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Revolucion Permanente 



Drive U.S. / NATO Imperialists Out of the Middle East! 

For workers Action to Defeat 


Barack Obama's 


OCTOBER 25 - On the eve of the anniver¬ 
sary of the 11 September 2001 attack on the 
World Trade Center and Pentagon, Barack 
Obama declared a new U.S. war, this time 
in Iraq (again) and Syria. The recipient of 
the Nobel Peace Prize announced his inten¬ 
tion to bomb the Middle Eastern countries 
at will in order to “degrade and ultimately 
destroy” the Sunni Islamist “holy warriors” 
calling themselves the Islamic State (I.S.). 
After 13 years of war and occupation, the 
imperialist superpower is still bogged down 
in Afghanistan. And having formally exited 
Iraq in 2011, eight years after invading, the 
Pentagon has now sent U.S. troops back 
while declaring Syria a free-fire zone. So 
much for the hopes of the millions who 
voted for Obama as an “antiwar” candidate. 
“Back to Iraq with Barack” isn’t exactly 
what they had in mind. 

The new U.S. war actually began a 
month earlier, when Washington launched 
air strikes against I.S. forces in northern Iraq 
as they bore down on Erbil, capital of the 
autonomous Kurdish region, described in 
the press as “home to a United States Con¬ 
sulate and thousands of Americans” (New 
York Times, 9 August). “Thousands”? Those 
would be the huge numbers of “contractors” 
(mercenaries), “advisers,” “support person¬ 
nel” and oil company employees who stayed 
on after U.S. troops departed. By the time 


Obama let loose a torrent of cruise missiles 
in Syria on September 23, the U.S. military 
said that it had carried out at least 194 air 
strikes in Iraq. But this didn’t put a dent in 
Sunni Islamist control of more than a quarter 
of the country. 

Obama says the bombing (now dubbed 
“Operation Inherent Resolve”) is being 
carried out to stop massacres and ethnic 
cleansing, the same claim made by Bill 
Clinton for his two wars on Yugoslavia in 
1995 and 1998-99. This is standard proce¬ 
dure when Democrats launch wars. As air 
strikes began in August, Washington billed 
them as a rescue mission against the threat 
of imminent genocide by the I.S. of the 
Yazidi religious minority of Kurds trapped 
on Sinjar Mountain in Iraq. But when U.S. 
special forces arrived on the mountain, they 
declared no rescue mission was needed 
and that was the end of that. More recently, 
after a long siege, I.S. attackers had already 
entered the largely Kurdish city of Kobane 
on the Syria-Turkey border threatening a 
slaughter before the U.S. started dropping 
bombs. A “humanitarian” war? No way. 

Last year, the U.S. and British popula¬ 
tion didn’t go for bombing Syria over the 
supposed use of chemical weapons on its 
own people by the regime of Bashar Assad 
(a lie the warmongers keep repeating despite 
continued on page 17 



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tionalist Group at August 9 demonstration protesting Israeli war on Gaza. 


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Huge Protests Sweep Mexico 
Over Massacre of Students 



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“For a National Strike Against the Government of Murder!” The Grupo 
Internacionalista in October 22 Mexico City march denouncing the massacre 
of students from Ayotzinapa teachers college in state of Guerrero. 


For a National Strike Against 
the Government of Murder! 




OCTOBER 12 - Over the last week there has 
been a deluge of outrage throughout Mexico 
and worldwide at the police murder of six 
people, including three students of the Ayo¬ 
tzinapa rural teachers college, and the disap¬ 
pearance (and possible execution) of another 
43 in Iguala, Guerrero. The grisly news of the 
discovery on October 4 of human remains of 
28 bodies in mass graves near Iguala set off 
an explosion of fury against the “gobierno 
asesino ” (murderous government). Parents 
of the abducted students called for a national 
mobilization for Wednesday, October 8 to 
demand that their children “were taken from 
us alive, and we want them back alive!” The 
response was massive. 

According to media reports, there 
were protests in at least 63 cities in 27 


states of Mexico, from Tijuana in the 
north to Canciin in the south, where there 
are seldom demonstrations. In the Guer¬ 
rero state capital of Chilpancingo, up to 
50,000 marched in a giant procession that 
extended for five kilometers, headed up 
by relatives, neighbors and students from 
Ayotzinapa. Signs and banners demanded 
the ouster of the state governor and the 
jailing of the fugitive mayor of Iguala, 
both of the PRD (Party of the Democratic 
Revolution). Workers of the Autonomous 
University of Guerrero carried the names 
of a dozen student activists who were 
“disappeared” in 1976. 

Throughout the state of Guerrero, 
schools were shut down by a strike of the 
continued on page 2 


Internationalist photo 

















Alejandrino Gonzalez/AP 




Outrage sweeps Mexico over massacre in Iguala. Militant teachers of the CETEG charge police lines (above left) outside offices of Guerrero state government 
in Chilpancingo, which were later torched (above right), October 13. In Mexico City, 25,000 protesters marched to the Zocalo on October 8 (below). 


Mexico Protests... 

continued from page 1 

combative teachers unionists of the CETEG, 
part of the National Coordinating Committee 
of Education Workers (CNTE). Hundreds of 
students, teachers and supporters marched in 
the port of Acapulco, and 3,000 in Tlapa in 
the Montana region. In the Costa Chica area 
where there had been earlier protests, parents 
of the kidnapped students reported receiving 
phone threats not to march. In the Federal 
District, some 25,000 marched, converging 
on the Zocalo, the huge Constitution Plaza 
opposite the Presidential Palace in the center 
of Mexico City. 

It was in Oaxaca that the mobilization 
was strongest. Noticias (9 October) reported 
that Section 22 of the CNTE teachers “para¬ 
lyzed the state.” This was no exaggeration. 
In addition to shutting down schools and 
classes for 1.3 million students statewide, 
the teachers blocked access to the Oaxaca 
airport, blocked shopping centers, blocked 
the Oaxaca-Mexico superhighway, blocked 
the bridge to Veracruz, shut down a bottling 
plant in Tuxtepec, blocked the state attorney 
general’s offices and a fuel depot of the state 
oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, and block¬ 
aded the Pemex refinery in the Salina Cruz. 

r Also On Our Website ^ 

• Mexican Powder Keg: 

Turn the Teachers’ Walk¬ 
out Into a National Strike 
Against the Reforms 

• Lessons of the On-Again, 
Off-Again BART Strike 

• Academic BS Against a 
Minimum Wage Hike 


As in 2006 when working people of 
Oaxaca rose up, this all points to the need 
for a national strike against the murderous 
government. 

The Grupo Internacionalista put out 
a leaflet proclaiming, “The Massacre in 
Iguala Demands Workers Mobilization 
and Revolution!” Some 1,000 copies were 
distributed in Mexico City, 500 in Oaxaca, 
300 in Guadalajara, and in Tijuana a protest 
called by the GI drew around 50 people. 
Signs and banners called for a national 
education strike, for workers self-defense 
and declared that “Socialist Revolution 
Will Avenge the Students of Ayotzinapa.” 
In Mexico City, a spokesman of the Grupo 
Internacionalista was the final speaker in the 
Zocalo, reporting on the solidarity demon¬ 
stration in New York, and leading the crowd 
in chanting, “ Luchar ; veneer, obreros al 
poderT (Struggle, win, workers to power). 

In NYC, the Internationalist Group 
together with the Internationalist Clubs at 
the City University of New York and Class 
Struggle Education Workers organized 
a boisterous picket outside the Mexican 
consulate denouncing the Iguala massacre 
in solidarity with the October 8 protest in 
Mexico. Three days earlier, a Sunday, Oc¬ 
tober 5 emergency protest initiated by the 
IG drew several dozen angry activists on a 
few hours notice after the discovery of the 
mass graves. Demonstrators chanted “Nor- 
malistas mexicanos, estamos con ustedes” 
(Mexican teachers college students, we are 
with you), “From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson, 
one fight” and “Mexican militarization, 
made in U.S.A.” Photos of the NYC protest 
were front-page news in Guerrero. 

The October 8 picket at the consulate 
was loud, spirited and considerably larger, 
growing to more than 100 participants, most 


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No. 38 ~ *CjGcvi3> H 62 -M October-November 2014 


2 



staying to the end two hours later. Dozens 
of Mexican immigrants came out, including 
some from Guerrero who had been in touch 
with relatives of the Ayotzinapa students. 
NY Zapatistas and YoSoy 132 New York had 
a puppet of death with a skull shrouded in 
black and a sign identifying it as the “nar¬ 
cogovernment.” A number of left groups 
participated including the Revolutionary 
Student Coordinating Committee, Free¬ 
dom Socialist Party (with a sign calling for 
freedom for Nestora Salgado), International 
Socialist Organization, Spartacist League 
and Batay Ouvriye Support Network, all of 
which addressed the crowd. 

Demonstrators chanted angri¬ 
ly at the consulate, “/Mexico, gobierno 


ase«'«o/”(Mexico, government of murder). 
Another chant that was enthusiastically 
picked up was “PRI, PAN, PRD, bloody 
parties of the bourgeoisie.” Today the gov¬ 
ernment is trying to pin the blame for the 
slaughter in Iguala on drug traffickers. Yet 
while the PRD is overseeing a government 
of death in Guerrero, President Enrique Pena 
Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party 
(PRI) and his predecessor Felipe Calderon of 
the rightist National Action Party (PAN) have 
carried out a “war against drugs” and a “war 
against terror” that has turned Mexico into 
a giant killing field and mass grave, killing 
some 100,000 people since 2006. 

The rally at the end had 16 speakers 
including members of New York educa- 



October 8 demonstration outside Mexican Consulate in New York City. Over 
100 participated. At the end, the names of the murdered and disappeared 
students were read off and after each one the crowd responded, “ jpresentei” 


The Internationalist 


AFP Hector Tellez/Milenio Humberto Arellano/El Diario 




















Once Again: Bloodbath, “Disappeared” Victims ... and Impunity 

Mexico: Guerrero Massacre 


Calls for Mobilization and workers Revolution 



Students from the teachers college of Ayotzinapa blocked a caravan of troops 
on highway to Acapulco on October 5, finally forcing it to leave. 


PRI, PAN, PRD: 
Murderous Parties 
of the Bourgeoisie 

Forge a Workers Party 
That Fights For 
Socialist Revolution! 

In the early afternoon of Saturday, 
October 4, news dispatches from Guerrero 
began reporting the discovery of several 
mass graves on the outskirts of Iguala. As 
the hours passed, they reported finding 
first 9, then 20 and finally 28 charred and 
dismembered bodies in six pits. Many signs 
indicate that they may be some of the 43 
students arrested by municipal police a week 
earlier. If it is confirmed that the missing 
Ayotzinapa normalistas were executed, it 
would be the worst slaughter of students 
in Mexico since the fateful 2 October 1968 
[when hundreds were killed by army and 
police in the Tlatelolco Massacre]. 

The mass murder in Iguala is already 
news around the world. Calls for a “fair 
investigation” come from human rights 
organizations, the United Nations and even 
the United States government (which kills 
dozens daily in its occupation of Afghani- 


tion unions, Professional Staff Congress 
(CUNY) and United Federation of Teachers, 
as well as opposition groups (Movement of 
Rank and File Educators and Class Struggle 
Education Workers), who emphasized that 
behind the killings in Iguala is an interna¬ 
tional offensive against public education 
that students, educators and parents are 
fighting in the U.S. as well. An immigrant 
worker supporter of the IG recalled how a 
few days ago, we saw police in Brooklyn 
throw a pregnant woman on the ground in 
order to intimidate people: 

“Back in the time of the kings, they used 
to make an example of those who fought back 
against the state by tearing them limb from 
limb. In Mexico we are seeing the same thing 
today. They skinned one student alive to be an 
example so that we don’t rise up in struggle. 
And that struggle is against the same attacks 
as we have here on women, on black people. 

“We are the ones who produce all the 
profits of those parasites, everything you see 
here was built by us, the workers. We make 
the city move, and we can make it stop. We 
saw that a few years ago in the strike in 
the MTA [public transit]. We need to move 
these armies of proletarians to defeat this 
murderous and corrupt bourgeoisie. Long 
live the socialist revolution ./Luchar, veneer, 
obreros al poder! 

A spokesman for the Internationalist 
Group stressed that it was not enough to call 
for the ouster of a mayor, a governor or even 
Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto, as 
many in the protests have demanded: 

“It is not a question of one ruler. It is not 

October-November 2014 


stan and the war in Iraq and Syria). Against 
this official hypocrisy, relatives of the dead 
and missing Ayotzinapa students along with 
militant teachers of the National Coordi¬ 
nating Committee of Education Workers 
(CNTE) have marches and nationwide 


a question of one party, even though we have 
insisted that the PRI, PAN and PRD are all 
capitalist parties with their hands dripping in 
blood. All this is the product of a system, not 
of‘neo-liberalism’but of capitalism; and not 
of ‘globalization’ but of imperialism. This 
militarization, whose fruits we are seeing in 
Iguala, is ‘made in U.S.A.,’ it’s made in Wall 
Street, it’s made in Washington. 

“Because here the Republican and 
Democratic parties consider Mexico and 
the rest of Latin America to be their back 
yard. Secretary of State John Kerry said it 
explicitly. But we are all in the same house. 
There are 15 million undocumented workers 
in this country, and we demand full citizen¬ 
ship rights for everyone here.” 

The IG speaker ended by saying “we 
are fighting today, here, in Mexico and ev¬ 
erywhere to form revolutionary parties on 
the program of workers revolution around 
the world.” Citing Leon Trotsky’s program 
of permanent revolution, that “in this impe¬ 
rialist epoch it is impossible to achieve even 
democratic rights without the working class 
taking power,” he concluded: 

“Mexico has had three ‘democratic’ 
revolutions yet the peasants, the indigenous 
peoples, the black people in Guerrero con¬ 
tinued to be oppressed as are all the working 
people. The next revolution in Mexico will 
not be a peasant revolution, it will not be a 
new edition of zapatismo, it will be a work¬ 
ers revolution, or it will not be.” 

The rally ended with a chant of “Asian, 
Latin, Black and white, workers of the 
world unite!” ■ 


strikes called for today, October 8. There 
will also be picketing internationally at 
Mexican consulates, one of them in New 
York where our comrades of the Interna¬ 
tionalist Group/U.S. initiated an emergency 
protest on Sunday. 

In these mobilizations it is critical to hold 
the Mexican government and its imperialist 
masters responsible for the crime of Iguala. 
The smokescreen about drug traffickers is 
only an attempt to wash the blood-soaked 
hands of the government, whereas it is the 
capitalist state that should be on trial. There 
have been up to 100,000 killed and many 
others missing in the “war on drugs” under 
the govermnent of Felipe Calderon (PAN - 
the rightist National Action Party) and now 
Enrique Pena Nieto (PRI - the long-ruling 
Institutional Revolutionary Party), on orders 
from the U.S. So long as capitalism persists, 
there will be bloodbaths, “disappearances” 
and impunity. Thus a class mobilization of 
working people against the bloodthirsty state 


of the bosses is urgently necessary, crippling 
key sectors of the economy and pointing 
toward socialist revolution. 

Why? 

The murder of six people in the night 
and early morning hours of September 26-27 
was only the prelude to the carnage. There 
are pictures of the missing students being 
transported in vehicles of the municipal 
police to the outskirts of the city. The official 
government version of Guerrero governor 
Angel Aguirre Rivero (PRD - the suppos¬ 
edly “progressive” bourgeois Party of the 
Democratic Revolution), is that a kingpin 
of the drug cartel Guerreros Unidos (United 
Warriors), a certain “Chucky,” ordered the 
chief of police to apprehend Iguala students 
to deliver them to his henchmen, who then 
executed them. But whatever the role of the 
drug traffickers in the kidnapping and disap¬ 
pearance of the teachers college students, 
it should be underlined that the bourgeois 
state apparatus is directly responsible for 
what happened. 

Why did this heinous crime occur? 
Initial versions accused the students of hav¬ 
ing “stolen” some buses to take them home, 
although it had been negotiated with the 
drivers. Then it was claimed that the mayor 
of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez (also 
of the PRD), who has been “untraceable” 
since last week, considered it an unpardon¬ 
able offense that the students had been col¬ 
lecting contributions in Iguala on the day his 
wife offered a “gala” event after reading her 
report as head of the local DIF (the govern¬ 
ment system for Integral Development of 
the Family). With his connections to drug 
trafficking and as a financier for Governor 
Aguirre, the fugitive mayor thought him¬ 
self untouchable: last year he reportedly 
killed with his own hands three leaders of 
the peasant organization Emiliano Zapata 
People’s Union, with total impunity. Even 
today, there are still no charges against the 
mayor for the massacre of September 26-27, 
according to the federal attorney general’s 
office (the PGR). 



Mexican president Pena Nieto sent in National Gendarmerie (rear), a new unit 
of the National Police, to patrol Iguala together with army troops (foreground). 


3 



















Students strike at National University of Mexico 15 in protest against massacre of students 
from Ayotzinapa teachers college. Poster of Grupo Internacionalista (on wall to left of 
speakers platform) calls for “National Strike Against the Government of Murder!” 


However, the responsibility does not 
lie solely with the murderous PRD mayor. 
The PRD governor began his term with the 
murder by the state (and federal) police of 
two students from the Ayotzinapa teachers 
college on the the Autopista del Sol (the 
superhighway to Acapulco). He only had to 
apologize some time later. The same Aguirre 
Rivero was head of the state PRI organi¬ 
zation in Guerrero in 1995 when the PRI 
government of Ruben Figuera Jr. massacred 
17 peasants in Aguas Blancas. There were 
never any judicial consequences. Today 
many demonstrators demand the resigna¬ 
tion of Aguirre, but the head of the national 
PRD, Carlos Navarrete, is opposed, because 
in that case one would have to oust several 
state governors. (The mayor of Iguala be¬ 
longed to same tendency of the PRD - Los 
Chuchos- as Navarrete.) 

Now the PRI president Enrique Pena 
Nieto has sent in the newly established Na¬ 
tional Gendarmerie (the body of the Federal 
Police which he announced with great fan¬ 
fare at the beginning of his term) to patrol 
Iguala, along with the army. This is the same 
army whose members are responsible for 
the slaughter in Tlatlaya (in Mexico state) 
in late May, where it executed over a dozen 
“perps.” But the people of Guerrero have not 
welcomed the troops, which only promise 
more repression. Last Sunday (October 5), 
hundreds of supporters of the Federation 
of Socialist Peasant Students of Mexico 
(FECSM), which includes Ayotzinapa and 
all the rural teacher training institutes in the 
country, blocked a military convoy on the 
superhighway and forced it to turn back. 

Whatever the immediate cause that 
triggered the bloodbath of Iguala, the ratio¬ 
nale for the slaughter is the demonization 
of militant students and the commitment of 
the governments of all the parties to close 
the rural teacher training institutes. This is 
part of the privatization offensive against 
public education ordered by Washington 
and the global financial institutions. Today, 
this calamitous policy is being carried out 
in Mexico by Pena Nieto and his educa¬ 
tion secretary, Emilio Chuayffet, who was 
interior minister at the time of the massacre 
at Acteal in 1997. It should be noted that a 
lawsuit in the United States against former 
President Ernesto Zedillo for Acteal was re¬ 
cently rejected because the former president 
enjoyed “immunity.” 

Rural teacher training institutes have 
been favorite targets of education “reform¬ 
ers,” who label them “nests of communists” 
or “Bolshevik kindergartens,” as was point¬ 
ed out by the researcher Tanalis Padilla (La 


Jornada, 4 October). Their students have 
been persecuted and brutally suppressed for 
opposing the constant attempts to economi¬ 
cally strangle or close their schools. Elba 
Esther Gordillo herself, the former “Secre¬ 
tary General for life” of the corporatist Na¬ 
tional Union of Education Workers (SNTE), 
an agency for police control of teachers, 
called for eliminating rural teacher training 
schools. At a seminar on “new education” 
this government-imposed “labor leader” 
who is responsible for hundreds of killings 
of teachers, said: 

“We have raised many times that if the 
authorities close some of the rural teacher 
training institutes, there will be a lot of 
rioting by the youth. Don’t forget that these 
schools were seedbeds for guerrillas. But if 
we don’t do this, the same thing will keep 
on happening. “ 

-quoted by Luis Hernandez Navarro, 
“Assault on the Rural Teacher Training 
Institutes”, La Jornada , 10 August 2010 

From Rebellious Guerrero 
to Workers Revolution 

Guerrero has long been the scene of 
militant mobilizations of “those at the 
bottom” 1 , and a vicious cycle of massacres, 
dirty war and repression by the “those at 
the top” - the capitalist ruling class. In the 


1 Los de abajo, a reference to the novel of that 
name by Mariano Azuela, written in 1915 at the 
time of the Mexican Revolution and translated 
into English as The Underdogs. 


rugged Sierra Madre del Sur, isolated vil¬ 
lages live as in previous generations from 
seasonal crops, which are often insufficient 
for subsistence. Indigenous communities 
of Nahua, Amuzgo, Mixtec and Tlapanec 
Indians scattered around in the Montana 
region, along with major concentrations 
of Afro-Mexicans in the Costa Chica, 
have experienced centuries-old ethnic and 
linguistic oppression that continues to exist 
today. In recent years they have also been 
stalked by illegal loggers and murderous 
drug gangs. 

“Guerrero ready to fight!” goes a popular 
chant in demonstrations in Mexico City. In¬ 
deed it is, and has been since the time of the 
guerrillas led by Genaro Vazquez Rojas (in 
the 1960s) and Lucio Cabanas (early ’70s), 
both graduates of Ayotzinapa. (Cabanas was 
also president of the FECSM.) Then came 
the insurgent peasants among the copra 
(coconut) and coffee growing regions, and 
the militant mobilizations CETEG teachers 
(the local affiliate of the CNTE) and their 
allies in the teacher colleges. Last year, the 
CETEG started off the largest and longest 
teacher struggle in decades, although it was 
not backed up in time by other sections of the 
CNTE. However, each of these struggles has 
remained isolated from the power that actu¬ 
ally has the ability to defeat the bloodthirsty 
capitalists: that of the urban working class. 

The state has a remarkable revolutionary 
history, beginning with Vicente Guerrero, 
military commander in the war of indepen¬ 
dence from Mexico, 
born in Tixtla where 
the Ayotzinapa teacher 
institute is located, who 
became the first and 
only black president 
of Mexico (his mother 
was African slave) and 
carried out the aboli¬ 
tion of slavery. Unfor¬ 
tunately, Vicente Guer¬ 
rero also supported the 
Plan de Iguala which 
trumpeted the “union” 
of social classes and 
subordinated his in¬ 
surgent army to the 
royal army of the future 
“emperor” Agustin de 
Iturbide. From then up 
to the installation of 


governments of the PRD made 
up of fonner PRI pols, class col¬ 
laboration has undermined the 
rebelliousness of Guerrero. As 
in Salvador Allende’s Chile, “the 
people united” is a slogan for 
defeat. Our call is to Fight, Win, 
Workers to Power! 

Today, it is evident that call¬ 
ing for “clean” investigations and 
demanding the resignation of a 
mayor, a governor or even the 
President of the Republic will not 
solve anything. The lament and 
anger of relatives and companeros 
of the missing students, who an¬ 
grily demand on their banners that 
“they were taken alive, we want 
them back alive,” will keep on be¬ 
ing repeated. The weak Mexican 
bourgeoisie, subject to imperial¬ 
ism and confronting a powerful 
proletariat and poor peasantry, can 
not do without bloody repression 
to maintain its rule. As noted by 
the great Russian revolutionary 
Leon Trotsky, founder of the Red Army and 
the Fourth International, in the imperialist ep¬ 
och, in semi-colonial countries like Mexico a 
workers and peasants government is required 
to resolve the democratic tasks by initiating 
the international socialist revolution. 

There are those who dream of take 
to the mountains and starting up the armed 
struggle as in the past. But as in the past, 
heroic gestures will not achieve victory, 
because peasants do not have the economic 
and social power and consistent class in¬ 
terest to overthrow capitalism. We have 
pointed out that the current “self-defense 
groups” of the Tierra Caliente of Michoacan 
are run by the employers, and the indig¬ 
enous community police of Guerrero are 
controlled by Aguirre’s government. At the 
same time, we continue to demand freedom 
for Nestora Salgado and the community 
patrol members arrested for carrying arms. 
From the Zapatista uprising in 1994 to the 
teachers and popular uprising of Oaxaca in 
2006, the lesson of recent years - and of 
three failed bourgeois-democratic revolu¬ 
tions - is that the next Mexican revolution 
will be a workers revolution, or it will not be. 

It is necessary to break with the PRI, 
PAN and PRD, capitalist parties whose hands 
are stained with blood, and also with Morena, 
the movement of Andres Manuel Lopez 
Obrador, one of whose agents in Guerrero, 
the current state secretary of public health, 
Lazaro Mazon, is the main political godfather 
of Jose Luis Abarca, the murderous mayor 
of Iguala. We need to build a revolutionary 
leadership armed with the Trotskyist program 
of permanent revolution, to build the core of 
a Leninist workers party like the Bolsheviks 
in Russia, serving as tribune of the people by 
leading all the exploited and oppressed to the 
taking of power. 

We send our message of proletarian 
solidarity from Mexico City (and Berlin and 
New York) to the battle-hardened teachers 
college students of Guerrero, to their com¬ 
rades and parents: “We are with you, now 
and forever!” And let the governments of 
the day of the bourgeoisie know, both in 
Mexico and the United States and around 
the world, that their crimes will not escape 
the vigilance of the world working class. 
For the 2014 slaughter of Iguala like that of 
Mexico City on 2 October 1968, there will 
be no forgetting, no pardon ... Fight, win 
workers to power! ■ 




Lalornada 

^ Guerrero 


Sol IIMMIIMO > lit II * 



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Coverage of NYC emergency 
protest of massacre in Guerrero 
in La Jornada, La Jornada 
Guerrero and El Sur (Acapulco). 



4 


The Internationalist 





















Internationalist photo 


Defeat Israel / U.S. War - For Workers Action Against Zionist Slaughter 


Defend Gaza and the Palestinian People - 
For Arab-Hebrew workers Revolution! 



On July 29, Israel bombed Gaza’s only power plant, leaving the 1.8 million 
inhabitants without electricity, water or sewage treatment. 


r All Settlers Out of the ^ 
West Bank! 

From Egypt to Turkey, 
Fight for Workers 
_ Revolution! _ 

JULY 29 - Every two years like clockwork 
since Israel’s rulers “disengaged” from Gaza 
in late 2005, the Israeli military has launched 
a murderous attack on the 1.8 million 
Palestinians confined in this narrow 25-mile 
long strip along the Mediterranean. In 2008, 
“Operation Cast Lead” killed some 1,400 
Palestinians over 22 days; in 2010 there 
was “Operation Sea Breeze,” the deadly 
high-seas assault on the Gaza Freedom 
Flotilla; in 2012 it was “Operation Pillar 
of Defense” (100+ dead), and currently 
we have “Operation Protective Edge.” 
The Zionist militarists cynically refer to 
this periodic mass murder as “mowing the 
lawn.” Over the last three weeks the blood- 
drenched Israeli “lawnmower” has mowed 
down over 1,200 Palestinians. 

