support of all the working people.

MASS PROTESTS AGAINST SCHOOL CUTBACKS

Within the last few months, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have come out to protest state cutbacks in the public schools.

Last month, for example, 25,000 people rallied in Olympia, Washington in a demonstration organized by the state teachers' union. Similarly, more than 20,000 people recently marched in Kentucky and another 20,000 in Oklahoma to protest proposed cuts in funding. In addition to mass rallies, parents, students and teachers in at least 20 states are organizing public meetings, letter-writing and petition campaigns and many other struggles to defend the public schools.

These protests will certainly grow in the coming months as state governments are planning even more cuts in public education:

- 25,000 teachers in California have gotten layoff notices as a result of cuts in state funding.

- New York state is proposing to slash its education budget by $1.25 billion dollars. Already New York City is laying off 3,200 school employees while Buffalo is preparing to suspend prekindergarten, and cut another 600 teaching jobs.

- Birmingham, Alabama school district is planning to eliminate 550 jobs, close nine schools and practically eliminate summer school.

- Boston Public Schools are closing five schools, increasing class size by 3 students at all grade levels and implementing a 10% across-the-board cut for all schools

- Detroit plans to close 16 schools servicing more than 6,000 students.

- Houston school district is carrying out its 4th consecutive year of cutbacks, including eliminating another 367 jobs.

And the list goes on and on.

The public school system is one of the great achievements of our people and our country. Yet, today the capitalist government - at all levels - is running our schools into the ground by refusing to properly fund them. Everyone knows that the country has more than enough resources to not only maintain but dramatically improve the public schools. The people must continue to come out in struggles to demand that the government fulfill its responsibilities and increase funding for public education.

WORKERS' PENSIONS UNDER ATTACK

Congress is considering new legislation which would allow corporations to slash their contributions to employee pension funds. This would put the retirement benefits of millions of workers at risk.

Today, 44 million private-sector workers have company-sponsored pension plans. These pensions, generally won through sharp contract struggles, are part of the workers' compensation - a form of wages which is set aside for future use, i.e. upon retirement.

But the corporations do not fully fund the pension plans. Instead, they set aside only a small portion of the monies they are contractually obligated to pay workers upon retirement. The corporations count on receiving interest or investment income from these funds in order to pay workers' pensions later on.

The new legislation being introduced in Congress with the bipartisan support of Republicans and Democrats, would allow corporations to use a higher interest rate to calculate the future value of monies presently in their pension funds. This would immediately allow corporations to take billions of dollars out of the pension funds and to cut their annual contributions. The corporations would reap billions in profits. Under the proposed legislation, General Motors, for example, would see its pension liabilities reduced by $7 billion.

Right now U.S. corporate pension funds are underfunded by $300 billion. Many companies, such as the airlines and steel corporations, are already defaulting on their pension obligations to workers and millions more workers, especially in such industries as public utilities, auto, rubber and tire, and telecommunications, are at risk. The new rules would legalize this underfunding and put workers' pensions at greater risk.

All this boils down to government sanctioned robbery.

And these attacks on private pensions come at time when Social Security payments keep falling behind the inflation rate and Medicare benefits pay for less than 50% of the medical costs of most seniors.

In sum, more and more senior citizens are being thrown into poverty and facing extreme financial insecurity, after a lifetime of labor.

 

Volume 17, No. 11 May 11, 2003

U.S. PLANS LONG-TERM OCCUPATION OF IRAQ

On Friday, May 9, the U.S. submitted to the United Nations its plan for colonizing Iraq.

In an eight-page draft resolution presented to the Security Council, the U.S. government declares itself and Britain as the "occupying powers" in Iraq with complete control over the military, political and economic life of the country.

The draft resolution would recognize the U.S. and Britain as the sole "Authority" for the next 12 months. When this first year is finished, the U.S. would retain the option of continuing its occupation indefinitely.

The U.S. resolution also calls for all revenues from Iraqi oil to be placed in an "Iraqi Assistance Fund" under U.S. control. In addition, the U.S. demands that as much as $10 billion currently controlled by the U.N. under the "oil-for-food" program be put into the Assistance Fund and that all countries hand over to the U.S. any assets of the former Iraqi government. These funds will only be "disbursed at the direction of the provisional authority" (i.e. the U.S.-British occupiers).

This draft resolution is an attempt by the U.S. to gain U.N. authorization for its ongoing colonization of Iraq.

Already the Pentagon is setting up permanent military bases in the country. U.S. oil executives and such companies as Dick Cheney's Halliburton have begun pumping Iraqi oil and turning the revenues over to other U.S. companies, such as Bechtel, to "reconstruct" Iraq. While setting up it colonial administration, the U.S. is suppressing Iraqi political parties and protests. The U.S. military has repeatedly fired on peaceful political protests, arrested and tortured political and religious figures opposed to the U.S. occupation, etc.

At the same time, the Bush administration is using its occupation of Iraq as a base for threatening other countries and destabilizing the entire region.

In sum, the U.S. is colonizing Iraq and seeking to extend this colonialism throughout the Middle East.

GROWING UNEMPLOYMENT, FALLING WAGES

Last month, the number of unemployed workers rose to 8.8 million or 6% of the labor force. This means that when family members are counted 30 million people are being denied a stable, secure livelihood.

Since the current recession began in March 2001, the number of jobless workers has grown by almost 3 million. Particularly disturbing is the fact that long-term unemployment is also growing dramatically. In April, the percentage of workers unemployed for 6 months or more rose to 22% of the workforce or about 2 million people. In most cases, these workers are no longer eligible for unemployment compensation and are literally deprived of any income.

This persistent and growing unemployment also puts downward pressure on the wages of employed workers. With unemployment up, competition for jobs increases and the capitalists take advantage of this to cut wages. Within the last year, average real wages have dropped nearly 3% across the country.

The need for a livelihood is the very starting point of human existence. The fact that tens of millions of Americans are denied this right condemns the capitalist system as incapable of meeting even the most elementary needs of the people. In fact, capitalism relies on the army of unemployed workers as a club to beat down the wages of the entire workers and force tens of millions more to live with constant job and economic insecurity.

In other words, capitalism is nothing but a "modern" system of slavery under which the laboring classes and not only denied the fruits of their labor but even the right to a secure livelihood.

Illinois State Budget UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS THREATENS MORE LAYOFFS

The jobs of workers at the University of Illinois and other state colleges are under attack.

Last month, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich released his FY 2004 budget proposal, detailing further cuts in higher education. These cuts, which come on top of FY 2003 reductions, are having a drastic impact on jobs at UIC.

In April, for example, the University of Illinois President, James Stukel, threatened to cut more university jobs as a result of the new state budget proposal, stating "The proposed budget for 2004 rolls back state support for the University to a level of nearly what it received in 1998" and "...this budget will require reductions in staff, faculty, classes and programs."

University administrators are already threatening to cut 1,160 positions. Last year, several hundred full-time jobs were eliminated, and a wage freeze was imposed on employees, which is still in effect.

In addition, UIC is preparing to eliminate 1,000 course offerings and raise student tuition by 5%. In the past two years, the University of Illinois budget has been slashed by over $270 million.

These attacks on the livelihoods of university workers are part of a generalized offensive against public workers throughout Illinois. Federal, state, county and city governments are all slashing social investments and "balancing" their budgets on the backs of public workers.

Thus in defending their jobs and wages, public sector workers are defending the interests of all the working people by fighting to maintain vital public services.

At UIC, workers are already speaking out, organizing meetings and demonstrations in opposition to Stukel's budget cutting and layoffs.

 

Volume 17, No. 12 June 3, 2003

Editorial A PROACTIVE, INDEPENDENT MOVEMENT

The anti-war movement is at an important juncture.

Activists are assimilating the experience of the recent struggles and addressing the question of further organizing themselves.

To begin with, we have to face up to the savageness and extent of the war program of the U.S. capitalist class.

Within the last 18 months, the U.S. has not only invaded and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq and is imposing outright colonialism on those country. Bush has also drawn up a "hit list" and is already stepping up U.S. aggression or threatening war against the peoples in Palestine, Syria, Iran, North Korea, the Philippines, Colombia and other countries. New U.S. military bases have been set up in dozens of countries and Bush is dramatically increasing military spending, including expenditures for new nuclear weapons systems. The so-called "war against terrorism," which the Bush administration has declared will last for decades, is U.S. imperialism's blueprint for world domination through force of arms.

At the same time, the massive anti-war actions of the recent period show that the American people reject this war program.

Even more importantly, people are coming into active political life.

Activists are linking together the various currents of anti-war struggles, looking into root causes and deepening their political consciousness. Recent events have brought home that the government, marching to the war beat of the capitalist class, turns a deaf ear to the people's ardent desire for peace. More and more people recognize the need to build up ongoing organizations and find the way to empower themselves.

The key thing is to channel the tremendous energy and drive of the recent period into further organizing an independent, anti-imperialist and proactive movement.

This means to create new space in which people can look into events from the standpoint of their own interests. It means that the people must politicize themselves by summing up the experience of the anti-war struggles and analyzing the balance of forces. It means exposing the real aims of the warmakers and targeting the parties of war and imperialism. It means organizing and mobilizing the broadest majority of people around their own, independent program which aims at nothing less than ending U.S. aggression in all its forms, withdrawing all U.S. troops stationed abroad, and recognizing the sovereignty and rights of the peoples everywhere.

At this critical juncture, various forces are trying to divert the anti-war movement into the dead-end of the Democratic Party and the 2004 elections.

The experience of the last 18 months proves for the millionth time that whenever push comes to shove, the Democratic Party, just like the Republicans, supports the capitalist war program. In September 2001, the Democrats in Congress voted, with only 1 dissenting vote, to cede George Bush absolute authority to wage a "war on terrorism" against any and all countries. On March 21, 2003, the Democrats in Congress, in another practically unanimous vote, gave "unequivocal support . . . To the President as Commander-in-Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the on-going Global War on Terrorism."

So too, the Democrats are in the forefront of supporting Israeli aggression, threatening North Korea, Syria, Iran, and endorsing the aims of imperialism all along the line.

Recent experience taught the painful lesson that any illusion in the Democrats only weakens and liquidates the anti-war struggle.

As millions of people came out against Bush's drive to invade Iraq, a few Democrats began to advertise themselves as "anti-war leaders." But their "anti-war" positions not only lagged behind the movement, they continually tried to drag us backward by prettifying the aims of imperialism and poisoning our movement with chauvinism. Thus, the Democratic "opposition," insisted on weapons inspections and "multilateral action" in Iraq or insisted that Bush concentrate more on other fronts of the "war against terrorism." With such a chauvinist perspective, it was no wonder that once the war began the Democrats rushed to endorse it.

The undeniable fact is that, to the extent that the anti-war movement remained politically and organizationally tied to the Democrats, it was disorganized and undermined as the war proceeded. Today, the Democrats not only want to push the popular movement altogether to the background but even insist that the people accept and endorse the U.S. colonial occupation of Iraq.

No, the Democrats are not a "lesser evil" but a real trojan horse, sent into anti-war movement to poison it with chauvinism and split it.

Even more fundamentally, the people can never give expression to their independent aspirations and program as long as they remain under the domination of the Democrats.

What recent experience teaches above all is that millions and tens of millions of Americans want an end to war and militarism but that they lack the political means to achieve these aims.

In other words, the burning, relentless question facing the anti-war movement is to build up the independent, proactive movement which fully expresses the ardent aspirations of the people to live in a world of peace and friendship.

Only the people can stop the war program and aggressive foreign policy of the U.S. government and it is up to the people to organize to bring this about.

STANDING IN THE WAY OF PROGRESS

by Bill Foster

Reading the business page and studying reports on the state of the economy always reminds me of just how insane and anti-human the capitalist system is.

- Item: government economists and business executives fear that the U.S. economy is heading into a sustained period of deflation (i.e. a persist fall in the prices of goods and services). Businesses have more than $1.1 trillion dollars of unsold goods on hand.

- Item: U.S. factories are operating at less than 75% of capacity, the lowest rate in 20 years, even while nearly 9 million workers are unemployed.

What is going on here?

Falling prices mean that food, clothing, housing and other necessities will be cheaper. Isn't this a good thing for the vast majority of people? Shouldn't we be happy that falling prices will help the plight of tens of million of Americans who are living in poverty and going without many necessities?

Yet more, if factory utilization is at a 20-year low, and, at the same time, millions of workers are unemployed and looking for jobs, why don't we simply increase production and provide even more goods and services? Why can't we put this unused economic capacity to work to build houses and schools, to feed the 2 out of every 5 urban children who lack sufficient nutrition, to solve the health care crisis, etc.?

The common sense answers to such questions are obvious. But common sense has no place in capitalism. This economic system does not operate with the aim of meeting the needs of the people but solely in order to maximize profits for a few.

Thus the capitalist owners fear falling prices and will use practically any means to prevent it because, even though cheaper goods may make life better for the people, it means less profits for the capitalists.

Thus the capitalists will not set in motion the vast economic capacity of our country, but would rather leave factories idle and workers unemployed because more production, while increasing the well-being of society as a whole, would mean even a greater glut of commodities and less profits for the capitalists.

This insanity, the inhumanity, of poverty and deprivation in a country with a glut of goods and excess economic capacity -- reflects the fundamental contradiction of the capitalist system.

Our country's advanced, modern economy, created by the social cooperation of some 250 million people, is set in motion with the sole aim of maximizing profit for a few capitalists who have usurped the ownership of the collective wealth and productive resources of society. The social character of our economy is suppressed and negated by the private ownership of a few. As a result U.S. capitalism is in a permanent and unresolvable crisis of overproduction: the economy is capable of producing more than enough to meet the needs of all, but the capitalists refuse to produce unless guaranteed maximum profit. Factories stand idle, goods remain stockpiled or are even destroyed, workers go without jobs -- all because the capitalists can't make a profit.

In other words the capitalist system stands condemned -- incapable of setting in motion the vast economic power of our country, incapable of meeting the needs of the people.

The profit-motive cannot be the guiding line of economic life; the fate of the country and the very lives of people cannot remain at the mercy of a handful of capitalist owners.

We need an economy of, by and for the people. We need to replace the profit-motive with an economic plan that is based on meeting the needs of the people.

As a starting point, we must orient the economy so as to guarantee the basic economic rights of every member of society, including the right food, clothing and shelter, to a secure, stable livelihood, to health care, to the best available education, to income secure in retirement or loss of ability to work, etc.

Only such an economy can be considered truly modern and humane.

Palestine: A CALL TO CONSCIENCE; AN INSPIRATION TO ALL

by Michael Thorburn

Once again, the U.S. government is trying to present itself as the "honest broker" seeking "peace" between Israeli zionism and the Palestinian people. But Bush's so-called "roadmap for peace" is a fraud from beginning to end.

The very starting point of this "roadmap" is that the Palestinians must renounce any and all resistance to U.S.-Israeli occupation.

And what do the Palestinians get in return?

They do not get an end to occupation. Rather the Israeli military continues to kill Palestinians and occupy their towns and villages.

The Palestinians do not get an end to the Israeli settlements. On the contrary, only hours after accepting the "roadmap" which calls for a freeze on settlements, the Israeli Housing Minister presented a project to build 12,000 new units in the West Bank and Gaza.

In fact, all along the line the Sharon government, with the backing of the Bush administration and Congress, has made it clear that it will never recognize the rights of the Palestinians. Some day in the distant future, the Palestinians may be allowed to use the word "state" but all the real power will remain in the hands of the U.S.-Israeli colonizers. The so-called Palestinian state envisioned by Bush and Sharon will not be allowed to have an army, its political and economic system as well as its foreign policy will be dictated by the U.S. and the Israeli aggressors will continue to encircle it militarily.

No, the empty promises of the U.S. government will not bring peace to Palestine.

In 1948, U.S. and British imperialism instigated zionism to found the state of Israel through force of arms. The Palestinians became a subject people within their own country and 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homeland, their houses and villages razed to the ground.

In 1967, Israeli zionism, instigated and backed by U.S. imperialism, waged another full-scale war and occupied the rest of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza), again expropriating Palestinian land and forcing tens of thousands into exile.

For the last 55 years, the zionist aggressors -- financed, armed and commanded by U.S. imperialism -- have waged a war of genocide with the declared aim of colonizing all of Palestine. Today, Israel imposes military rule in the West Bank and Gaza, killing the people, expropriating more land, establishing new colonial settlements, etc.

Peace will only come to Palestine when the U.S. government is forced to withdraw all its support for Israeli zionism, when the aggressors withdraw completely from all the occupied territories, when all the Palestinian people are guaranteed the right to return to homes and when a genuinely sovereign and independent Palestinian state comes into being.

And it is precisely the resistance of the Palestinian people -- their struggle for national liberation -- which will bring about such a just peace.

It is this liberation struggle which is the target of Bush's "roadmap for peace."

Bush and the other representatives of U.S. imperialism hate and fear the Palestinian liberation struggle so much that they cannot even use the word "Palestinian" without, in the same breath, muttering "terrorist."

The image of Palestinian youth confronting the tanks of the Israeli occupiers and their made-in-the-U.S. Apache helicopters with only stones or their bare fists raised to the sky haunts Bush and this cohorts. This image haunts the imperialists because it is the living testament of a people who continue to declare "from generation to generation, until final liberation." Living under the thumb of the occupier and dispersed to the far corners of the globe, the Palestinian nation persists in resisting the armed force of the greatest military power in history, persists in its struggle for national salvation.

The Palestinian national liberation movement is one of the defining struggles of our times. It is a boundless inspiration to the peoples everywhere to carry through to the end the struggle against colonialism and imperialism.

Today, especially, the Palestinian liberation struggle is coming to the forefront because it stands as a roadblock to U.S. imperialism's drive to conquer and recolonize the entire Middle East.

U.S. imperialism has invaded Iraq and is setting up a colonial regime there. It is openly threatening Syria and Iran and declaring that the entire region must come under its thumb. To secure its colonial domination, U.S. imperialism seeks to outlaw, to crush, any resistance. But the Palestinian liberation struggle destabilizes the base of imperialism and remains an outpost of resistance and a clarion call to all the Arab peoples to rise in struggle against U.S. intervention and occupation.

So too, the Palestinian liberation struggle is a call to the conscience of all Americans, a demand that we rise in struggle to end U.S. imperialism's support for Israeli occupation and aggression and support the Palestinian people's inalienable right to a sovereign state in their historic homeland.

For Your Reference ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN THE WEST BANK AND GAZA

The following reference material is reprinted from the Palestine Chronicle, June 21, 2002.

For more than thirty years, the creation of Jewish settlements has been a central component of Israel's effort to consolidate control over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Israeli settlement construction has served not only to facilitate territorial acquisition and to justify the continuing presence of Israeli armed forces on Palestinian lands, but also to limit the territorial contiguity of areas populated by Palestinians and thereby to preclude the establishment of a viable independent Palestinian state.

By their very nature, settlements are discriminatory. The right to live in most settlements is restricted to Jews, many of whom are given substantial government subsidies as an incentive. In stark contrast to the underdevelopment of areas populated by Palestinians, settlements also benefit from massive Israeli investment in roads and other infrastructure. Palestinian residents of the occupied territories on whose land the settlements were established are denied access both to settlements and to the infrastructure that serves them. This principle of separation extends to virtually all areas of life. The Israeli government has set up legal and judicial systems specific to the settlements whereby settlers are subject to a separate set of courts and laws than neighboring Palestinian towns and villages. Similarly, Israeli settlements are given preferential access to the superior water resources that typically lie beneath them.

In addition, the geographic placement of settlements, the prohibition of Palestinian development on adjacent lands (ostensibly for security reasons), and the construction of bypass roads linking settlements to one another and to Israel have placed severe burdens on Palestinians' freedom of movement -- dividing the West Bank into isolated cantons - and have stifled the natural development of Palestinian towns and villages.

The International Consensus Against Settlements

Israel's settlement policy and practices clearly contravene international law. Article 49, paragraph 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territories it occupies." Moreover, the confiscation of land for settlement construction is in violation of the rules contained in the 1907 Hague Regulations protecting public and private property in occupied territory.

Settlement activity is also fundamentally incompatible with the concept of a "just and lasting peace" called for in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. In Resolution 465, which was unanimously adopted, the Security Council made clear that "Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants" in the occupied territories not only violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, but also constitute "a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East." The Security Council called upon Israel to "dismantle the existing settlements and in particular to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction or planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem."

Burdens on Palestinian Development

Palestinian opposition to settlements is based not only legal and historical factors, but also on concrete geographic, demographic, developmental and constitutional considerations.

A sizable, contiguous territory is a prerequisite for the economic, social and political viability of the Palestinian state. During the Interim Period, the presence of the 175 settlements scattered throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has fundamentally compromised the Palestinian Authority's ability to control its borders, to provide for the security of the Palestinian people, and to facilitate economic growth and development.

The Palestinian population is growing rapidly and needs space. The combined population of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in 2000 was approximately 3,300,000 That figure is expected to increase to almost 5 million by the year 2010-without taking into consideration returning displaced persons. As a reference point, Israel's 1990 population was less than 5 million-and Israel is more than three times as large as the West Bank and Gaza Strip combined. The population of Palestinians in diaspora exceeds 4 million -- the vast majority of whom reside in other Arab countries. If some of these Palestinians choose to come to the Palestinian state instead of exercising their right to return to Israel, it would place an added population burden on Palestinian territory.

If allowed to remain in place, settlements and bypass roads would severely constrain the natural growth of Palestinian cities, towns and villages and fragment Palestinian territory. For example, Arab East Jerusalem is entirely surrounded by Jewish settlements, while Ramallah is prevented from growing northward and eastward by the Bet El and Psagot settlements, respectively. Settlements would also dilute the economic resources of the state of Palestine, prejudice its access to natural resources such as water, reduce its ability to absorb immigrants, destroy its agricultural character and physical cohesion, and weaken its capacity for self-defense -- ultimately disabling its survival.

The Palestinian Position

In sum, Israeli settlements place intolerable burdens on Palestinian movement and development, they institutionalize prejudice and discrimination, they deprive the Palestinian people of important land and water resources, and they are plainly illegal. If the just and lasting peace envisaged in UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 is to come to fruition, then settlements must be dismantled.

ANOTHER TAX CUT FOR THE RICH

As The Worker goes to press, Bush is about to sign a new tax bill which provides yet another massive tax cut for the rich. This will be third tax cut for the rich passed by the Bush administration in the last two and a half years.

The new law mandates tax cuts of at least $330 billion but this figure would increase to $800 billion if, as expected, new tax rates remain in effect over the next 10 years. Nearly all of these cuts will go to the rich. The most important provisions of the new bill include cuts in the tax rate on stock dividends (from 38.6% to 15%) and capital gains (from 20% to 15%) and increases in the business depreciation allowance, enabling corporations to immediately deduct 50% of the cost of new investments. The bill will also decrease the tax rate for the highest income bracket. The great majority of workers and the poor will get little or no tax relief from Bush's new law.

According to a study by the Citizens for Tax Justice, over the next 4 years, the 20% of Americans in the lowest income group will see their tax cut by only $45 while the wealthiest 1% of the population will receive, on average, a windfall of $107,095 in tax relief. Altogether 80% of the tax cuts will go to the wealthiest 20% of the population.

Bush's tax cuts are part of his general economic program of helping the rich get richer while attacking the working people. While the taxes on corporations and the super-rich are cut to the bone, Bush is forking hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars over to the big corporations in the form of military contracts, interest payments, privatization of government services, research and development grants, etc. Already Congress has approved, in a nearly unanimous vote, a $400 billion military budget for the coming year.

One immediate result of this fiscal program of slashing taxes while militarizing the economy and lavishing public monies on the corporations, is that the government is again running up huge deficits. Economists already project a $400 billion federal deficit for coming year, by far the largest ever. The deficit, in turn, is used as an excuse to dramatically slash vital public services and social programs which help the working people keep life and limb together. Already, state and local governments across the country are slashing funds for public education, Medicaid and public health, etc.

In short, the government uses its vast power to tax and spend to redistribute the wealth of the country out of the pockets of the working people and into the pockets of the capitalists.

YOUTH AND STUDENTS INITIATE NEW ANTI-WAR ORGANIZATION!

During the last week of May, a number of students and young workers in the Chicago area got together to found a new organization: Youth and Students for a Democratic Foreign Policy (YSDFP).

All the members of this new organization have been active in the struggle against the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq as well as other anti-war struggles. Their experience taught them the need to build a proactive anti-war movement.

In founding the YSDFP, the activists discussed the ongoing character of the U.S. government's so-called "war against terrorism" and the roots of this war program in the imperialist system. Everyone's experience confirmed that there is profound anti-war sentiment amongst the people and that the burning need is to offer a genuinely independent, anti-imperialist alternative.

The YSDFP mapped out practical plans for going amongst the students and youth on a consistent basis to help politicize and mobilize them in the anti-war struggles.

The founding statement of the YSDFP is reprinted below.

The program of Youth and Students for a Democratic Foreign Policy (YSDFP) is to mobilize and organize the youth and students as part of a proactive, anti-war movement.

While fighting against every aggressive measure of the U.S. government, we aim at:

- Ending U.S. aggression and intervention against other countries;

- The withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad;

- Ending U.S. participation in all aggressive military alliances and an end to U.S. support for all reactionary regimes;

- Ending the militarization of our country's economy;

- Recognition of the sovereignty of every country and the right of every nation to independence.

YSDFP recognizes that only the people can stop the war program and aggressive foreign policy of the U.S. government.

Therefore our work is based on the independent organization and mobilization of the people in opposition to, and struggle against, the parties of war and imperialism.

Iraq Update CONTINUING U.S. OCCUPATION

U.S. military occupation weighs heavily on the people of Iraqi. And, in turn, the people are stepping up their struggle against U.S. colonialism.

On May 28, the U.S. army was forced to withdraw from the down of Hit, 90 miles northwest of Baghdad, after the people organized several mass demonstrations and burned down a police station used as a U.S. army headquarters. The protests were triggered by U.S. soldiers conducting house-to-house searches in the city.

Also during the last week of May, at least 6 U.S. soldiers were killed and a dozen wounded in armed clashes with Iraqi partisan forces.

The U.S. Defense Department is responding to this growing resistance by scrapping plans to reduce U.S. troop strength in Iraq to 70,000. Instead the Pentagon is extending the tours of duty of U.S. soldiers and sending more into the country. Ten thousand additional U.S. troops are being sent to the town of Falluja which has been a focal point of Iraqi resistance. On May 29, Lt. General David McKiernan, commander of U.S. ground forces, said that "the war has not ended" and announced new military tactics to try to stop the "hit-and-run" attacks of Iraqi partisan forces. More than 250,000 U.S. and British soldiers are already deployed in Iraq and Kuwait.

The following items give a small glimpse of the toll which this U.S. occupation takes on the people of Iraq.

