The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Issue no. 1035 — June 5 - 19, 2017

Editorial:
Trump Uses Paris Pullout to Push False Promises

Jun 5, 2017

On June the first, President Donald Trump announced that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. In an instant, the world press was full of debate and discussion about this latest “Trumpism.” It even “trumped” the most recent non-stop reporting on the federal investigation into alleged collusion between himself and his staff with Russia.

Perhaps that was one of the reasons Trump found it useful to take such a controversial position. Perhaps it was done to “deliver” on a campaign promise. Since it cannot go into effect for at least four years, it was something Trump could do that would require no effort, agreement from virtually no one, and bring little other than political blowback.

Clearly, Trump was not concerned about the reactions of virtually every part of the population outside of his voting base. Clearly, the speech was intended for and directed to the working class, middle class and conservative Republican Party base that secured his election to office.

And really, the speech was not so much about the environment or global warming as it was about the economic advantage he pretends to see in putting forward an isolationist policy. In his view, and in his own words, “America First.”

Even if it’s true, putting “America First” has nothing to do with improving conditions for the working class.

Since becoming President, Trump has signed multiple Executive Orders to remove regulations and restrictions regarding the environment from U.S. corporations. In this way, and by pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, he claims to be bringing jobs back to the American worker.

Unfortunately, it is not what is happening, nor will it happen. His favorite example, that of restoring jobs to coal miners, is not bringing mining jobs back to the Appalachians. The new coal mining operation he bragged about in his speech may bring 70 jobs.

Removing what controls exist for air and water protection will just make workers sicker, not more employed. And while he rails about jobs lost to U.S. workers and blames this problem on the rest of the world, the real problem is here at home.

Isn’t it obvious that something is wrong with his rationale when the major energy corporations have weighed in in favor of the Paris Climate Accord? Why would Big Energy, Exxon and dozens of other industry giants, be in favor of agreements that supposedly give their advantages to other capitalists in other countries? Big Energy corporations are investing and profiting from forms of energy like natural gas obtained from fracking. They are hiring and investing to monopolize gas, wind, nuclear, solar, any and all forms of energy into the future. They are blowing off the tops of mountains, and mining with few workers and many robots.

Chinese and Indian workers are not stealing the American coal industry jobs, and auto jobs are not being stolen by workers in Mexico. The bosses and banks send their capital to other countries to manufacture goods under stinking, killing, oppressive conditions while they pay for only certain types of labor in the U.S.

At the same time, removing protections against pollutants, and continuing the destruction of the environment through global warming and greenhouse gases, is not sustainable. To reject the already sadly inadequate steps that capitalist countries are making toward controlling emissions does nothing but call down more environmental disasters and more health problems that the politicians are not willing to address through national health care reform.

How much do Trump and his administration “love” American workers when they introduce bills into Congress to deprive millions of workers of health care? Or let hurricanes resulting from global warming destroy entire communities?

The most dangerous lie being told by Trump is not a new one. It is the same lie that has been told repeatedly by the major unions in this country: the lie that foreign workers are “stealing” U.S. jobs and that U.S. workers should join with the bosses to “Put America First.” It is a dead end strategy, out-lived, out-played for decades, centuries.

We have every reason to join with the rest of the world in demanding real, not fake, answers to the problems of climate change and global warming. And our only opportunity to provide jobs for all in a healthy, sustainable world is to join with the workers of the world in getting rid of capitalism and getting rid of false friends like Trump.

Pages 2-3

Africa:
Corporate Profits Mean Famine.

Jun 5, 2017

This article is from a recent issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Twenty million people face famine in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, Kenya, and to a lesser degree in Tanzania, according to the U.N.

The media blame the drought, which has gone on for three years. There may have been drought, but there are other causes for this human tragedy. Famine is happening even as these countries export coffee, cotton, and livestock. Ethiopia grows enough grain to be self-sufficient. But nonetheless, five million people there can’t meet their food needs.

During the 1900s, in many colonized countries, imperialism imposed single-crop farming, intended for export to the rich countries, at the expense of growing food crops.

Decolonization did not end these unequal economic relations. And since the economic crisis of 2008, land grabs of farmland to grow commodity crops for speculation have been given new life. Land has become an international investment, just like gold.