Beyond the repulsive language of the 
Zionists is the hideous reality of the slaugh¬ 
ter of the Palestinian Arab population. What 
is most striking is the huge number of non- 
combatant dead (three-quarters of the total, 
according to the United Nations) and the 
dramatic number of children killed (at least 
250). Under the guise of stopping rockets 
fired into Israel and destroying tunnels used 
by Hamas fighters, the Israeli military has 
been targeting residential apartment build¬ 
ings, destroying thousands of homes, as 
well as hitting 133 schools, 22 health clin¬ 
ics, a hospital and now Gaza’s power plant, 
knocking out electricity, water supplies and 
sewage treatment. Very quickly the situation 
will become catastrophic for those who 
survive the daily bombing. 

The Palestinian fighters on the ground 
have been resisting the Zionist assault 
bravely. The Gaza population has not buck¬ 
led under the rain of bombs and pounding 
artillery. There have been solidarity dem¬ 
onstrations of thousands from New York to 
Tokyo; in France, tens of thousands defied 
a protest ban by the “socialist” government; 
100,000 marched in London against Israel’s 


criminal attack. Some 20,000 Palestinians 
demonstrated on the West Bank while 6,000 
Israelis braved fascist attacks to call for an 
end to the war. But this has had zero impact 
on the bloodbath. The Zionist militarists 
will not be deterred by impotent appeals 
for “peace.” It is necessary> to mobilize the 
power of the world working class to stop 
these genocidal butchers. 

In reality, this is a war to terrorize the 
Arab population. Israel’s claim that the oc¬ 
cupation has ended is pure fiction. On top 
of strangling Gaza for the last seven years 
with an economic blockade and fencing in 
the population in what amounts to a concen¬ 
tration camp, the Israeli military periodically 
turns “the Strip” into a killing field. The 
Zionists deal with Gaza like the Nazis dealt 
with the Warsaw Ghetto. And now Prime 
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to 
be escalating the assault, announcing a 
“prolonged campaign” and killing 129 in 
the bloodiest day of the war. Meanwhile, 
ultra-Zionist cabinet members and sections 
of the Israeli public are “panting for the 
operation to be expanded” to exterminate 
Hamas ( Haaretz , 29 July). 

Revolutionary Marxists give no politi¬ 
cal support Hamas, an Islamist current as¬ 
sociated with the virulently anti-communist 
Muslim Brotherhood. Islamist rule in 
whatever guise is inimical to the rights 


of women and the democratic rights of 
everyone and every community not part 
of the dominant sect. Moreover, while 
Zionists vituperate against Hamas they 
neglect to mention that Israel helped set 
up the reactionary Islamic group, in order 
to compete with the Palestinian nationalist 
Fatah. Hamas has actually clamped down 
on rocket launches from Gaza during its 
administration. But it was elected based 
on its posture of opposing the Israeli oc¬ 
cupation, and we defend the resistance of 
Hamas-ruled Gaza against the Zionists and 
their Fatah quislings. 

A main reason given by Israeli “ex¬ 
perts” for prolonging the slaughter is the 
quantity and sophistication of military tun¬ 
nels discovered so far. More to the point 
is the toll of more than 50 Israeli soldiers 
killed so far by Hamas’ fighters, both those 
emerging from the tunnels and in firelights 
inside Gaza. While the rockets fired at Israel 
have merely sent people scurrying to bomb 
shelters, the significant number of army 
casualties makes it hard for Netanyahu to 
proclaim victory and declare a ceasefire. 
Meanwhile, Israelis have no stomach for a 
long war (this is already one of the longest) 
and are already heading back to the malls 
and the beaches. Income from American 
tourism has taken a big hit. 

The lack of even phony support for 
Gaza from most Arab regimes this time 
around is striking. The Palestinian Author¬ 
ity of Mahmoud Abbas is, as usual, acting 
as stooges for Israel. And even with nightly 
protests across the West Bank, a third inti¬ 
fada (popular uprising against the Israeli 
occupation) has not yet materialized. But the 
people of Gaza, facing horrendous death and 
destruction, are not calling on Hamas to ca¬ 
pitulate. All reports indicate that, whatever 
the cost, they are determined not to return to 
the status quo ante , to the slow death of life 
under the economic blockade. In short, the 
traditional Zionist tactic of terrorizing the 
population into pressuring the leaders to sue 
for peace is not working. So what’s next? 

The resistance in Gaza is vital, but 
not enough to stop the Israeli military jug¬ 
gernaut. International solidarity against the 
Zionist onslaught begins with exposing the 


pretensions of the United States and United 
g Nations ofacting as “peacemakers.” Despite 
«' the vituperation from Zionist hawks, the tag 
1 team of U.S. secretary of state John Kerry 
^ and U.N. secretary general Ban Ki Moon 
g with their calls for a ceasefire with no con¬ 
s' cessions are actually working on behalf of 
5 Israel. American president Barack Obama 
z denounces Ukrainian rebels for using “Rus- 
i sian-made weapons” (as does the Ukrainian 
o' army), yet every day Israel is laying waste 
h to Gaza with U.S.-supplied F-15 and F-16 
ro war planes. This is an imperialist / Zionist 
war on the Palestinians. 

For their part, the Western bourgeois 
media are playing their role to the hilt. They 
harp on rockets from Gaza as a justification 
for “Israel’s right to self-defense.” What a 
crock of horse manure! So far only 2 Israelis 
have been killed by rockets while well over 
2,000 residents of Gaza have been slaugh¬ 
tered, supposedly in retaliation. In fact, the 
very few rockets fired in the previous year 
and a half total less than an active day in 
the current war. Another favorite theme is 
alleged attacks on Jewish targets during 
anti-war protests, buttressing the claim that 
“anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism.” Yet 
demonstration organizers have been vigilant 
to prevent any occurrence of anti-Jewish 
actions. 

The protests have been dominated by 
Palestinian nationalism and Islamic ap¬ 
peals, which is to be expected in the face 
of Israel’s theft of Palestinian lands and 
more than six decades of violent suppres¬ 
sion of the subjugated Arab population’s 
national and other democratic rights. The 
Internationalist Group and League for the 
Fourth International have repeatedly dem¬ 
onstrated to “ Defend Gaza ” and “ Defend 
the Palestinian people ” on a program of 
proletarian internationalism, calling for an 
Arab-Hebrew Palestinian workers state in 
a socialist federation of the Near East. We 
have pushed for workers action against the 
Israel s war on the Palestinians, and called 
to “smash imperialism and Zionism through 
workers revolution.'’'’ 

Israel: An Imperialist 
Client State 

According to the Israeli war propagan¬ 
da (dutifully echoed in the Western press), 
the current slaughter of the Gaza population 
was in response to the mid-June kidnap¬ 
ping and murder of three Jewish youths as 
they were hitchhiking in the Etzion Bloc 
of West Bank settlements. Prime Minister 
Netanyahu immediately blamed this on 
Hamas, while presenting no evidence of 
a connection. More than 500 Palestinians 
were rounded up in the West Bank, includ¬ 
ing nearly all Hamas leaders in the area and 
re-arresting scores who had been released 
from prison only a few months earlier. 
Meanwhile, a Palestinian teenager, Moham¬ 
med Abu Khdeir, was kidnapped and burned 
alive by ultra-rightist Zionists. 

In reality, the reference to the kidnap¬ 
ping/murder of the Jewish teenagers (and to 
the relatively few rocket attacks) was only a 
pretext for carrying out a military operation 
against the Gaza military tunnels that had 

5 



m - kM 

Internationalist Group at July 9 protest in NYC against Israeli war on Gaza. 
October-November 2014 







Nati Shohat/Flash90 


V 





Cranes idle, booms up: Picket called by Transport Workers Solidarity 
Committee and others of Zim Lines ship in port of Oakland, California, 
September 27, to protest Israeli war and blockade of Gaza. ILWU longshoremen 
refused to work the ship in act of international labor solidarity. 


long been in the works. 1 The war is a follow¬ 
up to the breakdown of the phony ‘‘peace 
process” - widely ridiculed by Palestinians 
as all process and no peace - in May due 
to Israel’s escalation of West Bank settle¬ 
ment construction and cancelation of the 
scheduled release of Palestinian prisoners. 
The assault on Gaza was also retaliation 
against the declaration of a Palestinian unity 
government bringing together the Islamist 
Hamas with its nationalist Fatah rivals who 
have become West Bank ghetto police for 
the Israeli occupation. 

The origins of the current war go to the 
heart of the nature of the Israeli state and its 
occupation of Palestinian lands. From its 
origins, the Zionist nationalist movement 
founded by Theodor Herzl at the turn of the 
20th century presumed the mass expulsion of 
Palestinians. The establishment of Israel was 
as a result of the genocide of six million Jews 
by the German Nazi fascists under Hitler, and 
of the refusal by U.S. imperialism to accept 
Jewish refugees from Europe during and after 
World War II. Israel’s 1948 “war of indepen¬ 
dence” involved the deliberate driving out of 
hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs. 
Many ended up in refugee camps in the West 
Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza where they 
and their descendants remain today. 

Thus the birth of Israel was the result 
of a heinous crime, and itself a crime. This 
is no novelty in world history. The United 
States, after all, was formed on the basis of 
genocide against the Native American popu¬ 
lation and chattel slavery of black Africans, 
dragged in chains from their homelands by 
the capitalist slavers. Moreover, Marxists 
are opposed on principle to any and all 
religious-based states, which are inherently 
anti-democratic. We oppose the existence of 
Israel as a Jewish state just as we oppose the 
Islamic republic of Khomeini’s Iran and the 
officially Christian states of Petain’s France 
and Franco’s Spain. 

Many on the left have described Israel 
as a “ colonial settler state.” This would 
make it the equivalent of white-ruled Rho¬ 
desia in southern Africa and the Hebrew¬ 
speaking population of Israel would be 
analogous to the French colons in Algeria. 
This is a false analogy. Israeli Jews are not 
the representatives of foreign colonial power 
who can return to the metropole if the na¬ 
tive population rises up. If things get hot in 

1 “Anny prepared for Gaza campaign, defense 
minister says,” headlined the Times of Israel (31 
December 2013), saying that the military objec¬ 
tive would be to “deal a harsh blow to Gaza and 
the organizations operating there....” 


Palestine, a large percentage of the Israeli 
non-Arab population would likely fight to 
the end, even opposed to the U.S., as it did 
in the Suez invasion in 1956. The fact is that 
a Hebrew-speaking nation has been forged 
through the dispossession of Palestinian Ar¬ 
abs, who have also become a nation through 
their bitter experience of oppression. 

A second common description of Israel 
by opponents of Zionism is as an “ apartheid 
state,” on the lines of white-supremacist 
South Africa. Again, while Israeli oppres¬ 
sion of Palestinian Arabs is no less criminal 
than the oppression of non-whites in South 
Africa, the oppressive regimes are far from 
identical. Certainly there is segregation 
and vicious denial of democratic rights of 
Palestinians in Israel, and far more so in 
the Occupied Territories. But South African 
apartheid was also an economic regime 
based on the superexploitation of black 
labor, which has continued under a “neo¬ 
apartheid” black capitalist government, 
which kills miners just like its predecessor. 
Israeli rulers, however, would expel and 
ultimately slaughter the Palestinian people. 

The Zionist outposts on the West Bank, 
many filled with transplants from the U.S., 
actually are a colonial settler phenomenon. 
All of them, even the residential suburbs of 
Jerusalem, are strategic bases to control and 
push out the Arab population. This has been 
true since the Allon Plan, drafted after the 
Israel’s 1967 occupation of the area, which 
led to a string of fortified settlements along 
the Jordan Valley. That is also why so many 
of the 120+ official settlements are located on 
hilltops, and connected by military highways 
that divide up the Palestinian population into 
small “cantons” that can be easily surrounded 
and cut off by the army. Thus they are all 
legitimate military targets. The IG and LFI 
demand all settlers out of the West Bank. 

In rejecting the characterization of 
Israel proper as a “colonial-settler state” or 
“apartheid state,” we in no way diminish the 
monstrous nature of the Zionist crimes. On 
the contrary, what Israeli rulers are prepared 
to do to the Palestinians is potentially much 
worse than the Rhodesian or South African 
racists. The murderous assault on Gaza 
currently underway could be the lead-up 
to “ethnic cleansing” on a massive scale - 
literally emptying Gaza of its population, 
whether by military means as in 1948 or by 
turning off the water, electricity and food 
supply. And if they get frustrated enough, 
or feel threatened enough, the Zionists 
(“hawks” and “doves” alike) are fully 
capable of carrying out a genocidal “final 


solution” of the Palestinian “problem.” 

Never forget that the Zionist madmen 
are sitting on a huge arsenal of nuclear 
warheads, hundreds of them, and with their 
“Masada complex” 2 they are crazy enough 
to unleash what could be a suicidal catastro¬ 
phe. Israeli rulers calculate that the only way 
they can secure their position in the Middle 
East is by maintaining absolute military 
superiority. That is why they are so intent 
on preventing Iran from getting “the bomb,” 
because that would limit Israel’s ability to 
intimidate its neighbors with nuclear black¬ 
mail. Revolutionary Marxists, on the other 
hand, while giving no political support to 
the mullahs’ regime in Tehran, defend Iran’s 
right to nuclear weapons to defend itself 
against imperialist and Zionist war threats. 

Israel is today, and has been since its 
birth, a client state and ally of Western impe¬ 
rialism. In historical Palestine there are two 
nations - the oppressor Hebrew-speaking 
nation and the oppressed Palestinian Arab 
nation - with interpenetrated populations 
inhabiting and laying claim to the same land. 
In this situation, where both nations have 
the democratic right to self-determination, 
there can be no equitable solution to com¬ 
peting national rights short of a socialist 
revolution that establishes a collectivized 
economy throughout the Near East. Talk 
of a “two-state” solution is a fraud, for 
under capitalism, where nations compete 
for scarce resources such as water and fuel, 
the stronger (i.e., Israel) will always prevail. 

And the Israeli ruling class will never 
agree to a single democratic (capitalist) 
state, first because it would be the doom 
of the Zionist project of a Jewish state, and 
because they know well how criminally they 
have treated the Palestinians and expect the 
same in return if they should be in a minor¬ 
ity. That is why the League for the Fourth 
International calls for Arab-Hebrew workers 
revolution that alone offers a future not only 
to the impoverished Palestinians but also 
to Hebrew-speaking workers and the large 
secular Israeli middle class that may tire of 
living with a siege mentality in a garrison 
state where every few years they must send 
their sons and daughters off to kill and be 
killed for the greater glory of Zionism. 

2 In biblical times, the fortification of Masada 
overlooking the Dead Sea was besieged by 
troops of the Roman Empire, ending with the 
mass suicide of the Jewish warriors and their 
families. Today recruits of the Israeli army ar¬ 
mored units swear an oath of allegiance on the 
heights saying “Masada shall not fall again.” 




For International Workers 
Solidarity Action 
Against Zionist Terror 

Amid the hysteria, the Zionist warmon¬ 
gers’ hammerlock on the Jewish population 
of Israel would seem absolute, although that 
can change quickly as the Israeli soldiers’ 
death toll mounts. For now, polls report 
90% to 95% of Jews support the assault 
on Gaza. “Liberal” Zionist media join with 
right-wingers in bashing the “hypocritical” 
and unpatriotic left. Leftist-led protests are 
attacked by fascist-led mobs of up to 800 in 
Tel Aviv on July 12 and several hundred in 
Haifa on July 19. Thugs chanting “death to 
Arabs” and wearing neo-Nazi t-shirts and 
emblems of the Kahane Chai movement bru¬ 
tally beat antiwar demonstrators while the 
police stood by. For some 6,000 protesters 
to come out on July 26, although belatedly, 
took a good deal of courage. 

Many on the left have pinned their 
hopes on a “third intifada” by Palestinians 
on the West Bank. While the first (1987-93) 
and second (2000-05) uprisings against the 
Israeli occupation were heroic, they could 
not overcome or even dent the Zionist mili¬ 
tary’s might. Amira Hass wrote earlier of 
“Why the West Bank isn’t erupting against 
Israel” ( Haaretz, 18 July). In fact, there have 
been almost nightly protests of thousands, 
with up to 20,000 marching July 24 on the 
Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah, but 
they have been blocked by Israeli soldiers 
firing on unarmed demonstrators in East 
Jerusalem and Qalandia ( Palestine Moni¬ 
tor, 25 July), and suppressed by the police 
of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority in Hebron 
{Alternative Information Center, 22 July). 

So what is the goal? In Israel, the Com¬ 
munist Party (CPI-Maki) and its electoral 
front Hadash, as well as a smaller reform¬ 
ist outfit, the Socialist Struggle Movement 
(SSM-Maavak Sotzyalisti, part of the Com¬ 
mittee for a Workers International), call for a 
Palestinian mini-state. They may try to pret¬ 
tify this with talk of “a truly independent, 
equal, democratic and socialist Palestinian 
state, next to a socialist and democratic 
Israel” (“Gaza in Crisis,” socialistworld.net 
[CWI], 29 July). But in calling for “an inde¬ 
pendent Palestinian state alongside Israel,” 
they are parroting the imperialists’ failed 
bourgeois “two-state solution” laid out in 
the moribund 1993 Oslo Accords. This 
comes down to acceptance of Zionist rule 
and continuation of Palestinian oppression. 
continued on page 11 

The Internationalist 



Women settlers practice firing in Jewish settlement of Pnei Kedem, near 
Bethlehem, in September 2012. All settlements are strategic bases to control 
and expel Palestinian Arabs. All settlers out of the West Bank! 

6 


Labor Video Project 







After 5-Month Platinum Strike, 200,000+ NUMSA Members Walk Out 


Worker Revolt Continues to 
Shake South African Capitalism 



Members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) 
in Durban on July 1, first day of the national strike, point to non-striking 
construction workers demanding they join the walkout. 


For the the last two years, ever since 
the massacre of striking mine workers at 
Marikana, South Africa has been roiled 
by workers’ struggles. This discontent was 
reflected politically in the decision of the 
metal workers union NUMSA last December 
to break with the ruling African National 
Congress (ANC). 

Following on the heels of the bitter Jan- 
uary-June platinum miners strike, NUMSA 
engineering and metal workers walked out 
at the beginning of July. That strike (see 
article below) ended after one month on the 
picket lines with a 10% raise for the lowest- 
paid workers and 8% for others. While 
this is more than the current 6%> inflation 
rate, it is considerably less than originally 
demanded and far from constituting a “liv¬ 
ing wage, ” with most auto assembly line 
workers earning less than US$600 a month. 

Since then the class battle has not let 
up for a minute. On the eve of a NUMSA 
International Symposium on Building a 
Socialist South Africa that began August 
7, three shop stewards in KwaZulu-Natal 
province were shot to death after returning 
from a union meeting. And at the end of 
October, the leadership of the Congress of 
South African Trade Unions began prepar¬ 
ing to expel NUMSA, which may take place 
at a COSATU meeting on November 7. 

While the metal workers leadership 
has been taking a more militant stance than 
the cravenly pro-government union tops, it 
has not fundamentally broken with capital¬ 
ism. So while COSATU called on ANC vice 
president CyrilRamaphosa, theformer mine 
union leader who is now a leading mining 
capitalist, to “mediate" the conflict with 
NUMSA, the latter appealed to the capitalist 
courts to stop the expulsion move. 

The struggle for international socialist 
revolution in South Africa and elsewhere 
must be based on intransigent struggle for 
workers political independence from all 
bourgeois parties, politicians and their state. 

JULY 5 - South African bosses are worried. 
Business Day (3 July) headlines, ‘“Worker 
revolt’ Aggravating Most Difficult Economic 
Time Since 2009.” The online news site Daily 
Maverick frets, “South Africa may well be 
the strike capital of the world.” The five- 
month platinum miners strike, the longest in 
the country’s history, was settled on June 23. 
Although failing to achieve the demand of the 
Association of Mineworkers and Construc¬ 
tion Union (AMCU) for a monthly wage of 
12,500 rand (a little under US$1,200), the 
base pay of the lowest-paid miners was raised 
from around 5,000 to 8,000 rand - a 60% 
increase over three years. 

Then on July 1, the National Union of 
Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) 
launched an indefinite strike involving more 
than 220,000 workers in the engineering and 
metals sector, ushered in by massive marches 
by its membership across the country. The 
strike hit producers of iron, steel, durable 
consumer goods and plastics. By July 4, 
General Motors had to shut down its Port 
Elizabeth auto assembly plant due to parts 

October-November 2014 


shortages. The head of the employers’ Steel 
and Engineering Industries Federation of 
South Africa estimated the NUMSA strike 
was costing the industry US$30 million a day. 

Following reelection of African National 
Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma as presi¬ 
dent, the back-to-back AMCU and NUMSA 
strikes, which could spread to the gold mining 
sector, set the stage for another confrontation 
between workers and South Africa’s black 
capitalist regime. The shock waves of the 
August 2012 Marikana massacre continue 
to reverberate in the economic powerhouse 
of Africa. But a decisive victory will require 
a break with the ruling Tripartite Alliance 
of the ANC, the sellout Congress of South 
African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the anti¬ 
communist South African Communist Party 
(SACP) and rejection of the Stalinst/social- 
democratic program of “two-stage” revolution 
in order to fight for socialist revolution. 

The platinum strike had already shaken 
the neo-apartheid regime (see “Elections 
and Miners Strike: South African Popular 
Front in Crisis,” The Internationalist No. 
37, May-June 2014). The miners walked 
out for 12,500 rand, the demand of the 2012 
strike, for which 36 strikers were shot down 
in cold blood by the police at Marikana. 
The final settlement was a limited but real 
victory for the miners. The bosses’ media 
try to minimize it by calculating how much 
strikers lost during five months without pay. 
But for the miners what was key was that the 
companies were not able to starve them into 
submission, they resisted police repression 
and won a big raise. 

Yet mine workers will still be mired 
in abject poverty, living in tin shacks while 
managers wheel around in their BMWs. The 
claims that replacing the formal structures of 
white supremacy known as apartheid would 
bring freedom for the downtrodden South Af¬ 
rican non-white masses have been shown to be 
hollow. Now some liberals are talking about a 
switch from a “low-wage, high-employment” 
mining industry to a “high-wage, low-em¬ 
ployment” model (Business Day, 18 June). 


Nonsense. They may automate the mines, 
but South African capitalism was built on the 
bedrock of superexploitation of black labor 
and that will not change under neo-apartheid. 

The platinum strike went up against 
the ANC government, and had to contend 
with scabbing by the National Union of 
Mineworkers (NUM). Even so, the historic 
12,500-rand wage demand against the hugely 
profitable Lonmin, Amplats and Implats 
mining companies could have been won - 
but the miners couldn’t do it alone. As we 
wrote last April, “There should have been, 
and should be today, a mobilization of all of 
South African labor to defend the miners with 
solidarity’ strike action to bring South Africa 
to a standstill in support of the platinum 
strike.” NUMSA workers in the platinum 
refineries could have continued their strike 
until the miners won. 

The point was noted by a Witwatersrand 
University researcher, Gavin Capps, quoted 
by the liberal Mail & Guardian (20 June) 
saying that the union’s initial demand 
“could have been won with co-ordinated 
action from another sector. If there had 
been co-ordination with refinery workers, 
for example, and with transport workers 
who would have simply refused to trans¬ 
port the stockpiles, there would have been 
a tighter squeeze on production.” But this 
was blocked by mutual suspicion between 
the NUMSA and AMCU tops while “the 
National Council of Trade Unions, to which 
Amcu is affiliated, folded its arms as Amcu 
slugged it out in Rustenburg.” 

Even as the COSATU/NUM labor fak¬ 
ers and SACP fake communists back the 
Zuma government to the hilt as the price 
for their reserved seats on the neo-apartheid 
“gravy train,” and despite bureaucratic ten¬ 
sions among the more militant unions, with 
metal workers walking out on the heels of 
the miners strike, the capitalists are react¬ 
ing like they were hit by a one-two punch. 
“There will be no settlement whatsoever 
unless a double-digit increase is achieved,” 
said NUMSA president Andrew Chirwa on 


June 26. Although the leadership scaled 
back its demands, from 20% to 15% to 
^ 12%, union marchers in Johannesburg are 
to insisting on at least 15%. 

3 NUMSA also decided to launch a 
0 series of pickets and marches on July 2 
|jover its deadlocked wage negotiations 
c with the power utility Eskom, where it is 
| likewise demanding 12%. Strikes against 
this state-owned electricity firm are banned 
under South Africa’s anti-labor “essential 
services” law. NUMSA represents only a 
quarter of the 40,000 Eskom workers, but 
a few pickets at the Medupi power station 
under construction in Limpopo province 
resulted in many contract workers not show¬ 
ing up {The Citizen , 4 July). Cops drove off 
the pickets at the entrance with potentially 
lethal rubber bullets. The next act in this 
drama could be bloody. 

The ANC government has of course 
denounced the metalworkers, but despite 
backstabbing by COSATU bureaucrats, 
the strike has received verbal support from 
a number of federations. Meanwhile, the 
bourgeois press screeches that Moody’s, 
the credit rating firm, may downgrade South 
African government bonds to “junk” status. 
At a July 1 rally in Port Elizabeth, NUMSA 
treasurer Mphumzi Maqungo replied to 
“economic analysts arguing that this strike 
is politically motivated and will hit the 
economy hardest. We want to tell them that 
they must go to hell” {The Herald, 2 July). 

While the NUMSA strike is fully justi¬ 
fied, it is nonetheless very political. In addi¬ 
tion to the wage demand, NUMSA is calling 
for a ban on labor brokers (the parasites who 
supply temporary contract workers who re¬ 
ceive a pittance far below the poverty wages 
regular workers receive) and a ban on hiring 
under the Employment Tax Incentive Act (a 
scheme to subsidize capitalists if they hire 
youth, also with poor wages and no rights). 
COSATU has begged its “allies” in the bour¬ 
geois government to ban labor brokering, to 
no avail. (Not coincidentally the profiteers 
from this modern-day slave trade include 
the son of President Zuma.) 

In December 2013, NUMSA broke 
with the Tripartite Alliance, and refused to 
back the ANC in the May elections. It talks 
of socialism and calls for building some 
kind of “workers party.” But the NUMSA 
memorandum announcing the strike, while 
citing the crises of capitalism, deplores 
the “shameful” poverty wages “in our de¬ 
mocracy” and demands “that government 
stops pursuing neo-liberal policies.” It also 
asserts that “we have a straggle to engage 
both business and capital” to “defend the 
current capability of our manufacturing 
sector.” Thus in practice, its policy amounts 
to a hopeless quest to pressure capital into 
behaving in a “comradely” way. 

Curiously, the South African business 
weekly Financial Mail (20 June) recently 
published a series of articles on “participa¬ 
tive capitalism” including an editorial, fea¬ 
turing a photo of NUMSA general secretary 
Irvin Jim, titled “Can Comrade Capitalism 
continued on page 11 


7 




Roberto Stuckert Filho/Presidencia da Republics 


No Party or Candidate Presents a Class Challenge 

Brazil: The Election Racket 
of the Bourgeoisie 


Cast a Blank Ballot and Forge a 
Revolutionary Workers Party! 