- On May 22, after U.S. troops came under fire from snipers, U.S. tanks fired randomly in the center of the city, destroying numerous shops and killing two people. One eyewitness stated that "They [U.S. soldiers] went crazy, they fired everywhere." Other residents said the U.S. troops went on a "shooting spree," after barging into homes and firing randomly throughout the center of the city.

Last month, in Falluja, 16 Iraqi demonstrators were killed by U.S. troops. On May 1, a grenade attack injured seven U.S. soldiers in the town.

- On May 20, the new U.S. chief civilian administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer III, announced a new "weapons proclamation" that will require all Iraqi citizens to surrender their arms. According to the new ban, only U.S.-trained Iraqi policemen will be authorized to carry guns. All other Iraqis will be prohibited from possessing any weapons and subject to arrest.

- On May 15, 500 heavily-armed U.S. troops stormed into a village near the city of Tikrit, arresting over 300 people. During the 5-hour sweep, U.S. troops sealed off the village with humvees, howitzers and Bradley fighting vehicles, and went house-to-house, taking people into custody. Residents were zip-cuffed (had their hands tied with plastic) and ordered to kneel on the roads outside their homes. Similar raids have been carried out in many cities and on a daily basis.

- On May 13, U.S. military officials announced that U.S. troops will have the authority to "shoot-to-kill" Iraqi "looters" on sight. The new measure is supposedly being implemented as part of a "tough new security setup" imposed by the U.S. administrator Paul Bremer III.

U.S. PREPARES FOR MORE MILITARY INTERVENTION IN THE PHILIPPINES

On May 19, during a meeting with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines, George Bush announced that more military aid will be provided to the Philippines as part of the U.S. "war on terrorism."

Bush pledged $30 million in new aid and 20 UH-1H helicopters. He also reaffirmed that the U.S. would send more troops to take part in joint maneuvers and training with the Filipino armed forces.

During the meeting, the U.S. announced that the Philippines would be granted "major non-NATO ally status," thus giving it greater access to U.S. military equipment and loans.

Besides meeting with President Bush, Arroyo met with Secretary of State Colin Powell, members of Congress, and representatives from the World Bank. She told reporters during her visit that U.S. military aid to the Philippines has grown to more than $100 million from $1.9 million three years ago and was set to increase.

In the Philippines, as elsewhere, the Bush administration is trying to use the flimsy cover of a so-called "war against international terrorism," to hide its colonial objectives. During the last year, several thousand U.S. troops have been deployed in the Philippines. The U.S. troops have not only trained Filipino forces in counter-insurgency operations but also played a direct role in combat. The deployment of U.S. troops is a direct violation of the constitution of the Philippines which bars foreign military forces from operating in the country. The Pentagon, however, aims at both suppressing the Filipino peoples struggles for national liberation and at, again, turning the country into a major U.S. military base and use it as a strategic staging ground for dominating Asia.

In a statement released on May 21, the Communist Party of the Philippines "strongly denounced the interventionist and militarist US government for giving more inducements to the Arroyo government for further US military and political interference in Philippine affairs and for the further intensification of the puppet government's all-out military campaigns of suppression in Mindanao and elsewhere.... All this only means more US military and political intervention."

IRAN RESISTS U.S. PRESSURE

The following report is excerpted from the Islamic Republic News Agency.

On May 30, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi said that Iran-U.S. talks will be meaningful only when they are based on mutual respect and equality.

Talking to foreign and domestic journalists on the conclusion of the 30th foreign ministerial meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), he said . . . "Washington should prove that it is genuinely ready to hold talks with Tehran on the basis of mutual respect." Kharrazi called for an end to US threats against Iran.

"The US is not serious in its war against terror," he said, stressing that contrary to outward manifestations, "Washington is supporting terrorists." If a particular terrorist move is against US interests in any part of the world, Washington condemns it, but when it is against any other country's interest, it chooses to be silent and does nothing to confront it, he said, noting that Washington has even signed a ceasefire agreement with some terrorist groups.

On the alleged presence of Al-Qaeda fugitives in Iran, Kharrazi said that it is the policy of the government that as soon as any Al-Qaeda member is identified inside its borders, that member is arrested and returned to his home country or sent to any of the European, African or Persian Gulf countries.

He admitted that some suspected Al-Qaeda members have managed to enter Iranian territory illegally because of the country's long borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, but that these have been arrested and are currently under investigation.

Referring to the recent remarks of a Russian official that Moscow is unaware of any Iranian hidden nuclear activities, the Iranian foreign minister said that Russia is cooperating with Iran in the construction and completion of the nuclear power plant in Bushehr. He said other countries are invited to help Iran construct power plants.

Responding to a question on whether Iran intends to establish a group similar to the Lebanese Hezbollah to operate in Iraq, Kharrazi said the US and its allies are trying to justify their failures in that country by making such outrageous allegation.

"They claim that Tehran interferes in Iraqi domestic affairs but they cannot prove such claim," he added. The Islamic Republic of Iran is not and will not interfere in Iraqi affairs, he asserted, adding that Tehran's policy is to promote friendly ties with all its neighbors on the basis of mutual respect.

NEW NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROJECTS

The U.S. government is taking further steps to develop a new generation of nuclear bombs.

On May 9, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to repeal a 10-year-old ban on the development of small nuclear arms.

The Committee also approved $15.5 million to conduct further research on a huge nuclear weapon, called the "Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator," that would be used to destroy deeply buried targets. The panel also agreed to spend $6 million to research other "advanced nuclear weapons concepts," and it earmarked $25 million to enable the Pentagon to resume new nuclear weapons testing that was suspended under previous administrations.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS SHUT DOWN FOR LACK OF FUNDING

Public schools throughout the state of Oregon are closing down ahead of schedule because the government refuses to provide adequate funding.

At least 90 of Oregon's 198 school districts have cut back on the number of school days as a result of a 10% cut in state aid. Many of these districts have eliminated several weeks of classes, forcing teachers to dramatically curtail the curriculum. In addition, substantial pay cuts as high as several thousand dollars per year have been imposed on teachers and other school employees.

Similar cutbacks in public education are being carried out all across the country. According to the National School Boards Association, the majority of our country's 15,000 school districts face growing deficits, amounting to billions of dollars. As a result school authorities keep increasing class sizes, laying off teachers and other workers, cutting back on school days, curtailing the curriculum, eliminating summer school, after school programs, preschooling, etc.

This is a national disgrace and cause for indicting the government as criminally irresponsible. In a country which such a vast economy, the government cannot even adequately fund the public schools!

 

Volume 17, No. 13 June 15, 2003

SUPPORT THE PALESTINIAN STRUGGLE AGAINST U.S.-ISRAELI OCCUPATION

Once again, Israel and its sponsor, U.S. imperialism, are talking about "peace" even while stepping up their war against the Palestinian people.

In the last 2 weeks, since accepting Bush's so-called "roadmap for peace," Israel has launched daily military attacks in Gaza and the West Bank, killing and wounding hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including children and infants. Israeli Prime Minister Sharon has openly announced an all-out war against Hamas and other Palestinian resistance forces. This war has been endorsed by the Bush administration whose spokesman, Ari Fleischer said: "The issue is not Israel. . . The issue is Hamas." (6/13/03).

In fact, Bush's "roadmap for peace" is nothing but a means for solidifying Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza while increasing the pressure and repression against the Palestinian people.

The very starting point of the roadmap is that the Palestinian Authority must renounce all resistance to the occupation and even bring its security forces directly under the control of the CIA so as to hunt down and suppress the resistance forces. Yet the roadmap does not demand that Israel renounce its occupation of the West Bank or Gaza or end its military rule and armed suppression of the Palestinian people.

When the Bush administration and the monopoly-controlled media talk about "Palestinian terrorism" they are trying to turn truth upsidedown and confound right and wrong.

It is the state of Israel - financed and commanded by the U.S. government - which is the real terrorist and source of violence. It is Israel which has invaded and occupied Palestine and which is killing the Palestinian people and subjecting them to a continuous reign of terror.

Peace will come to the region only when the Israeli aggressors withdraw all their troops from occupied Palestine and dismantle all their settlements, when all the Palestinian people are allowed to return to their homes and when a genuinely sovereign Palestinian state is recognized.

This is what the Palestinian people are fighting for and in recent days, they have shown again that neither the political pressure and plots of imperialism and zionism nor brutal aggression will stop their liberation struggle.

It is the duty of the American people to support this struggle and demand the immediate end of all U.S. aid to the aggressive state of Israel.

BUSH PLANS TO DRASTICALLY CUT MEDICAID

The Bush administration has proposed a basic restructuring of Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) which would drastically cut funding and take away vitally needed health services from millions of children, low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

Right now, Medicaid and SCHIP are funded through a matching formula which requires the federal government to pay states from $1-$3 for every $1 dollar a state spends. This guarantee of federal matching funds is vital to the ability of each state to respond to changing health care needs such as rising costs for prescription drugs, emergencies and disasters, the aging of the population, etc. Today, especially when the economic crisis means that more people are losing private health insurance through unemployment or rising co-premiums, the states face increased demand for the Medicaid and SCHIP safety net. However Bush wants to substitute a set block grant or "allotment" for the current matching funds formula. Bush's proposal would cap federal Medicaid spending and this cap, in turn, would eliminate the current incentive for states to increase their own Medicaid funds as a way a receiving more federal assistance.

According to a recent report issued by Families USA, Bush's proposal would reduce funding for Medicaid and SCHIP by nearly $500 billion dollars over the next 10 years, resulting in a 16% cut in spending.

Bush's plan would also give states new authority to slash Medicaid and SCHIP benefits in a number of ways such as further limiting eligibility and enrollment, increasing premiums and co-payments required from recipients, reducing health services covered (such as mental health care, prescription drug coverage), etc.

Medicaid currently provides health and long-term care coverage to 51 million low-income Americans, including 12 million seniors and people with disabilities and more than 26 million children.

As the crisis of the private, for-profit health care system grows, millions more Americans are being denied vital medical services. This is a time when the government must increase not slash funding for public health programs so that everyone is guaranteed the basic human right to health care.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ADMITS ATTACKS ON IMMIGRANTS

A recent Justice Department report admits that the federal government imprisoned several hundred innocent people for long periods of time, suppressing their basic rights and even torturing many, as part of an anti-immigrant campaign launched in September 2001.

The 198-page report prepared by the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) looks at the treatment of 762 immigrants, most of Arab and South Asian descent, who were imprisoned as "terrorist suspects" after September 11, 2001.

The Justice Department report admitted that "most if not all" of the arrests would never have been made if not for the anti-immigrant campaign launched that September and that people were kept imprisoned "regardless of the strength of the evidence or the origin of the lead." Many immigrants were simply arrested at random traffic stops, others because of anonymous tips that they were Muslims with erratic schedules or had made "anti-American statements." Not one of these imprisoned immigrants were found to have any connection to any terrorist activity.

Yet most were held in "preventive," long-term detention for several months. Under special orders from the FBI, the INS was instructed to hold these immigrants without any evidence and under an official "no bond policy" to prevent their release.

Prior to September 11, the INS could only hold immigrants for 24 hours without charging them with a crime but in September 2001, the Justice Department claimed that "extraordinary circumstances" allowed it to hold immigrants for an indefinite period of time. The report quotes Assistant U.S. Attorney General Michael Chertoff as telling INS officials to "hold these people until we find out what's going on."

These 762 immigrants were kept imprisoned for an average of 80 days each and many spent as long as 8 months in jail. Access to lawyers and contact with family members were systematically denied or impeded and hundreds were subjected to "unduly harsh" conditions including "a pattern of physical and verbal abuse." At least 84 immigrants held in a Brooklyn jail were kept under 23-hour lockdown and put in handcuffs, leg irons and heavy chains any time they were moved outside their cells. Other immigrants were kept in cells under bright lights for 24-hours/day and others were beaten by prison guards.

The government keeps trying to cover up the extent of these crimes. The release of the OIG report was delayed for nearly a year while Justice Department officials and others have been covering their tracks. Many Justice Department documents relating to these arrests have still not been released and hundreds of videotapes documenting the harsh prison conditions and abuse were destroyed. Most of the detainees have been deported on minor immigration violations, preventing them from testifying about their treatment.

IRAQI PEOPLE'S LIBERATION STRUGGLE

by Michael Thorburn

Every day the news from Iraq includes stories of mass demonstrations against U.S. occupation and reports of armed attacks against U.S. troops by Iraqi liberation fighters.

The PR-men of the Bush administration are at their wits' end trying to explain away the nationwide resistance of the Iraqi people. They have fallen back on a variation of the tired refrain of "communist subversion" by talking about "looters," "foreign infiltrators," "Islamic extremists," and "remnants of the old regime."

This propaganda is a continuation of the Big Lie that Bush bombed and occupied Iraq to "liberate the people" and that U.S. troops would have flowers strewn at their feet by the grateful Iraqi masses. According to the chauvinist axioms of U.S. imperialism, the Iraqi people are incapable of dealing with their problems and ruling themselves. Like the slave-traders, the U.S. imperialists claim that they are enslaving the Iraqi people in order to save them. Thus, of course, imperialism can never explain or admit that the people are revolting against their liberators - that the Iraqis are not only determined to end U.S. occupation but are more than capable of organizing themselves and fighting for liberation.

Yet the very way in which the U.S. military responds to the Iraqi resistance again exposes that imperialism's target is not a few "extremists" or "outsiders" but the Iraqi people themselves. The monopoly-controlled media admits that the U.S. troops are afraid of the dark, afraid of passing motorists, afraid of the children. The U.S. high command hates and fears the Iraqi people because it knows they are rising against the occupation. And in true Hitlerite fashion, U.S. imperialism is relying on the tactic of collective reprisals, searching whole neighborhoods, blockading cities, carrying out mass roundups, torturing and killing civilians, etc.

The Iraqi liberation struggle, regardless of what twists or turns it may face, will once again teach the U.S. imperialists what they do not want to learn - that neither the guns nor lies of the colonialists can conquer the peoples.

In these days, when U.S. imperialism is trying to impose its "new world order" of fascism and war on the peoples, the Iraqi resistance reminds us that the masses of people are the motive force of history. The oppressed and colonized peoples are fighting for liberation and these struggles demand the support of all who hold democracy and humanity dear.

 

Volume 17, No. 14 July 1, 2003

IRAQIS FIGHT U.S. OCCUPATION

The war in Iraq, far from being over, is just beginning.

Every day brings news of mass demonstrations against U.S. occupation and reports of armed attacks against U.S. troops. The Iraqi people are organizing themselves and fighting for their liberation from U.S. colonialism.

In response, the U.S. is stepping up its counter-insurgency operations and digging in for a prolonged war. On Sunday, June 29, U.S. forces launched a massive operation across central Iraq, raiding neighborhoods in several cities in an attempt to intimidate Iraqi resistance groups. A few days earlier, Lt. General John Abizaid, the new commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, admitted that the resistance struggle would continue and "for the foreseeable future, we will require a large number of troops for Iraq."

The PR-men of the Bush administration are at their wits' end trying to explain away the nationwide resistance of the Iraqi people. They have fallen back on a variation of the tired refrain of "communist subversion" by talking about "looters," "foreign infiltrators," "Islamic extremists," and "remnants of the old regime."

This propaganda is a continuation of the Big Lie that Bush bombed and occupied Iraq to "liberate the people" and that U.S. troops would have flowers strewn at their feet by the grateful Iraqi masses. According to the chauvinist axioms of U.S. imperialism, the Iraqi people are incapable of dealing with their problems and ruling themselves. Like the slave-traders, the U.S. imperialists claim that they are enslaving the Iraqi people in order to save them. Thus, of course, imperialism can never explain or admit that the people are revolting against their liberators - that the Iraqis are not only determined to end U.S. occupation but are more than capable of organizing themselves and fighting for liberation.

Yet the very way in which the U.S. military responds to the Iraqi resistance again exposes that imperialism's target is not a few "extremists" or "outsiders" but the Iraqi people themselves. The monopoly-controlled media admits that the U.S. troops are afraid of the dark, afraid of passing motorists, afraid of the children. The U.S. high command hates and fears the Iraqi people because it knows they are rising against the occupation. And in true Hitlerite fashion, U.S. imperialism is relying on the tactic of collective reprisals, searching whole neighborhoods, blockading cities, carrying out mass roundups, torturing and killing civilians, etc.

The Iraqi liberation struggle, regardless of what twists or turns it may face, will once again teach the U.S. imperialists what they do not want to learn - that neither the guns nor lies of the colonialists can conquer the peoples.

In these days, when U.S. imperialism is trying to impose its "new world order" of fascism and war on the peoples, the Iraqi resistance reminds us that the masses of people are the motive force of history. During the last century, the oppressed and colonized peoples put the questions of national liberation and independence on the agenda. And, in Iraq and elsewhere, they are not going to be turned back.

Letter to Anti-War Activists: DON'T LET OUR STRUGGLE BE SIDELINED

by Michael Thorburn

The anti-war movement is going through a very important period in its development.

Across the country, tens of thousands of activists have committed themselves to building an ongoing movement. They are summing up experience, looking into root causes and working to consolidate new organizations and take new anti-war initiatives.

In my view, one of the biggest obstacles hindering the consolidation and growth of our movement, is the pressure of Democratic Party politics.

- In terms of practical political activity, anti-war activists are being pressured to campaign for one or another Democratic Party presidential candidate. This only leads to siphoning off the energies of the anti-war movement.

For the last year and one-half, tens of thousands of new activists have been standing up and speaking out against war, exposing the lies of the government and demanding an end to its war program, organizing anti-war discussions, study groups, demonstrations, etc.

Now, instead of continuing on this path, people's time and energy are being diverted into electioneering for the Democratic Party.

In other words, the question is: should we keep building the anti-war movement as an independent movement of the people - deepening our consciousness, strengthening our organization and spreading our anti-war actions - or should we give up this work and convert the movement into a plaything of the capitalist politicians?

- Electioneering means covering over the deeds of the Democrats.

The Democratic Party, in fact, has a long record of talking about "peace," only to support the capitalist war program whenever push comes to shove.

We would do a great disservice to people, if we to cover over or erase the fact that Kucinich, Dean, Sharpton and all the Democratic candidates supported the war in Afghanistan.

Isn't part of the work of activists to learn to evaluate politicians and parties not by their empty promises but by their deeds and by their real interests? Aren't we obligated to help others learn this simple truth about politics?

- Advertising Democratic Party politicians as "peace" candidates hides the cause of the problem and weakens the struggle against the parties of war.

The problem is not that "good ideas" fall into the heads of some politicians who become "doves" while "evil ideas" dominate others who become "hawks." The U.S. government's war program is a product of the economic and strategic interests of the monopoly capitalist class which is becoming ever more warlike as the crisis of its empire deepens. And its is precisely because the Democratic party is financed and controlled by big business, just like the Republicans, that Truman dropped the atom bombs, Kennedy invaded Cuba, Johnson waged the war in Vietnam, Clinton bombed Yugoslavia, and today the Democratic Party has thoroughly embraced Bush's so-called war against terrorism.

- Coming under the tutelage of the Democratic Party means giving up the independent voice of the anti-war movement, means suppressing the people's own program which calls for nothing less than an end to U.S. intervention in all its forms, the withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad, an end to the militarization of the economy and the recognition of the sovereignty and rights of all countries and peoples.

Isn't giving independent political expression to these profound aspirations and demands of the people, the real burning issue facing the anti-war movement?

A POISONED PILL

The health insurance provided for senior citizens (or the lack thereof) has become a national disgrace.

Facing intense pressure from seniors and the whole population to do something about the problem, the politicians in Washington, D.C. are promising "the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation," by providing prescription drug coverage. But on examination, this "big expansion" is really a poisoned pill. It will provide only minimal economic assistance to seniors while opening the door to the further privatization and undermining of the entire Medicare program.

The new Medicare drug benefit will not be available before 2006 and although the final provisions are still to be worked out, it is clear that seniors will still have to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. Any senior who enrolls in the drug plan will have to pay nearly $500/year in premiums as well as a deductible of $250-275 (many seniors can not even afford to enroll). After that, enrollees would still have to make co-payments, perhaps as high as 50% on all costs up to $4,500. A study of the proposed legislation done by the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that by 2006 the average senior will have $3,000/year in prescription bills and that the government would end up paying less than $1,000.

But while the benefit to seniors will be minimal, the insurance companies and big HMOs will reap big profits. For-profit companies will be allowed to enroll seniors in prescription plans thus diverting billions of taxpayers dollars to the private sector. In addition, the House version of the proposed legislation, would allow private plans to compete with Medicare in all areas starting in 2010.

In fact, such privatization is the real driving force behind the new legislation. Medicare and Medicaid are social funds which the people have forced the government to set aside to guarantee at least certain minimal health care needs of seniors and the poor. Through privatization the capitalists hope to get their hands on these funds and convert them into another source of profits. In turn, such privatization will undermine the entitlement status of Medicare and Medicaid, increasing the costs and undermining the quality of care for the most needy.

The reality is that it is precisely the profit-motive which is destroying our country's health care system. Every year, the big health conglomerates and insurance companies raise prices, forcing tens of millions of people to go without any insurance. At the same time, employers are cutting back on insurance benefits, forcing workers to pay more and more in co-premiums, deductibles and co-payments.

And the government, rather than stepping in to guarantee the basic rights of the people, is following the capitalists' lead, cutting funds for Medicaid and Medicare and privatizing these vital programs.

The people must fight for a fundamental change in the health care system. Health care must be recognized as an inalienable right and the government must make all the investments needed to guarantee comprehensive and free care for everyone.

ARE THEY PEACE CANDIDATES?

A political struggle over the direction and future of the anti-war movement is going on.

In national conferences, in local anti-war groups and on a daily basis, activists are being pressured to campaign for the Democratic Party. The following article looks at some of the concrete stands and actions of the 3 leading so-called "peace" candidates (Dean, Sharpton, Kucinich) campaigning for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

From Day One

The current nationwide upsurge in the anti-war movement began in 2001 as hundreds of thousands of people came out to oppose Bush's aggressive war in Afghanistan and his declaration of an "international war against terrorism."

Far from being in the streets alongside the anti-war activists, the Democrats supported the invasion of Afghanistan and the "war against terrorism."

For example, Kucinich voted for the Congressional resolution which ceded to George Bush full authority not only to attack Afghanistan but, in fact, "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he [the President] determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

Similarly, Al Sharpton, another Democrat being pushed as the candidate of the anti-war movement, has repeatedly criticized George Bush for not focussing enough on "getting Al Qaeda" and fighting the "war on terrorism." So too, all the other Democratic candidates are on the record, again and again, in full support of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

Dean on Iraq

The new anti-war movement of the American people which began in September 2001, reached truly gigantic proportions in the course of trying to stop the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

As the movement spread to embrace tens of millions of Americans, a few Democratic Party officials tried to dress themselves up as "anti-war leaders" in order to prevent the growing movement from developing its militancy and independence.

In general, the Democratic "opposition" boiled down to nothing more than calls for more weapons inspections and "multilateral action" rather than Bush's "preemptive war." When the invasion began, this so-called opposition openly joined in the war effort and today generally supports the ongoing U.S. occupation and colonization of Iraq.

Howard Dean, yet another so-called "peace" candidate, followed this script to the letter.

Today, as the U.S. occupation of Iraq is coming under attack, Dean wants to rely on the U.N., NATO and other international partners to help cover up the reality of U.S. colonialism. Thus Dean wants the civilian authority in Iraq brought under the auspices of the UN Security Council and NATO to play a role in "maintaining order and guaranteeing disarmament [of Iraq]." But Dean insists that "it is natural for the U.S. and UK to lead . . . [that] America should continue to play a prominent role and exercise control at least for a time over key security-related functions." In all essentials, Dean's program is indistinguishable from Bush's. Dean writes: "The transition to a democratic government should be neither too fast, nor too slow probably around 18-24 months although U.S.. forces will likely be there longer."

So too, Dean's program for "economic reconstruction" echoes George Bush. While repeating the obligatory but empty phrase that "Iraqis, meanwhile, will deserve the chance to exercise full control over their oil as soon as practical," firstly Iraq's oil wealth must "pay part of the costs of reconstruction and transition" while "American and British companies should be allowed and required to compete for oil-related contracts through a process seen by all to be fair."

In other words, to the victors belong the spoils.

Kucinich on Palestine

Since September 2001, the Bush administration has instigated the all-out Israeli invasion and occupation of Palestine, making the Palestinian people, in fact, the second target of the "war against terrorism."

In response, the anti-war movement and ever-broader sections of the American people have put on the agenda the need to end U.S. aid to Israel and to support the struggle of the Palestinians for their inalienable national rights.

Again, the Democrats stand in support of the aggressive state of Israel and against the demands of the peace movement.

The Democrats always authorize the massive flow of U.S. economic and military aid which keeps Israel afloat and finances the occupation of Palestine. And the rabid, anti-Palestinian stance of the Democrats is demonstrated, for example, in the following Congressional resolution (passed specifically to support George Bush's freezing of funds "linked" to Hamas and other Palestinian groups) passed in a virtual unanimous vote, including the vote of Dennis Kucinich.

"Whereas President Bush declared at a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001, that 'Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime'..."

"resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress - ...

expresses outrage at the ongoing Palestinian terrorist campaign and insists that the Palestinian Authority take all steps necessary to end it;

demands, specifically, that the Palestinian Authority take action immediately to -

a) destroy the infrastructure of Palestinian terrorist groups;

b) pursue and arrest terrorists whose incarceration has been called for by Israel...

"urges the President to take any and all necessary steps ... including, if necessary, suspending all relations with Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority... commends the President for his strong leadership against international terrorism, ... and his swift action to freeze additional sources of terrorist funds."

A Party of War

Perhaps the most important fact that we must never forget is that whether Kucinich, Dean, Sharpton or anyone else utters a few empty words about "peace," the Democratic Party is and remains a party of capitalism, imperialism and war.

This is no secret. It is written into the official program of the Democratic Party and confirmed by its history - the history of Truman dropping the atom bombs, of Kennedy invading Cuba, of Johnson escalating the war in Vietnam, of Clinton's war against Yugoslavia, etc., etc. In fact, today, the leaders of the Democrats - the Liebermans and Clintons - are trying to outdo Bush in their push for an evermore aggressive "war against terrorism," for extending that war to Korea and other countries, etc.

Thus, in our opinion, it is the elementary responsibility of anti-war activists to never let people forget these crimes of Kucinich, Dean, Sharpton, etc. And to demand of any politician who claims to be a "peace candidate" that he/she denounce the Democratic and Republican parties and organize people in opposition to and struggle against these parties of war.