Sudan suffered a major deforestation to make space for plantations to grow bio-fuels. Somalia and Ethiopia were especially hit by such land grabs. This led to famine that killed 260,000 people in 2011. But these mass deaths did not slake the investors’ appetite for farmland.

The amounts speculators invested to buy farmland doubled in 2015. The Ethiopian government rented out over two million acres of good land to financiers. Three giant textile companies got over seven million acres to grow cotton for export.

People are dispossessed from their lands and forced away by the local police. The forest they need, for firewood, fruits, and medicinal herbs, disappears. The rivers are diverted. Their way of life is destroyed. They have nothing else but to work as farm laborers, exploited for the benefit of those who ruined them, or to move into shantytowns, or to flee across the border.

The armed conflicts ripping apart the region add more chaos to the chronic malnutrition. South Sudan is being burned and bloodied by the bands the U.S. supported and armed when the country seceded. Masses of refugees trek toward neighboring Uganda or Ethiopia with all their problems.

Imperialist domination is the main calamity causing the famines and the millions of deaths.

In Fish Farming, Profit Is the Catch

Jun 5, 2017

Aquaculture, fish farming, is supposed to mean progress, a technique that allows humanity to be nourished, with less risk to fishermen than fishing in the oceans.

Fish farming has grown largely due to technical “advances” of our era. Farmed salmon are packed together like the chickens grown in chicken houses, in commercial agriculture. These salmon are fattened up by injections of antibiotics, like those given to beef calves.

And this industry has become so concentrated that one company, Marine Harvest, from Norway, produces and sells 30% of all trout and salmon sold on the planet.

These huge farm fisheries use cages suspended in the ocean, huge structures with 20 MILLION pounds of salmon in one cage, or on boats containing two million live fish. The rejects, the diseased or malformed fish, the food not eaten, the pesticides, the antibiotics all get swept up by the waves.

This cheap method for cleaning the cages guarantees that pollution contaminates the surrounding waters. Look at how a home aquarium shows cloudy, dirty water in only a few days. Now imagine if the waste came from 10,000,000 salmon living on top of each other.

Chile, the second largest producer of farmed fish, saw a disaster in 2016 that killed off 23 million fish, about one sixth of the year’s harvest. These dead fish were dumped into the nearby coastal waters of the Pacific ocean. This pollution decimated the wild salmon nearby, and also thousands of smaller fish and shellfish in the whole area. It ruined the livelihood of thousands of fishermen.

Another problem of fish farming is that these salmon are fed meal made from wild fish. Huge trawlers pull millions of pounds of sea life from the ocean, including otters, seals and marine mammals that get caught in their nets, to make fish meal. For example, on the coasts of South America, the amount of wild fish harvested to make fish meal is THREE times the amount of farmed fish produced. So many small fish, like herring, sardines and anchovies, are turned into fish meal that the food chain is being destroyed, threatening the survival of both wildlife and the human population.

The oceans are so polluted that they threaten to poison the human beings who eat the fish. The fishing areas along coasts are wrecked, some fish populations have declined enormously and the poorest populations can no longer afford to eat fish.

Under the for-profit system, the promise of aquaculture is turned into a curse.

Hanford Nuclear Consequences

Jun 5, 2017

In early May, a 20-foot-long portion of one of the two tunnels used to store contaminated radioactive material at the Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear site in Washington State collapsed.

These two tunnels, one of which is reinforced only with timber, have “the potential for significant on-site consequences” and contain “various pieces of dangerous debris and equipment containing or contaminated with dangerous/mixed waste,” according to a 2015 report by Vanderbilt University. The Union of Concerned Scientists explained, “It appears that this is a potentially serious event. Collapse of the earth covering the tunnels could lead to a considerable radiological release.”

Hanford was established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. Its first nuclear reactor was used to produce plutonium to manufacture the nuclear bombs that were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of people. During the Cold War, the site was expanded to nine nuclear reactors and five large plutonium processing complexes. Hanford was used to build more than 60,000 nuclear weapons.

