The Worker (Update), May 24, 2008
Published by the Workers Party, USA
P.O. Box 25716, Chicago, IL 60625

U.S. Imperialism, out of Latin America!

U.S. imperialism is increasing its militarization of Latin America and the Caribbean for the purpose of intensifying its stranglehold over the region.

On July 1, the U.S. Navy will redeploy its 4th Fleet to oversee submarines, aircraft, and ships operating in Central and South America and the Caribbean, as part of a reorganization of U.S. military command structure for the region. According to the chief of Naval Operation, Admiral Gary Roughead, "Reconsitituting the Fourth Fleet recognies the immense importance of maritime security in the southern part of the Western Hemisphere, and sends a strong signal to all the civil and military maritime services in Central and Latin America."

In addition, U.S. naval ships are currently engaged in a mission called "Partnership of the Americas," a six-month deployment in the Caribbean, Central and South America. which includes joint military exercises with multiple countries.

U.S. imperialism's contemporary and historic role in Latin America leaves no room for doubt about the grave danger it poses to the region. At this time the danger is especially pronounced, as U.S. imperialism—fighting to extend its empire under the signboard of a global "war on terrorism”—is determined to secure and fortify its strategic base.

For over a hundred years the U.S government and the U.S. monopoly capitalist class have considered Latin America their "backyard" and imposed colonialism and neocolonialism on the peoples.

A full summary of the crimes of U.S. imperialism against the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean would continue at extraordinary length, but to name a few: the 1985 invasion of Panama, the 1983 invasion of Grenada, the "contra-war" against Nicaragua, the counter-insurgency war in El Salvador. Today’s examples include: directing Colombia's brutal counter-insurgency war, threatening Venezuela, imposing a nearly 50 year old illegal blockade of Cuba and organizing repeated terrorist attacks against that country, the ongoing U.S./U.N. military occupation of Haiti, etc., etc., etc.

In recent years, heroic struggles of the peoples of the region have begun turning the tide in their own favor. In many countries, including Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and elsewhere, vast social movements are unfolding against U.S. imperialist domination and for social and economic emancipation. It is in this situation that U.S. imperialism, the sworn enemy of national liberation movements, is preparing new wars against the peoples.

As the popular movements against U.S. domination and interference grow and intensify, it is the duty of the U.S. working class and people to stand firmly with these growing liberation struggles of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean and to oppose every aggressive step taken by the U.S. government against the peoples of the region.

U.S. Imperialism, out of Latin America, lock, stock, and barrel!

Our Starting Point

The Workers Party holds that the success of the people's struggles to end the government's program of war, exploitation, racism and repression can only be achieved by the workers and people themselves.

Thus, the starting point of the Party’s work is to bring into political life the masses of people who are locked out and excluded from the political mechanisms set up by the capitalists and the opportunists.

The Party’s experience is that only by bringing revolutionary politics — the Marxist-Leninist politics of emancipation — to the people can we break the stranglehold of bourgeois politics and release the people’s initiative. This experience has proven to be the most objective thing in the world, and remains constant notwithstanding which front of the work we are concentrating on or which part of the Party's action program we are taking up.

Of course, as we take up this work, not everyone immediately joins in, and people's level of participation varies. The struggle for political power does not reduce itself to one battle.

The key issue is to create a pole of opposition to the capitalist politics and a space in which the workers and people can sort out their own aims and agenda. We do this by bringing independent politics amongst people on as consistent and broad a basis as possible. By persisting in this in one battle after another, we maximize the initiative of the people.

Thus, the Party is continuously mobilizing people on the basis of the program of economic rights, democratic renewal, a democratic foreign policy, and socialism. Our aim is for the whole working class and people to rise to assert their rights and build a new society.

Dock Workers Protest Wars

On May 1, west coast longshore workers stopped all work to call for an end to the U.S. wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.