Militarized “democracy.” Special operation of the Shock Battalion (Batalhao 
de Choque) of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro took the streets to oversee 
elections (and intimidate voters). 


The following is an abridged transla¬ 
tion of an article published by our comrades 
of the Liga Quarta-Internacionalista do 
Brasil (Fourth-Internationalist League of 
Brazil). Since it appeared, Dilma Rousseff, 
the incumbent president and candidate of 
the Workers Party (PT) came in first in the 
initial round of balloting but well short of a 
majority. In a second-round runoff election 
on October 26, Rousseff narrowly won with 
51.5% against 48.5% for the right-wing can¬ 
didate Aecio Neves of the Brazilian Social 
Democratic Party (PSDB). 

OCTOBER 2 - We’re now at that time in 
the political cycle when the TV screens 
are filled with talking heads, theatrically 
pontificating and making empty campaign 
promises; when the electoral marketing 
firms are raking in profits hand over fist, 
when messengers hand over suitcases 
stuffed with cash to parliamentary deputies- 
for-hire, and union bureaucrats of all stripes 
clamp down on the workers’ struggles and 
instead dedicate themselves to rounding up 
votes. The Brazilian elections of 2014 are 
no exception to this rule. We Marxists do 
not reject on principle using the bourgeois 
electoral circus as a platform to present the 
revolutionary program, even as we recog¬ 
nize that this is enemy territory. But in this 
election there is no party or slate which 
could represent a working-class vote against 
capitalism. 

The three main candidates - Dilma 
Rousseff, of the Workers Party (PT), Ma¬ 
rina Silva of the Brazilian Socialist Party 
(PSB) and Aecio Neves of the Brazilian 
Social Democracy Party (PSDB) - all de¬ 
fend capitalist rule. Even though the PT is 
partly based on the workers movement, its 
program is strictly limited to the framework 
of capitalism. Beyond that, even before it 
undertook governing the country in 2003 
under the presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula 
da Silva, this “bourgeois workers party” 
(as Lenin defined the British Labour Party) 
organized a popular front with bourgeois 
forces in order to subordinate the workers 


to the dictates of the bourgeoisie. 

The popular-front government ofDilma 
Rousseff and her vice president, Michel 
Temer of the Brazilian Democratic Move¬ 
ment Party (PMDB), the main bourgeois 
component of the PT’s stable of allies, has 
been deteriorating after 12 years in office. 
Last year there was an explosion of street 
protests of up to a million people in Rio de 
Janeiro against the social policies of the 
governments. 

In 2014, after four years of a boom due 
to the export of raw materials to China, the 
Brazilian economy went into recession. 
There were big mobilizations denouncing 
extravagant expenditures for the World Cup 
of soccer while education and pubic health 
are starved of funds. Then the Brazilian 
team suffered a “humiliating” 7-1 defeat 
at the hands of Germany. A new corruption 
scandal exploded in the semi-state oil com¬ 


pany Petrobras. Yet the Sao Paulo bankers 
have been making money like never before 
under the governments of Lula and Dilma. 
Above all, in the opinion surveys the PT has 
kept the support of low-income voters and 
a good chunk of the famous “middle class.” 

The PT apparatus, pro-government and 
right-wing union bureaucracies and assorted 
spokesmen of the “center-left” media are 
calling for a vote for Dilma with various 
arguments, which boil down to two main 
appeals: the PT government has implemented 
an economic policy of “growth together with 
redistributing income” to the poor that is an 
alternative to “neo-liberalism”; and (since 
they no longer talk of imperialism) that it 
“pursued an independent foreign policy. Both 
explanations are a gross distortion of reality. 

It is true that the several welfare pro¬ 
grams, above all Bolsa Familia (the Family 
Fund), have reduced income inequality, the 
unemployment rate, the poverty rate (-55%) 
and the rate of extreme poverty (-65%) as 
well as raising the minimum wage, from 
2003 to 2014. Yet Brazil continues to be one 
of the most unequal countries in the world, 
with a monthly average wage of less than 
$R 3,000 (roughly US$1,200), and the pay- 
checks of industrial workers took a pay cut 
of 3.4% last year and up to 7.8% for metal 
workers. Moreover, from the very outset 
the Lula-Dilma government has attacked 
workers’ union gains with its “reform” of 
health and welfare benefits; it has smashed 
several strikes, and is preparing a new as¬ 
sault with the labor “reform” taking aim at 
union contracts. 

As for its “independent” foreign policy, 
Brazil under the popular front, along with 
Bolivia and Ecuador, has a certain room 
to maneuver due to trade with China, but 
basically knuckles under to the demands of 
Yankee imperialism. One only has to look 
at the role that these countries (along with 


Chile and Argentina) play as a mercenary 
occupation force for imperialism in Haiti, 
with U.N. blue helmets, of course. 

Concerning Marina Silva, despite her 

international fame as an environmentalist, 

ever since leaving the PT in 2008, in her 

presidential campaign for the Green Party 

^ in 2010 and today as a standard-bearer for 

g the PSB, she has offered her services to the 

—i minor capitalist parties as the perfect “anti- 

2- PT candidate.” In reality, her program and 

° candidacy have been crafted to pick up votes 

cq from the right should there be a second¬ 
er ° 

o round runoff election. 
q Marina’s right-wing program linked to 
O high finance is summed up in the demand 
§■ for “independence for the Central Bank.” 
Independence from the government, that is, 
and instead dependence on the Sao Paulo 
bankers, and on the imperialist financial 
institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, 
etc. She also appeals to the most retrograde 
social layers with her opposition to gay mar¬ 
riage, to the rights of women (opposition to 
abortion) and her support for the homopho¬ 
bic pastor Marco Feliciano, as head of the 
Human Rights Commission of the federal 
Chamber of Deputies. 

For her part, Dilma only supports abor¬ 
tion for those cases permitted under the 2013 
law (rape, risk to the life of the woman and 
an encephalitic fetus) rather than defending 
the unlimited right of women to free abor¬ 
tion on demand in safe medical conditions, 
as we Trotskyists demand. But Marina is 
linked to fascistic, coup-plotting sectors 
and is opposed to revising the Amnesty 
Law to punish torturers from the military 
dictatorship (1968-1985), after having taken 
the opposite position in 2008. Her environ¬ 
mentalism is nothing but a green fig leaf to 
cover her program for an ultra-neo-liberal 
government of the religious right. 

And Aecio Neves? Workers might have 
illusions in Dilma Rousseff or Marina Silva, 
but the candidate of the PSDB is a declared 
enemy of the workers movement and of the 
rights of all oppressed sectors in capitalist 
society, so there’s no point in spending any 
more time on him. 

Campaigns of a “Socialist” 
Left Bought Off by the 
Capitalist Government 

In the face of the onslaught by all the 
parliamentary parties against the rights and 
interests of working people, women, blacks 
and other oppressed sectors, one might ask 
if among the parties of the “socialist” left 
running in the presidential elections there 
is a slate that would merit critical support 
from revolutionaries. We are referring here 
to the candidates of the Partido Socialismo 
e Liberdade (PSOL, Party of Socialism 
and Freedom), of the Partido Socialista dos 
Trabalhadores Unificado (PSTU, United 
Socialist Workers Party) and Partido Causa 
Operaria (PCO, Workers Cause Party) 1 . All 

1 In the first round voting, the PSOL received 1.6 
million votes, or about 1.5% of the total, while 
the PSTU got 91,000 votes and the PCO 12,000. 



Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff with her imperialist overlord, Barack 
Obama in the White House, April 2012. Meanwhile, NSA was listening to 
phones of Rousseff and her top aides. 


8 


The Internationalist 



three claim to be Trotskyist, or include in¬ 
ternal tendencies which consider themselves 
Trotskyist, although their concrete politics 
are opportunist and quite distant from the 
Bolshevik-Leninism of Trotsky’s Fourth 
International. 

To consider the question, we first have 
to establish the principles. From the time 
of the First International, the International 
Workingmen’s Association (IWA), the basic 
political orientation has been, as Friedrich 
Engels noted: “Our politics must be working- 
class politics. The workers party must never 
be the tagtail of any bourgeois party; it must 
be independent and have its goal and its own 
policy” (speech at the September 1871 Lon¬ 
don Conference of the First International). 
The next year, Marx and Engels wrote a 
resolution that was included as Article 7 of 
the statutes of the IWA, which stated: 

“Against the collective power of 
the propertied classes the working 
class cannot act, as a class, except by 
constituting itself into a political party, 
distinct from, and opposed to, all old 
parties formed by the propertied classes. 
“This constitution of the working class 
into a political party is indispensable in 
order to insure the triumph of the social 
revolution and its ultimate end - the 
abolition of classes.” 

In this same period, Marx drew the lessons 
of the experience of the Paris Commune, 
writing: 

“[T]he working class cannot simply lay 
hold of the ready-made state machinery, 
and wield it for its own purposes.” 

-The Civil War in France (June 1871) 

It was necessary to “smash” the bureaucratic- 
military machine of capital in order to carry 
out a revolution, beginning with the taking of 
power by the proletariat at the head of all the 
oppressed layers. 

Basing ourselves on these principles, 
whose validity has been confirmed by 
all subsequent history, we in the Liga 
Quarta-lnternacionalista do Brasil (Fourth 
Internationalist League of Brazil), section 
of the League for the Fourth International, 
fight for total political independence from 
the bourgeoisie, its parties and its state. We 
reject voting for any party which is part 
of a popular front, a class-collaborationist 
coalition with bourgeois sectors, as is the 
case with the current Brazilian government 
led by the PT in alliance with the (social- 
democratic) PCdoB (Communist Party of 
Brazil), the PMDB, the PDT and bourgeois 
rightist forces (PSD, PP, PR, PRB). Yet the 
parties of the reformist “socialist” left, the 
PSOL and PSTU, even as they criticize the 
PT government, are merely seeking to form 
an alternative popular front. 

So, for example, in 2012 the PSOL 
managed to elect the mayor of Macapa (in 
the northern state of Amapa) on the basis of 
a popular front with minor bourgeois par¬ 
ties, which then in the runoff was supported 
by the rightist DEM, the successor to the 
political vehicle of the military dictatorship. 
Currently, the star candidate of the PSOL, 
Heloisa Helena, is again running for senator 
from the state of Alagoas, with the support 
of the PSDB in a formal pact. 

In August, it came out that in Rio 
Grande do Sul, the PSOL received R$50,000 
(about US$20,000) from the Zaffari Group, 
owners of the main supermarket chain in the 
state and the fifth largest in Brazil. Of this 
money, R$15,000 went to the campaign of 
Luciana Genro (whose father is the current 
PT state governor) and R$30,000 for the 
PSOL candidate for governor. Yet a month 


earlier, PSOL presidential candidate Genro 
criticized “that the same contractors who 
build the overpriced public works for the 
World Cup are the financiers of the PT, 
PMDB, PSDB and PSB” (Brasil 247, 2 
July). Any contradiction there? Supermar¬ 
kets, yes - contractors, no? Or is it PSOL, 
yes - the rest of the parties, no? 

The PSTU, which published an article 
(9 August) breaking the scandal about the 
PSOL, commented: 

“When the capitalists do this with the 
traditional parties, they do so in the 
certainty that, once elected, they will be 
paid back with bids, policies, construction 
projects, among other things. In short, 
they do this in order to ensure that once 
elected the parties will govern in the 
interests of those who financed them. 
But when the capitalists do this with a 
party of the socialist left, which has in 
and around it a significant share of the 
activists of the militant social movements 
in our country, they do so - in addition to 
the above motives - in order to undermine 
the ranks of this organization. They do it 
in order to buy them off and destroy them. 
“The leadership of the PSOL knows this, 
since they broke with the PT denouncing 
that. Why, then, do they ask for and receive 
financing from the bosses? Without 
political and financial independence, they 
will build another PT.” 

One inconvenient detail: the PSTU had 
made an electoral pact with the PSOL, for an 
“independent candidate,” a “left opposition” 
to the government of Genro father. What 
to do? The PSTU’s answer: nothing, for 
they kept on supporting the PSOL-Zaffari 
candidate. 

Despite all this twisting and turning, the 
PSTU insists that “we don’t accept funds 
from companies because we wish to main¬ 
tain our commitment to the working people 
and our independence with regard to the 
bosses.” And how about with regard to the 
capitalist state? Why then, did the govern¬ 
ment’s Party Fund dole out R$772,000 (a 
little over half a million U.S. dollars) to the 
PSTU in 2013, and in the first nine months 
of this year another R$604 thousand? The 
PSOL got quite a bit more, R$3.7 million 
[US$1.5 million] in 2013 and R$3 million 
so far in 2014. 

“He who pays the piper calls the tune,” 
writes the PSTU, adding: “In elections it’s 
no different. Whoever finances the candida¬ 
cies is who, after the campaign is over, will 
define the policies.” Correct, and this not 
only applies to banks, contractors or super¬ 
markets, but also to the capitalist state. The 
right-wing press complains about the money 
paid by the state to the “midget parties,” in 
the same way it complains about television 
time accorded to left-wing parties. We are 
opposed to all prohibitions or restraints on 
access to the communications media. But a 
party that receives money from the capital¬ 
ist state is a hostage of the bourgeoisie: its 
political campaign, and its very existence, 
depend on the good will of the apparatus 
which manages the affairs of the bosses. 

But in the end, one can hardly expect 
principled political consistency from the 
followers of the late fake Trotskyist caudillo 
Nahuel Moreno, who embodied the oppor¬ 
tunism of unprincipled alliances with variable 
denominators. Moreno was a quick-change 
artist who went from posing as a “left” Per- 
onist, to Castroite, to Guevarist, to Maoist, to 
Sandinista and finally ending up (as the PSTU 
is today), a plain old social democrat. Faced 
with pseudo-socialists like these reformist 


opportunists, revolutionary Marxists and 
class-conscious workers cannot vote for the 
candidate of the PSOL, nor for Ze Maria Al¬ 
meida, the perennial candidate of the PSTU, 
as they do not represent, even minimally, 
a class opposition to the capitalist regime. 
Quite the contrary, in the recent struggles of 
the Sao Paulo metro (subway) workers and 
Rio de Janeiro teachers, the role of fireman 
to put out the flames of the class struggle has 
passed from the PT to the PSOL and PSTU. 

The centrist Partido Causa Operaria 
uses rhetoric ever so slightly to the left of the 
PSOL and PSTU, but at bottom its politics 
don’t differ from those of the reformists. 
Currently the PCO is obsessed by the sup¬ 
posed danger ofa coup d’etat, another 1964 
in Brazil or Germany 1933. In the militant 
struggles of the June Days of 2013 the PCO 
saw a fascist danger, which is craziness and 
serves as an excuse for backhanded support 
to the PT government. 

The PCO polemicizes against “The 
Political Nullity of the Petty-Bourgeois 
Left” that calls for a voto nulo (blank ballot) 
“on principle,” and argues that “it is neces¬ 
sary for working people to go through the 
experience of elections and parliament.” 
(In Brazil, voting is compulsory.) We of the 
LQB do not reject fighting on the electoral 
terrain “on principle,” but we do reject sup¬ 
porting a parliamentary left which considers 
it “necessary” for workers to participate in 
the bourgeois electoral circus. And above 
all, we don’t accept such lessons in pseudo- 
Marxism from parties on the payroll of the 
capitalist state, like the PCO which received 
R$472,000 from the Brazilian government’s 
Party Fund in 2013 and R$386,000 in the 
first nine months of 2014. 

Aproletarian revolutionary party would 
not take one cent of financing from the 
capitalist state, or from other capitalist in¬ 
stitutions (foundations, companies, etc.). A 
Leninist and Trotskyist party finances itself 
with the contributions of its members and 
those who support its 
program and political 
activities. The principle 
is straightforward for 
any Marxist: it is the 
expression of politi¬ 
cal independence from 
the class enemy. This 
isn’t obvious to parties 
like the PSOL, PSTU 
and PCO because for 
these opportunists, the 
state is not their en¬ 
emy but instead booty 
that they hope to con¬ 
quer, that they seek to 
govern. Their election 
programs are propos¬ 
als for another social 
policy, for lower inter¬ 
est rates by the state 
banks, for reform of the 
capitalist state rather 
than its revolutionary 
overthrow. 

We in the LQB 
have called from the 
2002 elections on for 
“proletarian opposition 
to the popular front” of 
the PT when the PSTU 
called to vote for Lula 
on the second round, 
and the PCO called 
to “defend the vote” 
against a non-existent 


coup threat. After the PT won, we said that 
Lula’s government together with the Liberal 
Party would be the “fireman for the IMF,” 
the guarantor of payment of the debt to the 
imperialists and to domestic bankers. When 
the “ companheiro presidente’' substituted 
for the U.S. troops as the occupation force in 
Haiti, we called him the “sheriff of Yankee 
imperialism” in Latin America. 

Then, with the election of Dilma 
Rousseff as the “continuity of Lula” in 
2010, we explained that “The Candidates 
of the Left (PSOL, PSTU, PCB, PCO) 
Accept Rather Than Fighting the Bosses’ 
Parliamentary ‘Games’” (see “Brazil¬ 
ian Elections: The Bourgeoisie Goes for 
More Lula,” The Internationalist No. 
32, January-February 2011). As against 
centrists like the Liga Estrategia Revolu- 
cionaria (LER - affiliated internationally 
with the Trotskyist Faction) which called 
for a “critical vote for Ze Maria” [Almeida 
of the PSTU] in these elections, the LQB 
fights for a workers and peasants govern¬ 
ment based on workers and peasants coun¬ 
cils which initiates socialist revolution. 

What the working people and op¬ 
pressed of Brazil need today is a program of 
permanent revolution, of demands that lead 
directly from today’s struggles to interna¬ 
tional socialist revolution. As Lenin said in 
his letter of “Greetings to Italian, French 
and German Communists” (October 1919): 
“Only scoundrels or simpletons can 
think that the proletariat must first win 
a majority in elections carried out under 
the yoke of the bourgeoisie , under the 
yoke of wage-slavery, and must then win 
power. This is the height of stupidity or 
hypocrisy; it is substituting elections, 
under the old system and with the old 
power, for class struggle and revolution. ” 
Our motto in this Brazilian electoral year of 
2014 is the same as that put forward by the 
Bolshevik leader one hundred years ago: 
“For revolution!” ■ 



(Top) Defense squad of Rio de Janeiro teachers union 
SEPE during strike last year. (Bottom) Teachers clash 
with police when they were refused entry to Rio city 
council debate on teachers salary and seniority bill, 8 
October 2013. Union leaders affiliated with PSTU and 
PSOL acted as firemen for the bosses, calling off the 
strike despite massive popular support. 


October-November 2014 


9 


Comite de Luta Classista 



Capitalism Won’t Save the Planet From Global Warming 

The Great "People's 
Climate March" Scam 


On Sunday, September 21 an event 
will be held in New York City called the 
People’s Climate March in conjunction with 
the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, 
which will begin two days later. The Sunday 
event is being billed as “the biggest climate 
march in history,” with 100,000-plus par¬ 
ticipants predicted. The organizers boast of 
an “ever-growing coalition” of more than 
1,500 organizations, including in addition 
to various Green organizations, seemingly 
every union in NYC, religious groups, and 
socialist and anarchist outfits. Similar events 
are being held in a number of cities around 
the world. But the whole thing is a gigantic 
scam, a public relations stunt masquerad¬ 
ing as social activism. 

To begin with there is the question of 
its demands: there are none. There will be 
“themed contingents,” and depending on 
where you enter the march route you can 
be with environmental, indigenous, labor, 
interfaith, anti-corporate, peace and justice, 
scientific, LGBTQ and community groups. 
This will allow for varied photo and video 
images to “thread our many messages to¬ 
gether.” The march itself will not be calling 
on anyone to do anything in specific. There 
will be no speeches or rally at beginning or 
end. Just a petition appealing to “all world 
leaders” for “urgent action to safeguard 
our planet, our future and all that we love.” 
Meaning nothing. 

This lack of concrete demands is not an 
accident, the organizers (more about them 
below) purposely decided not to raise any in 
order to make it more “mainstream,” “fam¬ 
ily friendly,” nothing “divisive,” nothing 

AMNSZorg 

I Libya: No-Fly Zone 





I H+O u* d**'**' 1 .000.000 



Climate March organizers Avaaz are major lobbyists for 
imperialist aggression. Above: Avaaz claims its e-mail 
blast played key role in getting U.N. approval for “no-fly 
zone” which led to destruction of Libya. Below: Avaaz I 
Purpose co-founder Tom Perriello (right) with ex-general 
David Petraeus (left) at U.S. Institute of Peace. 


that would turn anyone off. Instead this will 
be a celebration of liberal social concern. 
Posters urge people to get up in the morning, 
walk your dog, have brunch, join the march. 
A subway ad asks, “What puts hipsters and 
bankers in the same boat?” with the word 
“boat” crossed out and replaced by “march.” 
Aphoto of this ad appeared on the Facebook 
page of Occupy Wall Street, which hailed 
it. That tells you something about OWS, 
but for working people an appeal for unity 
with bankers means hold on to your wallet. 

Certainly the huge numbers of people 
who will join the march will be motivated 
by concern over global warming. But while 
various measures to combat this threat are 
proposed, one thing is certain: there is no 
way this can be seriously controlled so 
long as capitalism rules the planet. What 
this march is about is not saving the planet, 
it’s about saving capitalism. The “green” 
in its “message” is the color of money. The 
“people” behind the “people’s march” are 
the corporations recognized by the U.S. 
Supreme Court as “persons” for purposes 
of buying elections. 

In good part, this event is part of the 
run-up to the November U.S. elections. Ask 
yourself: why do labor bureaucrats ever 
do anything in the fall of even numbered 
years? They may talk “jobs,” but it’s really 
to elect Democrats: expect to see plenty of 
pols parading on Sunday. This march is also 
to preempt peace marches. Barack Obama 
just declared a new war in Iraq and Syria, 
the Pentagon has dispatched 1,600 troops, 
Congress voted to authorize the slaughter. 
So where are the peace marchers? Answer: 

they’ll all be at the feel¬ 
good climate march 
on Sunday. When Re¬ 
publican George W. 
m Bush launched his Iraq 

war there were half a 
mB million protesters in 

the streets of Manhat¬ 
tan. When Democrat 

°“ U " 1 M Obama launches his, 

|TJfi W* c*ll on you to I 

th ere is the sound of 

hum*.,"**- 'I 

roauM inMfhAuon snenee. 

ClooO.hml.nUB* „ , „ 

To be sure, from 

sm»ratr. 

Vietnam on, the endless 
impotent peace march¬ 
es mainly serve to de¬ 
fuse anger over impe¬ 
rialist war and channel 
it into support for the 
Democratic Party, with 
leftists doing the don¬ 
key work. The “biggest 
climate march” ever 
won’t do a bit to stop 
climate change. But 
in this case, there is 
nothing remotely left¬ 
ist about it: this event 
or lobbyists for is purely bourgeois, 
laims its e-mail To organize an “anti- 
roval for “no-fly capitalist” contingent 
. Below: Avaaz I (International Socialist 
with ex-general Organization) or one 
Peace. against “war, racism 


and imperialism” (Workers 
World/International Action 
Center) is like calling for an 
internationalist contingent 
in a Fourth of July parade. 

So who is behind this 
lollapalooza of a media 
event? There are two main 
groups organizing it. First 

is an outfit called “350. ... . 

„ . , , , Subway ad 

org, headed by environ¬ 
mentalist Bill McKibben, which serves as 
a propaganda medium highlighting former 
Democratic vice president A1 Gore. While 
its board includes Naomi Klein to give at a 
hint of fake “anti-capitalism,” 350.org was 
started by seed money ($480,000) from the 
Sustainable Markets Foundation of ... the 
Rockefeller Brothers Fund, derived from 
the Standard Oil Company fortune. More 
recently 350 has been funded mainly by the 
Tides Foundation, whose largest donor by 
far is Warren Buffett’s Novo Foundation. 

Amain focus of350.org is its campaign 
to stop the Keystone XL pipeline bringing 
oil south from the oil fields ofNorth Dakota 
and tar sands of Alberta. In particular, the 
campaign calls for universities, churches 
and other concerned investors to divest 
stocks in fossil fuel companies. This has 
allowed the oil majors to buy back shares 
at discount prices, and has been a windfall 
for railroads (which are the main alterna¬ 
tive to shipping by pipeline), in particular 
Burlington Northem, owned by Warren Buf¬ 
fett’s Berkshire Hathaway corporation. So 
“non-governmental organizations” (NGOs) 
campaigning around climate change are 
funded by and benefit the same mega corpo¬ 
rations that profit from fossil fuels. A rather 
inconvenient truth for “green” NGOs. 

The second major organizer is Avaaz, 
which boasts that it is the world’s biggest 
activist network, with 9 million “members.” 
Avaaz was set up by George Soros, the bil¬ 
lionaire hedge fund mogul (and convicted 
inside-trader) whose MoveOn.org is a major 
NGO “advocacy group” advocating for the 
Democratic Party and fundraising for its 
candidates. Avaaz has been a major force 
lobbying for aggressive U.S. imperialist 
intervention around the world, notably in 
Libya and now in Syria. The founders and 
leaders of Avaaz are also the founders and 
leaders of an NY C-headquartered conglom¬ 
erate consisting of Purpose, Inc. and its non¬ 
profit arms, Purpose Foundation, Purpose 
Action and Purpose Campaign. 

Avaaz/Purpose credits itself with hav¬ 
ing played a major role in getting the U.N.- 
authorized U.S.-NATO “no fly zone” over 
Libya in 2011 that gave the green light for 
the bloody imperialist attack that toppled 
the government of Muammar Qaddafi and 
destroyed the country. U.S. ambassador to 
the U.N. Susan Rice thanked Avaaz for its 
e-mail blitz of one million messages. Last 
year, Avaaz mounted a major campaign to 
push for U.S. bombing of Syria, using the 
lie of massive use of chemical weapons 
against civilians by the Assad regime. After 
last year’s failure, Avaaz/Purpose lead- 



Subway ad for People’s Climate March. 

ich serves as ers recently mobilized liberal war hawks 
;hting former to demand that Obama present a plan for 
Gore. While bombing Syria, this time with the Islamic 
n to give at a State jihadis as the excuse. 