The nine nuclear reactors used for nuclear weapons production were decommissioned at the end of the Cold War. But decades of this manufacturing also produced 56 million gallons of high-level radioactive water moved into 177 underground storage tanks, 25 million cubic feet of solid radioactive waste kept at the site, and 200 square miles of contaminated groundwater beneath Hanford. The two tunnels stored a lot of equipment used for plutonium manufacturing that had become heavily contaminated due to exposure to nuclear radiation, including the rail cars that were used to push the equipment into the tunnels.

This nuclear site is massive, covering more than 580 square miles of land in the State of Washington. The Columbia River flows along the Hanford nuclear site for approximately 50 miles.

Using the river’s water for reactor cooling contaminated the river with radioactive isotopes every day for decades. The storage tanks leaked. The Department of Energy found that water was intruding into at least 14 tanks, and that one of them had been leaking about 640 gallons per year into the ground since about 2010. Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced in 2013 that six tanks were leaking radioactive waste, at a rate of 150 to 300 gallons per year.

The Hanford nuclear site is about 200 miles from Seattle. The Columbia River passes through many large and small cities, including Portland, Oregon, before it pours into the Pacific Ocean.

So, the Hanford nuclear site contaminates vast areas in the U.S. and the largest ocean in the world with radioactivity, through the Columbia River.

The U.S. government created this disaster to create bombs to dominate this world for the rich. And the whole world suffers the consequences.

The Paris Climate Accord
– Much Ado About Nothing

Jun 5, 2017

The International Climate Change Conference in Paris was just like the 20 previous meetings before it. The damning scientific evidence was discussed. Then, an agreement was made to do nothing dramatic to change the status quo.

If Paris was different, it was only in regards to words on a piece of paper. In Paris, for the first time ever, nearly 200 nations, including the U.S., actually acknowledged that unchecked climate change is a problem. How big of them!

By design, this agreement had no teeth – no legally binding requirements. That way, approval didn’t require ratification by the U.S. Congress and similar bodies in the 194 countries who signed on. Legally, it was all voluntary and actions to change the problem were only suggested.

Let’s look at an analogy. If, for example, an international convention of serial killers all agreed that murder is harmful to human beings, that would be a global agreement admitting the truth. But without an outside organized force to stop the killing, no real human progress would be made.

The Paris Accord was backed by many corporations throughout the world, including energy companies. Clearly, it did not come close to actually addressing the problem.

Pages 4-5

Human Migration, Immigrants, and Capitalism

Jun 5, 2017

The following was based on a presentation at a SPARK public meeting in Detroit on April 23.

We hear it over and over again – that this is a country of immigrants, people who migrated here from other places.

Well, yes, that’s true. For most of the history of this planet Earth, there were no human beings living on this part of the planet.

In fact, until nearly 100,000 years ago, there were no modern humans living anywhere on earth except in the land mass we call Africa today. Africa – that’s where modern human beings first evolved, at least 160,000 years ago. For about 100,000 years, they continued to live in Africa, migrating through its continent, driven by changing weather conditions.

Then, a few of those humans, descended from the same stock of people who first grew up in Africa, migrated to other parts of the globe. Arriving probably on the eastern shore of the Red Sea, some of their descendants went to Southeast Asia. From Asia, still later, descendants went into the island chains including Australia, and others later went into Europe. And still others went through Asia into Siberia.

Descendants of people in Siberia are probably the ones who first came through to what today is Alaska. Human beings got to this part of the world, roughly what is North America today, sometime around 20,000 years ago, maybe even before. Some of those who arrived in North America migrated into Central America, then down into South America.

Tracing its roots back to Africa over tens of thousands of years, this human species – of which we are all part – made its way around the globe, more or less just on their own two feet. In different parts of the planet, the human species, like other animals, was migrating.

Migration or Exploitation?

There is still migration today, that is, groups of people move from one place to another. But now we do it within the framework of the capitalist system, which is based on the exploitation of labor, that is, on an organization of the economy that allows someone with money to make profit from the labor of other people. That someone, the capitalist, takes part of the value stored up in the goods produced by other people’s labor for himself.

This country was born as capitalism was coming into being. The merchants and traders who came here, first looked for precious metals. But when they didn’t find any, they sought to make money off of other people’s labor.

But whose labor? Which people? There weren’t many in the northern part of the Americas, and those who were here either found ways to evade the Europeans or died from European diseases or were killed off.

