No. 36 (January-February 2014))  
No. 36,
January-February 2014

Table of Contents
Selected articles linked

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

Break with the Tripartite Alliance Popular Front – Build a Revolutionary Workers Party!
South Africa: Workers Slam ANC Neo-Apartheid Regime

The August 2012 massacre of mine workers at Marikana marked a turning point in South African history, intensifying class struggle and opening what could become a revolutionary period. If the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 drove home the murderous nature of the apartheid regime of white supremacy, Marikana laid bare the deadly reality of its successor, the neo-apartheid regime presided over by the African National Congress (ANC), which is still based on the super-exploitation of black labor. Its role as guarantor of racist capitalism exposed, the ANC’s governing alliance is beginning to come undone in the face of massive discontent among the vast black and non-white majority over the continued poverty, police brutality and exclusion. In December, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the largest  union on the African continent, held a special congress which officially declared its break with the ANC, and with the Tripartite Alliance – a nationalist popular front which also includes the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party. NUMSA called for a political organization to lead the struggle for a socialist South Africa. The question is, what is meant by socialism, and how do you get there? As South African workers direct their anger at their black capitalist rulers, the key to the outcome will be to forge a revolutionary workers party to fight for international socialist revolution. South Africa: Workers Slam ANC Neo-Apartheid Regime (7 January 2014)

Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
South Africa has lost Nelson Mandela, one of the most decisive men in that country’s life over the last hundred years. He suffered every sort of persecution and came to be the biggest personal symbol of resistance in the political struggle against racist apartheid. But history will also register that Mandela, the South African Communist Party and the ANC did everything possible to keep the struggle against racism in that country confined to the framework of capitalism and bourgeois democracy, preventing the socialist revolution that was entirely possible to achieve. As a consequence, the black and coloured population today still lives in poverty. Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013 (6 December 2013)

Labor Activist Faces Jail for Protesting “Right to Work” Union-Busting
Defend Wyatt McMinn, Defeat “Right to Slave”!
No More Wisconsins! Defend Our Unions!
This past September 5, Cross Trade Solidarity, a labor group in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, called a rally to protest a meeting of the union-hating “Freedom Foundation,” which has launched a drive to enact deceptively named “right-to-work” laws in the Pacific Northwest in an attempt to strip away basic union rights. The labor-haters showed their idea of “freedom” by calling the police to kick the union protesters out, and within seconds Wyatt McMinn, vice president of Local 10 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), was arrested on charges of “trespassing” in this public meeting. Instead of forthrightly opposing the right-to-slave forces, the AFL-CIO officialdom has sought refuge in lobbying and pressuring Democratic politicians. The way to stop the union-busting assault is to organize the unorganized by using workers’ power to withhold their labor, defying anti-labor laws and defeating outfits like the Freedom Foundation. With a trial coming up early next year, we urge all supporters of union rights to take up the defense of Wyatt McMinn. Defend Wyatt McMinn, Defeat “Right to Slave”! (November 2013)

On Program of Liberal/Populist Reforms, Not Revolution
Social Democrat Kshama Sawant Elected to Seattle City Council

In November, voters in Seattle, Washington elected Kshama Sawant, candidate of Socialist Alternative, to an at-large seat on the City Council, preferring her to the incumbent Democrat. The bulk of the left cheered in unison. The big business press, however, was remarkably nonchalant about the victory for a nominally Marxist, socialist working-class party. In reality, Sawant is a social democrat who campaigned on a straight liberal/populist platform that was hardly to the left of candidates of minor capitalist parties. Her signature issue, a $15/hour minimum wage, was endorsed by both major (Democratic) mayoral candidates. The election of Sawant has been linked, both by the bourgeois media and by various left groups to the election of Democrat Bill de Blasio as mayor of New York. Indeed, the liberal Democrat and the “democratic socialist” campaigned on similar themes, and Sawant was endorsed by former top Seattle Democrats. While reformists talk vaguely about “change,” they only promote illusions in bourgeois democracy. The struggles for the immediate needs of workers and the oppressed must be linked to the fight to forge a revolutionary workers party.  Social Democrat Kshama Sawant Elected to Seattle City Council (December 2013)

