No. 42  
No. 42,
January-February 2016

Table of Contents
Selected articles linked

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

Chicago, Baltimore, Cleveland, Minneapolis…
Democrats Are the Bosses
of the Racist Killer Cops

Mobilize Labor-Black-Immigrant Power – Build a Revolutionary Workers Party!
If 2014 was the Year of Mass Protest Against Racist Cop Terror, 2015 was the Year of More Racist Cop Terror. After drawing up the annual balance sheet of official murder in the United States, the bottom line is 1,202 killed by the police. 2015 also underscored how the entire capitalist “justice system,” from top to bottom, works seamlessly to protect the killers. As the year drew to a close there was a drumbeat of legal decisions in which cops were not charged or not found guilty in the deaths of their unarmed black victims. What is hardly ever mentioned is that the police have bosses, namely mayors and city councils, which in cities across the U.S. are almost all Democrats. It is the Democratic Party of racist repression and imperialist war that is running the country on behalf of Wall Street. Racist state terror has been a cornerstone of U.S. capitalism throughout, and it is this system that must be shut down, by workers and the oppressed mobilizing our class power, leading to socialist revolution. Democrats Are the Bosses of the Racist Killer Cops (9 January 2016)

Bring Down “King Rahm” with Workers Action!

“16 Shots, 400 days”

Chicago is where it all comes together. The cold-blooded execution of Laquan McDonald by 16 bullets from a cop’s gun in October 2014, and the suppression of the police cruiser dashcam video of it for more than 13 months, has generated outrage pointing straight to mayor Rahm Emanuel, who engineered the cover-up. The deadly racism of the police, their regular use of deadly force against unarmed civilians, the impunity of killer cops are part of the M.O. of the political machine that has ruled Chicago for decades. They are also part of a nationwide system of racist repression and mass incarceration devised to maintain control of the Northern ghettos following the enactment of formal equal rights in the 1960s Civil Rights laws. The bottom line is you can’t fight cop terror without breaking the stranglehold of the Democratic Party that presides over it. If mobilized independently of and against all the capitalist parties and politicians, the power of the working class can shut down “the city that works.” The Chicago Teachers Union is key. What is needed is a fight to throw out all wings of the labor bureaucracy, old-line business unionists and reformers alike, who keep the unions chained to the Democrats. Chicago: “16 Shots, 400 days” (9 January 2016)
Baltimore, Cleveland: “The System Is Rigged”
When on December 16, a Baltimore judge declared a hung jury in the proceedings against  the first of the police officers to go on trial for the death of Freddie Gray last April, and when on December 28 in Cleveland a grand jury in Cleveland brought no charges against the trigger-happy officer who gunned down 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the rulings were no surprise. While leftists leading protests against police murder have popularized the chant, “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail,” that almost never occurs. And for a very simple reason: the job of the police is to “serve and protect” capital, and the job of the capitalist courts is to protect the police. Baltimore, Cleveland: “The System Is Rigged(9 January 2016)
Minneapolis: “Cops and Klan Go Hand in Hand”
The police execution of Jamar Clark last November 15 showed that even in “progressive” Minneapolis, police murder unarmed black men in plain view on the street. A few days later, white supremacists attacked a protest encampment, wounding five, whereupon the cops attacked the protesters.  Some local politicians of the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, which runs the city and state government, at first feigned support to Black Lives Matter. But when demonstrators refused to go home, the liberal Democrats ordered police to remove the anti-racist protesters. Significantly, hundreds of trade unionists have come out to protest the murder of Jamar Clark. Much more is needed. Unions must move beyond gestures and bring out the economic and social power to shut down the Twin Cities. We need to dump the Democrats and build a revolutionary workers party to sweep away the racist terrorists (in and out of uniform) the only way possible, with socialist revolution. Minneapolis: “Cops and Klan Go Hand in Hand”  (9 January 2016)
Drive U.S./NATO Imperialists Out of the Middle East!
Democrat Sanders Aboard the “War on Terror” Bandwagon

Following the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, the Western world is engulfed in an anti-terrorist frenzy. The U.S. presidential election campaign has become an orgy of xenophobia and militarism. As Republicans whip up anti-immigrant hysteria, Democrats debate how to escalate U.S. imperialist war in the Middle East. The media portray Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a democratic socialist, as “soft on terrorism,” but in fact he is fully on board the “war on terror” bandwagon. Sanders’ mildly social-democratic rhetoric covers for his actual imperialist politics. He supports Obama’s policies in the Middle East, including the use of killer drones, while Trotskyists call for working-class action to drive the U.S. and NATO from the Middle East. Sanders
praises Denmark, which is hardly socialist, and its brand of “welfare state” capitalism is being eclipsed by escalating anti-immigrant racism. His job is to lure the disaffected back into the Democratic fold, to “sheepdog for the Democrats” rounding up strays. Vote for “Bernie” and you will get “Hillary” and the “Global War on Terror,” which he also supports. Democrat Sanders Aboard the “War on Terror” Bandwagon (31 December 2015)