Indentured Slavery

The first labor exploited by the merchants and traders came from England, at a time when people were being driven off the communal land. Unable to find a way to survive in English cities, many were imprisoned for what was called “vagrancy” – being without a job.

They could have stayed rotting in prison in England and starved if they didn’t want to come here. Some came, working for little more than enough to stay alive for the five years of the contract they had to sign – the so-called indenture, which made their labor belong to the person who had bought the contract.

Not all of the indentured came from England’s prisons. But in one way or another most of the indentured were hit with – as the gangsters say – an offer they couldn’t refuse.

There were about 250,000 indentured who came to North America before the American revolution – but nearly half of them died before their indenture was finished. Some of these indentured workers were the ones whose labor transformed southern land into tobacco plantations, helping to enrich the new class of plantation owners.

Tobacco traded back to Europe produced a profit not only for the landowners in the South, but for the traders in the North. To keep that profit coming in, they needed ever more labor.

A New Source of Labor: the Slave Trade

The slave trade was the basis of wealth accumulated in what was to become the United States – wealth dripping, from the beginning, in blood. People were taken by force by African slave catchers; sold to European traders who brought them, by force, to this side of the Atlantic Ocean; then sold to planters who put them to work by force. They were turned into a piece of property – just like a mule is property, or a shovel or some seeds to plant in the ground.

They were turned into something to be bought and sold – those people ripped out of Africa, along with all their children, including generations still to be born.

About 10 million people, somewhat more, may have arrived on this side of the ocean from Africa. Many more died in some aspect of the slave trade, including in Africa itself. Maybe two times 10 million people. No one knows.

About 400,000 of the ten million Africans brought to this side of the ocean came to what were the first 13 colonies, eventually the United States. They were the ones, through their labor, who established the economy of this country. The benefit of their work went to the southern plantation owners. It was an enormous benefit. A recent estimate by Atlantic Monthly put it at 250 million free hours of labor.

But the much larger value, that is, the benefit of the slave trade itself, went to Britain’s and then New England’s merchant classes. They accumulated an enormous mass of capital by buying and selling human beings, capital that was the backbone of world trade, of the first great fortunes of this country, and even of small scale production in the Northeast.

Does indenture and slavery seem very far away from the immigration we see today? Maybe, but all subsequent immigration was built on the same motive: a thirst for more profit, which drove the new capitalist class to search for more labor in order to wring out profit. But they wanted not just any labor – they sought labor which really had no choice but to come, and therefore would be more vulnerable when it got here, and thus forced to produce more while earning less.

Waves of Immigration

Immigration, in the form we know it today, did not really start much before 1820. That was only a few years after the slave trade itself was made illegal, cutting off the source that had provided a plentiful supply of labor to this country for almost two centuries.

The merchants and traders of the Northeast turned back toward Europe. Within 50 years, from 1820 to 1870, they brought about 7.5 million people to this part of the world. By far the largest number came from just two countries: Ireland and Germany. Ireland lost half its population to the U.S.

And it’s true that no one waved a gun in front of the Irish and the Germans, nor put them in chains. But they hardly came by free choice. In Ireland, a disease rapidly spread through potatoes, the staple crop. In a country already bled dry by Britain, Irish people were starving, literally to death. During the same period, some people fled Germany after a revolution was crushed; others left as one war followed another, making some sections of the country unlivable.

In other words, both the Irish and the Germans were vulnerable – meaning that, when they got here, they could be thrown into the hardest jobs, created as the country industrialized, and paid the lowest wages. For 50 years, they built the canals, dug the coal, built the railroads and cleared and developed agricultural land. It was back-breaking work, and it paid little. Oh, yes, a part of the Germans seemed to escape, because they made it on to land that hadn’t been occupied. But farming was unremitting work.

Several decades later, the railroads pushed to bring in workers to California. From the West Coast, Asia was closer. Over 100,000 Chinese were dragged here, often hijacked by Chinese gangsters trafficking in people – much like the coyotes who bring people up from Mexico today. The Chinese were put to work building the western half of the railroad way, and digging the gold and silver mines of Nevada. Women were sold into prostitution.

