Internationalist No. 23 (April-May 2006)  
No. 23,
April-May 2006

Table of Contents
Selected articles linked

Click on image to left for pdf version of complete issue.


Racist Provocation Against Ghetto Youth
France: Workers Mobilize to Beat Back Attack on Youth
For the past two months, French students, youth and labor have been demonstrating in the streets against a new labor law, the “first employment contract,” that would let employers fire young workers without cause for up to two years. This was the answer of the reactionary government of President Chirac and his aristocratic prime minister de Villepin, backed up by France’s hard-line top cop, Sarkozy, to the revolt by ghetto youth last fall. Everyone understands that this is the opening wedge of an attack on an attack job security for all. Millions of protesters have marched in the largest demonstrations since 1968, roads and rail lines have been blocked, the cabinet could fall, yet the reformist left is seeking ... a popular-front election victory next year! This leaflet by the League for the Fourth International calls for a program of transitional demands leading from the present battle to the struggle for workers revolution.  France: Workers Mobilize to Beat Back Attack on the Youth  (25 March 2006)

No New Popular Front of Class Collaboration –
For a Revolutionary-Internationalist Workers Party!

French Government Forced to Back Down on Youth Jobs Laws
After ten weeks of massive demonstrations followed by escalating road and rail blockages, on April 10 French president Jacques Chirac was finally forced to annul the “first job contract” which set off a worker-youth revolt that convulsed the country. It was a heavy blow to the presidential ambitions of Chirac’s anointed successor de Villepin, but the government sought to limit the damage by only withdrawing one article of the egregiously misnamed “equal opportunity” law. The union bureaucrats and reformist party leaders claimed victory, since their real aim was to prepare the way for the 2007 elections. Students vowed to continue the struggle to get rid of the entire youth jobs law. The struggles of youth and workers in France must be joined with those of working people throughout Europe against the police-state measures of their rulers, as part of a struggle to defeat the imperialist war drive.  French Government Forced to Back Down on Youth Jobs Laws  (24 April 2006)

Mass Arrests and New Repressive Laws in France: No Collaboration – Cops Out of the Unions!
Demonstrators Demand: “Free Our Comrades!”
After 3-million-strong nationwide throught France against the youth labor law, students have continued to mobilize. The main demand in this round is to end the repression and free hundreds of youths being held by the police. Almost 4,000 people have been arrested during and after recent marches. Outrageously, reformist union tops have used their marshals to attack “troublemakers in the marches and turn them over to the cops. The response to mounting repression must be to mobilize the working class for a showdown with the ruling class.  Demonstrators Demand: “Free Our Comrades!”  (8 April 2006)

Behind the Cartoons: Anti-Immigrant Crusade and Imperialist War
Racist Anti-Muslim Provocations Trigger Storm of Islamic Reaction
A collection of crude anti-Muslim cartoons in a Danish provincial newspaper set off a whirlwind of Islamic outrage in the Near East and demonization of Islam in the West.  Islamic clerics then seized on this provocation by right-wing xenophobic racists to mount a diversion, channeling resentment against Western domination into a fundamentalist religious furor. On the left, aside from a few putative “defenders of Western civilization,” most lined up with the “defenders of Islam” against “blasphemy,” not only condemning the cartoons but portraying Islamic reaction as some kind of “anti-imperialism.” Genuine Marxists direct their polemical fire first and foremost against the imperialist rulers and warmongers who used this incident to whip up an anti-immigrant frenzy, while we combat religious reaction down the line. The mobilization of the power of the working class for the defeat of the imperialists in Iraq would quickly eclipse the cartoon controversy. Racist Anti-Muslim Provocations Trigger Storm of Islamic Reaction  (25 April 2006)

Workers Struggle Has No Borders
Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants!
For the past four months, immigrant communities across the U.S. have grown increasingly alarmed over the prospect of immigration “reform” that could mean losing their jobs, imprisonment and deportation. In recent weeks there has been a wave of massive protests in defense of immigrant rights, including of up to 1 million in Los Angeles March 25, and several million in hundreds of marches around the country April 10. May Day once again became the workers day as huge throngs of immigrant workers rallied on May 1, many walking out of work. The leaders of  the “mainstream” immigrants rights groups are looking to the Democratic Party and even to President Bush for “comprehensive immigration reform.” But instead of “amnesty,” what is coming out of Washington is more repression. We warn that immigrants are the first target of a heavy attack on civil liberties, as has occurred during and after every imperialist war for the past century.  The Trotskyists of the Internationalist Group say: Don’t beg the rulers for amnesty, fight for full citizenship rights for all immigrants.  Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants!  (10 April 2006)

Behind the War in the Antiwar Movement
Opportunists Squabble Over How to Tail After Democrats
Mobilize Workers’ Power to Defeat Imperialist War!