The League of Pre-Squeezed Lemons
Yesterday’s “Obama Socialists,” Today’s Bernie Boosters
Build a Revolutionary Workers Party!
Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has nothing to do with winning people to socialism. It’s all about getting disaffected “progressives” and youth to vote Democratic in 2016. Sanders has placed much of the socialist left in a quandary, as reformists and opportunists dream of having an audience in big-time bourgeois politics. Some still want to maintain a pretense of independence from the Democratic Party of war, poverty and racism, while others want to go all the way, hoping to pick up disappointed Sanderistas when he endorses Clinton. Those who seek to maintain a pretense of independence from the Democrats call on Sanders to run as an “independent.” But historically, capitalist “third parties,” from La Follette’s Progressive Party to Nader and the Greens, are obstacles to working-class independence. Genuine revolutionary Marxists and communists, in contrast, warn against the Sanders swindle and call to build a party on the model of the Bolsheviks and the program of Lenin and Trotsky. Yesterday’s “Obama Socialists,” Today’s Bernie Boosters (31 December 2015)

James P. Cannon on “Third Parties” (31 December 2015)
ISO: “Fresh Air Fiends” of Class Collaboration (31 December 2015)

Clinton and Sanders Support Common Core, Teacher Evals Linked to Student Test Scores, and the Whole Corporate “Edu Reform” Agenda
No to the Democrats, Spearhead of Attacks on Public Education and Teachers Unions
We Need a Class-Struggle Workers Party
By Class Struggle Workers/UFT
 As the 2016 election campaign heats up, the Democratic “race” is dominated by Hillary Clinton, with Bernie Sanders acting as a “progressive voice” to keep discontented liberals in line. Under the administration of Barack Obama, it is the Democrats who have spearheaded the bipartisan attack on public education, teachers and teachers unions. Both the AFT and NEA have endorsed Clinton, who for decades has been closely tied to the three major foundations pushing for corporate education reform, the Walton Family (owners of Walmart), Bill and Melinda Gates, and Eli Broad. But Sanders, who calls himself a “democratic socialist,”
supports Common Core, voted in 2007 to reauthorize No Child Left Behind and recently backed an amendment to keep some of the worst parts of NCLB. Both Democrats share the capitalist education “reform” agenda. No to the Democrats, Spearhead of Attacks on Public Education and Teachers Unions (12 November 2015) 

ICL Consigns Revolution to the Greek Calends
The Greek working class has been battered by one political disaster after another this year. The dramatic U-turn by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his party, SYRIZA, in imposing brutal austerity they had campaigned against, has caused consternation among many opportunist leftists. The International Communist League claimed to oppose SYRIZA but then, like most of the not-so-far left, went along with Tsipras’ call for a “No” vote in a July referendum ostensibly on austerity. We in the League for the Fourth International warned that the referendum was just a bargaining ploy, and as predicted, the result was surrender to the Eurobankers’ terms. The ICL then put forward a program for “defensive struggle” with no link to revolution, mimicking social-democratic and Stalinist reformists’ “minimum program.” It was a mockery of Trotsky’s Transitional Program, which aimed to serve as a bridge leading from present-day struggles to the socialist revolution. Stung by our exposure of its “bridge to nowhere,” and mocking our call for Europe-wide workers revolt, the ICL reiterated its call for Greek exit from the euro under capitalism and smeared the LFI as allegedly aiding the “Fourth Reich of German imperialism.
The rules of the Fourth International say to “call things by their right names; to speak the truth to the masses, no matter how bitter it may be.”  Clearly those are not the rules these ex-Trotskyist centrists play by. ICL Consigns Revolution to the Greek Calends (25 December 2015)

General Strikes Are Back in Greece:
Revolutionary Leadership Needed

After the populist SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) came into office last January, Greek workers held off from mass protest in hopes that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would carry out election promises to end the punishing austerity program imposed by the imperialist bankers. Even after Tsipras did an abrupt about-face in July and imposed the brutal policies, protests quickly died out, and in September SYRIZA again won at the polls. But this fall the working class has returned to the streets. On November 12, the first “general strike” under the SYRIZA government brought out tens of thousands. (The government tried to co-opt it by encouraging mass participation in a strike against its policies.) This was followed by more strikes and on December 3 a second national strike. But despite the willingness to struggle, there is an excruciating absence of revolutionary leadership to lead the way to a fight for power. The League for the Fourth International had a team in Athens for the November 12 strike. Here is their report. General Strikes Are Back in Greece: Revolutionary Leadership Needed  (4 December 2015)