The work stoppages involved thousands of members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) at 29 west coast ports. The dock workers led pickets and protests in Seattle and San Franciso.

Hundreds of Thousands Denied Power

Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have been or will soon be forced to go without basic utilities as companies are initiating service disconnections en masse. The arrival of warm weather means that shut-offs are now being implemented even in those areas with provisions prohibiting winter disconnections.

In addition to the burden of high food and gas prices, the immediate problem for many is that they cannot pay the exorbitant heating bills accrued over the winter months. In many parts of the country the local utility controls electric as well as gas service which means that many people will lose not only home heat, hot water and the stove, but also lights, refrigeration, air conditioning, etc.

The high price of home heating sources is ultimately a result of the same price gouging by the big oil and gas capitalists that has meant over $4/gallon prices at the gas pump. A handful of giant companies dominate all facets of the oil and gas industry and use their monopoly position to extort ever-higher prices out of the American people. According to Energy Information Administration forecasts made in December, the average American household was expected to pay nearly $1,000 for winter heating costs, and those who use heating oil were expected to pay nearly $2,000.

To make matters worse, the government at all levels has shred and all but eliminated any social safety net. When emergency energy assistance is available at all, the government provides only miserly funds so there is little or no relief.

Today, it shouldn't have to be said that anyone has to go without such necessities as home utilities. Our society has all the needed resources, including the modern infrastructure required to guarantee these basic rights for all.

Yet more, the electrical grids and the entire energy generation and distribution infrastructure, as well as the oil and gas industries, have been created through public investment and the collective labor of the country; they belong to the people by right. At a minimum, a moratorium on utility disconnections must be declared.

Furthermore, the public interest dictates that the availability and cost of such necessities cannot be left to the arbitrary ups and downs of the market or the price gouging by the capitalist monopolies. Price controls over home utilities (as well as gas at the pumps) must be set by the government to guarantee that everyone can get these commodities at the lowest possible cost.

To fundamentally solve the problem, the entire energy infrastructure of the country, including the oil and gas industries, must be taken out of the hands of the capitalists and returned to the public. These industries must be run on the basis of meeting the needs of the people and not to extract profit for the capitalists.

Youth and Student Voice

A Different Kind of Politics

A Youth and Students for a Democratic Foreign Policy (YSDFP) activist contributed the following article.

Politics has become a dirty word. With the media frenzy over elections, we are constantly barraged with the demand that we pick the "lesser evil." We are told that we have to be realistic, put our foolish ideals aside and choose which one of the pro-war politicians makes us gag less than the other. No wonder so many people say they are sick of politics.

But there is a different type of politics, the politics that represents the people's interests. When I first got involved in anti-imperialist politics to protest the war in Iraq, I still had some illusions in the political system. I thought the Democratic Party was a lesser evil than the Republicans and that the only thing we could do is hope for some "better Democrats" to try and make things better, or at least not make things as bad as the Republicans. I was left with the impression that the problem was that the people did not elect these "better Democrats," instead voting for the more conservative Democrats in the primary elections, who would often end up losing to the Republicans in the general elections.

However, through my experience with the Youth and Students for a Democratic Foreign Policy (YSDFP), my view of people changed. I learned that most people were against the war, and wanted the same things I did. The problem is neither the Democrats or the Republicans represent the people's interests. They represent the interests of the corporations that donate to both parties. The reason Bush was “re-elected” was not because the people were stupid or backward, it was because there was no alternative. John Kerry was just as much for the war as Bush, so most people stayed home, as they always do, because they are sick of both major political parties. The 2008 election will be no different; none of the candidates has anything to offer the people.

This does not mean that nothing can be changed. Through my experience with the YDSFP, my eyes were opened not only to all kinds of injustices of the current system, but also to how change has always come from the mass movements of the peoples. From the civil rights movement to the anti-war movement, the people never depended on elections to change things. Only by standing up for our own interests and what we believe is right will we ever have the kind of world the people so need and desire.