350.org was So here we have the same people push- 

100) from the ing an empty climate change march and 
on of ... the insistently demanding war on Syria, while 
lerived from “anti-war” liberals and reformist leftists are 
irtune. More herded along like sheep. The herders are no 
nainly by the novices. Avaaz co-founder, former Virginia 
est donor by Democratic congressman Tom Perriello, 
■oundation. was earlier a mover behind the drive for 
its campaign U.S./U.N. intervention in Darfur, Sudan, co¬ 
line bringing founding DarfurGenocide.org, now called 
sforth Dakota Darfurian Voices, whose sponsors include 
articular, the the National Endowment for Democracy 
es, churches (NED [read: CIA]). Perriello has appeared 
)rs to divest on panels with ex-general David Petraeus 
ies. This has (at the U.S. Institute of Peace!), is a fervent 
back shares backer of Israel and now head of the Demo- 
;n a windfall cratic Party-aligned Center for American 
nain alterna- Progress think tank, 
in particular But beyond war, what are the 350/ 
'Warren Buf- Avaaz/Purpose organizers after? Profit, 

•poration. So of course. Why spend millions of dollars 
ons” (NGOs) - including subway ads, ads on the New 
: change are York Times web site and other media - to 
mega corpo- organize a march with no demands? Arun 
Liels. A rather Gupta, who edited the Occupied Wall Street 
1 NGOs. Journal and The Indypendent, commented: 

zer is Avaaz, “Having worked on Madison Avenue for 
nld’s biggest nearly a decade, I can smell a P.R. and mar- 
l “members.” keting campaign a mile away. That’s what 
oros, the bil- the People’s Climate March looks to be” 
nd convicted (CounterPunch, 19 September). He’s not the 
org is a major first to smell a rat. It’s all about marketing, 
rating for the and in particular “branding.” The leaders are 
lising for its seeking to mobilize millions of consumers 
major force for their political, and commercial, projects. 

. imperialist Avaaz/Purpose co-founder Jeremy 
J, notably in Heimans calls himself a “movement entre- 
founders and preneur.” The Economist (26 January 2013) 
founders and ran an article about “the business of cam- 
red conglom- paigning” headlined “Profit with Purpose.” 
:. and its non- It noted that Purpose Inc. “sells consulting 
ion. Purpose services to big companies such as Google 
l. and Audi, and to charities such as the Bill 

elf with hav- & Melinda Gates Foundation....” It helped 
ingtheU.N.- Audi’s “social innovation fund” start a 
y zone” over company to dispense clean water in India, to 
:een light for sell water as a privately owned commodity, 
that toppled “Purpose also hopes to develop a business 
Qaddafi and promoting ‘new economy’ products such 
nbassador to as solar energy. It will recommend to its 
Avaaz for its members that they buy solar power from 
rssages. Last such-and-such a provider. In return, it will 
campaign to charge a referral fee.” 

•ia, using the Meanwhile, the non-profit arm of 

cal weapons Purpose raised $3 million from investors 
regime. After in 2012, among them the Ford Foundation, 
trpose lead- In 2011, Heimans received the Ford Foun- 


The Internationalist 


Occupy Wall Street/Facebook 





dation’s Visionaries Award of $100,000, 
saying he would use it to promote “con¬ 
sumer activism, of organizing people not as 
citizens but as consumers.” Other past and 
present leaders of Avaaz/Purpose include 
Marilia Bezerra, who earlier was Commit¬ 
ment Development Senior Manager at the 
Clinton Global Initiative; and brand strate¬ 
gist Douglas Atkin, author of The Culting 
of Brands: Turn Your Customers into True 
Believers, who helped relaunch brands like 
Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lipitor through 
the “secrets of fierce customer identifica¬ 
tion” and “unbreakable loyalty.” 

Heimans’ particular shtick is that it’s 
necessary to junk the term “green,” even 
the talk of a “green economy,” that “we 
need to kill the language and imagery and 
green in order to have any real shot at scal¬ 
ing sustainable consumption.” Instead “we 
can create a new economy that takes these 
models that can very quickly acquire market 
share and we can give people a sense they’re 
part of something much bigger, we’ll build 
the green economy, we just won’t talk about 
it and we won’t say that we’re doing it.” 1 
Having “found a lucrative revenue stream 
by warning about climate catastrophe that 
can be solved with the click of a donate 
button,” Gupta writes, these specialists in 
“behavioral economics” are launching a 
marketing campaign to test it out. 

Meanwhile, along with Sunday’s 
“People’s Climate March” a whole week 
of profitable activities are planned. There 
is a book launch for Naomi Klein’s This 
Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the 
Climater A recruiting movie presented in 
conjunction with the New School: Disrup¬ 
tion. Climate. Change. A Flood Wall Street 
action on Monday by Occupy. And a host 
of activities by the Climate Group, a corpo¬ 
rate action group founded by the Swiss Re 
insurance giant, with the military contractor 
Lockheed Martin as a “platinum sponsor,” 
Hewlett-Packard and BMW as gold spon¬ 
sors, Bloomberg LP and the Rockefeller 
Brothers Fund as supporters, and Ikea and 
the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation 
as Clean Revolution Partners. Talk about a 
royal corporate flim-flam job! 

As for the U.N. summit, it will be an 
opportunity for 120+ heads of state to utter 
pious platitudes about international coopera¬ 
tion combating climate change. The U.N. is 
the outfit that brought cholera along with 
imperialist occupation to Haiti. Our demand 
to the U.N., from Haiti to Libya to Syria, is 
“hands off.” Calling on the U.N. to act as 
ecological guardian is like ... calling on BP, 
the criminals of the Deepwater Horizon oil 
spill, to preserve the Everglades. At least BP 
are not partners and sponsors of Climate Week. 
That would violate one of the cardinal rules of 
marketing, avoid “branding dissonance” at all 
cost. Nevertheless, BP is an official Supporting 
Partner of International Women’s Day 2014. 

The People’s Climate March is the 
official rolling out of the campaign for a 
“sustainable” capitalist economy in the 
Brave New World of untrammeled corporate 
dominance. With h eart-warming visuals of 

1 This and much of the information about Avaaz/ 
Purpose comes from well-researched articles by 
the Canadian environmental journalist Cory 
Momingstar on her web site The Wrong Kind of 
Green, including “This Changes Nothing. Why 
the People’s Climate March Guarantees Cli¬ 
mate Catastrophe” (15 September) and “Syria: 
Avaaz, Purpose & the Art of Selling Hate for 
Empire” (17 September). 

2 Klein, a liberal anti-communist who writes 
inane books beloved by refonnists and “anar¬ 
chists,” is about as “anti-capitalist” as the pope. 

October-November 2014 


a diverse crowd in the streets, with balloons 
and floats for “the planet” and “all that we 
love,” they will be market-testing appeals 
to scale up “eco-friendly” business in the 
digital world, to substitute “clicktivism” for 
mass struggle. It certainly will do nothing to 
counter the threat posed by global warming. 
To deal with that, it is necessary to put an 
end to what Karl Marx called the anarchy of 
production for profit - capitalism - through 
an international socialist revolution. To 
begin, we need to break the stranglehold of 
the Democratic Party by building a revolu¬ 
tionary workers party. ■ 

Defend Gaza... 

continued from page 6 

The International Socialist League 
(ISL) of Yossi Schwartz, who has mi¬ 
grated from one international tendency 
to another over the past several decades, 
blithely changing his positions on every 
key issue, calls for a “workers state from 
the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] 
sea.” The ISL’s current bloc partner, after 
dumping the League for the Revolutionary 
Party (LRP) last year, is the “Revolutionary 
Communist International Tendency,” which 
exists mainly on the Internet. A July 8 joint 
RC1T-ISL statement calls to “conquer [the] 
apartheid regime and replace it with a state 
of equal civil rights for all - from the river 
to the sea.” Nothing about a “workers state” 
there. In contrast to the pro-Zionist CPI and 
SSM, the ISL capitulates to bourgeois Arab 
nationalism. 

Internationally, there have been large 
demonstrations against the war on Gaza 
around the globe. Most of the anti-Zionist 
forces (including the International Socialist 
Organization in the U.S. and many liberals) 
call for a policy of “boycott, divestment and 
sanctions” (BDS) against all things Israeli, 
harking back to the divestment movement 
against South African apartheid. We have 
explained before that impotent consumer 
boycotts of Israeli products and academics, 
calls on businesses not to invest in Israel 
and appeals for imperialist sanctions will 
not stop the Zionist mass murderers, nor did 
they stop the white supremacist regime in 
South Africa. 3 The apartheid butchers were 
brought down by a combination of militant 
struggle by black workers in South Africa 
and the imperialists’ calculation that after 
the destruction of the Soviet Union they 
had nothing to fear from the house-broken 
South African Communist Party. 

Recently there have been splits among 
liberal anti-Zionists, with some prominent 
voices (notably Noam Chomsky and Nor¬ 
man Finkelstein) opposing the “BDS” call 
for Palestinians’ right of return. This a capit¬ 
ulation to the Zionists. Our objection to the 
bankrupt BDS “strategy” is quite different, 
although in some cases it may be necessary 
to give critical support to such initiatives 
against rabid Zionist reaction. For one thing, 
since the crimes of U.S. imperialism far 
outweigh those of its Israeli junior partners, 
why not call on American universities to 
refuse to hire American professors, or for 
Europeans to boycott U.S. products, etc.? 

But most fundamentally, the BDS cam¬ 
paigns of moral outrage are at bottom an ap¬ 
peal to the imperialists to rein in or abandon 
their Israeli allies. As we have noted, “This 
is an illusion, particularly in the case of the 
United States, whose alliance with Israel is 

3 See “Israel’s Gaza Flotilla Massacre: Bloody 
War Provocation,” The Internationalist No. 31, 
Summer 2010. 


strategic. Israel is a key element in Western 
domination of the Middle East, including 
vital oil supplies and trade routes, which 
also benefit the European imperialists. No 
amount of popular pressure will change 
that” {The Internationalist No. 31). When 
we challenged Israeli leftist historian Han 
Pappe on this at a forum in New York City, 
he stated emphatically that he and others 
in the BDS movement had long since con¬ 
cluded it was a mistake to call for a fight 
against imperialism. 

Yet the hard reality is that Zionist power 
in Palestine will not be broken without 
defeating its imperialist patrons. It can be 
done. U.S. imperialism was handed a sting¬ 
ing defeat by the revolutionary struggle of 
the Vietnamese workers and peasants in the 
1960s and ’70s, which had wide-ranging 
beneficial effects for the world’s peoples. 
But the imperialists counterattacked from 
Afghanistan and Central America to Eastern 
Europe, culminating in the counterrevolu¬ 
tion that destroyed the USSR and Soviet 
bloc bureaucratically deformed workers 
states in 1989-92, and by unrelenting class 
war on workers “at home.” As we have in¬ 
sisted, success in the fight against Zionism 
can only be won through struggle to bring 
down capitalism and imperialism. 

Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky 
warned in the 1930s that the Zionist project 
in Palestine was a death trap for Jews as 
well as a calamity for all the peoples of the 
region. As Trotskyists, the Internationalist 
Group and League for the Fourth Inter¬ 
national continue his struggle for world 
socialist revolution. Along that road, rather 
than appealing to imperialism and calling for 
bankrupt consumer boycotts (BDS), we seek 
to spur international workers action against 
Zionist terror, such as a labor blockade 
of transportation (refusal to handle ships, 
planes and cargo) to and from Israel so long 
as Israeli bombs are falling on Gaza. But 
even that would be just a token of the mo¬ 
bilization of workers power that is needed. 

The liberation of the Palestinian masses 
and breaking Israeli workers from Zionism 
will require a convulsive revolutionary 
wave sweeping the Middle East and North 
Africa. A tall order, to be sure, but one only 
has to recall the tremendous impact of the 
overthrow of the U.S.-allied dictatorships 
in Tunisia and Egypt in early 2011 to see 
the potential. Though that was not a revo¬ 
lution, as the imperialists and opportunist 
leftists claimed and we denied, it did raise 
revolutionary aspirations and spurred class 
struggle, even in Israel. It’s significant that 
Habima Square in Tel Aviv, where antiwar 
protests are now held, became the focal 
point for “social justice” protests and was 
nicknamed “the Israeli Tahrir,” after Cairo’s 
Liberation Square. 

As we wrote in 2010: “we seek to build 
an Arab/Hebrew Trotskyist party in all of 
Palestine to lead the fight for a binational 
Arab/Hebrew workers state in the frame¬ 
work of a socialist federation of the Near 
East. However distant that prospect may 
seem today, it is the only basis on which 
Muslims, Jews, Christians, Druzes - not to 
mention Kurds, Zoroastrians and numer¬ 
ous other national and religious minorities 
throughout the region - can overcome 
sectarian divisions and live and develop in 
harmony. Achieving this is a vital task not 
only of Hebrew-speaking and Arab workers 
in Palestine, but of the world proletariat as 
we struggle to smash imperialism through 
international socialist revolution.” ■ 



Miners shot down at Marikana. Are 
police workers? No, they are the armed 
fist of the bourgeoisie. 


South Africa... 

continued from page 7 
Work?” As any Marxist could tell you, 
the answer is a flat “no.” Even in the neo¬ 
apartheid never-never land, where the South 
African Communist Party staffs the bour¬ 
geois state and runs the police/intelligence 
apparatus, all the talk of “stakeholder,” 
“responsible” and “conscious” capitalism 
won’t amount to a hill of beans because the 
very essence of capitalism is exploitation. 

As Lenin remarked about the “econo¬ 
mist” social democrats of his day who talked 
of “lending the economic struggle itself 
a political character,” such simple trade 
unionism cannot take the workers’ struggle 
forward to revolution. Yet the excruciating 
situation of the South African proletariat 
cries out for revolutionary, class-struggle 
politics. To win support from the oppressed 
masses of township residents, contract 
workers and unemployed youth that the 
government appeals to with its demagogic 
anti-labor laws, NUMSA should fight for 
massive hiring for full-time jobs through a 
drastic reduction of the workweek with no 
loss in pay, with pay adjusted for inflation 
(a sliding scale of wages and hours). 

Particularly after Marikana, it should 
be clear to class-conscious workers that or¬ 
ganizing “unions” of police - the armed fist 
of capital - such as POPCRU is a ticket for 
disaster. A class-struggle leadership of labor 
would organize workers defense guards to 
block scabs and cop attacks. And in the face of 
threats of retrenchments (layoffs) and closures 
of plants and mines, rather than simply asking 
to see the capitalists’ “financials,” as does the 
NUMSA strike memorandum, it would fight 
to impose workers control of their enterprises. 
Such demands from Leon Trotsky’s Transi¬ 
tional Program would be a bridge from today’s 
struggles to the fight for socialist revolution. 

Unlike the social democrats of the Dem¬ 
ocratic Socialist Movement and its Workers 
and Socialist Party, who envisage the NUM¬ 
SA obliging COSATU to call a nice, peaceful 
general (protest) strike for a wage hike and a 
living minimum wage - with nationalization 
of the metal industry tacked on at the end as 
left cover - authentic Trotskyists emphasize 
that a revolutionary struggle for power would 
be posed by a real general strike. What’s ur¬ 
gently needed in South Africa today to free 
the workers and urban and rural poor from 
neo-apartheid slavery is above all building a 
revolutionary workers party on the program 
of Lenin and Trotsky, to fight for a black- 
centered workers government in a socialist 
federation of Africa. ■ 

11 


Alon Skuy/The Times of Johannesburg 


Mobilize Workers Action Against Police Terror! 

Racist NYPD Murder of Eric Garner 




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AGAINST 
, RACIST cop 
TERROR! 


JULY 26 - The racists in blue uniforms of 
the New York Police Department are at it 
again. Eric Garner, 43, a black asthmatic 
father of six and grandfather, was standing 
on a corner on Bay Street in the Tompkins- 
ville section of Staten Island on July 17. He 
was set upon by cops who surrounded him, 
put him in a chokehold and dragged him to 
the ground. Soon he stopped moving. EMS 
medics did nothing to help him. Why don’t 
they apply CPR to get him breathing, a 
bystander asked. Instead, cops and medics 
stood by and watched him die. 

The chokehold has been banned in 
New York for 20 years, but they have 
never stopped. There have been over 1,000 
chokehold complaints since 2009 alone, and 
you can be sure this is only a fraction of the 
number of times the deadly tactic was used. 
No cop was ever seriously disciplined for 
this. What was different this time was there 
are videos showing the encounter from start 
to finish. They went viral on social media, 
as outrage spread over another cop killing 
of a black man in NYC. 

On the video you can hear Mr. Garner 
saying “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” over 
and over, but this didn’t stop the killer cops 
as they choked the air out of his windpipe 
and lungs. Did he die of a heart attack, from 
his asthma? Makes no difference: Eric Gar¬ 
ner was chokeholded to death. It was racist 
murder by the NYPD, and it was intentional. 

The cops’ story is he was resisting ar¬ 
rest. Like hell. In fact, they had been called 
to the scene about a fight. But Mr. Garner, 
known on the street as a peace-maker, had 
already broken it up. He was a big man, 
350 pounds, but he was called “the gentle 
giant.” The police knew him well, having 
arrested him more than 30 times, mostly 
for the same bogus “crime” of selling 
“loosies” - loose cigarettes people buy 
because they can’t afford the astronomical 
taxes on a pack. 

Mr. Garner was not “resisting arrest” 
- another phony crime. He was protesting 
the constant police harassment: “I didn’t 
do shit! I was just minding my own busi¬ 
ness,” Garner can be heard telling the cops 
in one of the videos. “Every time you see 
me, you want to mess with me,” he added. 
“I’m tired of it.. It ends today. Please just 
leave me alone!” But they wouldn’t let 
him alone. Eric Garner was targeted by 
murderous cops, he dared to talk back, and 
so he was killed. 

“It Ends Today”: 

Eric Garner’s Parting Words 
Become a Rallying Cry 

At vigils and protests in the ensu¬ 
ing days, Eric Garner’s desperate cry, “I 
can’t breathe,” and his parting words, “It 
ends today,” have become rallying cries. 
The cops belong behind bars. And not 
just Daniel Pantaleo, who applied the 
chokehold and who has provoked numer¬ 
ous complaints of brutality. All the police 
involved are accomplices. Moreover, the 
EMS medics who did nothing are also 
guilty, of dereliction of duty if not much 
worse. 

On July 25, Rev. A1 Sharpton and 
Mr. Garner’s family formally asked for 
a federal civil rights probe of the police 


chokehold murder and EMS non-action. 
At the funeral service at Bethel Baptist 
Church in Brooklyn, Sharpton said a fed¬ 
eral civil rights violation resulted in jail 
for racist cop Volpe who brutally tortured 
Abner Louima. But what about the cops 
who murdered Amadou Diallo, Patrick 
Dorismond, Sean Bell and so many oth¬ 
ers? They all walked, because the “justice” 
system stands by the police, the guard 
dogs of capital. 

A sign held by Internationalist Group 
supporters who attended Eric Garner’s fu¬ 
neral recalled the 1994 racist cop chokehold 
murder of Anthony Baez who was playing 
football on a Bronx street. A second IG sign 
read: “Workers Revolution Will Avenge 
Trayvon Martin, Ramarley Graham, Ama¬ 
dou Diallo, Sean Bell, Troy Davis, Marcelo 
Lucero, Patrick Dorismond, Rekia Boyd” 
- the list goes on and on of black lives 
snuffed out by killer cops, racist vigilantes 
and black-robed judges. As a third sign 
declared, “The Capitalist System Is Racist 
to the Core.” 

What Is To Be Done? 

The Russian revolutionary Vladimir 
Lenin asked that question over a century ago 
and it’s still the right one to ask. There has 
been a lot of justified outrage expressed over 
the killing of Eric Garner, and some calls 
for cosmetic reforms, but nothing that gets 
to the root. New Yorkers Against Bratton 
are calling to fire the police commissioner. 
William Bratton was named top cop by 
Republican mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the 
mid-1990s when police swooped down on 
black neighborhoods, arresting thousands of 
people on so-called “quality of life crimes.” 
Now Bratton’s back, and pursuing his same 
“broken window” strategy. 

Bratton arrogantly announced that 
nothing would change in NYPD policies 
as a result of the killing of Eric Garner. 
Sure, they may do some “retraining” about 
use of force, but that won’t stop kill-crazed 
cops who keep on choking their victim as 
he complains he can’t breathe. It also won’t 
put a dent in the astronomical arrest num¬ 
bers - almost 400,000 a year in a city of 8 
million. Even after massive protests against 
NYPD victimizing young men for the crime 
of “walking while black,” Brooklyn teachers 
say their 13- and 14-year-old students are 
regularly “stopped-and-frisked” on the way 
home from school. 

But what about Bratton’s boss, Bill de 
Blasio? Vacationing in Italy, he declares 


his full faith in Bratton. 

The liberal mayor has 
gotten a free ride from 
protesters, who hated 
the snarling racist Gi¬ 
uliani, plutocrat mayor 
Michael Bloomberg and 
his top cop Ray Kelly 
but many of whom love 
“progressive” Democrat 
de Blasio, even though he 
appointed the police com¬ 
missioner and approved 
Bratton’s tactics. Not us. 

As an Internationalist 
sign declared: “Bloom¬ 
berg/Kelly, De Blasio/ 

Bratton, ‘Stop and Frisk,’ 

Chokeholds: It Doesn’t 
Stop - For Workers Revo¬ 
lution!” 

At the time of his 
election last fall, we 
said “De Blasio Will Be 
‘Bloomberg Lite’.” He 
has to be: as a leader of 
the capitalist Democratic 
Party, he takes his or¬ 
ders from Wall Street and 
Washington. Even though 
our headline angered 
many liberals, de Blasio’s 
first six months in office 
proved us right: a green light for charter 
schools; closing of Long Island College 
Hospital despite repeated community protests 
(including some grandstanding by de Blasio 
himself); calls for raising the minimum wage 
forgotten; and now backing up the killers-in- 
uniform, the NYPD. 

De Blasio never pretended he was go¬ 
ing to do away with “stop and frisk,” just 
“reform” it. Now there are calls to reduce 
the number of “quality of life” misdemeanor 
arrests. Many if not most of these are no 
crime at all, like putting your feet on a 
subway seat. Selling untaxed “loosies”? 
Abolish the punitive tobacco tax! Turnstile 
jumping? Rip out the turnstiles and have 
free mass transit! “Broken windows” lead 
to major crimes? Like what? We don’t see 
Wall Street executives who looted the U.S. 
Treasury for trillions of dollars getting 
stopped and frisked! 

The New York Times (25 July) reports: 
“All told, since 1994, the police in New 
York City have arrested more than 1.3 
million people for misdemeanors who 
had never been previously arrested for a 


From cellphone video showing Eric Garner being 
chokeholded to death by NYC cops, July 17. 

penal-law crime....” The reason for this 
arrest mania is not some “compstat” com¬ 
puter system or a particular strategy or 
tactic, not is it limited to the NYPD. The 
purpose of this racist mass incarceration, 
of the “school-to-prison pipeline,” is to 
put millions of African American, Latino, 
Asian and poor youth in the chokehold of 
the repressive apparatus of the capitalist 
state: subject to the revolving door of jail, 
parole, constant harassment, monitoring, 
surveillance and joblessness. 

Get another police chief? Like Kelly 
who arrested 700 Occupy Wall Street pro¬ 
testers on the Brooklyn Bridge, had his cops 
pepper spray and slam them to the ground and 
sent Cecily McMillan to jail for the crime of 
“resisting” when cops grabbed her breasts? 
(Before heading the NYPD, Kelly led a U.S. 
imperialist police force in Haiti under Demo¬ 
crat Bill Clinton.) Replace the chokehold 
with tasers? Are they kidding? Tasers kill too. 
The issue is not just policy or personnel but 
power, and the answer to endemic, systemic 
racist cop terror is to mobilize a greater power 
continued on page 16 


Internationalists at funeral of Eric Garner (left), July 23. 
Whether Bloomberg/Kelly or de Blasio/Bratton (above), 
racist cop terror doesn’t stop. 


12 


The Internationalist 


New York Daily News Spencer Platt/Getty Images 






Photos: Facebook; Twitter 


Outrage Over Cop Murder of Michael Brown Throws Capitalist 
Rulers Into National Crisis 

Mobilize Across U.S. Against 
Racist Police Terror in Missouri! 



Police in Ferguson advance on hundreds of demonstrators protesting on August 17 the cop murder of Michael Brown. 


For Labor/Black/lmmigrant Mobilization Now! 


Stand with Protests 
Against Military / Police 
Occupation 

Drop Charges Against 
All Arrested Protesters 

All Cops and Troops 
Out of Ferguson, MO! 

WKBtKEmBBKKMW 

AUGUST 19 - When a police officer in the 
St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri shot 
down an unarmed black teenager, Michael 
Brown, and cops left his body lying in the 
street for hours, it set off an explosion of 
mass anger that hasn’t stopped. Young and 
old, the population of this more than two- 
thirds black town had had it with the almost 
entirely white cops and their racist bosses 
who lord it over the place like it was a plan¬ 
tation. No matter what the rulers tried, they 
couldn’t squelch the protests. Right from 
the start, St. Louis County police deployed 
the military arsenal they had been building 
up to put down black unrest: armored cars, 
snipers with high-powered rifles, tear gas, 
stun grenades, rubber bullets, the works. 
Didn’t work. 

In fact, it backfired. There was na¬ 
tionwide shock as the images resembled 
upheavals against bloody dictators in the 
Middle East, Palestinians rising up against 
Israeli occupation or mass protests in the 
black Soweto township in apartheid South 
Africa. The snarling dogs recalled Birming¬ 
ham, Alabama in the most violent phase of 
repression against the civil rights struggle. 



Michael Brown (top) had just graduat¬ 
ed high school and was about to start 
vocational college. Bottom: police 
left Michael’s body lying in the street 
for five hours as a threat while they 
went after residents who complained 
about the wanton murder. 


Militarized policing drew particular at¬ 
tention, with liberal Democrats and even 
right-wing Republicans lamenting it (after 
lavishly funding it). All the firepower didn’t 
stop nightly protests by angry youth fed up 
with police harassment, and now murder of 
a young black man as he held up his hands 
saying, “Don’t shoot!” So under pressure 
from Washington, Democratic governor 
Jay Nixon brought in a black state highway 
patrol official to take command. 

Captain Ronald Johnson did the Officer 
Friendly routine, walking with protesters, 
promising to pull heavy armor off the streets, 
speaking to church congregations about his 
own teenage black son (“who wears his pants 
saggy”). Simultaneously, black Democrats A1 
Sharpton and Jesse Jackson came to town to 
cool things out. Thinking that those in power 
were finally listening, the mood shifted, 
people celebrated. The euphoria lasted barely 
a day. When local police finally released the 
name of the killer cop, Darren Wilson, after 
days of stonewalling, they also tried to smear 
Michael Brown as a “suspect” of shoplifting. 
First they murder him, then they assassinate 
the victim’s character. Furious protests broke 
out again, and the armored cars were back. 


Next came the curfew. While Demo¬ 
cratic president Barack Obama made 
hypocritical speeches about protecting the 
right to protest, Democratic governor Nixon 
ordered protesters off the streets at midnight 
Saturday, supposedly to stop looting. The 
protesters defiantly stood their ground for 
an hour in the rain until the barrages of gas 
and gunfire finally drove them away. Then 
on Sunday the results of the independent 
autopsy by Dr. Michael Baden came out: 
Michael Brown was shot six times, all 
from the front, twice in the head. Militant 
protests broke out again. This time the cops 
didn’t wait and attacked demonstrators 
hours before the curfew went into effect. 
On Monday morning the governor ordered 
in the National Guard. 

