.
Internationalist
                        61 
 
No. 62,
January-March 2021
 

Table of Contents
Selected articles linked

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

Break with the Bosses’ Parties – For a Revolutionary Workers Party
Democrat Biden’s Regime: Cold War and Racist Repression

After the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by a racist mob instigated by Republican president Donald Trump, the response of the Democrats, now in control of both houses of Congress, was to try to split Republican “moderates” from the hard-core Trump supporters. To no avail. Biden delivered his inaugural address calling for national “unity” in a capital city turned into an armed camp. His call for a “domestic terrorism” law will inevitably be used against leftist and black rights protesters far more than against the white supremacists and fascist/fascistic groups. Meanwhile, the new Democratic administration consists overwhelmiingly of Cold Warriors bent on stoking war against China as Biden pushes for more money for the cops, and courts have approved police-state repressive measures against protests. Over the last year we have experienced endless expressions of the pathology of the decaying system of production for profit, with more than a half million people dying from a plague, more than 2,000 civilians killed by police, tens of millions of unemployed, millions facing eviction, and now massive power outages and an upsurge of anti-Asian attacks. No amount of tinkering or reforms can end the chaos and suffering. This is a crisis of the capitalist system itself – it will take socialist revolution to resolve it. Democrat Biden’s Regime: Cold War and Racist Repression (23 March 2021)

Now Is the Hour – Organize the Unorganized with Workers Power!
Amazon Union Drive in Alabama Electrifies Labor

On March 30, votes will begin to be tallied in an election by 5,805 workers at the giant Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama on whether to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The union organizing drive in Bessemer is being closely watched by the media, business, labor and politicians. It is an international event, pitting workers making $15 an hour against the second-largest company in the world. And it is of intense interest for Amazon workers everywhere, and those fighting for class-struggle workers action amid the deadly pandemic and coronavirus depression ravaging the capitalist world. A victory for the RWDSU would be the first successful unionization election in the United States against the Amazon distribution and e-commerce monopoly.  It would provide a beacon for desperately needed union organizing campaigns at Amazon, its Whole Foods subsidiary, Walmart, and for workers throughout the U.S. and beyond. The Democratic Party is posing as defenders of the unions, with the support from the union bureaucrats, when in fact it is a party of capital.. To win real gains against this viciously anti-union company will require hard class struggle, which Democrat phony friends of labor” will seek to ensnare in a web of government control. It’s necessary to build a workers party to fight for a workers government. Amazon Union Drive in Alabama Electrifies Labor (23 March 2021)
Fight Against Racist Terror, Key to Organizing the South (23 March 2021)
Trump-Instigated, Fascist-Led, Police-Aided Racist Mob Assault on Congress
Capitalist “Democracy” Falling Apart –
Socialist Revolution the Only Solution
For Workers Defense Guards Against Fascist Threats
and to Defend the Rights of All the Oppressed

Yesterday’s mob rampage at the U.S. Capitol was the culmination of Donald Trump’s campaign of frenzied claims that the November 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” The assault on Congress was instigated by Trump and his top lieutenants, led by outright fascists, spearheaded by white supremacists brandishing the Confederate battle flag of the slavocracy, and it was facilitated by the police. In the media and numerous politicians the Capitol attack is described as an “insurrection,” “coup d’état” or failed “coup attempt.” Yet this grotesque rampage by a would-be lynch mob was not an actual attempt to seize power (for which they obviously didn’t have the forces), nor was it the military trying to disperse and shut down the U.S.’ highest legislative body. It was a mob assault aimed at intimidating Congress into not confirming Democratic president-elect Joe Biden, and failing that, to galvanize hard-core Trumpers into an authoritarian movement for future action. It was not a last paroxysm of Trumpism, but a harbinger of dangerous times to come. The several hundred fascists who turned out, together with tens of thousands of enraged racists and reactionaries, are plenty dangerous, but the most powerful and central dangers come from the organs of state power of the capitalist ruling class – police, military, National Guard – which brutally repress protests for black rights and protect the fascist terrorists. Democrat Joe Biden is their new boss, and he backs them to the hilt. Capitalist “Democracy” Falling Apart – Socialist Revolution the Only Solution (7 January 2021)

Don’t Let Them Silence the “Voice of the Voiceless”
No Execution by COVID – Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now!