On the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the imperialist invaders are in deep trouble. With close to 200,000 “coalition” troops and mercenaries, plus an Iraqi puppet army, police and paramilitary forces of over 350,000, they have been unable to reduce the insurgency. On the home front, popular support for the war has gone up in smoke. Yet even though the U.S. war machine is mired in the quick sands of the Near East, the “antiwar movement” is in the doldrums. It has long been rent by squabbling that has now escalated to an internecine war that oscillates between cold and hot. Yet in their demands, the various coalitions hardly differ at all. They all call for “stop the war,” “bring the troops home,” and some variant of “money for jobs, not for war” – as if the imperialist slaughter in Iraq was a matter of foreign policy, budget priorities and U.S. casualties. The Internationalist Group and League for the Fourth International fight instead to defeat U.S. imperialism and defend the peoples and countries under U.S. attack. Rather than tailing after “antiwar” Democrats, we fight for workers strikes against the war, for transport workers to “hot cargo” military goods and for building a revolutionary workers party.  Mobilize Workers’ Power to Defeat Imperialist War!  (17 March 2006) 

NYC Transit Workers, Teachers:
Defeat Imperialist War Abroad and Bosses War “At Home”!

Free Abortion on Demand!
’s Liberation Through Socialist Revolution!
Defeat the Anti-Abortion Crusade!

Behind Ruling-Class Opposition to Abortion
Racist Hysteria Over a  “Birth Dearth”

Feds Invade Homes, Steal Documents, Brutally Assault Journalists
FBI Puerto Rico Raids: Colonial Repression A Threat to All
On February 10, a task force of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) launched an operation invading apartments and offices in six different places in Puerto Rico. This is a follow-up to the FBI assassination last September of Puerto Rican independence fighter Filiberto Ojeda Ríos last September. Targeted this time were several independentistas and trade-union activists. This colonial repression is a particular threat to the workers movement. Already in 2004, federal cops twice raided the headquarters of the Independent Authentic Union (UIA), first accusing it of planning protests at the San Juan Airport, which under the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act would be labeled a “terrorist” act, and later claiming they were investigating corruption. The Internationalist Group and League for the Fourth Internaitonal demand that all U.S. military, intelligence and other agencies get out of Puerto Rico, including the FBI, CIA, DEA and the rest of the colonial repressors.  FBI Puerto Rico Raids: Colonial Repression A Threat to All  (13 February 2006) 

Imperialist Occupation: Massacres and Sham Elections
Kick the U.N. Out of Haiti!
Forge a Revolutionary Workers Party!
On February 7, Haitians went massively to the polls in an election that the United Nations occupation forces hoped would bring stability to the turbulent country.  The leading candidate in the presidential race  is René Préval, supported by the Lavalas movement of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was hustled out of Haiti by U.S. invaders two years ago. Préval ran on the Lespwa (Hope) ticket, yet the Haitian masses’ hopes in him will be in vain. Indeed, U.S. and U.N. officials asked him to run in order to entice Lavalas supporters into the “political process.”  No elections are going to provide “stability” for Haiti or resolve any fundamental issue. Despite all the hoopla about “democracy” and illusions in Préval, the president will only be a front-man for colonial occupation, beholden to the U.S. and the rapacious Haitian bourgeoisie, and will not raise the Haitian masses out of desperate poverty. Haitian working people and the poor should join with their allies around the world to drive the imperialist occupation forces in U.N. blue helmets out of Haiti. A permanent revolution is required  extending to the Dominican Republic next door and ultimately to the imperialist heartland.  Kick the U.N. Out of Haiti!  (10 February 2006) 

Attempted Election Theft in Haiti
A week after Haiti’s presidential elections, no victor has been proclaimed and the Haitian masses are rising up in protest. On February 11 and 12, hundreds of thousands of people poured out of the slums to march on the presidential palace. Barricades went up in cities and on main roads around the country. U.N. occupation troops opened fire on a crowd, killing at least one demonstrator. There is no doubt that the vote counting has been rigged. With open confrontation in the streets over the attempt by right-wing reactionaries to steal the election, revolutionary Marxists stand on the side of the vast mass of poor black Haitians against the occupation forces and police on the other side of the barricades, while giving no political support to Préval and Aristide.  What is needed is a class mobilization of the workers to lead the urban and rural poor against their exploiters and oppressors.  Attempted Election Theft in Haiti  (14 February 2006) 