When the so-called “Long Depression” hit, the agents who went looking for immigrants were called back. Signs went up: “No Irish need apply.” Anti-immigrant legislation passed. Reactionary forces organized anti-Irish riots, and anti-German riots in the East, anti-Chinese riots in the West.

Eventually, the economy picked back up, and American capital went back to Europe looking for more people, but this time it sent out agents to Southern Europe, then Eastern Europe, then to the countries of the eastern Mediterranean – to entice new groups of desperate people.

An Italian immigrant wrote home, saying, “We thought we were coming to a country where the streets were paved with gold. But when we got here, we found out three things. The streets weren’t paved with gold; they weren’t paved at all; and we were expected to pave them.”

The countries from which the new immigrants came may have changed, but their circumstances forced them to work whatever job was offered. Whatever was the newest, deadliest, dirtiest industry – that’s where they were hired, and for the lowest wages.

Over and over it has been the same story – a boom of migration, when capital finds a need for more labor, a reversal when the unbridled capitalist drive for profit torpedoes the capitalists’ own economy. Including right up to today. Migrants try to flee desperate situations in Mexico and Central America, situations that U.S. corporations have enforced on their countries. People from Syria are driven to find a place in other countries because wars led by the U.S. in the region have made their country unlivable.

And always, always, always we find reactionary forces acting to stoke anti-immigrant attitudes and to stoke anti-black prejudices among the waves of new immigrants.

A Country Born, Bred and Raised on Slavery

It’s been only 154 years since slavery was legally prohibited in this country. But it existed legally for 234 years before that. In other words, slavery is the foundation stone and bedrock of the United States of America.

When the slave trade was made illegal in 1806, the plantation owners set up “farms” to breed and raise new slaves. When slavery itself was made illegal in 1863, the slaveowners shifted over to sharecropping agriculture, keeping the former slaves in a new kind of slavery, overseen by the KKK and given validity with Jim Crow laws, which declared that black people legally had no rights that the courts need respect. Southern agriculture lived on their labor. Northern factories benefitted from migration of black people from the South.

The growing capitalist class used the black people streaming into Northern cities as what Marx called, a “reserve army of the unemployed”: desperate for work, but thrown out of work as soon as things turned down; last hired, first fired, for 154 years, and still counting. The first jobs they could get – and often the only ones – were as scabs during a strike.

All the groups of immigrants, one after the other, made their way in this society, in part by stepping on the shoulders of the black population, which had been here before any of them. They may not consciously have chosen to do it – they just moved into a capitalist economy organized to keep the black population on the bottom rungs of the ladder. But among those immigrants were many who soon subscribed to the racist ideology of American society. Not only did they assimilate the views of their oppressors, some of them took part in the pogroms against black people that swept through northern American cities.

It’s obvious that such a situation could create bitterness and sharp divisions in the working class.

At the same time, it has created a class that has enormous possibilities. So many of those who were oppressed at one time or another became the best fighters the working class has known, leading some of the biggest, most important strikes. Among the black population, the working class has a force that already showed itself ready to take on the state power directly.

With people who have come from so many areas of the world, having so many experiences, so much different knowledge, the American working class could have a wide view of the world.

So, finally, no matter how capitalism has deformed migration, using it for its own purposes, the working class can use what we gained from it for our own purposes – which is to organize together to get rid of this capitalist system built on so much human misery.

Pages 6-7

Unemployed Need Their Money Back!

Jun 5, 2017

Michigan’s legislators just gave big real estate companies NEW tax breaks. This created a hole in the state budget.

To fill the gap, House and Senate proposals for a new state budget would grab money from a fund made up of fines levied against unemployed workers wrongly accused of fraud.

Legislators treat money wrung from innocent unemployed people as a piggy bank to pay for tax breaks for their rich piggy friends.

“Re-imagine” The Bus System

Jun 5, 2017

In Los Angeles, Metro is embarking on yet another study to find reasons for the falling bus ridership. This study has quite a colorful name: “Re-imagine.” This study will be completed in 2019.

What is there to study? For years, the riders have been complaining that their bus lines were cut, there were fewer buses per line, as well as increased waiting time, infrequent stops, and so on. The main culprit is the Metro for reducing the bus service.

And the Metro moved funding to rail, because the rail mainly serves the higher income customers – through luxury housing and expensive shopping centers built next to the rail stations.