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther and the foremost class war prisoner in the United States, has been imprisoned for the last 39 years in the dungeons of the Pennsylvania penitentiary system, half that time on death row, an innocent black man framed by the police. On February 27, Mumia was hospitalized and diagnosed with COVID-19 and congestive heart failure. Despite having chest pains and difficulty breathing, four prior tests in the prison infirmary returned false negatives for COVID. It was only when he was moved to an outside hospital that an accurate diagnosis was made, following an outpouring of demands that he receive appropriate medical treatment. He is now back in the prison infirmary, in isolation, his health in a precarious state. The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the country’s largest union, has reiterated its call for the immediate release of Mumia, “framed by the corrupt racist justice system in the U.S.” We demand that Mumia be immediately freed, and urgently appeal to others to do so. No Execution by COVID – Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now! (10 March 2021)

For Workers Action to Shut Down I.C.E. Concentration Camps
Stop Biden’s Deportations, Let the Kids Go!
Democrats, No Friends of Immigrants – Build a Revolutionary Workers Party
The Biden administration's dramatic immigration crisis is the product of the glaring disconnect between the Democrats’ “immigrant-friendly” rhetoric and running the brutal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) deportation machine. In its first month in office, Biden deported almost 29,000 people. Now many young immigrants are being held in jails run by the Border Patrol. Others are being stashed in tents in a holding facility in Donna, Texas built for 250 people but now holding 4,100. When Trump issued his vindictive order to separate children from their parents in May 2018, there was a huge outcry. Now Biden is holding kids in tents, sleeping on gym mats with foil “blankets,” but rather than massively protesting in the streets, liberals and the reformist left have largely limited themselves to lobbying the Biden administration. The Internationalist Group and Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas call “For Workers Action to Stop Deportations,” for “Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants” and “Smash the I.C.E. Gestapo with Workers Revolution.” Stop Biden’s Deportations, Let the Kids Go! (23 March 2021)

Vicious Anti-Union Intimidation at Yakima Fruit Packing Plant
On February 26, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordered a hearing on a complaint by Trabajadores Unidos por la Justicia (TUJ – Workers United for Justice) representing fruit packinghouse workers in the Yakima Valley, Washington. The NLRB found merit in the union’s charge that the employer, Allan Brothers, engaged in a long list of acts of coercion against the TUJ and its own employees. These practices were used against the Yakima strike last spring, when the mainly women workers courageously walked out at the height of the coronavirus pandemic demanding protective gear, cleaning of the plant and hazard pay. The same dirty tactics were used again successfully against the drive for union recognition in the fall. Despite the defeatist, legalist policies of the official labor leadership, the fight is not over and there may now be another chance to mobilize to unionize the valley. But that requires a very different kind of trade-unionism, one based on hard class struggle rather than the class collaboration of the present labor officialdom. Vicious Anti-Union Intimidation at Yakima Fruit Packing Plant (7 March 2021)


Heroes for Exposing the Crimes of Imperialism
Free Julian Assange – No Extradition,
U.S. Hands Off Edward Snowden!

Wikileaks Has Performed a Public Service for All Humanity
On February 12, it was announced that the U.S. Department of Justice had filed a brief in support of a prior appeal against the January 4 decision of a British judge barring the extradition of Wikileaks leader Julian Assange. This confirms that the Democratic administration of Joe Biden is continuing to pursue the prosecution of Assange begun by Republican Donald Trump. Under the draconian provisions of the Espionage Act, the founder of the internet whistleblower site faces charges which could total 175 years in prison for obtaining and publishing a vast trove of internal documents detail the crimes of U.S. imperialism and the “dirty tricks” of its spy agencies. Chelsea Manning (who lifted the lid on U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq) was sent back to jail for a year for refusing to testify against Assange in secret grand jury proceedings. And U.S. authorities are dying to get their claws on Edward Snowden, who exposed the vast surveillance system that in the name of “national security” keeps the entire population in thrall. All defenders of democratic rights are deeply indebted to this trio for their services to humanity. Free Julian Assange – No Extradition, U.S. Hands Off Edward Snowden! (March 2021)

For Teacher-Student-Parent-Worker Control of the Schools!
Chaotic Reopening of NYC Schools:
This Is What Mayoral Control Looks Like

Use Union Power to Reopen Schools Safely!
By Class Struggle Education Workers/UFT

