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Internationalist
                        No. 46  
No. 46,
January-February 2017
 

Table of Contents
Selected articles linked

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

Post-Traumatic Election Shock
To Defeat Trump … And the Democrats
Fight for Workers Revolution

After all the media hype, suddenly it turned out that Republican Donald Trump was elected. The racist, sexist, immigrant-bashing, woman-molesting Trump would be the next CEO of the United States and commander-in-chief of U.S. imperialism. In deep shock and disbelief, tens of millions asked, how could this happen? In Muslim, Latino, African American and immigrant families there was raw fear. Soon mass protests began, with many chanting “Not My President” (as if Democrat Clinton, a certified warmonger, would have been?). At the same time, racist incidents multiplied. It is urgently necessary to fight back, but the question is how? The answer depends on understanding what happened, and why. Trump certainly mobilized the hard-core racist vote, and better-off middle class voters. But what put him over the top was the vote of residents of dying small towns and white workers in the Rust Belt, who have seen their jobs destroyed and cities devastated. The fact is that with their economic policies, the Democrats pushed millions of workers into the arms of Trump. What is urgently needed is to break from the Democrats, Republicans and all capitalist parties and build a class-struggle workers party. Such a party would fight for a program of mass workers action against the deportations, for workers defense guards against racist attacks, and to oppose the imperialist war drive in a struggle leading to workers revolution. To Defeat Trump … And the Democrats, Fight for Workers Revolution (10 November 2016)

Democrats and Bureaucrats Lament Their Defeat
The Myth of a “White Working Class”
“Identity Politics” at a Dead End
As the Democratic Party licks its wounds in the aftermath of the elections, it has sought to pin responsibility for defeat on sinister forces from the FBI to Vladimir Putin and Russian hacking. Another of its pathetic attempts at self-justification is to blame the “white working class” for Trump’s victory.  Meanwhile, union bureaucrats, who tried to force Hillary Clinton with her “free-trade” policies down the throats of their members, blame the Democrats for ignoring the “white working class.” They want to work with Trump pushing protectionist economic policies which set U.S. workers against their class sisters and brothers abroad. But there is no specific “white working class.” There are not a multitude of working classes identifiable by race, gender and ethnicity. There is a single multiracial working class in the United States. Identity politics have become the default position in the U.S. in the absence of sharp class struggle. By projecting the working class as just another identity, the Democratic politicians imagine that they can compete for racist votes.
Opposition to identity politics can come from two radically different directions. “Color-blind” liberals and Democrats like Bernie Sanders (and some pseudo-socialist groups) are resisting raising any special demands against black oppression. In contrast, revolutionary Marxists (Trotskyists) call for class struggle against racism, sexism and all forms of social oppression. Defeat is pretty much assured if the capitalist oppressors wage class war while workers are divided by identity-driven politics. Victory is possible when those divisions are overcome on the basis of a revolutionary program and leadership that champions and organizes all the oppressed. The Myth of a “White Working Class” (January 2017)


Turn Protests into Workers Revolt Leading to the Struggle for Power
For Workers Mobilization to Smash the Gasolinazo!

On New Year’s Day, the Mexican population was hit by a 20% increase in fuel prices in what has become known as the gasolinazo (gasoline coup). This set off explosive protests, with clashes between residents and police around the country. The gasolinazo is a direct result of the escalating privatization of the energy sector. The government of Enrique Peña Nieto and the Pact for Mexico coalition of the PRI, PAN and PRD voted for elimination of fuel subsidies in the framework of the “energy reform” to make the state oil company Pemex more profitable and thus more attractive to imperialist investors as the privatizers sell it off. Meanwhile the bourgeois populist opposition party, MORENA, is trying to capitalize on the protests. The Grupo Internacionalista calls for a national strike against the privatizing “structural reforms” and for the oil workers (who are threatened with mass layoffs) to seize control of fuel distribution. This is a key moment to  break once and for all the shackles of corporatism that have kept the oil workers under the control of the bourgeois state for decades, and to break the political stranglehold of the bourgeois parties over the Mexican working class. For Workers Mobilization to Smash the Gasolinazo! (6 January 2017)