In fact, as everyone knows, the Democratic Party has long relied on its so-called "left-wing" to "talk the talk" of peace in order to keep anti-war activists under its tutelage, even while the Democrats help the Republicans wage war. Everyone knows that Kucinich, Sharpton, Dean and other so-called "left-wing" Democrats will, in the end, support the leading Democratic officials. In fact, in a June 17 letter to MoveOn members, Sharpton, in an admission that applies with equal force to Kucinich, Dean and others, stresses:

"In addition to progressives who are already activists, my campaign is attracting new people to register, vote and participate in politics. Many potential Democratic voters are currently alienated, unmotivated, and politically inactive. But my campaign is changing their minds, attracting their attention, and getting them involved in the process. I believe expansion is necessary for Democrats to regain and maintain the White House, the U.S. Senate and House in 2004 and beyond. Thus, whether I am the nominee or not - and I am working hard to become the nominee - I believe my campaign is necessary to enable Democrats to win in November of 2004."

"I have made it clear that if I do not win the nomination, I will support the Democratic nominee who does."

Thus the "slippery slope" of opportunism starts with "overlooking" all the warmongering and crimes of the likes of Kucinich, Sharpton, Dean, etc. and ends by supporting Lieberman.

No, opposing the war program of Bush and the U.S. capitalist class can never mean supporting the Democrats. On the contrary, the anti-war movement can only be strengthened and win victory along the path of opposition to and struggle against the Democrats as well as the Republicans.

SOME HISTORY OF U.S. AGGRESSION AND PRESSURE AGAINST IRAN

Since occupying Iraq, the U.S. government has been stepping up its pressure and threats against Iran.

The Bush administration has condemned Iran as part of its "axis of evil" and targeted it for "regime change." Inside occupied Iraq, the U.S. is building a large air and ground military base in Basra, overlooking Iran. Spokespersons and advisers to the administration have openly threatened war against the country.

Replaying the tired refrain used against Iraq, the U.S. government keeps accusing Iran of "supporting terrorism" and "building nuclear weapons," despite the facts that Iran is in full compliance with the regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency and that it has long opposed the al Qaeda network.

Of course, the real motive behind U.S. pressure against Iran is the drive of the U.S. monopoly capitalists to dominate that country's vast natural resources and its strategic location. (Iran holds 10% of the world's oil reserves, is second, only to Russia, in gas reserves, and offers potential control of the vital Straits of Hormuz).

The following article provides some introductory material on the history of U.S. imperialism in Iran.

1950's: CIA Overthrows Nationalist Government

With the end of World War II, the U.S. replaced Britain as the dominant imperialist power in the Middle East.

The eyes of the U.S. monopolies were fixed on the region's vast oil wealth. In 1947, the government's special Interdepartmental Committee spelled out the official United States Petroleum Policy: "to seek the removal or modification of existing barriers (legal, contractual or otherwise) to the expansion of American foreign oil operations and facilitate the entry or re-entry of private foreign capital into countries where the absence of such capital inhibits oil development ... . . [and] promote the entry of additional American firms into all phases of foreign oil operations." This policy was officially codified in the Truman Doctrine which declared that "The Near and Middle East . . . Contains vast natural resources [and] . . . Lies across the most convenient route of land, air and water communication."

The major roadblock to U.S. capitalism's thirst for Middle Eastern oil was the rising national movements of the peoples who were determined to throw off the yoke of Western colonialism. In the words of Truman's Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs, George McGhee the "threat" to the penetration of U.S. firms "lay in the possibility of a handful of nationalist leaders moving to upset regimes which were relatively inept and corrupt." Thus, Truman adopted a 3-pronged U.S. strategy, including direct military intervention, building up reactionary local regimes, and supporting the aggressive Israeli state, in order to "protect" the region's "great natural resources . . . From armed minorities or outside pressure."

Iran was one of the first countries militarized by U.S. imperialism in its struggle for Middle Eastern oil and domination. In 1946, the U.S. military provided advisers and support to help the Iranian monarchy defeat a popular insurgency. The U.S. not only feared the nationalization of Iranian oil but that this could establish a precedent inspiring other nationalist movements in the region. The Joint Chief of Staffs, in reporting on its intervention in Iran, wrote: "as a source of oil Iran is an area of major strategic interest to the U.S." and that the "loss" of Iran could also threaten U.S. holdings in Saudi Arabia "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history."

In 1953, U.S. imperialism's fears were realized when the elected Iranian government headed by Mossadegh nationalized the vast oil holdings of the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The Eisenhower administration reacted by organizing a C.I.A. coup d'etat which employed U.S. military advisers and reactionary Iranian military leaders to overthrow Mossadegh and restore the monarchy headed by Shah Reza Pahlavi. Within weeks after the coup, the Eisenhower administration sent millions in military aid to build up the Shah's army. Over the next 10 years more than $2 billion in U.S. economic and military aid was sent to build up the new, pro-U.S. regime. By 1954, the grateful Shah had signed a new contract ceding control over Iranian oil to a new international consortium - 40% went to U.S. oil companies, 40% to the British, 14% to the Dutch company Shell and 6% to the French.

From 1953 until the Iranian revolution in 1979, the U.S. and British oil companies pumped 25 billion barrels of oil out of Iran and the entire economy was taken over by such U.S. banking and business interests as Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank, Westinghouse, Pan-Am, the Heinz investment group, Allied Chemical, etc.

The U.S. government armed the Shah to the teeth in order to suppress the Iranian people. Tens of thousands of U.S. military advisers and CIA operatives directed the Shah's military and police network. The infamous SAVAK, the Shah's secret police, systematically suppressed any internal dissent, killing and imprisoning tens of thousands of Iranians. In addition, the Shah's armies were used as a regional police force on behalf of U.S. interests, occupying several islands in the region, invading Oman in 1972, etc.

Iranian Revolution

Despite the fascist repression of the Shah, backed by the military might of the U.S., in 1979 the Iranian people overthrew the monarchy through a popular revolution.

The Iranian revolution was a hammer blow against U.S. imperialism. The U.S. government saw the fall of the Shah not only as a loss of the vast oil wealth of Iran and a loyal regional policeman but also as a dangerous inspiration to the peoples throughout the region to rise in struggle against U.S. domination and local reactionary regimes. Ever since, the U.S. has been determined to overthrow the new Iranian regime and reassert its domination over the country.

The Carter administration, which supported the Shah to the end, reacted to the Iranian revolution by attempting a failed coup d'etat and invasion of the country and instituting a wide array of economic sanctions. In the "Carter Doctrine," the U.S. again declared that it considered the entire Persian Gulf as part of the "vital interests of the United States," and that the U.S. was prepared to use military force to protect these interests. Carter initiated the Rapid Deployment Force and began strengthening U.S. military bases in the region in order replace the loss of Iran with the direct presence of U.S. troops.

In hopes of removing the Iranian government or at least undermining the country's strength, U.S. imperialism supported Iraq's invasion of Iran in 1980. The U.S. sent sophisticated weaponry to build up Saddam Hussein's army and also provided billions in economic credits during the war. The Reagan administration removed Iraq from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, resumed diplomatic relations with Saddam Hussein, encouraged other governments to blockade Iran, and provided U.S. naval escorts to Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil tankers. The U.S. also provided Iraq with military intelligence gained by U.S. AWAC flights in the region. The Iraq-Iran war claimed the lives of at least 2 million people.

In 1991, when the growth of Iraq's regional power was perceived as a potential threat to U.S. domination, the Bush administration launched the first Gulf war to assert its domination over Iraq and further project its military power.

After the first U.S. war against Iraq, the U.S. adopted the policy of "dual containment" aimed against both Iraq and Iran. The U.S. strategy has been firstly to undermine the strength of these countries in order to prevent them from becoming regional power centers outside of the U.S. orbit of control and ultimately to overthrow the regimes and recolonize both countries.

Under the policy of dual containment, the U.S. stepped up its propaganda war against Iran, initiating the themes heard today.

For example, Warren Christopher, Secretary of State in the Clinton administration, said in 1995:

"Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism in the world . . . [and] Iran is a major proliferation threat and is pursuing a determined course to acquire nuclear weapons,."

Using this as its justification, the Clinton administration stepped up economic sanctions against Iran. In 1995, Clinton issued an executive order "to cut off all trade and investment with Iran and suspend nearly all other economic activity between our nations. . . . I am convinced that instituting a trade embargo with Iran is the most effective way our nation can help to curb that nation's drive to acquire devastating weapons and its continued support for terrorism. The Executive Order I plan to sign next week will cover not only the energy sector but all U.S. exports to Iran and all investments by American firms and the branches they own or control." (Clinton speech, April 30, 1995).

Altogether, between 1984 until today, the U.S. government has adopted at least 19 major economic sanctions against Iran which even mandate U.S. sanctions against any foreign firm which invests more than $40 million in Iran's energy sector in a given year. (to be continued).

U.S. PREPARING BLOCKADE AGAINST NORTH KOREA

The U.S. government is stepping up its pressure against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Within the last month the Bush administration has held a series of meetings with its allies to prepare a blockade against the DPRK.

On June 18, U.S. Secretary of State Powell publicly confirmed the plan. Powell said that there is "no issue of greater urgency to the U.S. than North Korea's nuclear weapons programs." According to press reports, 12 U.S. allies have agreed to intercept aircraft and vessels "suspected" of carrying nuclear materials, rockets, drugs and other materials from the DPRK. Powell also announced that the U.S. had gotten agreements from Japan and South Korea to freeze their initiatives to improve economic relations with the DPRK. In a separate statement also issued on June 18, British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said that the interdiction plan would be "consistent" with the aims of the U.S.-British invasion of Iraq.

The plan to blockade the DPRK is another dangerous, aggressive measure taken by U.S. imperialism which is marching down the road to war against Korea.

The Bush administration has targeted the DPRK as part of the so-called "axis of evil" and is intensifying diplomatic, political, economic and military pressure against the country. The Pentagon has publicly released plans for a nuclear first-strike against the DPRK, beefed up U.S. air and naval power in the region and carried out several joint war "exercises" with the South Korean army. The Bush administration has repeatedly said that the "military option" remains open and top U.S. officials, including Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, have said that the U.S. "should prepare to attack North Korea" and "smash its nuclear reactor."

For its part the government of the DPRK has consistently tried to defuse tensions and resolve outstanding issues through bilateral negotiations with the U.S. The DPRK has called for the signing of a non-aggression treaty between the two countries.

In the absence of any sincere attempt by the Bush administration to find a negotiated solution to various problems and facing the ever-increasing threats and aggressive moves of the U.S., the DPRK continues to strengthen its defense capabilities, including plans for the development of nuclear weapons. This is not only the sovereign right of the DPRK but a necessity imposed on it by the aggressive stance of U.S. imperialism.

On June 18, a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying:

"The U.S. is conducting a psychological warfare and a blockade operation against the DPRK in real earnest. The U.S. is engrossed in a smear campaign to tarnish the image of the system in the DPRK, groundlessly charging it with drug smuggling, counterfeiting of money, suppression of religious freedom, exodus of refugees, human traffic, training of computer hackers and arms sale, etc.

"At the same time, it is barring the routine service of DPRK-flagged trading vessels under various pretexts. This hostile act is, in fact, little short of sea blockade against the DPRK.

"No matter how desperately the U.S. may try to cover up these moves, they are, in the final analysis, acts of scrapping the armistice agreement, a declaration of war and a war action in view of their nature. Some countries are joining the U.S. in its hostile acts against the DPRK....

"In fact, no country in the world so strictly bans the drug smuggling, counterfeiting of money, human traffic and other unethical acts as the DPRK. Any contention that the DPRK may secretly sell nuclear substance and missiles to terrorist groups is a mockery of its firm stand against terrorism. The DPRK government's policy on arms export allows only strictly legal deals in weapons to meet proper requirements of sovereign states for defense. The U.S. reckless false propaganda against the DPRK is to serve the sinister political aim to justify its listing of those countries that court its displeasure as members of an "axis of evil" and seek any justification for its attempt at the "regime change" in the countries.

Another recent commentary appearing in "Rodong Sinmun," organ of the Central Committee of Korean Workers Party, says:

"The Iraqi war proved that disarmament leads to a war. Therefore, it is quite clear that the DPRK can never accept the U.S. demand that it scrap its nuclear weapons program first. The DPRK has already declared that it would regard any sanctions to be applied against it as a declaration of a war....The DPRK has the right to build up a nuclear deterrent force for self-defence, the commentary says, contending that it would exercise all its rights to avert a war, protect the sovereignty and security of the country and the destiny and dignity of the nation."

It must never be forgotten than from 1950-53, U.S. imperialism waged all-out war against Korea, massacring 4 million Koreans, mostly civilians, in the north and south of the country and continues its military occupation of the south with 37,000 U.S. troops.

Today, U.S. imperialism, intent on world domination regardless of the cost to the peoples, is fomenting tensions and militarizing the Korean peninsula in order to prevent the peaceful reunification of Korea, destroy the DPRK and use it as base for extending its domination throughout Asia.

Thus, today as in the past, the Korean people, find themselves in the forefront of the worldwide struggle against U.S. aggression

By standing as an independent and sovereign country, by serving as a reliable base for the struggle for the reunification of Korea and as a bastion of worldwide anti-imperialist struggle, the DPRK and Korean people are making a big contribution to the defeat of U.S. imperialism's "war on terrorism."

PENTAGON EXPANDING GLOBAL NETWORK OF MILITARY BASES

The U.S. military is carrying out a major expansion and reorganization of its global network of military bases .

As part of Bush's so-called "war against terrorism," the U.S. military aims to position its forces so that it has the capacity to rapidly intervene in literally every corner of the globe.

According to Andy Hoehn, deputy assistant secretary of defense and a principal architect of the realignment: "The strategic issue that is big and profound is the unprecedented destructive power of terrorism and what that means. You just can't ignore it, and you can't deal with it regionally. This is running across regions, across continents." Insisting that there is an "arc of instability" running from the Andean region in the Southern Hemisphere through North Africa to the Middle East and into Southeast Asia, Hoehn says: "If you're going to deal with this, you're going to deal with it on a global scale. . . . If we come to understand that there is something we can do militarily, we don't have a month to do it . . . We may only have hours to do it."

To carry out this strategy the Pentagon is setting up new bases or expanding existing ones in dozens of countries. It is strengthening a ring of largescale, permanent military "hubs" in such "safe" areas as the U.S. territory of Guam, in Hawaii, Okinawa, Britain, Germany etc. while also building smaller but new "forward operating bases." These smaller bases will enable the U.S. to preposition equipment and a trained military core in dozens of new areas.

Within the last 18 months, the Pentagon has already set up such forward operating bases in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and several other countries. The U.S. is also planning to get new bases in eastern European countries such as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania and to reestablish a permanent U.S. presence in the Philippines, in Australia and elsewhere.

Altogether U.S. imperialism, acting like the military dictator and policeman of the world, has already deployed more than 250,000 troops in 156 countries.

BUSH AND CONGRESS PREPARE NEW ATTACKS ON FEDERAL WORKERS

The Bush administration and Congress, with the support of leaders from both the Democratic and Republican parties, are preparing new legislation to drastically strip away civil service protections currently guaranteed for some 750,000 civilian employees of the Department of Defense (DOD).

For starters, the new law would eliminate guaranteed yearly raises for DOD workers and put in place a "pay-for-performance" plan which would even allow supervisors to cut the salaries of workers who receive "poor" evaluations. As workers know from long and bitter experience such "pay-for-performance" schemes are used to keep wages low and sweat more and more work out of employees. Because wages are dependent on the arbitrary authority of the supervisors, workers are always under the gun.

The proposed legislation would also greatly expand supervisors' power to discipline and fire workers by limiting the current appeals process. The collective bargaining rights of local unions would also be curtailed.

Similar attacks on wages and working conditions were imposed last year on 180,000 federal employees when Congress approved the consolidation of 22 separate agencies into the new Department of Homeland Security. The work rules changes were carried out under the transparent pretext that the government needed a more "flexible" workforce to "fight against terrorism."

In addition to the DOD, other federal agencies, include the Department of Education, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission, are asking Congress to eviscerate civil service protections.

The federal civil service system was first instituted in 1883 to replace the system of political patronage and provide government workers with certain minimal rights. Since then, as a result of workers' struggles and unionization, governmental employees at all levels - federal, state and local - have won additional improvements in their wages and working conditions.

Today, public employees are coming under repeated attacks as the government is slashing social spending, eliminating public sector jobs, cutting wages, privatizing services, increasing workloads, etc. As the proposed DOD changes show, these attacks aim at eliminating standards gained by workers over generations.

 

Volume 17, No. 15 July 26, 2003

BUSH'S MILITARIZATION IS DRAINING THE ECONOMY

In mid-July, the White House admitted that the federal government will run a deficit of at least $455 billion for the current fiscal year. This does not include the price of the continuing military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq which adds up to another $5 billion/month.

This year's deficit, which amounts to almost 6% of the total economy, will be the biggest ever, much higher than the previous record of $290 billion under the first Bush administration. And these huge deficits are expected to grow even more in coming years, running into several trillion dollars.

As everyone knows, one of the main reasons for the ever-growing deficit is the ongoing militarization of the economy. The Bush administration is spending $400 billion to $500 billion/year (an amount equal to $8,000 for every American family) to wage wars against other countries and build up the biggest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in history. In addition to "protecting" and expanding the empire of the monopoly capitalist class, the militarization of the economy is a source of superprofits for the capitalist arms merchants.

In addition to the military budget, the government turns hundreds of billion more in public funds over to the capitalists through interest payments on the debt, the privatization of social services, infrastructure investments, research and development grants, etc.

This wholesale looting of the public treasury is carried out in the most arbitrary and dictatorial manner. The President and Congress simply give the military a blank check while automatically deducting taxes from workers' paychecks. Like the feudal Kings, the government has usurped the power of taxation and uses it to extort taxes from the workers and drain our country's economy in order to enrich the capitalist billionaires.

The Workers Party says this situation must be changed. While the government helps the rich rob the public, the crisis of our country's economy is deepening. The public schools are falling down but the government refuses to make the necessary investments to modernize our educational system. The health care system is collapsing and tens of millions of Americans go without needed care yet the government keeps slashing funds for Medicaid, Medicare and public health. While the government never stops boasting about the wealth of the country, the elementary rights and needs of the people remain unmet.

The answer is very simple. We must stop the rich from looting the public treasury and ruining the economy of our country. We must demand a fundamental change in the government's economic program so that the very first priority and absolute responsibility is to guarantee the basic economic rights of the people, including the right to the best possible education, to comprehensive and free health care, to a job or a livelihood, to income security in old age and so forth.

Everyone knows that our country has more than enough resources to guarantee these rights. The issue is to get our priorities straight by breaking the political stranglehold of the monopolies and putting the needs of the people in command.

HIDING THE FACE OF COLONIALISM

The U.S. government faces growing difficulties in its colonization of Iraq.

Amongst other things, political demonstrations and armed resistance against U.S. occupation keep growing. In fact, earlier this month, General John Abizaid, the new commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, admitted that U.S. troops are facing a "classical guerrilla-type campaign" and that "it's war, however you describe it." Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is warning that U.S. troops have been stretched to the limit and that the Pentagon may have to send more troops to Iraq, increase the duty tours of combat soldiers and call up more national guard units.

In mid-July a special Pentagon advisory panel sent to study the situation admitted that the U.S. had been unable to "stabilize" or "pacify" Iraq and recommended the "pressing need" for the U.S. to gain more U.N. support and bolster its military occupation by including more troops from other countries. Rumsfeld as well as Secretary of State Colin Powell also want to expand the role of the armies of U.S. allies.

The advisory panel emphasized that in addition to their military role, such UN and multinational forces will play an important political role. Robert Orr, Washington director of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Pentagon's advisory panel said: "Iraqis are extremely sensitive about being occupied. It just doesn't feel the same if an Indian or Pakistani soldier is on the corner than if it's an American." Another Pentagon advisor, Paul Sanders, underlined that a bigger multinational force: "would be helpful to diffuse responsibility for this massive undertaking and share any dissatisfaction with others and not be the sole target ourselves." Commenting on the Pentagon's plan to bring in more allied troops, the Chicago Tribune thinks that this will be helpful in "mollifying opposition at home" to the ongoing military occupation.

It is instructive to note that such liberals as Howard Dean, Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich and other Democratic Party politicians have been in the forefront of calling on Bush to rely more on the UN and a multinational army to bolster the U.S. occupation. This should again remind anti-war activists of the absolute necessity to expose and isolate these Democratic Party politicians and prevent them from having any say-so in the anti-war struggles. Their role is continually to seek ways to "mollify" the opposition and get the anti-war movement to reconcile itself to U.S. colonialism and aggression.

The anti-war movement must stick to its principles and aims and demand the immediate, unconditional withdraw of all U.S. troops from Iraq and the Middle East. We must recognize the sovereign right of every country to determine its own affairs and resolutely oppose U.S. intervention in all its forms.

LETTER TO COMRADE KIM JONG IL, GENERAL SECRETARY OF THE WORKERS' PARTY OF KOREA

Fifty years ago, on July 27, 1953, the Korean people won victory in their liberation war against U.S. imperialist aggression. This victory guaranteed the independence of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) which has served as the reliable bulwark in the struggle of the Korean people for the peaceful reunification of their country. The victory of the Korean people was also a victory for the people's of the whole world who were confronting the drive of U.S. imperialism to dominate the world. In particular, the Korean people's liberation struggle undermined U.S. plans to colonize the Korean peninsula and use it as a base for conquering Asia.

Today, the Korean people are facing the threat of another war launched by U.S. imperialism.

The Bush administration has put the DPRK on its "hit list," slandering it as part of a so-called "axis of evil." The U.S. government has officially adopted a plan for launching a nuclear attack against the DPRK and administration spokespersons continually repeat this threat. The U.S. aggressors are deploying more air, naval and ground troops in and around the Korean peninsula, carrying out continuous war exercises and aerial reconnaissance against the DPRK while occupying South Korea with 37,000 troops. The U.S. is exerting all-around diplomatic, political, economic, and ideological pressure aimed at forcing other countries to join it in isolating and attacking the DPRK. Most recently, the U.S. imperialists are trying to knock together a coalition of allies to implement an air and naval blockade against the DPRK.

Thus, in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the victory of the Korean liberation war, I also send to you the solemn pledge of our party, the Workers Party, U.S.A., to stand with the Korean people in the struggle against U.S. aggression and to step up our work in the U.S. to stay the hand of the imperialist warmakers and defeat their plots against the Korean nation.

As the U.S. imperialists are rabidly militarizing the Korean peninsula, threatening the DPRK and already launching new wars against peoples all over the world, it is worthwhile to remind ourselves of the lessons of the Korean people's struggle against U.S. imperialism.

U.S. imperialism emerged from World War II as the biggest imperialist power. It demagogically tried to use the slogan of "defending and spreading democracy" to hide its aggressive aims of maintaining the colonial system and dominating the world. In Korea, the U.S. imperialists brazenly violated the agreements which ended World War II, refused to withdraw their troops from the south of Korea and began setting up a puppet government there. Then in June 1950, U.S. imperialism launched all out war against the north.

The aggressive character of this war was revealed in the bestial methods of the imperialists. A whole library could be filled with documents detailing the atrocities of the imperialists which included: the dropping of more than 400,000 bombs (or one bomb for every inhabitant) on Pyongyang alone, the complete destruction of towns and village throughout the north, the extensive use of chemical and germ warfare, and the wanton, premeditated murder of tens of thousands of civilians in the south. Four million Koreans, including 2 million civilians, were killed during the war.

But despite this savagery and facing the biggest military power in history, the Korean people, uniting as one around the Workers' Party of Korea and its founder and leader, Comrade Kim Il Sung, rose in struggle and emerged victorious.

The Korean people's liberation war not only further exposed the savageness of U.S. imperialism, it proved that the people are an unconquerable force when they dare to rise in struggle around their own revolutionary leadership.

Today the Korean people and progressive people the world over remember and learn from these lessons.

And just as in the past, the imperialists will be defeated. Today the Korean people are strengthening their unity and guided by the Workers' Party of Korea and Comrade Kim Jong Il, the DPRK is taking all the necessary measures to defend itself against imperialist attack. While the DPRK consistently works for the peaceful resolution of tensions on the Korean peninsula, calling amongst other things for the signing of a non-aggression treaty between the U.S. and the DPRK, it will never surrender its national sovereignty or give way to the pressures or demagogy of imperialism.

The fact is that the aggressiveness of U.S. imperialism reflects its desperation. The currents of history are all running against it. The movement of whole Korean people, north and south, for the peaceful reunification of the country continues to stride forward and this just cause keeps winning the sympathy and support of the peoples everywhere.

On a world scale the peoples are rising against the so-called "new world order" of U.S. imperialism, rising in defense of the freedom and sovereignty of the peoples. In the U.S., a new, deep-going anti-war movement is emerging.

The peoples are fighting not only to stop the warmakers but to create a world of peace and friendship in which the sovereignty of every country is guaranteed.

Thus today as in the past, the Korean people find themselves in the forefront of the struggles of the world's people against imperialism and in defense of the sacred aspirations of humanity -- in defense of peace, independence, progress and enlightenment.

Once again, in commemorating the great victory of the Korean people in their liberation war against U.S. imperialism, I send to you and through you to the whole Korean people, the pledge of our Party that we will fight with all our strength to stay the hand of the imperialist warmakers and that we will not rest until all U.S. troops are withdrawn from the Korean peninsula and Asia and the Korean people are indemnified for the monstrous crimes committed against them by U.S. imperialism.

Michael Thorburn, First Secretary, Workers Party U.S.A.

HOW THE U.S. CONDUCTED THE AIR WAR

On July 19, the New York Times reported on a recent Pentagon briefing assessing the results of the U.S. air war against Iraq.

The report disclosed that during the war, air commanders were given a blank check to hit any target as long as the estimated number of civilian deaths was less than 30. If more than 30 civilians were expected to be killed, commanders were required to get direct approval from Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. During the war, more than 50 such air strikes were proposed and Rumsfeld approved all of them. Various nongovernmental investigators in both the U.S. and Britain put the number of civilians killed during the air war at between 6,055 and 7,706.

Aren't these deaths the result of premeditated mass murder by U.S. imperialism?

 

Volume 17, No. 16 August 19, 2003

WE MUST REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS

Two years ago, the U.S. government launched a so-called "war against terrorism" which it said would last for decades. And make no mistake about it. Today, the U.S. government is continuing and spreading this war.

- - In Iraq, the U.S. is imposing a military-colonial regime and continuing a counter-insurgency war to suppress the Iraqi's people's resistance to U.S. occupation.

- - The U.S. continues to occupy Afghanistan and many government officials want to dramatically increase the number of U.S. troops.

- - The U.S. is further militarizing the Korean peninsula and organizing nuclear war "exercises" directed against North Korea, even as spokespersons for the U.S. publicly call for war against Korea.

- - The U.S. is escalating counter-insurgency war against Colombia, sending hundreds of regular troops and thousands of mercenaries to the country.

- - Replaying the scenario which led to aggression against Iraq, the U.S. is pressuring the Iranian government; the Bush administration admits it has drawn up invasion plans.

- - The U.S. continues to finance and direct the Israeli aggressors in their war of occupation against the Palestinian people.

And the list goes on and on.