Now mass arrests have begun, with 78 
protesters booked in the last two days. In 
line with local politicians’ denunciation of 
“outside agitators,” a number ofpeople from 
New York and California have been yanked 
out of crowds by the cops. Among them 
was Carl Dix, a leader of the Revolutionary 
Communist Party (RCP), who said, rightly, 
“There are no ‘outsiders’ in the struggle for 
justice and liberation.” Meanwhile, Presi¬ 


dent Obama piously appealed for “justice,” 
“healing” and “coming together going 
forward” - along with calls to maintain 
“public safety.” The first thing to be done 
for the safety of the public in Ferguson is to 
get the cops and military out of town, and 
drop all charges against everyone arrested 
since August 9. 

The Internationalist Group stands with 
the embattled people of Ferguson, Mo. We 
hail the courageous youth who have refused 
to be intimidated by everything the racist 
rulers have thrown at them. The fact that 
they have fought back against the police has 
thrown the ruling class into crisis nation¬ 
ally. The police murder of Michael Brown 
reverberated around the country because this 
is no local issue. It came only a few weeks 
after Eric Garner was chokeholded to death 
on Staten Island by New York City police. 
Across the U.S., cops kill well over 400 
people a year, and they won’t be stopped 
by calls to limit their hardware. 

The military/police occupation in Mis¬ 
souri must be fought by mobilizing labor/ 
black/immigrant power and youth opposed 
to racist repression nationwide. 

Because racist police brutality and cop 


Capitalism Is Racist to the Core 
Black Liberation Through Socialist Revolution! 


October-November 2014 


13 


Scott Olson/Getty Images 












Scott Olson/Getty Images 


Ferguson, MO: A History of Entrenched Racism 


It’s no secret that the police and mili¬ 
tary assault on Ferguson, Missouri is shot 
through with racism. Police chief Jackson 
and his police force act, as does the nearly 
all-white city council, like they’re in a 
Southern town back in the days of Jim Crow 
segregation. It’s no accident. Under the 
“Missouri compromise,” Missouri entered 
the union as a slave state. Missouri slave 
owners formed militias to stage bloody 
incursions into free Kansas, such as Quant- 
rill’s Raiders who burned Lawrence to the 
ground and provoked guerrilla war with 
abolitionist John Brown. Dred Scott, then 
living in St. Louis, sued to win his freedom, 
but was told by U.S. supreme court chief 
justice Roger Taney that black men “had no 
rights which the white man was bound to 
respect,” a decision which set the stage for 
the Civil War that finally abolished slavery. 

St. Louis County broke off from the 
city in the late 1800s as a refuge from 
the “urban ills” of the growing railroad, 
river shipping and manufacturing hub. 
As blacks moved north during World War 
I, St. Louis County towns kept them out 
by enacting restrictive covenants which 
banned home sales to non-whites and were 
only outlawed by a 1948 Supreme Court 
decision. These were then replaced by 

V___ 


zoning laws designed to achieve the same 
purpose by requiring large lots and pro¬ 
hibiting apartment buildings. As the black 
population of St. Louis grew and the civil 
rights movement led to the end of formal 
segregation, the 1950s and ’60s saw a mas¬ 
sive exodus of whites from the city to the 
suburbs in St. Louis County. 

By the 1970s and ’80s, between “white 
flight” and the collapse of industry, St. Louis 
suffered massive depopulation, and is now 
down by almost two-thirds since 1950. The 
city gained notoriety then as the “used brick 
capital” of the world. As poverty spread 
in the inner city, many black middle- and 
working-class families migrated to North 
County towns. More recently, whites have 
been moving back to the city, which as a 
result of gentrification went from 28% white 
in 2000 to almost 50% white a decade later. 
Since 1990 Ferguson has gone from being 
74% white to 70% black. But political power 
remained in the hands of white politicians 
who held all but one seat in the city council 
and school board, while a 96% white police 
force held blacks in check. 

Although over one-fifth of the population 
in Ferguson lives below the official poverty 
line, what’s notable about Ferguson is that 
this is not a ghetto rebellion of the jobless but 


a revolt of a working-class and middle-class 
African American community against an 
entrenched white capitalist power structure. 
There are major profitable companies in the 
area: the corporate HQ of Emerson Electric 
($24 billion a year in sales) is in Ferguson; 
another major area employer is Express 
Scripts ($105 billion a year), the mail-order 
prescription supplier. But very little of this 
revenue finds its way into municipal coffers. 
Instead, the second largest source of the 
town’s revenue ($2.6 million last year) is 
from ... traffic tickets, fines and court fees. 

Moreover, five out of six tickets issued 
in Ferguson are to blacks, who are twice as 
likely as white drivers to be pulled over. As 
one resident put it, “Everybody in this city 
has been a victim of DWB [driving while 
black]” (Washington Post, 13 August). Or as 
another said, quoted in a recent report by 
the Arch City Defenders, “in North County, 
if you’re black, they’re going to stop you” 
{Newsweek, 14 August). According to the 
public defenders’ report, last year the Fer¬ 
guson municipal court issued 24,532 arrest 
warrants, more than one for every man, 
woman and child in this town of 21,000 
people. So the racist police are not only 
brutal repressors, they are parasites feeding 
off the black population. ■ 
___ 


terror is endemic in American capitalism, it 
can’t be stopped by a few modest reforms. 
Killer cop Darren Wilson definitely belongs 
behind bars for a long time. Many are calling 
for him to be arrested, indicted and tried, and 
vow to keep up the pressure, chanting “No 
justice, no peace.” But as Marxists we know 
that there is no justice for the oppressed in 
the capitalist courts. The ruling class stands 
by its guard dogs - the police “serve and 
protect” the interests of capital. The cops’ 
job is to keep the poor and working people 
down, which is exactly what they are doing 
in Ferguson. 

In this fight to rip racist oppression out 
by its roots - in this country born from chat¬ 
tel slavery - the struggle for black liberation 
is and has always been central. To put a stop 
to racist police brutality and murder, we 
must fight for revolution, a socialist revolu¬ 
tion to overthrow capitalism. 

Nationwide Militarization 
of the Police 

What has happened in this white-ruled 
black Missouri suburb is not just the result of 
local racism (see box), it is a direct reflection 
of the rampant militarization of police forces 
throughout the U.S. Those Bearcat and 
MRAP (mine-resistant ambush-protected) 
armored vehicles, the LRAD (long-range 
acoustic device) sound cannons and heavy- 
duty weaponry that suddenly showed up 
on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, 
along with the police helicopters circling 
overhead, are part of a national program in 
which the U.S. Departments of Defense, 
Justice and Homeland Security are pumping 
billions of dollars of equipment into beefing 
up local police forces in the name of fighting 
“terrorism.” 

Some of this is disposing of surplus war 
materiel: the Pentagon’s “1033” program 
has provided over $4 billion in left-over 
armor, ammo and weapons from Iraq and 
Afghanistan to domestic police agencies. 
The Homeland Security Department sup¬ 
plied $34 billion in “terrorism grants.” So 
now police in Fargo, North Dakota (aver¬ 
age homicide rate, 2 per year) have assault 
rifles in every squad car, Kevlar helmets to 
withstand battlefield-grade ammunition, and 
a $250,000 armored truck (with rotating 
turret) “just in case.” St. Louis County got 
a $360,000 Bearcat, night vision goggles, 
body armor and three helicopters {New York 


Times, 15 August). And of course, if they 
have it, they’re going to use it, as they are 
now doing in Ferguson. 

Residents of Ferguson are well aware 
that their city has been turned into a war 
zone. A Los Angeles Times reporter recorded 
a protester shouting at a line of police in 
fatigues, “You gonna shoot us? Is this the 
Gaza Strip?” In fact, high-level police of¬ 
ficials from the area have traveled to Israel 
to receive how-to lessons on occupation. 
This included St. Louis County police 
chief Timothy Fitch, who attended an Anti- 
Defamation League-sponsored “National 
Counter-Terrorism Seminar” in 2011 to 
“study first hand Israel’s tactics and strate¬ 
gies” (Rania Khalek, “Israel-trained police 
‘occupy’ Missouri after killing of black 
youth,” Electronic Intifada, 15 August). The 
NYPD is so tight with Israel that it has an 
office in Tel Aviv. 


The result of these programs is that run- 
of-the-mill police actions across the country 
increasingly resemble military operations, 
with the general population as the “enemy.” 
While this has been intensified by the “war 
on terror” since 2001, it dates back to the 
“war on drugs” starting in the 1980s, and to 
the original creation of SWAT teams in the 
late 1960s. And from the beginning, it has 
been a bipartisan effort. 

A recent study by the American Civil 
Liberties Union (“War Comes Home: The 
Excessive Militarization of American Po¬ 
licing” [June 2014]) reports that 90% of 
all large U.S. cities have SWAT (special 
weapons and tactics) assault teams, as do 
80% of small towns. Moreover, 80% of 
the hundreds of SWAT raids it investigated 
in 2011-12 were in order to serve search 
warrants: terrorizing people on the basis of 
mere suspicion. A New York Times (9 June) 
article by Matt Apuzzo 
reported: 

“Police SWAT teams are 
now deployed tens of 
thousands of times each 
year, increasingly for 
routine jobs. Masked, 
heavily armed police offi¬ 
cers in Louisiana raided a 
nightclub in 2006 as part 
of a liquor inspection. 
In Florida in 2010, of¬ 
ficers in SWAT gear and 
with guns drawn carried 
out raids on barbershops 
that mostly led only to 
charges of ‘bartering 
without a license’.” 

In the shock wave 
set off by events in Fer¬ 
guson, liberals have 
criticized militarized 
policing focusing on 
the absurdity of sup¬ 
plying armored cars 
to townships in rural 
Maine. Ruling-class 


critics were mainly concerned that the 
heavy-handed paramilitary tactics weren’t 
working. Note that the ACLU study only 
objects to “excessive” militarization, i.e., 
“overkill.” If protesters had been shocked- 
and-awed into submission, there wouldn’t 
have been a peep from Washington. As soon 
as the National Guard was brought in, the 
complaints stopped. 

However, the greatest threat is not that 
this is a boondoggle but that the authorities 
are gearing up for internal war. They pub¬ 
lish studies on it, formed a military North 
American Command to prepare for it, and 
used the 2013 Boston Marathon attack as a 
practice run for locking down an entire met¬ 
ropolitan area. Internal war against whom? 
Forget about A1 Qaeda, the target is us, the 
poor, black, Latino, immigrant and working 
people who dare to resist. 

The military equipment was always 
intended to be used to quell “domestic 
disturbances” (by which they don’t mean 
family quarrels) and “racial unrest” (what 
they used to call “race riots,” meaning when 
black people fight back against racial op¬ 
pression and racist attacks). And in fact the 
police recipients of the Pentagon largesse 
are contractually required to use all that 
stuff within a year of receiving it. So what’s 
happening in Ferguson, Mo. is no one-shot 
deal, we’ll see those images again, most 
likely soon. 

Build a Multi-Racial, 
Revolutionary Workers Party 

With the election of Barack Obama 
as the first black president of the United 
States there was a lot of happy talk about 
a “post-racial America.” The reality is very 
different. In fact, in recent years there has 
been a rise in racist reaction. This is the core 
of the rabid rightist opposition to Obama, 
despite his capitulation to right-wing pres¬ 
sure at every step. And it is accompanied by 
mounting racist attacks by police, security 
guards and vigilantes against blacks and 



August 13: Youth defy police in Ferguson to protest murder of Michael Brown. 


14 


The Internationalist 





immigrants. Last year there was the NYPD 
murder of Kimani Gray in East Flatbush, 
Brooklyn and the racist verdict freeing the 
killer of black teenager Trayvon Martin in 
Florida. This year it is the NYPD murder 
of Eric Garner, the Missouri cop killing of 
black teenager Michael Brown, and an ever¬ 
growing list across the country. 

What we’re facing is not some cracker 
cops run amok, “a few bad apples,” an 
out-of-step police chief - it’s a whole ap¬ 
paratus of racist repression in the service 
of imperialist capitalism. The increasing 
virulence of the attacks is a reflects en¬ 
trenched local racism, certainly, but also 
the worldwide economic depression since 
the 2007-08 financial crash, and endless 
U.S. wars of terror in the Middle East and 
around the world. Today, as clouds of tear 
gas and volleys of flash-bang grenades 
engulf Ferguson, many young people have 
marched in protest, as they did in 2013 for 
Trayvon. Whole sectors of the population 
may be beginning to see, as the Internation¬ 
alist Group has declared on our placards, 
that “Imperialist War Abroad Means Racist 
Repression in the U.S.” 

The key question is how to fight this 
escalating racist-capitalist assault. What’s 
needed above all is revolutionary leadership. 
Black Democrats like Jesse Jackson Sr. and 
A1 Sharpton are only trying to divert and 
defuse struggle in order to aid the govern¬ 
ment. In New York, Sharpton called a mass 
march over the Verrazano Bridge to protest 
the police killing of Eric Garner, but then 
backed down under pressure from fellow 
Democrat, mayor liberal Bill de Blasio, and 
his police commissioner Bill Bratton. In¬ 
stead he is now holding an August 23 march 
on Staten Island calling on Democratic 
president Obama and his corporate lawyer 
attorney general Eric Holder to launch a 
federal civil rights investigation - in order 
to keep protest under control. 

Nevertheless, the August 23 march has 
become a referendum on racism, as reaction¬ 
aries attack the United Federation ofTeachers 
for participating in what they call an “anti¬ 
police” march. Thus class-conscious teach¬ 
ers, students, immigrants and workers will 
join in marching while fighting for a program 
of militant class struggle against cop terror. 

On the social-democratic left, the In¬ 
ternational Socialist Organization (ISO) has 
mainly done reporting, denouncing racism 
but raising no demands at all. Its main com¬ 
petitor, Socialist Alternative (SAlt), demands 
that “the whole Ferguson police system be 
put under scrutiny” - meaning nothing - and 
calls for “community controlled policing,” 
supposedly overseen by union and commu¬ 
nity representatives. This is a sinister call for 
collaboration with the cops. SAlt would have 
you believe that cops are workers, a deadly 
illusion as cops are the armed fist of capital. 
It is ABC for Marxists that the police are the 
core of the state, and no matter who suppos¬ 
edly “controls” them, they will uphold racist 
capitalist “law and order.” 

A smaller social-democratic outfit with 
a local in St. Louis is the Workers Interna¬ 
tional League (WIL), affiliated with Alan 
Woods’ International Marxist Tendency. 
Unlike SAlt, WIL warns against illusions 
in “community control of the police,” but a 
statement on the murder of Michael Brown 
echoes the capitalist media in denouncing 
“riots,” “looting” and “vandalism”: 

“while we can sympathize with the rea¬ 
sons for the riots ... riots can never bring 
continued on page 16 


CLASS STRUGGLE EDUCATION WORKERS 

MORE Takes a Stand ... With the Police 

Denounces UFT for Backing Anti-Racist March 


When New York City s United Federation ofTeachers, along 
with other NYC unions, endorsed an August 23 march in Staten 
Island called by black Democrat Al Sharpton to protest the police 
killing of Eric Garner (see page 12), there was a barrage ofracist 
criticism, from the Patrolmen s Benevolent Association (PBA), 
from the bourgeois press and from many teachers. 

Grotesquely, the Movement of Rank-and-File Educators 
(MORE), an opposition caucus in the UFT which includes 
supporters of various left groups (including the International 
Socialist Organization, Socialist Alternative, Progressive Labor 
Party and others), joined this outpouring of pro-cop sentiment, 
calling for “unity” with the PBA and refusing to support the 
march in any way. 

The comment printed below was posted to the MORE web 
site by Marjorie Stamberg of Class Struggle Education Workers, 
an opposition tendency in New York educator unions. The CSEW 
along with the Internationalist Group and the Internationalist 
Clubs at the City University of New York had a contingent in the 
August 23 march. 

Subsequently controversy continued on the MORE web site. 
Some responded to posts from supporters of CSEW with red¬ 
baiting, while others were uncomfortable about MORE’S stance. 
On September 13 a MORE membership meeting voted, after the 
fact, to support participation in the August 23 march (but not to 
repudiate the call for “unity” with the police). 

Whereupon some on MORE’s right wing promptly split to 
form a “Solidarity Caucus ” devoted exclusively to “teacher 
justice ” as opposed to “socialjustice. ’’But even that did not end 
the turmoil in MORE, as some who stayed began pushing for by¬ 
laws to subject discussion of non-teacher issues to time limits... 

Try as it might, MORE can’t sidestep the burning issues 
of the class struggle. It’s which side are you on, and “ reform” 
caucuses like MORE which don’t break with capitalist politics 
inevitably end up on the wrong side of the class line. 

AUGUST 25 - MORE’s unspeakable statement refusing to sup¬ 
port the August 23 Staten Island march against police brutality, 
particularly over the NYPD chokehold murder of Eric Gamer last 
month (see http://morecaucusnyc.org/2014/08/21/the-march-for- 
justice-and-unity/) speaks volumes. Not only did you not stand with 
the thousands who came out to denounce this racist cop killing, you 
called instead for “unity” with the PBA, the voice of the killer cops 

You wrote that many of your members would be there. How 
nice. But MORE as a caucus in the UFT would not. Claiming you 
are in solidarity with the Garner family is cynical hypocrisy when 
you wouldn’t march with them. How dare MORE call itself or 
pretend to be a “social justice caucus”? If you cannot even take 
a stand against racist police murder you have indelibly stamped 
yourselves as a social injustice caucus. 

What’s more, you have shown that on the key issue of rac¬ 
ism MORE stands to the right of Mike Mulgrew’s sellout UFT 
bureaucracy. 

You have criticisms of Al Sharpton. I have repeatedly pub¬ 
licly criticized Al Sharpton since 1983 when he wore a wire for 
the feds. But your objections come from the opposite direction, 
from people who think he is “anti-police.” Nonsense, Al Sharp- 
ton has worked with the police for decades to “cool things out,” 
keep protests “under control” and divert struggle against racist 
injustice in alliance with the capitalist Democratic Party. 

But this march was not about Al Sharpton. It was a refer¬ 
endum on racism. Even the UFT knew that. The NAACP knew 
that, and sent a big contingent. Countless other New Yorkers 
knew that. They came out, including unionists from SEIU 32 B-J, 
the New York Nurses Association, CUNY’s Professional Staff 
Congress, and numerous anti-racist and left groups across the city. 
Class Struggle Education Workers was there with a contingent. 

The August 23 march was a time to stand up and be counted. 
If MORE was so blind to racial oppression that it couldn’t see 
that, all you had to do was look at the barrage of racist criticisms 
of the UFT for its stand. But, of course, you were well aware of 
those criticisms, and conciliated and even embraced them. What 
was needed on Saturday was a massive turnout of labor, blacks, 
immigrants and all defenders of working people and the oppressed 
against police terror. Thousands did turn out, but not MORE. 

V___ 



CSEW and IG supporters at August 23 Staten Island 
march against racist police attacks. 


MORE claims to “stand against racism,” not to mention be¬ 
ing for justice, unity and all good things, but when the moment 
came to show it, you were first tied up in knots, and then came 
down on the wrong side. Instead of linking arms with the fam¬ 
ily of Eric Garner, murdered by the racist NYPD, you put out a 
despicable call for “unity” with ... his killers (“we encourage the 
leaderships of the UFT and PBA, to find ways to work together 
and unite” ... “with our brother and sister officers”). Outrageous. 

Far from being our “brothers and sisters,” the police are 
professional strikebreakers and enforcers of racist “law and or¬ 
der.” That’s their job for the ruling class. The victims of NYPD 
killer cops include Eleanor Bumpurs, Anthony Baez, Amadou 
Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, Kimani 
Gray and so many others. The list goes on and on of black lives 
snuffed out by the NYPD. But MORE wants to work together 
and unite with the murderers. 

I might have said MORE’s statement was shocking, that 
it was incredible coming from a group claiming to be a “pro¬ 
gressive” alternative to the sellout UFT bureaucracy of Mike 
Mulgrew and Randi Weingarten. In fact, it is not only credible 
but even predicable. It flows directly from MORE’s basic premise 
of “uniting” all and sundry against the Unity misleaders. It flows 
directly from its avoidance of all issues of race and class, the 
fundamental questions in this country. 

If MORE cannot fight against our union endorsing the 
capitalist Democratic Party politicians that keep labor tamed 
and enchained, and who are leading the offensive against public 
education and teachers in particular; if it cannot take a firm stand 
against Common Core; if it cannot point out the racist nature 
of the school closings; if it was “missing in action” during the 
NYC school bus drivers strike last year; if it couldn’t march last 
summer against the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” of hundreds of 
thousands of African American and Latino youth; if today it can’t 
bring itself to mention the racist cop killing of Michael Brown 
in Missouri, MORE has demonstrated that it is in no advance 
over Mulgrew’s bureaucratic Unity Caucus. 

While the MORE Caucus of the UFT has been lionized by 
many on the left, we in Class Struggle Education Workers have 
characterized it as a case study in opportunism. Opposing racist 
police repression is a litmus test. Today people throughout the 
U.S. are confronted with the basic, urgent need to take a stand 
with African American targets of murderous racist repression 
and military occupation. This is ABC for any decent unionist or 
opponent of oppression. 

Trying to dodge this with a gazillion words about “teacher 
priorities” is obscene. What are we as educators if not advocates 
for our students who are stopped and frisked in the streets every 
day, and sometimes shot? 

After MORE’s vile statement, how can any self-respecting 
leftist, anyone with a shred of anti-racist consciousness (or con¬ 
science), not to mention class consciousness, remain in MORE? 
This is not a mistake, it is a betrayal of the first order. 

-Marjorie Stamberg 

UFT member, delegate D79 

Class Struggle Education Workers 


October-November 2014 


15 


Internationalist photo 





Whitney Curtis for The New York Times 



August 13: St. Louis County police confront demonstrators in Ferguson, Misssouri with armored vehicle, body 
armor, assault rifles and a sniper aiming at the crowd. Equipment supplied by federal government under the guise 
of fighting “terrorism.” The terrorists are the police. 


Missouri... 

continued from page 15 

about fundamental change.... Further¬ 
more, the looting and vandalism will only 
damage our own neighborhoods and give 
the powers that be a convenient excuse 
to dismiss the legitimate issues facing 
the youth. Riots provide a convenient 
distraction for the media.” 

-Socialist Appeal, August 12 
Revolutionary Trotskyists urge pro¬ 
testers to direct their anger effectively at 
the capitalist state, but in contrast to these 
reformists we defend the youths who raged 
against the racist cop murder and demand 
that charges be dropped against all those 
arrested. The real looters are the giant cor¬ 
porations (including QuikTrip, whose gas 
station was torched and whose $11 billion 
a year in revenue comes from soaking com¬ 
munities like Ferguson). 

The most prominent left group that 
has been active in Ferguson is the Maoist 
Revolutionary Communist Party, which 
mainly promotes the thought of its cult 
leader Bob Avakian. The RCP also works 
with liberals like Cornel West in the 
Stop Mass Incarceration Network, and 
with the National Lawyers Guild on the 
Stolen Lives Project, whose banner list¬ 
ing hundreds of names of the more than 
2,000 killed by police since 1990 has 
been prominent in the Ferguson protests. 
Despite its name, the RCP these days is 
putting forward a program that doesn’t go 
beyond liberal/reformist demands - such 
as calling to “fire the police chief’ and 
for “a full accounting of what happened” 
- with a little rhetoric about revolution 
tacked on to spice it up. 

The RCP chants “The Whole Damn 
System Is Guilty as Hell!” but doesn’t say 
that system is capitalism. Nothing about 
communism either. Strikingly, in several 
articles on Ferguson the RCP never once 
mentions racism, which isn’t easy given 
the blatantly racist repression. Yet the key 
point for genuine revolutionary commu¬ 


nists to stress is that the struggle against 
racism and for black liberation requires a 
program for workers revolution against 
capitalism. We defend the RCP against 
the red-baiting authorities, and demand 
charges be dropped against Dix and all 
those arrested. But in Ferguson as else¬ 
where what these Maoists put forward is 
the politics of reformism, as they pitch 
their message to liberals rather than point¬ 
ing a road to revolution. 

The hard truth that revolutionary 
Marxists must state plainly to the masses 
is that all these supposed “reforms” will 
do nothing to change an unreformable 
capitalist system that was founded on 
slavery, and which in one form or another 
has continued black oppression ever since. 
A new police chief will do nothing more 
than placing state highway patrol official 
Johnson “in charge” did: put a black face 
on racist repression. Limiting the flood 
of heavy weaponry from the Pentagon 
and Homeland Security won’t stop the 
killer cops. In New York City under lib¬ 
eral mayor de Blasio, who campaigned to 
“reform” the racist stop-and-frisk tactics, 
cops murdered Eric Garner with their 
bare hands. 

The fight to put a stop to racist cop 
terror must mobilize the force that has the 
power to bring the capitalist system to a 
grinding halt: the millions-strong multi¬ 
racial working class. St. Louis labor has a 
special responsibility to oppose the police/ 
military occupation of Ferguson, but as 
elsewhere the political program of union 
officialdom is to elect Democrats. And 
while the mayor of Ferguson is a Repub¬ 
lican, the St. Louis County executive and 
Missouri governor who control the cops 
carrying out the repression are Democrats. 
The key to mobilizing workers power is 
to oust the bureaucrats and break with the 
Democrats. 

What’s urgently needed is to build a 
multiracial revolutionary workers party. Not 
some insipid “mass party of labor” (WIL) 
or “independent left-wing, anticorporate 


candidates and coalitions” (SAlt), but a 
party that can lead all the oppressed in sharp 
class struggle to bring down capitalism and 
install a workers government. It would call 
on workers, blacks and all defenders of 
democratic rights to mobilize massively in 
the streets against cop terror, demanding 
that all police and military get out of Fer¬ 
guson, now, and initiate integrated labor/ 
black defense guards against racist attacks. 
It would also call for a massive program of 
public works under union control, and for 
a shorter workweek with no loss in pay to 
provide jobs for all. 

The militarized police and National 
Guard invasion and occupation of black 
Ferguson, Mo. is the face of racist repres¬ 
sion in the U.S. today, as endless impe¬ 
rialist wars abroad “come home.” An ef¬ 
fective fight against cop 
terror here is inseparably 
connected to the struggle 
to mobilize workers’ 
power to drive the U.S. 
out of Afghanistan and 
Iraq and to defend those 
fighting against imperi¬ 
alism. It is necessary as 
well to join with immi¬ 
grants who face arbitrary 
seizure by the police and 
hundreds of thousands 
of deportations a year. 

As an Internationalist 
Group sign noted at an 
August 18 protest in 
New York, “Immigrant 
Workers in NYC Say: 

Stand With Besieged 
African Americans in 
Ferguson.” We demand 
full citizenship rights for 
all immigrants. 

The way to put an 
end to the terror of the 
ruling class against the 
exploited and oppressed 
was shown almost a cen¬ 
tury ago in the revolu¬ 


tionary program of Lenin and Trotsky, 
who together led the 1917 Russian October 
Revolution. This means combating all illu¬ 
sions in capitalist “justice,” or appeals to 
Obama and his top cop Eric Holder, who 
terrorize the world, from drones in Yemen 
to prisons in Guantanamo. We empha¬ 
size that racist repression is a bedrock of 
American capitalism, as it has been since 
slave patrols in South Carolina in the 1830s 
became the first professional police force 
in the U.S. To put an end to it, we must 
replace the dictatorship of capital with the 
rule of the working class. 