Donald Trump, the “Alt-Right” and Fascism
Is Donald Trump a fascist? Quite a few liberals have said so. So do some establishment “neo-conservatives.” You can hear the same thing from various reformist leftists, notably Maoists and other Stalinists who want to form an “anti-fascist popular front” with sections of the ruling class, like supporters of Democrat Bernie Sanders.  But being a vicious anti-Mexican, anti-Arab, anti-black race-hater, a sexist and national chauvinist, a union-basher and advocate of unfettered police power, does not in itself make Trump a fascist. Some throw around the term as an all-purpose epithet meaning “very bad” or “very repressive.” This prettifies bourgeois “democracy.” What is happening is a drive toward increasing military/police power, which has been promoted by the Clinton/Obama Democratic administrations no less than by the Bush/Trump Republicans. It is the product of decaying capitalism which increasingly discards its “democratic” trappings. But while Trump is not a fascist, all sorts of racists and real fascists are crawling out of their holes, such as the “alt-right” neo-Nazis. Revolutionists should seek to organize mass labor-centered mobilizations to crush the fascist provocateurs as they attempt to make forays into urban centers of the multiracial working class. Donald Trump, the “Alt-Right” and Fascism (17 January 2017)
Portland Union Calls to Mobilize Against the Ku Klux Klan and Other Racist Forces (January 2017)
Betsy DeVos: Trump’s Voucher Vulture
By Class Struggle Education Workers/UFT

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's pick for Education Secretary, is an extremely wealthy former head of the Republican party in Michigan who is a zealot of vouchers and privately run, publicly financed charter schools. Her goal is to abolish public education outright. DeVos bases her philosophy on Milton Friedman, the apostle of “free market” capitalism, who was an advisor to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and first implemented his education policies under that bloody regime. DeVos represents a mortal threat to teachers unions and to public education. The leadership of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association know this. But they are paralyzed. The politics of the AFT and NEA tops, like almost all union leaders in the U.S., are summed up in the phrase class collaboration. They chain the unions to the parties of capital, particularly the Democrats. But like the tango, it takes two to class-collaborate, and the Trump Republicans aren’t interested in that dance. And it's not just the Republicans. Corporatizing, charterizing and privatizing “education reform” is backed by both parties of capital. To defeat the bipartisan capitalist assault on public education we need to take the schools out of the hands of Republican and Democratic politicians and fight to build a class-struggle workers party. Betsy DeVos: Trump’s Voucher Vulture (14 January 2017)
NYC Schools Must Be A Sanctuary For Immigrant and All Students (20 December 2016)
You Can’t Fight Trump with Democrats – For a Class-Struggle Workers Party!
NYC Transit Workers: Fight for Track Safety and Free Mass Transit!

Transport Workers Union Local 100 is the powerhouse of New York City labor. Its three-day 2005 strike paralyzed the center of world finance capital. But the union leadership played by the bosses’ rules, and after three days called off the strike. With the union contract due on January 14, track safety is a major issue. Every day an average of five transport workers are injured badly enough that they have to miss work. The union should demand worker safety committees with the power to shut down the system for unsafe working conditions and that the MTA install track safety technology to ensure no track worker would die on the job again! Every year, police arrest tens of thousands of people for fare beating, the vast majority of them African American and Latino. We say rip out the turnstiles and make public transit free!  In order to win, the union has to go up against New York’s no-strike Taylor Law. To do so successfully requires that the entire NYC labor movement come out. In order to wage a successful fight against the labor haters, it is necessary to break with the Democrats and oust the bureaucrats who chain labor to this party of capital. NYC Transit Workers: Fight for Track Safety and Free Mass Transit! (14 January 2017)

Cops, Feds, Pipeline Companies – Get Out of Indian Lands!
The Battle Over Standing Rock
The struggle over the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota is not just against a profit-greedy consortium of oil companies. It poses a battle against a ruling class which established its sway through enslavement of African Americans and genocide against the Native American peoples, and has persecuted them ever since. The 1,172-mile pipeline would cross the Missouri River just north of the current boundaries of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, potentially polluting the water supply to the population in case of a spill. In addition to country sheriffs and state police acting as guard dogs for the oil companies, the protests of Native Americans have been repressed by a multi-state paramilitary force such as previously used to suppress the upheaval of African Americans over racist police murder in Baltimore in 2015. The battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock is a blatant case of environmental racism, as the route was shifted away from the state capital, Bismarck. In this conflict over Indian rights facing powerful corporations and the racist repressive forces of the capitalist state that does their bidding, class-conscious workers and revolutionaries must stand squarely on the side of the Standing Rock Sioux. The Battle Over Standing Rock (7 January 2017)
Standing Rock and the Revolutionary Fight for Native American Rights
Over the past nine months, hundreds and then thousands of Native Americans from around North America converged on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to stand with the Sioux “water protectors” in resisting the attempt to push a pipeline through their lands. It has been the largest mobilization to defend Indian rights since Sitting Bull smashed the U.S. Seventh Cavalry under General Custer in 1876. Rather than a fight over fossil fuels, the battle of the Standing Rock Sioux is about confronting the systematic dispossession of the Indian peoples dating back to the first European settlement of the American continent. The owners of Dakota Access, the state of North Dakota and the Army Corps of Engineers all hold that the pipeline does not cross the territory of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and therefore the tribe has no right to veto the project. But in fact it’s on stolen Indian lands. The unparalleled Native American solidarity and widespread public support for their cause may spark a broader struggle for Indian rights. But to win this must be a class battle against all the capitalist rulers. Standing Rock and the Revolutionary Fight for Native American Rights (7 January 2017)