Free Abortion on Demand!
Ecuador: Populist President Correa Attacks Women’s Right to Abortion
For Women’s Liberation Through Socialist Revolution!
There is an onslaught against women’s right to abortion underway, extending from the U.S. to Central and South America. This is notably the case in Nicaragua, El Salvador and now Ecuador, all three countries under supposedly leftist governments. Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa, a bourgeois populist who came to office in 2007, recently let loose a tirade to squelch any talk of reform on abortion. He thundered, accusing women legislators of his own party of “disloyalty” and “treason” for daring to the minimal reform of permitting abortion in cases of rape. Correa’s tirade was immediately saluted by some of the most reactionary anti-women forces. This onslaught against women
s rights reflected the increasingly authoritarian character of Correa’s presidency, in which all manner of left-wing dissent is subjected to state repression. Against the unholy alliance of right and populist “left” against women’s rights, the League for the Fourth International call for the repeal of all laws penalizing or restricting abortion, and fight for free abortion on demand, in safe, high-quality medical facilities. Ecuador: Populist President Correa Attacks Women’s Right to Abortion (December 2013)

Drive Out the MINUSTAH! Workers to Power!
Haiti: Women Workers Strike Against Starvation Wages
U.S. Unions Must Join the Battle
This week the anger of workers in Haiti’s export garment industry over their miserable wages finally boiled over. On December 10, hundreds of workers gathered at the industrial park outside the capital to demand, as they have for months, a minimum wage of US$11.50 per day. They cannot live on their present pay of $5 a day. As the workers, mostly young women, marched into the city brandishing tree branches, their numbers swelled. The next day they were blocked by riot police when they tried to march on the upscale town where Haitian president Michel Martelly lives. On December 12, the bosses locked them out. The workers face bitter opposition not only from the profit-gouging factory owners, but also from Haiti’s bourgeois government, their imperialist patrons in the U.S. embassy and the MINUSTAH mercenary troops occupying the country since 2004. What’s needed is the mobilization of workers’ power in class struggle, but not just Haitian workers. To prevent manufacturers from simply shifting production to even lower-wage countries, it would require active support action by U.S. unions. Against the solid wall of capital, the only road out of grinding poverty for the Haitian masses is an international struggle for socialist revolution, together with Dominican workers and peasants next door and with workers in the U.S. imperialist heartland. Haiti: Women Workers Strike Against Starvation Wages (12 December 2013)

Fast Food Workers Need a Whopping Raise, and a Fighting Union!
Class Struggle Against Poverty Wages
Pressuring Democrats Is a Dead-End

Over the last year and a half there have been a number of well-publicized protests at fast-food restaurants and at stores of the vast Walmart chain. Mostly these have been media events. But the conditions faced by low-wage workers are so terrible that they could eventually spark something. The question will then be posed starkly: what next? The fast-food protests are mainly run by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which is behind Fast Food Forward in NYC and “Fight for $15” elsewhere in the country. Their focus is on pressuring Democratic “elected officials.” Of all U.S. unions, the SEIU is most notable for its close ties to the Democrats, practically acting as the labor auxiliary of that capitalist party. They are past masters at bureaucratic class collaboration. But in order to wage a genuine and potentially successful struggle against poverty wages, it is necessary to have total independence from the capitalists, their parties and their state. The profits of giant corporations like Walmart, McDonald’s and the other wage-gougers and the whole capitalist system is based on merciless exploitation of working people. The only road to breaking the cycle of poverty, racism and endless war that is inherent in capitalism is for those organizing low-wage workers to put forward a program of militant class struggle across the board. Class Struggle Against Poverty Wages, Pressuring Democrats Is a Dead-End (5 December 2013)
Academic BS Against a Minimum Wage Hike (December 2013)