We need rails. But the bus system, with 72% of the total trips, is still the backbone of the transportation system and serves the working class. So, we also need much better bus service.

We need to “Re-imagine” a transportation system run by workers, instead of these pretenders who just work for the rich!

Chicago Schools:
They Can Find Money for Wealthy Areas

Jun 5, 2017

Chicago Public Schools has sung its sad song over and over about how it’s broke. Too broke to have librarians, too broke to pay for buses for sports – they even lied and said they were too broke to finish the school year.

But they aren’t too broke to build a brand new elementary school in the rapidly growing, well-off South Loop neighborhood. The school board proposes to spend 62 million dollars out of the TIF funds to do it. Those TIF funds were diverted from the other schools. Meanwhile, less than half a mile south, National Teachers Academy has space for several hundred students. But that school serves working class, largely black students. The Board figures that rich South Loop parents would prefer to get “their own” school!

There are several working class schools on the far Northwest and far Southwest sides that have become more and more overcrowded for ten years running, but those schools have received NO money for expansion. Again, “broke” is always relative in this city.

Chicago Schools Enrich the Contractors

Jun 5, 2017

Privatization runs throughout the Chicago Public Schools. In just the past three years, CPS has handed management of custodial services to Aramark and Sodexo; brought in contract nurses through RCM, a military supply company; and given various aspects of the hiring system to not one but two vendors. Private companies have been given contracts for human resources and testing, among other things.

Aramark and Sodexo won the contract to manage cleaning in 2014, totaling 340 million dollars. They claimed they would provide the service for less money, and that they’d be able to provide these savings by using “innovative technologies.” Reality tells a different story: schools that are now filthy and ridden by vermin and disease. Aramark achieved savings by laying off hundreds of custodians. Parents, students and teachers have been complaining steadily for three years about this filth. They bring concerns to local school councils, to the School Board, to local politicians. In response, Aramark spends money to fly in managers from out of town to field complaints at specific schools, while changing nothing. The money would be better spent on custodial staff.

The Board is now proposing to let Aramark and Sodexo manage the building engineers in each building. The engineers – the ones who do the actual work – would take a pay cut to keep their jobs. In other words, one more attack.

The crisis in our schools is created by profit!

Women in Saudi Arabia:
The UN Reinforces the Prison Bars

Jun 5, 2017

In April, 47 of the 54 members of the UN Economic and Social Council approved Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in the United Nations’ Commission on the Condition of Women. The vote was by secret ballot, which shows 47 countries wanted to hide their vote.

In Saudi Arabia, women are deprived of all liberty and are treated like children for their whole lives. They must have the permission of a man in their families to open a bank account, get a passport, leave their home, or be treated by a doctor. Starting in 2018, this fundamentalist monarchy from another age will participate in an organization supposedly charged with promoting the equality of the sexes and the autonomy of women!

Immediately, women in Saudi Arabia who daily fight the dictatorship they live under every day denounced this decision to appease the patriarchal Saudi regime, where misogyny has the force of law.

The UN has always served as a fig leaf for the great powers, justifying their piracy in the name of grand declarations about human rights. With this latest insult to half of humanity, the UN has shown its hypocrisy once again.

A Modern Day Lynching in College Park, Maryland

Jun 5, 2017

Richard Collins III, who was to graduate from Bowie State University, was murdered by Sean Urbanski. According to police, Urbanski approached Collins as Collins was waiting with two friends at a University of Maryland campus bus stop. Urbanski was yelling, “Step to the left. Step to the left, if you know what’s best for you.” Collins replied, “No.” Urbanski then stabbed Collins in the chest.

In other words, a black man refused to submit to the whims of a racist white man.

Urbanski apparently belonged to the racist Facebook group Alt-Reich Nation. So the FBI is “evaluating” whether to charge Urbanski with a hate crime on top of his murder and assault charges.

Racists are often backed up by the authorities who try to paint the black person as a thug while showing the white person had mitigating circumstances – like being on drugs, or mentally ill. In short, not responsible. Already, they are saying Urbanski had been drinking.

Whether he belonged to the Facebook Group Alt-Reich Nation or whether he was drunk or not, this was clearly a hate crime.