The deadly coronavirus pandemic led to the first-ever nationwide U.S. school shutdown. While coronavirus cases were escalating in much of the country, rates of infection and of positive tests for COVID-19 in the summer and early fall were far lower in New York City, making it possible to reopen schools. The actual reopening of NYC schools in the fall was a story of unending chaos, with changing deadlines and confusing schedules of “blended” and fully remote instruction. Class Struggle Education Workers and the Internationalist Group declared “Where Infection Rate Is Low, Schools Should Reopen Safely with Billions for Sanitation & Ventilation, Triple Classrooms Now, Hire Thousands.” Those who demanded that schools be kept closed even where virus contagion was low (and now even with vaccine becoming available) went against overwhelming evidence that “remote education” can’t work for the great majority of students and exacerbates racial/class inequalities. They play into the hands of the enemies of public education and blow the critical opportunity to win important safety measures which are also key to quality education, particularly by sharply reducing class size. The CSEW calls for union-led teacher-parent-student-worker committees at every school to inspect and sign off on reopening plans. Chaotic Reopening of NYC Schools: This Is What Mayoral Control Looks Like (23 February 2021)
Google + D.O.E. + de Blasio & Cuomo = Capitalist CHAOS (February 2021)
Owners Shutter Manhattan Laundry, Try to Move Machines
NYC Labor: Stop Wash Supply Union-Busting!
In a move straight out of the union-busters’ playbook, in retaliation for immigrant women workers organizing a union, the owners of the Wash Supply Laundromat on Manhattan’s Upper West Side fired them all on February 19, then abruptly closed the shop. The next morning, as the workers were protesting, the company tried to remove the equipment. This came only weeks after the company tried to intimidate the women by firing one of them on the eve of a scheduled unionization vote. The workers courageouosly voted for the union anyway. To stop this union-busting cold calls for a mobilization of power on the streets by city labor, including unions active in industrial-laundry, restaurant/hotel, service, transport and communications sectors. NYC Labor: Stop Wash Supply Union-Busting! (20 February 2021)

Immigrant Laundromat Workers Fight Intolerable Conditions (November 2020)
Front-Line Workers: Essential, Yes! Expendable, No!
Temporary Hazard Pay: Not Enough

Food Chain Workers: $5/Hour Permanent Raise and Vaccine Now!
As Grocery Chains Rake in Pandemic Profits, Workers Face Dangerous Conditions, More Stress, Low Pay
On February 1, the giant grocery conglomerate Kroger announced it was closing two of its chain stores (a Ralphs and a Food 4 Less) in Long Beach, California. Why? Because of an ordinance passed by the city council last month requiring that grocery store chains pay their workers an extra $4 an hour “hero pay” for the next four months. This is shameless blackmail, to keep grocery workers toiling in dangerous conditions at rock-bottom wages while owners rake in billions of dollars in profits during the COVID-19 pandemic. This fight is not just about a particularly greedy employer raking in obscene profits while its employees risk their lives toiling in dangerous conditions – although Kroger is certainly that. It is a class battle in which the workers movement and all working people must come to the defense of the low-wage essential workers who are called heroes in the media while being treated as expendable by the bosses.  Food Chain Workers: $5/Hour Permanent Raise and Vaccine Now! (February 2021)

A Fight for All Workers
Hunts Point Teamster Strike Shows Potential for Labor Upsurge

The week-long strike by 1,400 mainly Latino and black workers at the Hunts Point Produce Market in the Bronx was the first major labor battle of 2021, and it ended with gains for the strikers, members of the Teamsters union. The workers have been on the job throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping New York City and surrounding region supplied with produce. At Hunts Point, the popular strike won gains which, although limited, could encourage labor struggle around the country. Around the U.S., many employers have been itching to use the pandemic as an excuse to bust unions, while many workers are fed up with being treated as expendable, risking their health for poverty pay, even as they are hailed as essential. An example of real class solidarity during the strike was the stopping of the freight train going into the market on Wednesday, January 20. The next night: no train. The night after that: a settlement. That’s the power of the bedrock labor principle: picket lines mean don’t cross! Hunts Point Teamster Strike Shows Potential for Labor Upsurge (30 January 2021)
NYC Labor: All Out to Support Hunts Point Market Strikers! (18 January 2021)
From Amazon Union Drive to Hunts Point Teamster Strike
How the “World Scab Web Site” Aids the Bosses

There it is, in your face, so stark that you can’t miss it: as we have repeatedly warned, the grotesquely misnamed World Socialist Web Site serves union-busting bosses against the unions. The (latest) proof: on January 15, an article posted on the “World Scab Web Site” calls to “Vote ‘No’ to the UFCW-backed union at Alabama Amazon facility!” So, acting in tandem with Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, the political bandits of David North’s WSWS are actively trying to prevent the organization of a union at the viciously anti-union e-commerce monopoly’s Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. It’s far from the first time: the WSWS has likewise opposed unionization of auto parts plants in the past. Revolutionary socialists have a diametrically counterposed position: we say emphatically “yes” to unions, while fighting to forge a class-struggle leadership. How the “World Scab Web Site” Aids the Bosses (January 2021)
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