Pipelines, Oil Trains and Capitalism
The push to ram through the Dakota Access Pipeline reflects the frantic pace of the oil boom over the last decade. In the space of six years, production in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota more than quintupled. But shortage of pipeline capacity has led to bottlenecks. Enter Kelcy Warren, boss of Energy Transfer Partners and of Sunoco Logistics, who is hell-bent on pushing through DAPL. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe resisted. So you have residents of an impoverished Indian reservation struggling to protect their water supply against a pipeline cowboy in the casino-like energy industry. Ecology groups have latched onto the Native American protest seeking to turn it into opposition against fossil fuels. Their call to “keep carbon in the ground” is a reactionary demand that would mean shutting down industry, electrical energy, heating and other vital sectors. And by focusing on pipelines, which are relatively safer, the environmentalists (financed by sectors of the capitalist class) are  effectively supporting the far more dangerous alternative of oil trains. Class-conscious workers would fight for union safety committees and labor action to shut down unsafe operations (North Dakota is the most dangerous state in the union in terms of worker safety). But to counter global climate change it’s necessary to sweep away the capitalist system, embraced by the reactionary oil moguls and “progressive” environmentalist NGOs alike. Pipelines, Oil Trains and Capitalism (7 January 2017)

Spartacist League: Land Surveyor Socialists
In the struggle over the Dakota Access Pipeline, the reformist left as usual has tailed along after the environmental groups who are opposed to any pipeline, and in the more extreme cases opposed to using oil or fossil fuels at all. On the other hand, the centrist Spartacist League (SL), in a knee-jerk reaction to the environmentalists, ends up echoing the line of some of the most retrograde, chauvinist sectors of the bourgeoisie. But you don’t have to oppose pipelines to protest the drive to run one through Indian lands. While calling to “Defend Native American Protesters” against state repression, the SL denies that the protesters had any legitimate reason to protest in the first place. It entirely disappears the blatant environmental racism, and argues that the native people have no legal right to control what happens on the pipeline route. Echoing the pipeline company, that since it doesn't cross reservation property, the SL argues that the Standing Rock Sioux have no land rights affected. Yet the land crossed by the DAPL was stolen from the native inhabitants, even violating an 1868 robber-treaty. The skewed portrayal of the fight by these ex-Trotskyists is a smokescreen to hide anti-Marxist indifference to the fate of the Standing Rock Sioux. Spartacist League: Land Surveyor Socialists (7 January 2017)
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
And All Black Panther and MOVE Prisoners!
December 9 marks the 35th anniversary of the arrest and attempted police assassination of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the foremost class-war prisoner in the United States. For three and a half decades, Mumia has been held behind bars – almost 30 years in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s Death Row. The former Black Panther and renowned radical black journalist has been the target of an unrelenting vendetta by the capitalist state. A potential legal opening for Jamal could come from a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that set a powerful precedent of throwing out a conviction based on prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. Even as lawyers pursue every legal avenue, we cannot look to the capitalist courts or politicians and parties for justice against the cops. Mumia has millions of supporters around the world. The point is to mobilize an effective force that can win his freedom. To jam the gears of state repression we must mobilize workers’ power not just to block some streets and highways, important as that can be, but to impede the functioning of the capitalist system. And that requires above all a program for revolutionary class struggle. Free Mumia Abu-Jamal And All Black Panther and MOVE Prisoners! (9 December 2016)


Hands Off Standing Rock Sioux!
In a significant (but perhaps temporary) victory for the Native American and other protesters at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and their supporters elsewhere, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today announced it would not grant permission to build for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River at the Reservation. The federal action may stop the pipeline for now, but the battle is far from over. Many protesters and tribal leaders focused on pressuring the Obama administration into blocking the pipeline crossing. But the pipeline owners have powerful support not only from North Dakota’s Republican government, but also from putative president-elect Donald Trump, a DAPL investor. While liberals, environmental activists and many leftists have opposed the pipeline as such, meaning that much of North Dakota oil would continue to be shipped by rail which is far more dangerous, the Internationalist Group supports the Standing Rock Sioux – and solidarizes with their courageous resistance to the forces of racist repression – in opposing the construction of the pipeline at the reservation as an attack on Native American rights. Hands Off Standing Rock Sioux! (4 December 2016)