The U.S. government has officially adopted the doctrine of "preemptive war" and drawn up a hit list. Any country which, for whatever reason, opposes U.S. dictate, is branded a "rogue state" which can be attacked. Any people who resist U.S. domination and fight for freedom are condemned as "terrorist" and targeted for attack.

U.S. imperialism's so-called "war against terrorism" is the battle plan of the U.S. capitalist class for world domination through force of arms.

During these 2 years, the American people have come out in a nationwide movement against this capitalist war program. We have made a great beginning in bringing our demand for peace to center stage.

But the times demand that we redouble our efforts. We must further organize ourselves as part of the independent political movement of the workers and people and direct our struggle squarely against the government and parties of war. The capitalists will continue their wars until they are stopped by the peoples.

In our struggle to stay the hands of the U.S. warmakers and defeat them, we join with the peoples everywhere who are fighting against war and imperialism - with the Iraqi people who are resisting U.S. occupation, with the oppressed peoples - in Palestine, in Colombia, in the Philippines, and elsewhere who are fighting for their liberation. We stand with the Korean people, the Cuban people and others who are standing up against the pressures and threats of the imperialists. We stand with the peoples in every country who are coming out and building a new international front against war and fascism.

The people will defeat imperialism and bring into being a new world of peace, a world without colonialism and imperialism, without exploitation and oppression.

NO "BUTS" ABOUT IT by Bill Foster

I. Facts Are Stubborn Things

Most people know that the "big lie" is one of the mainstays of capitalist propaganda. The capitalists hope that if they just keep asserting the same lie over and over again - a million or a billion times - some people will believe it.

Today, the capitalists are using the big lie technique to try to divert the anti-war movement into electioneering for the Democratic Party. Turn on the TV and see Howard Dean portrayed as an "anti-war candidate." Read it in the New York Times. Watch the Republicans denounce Dean for his "anti-war stance" and the Democratic Leadership Council warn that Dean is from "the far left."

But what are the facts? Dean supported the war in Afghanistan and insists that U.S. troops must stay in Iraq for years. He chides Bush for being "soft" on North Korea and for not moving quickly enough to send U.S. troops to Liberia.

And the facts tell a similar story about all the other so-called "anti-war" candidates of the Democratic Party.

Anti-war activists cannot let themselves be silenced or intimidated by empty assertions. Kucinich's support for U.S. aggression in Afghanistan makes him a pro-war politician not an "anti-war candidate." Sharpton's endorsement of the U.S. and multinational occupation of Iraq makes him a supporter of American chauvinism and aggression, not an "anti-war candidate." Etc., etc., etc.

II. Yes, but....

Not only the big monopoly-controlled media, but also many self-proclaimed "anti-war leaders" and "socialists" are advertising the "peace credentials" of the Democrats and pressuring anti-war activists to convert their activity into electioneering for this or that Democratic candidate.

When activists reply by bringing out some of the facts cited above, the Democratic party campaigners suddenly change their tune and say:

"Of course, I know that (don't forget I'm a real Marxist and in theory, in the long-run, I am also against the "whole system,") BUT...."Bush is so bad...."

In my opinion, this BUT logic is politically dishonest from beginning to end.

For one thing, the BUT logic tries to create a real hysteria and by a sleight-of-hand substitute the issue of "Bush" for the need to oppose the government's war program. Instead of further politicizing and organizing the anti-war movement, the BUT reduces anti-war politics to an empty phrase because in practical political life we are told the movement must be confined to Democratic Party electioneering.

Secondly, the Democratic party campaigners are not honestly going amongst the people reminding them of all the crimes of the Democrats and then saying "vote for these criminals, anyway." They only acknowledge the crimes after genuine activists bring them up.

Finally, the BUT logic tries to divert the issue and marginalize the activists who expose the Democrats by implying that they are too extreme or utopian.

Just answer the question: "Do you oppose the U.S. government's war program and hold the Democrats accountable for their part in it?" Please answer yes or no or else BUT out.

The BUT logic is, in fact, a typical example of the corrupt political culture which the capitalist class tries to impose on the people - it represents a politics of unbounded pragmatism and opportunism, the avoidance of ever taking a principled stand. Today, especially when the anti-war movement has brought millions of Americans into active political life, the crucial thing is to further the politicalization process, to encourage the new thinking and independent activities which are springing up, not to shut this down with the same old empty electioneering.

We must stick to principles and give the widest possible expression to a politics which genuinely holds high and defends the aspirations and demands of the people by opposing the capitalist warmakers, not uniting with them.

Is this "too extreme?"

I don't think so. On the contrary. Only such a politics of principle can inspire and mobilize the tens of millions of Americans who are locked out and excluded from capitalist politics but who are the only force capable of winning the peace.

For Your Information:

U.S. CORPORATIONS INVADE IRAQ

The war against Iraq has once again vividly shown how the U.S. army is used to grab new economic territory for the big corporations.

The U.S. government waged this war not because of "weapons of mass destruction," much less to "liberate the Iraqi people," but to grab the oil and set up a "free market" base for U.S. capitalism to further penetrate the Middle East.

In fact, even before the war officially started, the U.S. government began contracting out the "spoils." Last fall, the army hired Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton (whose former CEO was Dick Cheney) to begin planning for the U.S. occupation. In April, KBR was awarded a 2-year, $7 billion contract to put out oil fires and evaluate Iraq's oil industry. KBR is also already involved in upgrading refineries, managing airports, operating a laundry and a host of other activities in Iraq.

The overall U.S. goal is nothing less than the complete takeover of the Iraqi economy. In early May, Bush declared that "liberating" and "reconstructing" Iraq would serve as a starting point for establishing a "US-Middle East free-trade area" including 22 nations and based on the "free market system." Later that month, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld underscored that the U.S. occupying authority would adopt policies that "favor market systems" and Paul Bremer, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), has repeatedly emphasized the need to privatize Iraq's state-owned industries, which formerly employed 30% of the country's labor force. Bremer has also stressed the need to overcome the Iraqi peoples "sense of entitlement" as the old system provided certain guarantees for health care, food rations, etc. Most recently, the CPA convened a conference of international bankers, including Citicorp, Morgan Chase and others, to plan the privatization of Iraq's banking and financial system. A stock market is also expected to be set up.

Over the last 3 months, the U.S. government has organized several conferences with hundreds of major corporations to proceed with the takeover of the Iraqi economy. As John Taylor, Under Secretary for International Affairs, assured these companies, the occupying authority is setting up "a good system of rule of law and property rights in a way very conducive to foreign investment."

Already U.S. companies, have been awarded $4.9 billion in contracts for the "reconstruction" of Iraq and financial analysts estimate that total contracts could easily amount to more than $200 billion over the next few years.

The cost of these contracts will largely be robbed from Iraq's economy and underwritten by U.S. taxpayers. Many of the contracts already signed by the CPA will be paid for with seized Iraqi assets which, according to a U.S. corporate spokesman, are "subject to a less formal approach" than U.S. government money. In addition, Iraq's capital stock is simply being given to U.S. and other foreign companies. For example, the CPA is about to award contracts for three wireless phone networks but the most of the infrastructure, including towers and fiber-optic lines, have already been built under the former Iraqi regime. This infrastructure will simply be turned over to the successful bidders. Paul Bremer is pushing for laws that guarantee future contracts with payments from Iraq's oil revenues.

In addition, the CPA has opened the door to foreign imports, allowing U.S. and other foreign companies to flood the Iraqi market, wiping out many local industries, small farmers and thousands of jobs. For example, the U.S. giant Tyson is rapidly wiping Iraqi chicken producers and monopolizing the market.

Below we list some of major contracts already given to U.S. corporations. In addition to the fact that members of Boards of Directors of these corporations have directly served in high government positions in many administrations, over the last 4 years, the first four companies listed have publicly contributed more than $3 million to the Republican and Democratic parties.

U.S. CORPORATE CONTRACTS IN IRAQ (PARTIAL LIST)

Halliburton and Kellogg, Brown and Root: $8 billion (oil, private security)

Bechtel: $680 million (infrastructure)

MCI WorldCom: $30 million (wireless network)

Dyncorp: $50 million (law enforcement)

Flour Corporation: $100 million (construction for army)

Perini Corp: $100 million (construction for army)

Stevedoring Services of American: $4.8 million (manage ports)

Skylink Air and Logistic Support USA: $10.2 million (manage airports)

Louis Berger Group: $4.8 million (harbor cleanup)

Research Triangle Institute: $167 million (set up local governments)

Creative Association Int. Inc.: $62.6 million (revise educational system)

(for more information see the Anti-Imperialist News Service, www.anti-imperialist.org) <http://www.anti-imperialist.org)>

BY ANY OTHER NAME

A recent article by Stephen Zunes, written for Foreign Policy in Focus, a liberal-left think tank, calls on "peace and justice activists" to focus their energies on a campaign "to turn the administration of Iraq over to the United Nations." This same politics is promoted by a number of political groupings which advertise themselves as "anti-war," such as The Nation, MoveOn, the Communist Party, U.S.A. and many others.

It is instructive for anti-war activists to look into both the real objectives of this politics as well as where it comes from.

The campaign to "turn the administration of Iraq over to the UN" is nothing new. All along the Bush administration and the U.N. Security Council have been collaborating; the U.S. calls the shots while using the Security Council, when convenient, to lend "international legitimacy" to U.S. aggression and colonialism. In early May, the UN Security Council formally endorsed the U.S. military-colonial occupation of Iraq, recognized the U.S.-British "Provisional Coalition Authority" as the sole authority in Iraq and declared that all Iraqi assets and oil revenue would be under U.S. control. Again, on August 15, the Security Council passed another U.S.-sponsored resolution applauding the U.S.-installed interim "Governing Council."

Last month, the Pentagon authorized a team of experts to visit Iraq and issue a report on "Iraq's Post-Conflict Reconstruction." (published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies). Amongst other things, this report warns that there is "a lessening of support for the occupying authority within Iraq" and "rising anti-Americanism." The report emphasizes the need to both increase military forces, "especially street-level presence in key conflictive areas" and to win the "hearts and minds" of Iraqis.

With these ends in mind, the report calls for "a new coalition that includes countries and organizations beyond the original war fighting coalition." One Pentagon adviser admitted that including more multinational troops and increasing the role of the UN "would be helpful to diffuse responsibility for this massive undertaking and share any dissatisfaction with others and not be the sole target ourselves."

Colin Powell, many Republicans in Congress and even Donald Rumsfeld have all called for expanding the role of the UN and deploying more troops from other countries.

So too, the leading lights of the Democratic Party - all supporters of the war against Iraq - call for broadening the U.S. military-colonial regime. For example, Senator Biden sees this as necessary to give the U.S. more "legitimacy as well as some physical cover." John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate emphasizes that "we need to internationalize this.... in order to defuse the Iraqi sense of occupation and protect the troops." And Howard Dean, another leading "anti-war" Democrat, says: "Now that we're there, we can't get out. We cannot afford to lose the peace. That's not an option. Now that we're there, we have to find a way to make sure that a chaotic situation doesn't develop or, worse, a fundamentalist regime with Iranian influence doesn't develop. And the first thing we really ought to be doing is bringing NATO and the United Nations in so we can send some of our reserves home."

Thus when Stephen Zunes and others call on "peace and justice activists" to work for a "UN trusteeship [that] would be far more credible, both inside and outside Iraq," they are only importing into the anti-war movement a politics which originates with the policy-makers in the U.S. government.

The tactic of "broadening" the U.S. military-colonial regime in Iraq by expanding the role of the UN and various capitalist states is nothing but an attempt at diverting public opinion from the ongoing crimes of the occupiers and from the permanent aims of U.S. and international imperialism. It is an attempt to put a more benign face over the brutal U.S. occupation.

The U.S. government invaded Iraq in order to colonize it - to subjugate the country, rob its wealth and exploit its people. Everyday the ongoing occupation reveals these aims ever more clearer. The war continues and the U.S. army keeps killing the Iraqi people, carrying out mass reprisals, etc. The multinational corporations are being given a free hand to take over the Iraqi economy and enrich themselves. And all the while, the Iraqi people remain deprived of the most elemental rights - their political parties and organizations are outlawed by the occupiers, their patriotic daughters and sons are hunted and killed, their economic and social infrastructure, including even such basic necessities as water and sewage systems, remain destroyed, etc.

No makeup or facelift can change the imperialist character of this occupation. Trying to lend "more credibility" to the occupation of Iraq is nothing but an attempt to legitimize colonialism.

The colonial domination of Iraq will only be brought to an end when all the imperialist powers are forced out of Iraq and the inalienable right of the Iraqi people to self-determination and sovereignty is recognized. It is nothing but chauvinism for an American to advocate anything less that the immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of U.S. and Western imperialism from Iraq.

But the very crux of the neocolonial tactic advocated by Stephen Zunes and others is to take aim precisely at the forces which are struggling to end the occupation and restore the sovereignty of Iraq

- to target the resistance struggles of the Iraqi people and the anti-imperialist and nationalist movements throughout the Middle East.

Zunes writes that a "UN trusteeship" will help diffuse the "growing opposition in Iraq to U.S. occupation, including a low-level armed insurgency".... and "the rise of radical nationalist and radical Islamist elements." With eyes on the entire Middle East, Zunes wants to prevent "the growth of anti-American sentiment through the Arab and Islamic world" and thwart "leaders who are now more easily able to portray the US as an imperialist power committed to the conquest and subjugation of Muslim peoples and the exploitation of the region's natural resources."

Again, any genuine movement against U.S. aggression and U.S. colonialism must wholeheartedly support the struggles of the colonized peoples against U.S. domination and aggression. This is an essential starting point of genuine democracy.

Finally, if one is still not clear about Zunes' aims, he points out that the deployment of UN and other multinational peacekeepers in Iraq would help ease the "shortage of available personnel for other potential U.S. military operations, ranging from peacekeeping operations in Liberia... to challenging real threats to regional security (such as North Korea)..."

In sum, Zunes' neocolonial strategy seeks to cover over the real crimes of the ongoing U.S.-led military-colonial regime by renaming it as a "UN trusteeship." Not only is the right of the Iraqi people to self-determination ignored, Zunes' entire strategy is directed squarely against both the Iraqi people's resistance struggle as well as the growing anti-imperialist and nationalist movements throughout the Middle East. Lastly, Zunes aims to free up U.S. troops to police U.S. imperialism's interests in other regions and to launch more colonial wars.

Zunes is only echoing a politics which extends from the Bush administration itself to the liberal Democrats to social-democracy and opportunism. By pressuring "peace and justice activists" to adopt this politics, liberalism and opportunism are trying to get our movement to adopt the colonial agenda of the capitalist class.

This politics has no place in the anti-war movement. The task of the anti-war movement is not to help George Bush put a better face on U.S. colonialism, but to demand an immediate end to U.S. occupation, the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. and foreign troops from Iraq and the Middle East and recognition of the inalienable right of the Iraqi people to determine their destiny free of any outside interference.

The agenda of the American people is anti-chauvinist, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist; it is the agenda of a genuinely democratic foreign policy which ends U.S. intervention in all its forms, withdraws all U.S. troops stationed abroad and recognizes the sovereignty of every country.

MILLIONS OF WORKERS MAY LOSE OVERTIME PAY

New federal regulations, scheduled by the Bush administration to take effect later this year, could result in 8 million workers becoming ineligible for overtime pay.

Under the current regulations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (adopted in 1938) nearly 80% of all workers are guaranteed the right to overtime pay - that is time and a half - for every hour worked past the normal 40-hour work week. But the Bush administration is going ahead with drastic changes in the eligibility criterion of the FLSA which will deny overtime pay to millions of workers.

The most important change will be in the "duties test" used to determined which workers are eligible for guaranteed overtime. Current regulations state that a worker cannot be denied overtime pay unless her/his duties are primarily "administrative," "professional," or "executive."

Under the new rules, the title of "professional employee" could be applied to any worker whose job requires knowledge that cannot be attained in high school. Similarly hundreds of thousands of "lead employees," "set-up" workers in factories and others will be categorized as "executives." And even if employees spend only a fraction of their time on such "executive" or "professional" tasks, they will still be ineligible for overtime if their employer claims that their "most important duty" is "executive," etc. Thus, for example, workers who spends most of the day stocking shelves and cleaning can be exempted from overtime pay if they also spend some time handling customer complaints or ordering merchandise.

In a study of the probable effects of the new regulations, the Economic Policy Institute, estimates that as many as 2.5 million salaried employees will lose the right to overtime pay and that another 5.5 million hourly workers may well be reclassified as salaried workers in order to be denied overtime under the new regulations.

Some of the workers most likely to be effected include: LPNs, medical technicians, dental hygienists, physician assistants, laboratory technologists and technicians, experienced cooks and chefs, set-up machinists, firefighters, draftsmen, surveyors, paralegals, bookkeepers, technical writers and others.

These new regulations are also expected to result in the elimination of hundreds of thousands of part-time jobs. Since employers will be able to get extra work out of regular, full-time employees without paying overtime, the need for part-time workers will decline.

At the same time, Congress is considering a number of bills which also undermine the right to overtime. Several proposed laws would make it easier for employers to pay for overtime with "comp time" (time off) rather than time and a half wages. Other proposals would require employers to pay overtime only after an employee had worked 80 hours in a two-week period rather than after 40 hours in one week.

Ever since the emergence of capitalism, the capitalists have tried to get the maximum amount of work out of the fewest possible workers and at the lowest possible pay. Amongst other things, the workers and capitalists have been locked in a continuous battle over the length of the working day. For 150 years, workers have struggled for the 8-hour day and 40-hour week in order to limit their exploitation, protect their health, and guarantee that at least some of their life remained at their own disposal. By forcing the government to pass laws guarantying overtime pay, workers have restricted the scope of capitalist exploitation and increased their wages.

The attack on laws guarantying overtime pay is part of a generalized offensive against the rights gained by workers over generations.

PUNISHING STUDENTS

As the accompanying article shows, high-stakes standardized tests are being used by the government to justify slashing funds for schools in the poorest communities and paving the way for privatization of our country's public schools. These tests are also being used to attack students and deny working class and minority youth their right to an education.

Recently the mayor of New York City as well as top officials from the school board admitted that every year thousands of high school students, expelled for alleged "discipline" problems or other reasons, are in reality being "pushed out" by principals and administrators trying to show improvement in their school's scores on standardized tests. Administrators in many other cites, including Miami, Houston, Birmingham and others, have made similar admissions.

In addition, many state governments have passed laws mandating that students pass standardized tests in order to be promoted and/or to earn a high school diploma. Hundreds of thousands of students, who have fulfilled all their course requirements and earned passing grades, have been denied promotion and degrees on this basis.

In other words, these high stakes standardized tests are punitive - thwarting student progress in school and in the job market. Aside from the obvious limitations and biases built into standardized tests, such exams can, at best, only reflect the educational inputs received by the students. If students are passing their classes and failing standardized tests, the problem is with the test or the system, not the students.

Once again, the students are being blamed and punished for the failures of the government and the school authorities.

GOVERNMENT MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The Bush administration's program of annual, high-stakes standardized testing of elementary and high school students is creating havoc in the schools and paving the way for new government attacks on public education.

In 2001, the Bush administration, with the bipartisan support of Congress, signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which makes federal funding of public schools dependent on students' scores on yearly standardized tests.

All students in grades 3-8 must take annual tests in reading and math and all students in grades 10-12 must be tested at least once. Mandatory testing in science will begin in 2007.

These tests will be used to measure whether schools are making "adequate yearly progress" towards a standard of 100% "proficiency" by the year 2014.

School which receive Title I funding (federal monies earmarked for high poverty areas) and which fail to make "adequate yearly progress" for two consecutive years will face an escalating menu of penalties, including loss of Title I funds, firing of staff, take over by the state, possible privatization, etc.

All across the country, educators, state and local governments agree that year-by-year more schools will be labelled as failing. For example, this year 365 Chicago schools, enrolling 285,000 students, failed to meet the requirements of the NCLB. A recent survey by Education Week indicates that as many as 75% of all public schools will eventually fail and be subject to sanctions.

While the politicians advertise the NCLB Act as a way to "improve standards," the reality is that the law sets schools up to fail and in turn gives the government an excuse to slash funding and push for privatization of the schools.

It is obvious to anyone that test results - at best - only reflect the educational inputs received by students in the first place. Thus mandating standardized tests without improving inputs - lowering class sizes, modernizing schools and curriculum, hiring more teachers and staff, etc. - will not "improve standards." If current test results show that students are lagging behind, this only indicts the government for failing to properly invest in the public schools. Improving results must begin with increasing investments.

But the NCLB Act, rather than increasing funding, is costing the public schools approximately $1 billion/year in the costs of testing and record-keeping alone. Even more importantly, teachers are being forced to cut the curriculum in order to "teach for the test," emphasizing rote memory and the circumscribed kind of knowledge measured by standardized tests.

The National Council of State Legislatures estimates that an additional $35 billion/year is needed for schools to meet the goals of the NCLB Act. The National Educational Association (NEA) and many other associations of educators have condemned the NCLB Act has a "unfunded federal mandate" and the NEA is suing the government to demand the necessary funding.

As more and more schools fail to meet the requirements of the NCLB Act, the Bush administration and other politicians will push for privatization as the "solution" for the "failing educational system." Already the Supreme Court has ruled to allow the extension of school vouchers and several state legislatures are pushing new voucher and charter school laws.

In sum, the politicians are imposing high-stakes standardized testing on students as a way to cover over their own crimes. Students and the public school system itself are blamed for "lack of improvement" while the government's own refusal to properly fund the schools is ignored. The "failure" of the public schools will be widely advertised and used to pave the way for the dismantling of our public educational system.

The public school system is one of the great achievements of our country and rather than finding ways to condemn the schools and tear them down, the government must make more investments in public education in order to improve our schools.

(to be continued)

BUSH CUTS FINANCIAL AID FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

The Bush administration has revised the formula for determining eligibility for Pell grants, the government's primary financial aid program for college students from low-income families.

The Congressional Research Service estimates that when the new formula goes into effect in the 2004-5 academic year, 84,000 students will lose their Pell grants and hundreds of thousands more will have their grants reduced. The new formula will have a further ripple effect as states also reduce grants and aid.

These cutbacks in financial aid come at time when public colleges and universities are dramatically raising tuition. The net result is that more and more of our youth are being denied access to a higher education.

MORE STATE BUDGET CUTS

By the end of July, most of the 50 state legislatures had passed their budgets for fiscal 2004. For the third year in a row, state government will slash social services, raise taxes and cut the wages and jobs of public workers.

According to the report of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 31 of 43 states whose budgets have been approved, will cut vital social investments. Fourteen of these states imposed across-the board cuts. For example, Minnesota will cut funding for nearly all state agencies and services by 15%; Georgia by 6.7%; Delaware: 6.1%, etc. In addition, many states have targeted cuts in specific areas. Fifteen states will cut Medicaid spending, thirteen states will slash higher education and eleven states are cutting monies for K-12 public education.

The NCSL also reports that at least 23 states will either permanently eliminate state jobs, impose temporary layoffs on workers, freeze or slash salaries and impose other cuts on state employees.

In addition, for fiscal 2004, at least 18 states will impose a variety of increases in taxes and fees, including personal income taxes, sales taxes, user fees, etc.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CALLS FOR PEACE ON KOREAN PENINSULA

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the truce of the Korean War, lawyers, civic activists, representatives of democratic organizations in the world gathered in Pyongyang to hold an international conference on peace on the Korean Peninsula, which appealed for the prevention of another war and ensure a durable peace in the Korean Peninsula.

The conference discussed the issues arising in removing the dangerous war crisis in the Korean Peninsula caused by the U.S. imperialists war provocation moves to stifle the DPRK by force....

Present there were President of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers Jitendra Sharma, Secretary General of the Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity Organization Nouri Abdel Razzak Hussein, President of the World Federation of Democratic Youth Miguel Madeira, President of the Women's International Democratic Federation Marcia de Campos Pereira, Honorary Chairman of the International Liaison Committee for Reunification and Peace in Korea Paulette Pierson, and other delegations and delegates, foreign diplomats and correspondents.

Also present there were Yang Hyong Sop, vice-president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme Peoples Assembly; Mun Jae Chol, acting chairman of the Korean Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries who is chairman of the Korean Committee for Solidarity with the Worlds People, a delegation of the Korean Committee for Solidarity with the Worlds People, a delegation of the Korean Democratic Lawyers Association, a delegation of the Korean National Peace Committee, a delegation of the Korean Afro-Asia Solidarity Committee and other officials....

Winding up the three-day discussion, the International Conference for Peace on the Korean Peninsula adopted a resolution on July 25.

The resolution warns that if another war breaks out in the Korean Peninsula, it will inevitably develop into an unheard-of nuclear holocaust and catastrophically affect peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the world.

Emphasizing the necessity to draw special attention of the international community to the situation in the Korean Peninsula, the resolution expresses the firm determination of the participants in the conference to make every possible effort to prevent another war and ensure a durable peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The resolution said that it will launch more dynamic activities throughout the world to urge the United States to withdraw its high-handed and arbitrary hostile policy towards the DPRK and seek a peaceful solution of the Korean issue. Participants were determined to continue to conduct energetic activities to expose to the world community the heinous crimes committed by the U.S. against the Korean people and urge the U.S. to make a full apology to and compensation for them.

It decided to launch protests in different parts of the world to bring to light the illegality of the U.S. occupation of South Korea and demand an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South.

We will render strong support the Korean people fighting for the cause of safeguarding peace on the Korean Peninsula and reunifying the country in an independent way, the resolution added.

(The above article is based on a report from the meeting)

U.S.-SOUTH KOREA JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES

The following article is reprinted from the Korean Central News Agency, August 7, 2003.

A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry today issued a statement on the joint military exercises "Ulji Focus Lens" scheduled to be staged by the U.S. imperialists with the south Korean bellicose forces from August 18 to 29.

The spokesman says: With regard to the exercises, the U.S. is trying to cover up their provocative nature, claiming that "all the exercises will be held through a computer simulation without troop deployment."

The exercises staged by the U.S. every year in south Korea, however, are entirely targeted against the DPRK as is the case with other military rehearsals. It is well known a fact to the world that the U.

S. forces deployed in and around south Korea are largely escalating their threatening military actions according to the "operation plan 5030" directed against the DPRK.

The scheduled joint military exercises are war rehearsals to "totally examine" the U.S. preparations of a war against the DPRK and nothing can conceal their aggressive nature. The adventurous war game is aimed at steadily intensifying tensions on the Korean peninsula and, eventually, making a preemptive attack on the DPRK and attaining sinister strategic goal of the U.S. in Northeast Asia.

The U.S., remaining as it was, is going to stage such a war drill when the six-party talks for settling the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula is on the order of the day thanks to the DPRK's active efforts and bold initiative.

This leaves us skeptical about the U.S. willingness to discard its hostile policy toward the DPRK and make a policy switchover. The United States should behave itself with discretion, pondering over the consequences of its reckless moves getting on the nerves of its dialogue counterpart.