Labor and All Defenders of Democratic and Women’s Rights:
Free Abortion on Demand!
On November 27, a gunman laid siege to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three people and wounding nine. This is a domestic terror attack that is part of the right-wing assault on abortion rights that has been raging across the country for months. While Republicans have been leading the latest attacks, federal funding of abortion services was banned Democratic Carter and Clinton. President Obama says the Colorado Springs attack showed the need for more gun control. No, what it shows is the need for defenders of women and all oppressed groups to have adequate means of protecting themselves, for mass clinic defense to sweep away the anti-abortion thugs. After Colorado Attack: Defend Abortion Clinics! (28 November 2015) 

Imperialist War Engenders Islamist Terror
After the Slaughter in Paris: Down with the State of Emergency, U.S./France Out of the Middle East!

The horrific attacks against civilians in six different locations in Paris, France on the night of November 13 were the long-expected blowback from the imperialist terror bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria over the last 15 months. The carnage by the Islamic State (I.S.) was an assault against working people everywhere. Such indiscriminate terror generates mass chauvinism, putting Muslims and immigrants in particular at risk. It also serves as an excuse to escalate imperialist war, which France and the U.S. promptly did. The Islamist gangs which became the I.S. were armed for years by the U.S. and France. Moreover, the casualties in Paris caused by these “dogs of war” who have slipped the leash are only a fraction of those caused by their former masters, who have slaughtered hundreds of thousands in the Middle East. French president Hollande has used the attack to impose a state of emergency and to demand new police-state powers. While voicing mild criticisms, most of the French left has gone along with the crackdown. A revolutionary leadership is needed to mobilize workers against the war and repression, and to defend the threatened immigrants, refugees and millions of residents of North African and Middle Eastern origin from racist attacks. After the Slaughter in Paris: Down with the State of Emergency, U.S./France Out of the Middle East! (19 November 2015)
Après les attentats à Paris : A bas l’état d’urgence – États-Unis et la France hors du Moyen-Orient ! (19 novembre 2015) en français

Tras los atentados de París: ¡Abajo el estado de emergencia! ¡Fuera EE.UU. y Francia de Medio Oriente! (19 de noviembre de 2015) en español
Overwhelming Vote Gains Union Recognition
V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! B&H Workers in Big Win for Labor and Immigrant Rights

Hundreds of immigrant warehouse workers in Brooklyn, New York, won a historic victory on November 4 when their year-long organizing campaign brought a landslide unionization vote at the nationally known B&H Photo Video professional supply firm. By 200 to 88, the combative workers voted for the United Steelworkers as their representative. Facing dangerous working conditions, discrimination and grinding exploitation, the organizing effort, begun over a year ago by the Laundry Workers Center, built exemplary unity and determination among the workers. Now they face the next stage of the struggle: a contract fight to win their demands. At a victory celebration two days after the vote in a packed hall, B&H workers, their families, organizers and supporters gathered to salute their achievement and all those who made it possible. The victory at B&H, in this ongoing struggle, has the potential to spread the fight to the vast numbers of low-wage and immigrant workers in New York City and beyond.B&H workers can also spark and lead struggles of the entire working class in the NYC area. To win, the workers must rely on their own class power, not on the institutions, media and politicians of the capitalist system. V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! B&H Workers in Big Win for Labor and Immigrant Rights (8 November 2015)
Victory to the B&H Photo Warehouse Workers’ Struggle! (19 October 2015)
All Sides Squalid in Syria/Iraq Sectarian Civil Wars –
Drive U.S./NATO Imperialists Out of the Middle East!

Flashpoint Syria: Russian Intervention and Imperialist Aggression

Russia’s intervention in Syria is aimed at shoring up the deteriorating military position of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, under attack by a host of Islamist militias backed by Western imperialists and their Middle Eastern allies/flunkies as well as by the Islamic State. Coming as pressure was building to impose a NATO-enforced “no fly zone” and a Turkish-dominated “safe area” for Islamist “rebels” in northern Syria, Moscow’s action qualitatively raised the costs of such imperialist aggression. As Barack Obama bombs away in western Iraq and eastern Syria, class-conscious workers seek above all to drive the imperialists out of the Middle East.
The pseudo-socialists who rail against supposed “Russian imperialism” in Syria (and Ukraine) are lined up with the most aggressive imperialist war hawks. While Putin’s move may stymie (for now) a direct imperialist assault on his Syrian client, it does not alter the nature of the sectarian civil war, in which the victory of any side could lead to slaughter or expulsion of the defeated religious/ethnic groups. The only way out of the morass of communal slaughter and U.S. imperialist aggression is workers revolution to establish a socialist federation of the Middle East. For this, the millions-strong Turkish proletariat is key. Flashpoint Syria: Russian Intervention and Imperialist Aggression (30 October 2015)

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