“For Mass Labor/Immigrant Mobilization to Stop Deportations, Defend Muslims and the Rights of Us All!
Defend Immigrant Students
Immigration Police and All Cops Out of CUNY
By CUNY Internationalist Clubs and the Internationalist Group
The election of arch-racist Donald Trump to the presidency of U.S. imperialism has set off a wave of fear among immigrant workers and students. There has also been a dramatic spike in racist attacks, including on university campuses. This has given rise to the “sanctuary campus” movement. But to defend immigrant and Muslim students and their families, we must be clear about who we are fighting against. While Republican Trump vowed to deport all undocumented immigrants (underestimated at 11 million people), the Democratic Obama administration during its first seven years deported over 5.5 million undocumented immigrants, plus another 2.7 million “voluntary departures.” Marxists join in calling to ban ICE from campuses, forbidding campus authorities from cooperating with them, and keeping information about undocumented students secret. But we do not look to the campus administration – which runs the universities on behalf of the ruling class. What’s needed is mass labor-immigrant action prepared to defy the capitalist laws to defend those at risk and stop deportations. Unions should be ready to flood the streets to block the migra thugs; schools should be shut down if immigrant students or their families are picked up. But working-class resistance can only succeed if it is independent of the bosses’ state, their parties and politicians. And we must begin to organize it now. Defend Immigrant Students, Immigration Police and All Cops Out of CUNY (30 November 2016)


Class Struggle Education Workers:
Vote No on Question 2 in Massachusetts

Class Struggle Education Workers urges Massachusetts voters to vote “No” on Question 2 on the November 8 ballot which proposes to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state. If passed, the measure would open the floodgates to a proliferation of these privately managed schools, thereby draining billions of dollars from public schools and widening the economic disparities in education. Big bucks have been pouring into the coffers of the pro-charter campaign, three-quarters of it “dark money” from business lobbying outfits that are not required to list their donors. The state teachers unions naturally are opposing Question 2, saying it would be bad for both teachers and students. But the national AFT has been equivocal. This is because the AFT has supported charters since the 1980s, and because it is bound hand and foot to the Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama, who are big supporters of corporate education “reform.” CSEW calls to
“vote no on 2,” oust the bureaucrats, break with the Democrats and build a class-struggle workers party. Vote No on Question 2 in Massachusetts (7 November 2016)

Victory to the SEPTA Strike!
Mobilize All Of Philly Labor To Win!

At one minute past midnight on November 1, some 5,000 Philadelphia transit workers, members of  TWU (Transport Workers Union) Local 234 walked out. The strike comes on the heels of months of “negotiations” between the union and management, in which transit bosses have been stonewalling, demanding increased healthcare and pension contributions by workers (up to $400 dollars per month for family coverage) and other givebacks. In the second-largest city on the Eastern seaboard, this strike has the potential to be very effective – if all Philly transit workers go on strike. But SEPTA regional rail workers represented by IBEW and BLET are still on the job, stabbing the TWU strikers in the back. In 2014, the reverse happened. Democratic Party bosses, including former governor Ed Rendell, are talking about outlawing the strike, and already an injunction has been issued against picketing regional rail. Court orders can be shredded by labor action, but to do so it is necessary to break with the parties of capital and mobilize the power of all of Philadelphia’s workers. Victory To Septa Strike! Mobilize All Of Philly Labor To Win! (5 November 2016)
Se funda Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas
El 12 de agosto, se fundó en la Ciudad de Nueva York la organización Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas. En colaboración con el Internationalist Group, el TIC se ha fijado como objetivo el ganar a los trabajadores inmigrantes más conscientes al programa de la lucha de clases revolucionaria, luchando no sólo por los derechos laborales y de los inmigrantes, sino también abarcando las cuestiones más acuciosas que enfrentan los trabajadores y sectores oprimidos en la actualidad. El TIC se propone ser una organización de estudio y lucha, que nació del círculo semanal de estudios marxistas en español del IG, del trabajo en campañas de sindicalización, y de movilizaciones en solidaridad con los maestros mexicanos y en contra del terror racista de la policía, desde Ayotzinapa hasta los asesinatos policíacos de afroamericanos en EE.UU. Entre los fundadores del TIC se encuentran militantes que participaron en la huelga nacional de trabajadores inmigrantes el Primero de Mayo de 2006. Trabajadoras inmigrantes del TIC participaron activamente en las protestas por la desaparición de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa. El TIC puede jugar un importante papel en las luchas de los trabajadores inmigrantes, un sector enorme del proletariado, potencialmente muy combativo, pero en gran medida no sindicalizada. Hoy enfrentan unas elecciones (en las que no pueden votar) que disputan un demente fanático antiinmigrante republicano que amenaza con deportar a 11 millones de inmigrantes, y una belicista demócrata que sigue la política del gobierno de Obama que ya ha deportado a más de 5 millones de inmigrantes. Toda palabrería con respecto a una “vía hacia la ciudadanía” ha desembocado en un callejón sin salida. Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas apunta hacia otra vía, la de la intransigente lucha de clases hacia la revolución socialista internacional. Se funda Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas (agosto de 2016)

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