 

Volume 17, No. 17 September 2, 2003

OPPOSE U.S. PRESSURE AND AGGRESSION AGAINST KOREA!

The six-way talks on the nuclear issue between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the U.S. concluded on August 29.

Immediately afterwards, U.S. government officials, as well as the monopoly-controlled media, stepped up their hostile propaganda about the so-called "nuclear danger" of the DPRK. At the same time, the U.S. issued new threats to impose economic sanctions and begin interdicting North Korean ships at sea, acts which would be tantamount to a declaration of war.

In fact, for some time now, the Bush administration has been increasing its propaganda and pressure against the DPRK and openly preparing a second Korean war. Bush has attacked the DPRK as part of an "axis of evil" and the Pentagon has publicly announced plans for a nuclear first-strike against the country. Again last month, advisers to the Bush administration published an article outlining a series of military strikes against North Korea even while the U.S. was engaged in war "exercises" in which the DPRK was targeted.

The entire propaganda of the U.S. government turns truth upsidedown. It is not the DPRK, but U.S. imperialism which has nuclearized the Korean peninsula and the world. It is not the DPRK which threatens the U.S., but the U.S. which occupies south Korea with 37,000 troops, maintaining a forcible partition of the country and continually threatening North Korea.

Furthermore the entire political-diplomatic history of the last few years again proves that the DPRK is doing everything possible to find a peaceful resolution to outstanding problems. The DPRK consistently calls for the signing of a non-aggression pact between the U.S. and the DPRK. Since the U.S. not only refuses to sign such an agreement but instead keeps escalating its pressure and threatening war, the DPRK has the sovereign right and obligation to take all legitimate self-defense measures, including the building of a nuclear deterrent.

Below, we reprint excerpts from an article published by the Korean Central News Agency providing a authentic account of the six-party talks. This document again reveals the principled stand of the DPRK. While the Bush administration and the monopoly-controlled media in the U.S. rely on gossip, innuendo, slander and the big lie to create hysteria against North Korea, the politics and diplomacy of the DPRK are open and aboveboard and conducted in full view of world public opinion.

In publishing this document, we also urgently call on the American people to look into the real causes of tension on the Korean peninsula and take a stand of principle against U.S. aggression and in defense of the sovereign right of the Korean people to live free of imperialist threats and pressure.

KEYNOTE SPEECHES MADE AT SIX-WAY TALKS

Pyongyang, August 29 (from Korean Central News Agency -excerpts).

Heads of delegations to the six-way talks on the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. made keynote speeches at the talks opened in Beijing on August 27.

Assistant State Secretary James Kelly, head of the U.S. delegation, said that the U.S. immediate purpose is to ensure that the north Korean nuclear program is eliminated in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. He added that the U.S. can discuss security assurances and political and economic benefits only when the DPRK eliminates its nuclear weapons program completely, verifiably and irreversibly.

Noting that the U.S. would not pursue the bilateral talks with the DPRK for the solution to the nuclear issue, he said: Once the DPRK's nuclear weapons program is eliminated, the U.S. is prepared to start bilateral negotiations on a series of issues, including missiles, conventional weapons, counterfeiting and drug smuggling, terrorism, human rights and abduction. That would be aimed to normalize the bilateral relations.

The conclusion of any non-aggression treaty is neither appropriate nor necessary. The U.S. is, therefore, not interested in it. Once the DPRK's verifiable and irreversible abandonment of the nuclear weapons program is confirmed, the U.S. would be ready to discuss security concerns with other countries at the next talks.

Kim Yong Il, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs, who is leading the DPRK delegation to the six-way talks on the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S., in his keynote speech made clear the principled stand on the settlement of the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S.

He said:

The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is the general goal of the DPRK. It is not our goal to have nuclear weapons.

The denuclearization of the Korean peninsula was our initiative and it is our consistent stand and the desire of all Koreans to realise it. The U.S. is, however, standing in its way.

If the nuclear issue between the two countries is to be peacefully settled through dialogue the U.S. should make a radical switchover in its policy toward the DPRK.

This is a master key to and a precondition for the settlement of the nuclear issue.

The Bush administration openly disclosed its attempt to use nuclear weapons after listing the DPRK as part of "an axis of evil" and a target of a "preemptive nuclear attack."

This prompted us to judge that the Bush administration is going to stifle our system by force and decide to build a strong deterrent force to cope with it. Hence, we determined to possess that force. Our deterrent force is not aimed to attack somebody without any proper reason. It is a means for self-defence to protect our sovereignty.

We can dismantle our nuclear program if the U.S. makes a switchover in its hostile policy towards us and does not pose any threat to us.

The benchmark for our judgement that the U.S. no longer antagonizes us will be provided only when a non-aggression treaty is concluded between the DPRK and the U.S., diplomatic relations opened between them and the U.S. does not obstruct our economic dealing with other countries.

The non-aggression treaty called for by us is by no means to demand "security assurances," but to have a non-aggression treaty with legal biding force whereby both signatories commit themselves to non-aggression.

The U.S. can not shirk its responsibility for having suspended the implementation of the agreed framework.

We have fully fulfilled our commitment to freeze our nuclear facility since the adoption of the agreed framework.

Kelly who came to the DPRK as a special envoy of President Bush in October 2002, failing to present any specific "evidence", groundlessly pulled us up, using coercive words and rudely behaving ignoring the Oriental custom. He claimed that we have secretly pushed forward an enriched uranium program in breach of the Agreed Framework.

In this regard we made it clear that we have no secret nuclear program but we are entitled to have weapons more powerful than those based on enriched uranium. We have powerful weapons, including single-hearted unity. After Kelly's Pyongyang visit, the U.S. misled the public opinion, saying that we admitted to the secret nuclear program and unilaterally stopped the supply of heavy fuel oil from November, 2002.

The DPRK-U.S. Agreed Framework concluded in October 1994 was thus nullified due to the U.S. unilateral refusal to fulfil its commitments.

The DPRK has abided by the principle that the measures for settling the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. should be implemented by simultaneous actions.

These actions provide a realistic way of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Any opposition to the simultaneous actions would mean opposing the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and, furthermore, can not be construed otherwise than a revelation of an intention to disarm the DPRK and swallow it up. "Early inspection" can never be accepted in any case, he said, setting out our proposal for a package solution to the nuclear issue and the order of simultaneous actions. He further said:

For a package solution, the U.S. should conclude a non-aggression treaty with the DPRK, establish diplomatic relations with it and guarantee the economic cooperation between the DPRK and Japan and between the north and the south of Korea. And it should also compensate for the loss of electricity caused by the delayed provision of light water reactors and complete their construction.

For this, the DPRK should not make nuclear weapons and allow the nuclear inspection, finally dismantle its nuclear facility, put on ice the missile testfire and stop its export.

According to the order of simultaneous actions, the U.S. should resume the supply of heavy fuel oil, sharply increase the humanitarian food aid while the DPRK should declare its will to scrap its nuclear program.

According to this order, we will allow the refreeze of our nuclear facility and nuclear substance and monitoring and inspection of them from the time the U.S. has concluded a non-aggression treaty with the DPRK and compensated for the loss of electricity.

We will settle the missile issue when diplomatic relations are opened between the DPRK and the U.S. and between the DPRK and Japan.

And we will dismantle our nuclear facility from the time the LWRs are completed.

Clarifying the principled stand of the DPRK on finding a solution to the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S., our delegation would like to advance the following proposal prompted by the desire to make the six-way talks fruitful.

First, the DPRK and the U.S. should make clear their will to clear up bilateral concerns.

The DPRK will clarify its will to dismantle its nuclear program if the U.S. makes clear its will to give up its hostile policy toward the DPRK.

Second, all the countries participating in the six-way talks should agree on the principle to implement the measures for solving the nuclear issue between the DPRK and the U.S. through simultaneous actions.

If our reasonable proposal is turned aside at the talks, we will judge that the U.S. does not intend to give up its attempt to stifle the DPRK by force at an appropriate time while persistently insisting the DPRK "scrap its nuclear program first" to waste time.

In this case the DPRK can not dismantle its nuclear deterrent force but will have no option but to increase it. Whether the nuclear issue will be settled or not depends on the U.S. attitude. . . .

After summarizing the keynote remarks from the Chinese, Russian, south Korean and Japanese delegations, the KCNA report continues:

"The prevailing tone of the keynote remarks is that it is imperative to achieve denuclearization and peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, peacefully solve the nuclear issue and to this end give a package solution to all issues of concerns between the DPRK and the U.S. on a phased basis on the principle of simultaneous actions.

But regrettably, the United States flatly refused such views.

The United States opposed the package solution and the principle of simultaneous actions instead of expressing its will to make a practical switchover in its policy.

It is the U.S. stand that only when the DPRK scraps its nuclear program first the U.S. can discuss issues of security assurances and economic aid and the issues of missile, conventional weapons, human rights and other issues should be discussed if the DPRK wants to normalize the relations with the U.S. even after it completely abandons its nuclear program.

The United States said the next talks can take place only when the DPRK expresses its intention to scrap its nuclear program.

In the final analysis, the U.S. would move only after the DPRK is completely disarmed.

It is against common sense to raise such a demand to its counterpart at the talks when the DPRK and the U.S. are standing in confrontation with each other with arms and this raises a serious question as to its true intention.

The DPRK cannot but interpret this otherwise than a U.S. intention to invade it after it is disarmed.

It is a brigandish like demand beyond the tolerance limit.

It has become clearer through the six-way talks that the United States is forcing the DPRK to disarm, while persistently pursuing its hostile policy toward the DPRK.

In fact, the DPRK hoped that an agreement was reached between them at the talks whereby the DPRK could be able to express its will to scrap its nuclear program in return for the U.S. manifestation of its will to make a policy switchover at least and the hard-won dialogue would go on.

As such expectation was betrayed, it is not difficult to guess how the DPRK will react to it.

By flatly refusing to exchange even words expressing the will to make policy switchover, the United States put the prospect of the next talks at peril."

 

Volume 17, No. 18 September 16, 2003

BUSH ESCALATES WAR AGAINST IRAQ

On September 7, George Bush announced plans to escalate the war against Iraq.

Bush admitted that the U.S. is engaged in a "lengthy war" that will "take time and require sacrifice," and announced plans to spend another $87 billion to wage this war for the next year ($79 billion allocated in April has already been spent). In addition, Bush wants to deploy more troops and has called on the U.N. and other countries to send another 22,000 soldiers. Two days after Bush's speech, the Pentagon announced that 20,000 reserve and national guard troops in Iraq would have their duty tours extended to one year. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld also wants to send thousands of civilians to Iraq to carry out administrative tasks currently performed by soldiers.

All along, the Bush administration has made it clear that the goals of this war are to establish a "free market system" in Iraq and a U.S.-dictated political system. Iraq will be a base to spread U.S. influence and a "free trade zone" throughout the Middle East. Already U.S. companies are falling over themselves to grab Iraq's oil and the other spoils of colonial conquest and the Pentagon has established permanent military bases.

The events of the last 4 months have also made it clear that the Iraqi people are resisting U.S. occupation. From the day that Bush declared "victory," millions of Iraqis have come out in public protests against U.S. aggression and colonialism. This movement includes an armed resistance to U.S. occupation.

In other words, the war in Iraq is an undisguised war of conquest, a war to suppress the Iraqi people, to enslave and colonize the country.

In his September 7 speech, Bush also reminded us that the war in Iraq is only one front in a worldwide "war against terrorism." Within the last two years, the U.S. has invaded and occupied Afghanistan and is escalating another counter-insurgency war there, given the Israeli aggressors the green light to reoccupy the West Bank of Palestine, dispatched more U.S. troops to fight counter-insurgency wars in Colombia and the Philippines. At the same time, the U.S. is threatening and preparing wars against North Korea, Iran, Syria and other countries.

The government is using this "war against terrorism" as an excuse to put the entire economy of our country at the disposal of the Pentagon arms merchants and other big capitalists and to build up the repressive apparatus of the government and strip away the democratic rights of the American people.

Bush's escalation of the war in Iraq again confronts the American people with the relentless question -- only the peoples can stop the wars!

The U.S. government is going to remain on the road of fascism and war. The problem is not simply George Bush. Just as the Democrats immediately responded to Bush's speech by promising him all the money he wants, so too they have supported the entire "war on terrorism" from day one.

It is the monopoly capitalist class which wants and needs war. The capitalists want and need war to expand their empire. The capitalists want and need to militarize our economy so as to grab superprofits. The capitalists want and need fascism to suppress the growing resistance of the American people.

The challenge facing the people is nothing less than winning the peace and reclaiming our country.

In the last 2 years, tens of millions of Americans have come out to fight against the war program of U.S. imperialism. We must carry this struggle through to the end. We must work to mobilize ever-wider sections of people against every aggressive step taken by the government.

In the course of this mobilization, we must continually strengthen the independent consciousness and organization of the people. The people must aim at nothing less than defeating the parties of war and imperialism and bringing to power a new people's government which implements a genuinely democratic foreign policy.

RACISM AND CHAUVINISM ARE THE ONLY ARGUMENTS LEFT

by Bill Foster

As part of the ongoing war against Iraq, the U.S. government keeps spewing out the most vile racism.

In the lexicon of the politicians and the monopoly-controlled media, such words as "terrorist," "murderer," "Al Qada," "fundamentalism," "extremism," "Arab," and "Islam" have all become synonymous. The struggle in Iraq is portrayed as one between the forces of "barbarism" and "civilization," which is, of course, equated with "Western values" and the "American way of life." Overwhelming military force is called for as the only way to stamp out the "terrorists," the "evil-ones." In his September 7 speech, George Bush declared that the U.S. occupation and war "must be the cause of the civilized world" because "The Middle East will either become a place of progress and peace, or it will be an exporter of violence and terror...."

For those who find such open racism and fascism hard to swallow, the liberal politicians spread a slightly different strain, insisting that if the U.S. pulls its troops out of Iraq, "there will be chaos" and "age-old rivalries will lead to civil war," because the Iraqi people lack "democratic traditions" and need a period (of indefinite length) of U.S. and U.N. "trusteeship and mentoring."

This strain of racism is, in fact, no less virulent. It too decrees the superiority of "American values" and "way of life" and dehumanizes the Arab people.

Part of this racist propaganda is the portrayal of the Iraqi people's resistance to U.S. occupation as the work of a small group of "murderers," "foreign infiltrators," "extremists," etc. At all costs, the U.S. government wants to hide the fact that the whole Iraqi nation is rising to its feet in struggle against U.S. occupation and U.S. colonialism.

Thus one of the touchstones of the struggle against racism and chauvinism is to defend the Iraqi people's right to self-determination and sovereignty. Recognition of this right includes support for the Iraqi resistance to U.S. occupation.

Of course behind the racism and chauvinism of the government and the monopoly-controlled media are the real economic and strategic interests of the U.S. capitalist class. Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell, Bremer, etc. have repeatedly admitted that their vision of "liberated Iraq," is a "free market" Iraq which serves as a base for a U.S.-dominated "free trade zone throughout the Middle East." Already the U.S. corporations are falling over themselves to grab Iraqi oil and the other spoils of war.

The U.S. capitalist class advertises the superiority of the "American way of life" to justify its domination and enslavement of other countries. The capitalists incite racism and are literally calling for the blood of the Iraqi and Arab peoples because the capitalists want and need to expand their empire. Thus any government or people who resist U.S. domination are "terrorists," "evil," etc.

This racism and chauvinism must not and will not be allowed to pass.

ECONOMIC RECOVERY FOR WHOM?

The government keeps telling us that the economy is in recovery. And indeed, production is up and profits are doing well.

Yet unemployment is growing and more than 10 million workers are without jobs. For nearly all workers, wages are stagnant or falling. Every month, tens of thousands of people lose health insurance. Government, at all levels, is slashing social investments in education, housing assistance, income-support programs, Medicaid, etc.

Obviously something is wrong with an economic system and a government which define economic success as a situation in which the standard of living is falling for the majority of the people and tens of millions are denied their most elementary human rights, such as the right to a livelihood, to health care, to decent housing, etc.

And make no mistake about it. Things are going to get worse.

In nearly every sector of the economy, companies are demanding givebacks from the workers -- freezing or cutting wages, slashing health benefits and pensions, eliminating jobs while shifting more and more work onto the shoulders of the employed. The health care crisis is going to intensify; the government will keep letting the schools fall down; etc.

The problem is that the capitalist system is in crisis and the capitalists keep shifting an ever-greater burden of exploitation and misery onto the backs of the people. Under capitalism, the vast productive resources of our country -- built up through generations of labor by the working classes -- are not used for the benefit of the people. Rather they have been usurped and monopolized by a few and are set in motion with the sole aim of maximizing profit. Thus, even though our country has more than enough resources to guarantee the economic rights and well-being of everyone, the capitalist system is unable to meet even the elementary needs of the people.

And the government, rather than assisting the people and guarantying their rights, is putting the entire country at the disposal of the capitalists. While the rich and the corporations pay next to nothing in taxes, the government robs workers' paychecks and turns hundreds of billions of taxpayers' monies over to the Pentagon arms merchants, the big bankers and other capitalist billionaires. The public sector of the economy, including the schools, Medicaid and Medicare, public housing, income-support programs, even Social Security, is under attack. While the government refuses to make the investments necessary to fund these vital programs, it is increasingly privatizing these human services in order to provide even more profits for the corporations.

In the 21st century, in a country with such vast economic resources, it is a crime against humanity that tens of millions of Americans are denied such elementary economic rights as the right to a job or a livelihood, to housing and food, to a modern education, to health care, etc.

The Workers Party says that the economic direction of our country and the economic program of the government must be changed. It can and must be changed by the working class and people coming into the political arena to assert that the economy belongs to us -- that the first claims must go to the working people who create all the wealth and that the very starting point of economic life must be to guarantee the economic rights of the people.

CRISIS IN EDUCATION

Several articles in this issue deal with problems of the public schools.

The long and short of it is: our country's schools are facing a crisis.

Elementary and secondary schools are falling down for lack of repair and investment. Students are stuffed in overcrowded classrooms, denied needed facilities and materials. The curriculum is being cut back. Teachers are underpaid and overworked. At the same time, the cost of higher education keeps skyrocketing, preventing more and more working class youth from going to college.

The reason is very simple. The government, at all levels, refuses to make the needed investments.

And make no mistake about, the politicians in the Republican and Democratic parties are going to continue dismantling our country's schools. They continue to systematically underfund education so as to divert the monies in the public treasury into the pockets of the corporations. They do not give a damn about the education of working class children and youth. In fact, the capitalist politicians keep working to privatize the public schools and turn the clock back to the days when only the rich could afford a real education.

But education is a right not a privilege. Every generation of Americans has fought to extent the public school system and to demand equality in education. Today this struggle must be renewed. We must demand that government make all the investments needed to modernize our schools and guarantee equality in education.

INEQUALITY IN EDUCATION

Across the country, parents, teachers, students and others concerned about our country's educational system are unfolding a variety of struggles to demand increased funding for the public schools and for equality in funding so as to guarantee the right of working class and minority children to a modern education.

One result of these struggles was an important decision this summer by the state of New York's Court of Appeals which ruled that for years the state budget systematically underfunded New York City's public schools denying students their right to education.

In a suit brought by the "Campaign for Fiscal Equity," the Court held that every student is entitled to a "meaningful high school education" and that "The State must assure that some essential [resources] are provided." In reviewing extensive documentation on such key educational inputs as class size, overcrowded facilities, libraries, computers, laboratories, etc., the Court found that "tens of thousands of students are placed in overcrowded classrooms, taught by unqualified teachers and provided with inadequate facilities and equipment." These conditions are directly linked to the fact that while an average of $11,040 was spent per student statewide in 1999-2000 only $10,469 per pupil was spent in New York City, despite its much higher cost of living and the additional educational needs of many students.

In its decision, the Court rejected the anti-working class and racist argument of the state government which tried to claim that "poor student performance is caused by socioeconomic conditions independent of the quality of the schools." The Court declared that "we cannot accept the premise that children come to the New York City schools ineducable, unfit to learn." The Court insisted that educational resources must be "calibrated to student need" so that a sound basic education is available to all.

The Court mandated that the state reform its funding system within 1 year in order to provide each school with the requisite level of resources to guarantee the educational rights of all students.

Similar legal battles are underway in many states. For example, this summer the Nebraska School Trust filed a lawsuit indicting the state funding system because it "fails to provide the resources required to afford thousands of public school students....the opportunity to obtain the free instruction guaranteed by Nebraska's constitution and laws, and an equal opportunity to meet the academic standards set by law." The suit points out that many students do not have access to early childhood education, all-day kindergarten, appropriate class sizes, adequate curriculum and other programs. Educational activists have recently filed similar suits in Massachusetts and South Carolina.

The plain truth is that at present the government operates a dual school system with the children of the working class and oppressed minorities condemned to separate and unequal schools.

To begin with, the federal government refuses to take up the responsibility to properly fund the public schools, providing only 9% of total monies for elementary and secondary schools. Thus the financial burden falls on the states and local communities.

But school districts in poorer communities simply lack sufficient resources while many states contribute little or use funding formulas which favor richer districts over poorer ones. Thus, for example, while New Jersey spends an average of $10,283/pupil, Utah spends only $4,331/pupil. Even within the same district, school authorities often favor the richer communities. A study by Chicago's "Save Our City Coalition" found that during the 1998-99 school year, some elementary schools received an average of $5,978/pupil while others received as little as $1,875/pupil. This latter figure is nearly ten times less than the per pupil spending of certain public school districts in Connecticut and New Jersey which allocate more than $14,000/year/pupil.

For working class and minority children these statistics translate into larger class sizes, less instructional time, lack of needed materials, rundown facilities, etc.

Thus, there are few things more enraging than to hear government leaders complain about the "poor performance" of students and schools in working class and minority communities.

It is the government itself which must be hauled into the dock and held responsible for criminally disinvesting in the schools in working class and minority communities.

HIGHER EDUCATION UNDER ATTACK

All across the country, public colleges and universities are raising tuition even while cutting back on the curriculum and turning away more and more students.

Students at many state colleges are facing double-digit tuition increases for this academic year -- for example 30% at the University of California, 28% at the State University of New York, 39% at University of Arizona.

This continues a long-term trend which is putting the cost of college beyond the reach of working class students. Since 1980, average tuition and fees at 4-year public colleges increased more than 500%, from $804/year to $4,081 in 2002-03.

Yet even while costs are skyrocketing, colleges are drastically cutting back on curriculum.

- This fall the University of Illinois has canceled 1,000 classes in hundreds of subjects and the University of Michigan is doubling the size of many classes.

- Other public institutions are eliminating entire academic programs. For example, starting this year the University of Colorado no longer offers academic programs in journalism, business or engineering while Virginia Tech has eliminated its education major.

- The University of California has delayed opening a newly built campus and California State University is turning away 30,000 students this spring.

One result of these cutbacks will be that tens of thousands of already enrolled students will be unable to graduate on time while many may be forced to drop out of college altogether.

The problem is that state and local governments are slashing funds for higher education, forcing public colleges and universities to shift the burden onto students through tuition increases and curriculum cutbacks. In 1980 state and local governments paid for 60% of the budget of public higher education while tuition covered only 16%. Today state and local governments pay only 51% while tuition's share has jumped to 24%.

The net result is that more and more working class students are denied the right to higher education. Today tuition at a 4-year public school equals 25% of the average income of a family from the poorest quartile of the population. One recent government study admits that 22% of eligible college students do not attend for financial reasons. At the same time, enrolled students are forced to go deeper and deeper into debt to attend college. In 1999, a college senior from the lowest income quartile owed an average of nearly $13,000.

For hundreds of years the working people have insisted that education is not a privilege reserved only for the rich but a right belonging to all human beings. Especially in the 1950's and 1960's, American people forced open the doors of colleges and universities, making the government build a network of public 2-year and 4-year colleges and provide certain guarantees that everyone could have access to free or low-cost higher education.

But today, the government is reversing direction and attacking this hard-won right by refusing to fully fund public higher education. The country is being thrown backward as once again the sons and daughters of the working class are finding that the door to higher education is barred.

FOUR NEW SCHOOLS CLOSED

As the new school year starts, the Elgin school district, the second largest in Illinois, is keeping 4 brand new schools closed, citing "lack of funding."

The failure to open these buildings, including 3 elementary and 1 middle school, means that 3,000 students will be assigned to already overcrowded facilities. Class sizes throughout the district will increase from around 23/class to 30 or more.

The Elgin district is planning to slash $40 million from this year's budget and has already cut nearly 600 teaching jobs.

State and local officials say that other school districts will soon face similar situations as public education throughout Illinois is drastically underfunded.

In fact, all across the country, the public schools are in desperate financial difficulties because the federal and state government refuse to make the needed investments. In 2000, the National Educational Association estimated that $322 billion was immediately needed just to repaid and modernize our country's schools and equip them with modern educational technology. The National Council of State Legislatures admits that another $35 billion/year is needed for staffing and other expenses just to bring schools up to standards legislated by the government itself.

The results of this systematic underfunding include impossibly large class sizes, curriculum cutbacks, crumbling buildings, lack of vital educational materials, underpaid teachers, etc. In turn, this means that the youth of our country, especially working class and minority children, are denied their right to a modern education.

PHYSICIANS CALL FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH PLAN

On August 12, thousands of doctors, including practitioners from every state and every field of medicine, hundreds of professors and deans from medical schools and 2 former U.S. Surgeon Generals, declared their support for a National Health Insurance Plan which would provide comprehensive medical coverage for every American.

The plan, outlined in an article and signed by 7,782 doctors in the August 13 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, was announced in press conferences in several cities, including Washington, D.C. It calls for a single-payer, government-administered system which would guarantee health insurance for everyone.

All medically necessary services, including long-term care, prescription drugs, mental health and dental care, would be covered. The plan would save an estimated $200 billion/year by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the current system dominated by for-profit insurance companies and HMOs. This savings would be used to cover the more than 40 million uninsured and to extend coverage.

The plan points out that while the U.S. health care system is rich in resources and spends more than twice as much on health care as the average of other developed countries, more than 40 million Americans are uninsured. Such basic health care services as prenatal care and immunizations are denied to millions of people and the U.S. "trails most of the developed countries in such indicators as infant mortality and life expectancy."

The physicians report indicts the "market-driven system" as the cause of these problems, emphasizing that "the U.S. alone treats health care as a commodity distributed according to the ability to pay, rather than as a social service to be distributed according to medical need."

The report calls for "a fundamental change" shaped by a vision which includes:

"1. Access to comprehensive health care is a human right. It is the responsibility of society, through the government, to ensure this right. Coverage should not be tied to employment.

2. The right to choose and change one's physician is fundamental to patient autonomy. Patients must be free to seek care from any licensed health care professional.

3. Pursuit of corporate profit and personal fortune have no place in caregiving. They create waste and too often warp clinical decision making.