Page 8

Russian Revolution:
Workers Respond to the Bosses’ Acts of Sabotage

Jun 5, 2017

This article is from the May 26, 2017 edition of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.

Three months after the revolution of February 1917, the continuation of the war and the preparation of a new offensive cause serious shortages in the cities and accelerate the deterioration of the economy. Hoping to break the fighting spirit of the workers, the industrialists take to sabotaging production and to closing their factories over the slightest pretext.

However, this has the opposite effect: in each factory, in each industrial center, the bosses’ acts of sabotage provoke the intervention of the workers. In fact, they impose their control over production. Becoming aware of the hesitations on the part of the leaders of the Soviets, they come to agree with the Bolsheviks. In The History of the Russian Revolution, Trotsky analyzes this power struggle:

“The bourgeoisie as a whole was entering upon a policy of economic defeatism. Temporary losses and deficits due to economic paralysis were in their eyes the overhead expenses of a struggle with the revolution which threatened the foundations of ‘culture.’ At the same time the virtuous press was accusing the workers from day to day of maliciously sabotaging industry, stealing raw materials, unnecessarily burning up fuel in order to produce stoppages. The falsity of these accusations exceeded all bounds…

“The Council of the United Industries [an organization of the bosses] recommended to its members to close up the enterprises one at a time, seeking out a respectable pretext. This plan of a creeping lockout was carried systematically .... Having prepared the political setting, the industrialists passed from words to deeds. In the course of March and April, 129 small plants involving 9,000 workers were shut down; in May, 108 with a like number of workers; in June, 125 plants with 38,000 workers were shut down; in July, 206 plants threw out on the streets 48,000 workers. The lockout developed in a geometric progression.”

Faced with this catastrophe and with the pressure of the workers, the Executive Committee of the Soviets begged the government to take upon itself, “the task of a planned organization of the national industry and labor.” This caused Lenin to remark: “The program is excellent. Both the control and the governmentalizing of the trusts, also the struggle with speculation, and liability for labor…. It is necessary to recognize this program of ‘frightful’ Bolshevism, for no other program and no other way out of the actually threatening terrible collapse can be found.” Trotsky adds: “However, the whole question was: Who was to carry out this excellent program? Would it be the Coalition? The answer was given immediately. The day after the adoption by the Executive Committee of the economic program, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Konovalov, resigned and slammed the door behind him ....

“The strikes were especially stormy among the more backward and exploited groups of workers. Laundry workers, dyers, coopers, trade and industrial clerks, structural workers, bronze workers, unskilled workers, shoemakers, paper-box makers, sausage makers, furniture workers, were striking, layer after layer, throughout the month of June.... To the advanced workers, it was becoming more and more clear that individual economic strikes in the conditions of war, breakdown and inflation could not bring a serious improvement, that there must be some change in the very foundations. The lockout not only made the workers favorable to the demand for the control of industry, but even pushed them toward the thought of the necessity of taking the factories into the hands of the state. This inference seemed the more natural in that the majority of private factories were working for the war, and that alongside them were state enterprises of the same type ....

“The growth of strikes, and of the class struggle in general, almost automatically raised the influence of the Bolsheviks. In all cases where it was a question of life-interests, the workers became convinced that the Bolsheviks had no ulterior motives, that they were concealing nothing, and that you could rely on them. In the hours of conflict, all the workers tended toward the Bolsheviks, the non-party workers, the Social Revolutionaries, the Mensheviks .... At a conference of the factory and shop committees of Petrograd and its environs at the beginning of June, the Bolshevik resolution won 335 out of 421 votes.”

Tamir Rice’s Killer Fired

Jun 5, 2017

After investigating for two-and-a-half years, the city of Cleveland, Ohio just fired Timothy Loehmann, the white officer who shot and killed a 12-year-old black child, Tamir Rice, in 2014. Tamir’s mother, Samaria Rice, responded, “Shame on the city of Cleveland for taking so long to render a decision like this.”

Of the three police officers at the scene, none were ever charged criminally – and Officer Loehmann was NOT fired for the murder of Tamir. What Cleveland officials found reprehensible – what merited firing – was that the officer lied on his job application!

Cleveland is sending a strong message that accurate paperwork is what’s important – and not human life!

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