How the U.S. Orchestrated Haiti Death Squad Coup

Stop Persecution of Haitian Workers in the Dominican Republic!
Since last May, a wave of racist and xenophobic (anti-foreigner) violence has swept over the Dominican Republic, instigated by the Dominican government, targeting Haitian immigrant workers as well as dark-skinned Dominicans of Haitian descent. At least 20,000 men, women and children were rounded up by soldiers and summarily deported to Haiti. In addition, at least a score of blacks have been murdered by lynch mobs. Since early January, the anti-Haitian persecution has intensified with Dominican troops lining the border, more deportations and mob violence. While the Dominican and Haitian left are mired in nationalism, class-conscious Dominican workers should take the lead in defending Haitians against this chauvinist onslaught.  Stop Persecution of Haitian Workers in the Dominican Republic!  (31 January 2006) 

Murder in a Non-Union Mine – Blood for Profits
Capitalism Killed West Virginia Miners
Twelve miners at the Sago mine in West Virginia are dead following a January 2 mine explosion. This was not an unforeseeable accident but cold-blooded murder for coal company profits. Rescue workers were held back and didnt even go into the mine for 12 hours. Moreover, Sago was a non-union mine, and everyone knew it was unsafe: the mine owners knew it, the government knew it, and the miners knew it – but they went to work anyway, because they feared for their jobs. Up to the 1970s, miners in the United Mine Workers (UMWA) union had the right, won through hard class struggle, to simply walk off the job if they considered conditions to be unsafe. Not so today. The worst West Virginia mine disaster in almost 40 years is the product of the destruction of labor unions and shredding of union gains throughout the U.S., and particularly of the downfall of the UMWA. And that is the direct result of the lack of a revolutionary leadership of labor with the program and determination to take on and defeat the bosses in the unrelenting class war.  Capitalism Killed West Virginia Miners  (12 January 2006) 

No to MAS’ “Andean Capitalism” – Fight for Workers Revolution!
Bolivian Elections: Evo Morales Tries to Straddle an Abyss
The landslide victory of Indian peasant leader Evo Morales in the December 18 Bolivian elections was met with jubilation by most of the international left, and dire pronouncements from spokesmen for U.S. imperialism. Winning close to 54 percent of the vote, the leader of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS – Movement Towards Socialism) is the first candidate in recent Bolivian history elected with an absolute majority. Washington has demonized Morales, who came to prominence as the leader of coca-growing peasants targeted by the U.S. “drug war,” particularly because of his friendship with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez and Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Yet Morales’ program is for “Andean and Amazonian capitalism.” Despite the hopes placed in him by his peasant and indigenous followers, we warn that the MAS is hardly socialist, and Morales’ bourgeois nationalist government will administer Bolivia within the framework of capitalism, spelling more misery for the masses.  Bolivian Elections: Evo Morales Tries to Straddle an Abyss  (30 December 2005) 

“A Bum Deal”: Rip It Up, Vote It Down!  Workers Have the Power!
NYC Transit: Throw Back the Giveback Contract!
For two and a half days, no subways or buses with passengers moved. Union picket lines were large, spirited and solid. Economists reported hundreds of millions of dollars a day in losses. In spite of the hardships, and partly because of the racist vituperation against “greedy” and “thuggish” transit workers spewing out of the mouth of the billionaire mayor, the transit workers continued to enjoy wide public support. And yet, on Day 3 of the ’05 New York transit strike, the union leadership called it off and ordered strike lines taken down. It was a sellout. Five days later the TWU Local 100 union leadership spelled out the deal. Now all union members will now pay 1.5 percent of their wages for health care, a $110 million giveback to the Transit Authority bosses. Plus $1,000 fines for every TWU member under the anti-strike Taylor Law. A big “no” vote in a mail ballot is not enough. TWU Local 100 members must prepare for an all-out struggle to win. What’s needed is an open fight to forge a class-struggle leadership with a program going beyond economic issues to raise a series of transitional demands serving as a bridge leading from the present struggles of the workers to a revolutionary fight for power. NYC Transit: Throw Back the Giveback Contract!  (28 December 2005) 

New York City Transit Strike 2005
Articles from The Internationalist

TWU Union Tops Cave, Call Off Strike
Under pounding by the capitalist politicians and an orchestrated anti-union hate campaign in the bourgeois media, on December 22 the leadership of Transport Workers Union Local 100 caved in. The first NYC transit strike in 25 years shut down the largest subway system in the world. Yet although the strike was 100 percent effective, Local 100 president Roger Toussaint accepted a state “mediator’s recommendation. There was no provision for amnesty for strikers against penalties under the states strikebreaking Taylor Law. We salute the New York transit workers for waging a powerful strike in defiance of draconian anti-labor laws, and urge the TWU ranks to throw back any giveback deal, insist on the union principle of “no contract, no work," and forge a class-struggle leadership.  TWU Union Tops Cave, Call Off Strike  (22 December 2005) 