4. In a democracy, the public should set health policies and budgets. Personal medical decisions must be made by patients with their caregivers, not by corporate or government bureaucrats."

THE RIGHT TO A LIVELIHOOD MUST BE GUARANTEED

According to the government, the U.S. economy has been "in recovery" since November 2001. Yet during this time, more than 1 million jobs have been wiped out bringing the total of unemployed and "discouraged" workers (those unemployed for 2 years or more) to 10.5 million or 7% of the labor force. Economists expect unemployment to remain this high for the next year and longer.

In other words, the capitalist system and the capitalist government are indicting themselves. The system is performing at peak capacity

- - that is production and profits are up. And as a result, tens of millions of workers and their families are denied a livelihood.

But the right to a stable, secure livelihood is the most elementary human right and guarantying this right must be the very starting point of a humane economy. Since the current economic system puts the profits and riches of a few ahead of the needs of the majority, it must be changed. Part and parcel of the struggle for change is to demand immediate guarantees for a job or income for every worker.

GROWING POVERTY IN THE "RICHEST" COUNTRY

Nearly 35 million Americans, including 12.2 million children, lived in poverty in 2002, according to the latest report of the Census Bureau.

The government classifies a family of 4 as below the poverty-line if their income is less than $18,000/year; for a single adult the poverty line is $9,200.

The Census Bureau report also revealed that the number of people living in poverty increased by 1.3 million last year even though the economy was officially "in recovery."

Twenty percent of Americans cannot even eke out a secure subsistence even while the government lavishes tax breaks and handouts on the billionaires, advertises American capitalism as the "best system in the world" and exports, by force of arms, this system of inequality and exploitation to the far corners of the globe.

U.S. PRACTICING SEA AND AIR PIRACY

From September 12-15, the U.S. military held joint naval maneuvers, labeled "Exercise Pacific Protector," with Australia, Britain, and Japan in the Coral Sea, off the northeast coast of Australia. During the maneuvers, ships and helicopters staged mock "stop and search" exercises involving the interdiction of ships and planes.

These military exercises were the first to be held as part of George Bush's so-called "Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI)," which calls for stopping ships "suspected" of carrying weapons of mass destruction. White House officials recently announced that nine other similar "exercises" will be held in coming months with the military forces from 11 other nations.

U.S. officials have also openly admitted that such "aggressive interdiction" exercises are targeting North Korea and other so-called rogue states by threatening to board and seize their vessels in international waters and airspace.

Any attempt to force down planes or board ships, however, would clearly violate existing laws regarding the safe passage of ships on the open seas. In other words, Bush's "Proliferation Security Initiative" aims at instituting a regime of air and sea piracy.

Last July, however, U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control, John Bolton dismissed such criticism, stating "We're not going to engage in an endless seminar about what our authority is."

The U.S. has already demonstrated its determination to carry out its "aggressive interdiction" plans. Last December, Spain intercepted a North Korean ship in the Arabian Sea en route for Yemen and handed the vessel over to the United States. The U.S. was forced to allow the ship to complete its voyage only after international criticism, and only after admitting that the ship did not in fact violate any law.

These latest military maneuvers are another sign that the U.S. is dangerously stepping up its aggression against North Korea, and preparing for a possible blockade against the country. The Bush administration has targeted North Korea as part of the so-called "axis of evil" and is intensifying diplomatic, political, economic and military pressure.

PROTESTS AT WTO MEETING IN CANCUN

From September 10-14, leaders from the U.S. and 145 other countries gathered in Cancun, Mexico for the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The purpose of this meeting was to continue negotiations over trade and investment with the aim of eliminating restrictions to the "free flow" of goods and capital throughout the "global marketplace." Leaders from the U.S. and European Union expressed the desire to further the goal of completing a new global trade agreement, but there is stiff opposition from the leaders of many poor nations over issues such as tariffs and subsidies.

Despite huge barriers, metal fences, and a massive police deployment that kept demonstrators more than six miles away from the convention center where the WTO ministers were meeting, over 5,000 protestors turned out on the opening day of the meeting. Over 150,000 activists and concerned citizens also converged in Cancun before and during the meetings to hold various anti-WTO rallies, teach-ins and forums where they raised the slogans "Say No to the WTO!" And "Another World is Possible." People also stood up in opposition to the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the ongoing "war against terrorism."

At Cancun, as well as solidarity protests held in cities throughout the world, the demonstrators were targeting capitalist globalization and the reactionary economic and political program of the monopoly capitalist class.

Today, the monopoly capitalists in the U.S. and the other imperialist countries intend to continue and step up their program of globalization, i.e. their struggle to increase the exploitation of the workers, dominate the economies of every country and divide the wealth of the world amongst themselves. In the conditions of today's deepening economic crisis, the "free flow of international capital" is part of the program of the big monopolies to come out on top -- to continue their ferocious struggle for the economic domination of other countries as well as to defeat their competitors. This economic drive for profits and empire is at the root of U.S. imperialism's war program.

In country after country, however, people are rising against this international robbery and the program of neo-liberalism. In opposition to the drive of the U.S. monopolies to extend their world empire and trample on the sovereignty of the peoples, movements for national independence and liberation are growing.

It is the capitalist-imperialist system which is preventing humanity from going forward. All the economic factors exist to guarantee the well-being and rights of the people. The peoples everywhere are coming out to demand their sovereignty -- their power to determine the political and economic system and to live in a world which recognizes the equality and sovereignty of every nation.

BUSH ESCALATES AFGHAN WAR

The Bush administration is preparing to dramatically escalate its counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan.

For one thing, the Pentagon plans to extend direct U.S. military operations outside of Kabul, sending new American army units to 3 cities and a British unit to a fourth.

In addition, the U.S. will increase military aid to its puppet Afghan government by as much as $1 billion, including funds to double the size of the Afghan puppet army to 10,000. The U.S. is also planning to set up police training centers in 8 cities with the goal of producing 19,000 more national police by next spring.

Since invading Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. has faced a growing war of resistance. The U.S.-installed Afghan administration has virtually no control outside of Kabul and its soldiers, as well as U.S. troops, are coming under increasing attacks. Currently the Bush administration spends about $2 billion/year to maintain its military occupation of the country.

 

Volume 17, No. 19 September 16, 2003

WE MUST ALL STAND WITH THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE!

On September 11, the Israeli cabinet declared that Yasir Arafat is an "obstacle to peace and conciliation between the Israeli and Palestinian people" and announced that it intends to deport or kill him.

Yasir Arafat is the democratically elected President of Palestine and for decades has been the foremost representative of the Palestinian people and their struggle for national liberation. Israel's plan to murder Arafat is a continuation of its program of genocide.

Within last two weeks, the Israeli Defense Force has stepped up its program of attacking and murdering Palestinian leaders, most recently striking repeatedly at leaders of Hamas. Israel has reimposed curfew and blockade on Palestinian towns and villages and is continuing its war on Palestinian civilians, opening fire even on school children who protest Israeli occupation, bombing neighborhoods, carrying out collective reprisals, etc.

No one should have any illusion about the goals of the Israeli state or about the monstrous crimes it has committed and is planning. The state of Israel was founded on the bodies of the Palestinian people and by usurping their homeland and depriving them of their sacred national right to an independent state. From the day of its founding, the avowed aims of the Israeli aggressors have been to expropriate all the land of Palestine and to eliminate the Palestinian nation through terror and dispersal.

While the U.S. government, falsely advertising itself as the "honest broker," has repeatedly tried to fool world public opinion and ensnare the Palestinians with phony peace talks, the truth is that Israeli expansionism and genocide has always been authorized, supervised and organized by U.S. imperialism. Most recently the Bush administration gave Israel the green light to extend the so-called "war on terrorism" by reoccupying the West Bank and Gaza.

As this war proceeded the U.S. has not only increased its military aid to Israel to $11 billion/year but continuously demanded that the Palestinian people renounce all resistance to Israeli occupation. The official position of the U.S. government is that Palestinian demonstrations and protests in the occupied West Bank and Gaza are "terrorist activities" and it is the U.S. government which has led the way in trying to isolate Arafat and decapitate the Palestinian Authority. The Bush administration is even prosecuting charity and humanitarian organizations in the U.S. which donate funds to build schools in Palestine or provide medical assistance to Palestinian children.

Within hours after Sharon announced Israel's plans to eliminate Arafat, the Palestinian people came out in protests and demonstrations, surrounding their President's house and declaring again their determination to carry on their struggle for liberation until victory, until they regain their sovereignty by establishing an independent state in their historic homeland.

Just as the Palestinian people are rallying around their representatives and fortifying their struggle, the people of the whole world must rally around the Palestinian people, support their struggle and oppose U.S.-Israeli aggression. The American people have special duties in this regard and must demand the immediate cut off of all U.S. aid to Israel and an end to U.S. interference and intervention in the Middle East.

The U.S.-Israeli aggressors are trying to wipe the Palestinian nation off the face of the earth. The Palestinians are fighting for their continued existence, for their salvation as a people. All of humanity must stand with them.

 

Volume 17, No. 20 September 29, 2003

WORLD-WIDE DEMONSTRATIONS AGAINST U.S. AGGRESSION

On September 27-28, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in more than 40 countries to protest the U.S. occupation of Iraq and U.S.-backed Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people. The demonstrations were organized to correspond with the third anniversary of the start of the ongoing Palestinian intifada.

In London, over 100,000 people participated in a march from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, demanding an end to U.S.-British occupation of Iraq and supporting the Palestinian struggle. Banners denounced Bush and demanded: "U.K. Troops Out of Iraq." Recent public opinion polls show that the people of England have never been more united in their opposition to the U.S. and British occupation of Iraq.

In France, several thousand demonstrators marched through central Paris to protest the U.S. aggression and occupation in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. They also called for an end to U.S.-Israeli aggression and occupation of Palestine.

In the Turkish capital of Ankara, over 5,000 people shouted slogans and unfurled banners to support the Palestinian struggle and to demand an end to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. The demonstrators demanded that Turkey not deploy any "peacekeeping" troops to Iraq. Thousands more gathered at a similar rally in Istanbul.

At a protest in Seoul, South Korea on September 27, several thousand people rallied and marched to oppose a U.S. request that South Korea send combat troops to Iraq.

Thousands also marched through the streets of Tokyo, Japan, demanding the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and opposing the planned dispatch of Japanese troops to the country.

In Nablus, the Gaza Strip and other Palestinian cities, thousands of people came into the streets, defying the occupying Israeli army, to express the determination of the Palestinians to carry their liberation struggle through to the end - until the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

In the U.S. largescale actions were organized in several major cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, Baltimore, New York City and elsewhere.

Anti-war marches and other actions were also organized in Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Lebanon, Macedonia, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, the UAE, and other countries.

At all these demonstrations, in addition to opposing the occupation of Iraq and U.S.-backed Israeli occupation of Palestine, the people raised demands against the U.S. government's worldwide "war against terrorism." Banners, speakers and literature spoke out in support of the Korean people, the Colombian people, the Filipino people, and other peoples under attack from U.S. imperialism.

These actions show the growing isolation of the U.S. government and its war program.

ANOTHER "PEACE" CANDIDATE

On September 18, Wesley Clark, a former general, announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Across the board, Democrats, including prominent leaders like Bill Clinton as well as the party's opportunist "left-wing" helpers like "The Nation," Michael Moore and others, are literally falling over themselves praising Clark and advertising him as a "peace candidate" who can "beat George Bush."

Clark, who earned his first "military spurs" in U.S. imperialism's genocidal war in Vietnam, also includes on his resume: 1) commander of the U.S.-NATO war against Yugoslavia which dismembered this sovereign country; 2) commander of U.S. Southern command 1996-97 during which time Clark, amongst other things, further escalated the U.S. counter-insurgency war in Colombia; 3) commander of the U.S. army national training center during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, etc.

As for the present and U.S. imperialism's "war on terrorism," Clark, far from opposing it, is advising George Bush and the U.S. high command on the best way of waging it.

For example, in a June 15 interview on "Meet the Press," Clark echoed Bush all along the line, calling for the interdiction of North Korean ships, relying on the "military card at the end" to force Iran to accept "weapons inspections," etc.

On Iraq, Clark, like the rest of the Democratic candidates, calls for greater multilateral support while adamantly insisting that the U.S. occupation must continue for "several years. . . . We'd like to get the numbers down to 75,000 troops or less. It's not clear if that can be done. . . . The simple fact is as long as there's a threat over there you can't reduce the force. So I think we're going to be there in a substantial number for a long time."

In our opinion, a political party and political leadership which welcomes Wesley Clark as a "peace candidate" must be called by its real name - a party of war and fascism.

IRAQ'S ENTIRE ECONOMY IS BEING TAKEN OVER BY FOREIGN CAPITAL

On September 21, the "Governing Council," a handful of so-called ministers appointed by U.S. military authorities to give an "Iraqi face" to U.S. colonial occupation, announced its economic program.

Iraq's entire economy will be put up for sale to foreign capitalists and bankers. For the last 30 years, virtually all Iraqi companies were state-owned and for the last 12 years there has been no foreign ownership. But since occupying the country, the U.S. military - although it has not found any "weapons of mass destruction" - has been quick to see that Iraq's economic infrastructure is turned over to American capitalists. Already, U.S. companies have grabbed contracts worth billions of dollars.

The latest measures call for selling-off all state-owned companies and allowing 100% foreign ownership in all economic sectors except natural resources. In addition, six foreign banks will be permitted to purchase up to 100% of local Iraqi banks over the next 5 years. At the same time, the Finance Minister of the "Governing Council" announced a minimum 15% income tax for all individuals and a special 5% "reconstruction" sales tax on all imports. These monies will go mainly to pay U.S. capitalists for "rebuilding" the country that they destroyed. Under the former Iraqi government there were no income or sales taxes imposed on the people.

The Finance Minister Kamil Mubdir al-Gailani said that the new economic measures "will significantly advance efforts to build a free and open market economy in Iraq. Within moments of the announcement, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow praised the new program as "polices that offer real promise" and Joseph Saba, regional director of the World Bank, said "the steps they are taking are major steps forward in terms of creating an environment for investment."

As anyone can see, U.S. imperialism has used and is using its military power to rob the wealth of Iraq and turn the country into a direct U.S. colony - owned lock, stock and barrel by the U.S. capitalists and run by the U.S. military.

A WEEK UNDER OCCUPATION

Below is a partial list of attacks on the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank and Gaza carried out by the Israeli army during the week of September 18-25.

- September 25: Israeli troops killed five Palestinians, including a 3-year old girl, and wounded at least six people in two separate raids, one on the al-Bureij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip and another on the West Bank city of Hebron.

- September 24: A 15-year old, Mohammad Issa Hamdan, was killed by a shell fired from an Israeli tank into the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. At least 11 other Palestinians were wounded and seven houses were demolished.

- September 23: In Gaza and Nablus, Israeli troops shot and killed 2 Palestinians and wounded 3, including a 12-year old girl.

- September 22: The Israeli military killed Basel Qawasmah in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and demolished the house he was hiding in.

- September 18-20: The Israeli army entered - with 30 tanks and Jeeps

- the city of Jenin and its refugee camp carrying out house-to-house searches. The result of two days of incursion included the arrest of five activists, three injured and the demolition of two homes.

In addition, on September 22, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said that the "security fence" which Israel is building to encircle the occupied territories and confiscate more Palestinian land will be completed within the next 12 months. Part of this Wall will be built in east Jerusalem, cutting at least 50,000 Palestinians off from the rest of the West Bank. As construction of the Wall continues, Israeli officials are in Washington, D.C. reviewing their plans with George Bush and the U.S. government which finances the occupation.

MORE RESERVISTS CALLED TO WAR

On September 26, the Pentagon activated another 10,000 National Guard troops and put 5,000 more on alert status.

The newly activated troops will receive 3 months training before being deployed in Iraq for 12 months of combat duty. Already 20,000 National Guard and Reserve troops are stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq along with more than 130,000 regular U.S. soldiers.

This call-up comes just two weeks after George Bush announced plans for escalating the war in Iraq saying that the U.S. is involved in a "lengthy war" which will "take time and require sacrifice."

In announcing the call-up, the Pentagon also said that more National Guard soldiers and full-time troops may be called up in the near future.

 

Volume 17, No. 21 October 14, 2003

INTO OUR OWN HANDS

The anti-war struggle is entering a new phase.

On the one side, Bush is escalating the war in Iraq - sending more troops and more money and admitting that the war may last for years. So too, U.S. imperialism is escalating other fronts of its worldwide "war against terrorism" - sending more troops and money to Afghanistan, more military aid to finance Israel's genocidal war against Palestine, more U.S. military "advisers" to Colombia and the Philippines, threatening and making military preparations against Syria, Iran, North Korea and other countries.

On the other side, the peoples' determination to stop the wars is growing. In Iraq, political mobilizations and mass actions against U.S. occupation are being organized every day and the armed resistance is growing. The Palestinian people, continuously unfolding their liberation struggle, inspire the whole world with the necessity to rise up against imperialism and colonialism. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea continues to strengthen its defenses and stand against the pressures and threats of U.S. imperialism. All across the world, people are coming out against the U.S. war program; during the last week of September, mass demonstrations were organized in more than 40 countries, including many major U.S. cities, to demand an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq and an end to the "war on terrorism."

In the U.S. the capitalist warmakers are trying hard to divert the anti-war struggle by parading the Democrats as opponents of the war.

Anti-war activists are being pressured to surrender their principles and political program and liquidate their independent work in order to be "realistic" and get behind the Democrats.

Yet the fact remains that the Democratic Party is helping Bush carry out and escalate the wars. The few "criticisms" offered by Democrats only suggest that Bush win more multilateral support for the U.S. occupation or that Bush remain focussed on all the fronts of the "war on terrorism," and that Bush do a better job of winning over public opinion.

No, the Democrats are not for peace and the truth is that U.S. imperialism is going to keep escalating its wars.

The polarization is going to continue and the real political task facing us is to strengthen the independent organization and struggle of the people, in opposition to the parties of war.

Only the peoples can stop the wars and the decisive thing is for the people to organize themselves, organize themselves and organize themselves.

STOP THE THIEF!

Public schools in working class communities are overcrowded and falling down but the government says it has "no money" to properly fund them. Our mothers and fathers are going without needed medicine because the government says it has "no money" to pay for prescription drugs for Medicare recipients. Millions of children are growing up in poverty and malnourished but the government has "no money" to guarantee income-support for the most vulnerable and needy in our country.

Yet all a worker has to do is look at the taxes taken out of her/his paycheck every week to know that the politicians' refrain about "no money" is just another big lie. (While workers pay about $1 trillion/year in income taxes or nearly 75% of all federal taxes, corporations pay less than 15% of the total bill or less than 1/6 the amount paid by the workers).

It is time to say: "Stop, Thief!" To George Bush and all the Washington politicians who keep helping the rich rob the public treasury and ruin the economy of our country.

Over the next 10 years, the government is planning to run up another $5 trillion deficit by slashing taxes on the corporations and the very wealthy even while turning the public treasury over to the Pentagon arms merchants, the Wall Street bankers and other capitalist billionaires. For example, in fiscal 2004, the government will spend $560 billion on the military (and $3 trillion over the next 6 years). Yet only $154 billion is allocated next year for education, public health, housing, and employment services combined.

In sum, the government arbitrarily uses the power of taxation to further redistribute the wealth of the country, extorting money out of workers' wages and turning it over to the capitalists.

Today, as the crisis of capitalism deepens, the monopolies are demanding that all the resources of our country and the public sector of the economy, in particular, be put at their disposal.

For generations the working people have fought to demand that:

1) the government's fiscal policy is built around a progressive tax system which demands higher payments from corporations and the very rich; and that

2) at least a portion of the annual social product (all of which is created by the labor of the workers) is set aside to guarantee certain elementary rights - such as the right to education, to health care, to income-support for the poor and most vulnerable.

Today these gains are under attack and to stop these attacks, the working people must come into the political arena as an independent political force.

We must not only expose the big lie that the government has no money to fund the basic needs of the people. We must assert that such things as a secure livelihood, guaranteed health care, the best possible education, etc. are rights which must be guaranteed. The people must reclaim the power to set the economic policy of government.

As a starting point we must use this power to impose a progressive system which taxes profits but not workers' wages and to expand the public sector of the economy so that the people's economic rights are guaranteed.

ISRAEL BOMBS SYRIA

On October 5, Israeli warplanes bombed targets deep inside Syria, violating the sovereignty of that country and further fanning the flames of war which both U.S. imperialism and its surrogate Israel are spreading throughout the Middle East.

Israel tried to justify this aggression by relying on the Bush Doctrine and declaring that it "will act with determination" against "any country who harbors terrorism, who trains terrorists, supports and encourage them." In the same statement Israel also accused Iran of funding and directing terrorist groups. George Bush, for his part, responded to questions about the Israeli attack by saying: "Israel must not feel constrained in terms of defending the homeland."

Three days later, on October 8, the International Relations Committee of the House of Representatives voted 33-2 in favor of a new law which would impose harsh economic and political sanctions on Syria. Echoing the tired refrain about "weapons of mass destruction" and "support for terrorism," Bush and Congress are stepping up their pressure against Syria, demanding that it bow down to U.S. demands and domination of the region.

These events again remind the peoples of the real danger that U.S. imperialism may spread its "war against terrorism" from Iraq, to Syria, Iran and other countries.

Intensifying the Occupation and War Against Palestine

At the same time, Israel is escalating its war against the Palestinian people.

On October 10, Israel launched "Operation Enchanted Day" by attacking the Rafah refugee camp in the Gaza Strip . At least six Palestinians were killed, including an 8-year old boy, and 50 people were wounded. Most of the casualties occurred when a helicopter fired missiles into a crowd of civilians.

Earlier in the week Israel had deployed two additional battalions in the West Bank and Gaza and put another 4 battalions of reservists on alert status.

In addition, Israel has begun "Phase 2" of its construction of a "security fence" walling off the West Bank. Phase 2 will cut deep inside Palestinian territory and create horseshoe shaped barriers to encircle several Israel settlements. This security fence is being used both to expropriate more Palestinian land (including 15% of the best agricultural land in the West Bank) and also to cut Palestinian towns off from each other, breaking the West Bank up into separate cantons and undermining the territorial integrity and economic viability of any future Palestinian state.

On 10/2, the Israeli government also announced plans for building 660 more housing units in various West Bank settlements including Jerusalem.

The "security fence" as well as the continuous expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank, vividly demonstrate that the Israeli state has no intention of living in peace with the Palestinian people and recognizing their right to a sovereign state. Rather, Israel aims at colonizing and annexing all of Palestine.

As for Israel's sponsor - U.S. imperialism - it has made the suppression of the Palestinian people a high priority in its plans to make the entire Middle East "safe" for U.S. colonial rule. This is because the Palestinian liberation struggle remains a clarion call to all the Arab peoples to rise in struggle against U.S. imperialist domination and dictate.

WAR IS THE PRODUCT OF THE IMPERIALIST SYSTEM

George Bush is very explicit in saying that the "war on terrorism" is going to continue for many years and be extended to many more countries.

What is the cause of this war program and why is it intensifying at this time? Answering this question is a necessary part of solving the problem - of stopping the wars; answering this question is fundamental to building an independent political movement which empowers people to make the changes necessary to create a world of peace and friendship.

The first part of the answer is that the U.S. government's war program is a product of the capitalist-imperialist system. Imperialism is a system through which the U.S. monopolies have exported their capital to the four ends of the earth, grabbing between 33%-50% of their annual profits by robbing the resources and exploiting the peoples of other countries.

This system of colonialism and domination - these relations of exploitation and oppression - rest on violence. In the last 100 years, the U.S. government has waged hundreds of war - throughout Latin America, in Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, in Afghanistan and Iraq, etc., etc., - to grab economic territory and suppress the struggles of the peoples for independence and liberation.

Thus, U.S. imperialism is warlike by its very nature - the U.S. monopoly capitalist class is a class which lives by war and colonialism.

But this is not all. Today, U.S. militarism is at a fever pitch.

U.S. capitalism has adopted the Hitlerite doctrine that "Might Makes Right" and is unleashing war against all of humanity. This rabid militarism is an inevitable result of the ever-growing and unresolvable crisis of the imperialist system. Driven by its own internal contradictions and the relentless drive to make more profit - to exploit more peoples - U.S. imperialism needs to expand its empire.

But U.S. capitalism is continually coming up against obstacles - against peoples who are fighting for their liberation from imperialism, against countries which are defending their independence and against rival imperialist powers who are also trying to grab economic territory and colonies for themselves. The strategy of U.S. imperialism is to overcome any and all resistance by relying on its military force. Thus, U.S. imperialism need war.

In other words, the war program of the U.S. government is not merely a "bad policy" or the pet project of a few "ultra-right-wing politicians."

It is an inevitable result of the capitalist-imperialist system and the common program of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Precisely because both these parties are bought-and-paid-for by the monopoly capitalists, history shows that the wars of U.S. imperialism have been waged by both parties.

Thus, the anti-war movement must organize itself independently of these parties of war and direct its struggle against them. In the short run, we can prevent or stop particular wars by countering the organized power of the people to the power of the capitalist warmakers. The need is to mobilize ever-wider sections of the people against each and every aggressive step taken by the government and, in the course of this work, organize a proactive movement which demands the complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops stationed abroad and an end to U.S. aggression against other countries.

In the final analysis, we can only end all wars by getting rid of the capitalist-imperialist system. By eliminating the relations of colonialism and exploitation, we will eliminate the source of war (the drive of the exploiting classes for the domination of other peoples).

The peoples' aim is nothing less than to bring into being a world in which the sovereignty of every country is guaranteed - a world without racism, exploitation and domination.

IRAQ'S ENTIRE ECONOMY IS BEING TAKEN OVER BY FOREIGN CAPITAL

On September 21, the "Governing Council," a handful of so-called ministers appointed by U.S. military authorities to give an "Iraqi face" to U.S. colonial occupation, announced its economic program.

Iraq's entire economy will be put up for sale to foreign capitalists and bankers. For the last 30 years, virtually all Iraqi companies were state-owned and for the last 12 years there has been no foreign ownership. But since occupying the country, the U.S. military - although it has not found any "weapons of mass destruction" - has been quick to see that Iraq's economic infrastructure is turned over to American capitalists. Already, U.S. companies have grabbed contracts worth billions of dollars.

The latest measures call for selling-off all state-owned companies and allowing 100% foreign ownership in all economic sectors except natural resources. In addition, six foreign banks will be permitted to purchase up to 100% of local Iraqi banks over the next 5 years. At the same time, the Finance Minister of the "Governing Council" announced a minimum 15% income tax for all individuals and a special 5% "reconstruction" sales tax on all imports. These monies will go mainly to pay U.S. capitalists for "rebuilding" the country that they destroyed. Under the former Iraqi government there were no income or sales taxes imposed on the people.