From New York to Ferguson: Mo¬ 
bilize workers’ power to smash racist 
terror! Black liberation through socialist 
revolution! m 

Eric Garner... 

continued from page 12 
than the police, greater even than the capital¬ 
ists they serve and protect. 

That power is in the hands of the 
working class, and the many millions who 
suffer at the hands of the NYPD and their 
Wall Street bosses. The response to heinous 
crimes like the murder of Eric Gamer should 
be to massively mobilize NYC workers and 
the oppressed in class-struggle action. No¬ 
tably, Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr is a 
train operator for the Metropolitan Transpor¬ 
tation Authority and his sister Elisha Flagg is 
an MTAbus driver. Several TWU Local 100 
members came out the funeral Wednesday, 
some there to show their solidarity even 
without knowing that this terrible crime 
had hit their union sisters. The TWU should 
strike to shut the city down in protest against 
this cold-blooded killing of their members’ 
brother and son. 

But that can only be a first step. We 
need to break labor and the black, immi¬ 
grant, poor and working people free from 
the stranglehold of the Democratic Party, 
to build a multiracial, class-struggle work¬ 
ers party. Capitalism survives by making 
its wage slaves’ lives hell. It will take 
nothing less than workers revolution to 
put an end to this system of racist police 
repression and make Eric Garner’s last 
wish a reality. ■ 


League for the Fourth International 


LFI, Box 3321, Church Street Station, New York, NY 
10008, U.S.A. E-mail: internationalistgroup@msn.com 

Internationalist Group/U.S. 

Internationalist Group, Box 3321, Church Street 
Station, New York, NY 10008, U.S.A. 

E-mail: internationalistgroup@msn.com 
New York Tel. (212) 460-0983 Fax: (212) 614-8711 
Portland Tel. (971)282-7903 

Liga Quarta-lnternacionalista do Brasil 

Brazil: write to Caixa Postal 084027, CEP 27251- 

740, Volta Redonda, RJ, Brazil 

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20001-974, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil 

E-mail: lqb1996@yahoo.com.br 

LIVI/Deutschland 

Germany: write to Postfach 74 06 41,22096 Hamburg, 
Germany 

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Mexico: write to Apartado Postal 12-201, Admon. 
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6643; Oaxaca: 951-129-2086 


16 


The Internationalist 
























Victims of December 2013 U.S. drone strike in Bayda province, Yemen that 
killed 15 members of wedding party. U.S. has slaughtered thousands of 
civilians in “targeted killings” (assassinations) by drones. 


Iraq/Syria War.... 

continued from page 1 

all evidence to the contrary). This time 
public opinion has been whipped into a 
pro-war frenzy by grisly videos of behead¬ 
ings of American and British captives by 
the fanatical Islamists of the I.S. Yet a key 
U.S. ally is Saudi Arabia, the reactionary 
Islamist monarchy that beheads people all 
the time (79 in 2013, 22 this past August 
alone), particularly foreigners. Recall as 
well that Barack Obama personally signs 
off on every drone strike, including the one 
that killed the 16-year-old son of American 
imam Anwar al-Malaki, himself killed by a 
drone in Yemen. The Islamists use swords 
and knives, the U.S. uses drones. 

A “war against terrorism”? The U.S. 
military machine is the biggest terrorist 
force in the world. It bombed Baghdad in 
2003 in order to terrorize the Iraqi popula¬ 
tion into submission. The Islamists slaughter 
hundreds, the Pentagon murders millions (4 
million in Korea, 3 million in Vietnam, 1 
million plus in Iraq). Strip away the pretexts 
and Barack Obama’s Iraq/Syria attack is one 
more imperialist war for world hegemony. It 
is intended to demoralize Palestinian resis¬ 
tance to Zionist occupation, to reassert U.S. 
domination of the Middle East, to “send a 
message” to Russian strong man Vladimir 
Putin over Ukraine, to intimidate the leaders 
of the Chinese deformed workers state in 
Asia and opponents of Yankee imperialism 
in Latin America. 

And U.S. terror war abroad is linked 
to racist repression and the war on working 
people “at home.” Many of the same tactics 
and weapons of urban counterinsurgency 
used by the Israelis on the West Bank are 
deployed against the black population 
of Ferguson, Missouri. Immigrants are 
treated as the “enemy within” as right-wing 
politicians fantasize about terrorists surging 
across the Mexican border and unleashing 
ebola in Manhattan. Education “reformers” 
label teachers unions “terrorists” and rip 
up job security as bosses seek to “degrade 
and destroy” the labor movement. From 
Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria to the U.S., we 
must fight to defeat the capitalist/imperial¬ 
ist war that targets the poor, oppressed and 
workers of the world. 

We wage this struggle with our own 
methods, of militant class struggle. As at the 
time of the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and 


Iraq and since then, the Internationalist Group 
and League for the Fourth International call 
for workers action against the war. Examples 
include the 2003 actions by Scottish and 
Italian railway workers to block weapons 
trains, the 2008 strike by the U.S. West Coast 
longshore union (ILWU) against the war 


Despite widespread illusions among 
liberals, when Obama campaigned for 
president in 2008 the Democratic candidate 
said he wasn’t opposed to all U.S. military 
intervention, just to “dumb wars” like the 
2003 invasion of Iraq by Republican presi¬ 
dent George W. Bush. Obama meant wars 
that end up weakening U.S. imperialism and 
strengthening its foes, which the Iraq and 
Afghanistan wars and occupations have cer¬ 
tainly done. But after three years of resisting 
calls by Republicans (and top officials in his 
own administration, including ex-Secretary 
of State Hillary Clinton and ex-CIA chief 
David Petraeus) to arm Syrian rebels, wary 
of getting drawn into the quagmire of that 
civil war, now Obama has done just that, 
with dire consequences. Why? 

First of all for domestic political rea¬ 
sons. After months of being pummeled by 
Republicans and even liberal pundits as a 
“feckless” president, 
Obama worried that if 
he failed to attack, he 
would be labeled “soft 
on terrorism” and Dem¬ 
ocrats would take even 
bigger losses in the up¬ 
coming midterm elec¬ 
tions, guaranteeing a 
solid Republican Con¬ 
gress and legislative 
paralysis for the rest 
of his administration. 
But bombs didn’t stop 
the “who lost Iraq and 
Syria” blame game. If 
Obama launched his 
reelection bid by “tak¬ 
ing out” (assassinating) 
Osama bin Laden, now 
the administration is 
being faulted for be¬ 
ing too focused on A1 
Qaeda and failing to 
anticipate the explosive 


on Afghanistan and Iraq, and the refusal by 
ILWU Local 10 to handle Zim Lines ships 
after Israeli attacks on Gaza in 2010 and 
this year. As supporters of the revolutionary 
program of Lenin and Trotsky, the leaders 
of the 1917 Russian October Revolution, we 
stand for class war against imperialist war. 


growth of the Islamic State. 

The grisly videos of executions of 
two American journalists and a British aid 
worker, played over and over on the Inter¬ 
net, are cited as justification for the “new” 
U.S. war. At the United Nations Obama 
proclaimed that there can be “no negotia¬ 
tion” with “this brand of evil” (the Islamic 
State) and declared his intent to “dismantle 
this network of death.” (Recall George W. 
Bush inveighing against an “axis of evil” 
including Iran, Iraq and North Korea in 
order to escalate his invasion of Afghanistan 
into a “Global War on Terror,” or GWOT in 
Pentagonese.) Yet beginning on August 19, 
the beheadings came a week after and were 
explicitly in retaliation for the American air 
strikes in Iraq. 

U.S. rulers and media always try to 
reduce any conflict to a dichotomy of good 
vs. evil. Partly they think Americans are 
too stupid to understand anything more, 
so they paint the current enemy, whether 
Saddam Hussein or Bashar Assad, as Sa¬ 
tan incarnate. They also want to hide the 
fact that the “good guys” often are “our 
sons of bitches” (as Franklin D. Roosevelt 
described Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio 
Somoza). A commentator on CNN claimed 
to provide “moral clarity” about the Syr¬ 
ian civil war, saying, “Simply put: Syrian 
government, bad. Syrian people, good.” 
Today the Islamic State “barbarians” are 
contrasted to the “moderate” rebels of the 
“Free Syrian Army.” Yet all the Sunni rebel 
groups seek to impose an Islamic state, and 
an FSA leader was videotaped cutting out 
the heart of a Syrian soldier and eating it. 
Some “good guys”! 

At bottom, the new Iraq/Syria war 
reflects the need of U.S. imperialism to as¬ 
sert its world domination. As the London 
Economist (17 September) wrote: 

“The sense that America is locked in 

relative decline has been growing in 

recent years, as it has languished under 


the shadow of the financial crisis and two 
long, difficult wars. Why should a newly 
rich country like China take lectures about 
how to mn its affairs from a president who 
struggles even to get his own budget 
through? America, meanwhile, seems 
swamped by the forces of disorder, either 
unable or unwilling to steady a world that 
is spinning out of control. IS embodies 
this frightening trend.” 

The war makers in Washington figure 
that with U.S. economic strength in de¬ 
cline, how can they intimidate rivals and 
opponents anywhere if they don’t use their 
firepower in Iraq and Syria? 

Obama has labored mightily to distin¬ 
guish his Iraq war from his predecessor’s. 
Announcing it, he said he was assembling 
a “broad coalition to roll back this terrorist 
threat.” Although the U.S. claims that 40 
countries have enlisted, it doesn’t look all 
that different from Bush’s 2003 “coalition 
of the willing”: the U.S. military for the 
heavy-duty action, plus assorted imperial¬ 
ists and Arab countries as window dressing. 
Sunni Arab emirates and monarchies were 
included so the U.S. wouldn’t look like the 
air force of Shia-ruled Iraq. But NATO ally 
Turkey under reputed “moderate Islamist” 
president Tayyip Erdogan was conspicu¬ 
ously absent, having for years aided the 
Islamists jihadis pouring into Syria and 
being determined to keep the Kurdish mi¬ 
nority down. 

The White House has insisted that 
the operation “will not involve American 
combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” as 
Obama said on September 10. But testifying 
in Congress six days later, the head of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, 
said he might well call for “the use of U.S. 
military ground forces.” The next day 
Obama vowed again to troops at U.S. Cen¬ 
tral Command HQ in Tampa, Florida: “1 will 
not commit you and the rest of our armed 
forces to fighting another ground war in 
Iraq.” That same day, Army Chief of Staff 
Gen. Ray Odierno told journalists, “you’ve 
got to have ground forces.” And on Septem¬ 
ber 25, Gen. Dempsey repeated to the press 
that he “might, at some point, recommend 
that we need a large ground force.” 

Such a public contradiction by top of¬ 
ficers of their commander-in-chief’s policy 
borders on insubordination. The fact that 
Dempsey provocatively repeated his state¬ 
ment instead of tendering a resignation (as 
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the Afghanistan 
commander, did in 2011 after a Rolling 
Stone article quoted him bellyaching that 
Obama hadn’t sent more troops) suggests 
that the Pentagon brass are solidly opposed 
to Obama’s “no U.S. ground troops” line. In 
reality, U.S. “advisors” are in the field “em¬ 
bedded” with Iraqi units, and now a division 
HQ from the First Infantry has been deployed 
to organize U.S. and Iraqi forces at Joint 
Operations Centers in Baghdad and Erbil. 
In short, the boots are already on the ground. 

Meanwhile, in Syria U.S. air strikes 
have not only hit I.S. targets in the east but 
also affiliates of the al-Nusra Front, the of¬ 
ficial A1 Qaeda franchisee, from which the 
group now calling itself the Islamic State 
split earlier this year. A few days earlier, 
U.S. spy chiefs began talking about a hith¬ 
erto unknown “Khorasan Group” linked 
to al-Nusra which was supposedly just as 
dangerous as the I.S. (While the U.S. con¬ 
siders al-Nusra a terrorist organization, the 
so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels work 
closely with it.) So when air strikes targeting 
the “Khorasan Group” led to civilian casu- 

17 



U.S. president Obama vows not to send ground 
troops to Iraq speaking at U.S. Central Command 
headquarters, McGill AFB, Tampa, FL, September 17. 
But Pentagon brass repeatedly contradict him. 

October-November 2014 


I. A War for Imperialist Domination 


Internationalist photo 



A “perfect war” for military contractors. With occupation of Afghanistan 
winding down, there is shrinking market for equipment like mine resistant 
ambush protected (MRAP) armored vehicles, such as the M-ATV model shown 
here on display outside the Pentagon. Surplus is being donated to police 
departments in U.S. for use against “civil disturbances,” like in Ferguson, 
Missouri. New, profitable product lines are being developed. 


alties, there were protests in northern Syria 
by the rebels the U.S. says it is supporting 
together with al-Nusra and I.S. accusing 
Obama of aiding the Assad regime. 

Dumb and dumber: if for liberals who 
want a less militaristic U.S. foreign policy, 
the new attack on Iraq and Syria is “Barack 
Obama’s dumb war,” the policy of Washing¬ 
ton hard-liners is sure to blow up. Leading 
the war hawks is none other than Hillary 
Clinton. As early as mid-2012, a “plan that 
Mr. Petraeus developed and Mrs. Clinton 
supported called for vetting rebels and es¬ 
tablishing and arming a group of fighters” 
in Syria (New York Tunes, 3 February 2013). 
Last month, burnishing her “tough guy” im¬ 
age as the virtual Democratic nominee for 
president in 2016, Clinton openly attacked 
Obama’s Syria policy (which she charac¬ 
terized as “don’t do stupid stuff’). Now 
Clinton’s supporters are pushing to send in 
thousands of U.S. ground troops. 

We have noted the role of Assistant Sec¬ 
retary of State for European and Eurasian 
Affairs Victoria Nuland, appointed by Hill¬ 
ary and a close associate since Bill Clinton’s 
administration, in pushing for confrontation 
with Putin’s Russia in Ukraine, including 
working with Ukrainian fascists. Nuland’s 
husband, Robert Kagan, also a former 
Clinton adviser, was co-founder of the “neo¬ 
conservative” Project for a New American 
Century which beat the war drams to attack 
Iraq. He has now co-authored A Strategy’ to 
Defeat the Islamic State (September 2014) 
with sister-in-law Kimberly Kagan, a former 
aide to Gen. McChrystal in Afghanistan, 
who is married to Frederick Kagan, author 
of the 2007 troop “surge” plan in Iraq, star¬ 
ring one David Petraeus. 

It is obvious to one and all that the 
“moderate” Islamist Syrian rebels (no one 
even bothers to pretend now that they are 
secular) will never be a militarily credible 
force. Equally clear is the danger of Syria 
falling apart with feuding Islamist bands, 
as in Libya. So when Obama called, in his 


September 10 speech, to “strengthen the 
opposition” while “pursuing the political 
solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis,” 
hardliners worry that he is aiming at a “solu¬ 
tion” that would integrate some “moderate” 
rebels into the present Syrian regime. To 
counter this, the Kagan “strategy” calls for 
“as many as 25,000 ground troops in Iraq 
and Syria” plus another 10,000+ “quick 
reaction” and combat aviation troops, and 
a whole lot of support personnel. If Obama 
hesitates to implement it, a president Hillary 
Clinton surely would. 

In the same vein, Anthony Cordesman 
of the Center for Strategic and International 
Studies (CSIS), a neocon think thank, has is¬ 
sued a report titled “The Air War Against the 
Islamic State: The Need for an ‘Adequacy of 
Resources’” (17 October), arguing that the 
present air war is little more than a pinprick 
(“too little, too slowly”), totaling in two 
months less than one-fifth the number of 
air strikes on an average day of the 1990-91 
Gulf War. He asks pointedly, “How does 
this war escalate?” And against lily-livered 
liberals wringing their hands over civilian 
casualties, Cordesman replies in Pentagon- 
speak: “Humanitarian reality requires look¬ 
ing at the total butcher’s bill from war, not 
focusing on one aspect of the fighting.” 

So the armchair butchers, the same neo¬ 
con gang that couldn’t shoot straight which a 
decade ago brought you the Afghanistan and 
Iraq invasion/occupations, now proposes to 
set the region aflame by pumping tens of 
thousands of ground troops into Iraq and 
Syria. And if they aren’t U.S. forces, where 
would they come from? Saudi troops in 
Iraq? The Shia militias would be up in arms. 
Turkish troops in Syria? Arabs would see 
the spectre of a new Ottoman Empire. Like 
those caveat emptor (buyer beware) lists of 
risk factors that mutual funds are required by 
the Securities and Exchange Commission to 
put on their prospectuses, the Kagans admit 
that “this strategy contains a high risk of 
failure” and go on to cite more than a dozen 
different and very plausible 
ways in which the whole 
thing could go up in smoke. 

But this won’t stop the 
imperial strategists, who see 
their empire at risk. There is 
talk of the return of a “war 
party” in Washington, refer¬ 
ring to the hawkish Cold 
Warriors back in vogue since 
the blow-up with Russia over 
Ukraine. But while there are 
sometimes important tactical 
differences, just as there is a 
bipartisan “property party,” 
all wings of both capitalist 
parties are part of the impe¬ 
rialist “war party.” In this 
epoch of decaying capitalism, 
there is no “peace-loving” 
sector of the U.S. ruling 
class, which is still desperate 
to climb out of economic 
depression since the 2008 
financial crisis and stock 
market crash. Ultimately, the 
hardliners in the bourgeoisie 
will prevail unless they are 
checked on the battlefield or 
in the class struggle. 

Meanwhile, the mili¬ 
tary-industrial complex is 
salivating at the thought 
of feasting at the Pentagon 
feeding trough. “The open- 
ended air war against the 


Islamic State group will mean billions in 
sales for bombs and missiles,” not to men¬ 
tion spare parts, fighter jets, spy planes, 
etc., reported AFP Pentagon correspondent 
Dan de Luce in Space Daily (9 October), 
an industry publication. De Luce quoted a 
top military consultant: “It’s the perfect war 
from a defense contracting standpoint and 
a defense spending standpoint.” Already 
shares for Lockheed Martin (which manu¬ 
factures the Hellfire missile for the Reaper 
drones) are up 9.3% and Raytheon landed a 
$251 million contract for more Tomahawk 
cruise missiles. At $ 1.4 million apiece, with 
47 Tomahawks fired on the first day of the 
air strikes in Syria, that makes... 

All this is reported under a Space Daily 
rubric titled “Milplex” whose slogan is “big 
bucks, big bangs.” Daddy Warbucks, the 
caricature of a military profiteer, is rubbing 
his hands in glee. The merchants of death 
are out to make a killing. The Frankfurter 


This past June as Mosul fell to the 
forces of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria 
(ISIS, now the I.S.) which then headed south 
toward Baghdad, we underscored that “ this 
latest war in Iraq is “made in the U.S.A.” 
Imperialist intervention from the Balkans to 
the Middle East has led to: 

“a massive escalation of inter-communal 
and sectarian slaughter, as minority 
populations are driven out everywhere. 
The multi-ethnic states resulting 
from artificial boundaries are being 
homogenized with a vengeance, with the 
U.S. pushing the process in the name of 
‘democracy.’ 

“The bloody U.S. policy of ‘democracy 
through ethnic cleansing’ has taken such a 
heavy toll on southeastern Europe and the 
Middle East because of the existence of 
all kinds of ethnic and religious enclaves 
and mixed populations, which was the 
heritage of the Ottoman Empire.... 

“So in the Balkans, Christian Serbs and 
Croatians and Bosnian Muslims lived 
side-by-side speaking essentially the 
same language (although with different 
alphabets) while in the Levant along 
with a Sunni Arab Muslim majority 
there were enclaves of Druzes, Shiites, 
Alawites, Kurds, Greek Catholics, 
Maronite Christians, Assyrians, and 
dozens of other minorities.... 

“While recognizing the right of national 


Allgemeine Zeitung (18 October) headlined 
its article: “Hopes for a Long, Profitable 
War.” Military contractors like Oshkosh 
Defense, which announced layoffs because 
of a shrinking market for their M-ATV mine 
resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehi¬ 
cles, now being donated as surplus to police 
forces (like Ferguson, Mo.) around the U.S., 
are already developing new product lines 
for their “customers.” Marxists will recall 
Rosa Luxemburg’s famous aphorism about 
the slaughter of World War I: “Dividends 
rising, proletarians falling.” 

Now Turkey is calling on the U.S. to 
decree a “buffer zone” in Syria while the 
generals and civilian war planners in D.C. 
are discussing imposing a “no-fly zone” in 
northern Syria, which as in Libya would 
involve massive attacks on the Syrian air 
force and air defense system and huge 
numbers of casualties. Whereupon all hell 
would break loose. 


self-determination, Trotskyists insist that 
the only equitable solution to the myriad 
national, ethnic, religious and linguistic 
conflicts of the region is through a 
struggle for socialist revolution.” 
-“From Ukraine to Middle East: 
U.S. Imperialism Strikes Out,” The 
Internationalist No. 37, May-June 2014 
Instead, ethnic hostilities in Meso¬ 
potamia (the “land between the rivers”) 
have reached the point of civil war, as the 
country rips apart at the seams. Now it has 
escalated into the third U.S. war in Iraq 
in as many decades. However deadly the 
conflicts between Shia, Sunni and Kurd in 
the past, imperialist intervention has only 
exacerbated them. It is necessary to over¬ 
come the division and unite the working 
people to throw off all the exploiters and 
their imperial overlords. 

Iraq today is ruled by a sectarian re¬ 
gime, installed under the U.S. occupation, 
dedicated to enforcing the supremacy of the 
Shia branch of Islam over the Sunni Arab 
Muslims, who were dominant under Sad¬ 
dam Hussein and prior Iraqi governments 
going back to the (Sunni) Ottoman Empire, 
as well as against (majority Sunni) Kurds. 
The several Shiite Islamist parties are united 
in insisting that this formerly persecuted 
majority of the Iraqi population monopolize 
power. Following the collapse of the Iraqi 

The Internationalist 



Ex-general, ex-CIA chief David Petraeus led 2007 
military “surge” in Iraq, ran drone assassination 
program in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is architect 
of U.S. war plans against Syria. Students and 
faculty have protested of this certified war criminal 
at the City University of New York. Above, IG and 
CUNY Internationalist Clubs at protest against war 
threats to Syria, September 2013. 

18 


II. A Third U.S. War As Iraq Rips Apart 


Tim Sloan/AFP 





Tyler Hicks/New York Times 



army in June, the U.S. and its imperialist 
allies blamed then prime minister Nuri al- 
Maliki and his Shiite chauvinist government 
for excluding and persecuting Sunnis, which 
he did throughout his eight years in office, 
as Washington looked on. 

Maliki imprisoned thousands of Sunni 
men on trumped-up charges, holding them 
in jail for years where most still languish. 
Shiite militias controlled by Maliki act 
as veritable death squads, assassinating 
several thousand Sunnis and stepping up 
their slaughter in recent months. Now a 
new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has 
been installed due to U.S. pressure, who is 
described as more “open” and “pragmatic” 
(because he is filthy rich) and less sectar¬ 
ian than his predecessor. But the same was 
said of Maliki when he succeeded Ibrahim 
al-Jaafari. All three are core leaders of the 
Shiite Islamist Dawa Party. In fact, Abadi’s 
new cabinet has more Dawa party members, 
and Maliki is hardly out of power, having 
been named vice president of the country. 

What has happened in Iraq over the last 
year and a half is that the extreme salafist 
jihadi 1 Islamic State has managed to place 
itself at the head of a Sunni insurrection 
against the Shiite regime. The proclama¬ 
tion of a caliphate in June by Abu Bakr al- 
Baghdadi, with himself as caliph or supreme 
religious and political authority, irked other 
conservative Islamist regimes, notably the 
Saudi monarchy and Gulf emirates, as well 
as Islamic scholars. But all Islamists are 
committed to establishing a theocratic reli¬ 
gious state based on Islamic law (the sharia), 
and the I.S.’ successes against the Shia re¬ 
gime in Iraq and both the Assad government 
and other Islamist rebels in Syria, as well as 
its defiance of the West, have won support 
among disaffected Sunnis. 

The Iraqi government is shot through 
with corruption. An army of 350,000 sol- 


1 Salafism is a component of the Sunni branch of 
Islam which considers the practices of the first 
three generations after Muhammad to be the 
model of an Islamic society. This includes many 
reactionary aspects of 7th-8th century Arab so¬ 
ciety, particularly strictures on women, that are 
not found in the Koran itself. While some Salaf- 
ists are merely extreme conservative pietists, 
others are prominent in Sunni Islamist political 
currents promoting jihad, in this case meaning 
holy war, against kafirs (infidels) and apostates, 
supposed ex-Muslims including Shiites. The 
Wahabi sect which dominates Saudi Arabia 
and from which Osama bin Laden stemmed is 
Salafist, as is the Islamic State, whose ideology 
is largely taken over from Wahabism. Many of 
the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels are also 
Wahabist. 

October-November 2014 


diers, on which almost $42 billion was spent 
over the last three years, melted away before 
an attacking force of only 1,300. The fact 
is that the I.S. never would have been able 
to conquer Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city 
with 1.5 million inhabitants where govern¬ 
ment troops outnumbered the attackers by at 
least 15 to 1, and certainly not in the space 
of a few hours, if it were not for the tacit 
and active support of the large percentage 
of the Sunni Muslim population. The I.S. 
has acted as “the shock troops of a general 
Sunni revolt,” as veteran British Middle 
East correspondent Patrick Cockburn wrote 
in his recent book, The Jihadis Return (OR 
Books, 2014). 

Now Shiite militias are terrorizing Sun¬ 
nis in Baghdad and at checkpoints leading 
to I.S.-held regions. Even the imperialist 
“human rights” agencies are noting the 
slaughter, in order to back U.S. calls for a 
more “inclusive” regime. Human Rights 
Watch’s bulletin “Iraq: Pro-Government 
Militias’ Trail of Death” (31 July) reports 
scores of murders of Sunnis around the 
country. An Amnesty International report. 
Absolute Impunity: Militia Rule in Iraq 
(October 2014), documents how Shiite 
militias, particularly the Badr Brigades and 
Asaib Ahl al-Haq, both linked to former 
prime minister Maliki, work directly with 
government military and security forces to 
kidnap, ransom, torture and execute Sunnis, 
as well as Christians and other minorities. 

“Sectarian attacks have spiraled to a 
level not seen since 2006-2007, the worst 
period of civil strife in the country’s recent 
history,” reports AI. That was when under 
U.S. commander David Petraeus, masked 
Shiite commandos, advised by U.S. “con¬ 
tractor” ex-Col. James Steele who super¬ 
vised death squads in El Salvador, unleashed 
a reign of terror in the Sunni population. 2 
Cockburn sums up: “The inability of the 
Baghdad government to field a national 
army and its reliance on militias means 
that Iraq is in the last stages of disintegra¬ 
tion. The few mixed Sunni-Shia areas are 
disappearing.... The final break-up of Iraq 
has become a fact” ( Independent [London], 
14 October). 