Mobilize Union Power to Get Their Jobs Back Now
NYC Labor: Defend Fired Domino’s Workers!
On Thursday, December 5, there was a “fast food workers strike” in a number of cities around the country. This time there was a greater participation of the workers themselves, who run a big risk of reprisals. And in fact, two days later, 24 delivery workers of a Domino’s Pizza outlet in Upper Manhattan who participated in the protest over low wages were fired for showing solidarity with a victimized worker. events. There has been considerable community support for the fired workers, and local Democratic politicians have jumped in. But to defeat a major multi-billion-dollar corporation and win their jobs back, NYC labor must mobilize its power. The struggle to win the jobs back for the fired Domino’s workers could be a spark that turns the fast food workers’ “strikes” into a reality. NYC Labor: Defend Fired Domino’s Workers! (10 December 2013)
Break with the Democrats! Defend the Right to Strike!
Lessons of the On-Again, Off-Again BART Strike
What It Would Take to Win: A Class-Struggle Leadership
and Solid Labor Action to Shut Down Bay Area Transportation

Workers of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system have recently faced one of the most vicious anti-labor attacks since Wisconsin Republicans teamed up with the Democrats to gut public sector unions in 2011. When BART workers walked out in early July the strike was totally effective, but union leaders called it off at the request of Democratic governor Jerry Brown. As management refused to budge from its take-back demands and the anti-union media demonized BART workers, one “fact-finding” and “cooling-off” delay after another wore down worker militancy. The union tops struck again in October only because BART forced their hand. After a scab-training train killed two strikebreakers, a concessionary contract was negotiated. Now Democratic legislators are pushing to ban transit strikes. How did this happen? The answer is that unions are saddled with a pro-capitalist labor bureaucracy that bows before the bosses’ laws, chains the workers to the bosses’ parties and is incapable of waging the kind of all-out class struggle we need.  Lessons of the On-Again, Off-Again BART Strike (10 November 2013)
Death on the Tracks: Strikebreakers Killed by BART Management’s Unsafe Operations (10 November 2013)
No Justice in the Racist Capitalist System
Workers Revolution Will Avenge Trayvon Martin
Mobilize Workers Power to Shut Down “Stop & Frisk”!
For the Right of Armed Black Self-Defense!

Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old black youth, was lynched twice, first last year by a racist vigilante in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, and now once more in a legal lynching in court where prosecution, defense, judge and jury worked together to acquit the murderer, George Zimmerman. For the second time in two years, angry protests swept the country, as thousands chanted “the whole damn system is guilty." That system is racist American capitalism, and it will keep on claiming the lives of African Americans, Latinos and other oppressed groups until it is swept away by workers revolution. While liberal capitalist politicians, black and white, try to channel the outrage into calls for more gun control and appeals to the Obama administration, and many reformist leftist groups tag along, the Internationalist Group marched in demonstrations calling for workers mobilizations to stop racist police and vigilante terror. Workers Revolution Will Avenge Trayvon Martin (25 July 2013)

Defend South Korean Workers Against Anti-Union Repression
Obama Backs Off, But the Threat Remains
Defend Syria Against U.S. Imperialist Attack!

Social-Democratic Pawns Beg for U.S./NATO Arms
Brazil: Leftists in the Camp of Pro-Imperialist Syrian Islamists

Petraeus, ROTC Out! Drop All the Charges – Cops Off Campus!
Smash CUNY Board of Trustees’ Drive to Ban Student Protest!

No Criticism of Democrats at Petraeus Protests? Nonsense
See With Your Own Eyes How They Lie

¡Aborto libre y gratuito!
Ecuador: Correa ataca el derecho de la mujer al aborto!

To contact the League for the Fourth International or its sections, send an e-mail to: internationalistgroup@msn.com