The Finance Minister Kamil Mubdir al-Gailani said that the new economic measures "will significantly advance efforts to build a free and open market economy in Iraq." Within moments of the announcement, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow praised the new program as "polices that offer real promise" and Joseph Saba, regional director of the World Bank, said "the steps they are taking are major steps forward in terms of creating an environment for investment."

As anyone can see, U.S. imperialism has used and is using its military power to rob the wealth of Iraq and turn the country into a direct U.S. colony - owned lock, stock and barrel by the U.S. capitalists and run by the U.S. military.

ANOTHER "PEACE" CANDIDATE

On September 18, Wesley Clark, a former general, announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Across the board, Democrats, including prominent leaders like Bill Clinton as well as the party's opportunist "left-wing" helpers like "The Nation," Michael Moore and others, are literally falling over themselves praising Clark and advertising him as a "peace candidate" who can "beat George Bush."

Clark, who earned his first "military spurs" in U.S. imperialism's genocidal war in Vietnam, also includes on his resume: 1) commander of the U.S.-NATO war against Yugoslavia which dismembered this sovereign country; 2) commander of U.S. Southern command 1996-97 during which time Clark, amongst other things, further escalated the U.S. counter-insurgency war in Colombia; 3) commander of the U.S. army national training center during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, etc.

As for the present and U.S. imperialism's "war on terrorism," Clark, far from opposing it, is advising George Bush and the U.S. high command on the best way of waging it.

For example, in a June 15 interview on "Meet the Press," Clark echoed Bush all along the line, calling for the interdiction of North Korean ships, relying on the "military card at the end" to force Iran to accept "weapons inspections," etc.

On Iraq, Clark, like the rest of the Democratic candidates, calls for greater multilateral support while adamantly insisting that the U.S. occupation must continue for "several years. . . . We'd like to get the numbers down to 75,000 troops or less. It's not clear if that can be done. . . . The simple fact is as long as there's a threat over there you can't reduce the force. So I think we're going to be there in a substantial number for a long time."

In our opinion, a political party and political leadership which welcomes Wesley Clark as a "peace candidate" must be called by its real name - a party of war and fascism.

FREEDOM RIDERS FIGHT FOR RIGHTS OF IMMIGRANTS

On October 4, several hundred thousand people rallied in New York City in support of immigrant rights. This massive action was the culmination of a two-week long Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride which galvanized people in more than 100 cities across the country.

The Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride was initiated by the AFL-CIO and spearheaded by the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees union. The Freedom Ride began with thousands of immigrants boarding buses in 10 major cities - San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Miami, Boston, Chicago, Houston and Las Vegas. The Freedom riders traveled more than 20,000 miles, stopping in 100 cities in 46 states to rally support for: 1) legal status and citizenship for 9 million undocumented immigrants; 2) ironclad protections for the union rights and civil rights for all immigrants; 3) an end to the government's persecution and attacks on immigrants which have escalated dramatically since the start of the so-called "war on terrorism;" and 4) increases in granting of immigrant visas to facilitate family reunification.

In every city they visited, the freedom riders were met with large rallies and other actions organized by local unions, churches, community organizations, immigrant-rights groups and others. At the same time, the freedom riders joined in local struggles. For example, in Chicago, the freedom riders and hundreds of local supporters joined in picketing the Congress Hotel where workers, mainly immigrants, have been on strike for eight weeks, after the hotel refused to accept the terms of a city-wide contract covering most union hotels in Chicago. In Omaha, Nebraska and Tar Heel, North Carolina, the freedom riders came out in support of unionization drives amongst meatpacking workers.

There are 30 million immigrants in the country and they make up 12.4% of the workforce but are generally stuck in the lowest paying jobs and face persecution and discrimination in all spheres of life. Forty-three percent (43%) of immigrant workers are paid less than $7.50 an hour and many undocumented workers are paid less than the legal minimum wage. Immigrant workers are routinely persecuted, fired and even deported for exercising such elementary rights as the right to unionize.

In the last 2 years, the government, at all levels, as stepped up its persecution of immigrants as part of its so-called "war on terrorism." At least 13,000 immigrants have been deported for trivial visa violations. Thousands have been imprisoned (and many denied legal due process), beaten and harassed. Islamic charity organizations have been suppressed and their assets expropriated by the government. The police and FBI have raided mosques and imposed a real reign of terror in Arab communities.

Defending the rights of immigrants is part and parcel of defending the rights of all human beings.

By superexploiting immigrants and forcing them into a subcaste, the capitalists undermine the economic rights of the whole working class, forcing down the wages of all and undermining the collective struggles.

Likewise the political persecution of immigrants is an attack on the democratic liberties of all and in particular an attempt to silence the voice of people who are speaking out against the aggressive wars being launched by the U.S. government.

Thus the workers and people cannot rise to challenges they face without uniting themselves and resolutely standing in defense of the rights of immigrants.

HEALTH CARE MUST BE GUARANTEED FOR ALL

On September 29, the Census Bureau reported that 2.4 million Americans lost their health insurance last year. This was the largest increase in 10 years and brought the total number of uninsured to 43.6 million or 15.2% of the population.

The uninsured include 8.5 million children and 20 million full-time workers. According to the Census Bureau, one primary reason for the dramatic increase in the uninsured is the fact that employers are slashing health coverage for their workers. In 2002 only 61.3% of Americans were covered through employer-sponsored health plans. In 1980, nearly all workers were covered under employer-paid plans.

At the same time, workers who remain covered are being forced to pay more and more in co-premiums, co-payments and deductibles. According to a comprehensive study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, since 1988 the cost of co-premiums for workers increased by 400%-500%. In 1988, the average co-premium for single coverage was only $8/ month but by 2002, the figure was $42/month; for family coverage the average co-premium was went from $52/month to $201/month. When the cost of deductibles and co-payments are added in, the average family with employer-sponsored insurance paid $2,412/year in health expenses. The Kaiser survey also indicated that for the coming year, 79% of all employers plan to raise the cost of employee contributions.

Yet even while the private sector is failing to provide vitally needed coverage, the government is also slashing funds for health care. Over the last 3 years, every state has made drastic cuts in Medicaid, the primary health insurance program for the poor. Thirty-four states reduced or restricted eligibility for Medicaid; 35 states slashed benefits, reducing or eliminating coverage for dental, vision, physicians' visits, home care and other services; and 32 states increased co-payments required from beneficiaries, especially co-payments for prescription drugs but also for doctor's visits, outpatient services , hearing, vision, dental and other services. The trend of cutbacks in Medicaid is also expected to continue.

This situation is a criminal indictment of the current health care system. The problem is that health care is produced not to meet the needs of the people and guarantee their health but with sole aim of maximizing profits for the health care monopolies. Thus as the big HMO's and insurance companies keep raising prices, companies keep slashing health care benefits as a way of cutting wages and the government refuses to recognize that health care is a right which must be guaranteed for every American.

It is up to the people to come into the political arena and demand a fundamental change. The profit-motive must be taken out of health care and the government must be required to make all the investments needed to guarantee comprehensive and free care for everyone.

NECESSITY OF ENDING THE U.S. BLOCKADE AGAINST CUBA

Below we reprint excerpts from the report presented last month by Cuba to the U.N. Secretary General on the General Assembly's Resolution 57/11.

Introduction

For more than 40 years, the Cuban people have confronted the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the government of the United States of America, one of the most cruel, inhuman and prolonged policies of hostility endured by any people in the history of human civilization.

From the very moment of the triumph of the Revolution, when the people of Cuba made a reality of the enjoyment of their right to self-determination by destroying the foundations of the neocolonial regime maintained on the island by the United States, the U.S. authorities imposed various economic sanctions against Cuba with the express goal of causing "hunger, despair and the overthrow of government," as stated in an official U.S. State Department document dated April 6, 1960.

Throughout these last 44 years, a total of 10 different U.S. administrations have merely reinforced and expanded the complex system of laws and measures that make up the blockade established by the U.S. government against the people of Cuba. This policy has inflicted and continues to inflict serious and onerous damages on the Cuban people's material, psychological and spiritual welfare, while seriously hindering its economic, cultural and social development.

It is enough to remember that six in every ten Cubans have been born and have lived their whole lives under the system of sanctions described, which has been further accompanied by military aggression, biological warfare, illegal radio and television broadcasting, terrorist activities, attempts on the lives of the country's leaders, the encouragement of illegal emigration, and other hostile acts promoted, financed, supported or permitted by successive U.S. administrations. The primary goal of the blockade is quite simply that of effecting the economic and social asphyxiation of the Cuban nation, by depriving it of the basic means of survival. The prohibitions and restrictions imposed on the Cuban people by the blockade are totally lacking in any legal, moral or ethical basis. In accordance with Item C of Article II of the Geneva Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of 9 December 1948, the blockade imposed by the U.S. government against Cuba qualifies as an act of genocide and therefore a crime under international law.

The current Republican administration of President George W. Bush has stepped up the measures and prohibitions of the blockade against Cuba to unprecedented levels. . . .

Those who promote such aggression as a means of bringing an end to the process of revolutionary transformations sovereignly undertaken by the Cuban people have continued to fabricate, one after another, successive and false pretexts to promote their plans.

Consequently, Cuba is maintained, with no justification whatsoever, on the list illegitimately drawn up by the U.S. State Department of countries that allegedly promote or protect terrorism in the world. In addition, officials from the Bush administration have repeated false accusations regarding Cuba's alleged capacity for the production of biological weapons.

At the same time, the U.S. government - the same one that has assumed the right to limit the self-determination of any people in the world through its so-called "preemptive strikes", and is holding thousands of individuals in legal limbo and subhuman conditions at the Guant namo Naval Base and on its own continental territory - uses blackmail and coercion year after year to impose a resolution that manipulates the issue of human rights, so as to fabricate an illegitimate pretext for its policy of hostility towards Cuba.

In the meantime, the Migration Accords signed between the two countries in 1994 and 1995 have been a particular target for attack by the enemies of the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba. The basic goal is to put an end to the orderly migratory flow established in these agreements and thereby incite massive illegal emigration from the island, as a result of the difficult conditions imposed on the Cuban people by the blockade and the encouragement of illegal emigration entailed by the absurd and murderous "Cuban Adjustment Act". Unprecedented in history, this legislation stipulates special guarantees and rights, including residence in the United States, exclusively for Cubans who arrive on U.S. soil illegally. This treatment contrasts sharply with the way in which millions of citizens of other countries who reach the territory of the superpower in the same way are hunted down, physically and psychologically abused, incarcerated and deported.

The response of the U.S. government to the adoption of General Assembly resolution 57/11, which received the votes of 173 states in favor of demanding that the U.S. government put an end to its policy of blockade against Cuba, has simply been an intensification of its illegal sanctions against the island. . . .

Preliminary studies show that the damages resulting from the application of this genocidal policy against Cuba now surpass 72 billion U.S. dollars. This is a conservative figure, and does not include the more than 54 billion dollars in direct damages caused to Cuban economic and social targets through acts of sabotage and terrorism promoted, organized and financed from the United States. . ... .

While these economic sanctions and restrictions have been accompanied throughout more than four decades by initiatives to create, finance and direct internal subversion on the island, this particular administration has increased open support for the subversion of Cuban constitutional order to unprecedented levels. The U.S. Interests Section in Havana has been used to provide resources and financing and issue instructions to groups of mercenaries paid by and working for the superpower, with the aim of fomenting subversive and pro-annexation activities within Cuba. This is a clear violation and challenge to Cuban institutionality and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Added to all of this is the decision by President George W. Bush to designate and promote officials with an openly anti-Cuban stance to key positions in the U.S. government. The consistently threatening discourse of President Bush and these officials with regard to Cuba is clear evidence of the dangers facing the Cuban people. Some of them have gone so far as to state that military aggression against Cuba has not been definitively ruled out.

The escalation of anti-Cuban propaganda and the United States' violation of the bilateral Migration Accords - including, among other serious aspects, a drastic reduction in the granting of visas for both emigrants and temporary visitors to the United States from our country - are aimed at provoking a migratory crisis that could be used as a pretext for intervention in Cuba.

This past March 26, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell announced the granting of significant federal funds to support illegal radio and television broadcasting aimed at Cuba, which contravenes the regulations established by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The violation of our radio space with over 2,200 hours of broadcasting against Cuba weekly is aimed at fomenting internal subversion, acts of sabotage, illegal emigration, and the dissemination of outrageous lies and hoaxes against our country. . . ...

On March 24, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), one of the U.S. government agencies that ensure the implementation of the blockade, had issued new regulations that reinforced the blockade policy. Even further restrictions were placed on travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens, and the granting of licenses for people-to-people educational exchange was completely eliminated. At the same time, in keeping with this escalation of aggression, steps were adopted to facilitate travel to Cuba for those who want to come to our country in order to supply the mercenary groups who conspire to subvert the Cuban constitutional order. These new regulations joined with a toughening of sanctions against U.S. citizens who travel to Cuba. . ... .

Conclusions

The intensification of the policy of blockade and the growing escalation of U.S. aggression towards the Cuban people - including the threat of an armed invasion - irrefutably demonstrate the refusal of the government of President George W. Bush to respect the will of the overwhelming majority of the international community, expressed in successive resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly.

The maintenance and reinforcement of the illegal policy of blockade against Cuba serve to prove once again the current Republican administration's contempt for international law and multilateralism.

Not a single sector within the economic and social activities of the Cuban people has been spared the destructive and destabilizing effect of the web of actions and measures encompassed by the United States' policy of blockade. Preliminary studies have shown that the total amount of economic losses incurred by Cuba during the more than four decades that the blockade has been in force could already surpass 72 billion dollars.

The extraterritorial application of the U.S. government's blockade against Cuba, institutionalized and systematized through the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, in addition to violating international law, has provoked serious additional damages to the national economy over the last decade. . . .

Cuba has the right and the duty to continue to denounce the damages and violations that the policy of blockade has imposed on its people and on international law. At the same time, Cuba reiterates its determination to defend above all, with the power of the truth and of ideas - its people's full enjoyment of the right to sovereignly establish its own political, economic and social system. Neither threats nor aggressions will bend the will of the Cuban people to defend the profound process of revolutionary transformations that have brought it so much dignity and so many benefits in these last 44 years.

For all of the above, Cuba calls upon the international community once again to unequivocally express its support for an end to the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States of America against Cuba. In this way, it will be defending the ideal of a better world, where justice and the rule of law prevail for everyone equally.

(For the full text of this report see the Anti-Imperialist News Service: www.anti-imperialist.org). <http://www.anti-imperialist.org).>

 

Volume 17, No. 22 October 26, 2003

TENS OF THOUSANDS DEMAND AN END TO THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ

On Saturday, October 25, tens of thousands of demonstrators took part in anti-war protests in both Washington D.C. and San Francisco.

In Washington D.C., tens of thousands gathered near the Washington monument for an "End the Occupation" rally, followed by a march to the White House and U.S. Department of Justice. In addition to calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, demonstrators were protesting the passage of the U.S. Patriot Act - legislation passed two years ago which criminalizes dissent and political opposition within the U.S.

In San Francisco, thousands of workers, students, and anti-war activists from various cities on the west-coast rallied at the Civic Center Plaza and then marched to Jefferson Square Park. Speaker after speaker denounced the U.S. occupation of Iraq and called for the immediate withdrawal of troops.

People at both protests raised demands against U.S. imperialism's "international war against terrorism" and spoke out in defense of the sovereignty of countries and the right of every people to determine their own affairs free of imperialist interference. Banners and literature denounced U.S. pressure against North Korea and the Korean people and supported the struggles of the peoples in Palestine, Colombia, the Philippines and elsewhere. People repeatedly spoke out against the nonstop militarization of the country and the government's growing fascism.

These demonstrations show that while Bush keeps escalating wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the American people are strengthening their opposition and organizing to put a stop to the government's war program.

Only the Peoples Can Stop the Wars!

PROTESTS GREET BUSH IN ASIA AND AUSTRALIA

Tens of thousands of demonstrators greeted President Bush, during his week-long visit to Asia and Australia, from October 16-23.

In Tokyo, Japan, scores of demonstrators turned out at the U.S. Embassy as President Bush arrived on October 17. They demanded the United States give up its nuclear arsenal and enact an international nuclear test ban treaty. The protest, organized by the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers, coincided with Bush's arrival in Japan for an overnight stay before attending a regional summit -- the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (in Bangkok, Thailand).

On October 18, President Bush arrived in the Philippines for an eight-hour visit where he reiterated pledges of more military aid for Manila. Bush had already promised to provide 20 helicopters, transport planes, patrol boats and 30,000 rifles last May when Philippine President Arroyo visited the White House.

During Bush's visit, thousands of demonstrators marched with banners denouncing the U.S. leader as a warmonger and enemy of poor farmers. "This is a question of patriotism by the Philippine people against U.S. imperialism," said Crispin Beltran, a congressman leading one group of protesters. Waving anti-U.S. placards and streamers saying "Ban Bush" and "Bush No. 1 terrorist," thousands of protesters marched from the University of the Philippines campus in suburban Quezon City. The marchers were met by police in riot gear backed by water cannon and tear gas who stopped them outside the House of Representatives building, where Bush addressed a joint session of Congress. During the address, a number of Philippine legislators walked out.

On the same day, in Hong Kong, Filipinos marched to the U.S. consulate to protest against Bush's visit, demanding that Bush stand trial for "his crimes against humanity" during the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

On October 19, thousands of anti-war activists waved banners and shouted slogans in Bangkok, Thailand as President Bush held talks ahead of the summit. Chanting "U.S. Troops Get Out of Iraq " and "George Bush Go Back," they marched from Chulalongkorn University to a square in the central shopping district one mile from the hotel where Bush was meeting Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

On October 22, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Australia's main cities to protest Bush's arrival.

"We're demonstrating to say we oppose the policies of the Bush administration and particularly the ongoing occupation of Iraq. We also oppose the Australian government's involvement in that occupation," protest organizer Nick Everett told reporters. "The Australian government should reject any further requests for assistance from the U.S.," he said.

Large demonstrations took place in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

During his 20-hour visit to Australia, Bush was greeted not only by protesters outside, but also from inside Australia's parliament where he was heckled and shouted down during his speech.

U.N. CONDEMNS ISRAELI WALL

On 10/24, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon announced plans to further extend the wall which Israel is building across the West Bank to include a section deep in the Jordan Valley near the border with Jordan.

The wall, which includes electronic fences, razor wire, trenches and concrete barriers, puts thousands of acres of West Bank land and tens of thousands of Palestinians on the Israeli side while further cantonizing the West Bank into isolated communities. It is part of Israel's program of annexing the West Bank and preventing a future Palestinian state.

The new plan came 2 days after the UN General Assembly passed a resolution denouncing the wall by a vote of 144 to 4 opposed (including the U.S.). The U.S. recently vetoed a similar resolution in the Security Council.

The resolution "demands that Israel stop and reverse the construction of the wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem, which is in departure of the Armistice Line of 1949 and is in contradiction to relevant provisions of international law."

Commenting on the U.N. resolution, Israel's deputy Prime Minister Olmert said: "the fence will continue being built...If the whole world is on one side and America and Israel on the other side, I'm proud to be on the American side."

CHICAGO TEACHERS WAGE CONTRACT STRUGGLE

Thirty-three thousand (33,000) Chicago teachers and school employees are locked in a sharp contract struggle with the Board of Education.

The Board is demanding givebacks, including shifting a greater burden of health costs onto the workers and increasing the length of the school day without a commensurate increase in pay. The Board also wants to lock the teachers into a 5-year contract calling for only a 4% raise/year; when the health care givebacks, lengthened work day and rising cost-of-living are factored in, 4% amounts to a sizeable wage cut.

The teachers are resisting these givebacks and fighting for a decent raise. Over the last 8 years, school employees have received little or no raises and keep falling further behind inflation. As a result, the yearly salaries of Chicago teachers are several thousand dollars less than teachers in many other big cities as well as in local suburban districts. Teacher aides in Chicago do not even come close to making a living wage.

Teachers are also demanding that the Board increase investments in the schools in order to guarantee students all the conditions necessary to receive a modern education.

Across the city, school buildings are overcrowded to the point where classes are literally held in closets and hallways. Legally mandated instruction, including special education, ESL, etc., is denied students because of lack of staff and facilities. While the federal government recommends elementary school class sizes of no more than 18 and, while the teachers' current contract limits elementary class size to 28, classes typically include 30-35 students and in many cases even more. Amongst other demands, teachers are insisting on reductions in class size and mandatory, enforceable caps on class size.

In the course of the struggle, the teachers are confronting and overcoming many obstacles. Earlier this year, the Board of Education arbitrarily insisted on ending negotiations, repeating government's tired refrain that it had "no money." At the same time, the big business media has tried to turn public opinion against the teachers insisting that in "these hard economic times" teachers should just accept their fate. Even the local union leadership turned to scare tactics, trying to force teachers to accept the concessions contract.

But the teachers are not intimidated. They are resisting the concessions contract and refusing to let others dictate the terms of their struggle. Teachers are taking matters into their own hands by initiating local meetings at schools across the city and networking amongst themselves. Through these forums, as well as citywide meetings and in their union's House of Delegates, teachers are speaking out about their conditions, sticking by their demands and strengthening their unity.

The teachers are determined to win a decent contract with no givebacks, a real wage increase and improved working and teaching conditions which benefit all the children of Chicago.

The teachers deserve the support of all the working people.

 

Volume 17, No. 23 November 11, 2003

THE MILITARY TACTICS OF U.S. COLONIALISM

As the resistance to U.S. occupation grows in Iraq, the U.S. government keeps escalating its counter-insurgency war.

Earlier this month, Bush again repeated that the war may continue for years. On November 4, the Pentagon alerted another 43,0000 Reserve and National Guard troops for a yearlong duty in Iraq or Kuwait. In the same week, Congress approved Bush's request for another $87 billion to continue the war while Tom Daschle and other Democratic Party leaders sent Bush a letter, insisting that the "U.S. stay the course" in Iraq. The attitude of the government is well expressed by Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, the current top U.S. commander in Iraq, who, in commenting on the growing U.S. casualties and the strength of the Iraqi resistance, called it "strategically and operationally insignificant."

The methods and tactics used by U.S. imperialism in this war reflect its aims. The U.S. has trampled the sovereignty of the Iraqi nation underfoot and everyday the U.S. army is determined to show the Iraqi people who is the master and who must become the servant. Therefore, the Pentagon not only wantonly violates the rights of the people and indiscriminately attacks them. The Pentagon, in fact, consciously targets the entire population, regularly employs the methods of collective reprisals and aims to terrorize the entire people.

The following incidents, only a few amongst many, give some idea of the methods employed by the U.S. occupying army.

- On November 8, the U.S. military launched "Operation Ivy Cyclone" in Tikrit, a city of 120,000 people about 120 miles north of Baghdad. In a pre-dawn barrage which included the dropping of 500-pound bombs on residential buildings, U.S. warplanes, helicopters, tanks and armored vehicles destroyed a section of the city in retaliation for the downing of a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter. "We want to remind this town that we have teeth and claws and we will use them," said Lt. Col. Steven Russell of the 4th Infantry Division which led the raid on Tikrit.

- Earlier in the week, U.S. soldiers backed by Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles repeatedly launched midnight raids on Tikrit residential neighborhoods, bursting into homes, battering down the doors and arresting many villagers. Hundreds of villagers, with hoods placed over their heads, have been seen in many other towns being led-away by U.S. soldiers.

- On the morning of November 2, in the Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib, U.S. troops destroyed an entire market area during a "search for suspected militants." Eyewitnesses reported that U.S. soldiers opened fire indiscriminately on the market place with high-caliber weapons, while destroying every single market stall.

- On October 31, U.S. troops sealed off the town of Uja, a village about 95 miles north of Baghdad. At midnight, soldiers erected razor wire around the entire perimeter of the village, set up checkpoints, and then ordered all adults to register for identity cards for movement in and out of the village.

Numerous other eyewitnesses have reported that it is common for U.S. troops to react with a hair-trigger response and lethal force at checkpoints or in civilian-populated areas.

In a 56-page report released in October, "Human Rights Watch" admitted that 100 civilian deaths occurred at the hands of U.S. forces from May 1 to October 1, all of which appeared to have taken place "in circumstances that warrant an official investigation." The human rights investigation found a "pattern by U.S. forces of over-aggressive tactics, indiscriminate shooting in residential areas and a quick reliance on lethal force." The report also found that Baghdad residents complained frequently of "reckless and disrespectful behavior, physical abuse, and theft by U.S. troops." In many cases, the report states, U.S. soldiers often "behave in an arrogant and abusive manner, often in ways that are considered highly insulting or even taboo to Iraqis....such as the touching or even searching by soldiers of women and girls and soldiers' putting their feet on the heads of detained Iraqis."

The U.S. military occupation authorities have established largescale "detention camps" holding thousands of prisoners across Iraq and the U.S. carries out daily mass sweeps and arrests. Ordinary court procedures have been nullified and calls for political reform have all been postponed.

THE ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT AND THE 2004 ELECTION

During the last several weeks, Michael Thorburn, editor of "The Worker," participated in a number of discussions with anti-war activists about some of the issues raised in relation to the 2004 elections.

Below we summarize several of the main points brought out in these discussions.

1) The most important thing to grasp about the present period is that the people of the U.S. are creating something new - a mass, nationwide anti-war movement. Over the last 2 years, literally tens of millions of people have started to come into active political life to oppose the war in Afghanistan, in Iraq and the so-called "war against terrorism."

2) The urgent question is to assist the consciousness and independent organization of this movement and give political expression to the people's desire for peace.

3) As the anti-war movement has grown, the political establishment has been forced to finally acknowledge its existence and, in the process, develop new political tactics for undermining and marginalizing the movement.

Today, the Republicans and Democrats are using the elections to put tremendous pressure against the anti-war movement, demanding that it give up its principled demands and independent organizations in order to campaign for one or another capitalist politicians.

4) The elections are not simply, or even primarily, a question of picking one or another candidate or choosing not to vote. The elections are a broad ideological, organizational and political campaign waged by the capitalist parties and mass media against the anti-war movement. For example, right now a sharp struggle is going on in nearly every anti-war organization, rally, conference, etc. over whether to persist on the path of independent, anti-war activity or liquidate this practical work in order to "get out the vote."

This political struggle cannot be ignored; only by isolating the politics of war and the politics of compromise with war can we consolidate our movement and advance.

The "Lesser Evil"

Several points were made exposing the arguments in favor of electioneering:

1) Those who try to stampede people into the arms of the Democrats by creating a hysteria about Bush ("anything is better than Bush") are really liquidating the struggle against Bush and underrating the present dangers. Bush's war program - the so-called "war on terrorism" - is the bipartisan program of both Republicans and Democrats because it arises from the capitalist-imperialist system itself. Anti-war activists must not only provide an answer to what social forces and political parties are behind the war program, we must build a force capable of countering the parties of war and imperialism.