What the Labor-Hating Bosses’ Press Doesn’t Show You
On Day 2 of the New York transit strike of 2005, city rulers escalated their campaign to demonize Transport Workers Union Local 100. Labeling the TWU “selfish” and “thuggish,” billionaire mayor Bloomberg hurled a barrage of racist vituperation against the largely black, Latino and immigrant union. TV and newspaper reports focused on the plight of commuters hoofing it to work. And tomorrow, a state judge is threatening to jail Local 100 leaders for striking. What the bosses’ kept press didn’t show were the large and vigorous TWU picket lines, and the popular sympathy they have received.   What the Labor-Hating Bosses’ Press Doesn’t Show You  (21 December 2005) 

The Real “Thugs”: Bosses’ Courts and
Politicians Try to Bankrupt the TWU

Hang Tough, Spread the Strike! Bust the Union-Busters!
Day One of the first New York City transit strike in 25 years has been a lesson in class struggle. As soon as picket lines went up around NYC, the city’s rulers rushed to court. They are relying on the state apparatus to try to crush the walkout. They imagine that cops, courts, jail threats and whopping fines against the union can defeat the TWU. But the union is not bank accounts – it is the workers who make it up. And the transit workers showed today that they have the unity and strength to tie up New York in knots. The people who run this city and this country think they are the masters of the universe. They want to bust the union, but New York is a union town and together we can bust the union-busters!  Hang Tough, Spread the Strike! Bust the Union-Busters!  (20 December 2005) 

Labor’s Gotta Play Hardball to Win –
Workers Action Can Smash the Taylor Law!

Strike to Shut Down All New York City Transport!
MTA Subways and Buses, Private Lines, LIRR, Metro North, NJ Transit, PATH, Taxis, Livery Cabs, Ferries: Everybody Out!
Drivers and mechanics at the Queens private lines walked out this morning and a strike deadline has been set for midnight. At union rallies last week, TWUers chanted over and over, “We have the power, union power!” Now we must use that power – or lose it. City rulers figure that TWU Local 100 leader Roger Toussaint doesn’t want a strike, but is under pressure from militant ranks. A serious transit strike is a class battle, and must be waged politically. Tying the union to the capitalist Democrats is a recipe for defeat. What’s needed is to forge a class-struggle union leadership that breaks with the bourgeois parties to build a revolutionary workers party. Strike to Shut Down All New York City Transport!  (19 December 2005) 

Smash the Taylor Law with Mass Action!
Shut Down NYC With An All-Out Transit Strike!
As the New York City transit negotiations come down to the wire, city rulers are talking tough.  They pretend they can break a strike with New York’s Taylor Law, which outlaws walkouts by public employees. But the fact is that they can’t run the subways without the transit workers. It’s all a matter of power, and the TWU has it. The 33,000 transit workers can shut down New York City tight. What’s key is leadership. Rather than confronting the anti-union offensive head-on, the leadership of Local 100 talks of being “partners” with the MTA bosses.  If the Taylor Law is used against the TWU, all public employees unions should walk out. Shut Down NYC With an All-Out Transit Strike!  (10 December 2005) 

On the Elections in the Professional Staff Congress
To defeat the arrogant CUNY administration and city/state rulers, we need a class-struggle leadership
Union elections in the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), the faculty/staff union at the City University of New York (CUNY), come as attacks on the right to education are escalating as an integral part of U.S. rulers’ war on working people abroad and “at home.” The PSC has gone three years without a contract. Last winter’s NYC transit strike showed the enormous power of the multiracial working class. This was the biggest chance in years to strike a blow at the union-busting Taylor Law. Yet the social-democratic New Caucus which leads the PSC operates within the bourgeois framework, chained to the Democratic Party. What is needed, in the PSC and throughout the labor movement, is a leadership with a class-struggle program fighting for a revolutionary workers party.  On the Elections in the Professional Staff Congress  (20 April 2006)

Outpouring of Support at CUNY Defeats Prosecution Demand for Prison Time
Miguel Malo Is Not Going to Jail
On December 13, Hostos Community College student leader Miguel Malo was sentenced to probation and community service instead of prison. Although the charges against him were a misdemeanor and a violation, he faced up to a year in jail, and the prosecution was determined to put him behind bars. As Miguel walked out of the court room, he was surrounded and joyfully embraced by scores of supporters who had come out to show solidarity with him. Gathering across the street afterwards, in front of a banner proclaiming, “Miguel Malo Is Innocent – CUNY Is Not a Prison,” they ended with a vigorous chant, “¡Miguel Malo, inocente – y libre!”
Miguel Malo Is Not Going to Jail  (13 December  2005) 

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