Meanwhile, the Kurdistan Regional 
Government (KRG) led by Massoud Bar- 
zani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) 
and Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of 


2 See “The Bloody Trail of Col. James Steele 
and David ‘Death Squad’ Petraeus,” Revolu¬ 
tion No. 10 (October 2013), published by the 
Internationalist Clubs of the City University of 
New York; and the documentary produced by 
the London Guardian (6 March). 


Kurdistan (PUK) has been seizing areas it 
has long coveted, notably the oil capital of 
northern Iraq, Kirkuk. In the process, the 
KRG has been persecuting Sunni Arabs and 
Turkmen residents, using the Iran-backed 
Shia militias to do the dirty work. AI reports 
that “Shi’a militias are operating openly, 
and in cooperation with or at least with the 
tacit consent of Kurdish Peshmerga [militia] 
forces,” and the KRG has made it clear “that 
it does not intend to give up control of the 
city.” The conservative, tribalist Barzani 
clan have been tools of the U.S. Central 
Intelligence Agency since the 1970s. 

After the 1991 Gulf War, when Shiites 
rose up in southern Iraq and Kurds in the 
north, the U.S. and Britain established a 
“no-fly zone” turning Iraqi Kurdistan into 
a de facto American protectorate. Since the 
2003 U.S. invasion, which they supported, 
the Kurdish parties have been part of the 
Baghdad government while maintaining 
a semi-autonomous region. Territory and 
spoils have been divided, Talabani get¬ 
ting southern Kurdistan and national posts 
(first president, then vice president) and 
Barzani getting the north and control of the 
KRG. The lifeblood of the Kurdish region 
is production of oil, which the KRG has 
sought to export independently of the Iraqi 
government. Without oil, no Iraqi Kurdistan 
- hence the importance of seizing Kirkuk. 

In the fighting with the Islamic State 
forces following the fall of Mosul, the fabled 
Kurdish peshmerga (guerrilla army) had no 
more success than the Iraqi army, although 
they didn’t just run away. Because of that, as 
well as historical ties and the huge number of 
Western “contractors” already in the area, the 
Kurdish forces have received considerable 
aid from the imperialists. The CIA has sent 
arms since August, the Germans have sent 
arms and “instructors” since late September, 
and now British Special Forces are on the 
scene. In addition, Israel has longstanding 
ties to the Iraqi Kurds, having armed the 
peshmerga since the 1970s. It now supports 
independence for Iraqi Kurdistan. 

As for the Islamic State, maps pub¬ 
lished in the press of areas under its control 
look like worms stretching along the Tigris 


We have written previously about how 
“Syria has been engulfed by an upheaval 
that began as protest demonstrations, quick¬ 
ly morphed into a sectarian insurgency and 
became a communal civil war that is now 
spilling over to neighboring Lebanon and 
Iraq.” While opposing all sides in this war 
pitting Islamist reactionaries against the 
authoritarian Assad regime, we noted that 
if Washington and its allies unleashed their 
military power as they did in Libya: 

“That would change the character of the 
conflict from inter-communal fighting to a 
battle against U.S./NATO intervention.... 
And any genuinely revolutionary Marxist, 
while giving no political support to the 
Assad regime, would stand foursquare 
for the military defense of Syria against 
imperialist aggression . ” 

-“U.S./NATO Imperialists Get 
Your Bloody Claws Off Syria!” The 
Internationalist No. 35, Summer 2013 
So now the U.S. is bombing in Syria, 
and while Washington claims that its target 
is the “Islamic State,” that could change in 
a flash. Liberal “doves” might tut-tut about 
“mission creep” while liberal “hawks” 


and Euphrates rivers. This understates the 
extent of I.S. domination, since those are 
the only inhabited areas of the vast desert 
region. At present some 5 to 6 million people 
are ruled by these Sunni jihadis who took 
over Raqqa, Syria in March 2013, Falluja, 
Iraq in January 2014, Mosul in June, Tikrit 
in July and by late summer had almost all of 
the Sunni areas north and west of Baghdad 
in their hands. This territory is hundreds of 
times larger than anything bin Laden ever 
controlled. And they have continued to ad¬ 
vance in Iraq despite the air strikes, taking 
the city of Hit and now being on the verge 
of seizing Ramadi. 

The I.S. success on the battlefield is due 
to several factors: support (tacit or overt) 
of the Sunni population of Iraq fed up with 
the Shiiite regime; a core of experienced 
former Baathist* military commanders from 
Saddam Hussein’s army; and an estimated 
1,000 battle-hardened Chechen Islamists, 
veterans of years of fighting Putin’s Russia. 
Very few Sunni tribal militias are siding 
with the Iraqi government, in contrast to 
2007 when the U.S. was able to put them 
on the payroll. Some of the former Baathists 
and other Sunni leaders may figure they are 
using the I.S. as a battering ram against the 
Shia regime, but they will find it hard to 
throw off the would-be caliphate that will 
stop at nothing to destroy anyone deemed 
an obstacle to its rule. 

In the areas they control, the I.S. jihadis 
have massacred huge numbers of supposed 
apostates and infidels. They set off car 
bombs in Shia areas. Their videos show 
them mowing down hundreds of captured 
Iraqi soldiers lined up at the edge of a mass 
grave. They have enslaved thousands of 
Yazidis, mostly women and girls. The I.S. 
brags about distributing Yazidi women as 
concubines. The latest issue of its English- 
language magazine Dabiq has an article on 
“The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour,” 
referring to the Yazidis as pagans and “devil- 
worshippers” and saying “their women 
could be enslaved unlike female apostates” 
such as Shia Muslims, who are given the 
option of “repent or face the sword.”** Male 
“apostates” are simply executed. 


would cheer if Obama bombs Syrian forces. 
But the entire region would go up in flames, 
and it could become a “proxy war” against 
Russia and Iran, with untold consequences. 

Inside Syria, faced with the total domi¬ 
nation of the armed opposition by Islamists, 
and particularly the growth of the Islamic 
State, the hard-fisted Assad government has 
consolidated support (grudging or active) not 
only among various religious and ethnic mi¬ 
norities (Alawites, Druzes, Imami and Ismaili 
Shiites, Christians) but also among secular 
Syrians who fear a Sunni Islamic dictator¬ 
ship. The liberal-minded, secular, educated 
Internet generation of elite youth who started 
the protests against government repression in 
the “Arab Spring” of March 2011 were quickly 
sidelined by the religious fundamentalists who 
dominate the Sunni Arab majority, particularly 
in the rural areas and impoverished outskirts 
of the major cities. 

* Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Hafez al-Assad in 
Syria were leaders of the Arab nationalist Baath 
Party who took power in military coups. 

** See Matthew Barber, “Islamic State Official¬ 
ly Admits to Enslaving Yazidi Women,” Syria 
Comment, 12 October. 

19 


III. Syria: Defend the Kurds, 
Defeat U.S./NATO Imperialism! 




Armenia 


Azerbaijan 


Turkey 


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Incirlik AFB 


lobane^-^ROJAVA 

SyrB» 


Sul*r«i»iilytl> 


Kirkuk 


DAMASCUS 


IAGHDAD 


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Jordan 


This has now become a bitter “Arab 
Autumn,” as Islamist rebels shoot Roman 
Catholic priests dead (Franijois Murad, 
by Jabhat al-Nusra in Gassanieh); Syriac 
and Greek Orthodox Catholic bishops are 
abducted (Gregorius Yohanna Ibrahim and 
Boulos Yazigi, in Aleppo); women activists 
are forced by Islamist rebels to wear the veil 
(Marcell Shehwaro, by the Jaish al-Mujahe- 
din in Aleppo), to flee the country (Souad 
Nawfal, by ISIS in Raqqa) or are disappeared 
(Razan Zaitouneh and Samira Khalil along 
with male colleagues, by the Army of Islam 
in Douma); and a 15-year-old boy selling cof¬ 
fee is executed on orders of a sharia court for 
blasphemy for allegedly insulting the prophet 
(Mohammed Qatta, in Aleppo). 

In this dismal panorama, the forlorn 
liberal/reformist “progressive” milieu which 
had become increasingly despondent, hail¬ 
ing a mythical “Syrian Revolution” as the 
supposedly “moderate” rebels were eclipsed 
by the hardline jihadists, suddenly discov¬ 
ered the Kurds. Now blogs, e-mail lists and 
social media are abuzz about a supposed 
revolutionary commune in Syrian Kurdistan 
(Rojava), on the border with Turkey. David 
Graeber, the anarchist sociologist of Occupy 
Wall Street fame, authored an article, “Why 
is the world ignoring the revolutionary 
Kurds in Syria?” in the London Guardian 
(8 October), declaring what’s happening in 
Rojava to be today’s equivalent of the Span¬ 
ish Republic, with popular councils, militias 
and worker-managed co-ops. 

According to Graeber, a veritable 
“social revolution” is underway, led by 
the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and 
its Syrian affiliate, the PYD. The PKK, 
whose leader Abdullah Ocalan languishes 
in a Turkish jail, is still labeled terrorist by 
Turkey and U.S., the European Union and 
NATO imperialists for fighting for Kurd¬ 
ish independence. But “the PKK itself is 
no longer anything remotely like the old 
top-down Leninist party it once was” and 
doesn’t even call for a Kurdish state, says 
Graeber. Instead, it is now inspired by 
the Mexican Zapatistas and the anarchist 
Murray Bookchin, adopting the vision of 
“libertarian municipalism” to create “self- 
governing communities” based on “direct 
democracy” which could become a “model 


Women fighters of the YPJ training. Thousands of Kurdish women in militias will have 
significant impact, while liberation from traditional oppression will require a social revolution. 


for a worldwide movement towards genuine 
democracy.” Hallelujah! 

Actually, the PKK was never Leninist 
but a Stalinist-inspired nationalist party that 
braved murderous repression by the Turkish 
government. It is true that the PKK, the PYD 
(Democratic Union Party) and the militia 
linked to it, the YPG (People’s Protection 
Units), are not Islamists. Women in Rojava 
(as well as Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish Kurd¬ 
ish regions) are not obliged to wear the veil. 
There is a women’s militia unit, the YPJ, 
and the media are full of photos of Kurdish 
women guerrillas in Syria. And unlike the 
U.S. which wrote off Yazidi refugees (even 
as Obama used their plight as a “humani¬ 
tarian” justification for his war), the YPG 
intervened to save 10,000 Yazidis, and has 
tenaciously fought off militarily superior 
I.S .jihadis in Kobane. 

Unlike the so-called moderate Sunni 
militias in Syria, with which it has periodi¬ 
cally clashed, the PYD had not been allied 
with salafist jihadis. It has largely stayed out 
of the fratricidal communal civil war and the 
YPG includes Syriac units as well as Kurds. 
Nor, in contrast with activist groups like the 
Local Coordination Committees, are they 
part of the imperialist-approved, Turkish- 
controlled Syrian National Coalition (SNC), 
which contemptuously dismissed calls for 


Kurdish regional autonomy. Proletarian 
revolutionaries would defend the Kurdish 
areas against attacks by the Assad regime or 
the Free Syrian Army and certainly against 
the Islamic State whose victory would mean 
wholesale slaughter of Kurds. 

Various reports attest to some important 
social gains in the region. Women in Syrian 
Kurdistan are surely much freer than in FSA- 
or I.S.-controlled areas. In itself, the fact of 
a women’s militia does not equal “radical 
empowerment of women” (Graeber), much 
less equality. Women have been active in 
many guerrilla movements, and there are 
also women’s units of the imperialist-backed 
Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga. But in Rojava the 
YPJ has enrolled as many as 10,000 female 
fighters, and this will certainly have an im¬ 
pact: a woman who knows how to handle an 
AK or heavy machine gun is less likely to 
be physically abused. Nevertheless, histori¬ 
cally, after victory (or defeat) of the armed 
struggle, unless there is a social revolution 
women are usually relegated to traditional 
roles dictated by capitalism and its central 
conservatizing institution, the family. 

There is nothing “anti-capitalist” about 
the autonomous areas of northern Syria. 
The popular councils, co-ops and “workers 
control” are largely hypothetical under war¬ 
time conditions in a besieged region whose 
economy has been devastated. 
In fact, the “social contract” 
which serves as the region’s 
charter guarantees the right of 
private property, and the PYD 
has assiduously sought unity 
with various bourgeois parties, 
including the corrupt capitalist 
rulers of Iraqi Kurdistan rather 
than posing a revolutionary 
opposition to Barzani and 
Talabani, who have become 
billionaires by siphoning off 
U.S. aid and oil profits. 

Rojava is not some dem¬ 
ocratic/libertarian utopia, an 
imaginary Occupy on the 
Syrian-Turkish border. Such 
fantasies can only disorient, 
and in this case they’re be¬ 
ing used to build support for 
imperialist intervention. In 
the glowing reports about 
“revolutionary Rojava,” the 
fact that the PYD/YPG has 
lately been doing all it can 
to become acceptable to 
the imperialists is given 
short shrift. Since the U.S. 
demanded that it join with 


the Free Syrian Army, in 
September the YPG set up a 
joint command together with 
c several FSA-linked factions, 
5 ! including the “Jihad in the 
Path of God Brigade” and 
some Islamists pushed out 
of Raqqa by the I.S . 3 So far, 
such elements appear mar¬ 
ginal, but that could change. 

Today even hard-line 
Zionists are singing the praises 
of the PKK/PYD . 4 And since it 
has shown it is willing to play 
ball, the U.S. has stepped up 
bombing ofl.S. targets and air¬ 
dropped supplies to the Kurds 
in Kobane, while Ankara says 
it will let Iraqi peshmetga (but 
not the PKK) into the besieged 
city. lfBarzani’s militia shows 
up, it will only be in order to 
fight the YPG. In any case, 
the U.S. and European imperialists will never 
accept Kurdish independence, or even real au¬ 
tonomy in northern Syria. That would threaten 
the Ottoman ambitions of the Islamist Erdogan 
and the Turkish nationalism of the army. And 
NATO Turkey is a linchpin for Western impe¬ 
rialist domination of the Middle East. 

We call for revolutionary defeatism on 
all sides in the communal civil wars wrack¬ 
ing Iraq and Syria. A victory for any of the 
warring sectarian forces or the respective 
governments would lead to atrocities against 
the opposing side, including bloodbaths and 1 / 
or mass expulsion of entire populations. 
Proletarian revolutionaries support the 
right of self-defense against the threat of 
communal-sectarian slaughter. At the same 
time we are mortal enemies of Islamism of 
any stripe, as well as of Zionism and Chris¬ 
tian fundamentalism. And far from calling 
on the U.S. and NATO to aid “moderate” 
anti-Assad rebels like they did in Libya, we 
call to expel U.S. imperialism from Syria, 
Iraq and the entire region. 

As Leninists and Trotskyists, we stand 
with the oppressed fighting to free their 
lands from colonial and imperial domina¬ 
tion. This includes siding with the struggles 
even of reactionary-led forces fighting 
against imperialism such as Marx and En¬ 
gels did in the 1857 Sepoy Revolt against 
British rule in India (see our article “Marx 
on the Sepoy Revolt,” The Internationalist 
No. 21, Summer 2005); as Marx’s follower 
William Morris did with the 1880s Mahdi 
revolt against the British in Sudan; and 
Lenin did with the 1900 Boxer Rebellion 
in China (see “Lenin on the ‘Boxer Rebel¬ 
lion’,” The Internationalist No. 21). We 
have written about Afghanistan: 

“Following the example of Lenin and 
Trotsky, we stand on the side of the semi¬ 
colonial peoples against imperialism, and 
with those resisting the occupiers - who 
are by no means limited to Taliban, A1 
Qaeda or other Islamists.” 

-“Defeat U.S. War on Afghanistan 
and Iraq,” The Internationalist No. 30, 
November-December 2009 
And concerning the current situation in Iraq 
and Syria, we wrote in our last issue: 

“But while giving no political support 
to any of the feuding bourgeois bands, 
communists defend those fighting against 
the U.S. imperialists, who unleashed a 
horrific blood bath in conquering and 

3 Check it out at http://rojavareport.wordpress. 
com/2014/09/10/ypg-and-fsa-form-joint-opera- 
tions-command/ 

4 See "Has Obama Realized the PKK Can Be 
Allies?” Commentary, 20 October. 

The Internationalist 



occupying Iraq that far exceeds the crimes 
of a small-time bourgeois strongman like 
Saddam Hussein (or the Assads).” 
-“From the Ukraine to Middle East: 
U.S. Imperialism Strikes Out,” The 
Internationalist No. 37, May-June 2014 
Any actual blow against imperialist 
intervention and domination is in the interest 
of the working class and oppressed peoples 
of the world in the fight to drive the U.S./ 
NATO imperialists out of the Middle East. Yet 
the Islamic State, while posing as defenders 
of Islam against Western “crusaders,” is not 
seeking to unite the oppressed masses of Iraq 
and Syria to throw off the imperialist yoke. 
The immediate targets of the I.S. “holy war” 
are the Kurdish, Shiite, Yazidi, Syrian and Iraqi 
Christian populations, as these Sunni jihadis 
seek to impose the oppressive social norms 
of an 8th-century nomadic tribal society on 
modern urban secularized populations. They 
have no compunction about allying with U.S. 
imperialism, as the forerunners of al Qaeda did 
against the Soviet Army and a reform regime 
in Afghanistan in the 1980s. And they have 
been financed and armed by the imperialist 
surrogates of the Arabian oil monarchies, as 
well as by NATO member Turkey. 

In calling for working-class struggle to 


defeat imperialism, au¬ 
thentic Trotskyists have 
long defended the PKK, 
as well as defending 
Iranian and Iraqi Kurds 
against repression by 
the shah, Khomeini and 
Saddam Husein. We call 
for a socialist republic 
of united Kurdistan, to 
overcome the national 
oppression of the 30+ 
million Kurds, the larg¬ 
est nation in the world 
without a state due to 
the 1916 Sykes-Picot 
treaty and 1923 Lausanne 
treaty that carved up the 
Ottoman Empire. While 
opposing nationalism, 
this is a program for inter¬ 
nationalist class struggle 
against the rulers of Iran, 
Iraq, Syria, Turkey, all 
with oppressed Kurdish 
minorities; against the 
imperialists, and against 
the Kurdish bourgeois 
ruling clans. 



Demonstrators march in the Gayrettepe district of Istanbul during one-day general strike 
called by left-wing unions over mine disaster in Soma, 15 May 2014. Protesters chanted, 
“This was not an accident, this was murder” and called for Erdogan government to resign. 
Turkish labor should come to the aid of besieged Kurds in Kobane by using their class power 
to bring down the labor-hating, warmongering Erdogan regime, fighting for workers revolution. 


IV. Turkish Proletariat Is Key 


Meanwhile, the Islamist Erdogan 
government in Ankara is playing hard¬ 
ball with Obama in its drive to project 
Turkey as a regional power, crush the 
Kurds and overthrow Assad in order to 
establish a (Sunni Muslim) Syrian client 
state. Despite its vague talk of support for 
the U.S.-led “coalition,” Turkey has been 
and still is an ally of the Islamic State, 
continuing to allow supply columns and 
recruits for the I.S. to cross the border 
(while blocking Kurds). Erdogan wants 
to regain the glory of the last caliphate, 
abolished by Kemal Atatiirk in 1924. The 
crowds subjected to bloody police attack 
at Istanbul’s Gezi Park in June 2013 were 
protesting Erdogan’s plan to rebuild the 
Ottoman-era Taksim military barracks 
as a museum (and shopping mall) on 
the spot. 

The symbolism is part of Erdogan’s 
broader program to provoke U.S. inter¬ 
vention against Assad. Thus a recording 
of a secret meeting between the Turkish 


spy chief, the foreign minister and a 
top military official that was leaked on 
YouTube revealed a plan to stage a “false 
flag” attack on the tomb of Suleyman 
Shah, the grandfather of the founder of 
the Ottoman Empire, in northern Syria 
as an excuse for Turkish troops to move 
in ( New York Times, 28 March). And 
journalist Seymour Hersh has published 
an extensive article detailing evidence of 
Turkish aid to Islamists preparing chemi¬ 
cal attacks in Syria, and quoting former 
U.S. intelligence officials saying that the 
August 2013 gas attack in the eastern 
suburbs of Damascus was a Turkish plot: 


“‘We now know it was a covert action 
planned by Erdogan’s people to push 
Obama over the red line,’ the former 
intelligence official said. ‘They had 
to escalate to a gas attack in or near 
Damascus when the UN inspectors’ 
- who arrived in Damascus on 18 
August to investigate the earlier use 
of gas - ‘were there. The deal was to 



Turkish soldiers and tanks at Syrian border keep out refugees fleeing Islamic 
State attack on Kobane in September. Turkey’s Islamist government has 
aided Islamic State jihadis as it seeks to restore “glory” of Ottoman empire. 


October-November 2014 


do something spectacular. Our senior 
military officers have been told by the 
DIA and other intelligence assets that 
the sarin was supplied through Turkey 
- that it could only have gotten there 
with Turkish support. The Turks also 
provided the training in producing the 
sarin and handling it.’” 

-“The Red Line and the Rat Line,” 
London Review of Books, 14 April 
Presently there are Turkish tanks and 
troops lined up just across the border 
from Kobane, waiting. Turkey has over 
10,000 battle-ready tanks and an army of 
510,000 soldiers, plus another 100,000 
in the paramilitary gendarmerie to keep 
internal order ( Frankfurter Allgemeine 
Zeitung, 13 October). On October 2, the 
Turkish parliament approved a motion 
authorizing use of Turkish forces to 
invade Syria and Iraq. On October 10, 
more than 30 died as Turkish police and 
military attacked Kurdish demonstra¬ 
tors. On October 13, Turkish warplanes 
bombed PKK positions in southeastern 
Turkey. Thus a crucial factor of a pro¬ 
letarian program to defeat imperialism 
in the region is the mobilization of the 
Turkish working class against its war¬ 
mongering rulers. 

Most left groups long ago gave up 
any pretense of fighting for proletarian 
revolution in the Middle East, instead 
tailing after assorted nationalist and even 
Islamist groups, from the Palestinian 
PFLP and DFLP to Hezbollah in Leba¬ 
non. For the few that make any reference 
at all to workers revolution it is mostly 
lip service, an abstract invocation of a 
purely theoretical goal. But how could an 
actual working-class socialist revolution 
overthrowing capitalism and all the Zion¬ 
ist, Islamist, monarchist and militarist re¬ 
gimes, as well as defeating imperialism, 
come about? The Syrian working class, 
after all, has been largely atomized and 
destroyed. Key to the answer are the two 
big concentrations of proletarian power 
in the region, Egypt and Turkey. 

Turkey has a working class of over 
10 million, with strong contingents in 
heavy industry including steel, shipbuild¬ 
ing and mining, transportation and con¬ 


sumer goods manufacturing. A little over 
1 million are members of trade unions, 
which like labor around the capitalist 
world have taken a beating from the 
capitalist offensive over the last three 
decades. In Turkey both military and 
Islamist regimes have gone after unions 
with a vengeance, but they are hardly in 
“death throes,” as an article on the web 
site Al-Monitor (5 May) claimed. There 
are left-oriented union federations DISK 
(Confederation of Revolutionary Unions) 
and the allied public sector KESK, and 
yearly pitched battles with the police on 
May Day. 

The potential for militant workers 
struggle is palpable, as shown by the huge 
protests that swept Turkey over the hun¬ 
dreds of deaths in the Soma mine disaster 
this past May. Erdogan had to take ref¬ 
uge in a supermarket to escape an angry 
crowd. During the mass mobilizations 
over Gezi Park in June 2013 the DISK 
and KESK twice staged one-day “gen¬ 
eral strikes.” But faced with implacable 
repression by the police and military, 
such actions had little effect. Despite 
the reference to “revolutionary unions,” 
the actual policies of the Turkish labor 
left are social-democratic reformism. 
To bring workers’ power to bear, what’s 
needed is a revolutionary-internationalist 
workers party. 

Such a party would not limit itself to 
economic struggles but act as a tribune 
of all the oppressed. It would defend 
women’s rights. It would intransigently 
defend the Kurdish right to self-deter¬ 
mination (independence) and stand with 
the millions of Alevis who like the Kurds 
have been subject to murderous attacks. 
It would seek to build mass, labor-based 
workers self-defense against official 
repression, fascist squads and Islamist 
mobs. And it would mobilize working- 
class action, including strikes, against 
Turkish intervention in Syria, as well in 
defense of the Palestinian people under 
the Zionist boot. All this, and resisting 
the inevitable anti-communist attacks, 
requires a solid footing on the Bolshevik 
program of Lenin and Trotsky. 


21 


Nurcan Volkan / Demotix 




V. Leninist-Trotskyist Workers Party 
Vital to Middle East Revolution 

Such revolutionary leadership is decid- Khomeini’s “Islamic Revolution” in Iran, 
edly not what one will get from the would-be which then turned around and murdered tens 
socialist and even “communist” left in the of thousands of leftists who had capitulated 
West today. It is striking that in the face of a to the mullahs’ hijacking of the struggle 
new U.S. war in Iraq and Syria there have been against the murderous, CIA-installed shah. 
no significant antiwar protests in the U.S., not At the time our policy, the policy of authentic 
even when Obama came to the United Na- Leninism and Trotskyism, was “Down with 
tions to sell his campaign to bomb “evil” into the Shah, No to Khomeini!” 

oblivion. When Republican Bush launched So why do they do it, why do such “so- 

the 2003 Iraq war there were half a million cialists” end up backing such retrograde ele- 
protesters in the streets of New York. Now, ments? One explanation is inveterate tailism: 
with a Democrat in the White House, some they’re so used to chasing after any popular 
300,000 joined a “climate march” organized movement that they can’t tell the difference 
by pro-war lobbyists to complement Obama’s between bourgeois liberal “progressives” and 
pitch at the UN Climate Summit. 5 Since their arch-reactionaries. But there is another key 
usual liberal allies are in favor of this war, the reason: as social-democratic reformists who 
reformist leftist antiwar coalitions did nothing, only want to tinker with the capitalist system, 

Meanwhile, after being all atwitter in to make it more “people-friendly,” they show 
2011 over the Arab Spring “revolutions” a particular predilection for supporting the 
which weren’t (see the collection of articles very same Islamist forces that “their own ” 
in The Internationalist No. 33, Summer imperialist rulers do. In Afghanistan, they all 
2011), the opportunist left ever since has vituperated against Soviet intervention, and 
sought to explain away the disastrous out- some hailed the CIA-backed mujahedin. In 
come in Egypt, Libya and elsewhere, with contrast, the genuine Trotskyists proclaimed, 
military regimes and feuding Islamic bands, “Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!” 
as part of a “long revolutionary process.” So things have been going from bad to 

First prize in this category for absurdity is worse over the last three years for the West- 
a recent article in the paper of the Freedom ern leftist cheerleaders for the phantasmago- 


fascism.” Trotsky thundered 
against this class-collabo¬ 
rationist policy (embraced 
also by the anarchists) that 
blocked proletarian revolu¬ 
tion and enabled the victory 
of Franco in the Spanish C ivil 
War. 