2) The claim that the Democrats are a so-called "lesser evil" must be exposed by reminding ourselves that the Democrats consistently support the war program - voting for the war in Afghanistan, calling for the U.N. and other multilateral armed forces to strengthen the U.S-led occupation of Iraq, etc. The history and class interests of the Democrats show that they have always carried out the wars of U.S. imperialism.

We must reject the "slippery slope" logic of pragmatism which ends up supporting the most reactionary candidates on the basis that only such candidates are "electable" or the "only choice."

It was emphasized that the Democrats, in addition to liquidating the immediate demands of the anti-war movements, work to import the chauvinist aims and ideology of the capitalists into the popular movement. A continuous and uncompromising struggle must be waged against this chauvinism.

There is an Alternative!

The biggest distortion of all, is the claim that we must be "realistic" and accept the so-called "lesser evil" because there is "no alternative." The alternative already exists in the millions and tens of millions of Americans who are opposing the wars and who have no stake in them. The task is to give an independent political expression to this already existing movement.

In conclusion it can be said that the way forward for anti-war activists is to persist in:

1) speaking out against war and standing up for their own principles;

2) telling the truth about the political forces which support war and militarism;

3) uniting with others to strengthen the independent anti-war movement and further organize it.

CHICAGO TEACHERS' CONTRACT STRUGGLE

Thirty-three thousand (33,000) Chicago teachers and other school employees are locked in a sharp contract struggle with the Board of Education.

The Board's last contract offer includes a number givebacks and adds up to a cut in real wages. With the inflation rate currently running at 3.6% per year the Board has proposed a 5-year contract with a nominal wage increase of 4% per year. The Board is also demanding that teachers pay more in health care co-premiums and co-payments and work an additional 3 days per year.

The teachers are resisting these givebacks and fighting for a decent raise. Over the last 8 years, school employees have received little or no raises and keep falling further behind inflation. As a result, the yearly salaries of Chicago teachers are several thousand dollars less than teachers in many other big cities as well as in local suburban districts. (For example, the salary range of Chicago teachers averages $7,000-$9,000/year less than Los Angeles, $5,000-$18,000/year less than New York, and $3,000-$35,000 less than Deerfield). Teacher aides and other educational staff in Chicago do not even come close to making a living wage (an aide with 10 years experience is paid only $21,000/year).

For Increased Investment in the Schools

Teachers are also demanding that the Board increase investments in the schools in order to guarantee students all the conditions necessary to receive a modern education.

Across the city, school buildings are overcrowded to the point where many classes are literally held in closets and hallways. Legally mandated instruction, including special education, ESL, etc., is denied students because of lack of staff and facilities. While the federal government officially recommends elementary school class sizes of no more than 18 and, while the teachers' current contract limits elementary class size to 28, classes typically include 30-35 students and in many cases even more. Amongst other demands, teachers are insisting on reductions in class size and mandatory, enforceable caps on class size; teachers also need and are demanding at least one preparation period/day.

In the course of their struggle, the teachers are confronting and overcoming many obstacles. Earlier this year, the Board of Education arbitrarily insisted on ending negotiations, repeating government's tired refrain that it had "no money." At the same time, the big business media has tried to turn public opinion against the teachers, insisting that in "these hard economic times" teachers should just accept their fate. Even the local union leadership turned to scarce tactics, trying to force teachers to accept the concessions contract.

But the teachers are not intimidated. They are resisting the concessions contract. They are organizing local meetings at schools across the city and networking amongst themselves to discuss their conditions, stick by their demands and strengthen their unity. In the House of Delegates and a citywide vote in which nearly all union members participated, the teachers overwhelming rejected the Board's "final offer," and forced the Board back to the negotiating table. Most recently the union's House of Delegates passed a strike authorization further strengthening the teachers' hand in negotiations.

The teachers are determined to win a decent contract with no givebacks, a real wage increase and improved working and teaching conditions which benefit all the children of Chicago.

The teachers deserve the support of all the working people.

Editorial: SUPPORT THE TEACHERS!

The Chicago teachers and other school employees are fighting for a decent contract to improve their wages and working conditions as well as increase the city's investments in the public schools and the education of Chicago's children.

A raise for the teachers, along with increased spending for Chicago's schools, is long overdue.

In 1995, the Illinois legislature passed special laws denying Chicago teachers the right to collective bargaining over such vital issues as class size, length of school day, etc. and for several years the city's public schools have been under the arbitrary authority of the Mayor. While the politicians advertise this period as years of "Chicago school reform," the fact is that the government has systematically underinvested in the schools and the educational system has gotten worse and worse.

Teachers wages have fallen dramatically, creating a shortage of teachers who keep moving out of the city to find better jobs elsewhere. In addition, the Board of Education has destroyed the tenure system and deprived teachers of job security. Thousands of Chicago teachers are kept in the status of "full-time substitutes," without any seniority or job security for years on end while even the most senior teachers are subjected to the arbitrary whims of principals. To further undercut the teachers' union and contract, the Board keeps replacing teachers by arbitrarily creating new job titles. Also, during these "years of school reform," the Board of Education has drastically increased class sizes, often crowding 30-35, and even more, students into a class. Many schools are enrolled way beyond capacity and classes are regularly held in cafeterias, hallways and even closets. Thousands of students are denied special education, bilingual and ESL instruction and other courses mandated by law because the Board refuses to hire needed staff or purchase materials.

Similar conditions face teachers and public school students all across the country. The fact that teachers, on average, earn between $10,000 to $35,000 per year less than workers with comparable education and experience speaks volumes about just how little the government cares about the education of the youth of our country.

Thus the teachers' struggle is in the interests of all the working people and deserves their support.

In supporting the teachers, we can also renew and advance our struggles for the all-around modernization of the public schools. We must demand that the government make all the investments needed to guarantee teachers a decent salary and to guarantee the education of our children.

PROTESTS PLANNED FOR FTAA MEETING IN MIAMI

From Nov. 19-21, in Miami, tens of thousands of people will join in forums, marches and other protests against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The protests coincide with a meeting of trade ministers from 34 countries who are negotiating the provisions of the FTAA.

The FTAA is the expansion of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to every country in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, except Cuba. Negotiations on this agreement began right after the launch of NAFTA in 1994 and are scheduled to be completed in 2005. During the last three meetings - in Quebec City in April 2000, Buenos Aires in April 2001, and in Quito, Ecuador in October 2002 - negotiators tried to work out differences in the draft texts.

The proposed agreement aims at eliminating all tariff and non-tariff barriers to the "free flow" of commodities and capital. If passed, controls on foreign capital would be eliminated completely and governments would be forbidden from enacting legislation which favors local industry. Even the public sectors of the economy, such as a country's oil reserves or national forests and its infrastructure of social services, including health care, education, transportation, water supply, etc., would be put on the auction block and open to "nondiscriminatory" foreign investment. Multinational corporations would be able to initiate "investor-to-state" lawsuits and sue governments for "compensation" if a country's laws threaten corporate profits.

Thus, the FTAA will further facilitate the economic and political domination of U.S. imperialism. U.S. corporations will monopolize the market and increase their direct ownership of the natural wealth and economic infrastructure of other countries. The public sector will be privatized and every corner of the hemisphere will be available to be exploited and plundered by U.S. capitalism. The sovereignty of the Latin American countries will be further undermined; the U.S. monopolies aim at turning whole countries into plantations and turning the clock back to the days of open colonialism.

Protests Across the Hemisphere

Popular opposition to the FTAA, however, is growing throughout the hemisphere. The "Hemispheric Social Alliance," a coalition of labor, environment, religious, indigenous, women's and family farm organizations, has been organizing a popular "consultation campaign" throughout the region. Millions of people are rejecting the FTAA. Over 10 million Brazilian voters overwhelmingly opposed the FTAA in a plebiscite last year, and this year 1.8 million Mexicans have submitted ballots against the FTAA. Labor unions and organizations, representing over 40 million workers in the western hemisphere, have categorically rejected the FTAA.

In Brazil, Paraguay, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, and Peru, mass protests have been held against the FTAA, and in August, the presidents of Venezuela and Brazil called for creating a powerful South American trade bloc to counter the FTAA.

In the U.S., people are organizing public hearings, mass protests and activities to oppose the FTAA.

Many FTAA opponents have also linked the struggle against the FTAA with U.S. imperialism's general military offensive and its "war on terrorism." On September 13, a "Global Day of Action Against Militarism and War," that included protest rallies and teach-ins targeting U.S. military aggression as well as the FTAA, was held in cities throughout the U.S. and many Latin American countries.

The struggle against the FTAA is part of the struggle against U.S. domination of Latin America.

For several years now, the working class and people throughout the hemisphere have been coming out in nationwide movements against the economic takeover of their countries by U.S. and international capital. Most recently, the people in Bolivia waged a month-long general strike to stop the sell-out of their country's natural gas to foreign capitals and to protest an IMF-dictated budget which mandated cuts in social programs in order to guarantee debt repayment to international bankers. Similar political struggles keep breaking out all over the region - in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, etc.

U.S. imperialism is well aware of the growing revolt of the peoples and along with its program of economic re-colonization, it is working to strengthen its political and military domination of Latin America. The U.S. wants to include a "democracy" clause in the FTAA which demands that every country adopt a U.S.-style political system. At the same time, such slogans as "defending democracy and human rights" or "fighting international terrorism and drugs," are being used to dispatch U.S. military "advisors" and set up new U.S. bases throughout Latin America. Already, the U.S. is waging a counter-insurgency war in Colombia to suppress the people's struggles against foreign domination and exploitation.

Thus, the struggle against the FTAA must be taken up as part of the agenda of the people in opposition to U.S. imperialism and its program of economic domination, militarism and war. We must support the movements of the peoples in Latin America for economic and political sovereignty, national independence and liberation.

BACKGROUND MATERIAL ON THE FTAA

The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is the formal name given to an expansion of NAFTA that would include all of the countries in the western hemisphere (except Cuba). It is currently being negotiated by trade ministers from a total of 34 nations in North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

The FTAA represents the most far-reaching trade agreement in history, encompassing a population of 800 million and a combined GDP of $11 trillion.

At the first "Summit of the Americas" in Miami in December 1994, trade ministers from every country in the western hemisphere (except for Cuba) agreed to launch negotiations to establish a hemispheric free trade zone.

At a second summit held in Chile in 1998, a Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC), consisting of vice ministers of trade from every country and several working groups, was set up.

From the beginning, U.S. multinational corporations have played an integral part in the negotiations and discussions. Over 500 corporate representatives and a variety of corporate committees advise the American negotiators.

Currently, FTAA negotiations are occurring in secret and no texts have been made publicly available. However, statements issued from earlier summits reveal the objectives of the FTAA.

In a statement produced at the 1994 Miami summit, trade ministers reached agreement on a number of "Objectives and Principles," which include:

- economic integration of the hemisphere;

- promotion of the integration of capital markets;

- elimination of barriers and non-tariff barriers to trade;

- elimination of agricultural export subsidies;

- elimination of barriers to foreign investment;

- a legal framework to protect investors and their investments;

- enhanced government procurement measures;

- new negotiations on the inclusion of services;

- consistency with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Like NAFTA, the FTAA will allow "investor-to-state" lawsuits (Chapter 11 of NAFTA) which enable corporations to sue governments through a supra-state trade body to demand that governments eliminate any laws which interfere with the free flow of foreign capital. This includes environmental laws, local content laws, laws limiting profit repatriation, labor standards, etc.

Going beyond NAFTA, the FTAA would extend the removal of all impediments to foreign capital and the "investor-to-state" lawsuits to the service sector. This would enable foreign multinationals to "compete" on an equal basis for publicly funded services such as health care, education, water, schools, prisons, postal service, etc.

PROTEST AGAINST THE "SCHOOL OF THE ASSASSINS"

On November 21-23, thousands of people from cities all across the U.S. will demonstrate in Fort Benning, Georgia to demand the closing of the notorious "School of the Americas (SOA)" - a military training institution which has been renamed the "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation".

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation-SOA is a typical neocolonial institution and one of the means through which the U.S. trains a caste of Latin American military officers and integrates them into the Pentagon's command structure.

Over the last 50 years, nearly 60,000 military and police officials have trained at the school which has become know as "the School of Assassins" because many of its graduating officers have become some of the most notorious leaders of death-squads and have been implicated in numerous war crimes, human rights abuses, and drug-trafficking. A 1996 report by a U.S. government oversight board admitted that SOA "instruction materials.... condone practices such as executions of guerrillas, extortion, physical abuse, coercion and false imprisonment." According to these and other course manuals, anyone in Latin America who engages in strikes, circulates anti-government petitions or makes accusations of police brutality is to be viewed as a "guerrilla" and targeted as a "subversive."

The November demonstration in Fort Benning marks the 13th protest in as many years. This year, as in the past, protestors will not only demand that the school be closed, but will also call for an end to the U.S.'s phony "war on terrorism" and insist that the Pentagon stop carrying out its own terrorism throughout Latin America.

Opposition to Plan Colombia

Demonstrators at Fort Benning will denounce "Plan Colombia," a counter-insurgency program drawn up by the Pentagon with the goal of crushing the popular movements in Colombia and strengthen the direct U.S. military presence throughout the Andes region. Under "Plan Colombia," the U.S. has dispatched thousands of military "advisers" and mercenaries to Colombia, equipped the Colombian army with billions in munitions and established new U.S. bases in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.

The SOA protest will also demand an end to U.S. pressure and aggression against Cuba, and an end to U.S. interference in Venezuela, where the Pentagon and U.S. State Department are actively organizing against the elected, constitutional government.

These on-going annual protests against the SOA have not only exposed this ultra-militarist institution but also become an important school of struggle against U.S. military intervention throughout Latin America.

Today this movement faces serious challenges as the U.S. is escalating counter-insurgency operations in Colombia and throughout the continent. It is the duty of the American people to oppose U.S. imperialism's militarism and intervention in Latin American in all its forms.

PRIVATIZING WAR

The Pentagon is increasingly relying on private military contractors to help it wage its aggressive wars in Iraq and elsewhere.

A recent report from the Brookings Institute estimates that there are currently 10,000 to 20,000 private military workers on the Pentagon payroll in Iraq. These private personnel are engaged in a wide range of military activities and support work, including guarding U.S. top administrator, Paul Bremer, operating missile defense batteries, and piloting reconnaissance planes. Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Dick Cheney's Halliburton is under contract to provide support work at U.S. military bases throughout Iraq, handling everything from construction to mail delivery and cooking. This enables the Pentagon to shift regular soldiers from support work to front line combat.

In addition to Iraq, the Pentagon is employing private military contractors to fight in Afghanistan, Palestine, Liberia, Colombia and other countries.

At least 90 U.S. corporations are involved in military contracting work, earning as much as $100 billion/year. Many of these corporations are headed by retired Pentagon officers and staffed by former U.S. green berets, ex-CIA operatives, etc. They are generally equipped with the same military equipment as regular U.S. soldiers.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is a big proponent of this privatization of military operations, emphasizing that these contracts enable the Pentagon to spread its military forces to more countries while dramatically increasing the percentage of active duty military personnel who can engage in combat. According to an executive at one of these firms: "It's a massive business boom for the private security field."

Private contractors are generally free of any Congressional oversight and their casualties are not counted in reports of combat deaths and injuries.

179 COUNTRIES VOTE AGAINST THE BLOCKADE OF CUBA

The following article is reprinted from Granma, November 5.

The UN General Assembly voted by an overwhelming majority this November 4 to end the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed on Cuba by the United States.

A resolution adopted here in that respect obtained the record total of 179 votes in favor, just the United States, Israel and the Marshall Islands against, and only two abstentions.

The vote recalls declarations made by the heads of state and government at Ibero-American Summits in relation to the need to eliminate the unilateral application of measures of an economic and commercial nature affecting the unfettered development of international trade.

It also expresses concern at the continued promulgation and application of laws and regulations such as the U.S. Helm-Burton Act that affect the sovereignty of other states, the legitimate interests of entities and persons under their jurisdiction, and freedom of trade and navigation.

In consequence it reiterates its exhortation on all states to abstain from undertaking actions of this kind, and urges the most rapid repeal or annulment possible of those in existence.

The UN secretary general is asked to prepare a report on the present resolution "in the light of the aims and principles of the organization's Charter and international law for presentation to the General Assembly in its next period of sessions."

In that way the issue remains on the program of debates for next year as a question of constant interest.

Cuba received the express support of important groups of countries for its demand for an end to the blockade.

When the General Assembly session on the issue was opened, the Mexican representative was the first to speak in favor of the anti-blockade resolution. In succession so did Morocco, on behalf of the Group of 77 plus China; Jamaica, for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM); and Malaysia, which presides over the Non-Aligned Movement.

Each of them firmly expressed their opposition to the prolonged policy of harassment in violation of the UN Charter, international law and freedom of trade and navigation.

Viet Nam referred to interference in the sovereignty of states and the non-justification of a blockade that has been unable to force Cubans to give up their efforts to construct a more just society.

After Foreign Minister Felipe P‚rez Roque's speech, received with an ovation, representatives from other countries added their words of support to the resolution presented by Cuba.

The first to do so was the Namibian representative, who maintained that the application of that policy of hostility constitutes an obstacle to the millennium development goals.

South Africa lamented that the issue had to be discussed yet again, despite reiterated calls from the international community to the United States and stated that it was no surprise that the overwhelming majority continues to support the resolution under debate.

For his part the Tanzanian speaker spoke of the violations to freedom of trade and how this has worsened with the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts, which have caused fresh damage to the Cuban economy and that of third countries.

Venezuela shared the general condemnation of the U.S. measures, which constitute a flagrant violation of Cubans' human rights. It called on the General Assembly to adopt measures to repeal legislation such as the Torricelli and Helms-Burton Acts.

Sudan reiterated the right of nations to their self-determination and urged a rejection of any attempt to impose unilateral decisions against states.

Iran called on the international community to demand an end to the blockade and to prevent the utilization of food and medicine as instruments of political pressure.

Guinea noted how the continuity of the proposal in the UN symbolizes cohesive world opposition to the U.S. hostile measures against Cuba.

The representatives of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Syria, Indonesia and Laos spoke in similar terms. Given the number of countries that had asked to speak and the length of the debate, the president of the General Assembly decided to move to an immediate vote on the resolution.

PENTAGON INTENT ON BUILDING MINI-NUKES

A new report prepared by the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, entitled "Future Strategic Strike Force" calls for the U.S. to vigorously pursue building a new generation of mini-nukes, including enhanced neutron bombs and "nuclear bunker-busters." The report calls for arming a stockpile of missiles with such weapons and targeting them on smaller states.

The program of researching and preparing mini-nukes follows the guidelines of the Pentagon's 2002 "nuclear posture review" which called for a renewed role for nuclear weapons in U.S. military strategy. In addition, leading government officials are regularly calling for the use of such weapons as part of the "war against terrorism and rogue states." Amongst other things, the warmakers hope that "mini-nukes" can more easily be sold to the public as acceptable tools of warfare. According to one former Pentagon official, "Brutally put, mini-nukes would be easier to use."

As part of the same plan, the Senate recently eased restrictions on nuclear tests and the Bush administration is planning to end the 11-year moratorium on nuclear tests.

NURSES: OVERWORKED AND UNDERSTAFFED

Earlier this month, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report calling for the government to establish "minimum standards for registered and licensed nurse staffing in nursing homes."

The National Academy's report cited extensive documentation to show that hospital and nursing homes across the country endanger patients by systematically understaffing nurses and nursing assistants and by forcing these workers to put in long hours of overtime. The Academy emphasized that higher levels of nurse staffing are necessary to better monitor patients and detect changes in their conditions. The report said: "studies show that increased infections bleeding and cardiac and respiratory failure are associated with inadequate numbers of nurses." In addition, one study included in the report showed that 27% of nurses at hospitals and nursing homes work more than 13 consecutive hours at least once a week and that such extreme overwork is another "serious threat to patient safety, because fatigue slows reaction time, decreases energy, diminishes attention to detail and otherwise contributes to error."

The report called for regulations prohibiting nurses from working more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period or more than 60 hours a week. It also called for mandatory staffing minimums, insisting, for example, that intensive care units at hospitals must have at least one licensed nurse on duty for every two patients and that nursing homes should have at least one registered nurse for every 32 patients and one nursing assistant for every 8.5 patients.

The Bush administration has consistently refused to set any minimum staffing limits saying that it would cost the nursing home companies billions of dollars per year.

Facing such extreme overwork and insisting on improving the quality care, nurses and other health care workers have been waging many struggles across the country to win minimum staffing levels and relief from forced overtime. In many contract struggles, unionized workers have gained such standards and in many states political struggles are underway to gain and enforce statewide regulations.

 

Volume 17, No. 24 December 1, 2003

New Medicare Law BILLIONS FOR THE CAPITALISTS, PENNIES FOR SENIORS

At the end of November, Congress approved legislation which will dramatically change Medicare, the health insurance program covering 41 million senior citizens.

Some of the main provisions of the bill include:

- Beginning in 2006, the federal government will pay part of the cost of private insurance for prescription drugs for Medicare recipients but seniors will pay most of the costs.

Seniors who choose to enroll will pay co-premiums of $35/month or $420/year. In addition, seniors will pay the first $250 in prescription costs as an annual deductible. After that, insurance will cover 75% of a senior's next $2000 in prescription expenses. The next $2,850 in yearly costs, labelled the "doughnut hole," will be paid entirely by the seniors. Finally, insurance will pick up 95% of a senior's "catastrophic costs" in excess of $5,100/year. Altogether, out of the first $5,100 in prescription payments, seniors will pay $4,020 while insurance will pay only $1,080.

In fact, several million seniors will actually be worse off as a result of the new drug benefit. Nearly 3 million seniors are expected to lose their current employer-provided drug coverage and another 6 million seniors will lose their current Medicaid drug coverage. Both the Medicaid and company-sponsored plans are cheaper and provide better coverage than the new Medicare package.

- All the costs paid by seniors - the co-premiums, the deductible, the "doughnut hole" - are expected to increase every year as the companies will have a freehand in setting prices. In fact, the new legislation explicitly prohibits the government from using its purchasing power to lower drug costs. It also prohibits seniors from importing cheaper drugs from Canada and other countries. It is estimated that the new law will create an additional windfall of $140 billion in profits for the pharmaceutical companies.

- In addition to the fact that the new prescription drug insurance will be run by private insurers, the new law opens the door to further privatization. By 2010, private companies will be given special federal subsidies and encouraged to compete with Medicare to enroll seniors. Medicare premiums are expected to rise dramatically.

While the new Medicare law offers only pennies to seniors, it provides hundreds of billions in windfall profits for the pharmaceutical companies and big HMOs.

- The drug companies expect to gain $140 billion in extra profits as a result of the higher prices and expanded market created by the new law.

- Private insurance companies will be given $12 billion in federal monies as an "incentive" to administer the new program.

- Businesses will be given $70 billion in direct payments and $16 billion in tax credits to cover the costs of their current prescription drug insurance for retirees.

Already seniors, unions, community groups and others are organizing to overturn the new law. This struggle must be carried through. We cannot allow our senior citizens to continue to go without needed medications because they can't afford them. We cannot allow Medicare to be privatized. On the contrary. We must demand that every senior citizen - and every American - be guaranteed comprehensive and free prescription drug coverage.

WORKERS STRUGGLE TO DEFEND HEALTH INSURANCE

More than 70,000 supermarket workers, at 850 stores across Southern California, are waging a determined struggle to defend their health insurance.

In early October, workers at the Safeway-owned Vons and Pavillon grocery chains, went on strike, rejecting a master contract offered by several regional companies which would have slashed workers' health insurance by 50% to 75%. The next day, the Kroger-owned chains of Ralphs groceries and Albertsons markets, also parties to the master contract with the United Food and Commercial Workers, illegally locked out their workers.

The proposed cuts would both gut workers' health benefits while making them unaffordable for most supermarket workers who earn between $12-$14/hour. The new insurance package would eliminate dental care, vision, well-baby care and preventive office visits while forcing workers to pay as much as $10,000 on a $20,000 hospital bill.

For the last two months, the workers have kept up militant, round-the-clock pickets and on November 24, the workers extended their picket lines to the food chains' distribution centers. Teamster truck drivers and warehouse workers immediately honored the picket lines. The supermarket capitalists are trying to keep their business going by hiring replacement (scab) workers.

Not only in Southern California but all across the country, workers are confronting attempts by the capitalists to drastically cut health insurance. Every year 2 million workers are losing health coverage while millions more are paying more while getting less and less care.

Thus, strikes and other struggles are the order of the day. In the course of waging such vital struggles and supporting the struggles of other workers, we must also come out in a nationwide political movement which aims at a fundamental reform of the health care system so that everyone is guaranteed free, comprehensive health care as a human right.

U.S. PREPARES SANCTIONS AGAINST SYRIA

In mid-November the U.S. Senate voted 89 to 4 to pass the "Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act" which calls for economic and diplomatic sanctions against Syria. The bill has already been approved by the House of Representatives, by a vote of 398 to 4, and Bush has announced his intention to sign the bill into law.

The bill demands that Syria 1) end "the development and deployment of medium and long range surface to surface ballistic missiles and cease the development and production of biological and chemical weapons"; 2) "halt support for terrorism" (which includes support for various Palestinian organizations); 3) "halt the illegal imports and transshipments of Iraqi oil and illegal sales and supplies of weapons and military-related equipment to Iraq." And 4) withdraw its 20,000 troops from Lebanon.

Until the U.S. President certifies that the above demands have been met, the new law bans the export of weapons to Syria as well as so-called "dual-use items," those which the U.S. alleges have both civilian and military applications. The law also allows the U.S. President to impose a number of other sanctions, including banning all U.S. exports except food and medicine, freezing Syrian assets in the U.S., banning all U.S. investments, restricting the movement of Syrian diplomats in the U.S., forbidding Syrian-owned planes from entering U.S. airspace.

The "Syrian Accountability Act" follows the same Big Lie logic which the U.S. used to prepare its war against Iraq. Syria is branded as a "supporter of terrorism" because it does not accept U.S. dictates and domination and because it speaks out in defense of the Palestinian liberation struggle. Syria is accused of building "weapons of mass destruction" to cover over the reality that it is the U.S. government which has militarized the Middle East, flooded it with hundreds of thousands of troops, carried out the savage bombardment of Iraq, threatened nuclear-first strikes against Syria, etc.

The "Syrian Accountability Act" is a dangerous step on the road to yet another U.S. war. In voting for the law, Senator Lugar emphasized: "Syria shares a 400-mile border with Iraq. With more than 135,000 U.S. troops deployed in Iraq, Syria needs to reconsider where its future security interests lie." Similarly, Democratic Senate leader Tom Daschle said the time "to sit back and hope for Syria to change course has passed...it simply has failed one too many times to live up to these obligations."

Make no mistake about it. The U.S. government is preparing yet more wars in the Middle East and Syria is one of its next targets. U.S. imperialism aims at nothing less than recolonizing the entire region.