The second argument 
of the leftist supporters of 
imperialist war is that the 
I.S. represents “barbarism.” 
Sabado refers to the “barbar¬ 
ic monster,” to peoples who 
are “victims of barbarism,” 
and so on. Thus calling for 
imperialist intervention to 
“save Kobane” is supposedly 
defending humanity. The 
same with the third argu¬ 
ment: the need to stave off 
impending massacre. We do 
Leon Trotsky, founder of the Red Army, 1920. not C1 iticize besieged Kurds 

its newspaper, L’Antic apitaliste (16 October), for getting arms where they can. But for 
it feigns a certain “critical” distance from the would-be socialists to call on the U.S. and 

imperialists, saying “it doesn’t seem to us that NATO to supply them ignores the fact that 

one should expect great results from these the imperialists are the most barbaric mass 
appeals” to the West to arm the Kurds. But in murderers of all. If Washington furnishes a 
a call (9 October) for a mass demonstration dribble of munitions, it will be in order to use 

together with Kurdish groups, the NPA urges that bait to control and ultimately crush any 

“the U.S. as well as the European Union to trace of Kurdish independence or autonomy, 
respond to their call [of the PKK and YPG] The more “sophisticated” (and cynical) 

for material aid, in particular arms ” apologists of calling on U.S. imperialism to 



Socialist Party (FSP) titled “Unstoppable re¬ 
volt in the Middle East.” Unstoppable? Want 
to bet? After citing a history of “ignoble 
U.S. deeds,” under the subhead “Uneven 
course of revolution” we read: 

“The Middle East today is not the 
hopeless shambles portrayed by corporate 
media. But the fight for radical change is 
inevitably arduous.... 

“As in any revolutionary course, 
agonizing lessons are being learned; 
organizers seasoned; class consciousness 
heightened.... Socialist understanding 
deepens. No matter the obstacles and set 
backs, such political advances cannot 
be underestimated in the long view of 
revolution-building. They justify hope 
and solidarity for a secular, socialist, 
egalitarian Middle East.” 

-Freedom Socialist, October-November 
2014 

This is, hands down, the most ridiculous 
thing we have read in the left press in many 
moons. Class consciousness heightened, 
socialist understanding deepening? What 
world are these pollyannas living in? With 
murderous salafist jihadis slaughtering ethnic 
minorities, Shiite Muslims, even other Sunni 
Islamists; with U.S. imperialism on a bomb¬ 
ing spree; with secular leftists increasingly 
isolated everywhere in the region, we’re sup¬ 
posed to believe things are hopeful, the secu¬ 
lar socialist revolution is unstoppable! Why 
would anyone write such drivel? In order to 
alibi their disastrous policy of allying with 
reactionary religious fundamentalists and 
calling this unholy alliance “revolutionary.” 

While the FSP has gone off the deep end, 
almost the entire spectrum of what passes for 
a socialist left is facing the same dilemma: 
how to justify the unjustifiable opportunism 
of allying with the pro-imperialist Islamist 
armed opposition to Assad, just as they did 
earlier against Qaddafi in the name of a non¬ 
existent “Libyan Revolution.” And this is not 
new: it goes back to 1979 when the whole lot 
of these pseudo-socialists hailed Ayatollah 

5 See the IG leaflet, distributed at the march, 
“The Great ‘People’s Climate March’ Scam” on 
page 10 if this issue. 


rical “Syrian Revolution.” But after months 
of claiming, all evidence to the contrary, that 
the armed gangs roaming the countryside are 
really moderate and secular, or at least sort 
of, suddenly there appears in northern Syria 
a force that more or less matches what the 
liberal imagination thinks “freedom fight¬ 
ers” should be like: the Kurds of Rojava. 
So in the space of a few weeks, the leftists 
who didn’t lift a finger to protest Obama’s 
air war in Iraq and Syria are holding big 
demonstrations, particularly in Germany 
and elsewhere in Europe, to “Save Kobane.” 

One little problem: this campaign is 
using sympathy for the determination of the 
Kurdish fighters to line up the Western left 
with the imperialist warmongers, who are 
the deadliest mass murderers of them all. 

The leftists promoting this campaign 
are quite devious about it. L’Humanite, 
the newspaper associated with the French 
Communist Party (PCF), had a special issue 
on Kobane (22 October) which criticizes 
Obama for setting Iraq aflame, slams French 
president Francois Hollande for supporting 
Turkey’s demand for a “buffer zone,” calls 
for an end to the criminalization of the PKK, 
and then has PCF national secretary Pierre 
Laurent calling on France to prioritize “the 
defense of universal values, the rights of 
peoples and peace.... for which it is loved 
by the peoples of the world,” and therefore 
to “respond favorably to the request of the 
Kurds of Kobane to have the indispensable 
arms to resist and avoid a massacre....” 

Translated: French imperialism - the 
invaders of Mali, the occupiers of Afghani¬ 
stan, the bombers of Libya, the protagonists 
of dirty colonial wars against Algeria and 
Indochina, and the former colonial mas¬ 
ters of Syria - with 900 troops now on the 
ground in Iraq, should see to it that Kobane 
gets arms. From where? From the NATO 
imperialists, where else? 

Oriented to a somewhat more leftish mi¬ 
lieu than the reformist PCF, with its nationalist 
praise of France as “the land of human rights,” 
the no less reformist New Anti-Capitalist 
Party (NPA) resorts to double-talk. Thus in 


The NPA grew out of the Ligue Com- 
muniste Revolutionnaire (LCR), the French 
affiliate of the International (formerly United) 
Secretariat of the late Ernest Mandel, in the 
course of abandoning all pretense of Trotsky¬ 
ism. The Danish Mandelites are part of the 
Red-Green Alliance (RGA), whose members 
of parliament voted for sending a Danish 
military plane to “transport weapons and 
ammunition to the Kurdish militias fighting 
Islamic State” ( International Viewpoint, 15 
September). While praising the PKK and 
YPG, in fact it is sending arms to the pro-impe¬ 
rialist Iraqi peshmerga. And while pretending 
that “this decision does not allow any other 
Danish military activity in the region,” only a 
week earlier Denmark sent a squadron of jets 
and 250 military personnel in Iraq under the 
aegis of NATO, then headed by former Danish 
premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen. 

The NPA, RGA and their cohorts around 
West Europe are nothing but vulgar NATO 
social democrats, who have enlisted in the 
imperialist war drive in the Middle East. So 
how do they square this dirty reality with their 
tattered leftist pretensions? They use three 
main arguments: First, that the Islamic State 
represents a “new fascism.” This is the line of 
Mandelite leaders Francois Sabado ( Inprecor , 
27 September) and Pierre Rousset ( Interna¬ 
tional Viewpoint, 19 October). We’ve seen that 
before. It’s the punch line of “Islamo-fascism” 
used by ex-leftists like Christopher Hitchens to 
support the U.S. invasion/occupation of Iraq 
in 2003. But the I.S. is not a bunch of enraged 
petty bourgeois mobilized by big capital to 
smash the workers movement. 

The salafist-jihadists of the “Islamic 
State” are Sunni religious fanatics preaching 
a theocratic political doctrine. USec “theoreti¬ 
cians” talk of Islamic fascism to hide the fact 
that the I.S. is an extreme form of lslamism, 
which these pseudo-leftists have supported for 
decades (Iran 1979,Afghanistaninthe 1980s). 
Not only is this counterposed to Trotskyism, 
the political argument behind it is that of the 
Stalinist Georgi Dimitrov, codified in 1935, to 
justify chaining the working class to bourgeois 
forces in the name of a “popular front against 


arm the Kurds in Kobane cite Trotsky’s May 
1938 article “Learn to Think: A Friendly 
Suggestion to Certain Ultra-Leftists.” We’ve 
seen this ploy before, too: it was the knock- 
’em-dead argument of the Spartacist League 
(SL/U.S.) and its International Communist 
League to justify its shameful support of the 
American invasion of Haiti in January 2010 
under the guise of providing earthquake 
relief. After months of vociferously defend¬ 
ing this social-imperialist betrayal in the 
face of our denunciation, the SL/ICL finally 
“repudiated” its position, among other things 
admitting that it “misused the authority” of 
Trotsky. 6 (Doubtless there are still some SL/ 
ICL members and supporters who would 
like real answers as to how their organization 
degenerated so far as to make such an “error.” 
But as ever new zigzags keep coming, one 
thing is clear: they won’t get those from the 
leadership of this demoralized centrist outfit.) 

This was also the supposedly clinching 
argument of the Brazilian PSTU (Partido 
Socialista dos Trabalhadores Unificado), re¬ 
formist followers of the late Nahuel Moreno, 
in justifying their call on the imperialists to 
arm the pro-imperialist Islamist bands fight¬ 
ing the Assad regime in Syria. 7 

What position would proletarian revo¬ 
lutionists take, Trotsky had asked, if fascist 
Italy, for its own imperialist interests, had 
decided to ship arms to Algerians fighting 
for independence from France. “Should 
the Italian workers prevent the shipping of 
arms to the Algerians?” He answered that 
every revolutionist, class-conscious worker 
or Algerian rebel would indignantly spurn 
such a policy. In another article, “Answers 
to Questions on the Spanish Situation” (Sep¬ 
tember 1938), Trotsky asked what Spanish 
dock workers would do if faced with two 
ships bearing arms, one for Franco and one 
for the Republic. Obviously, he answered, 
the workers should block the ship with 

6 See our “Open Letter from the Internationalist 
Group to the Spartacist League and ICL,” The 
Internationalist No. 31, May-June 2010. 

7 See "Brazil: Leftists in the Camp of Pro-Im¬ 
perialist Syrian Islamists,” The Internationalist 
No. 36, January-February 2014. 


22 


The Internationalist 




weapons for Franco and let the one for the 
Republic pass. a> 

There are two key reasons why the <£ 
opportunists’ reference to Trotsky is false. | 
First, Trotsky was asking whether workers £ 
should block arms shipments, not urging .§ 
workers to call on fascist Italy or the im- J 
perialist “democracies” to arm Algerian > 
rebels or insurgent Spanish workers. It was ^ 
the Stalinists and anarchists who called to 
pressure France to send arms to Spain, while 
Trotsky warned that “democratic” France 
was an enemy of Spanish workers. And 
second, the pro-imperialist Islamist armed 
bands in Syria are not at all equivalent to 
Algerian fighters for independence or work¬ 
ers militias in Spain. They are reactionary 
sectarian-communalist forces that should be 
defeated by workers action, along with the 
authoritarian Assad regime. 

The pseudo-socialists call for a “popular 
revolution” in Syria, which are code words 
for collaboration with bourgeois forces. The 
program of revolutionary Marxists is to fight 
for mobilization of the working class and for 
international socialist revolution. The League 
for the Fourth International does not call 
on U.S. and NATO imperialists to arm the 
Kurds (much less the pro-imperialist Syrian 
Islamists), which in any case would be a 
poisoned chalice. Instead we call on Turkish 
workers rise up against the Erdogan govern¬ 
ment. Strikes shutting down transportation in 
Istanbul and Ankara and mass mobilization 
surrounding Turkish air bases in Incirlik and 
Diyarbakir would be the most effective aid 
to embattled defenders of Kobane. 

Likewise, revolutionaries in the imperi¬ 
alist countries should be fighting to mobilize 
workers action against the imperialist war. 
Above all, it is urgently necessary to begin 
building the nucleus of genuinely Bolshe¬ 
vik, Leninist-Trotskyist parties throughout 
the region, fighting for workers revolution 
from Istanbul to Cairo, Baghdad and Tel 
Aviv, in a socialist federation of the Middle 
East. That proletarian-internationalist pro¬ 
gram of permanent revolution is the road to 
defeating all the Islamist and Zionist forces 
and breaking the stranglehold of imperialist 
barbarism, in order to provide a true “age 
of happiness” of freedom and prosperity for 
the toilers in this cradle of civilization. ■ 

Mexico masacre... 

sigue de la pagina 24 

Las normales rurales han sido bianco 
predilecto de los “reformadores” educativos, 
al ser tenidas como “nidos comunistas” o 
“kinderes bolcheviques”, como anota la 
investigadora Tanalis Padilla (“La crimi- 
nalizacion de los normalistas rurales”, La 
Jornada, 4 de octubre). Sus estudiantes han 
sido perseguidos y brutalmente reprimidos 
por oponerse a los constantes intentos 
de asfixiar economicamente o cerrar sus 
escuelas. La propia Elba Esther Gordillo, 
otrora “secretaria general vitalicia” del 
corporativista Sindicato Nacional de Tra- 
bajadores de la Educacion (SNTE), orga- 
nismo de control policial de los mentores, 
llamo a eliminar las normales rurales. En un 
seminario sobre “una nueva educacion” la 
charra responsable de cientos de asesinatos 
de maestros dijo: 

“Hemos planteado muchas veces a las 
autoridades que si se cierran algunas de 
las nonnales rurales va a haber mucho 
alboroto de los jovenes. No se olviden que 
las normales rurales han sido semilleros 
de guerrilleros, pero si no hacemos esto, 
van a seguir con lo mismo”. 

October-November 2014 



El Grupo Internacionalista en la marcha del 22 de octubre en la Cd. de Mexico 
denunciando la matanza de estudiantes normalistas de Ayotzinapa. 


-citado por Luis Hernandez Navarro, 

“Asalto contra las normales rurales”, La 

Jornada, 10 de agosto de 2010 

De Guerrero rebelde a 
la revolucion obrera 

Guerrero ha sido el escenario de com- 
bativas movilizaciones de “los de abajo”, y 
tambien de un ciclo infernal de masacres, 
guerra sucia y represion por parte de “los 
de arriba” - la clase dominante capitalista. 
En la accidentada Sierra Madre del Sur, las 
aisladas poblaciones viven como en gene- 
raciones pasadas de la siembra de temporal, 
con frecuencia insuficiente para la autosub- 
sistencia. Comunidades indigenas nahuas, 
amuzgas, tlapanecas y mixtecas dispersas 
en la region de la Montana, junto con im- 
portantes concentraciones afromexicanas en 
la Costa Chica, han padecido una opresion 
etnica y lingiiistica secular que subsiste hoy 
en dia. En anos recientes son acechadas tam¬ 
bien por los talamontes y bandas asesinas 
del narcotrafico. 

“jGuerrero en pie de lucha!” reza un 
popular coro en las manifestaciones del 
D.F. Asi es, desde las guerrillas de Genaro 
Vazquez Rojas (en los anos 1960) y Lucio 
Cabanas (a principios de los 70), ambos 
egresados de la normal rural de Ayotzi¬ 
napa. (Cabanas tambien fue presidente 
de la FECSM.) Siguieron los campesinos 
insurgentes entre los copreros y cafetaleros, 
hasta las combativas movilizaciones de los 
maestros de la CETEG (filial estatal de la 
CNTE) y sus aliados los normalistas. El ano 
pasado, la CETEG inicio la mas grande y 
larga movilizacion magisterial en Mexico en 
decadas, aunque no fue secundada a tiempo 
porotras secciones de la CNTE. Sin embar¬ 
go, cada una de estas luchas se ha mantenido 
aislada del poder que si tiene la capacidad 
de derrotar a los sanguinarios capitalistas: 
el de la clase obrera urbana. 

El estado tiene una historia revolu- 
cionaria notable, comenzando con Vicente 
Guerrero, comandante militar en la guerra 
de independencia de Mexico, originario 
de Tixtla donde se encuentra la normal 
de Ayotzinapa, quien llego a ser el primer 
y linico presidente negro de Mexico (su 
madre era esclava africana) y que realizo 
la abolicion de la esclavitud. Lamentable- 
mente, Vicente Guerrero tambien apoyo 
el Plan de Iguala que pregono la “union” 
de las clases sociales y sometio su ejercito 
insurgente al ejercito realista del futuro 
“emperador” Agustin de Iturbide. De ahi 


hasta la instalacion de gobiernos perredistas 
en la entidad compuestos por politiqueros 
ex priistas, la colaboracion de clases ha 
socavado la rebeldia guerrerense. Como 
en Chile con Salvador Allende, “el pueblo 
unido” es un lema para la derrota. El nuestro 
es jLuchar, veneer, obreros al poder! 

Hoy, resulta evidente que pedir investi- 
gaciones “limpias”, exigir la renuncia de un 
alcalde, un gobernador o incluso del presi¬ 
dente de la republica no solucionara nada. 
El llanto y la ira de los parientes y com- 
paneros de los normalistas desaparecidos, 
que reclaman airadamente en sus mantas 
“vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos”, 
se repetiran. La debil burguesia mexicana, 
sometida al imperialismo y enfrentada por 
un poderoso proletariado y un campesinado 
pobre, no puede prescindir de la represion 
sangrienta para mantener su dominio. Como 
senalo el gran revolucionario ruso Leon 
Trotsky, fundador del Ejercito Rojo y de la 
IV Internacional, en la epoca imperialista, 
en paises semicoloniales como Mexico se 
requiere un gobierno obrero y campesino 
para resolver las tareas democraticas al ini- 
ciar la revolucion socialista internacional. 

Habra quienes suenen con echarse al 
monte e iniciar la lucha armada como en 


^ Internationalist 


A Journal of Revolutionary Marxism for the 
Reforging of the Fourth International 


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section of the League for the Fourth International 


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el pasado. Pero igual que en el pasado los 
gestos heroicos no logaran la victoria, pues 
los campesinos no tienen el poder economi- 
co y social ni un interes de clase coherente 
para revertir el capitalismo. Hemos senalado 
que las actuales “autodefensas” de la Tierra 
Caliente de Michoacan son de hecho patro- 
nales, y las policias comunitarias indigenas 
de Guerrero son controladas por el mismo 
gobierno de Aguirre. A la vez, seguimos 
exigiendo la libertad de Nestora Salgado y 
los comunitarios presos por portar armas. 
Desde el levantamiento de los Zapatistas 
en 1994 hasta la sublevacion magisterial y 
popular de Oaxaca en 2006, la leccion de 
los anos recientes - y de tres revoluciones 
democratico-burguesas fallidas - es que la 
proxima revolucion mexicana sera obrera, 
o no sera. 

Es preciso romper con el PRI, el PAN 
y el PRD, partidos capitalistas cuyas manos 
estan manchadas de sangre, y tambien con el 
Morena de Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, 
uno de cuyos operadores en Guerrero, el 
actual secretario de salud estatal, Lazaro 
Mazon, es el principal padrino politico 
de Jose Luis Abarca, el asesino alcalde de 
Iguala. Hace falta construir una direccion 
revolucionaria, armada con el programa 
trotskista de la revolucion permanente, 
para foijar el nucleo de un partido obrero 
leninista como los bolcheviques en Rusia, 
que sirva como tribuno del pueblo al dirigir 
a todos los explotados y oprimidos a la toma 
del poder. 

Enviamos nuestro mensaje de solida- 
ridad proletaria desde la Ciudad de Mexico 
(y Berlin y Nueva York) a los aguerridos 
estudiantes normalistas de Guerrero, sus 
companeros y padres: “jestamos con us- 
tedes, ahora y siempre!” Que sepan los 
gobiernos de turno de la burguesia, tanto 
en Mexico como en Estados Unidos y todo 
el mundo, que sus crimenes no escaparan a 
la vista de la clase obrera mundial. Sobre 
la masacre de Iguala de 2014 igual que la 
de Mexico del 2 de octubre de 1968, no ha- 
bria ni olvido, ni perdon... jLuchar, veneer 
obreros al poder! ■ 


Para contactar al Grupo 
Internacionalista/Mexico, escribe a 
grupointernacionalista@yahoo.com. mx 


23 



























Foto: The Internationalist 


5 ^ 


octubre-noviembre de 2014 


lnternacionalista 

Otra vez: matanza, desaparecidos e impunidad 

Mexico: Masacre en Guerrero 

exige movilizacion y revolution obrera 



&»£ k .-Ji wMnflHN i Wvv-“X 


PRI, PAN, PRD: asesinos 
partidos burgueses 

iForjar un partido 
obrero que luche por la 
revolucion socialista! 


En las primeras horas de la tarde del 
sabado 4 de octubre, los despachos noticio- 
sos comenzaron a informal' desde Guerrero 
sobre el descubrimiento de una serie de 
fosas en las afueras de Iguala. Conforme 
pasaron las horas, se reporto el hallazgo de 
9, luego 20 y finalmente 28 cuerpos calcina- 
dos y desmembrados en seis fosas. Muchos 
indicios apuntan a que sedan algunos de 
los 43 estudiantes arrestados por la policla 
municipal una semana antes. De confirmarse 
que los normalistas de Ayotzinapa desapare¬ 
cidos fueron ejecutados, se trataria de la peor 
masacre de estudiantes en Mexico desde la 
del aciago 2 de octubre de 1968. 

La matanza de Iguala ya es noticia 
mundial. Exigen una “investigacion limpia” 
organismos de derechos humanos, Naciones 
Unidas y hasta el gobierno norteamericano 
(que asesina a decenas diariamente en su 
ocupacion de Afganistan y su guerra en 


sus amos imperialistas 
por el crimen de Iguala. 

La cortina de humo so¬ 
bre el narcotrafico solo 
busca lavar las manos 
ensangrentadas del go¬ 
bierno, siendo el estado 
capitalista el que hay 
que enjuiciar. Ha habido 
hasta 100 mil asesina- 
dos y otros tantos desa¬ 
parecidos en la “guerra 
contra las drogas” bajo 
los gobiernos de Fe¬ 
lipe Calderon (PAN) 
y ahora Enrique Pena 
Nieto (PRI), a ordenes 
de EE.UU. Mientras 
persista el capitalismo, 
seguiran las matanzas, 
las desapariciones y la 
impunidad. Por eso urge 
una movilizacion de 
close de los trabaj adores 
contra el sanguinario 
estado de los patrones, 
paralizando sectores 
claves de la economia y apuntando hacia la 
revolucion socialista. 


del narco en el secuestro y desaparicion de 
los normalistas, es preciso subrayar que es 
el aparato estatal burgues el responsable 
directo de lo ocurrido. 

( ,Por que este crimen abominable? Las 
primeras versiones acusaban a los estu¬ 
diantes de haber “robado” unos camiones 
para transportarlos a casa, aunque eso fue 
acordado con los choferes. Luego se alego 
que el alcalde de Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca 
Velazquez (PRD), “ilocalizable” desde la 
semana pasada, considero como un agra- 
vio imperdonable el que los normalistas 
botearan en Iguala el dia en que su esposa 
ofrecia una “gala” tras leer su informe como 
jefa del DIF local. Involucrado con el trafico 
de drogas, este financiero del gobernador 
Aguirre y narcoalcalde profugo se sentia 
intocable: el ano pasado habria asesinado 
con sus propias manos a tres dirigentes de 
la organizacion campesina Union Popular 
Emiliano Zapata, con total impunidad. 
Pero incluso hoy, sigue sin haber acusacion 
alguna contra el alcalde por la matanza del 
27 de septiembre, afirma la PGR. 

No obstante, la responsabilidad no 
recae exclusivamente en el asesino alcalde 
perredista. El gobernador perredista inicio 
su sexenio con el asesinato a manos de la 
policia estatal (y federal) de dos estudiantes 
normalistas de Ayotzinapa en la Autopista 
del Sol. Solo tuvo que pedir disculpas tiem- 
po despues. El mismo Aguirre Rivero era 
jefe del PRI de Guerrero en 1995 cuando 
el gobierno priista de Ruben Figuera Jr. 
masacroa 17 campesinos en Aguas Blancas. 
Jamas hubo consecuencias penales. Hoy 
muchos manifestantes exigen la renuncia 
de Aguirre, pero el jefe del PRD nacional, 
Carlos Navarrete, se opone, porque en ese 
caso habria que defenestrar a varios gober- 


nadores. (El alcalde igualteco pertenecia a 
la misma corriente perredista, Los Chuchos, 
que Navarrete.) 

Ahora, el presidente priista Enrique 
Pena Nieto envia a la flamante Gendarme- 
ria Nacional (el nuevo cuerpo de la Policia 
Federal anunciado con bombo y platillo al 
principio de su mandato) para vigilar Iguala, 
junto con el ejercito. Se trata del mismo 
ejercito cuyos integrantes son responsables 
de la masacre de Tlatlaya en Edomex a 
finales de junio, donde se ejecuto a mas de 
una veintena de “individuos”. Pero el pueblo 
de Guerrero no ha dado la bienvenida a la 
tropa, que solo promete mas represion. El 
domingo pasado, cientos de integrantes de 
la Federacion de Estudiantes Campesinos 
Socialistas de Mexico (FECSM), que englo- 
ba a los de Ayotzinapa y todas las normales 
rurales del pais, bloquearon en la autopista 
a un convoy castrense y lo obligaron a dar 
vuelta atras. 

Cualquiera que sea el motivo inmediato 
que desencadeno el bano de sangre de Iguala, 
la razon fundamental de la masacre es la sa- 
tanizacion de los combativos estudiantes y el 
empeno de los gobiernos de todas las siglas 
de cerrar las escuelas normales rurales. Esto 
forma parte de la ofensivaprivatizadora de la 
educacion publica ordenada por Washington 
y las instituciones financieras mundiales. 
Hoy, esta politica nefasta es implementada 
en Mexico por Pena Nieto y su secretario 
de educacion, Emilio Chuayffet, quien fue 
secretario de gobemacion cuando la masacre 
de Acteal en 1997. Cabe senalar que una 
demanda judicial en EE.UU. contra el ex 
presidente Ernesto Zedillo por Acteal recien 
fue desestimada por gozar el ex mandatario 
de inmunidad. 

sigue en la pagina 23 


Irak y Siria). Contra esta hipocresia oficial, 
los parientes de los estudiantes muertos y 
desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa junto con los 
combativos maestros de la Coordinadora 
Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educacion 
(CNTE) han llamado para hoy, 8 de octu¬ 
bre, a marchas y paros a escala nacional. 
Tambien habra piquetes frente a consulados 
mexicanos a escala internacional, uno de 
ellos en Nueva York donde nuestros cama- 
radas del Grupo lnternacionalista iniciaron 
una protesta de emergencia el domingo 
pasado. 

En estas movilizaciones es fundamental 
responsabilizar al gobierno mexicano y a 


i,Por que? 

El asesinato de seis personas en Iguala 
en la madrugada del viernes 27 de septiem¬ 
bre, file apenas el preludio de la carniceria. 
Hay imagenes de los estudiantes desapare¬ 
cidos que son transportados en vehrculos de 
la policia municipal hacia las afueras de la 
ciudad. La version oficial del gobierno de 
Guerrero, del gobernador Angel Aguirre 
Rivero (PRD), es que un capo del cartel 
Guerreros Unidos, un tal Chucky, ordeno 
al jefe de la policia de Iguala que aprehen- 
diera a los estudiantes para entregarlos a 
sus sicarios, que los habrian ejecutado. Pero 
cualquiera que haya sido la participacion 



Protesta de emergencia por la matanza de Guerrero, iniciada por el Grupo 
lnternacionalista frente al consulado mexicano en NY, el 5 de octubre.