. For All-Out Workers Mobilization to Stop PRTC Privatization-- 
Defeat the Colonialist, Capitalist Assault on Labor 
Puerto Rico General Strike
Forge a Revolutionary Workers Party!
Elect Strike Committees! Defend Picket Lines That Nobody Dares Cross! 
From our special correspondent in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, July 2--As the rulers of Puerto Rico celebrate 100 years of U.S. colonial domination, this Caribbean island nation is being swept by a powerful wave of workers struggle. After ramming privatization of the government-owned Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) through a pliant legislature, Governor Pedro Rosselló is reaping a whirlwind of  mass opposition. The two telephone workers unions immediately declared a strike, now in its 15th day. Last week the electrical and water workers struck in solidarity. Now, as public support for the strikers  mounts in the face of brutal police attacks on picketers, a coalition of 53 unions joined by student, leftist, women's and community groups has called a 48-hour general strike beginning July 7. 
      "We're calling on the people to prepare as if a hurricane were coming," said Annie Cruz, the president of the Independent Brotherhood of Telephone Workers (HIETEL), in announcing the island-wide walkout. The day before, an assembly of several thousand cheering union delegates at a sports center in the city of Carolina, called by the Broad Committee of Trade Union Organizations (CAOS) and representing some 300,000 workers, voted unanimously for a general strike to "paralyze" Puerto Rico's economy. Already last October 1, some 100,000 marched on the capitol in San Juan under the slogan "Puerto Rico Is Not For Sale" during a one-day "national work stoppage" against the privatization of la Telefónica
   There is no doubt that organized labor and its allies have the power to bring this Caribbean island to a grinding halt such as hasn't happened since the strike of 1934, at the time of a bitter sugar cane workers strike. Puerto Rico today is heavily industrialized, with hundreds of thousands of union members. The telephone workers strike is already the biggest single walkout in years, with more than 150 picket lines around the island, and no one can remember when a strike has received so much enthusiastic support. A determined general strike would certainly have the strength of a gale force tropical storm, but it is more than that. This is a key battle in the class war, which Puerto Rican and U.S. workers must fight to win. 
      The struggle of workers in Puerto Rico is intrinsically linked to that of workers in the U.S., particularly in New York City. This was reflected in the picket today sponsored by hospital workers Local 1199 against Banco Popular in New York City, which is only a token of what is needed. Hundreds of thousands of workers of Puerto Rican origin in the financial capital of U.S. imperialism are a key section of the municipal, hospital and other unions, and have shown a tremendous will to struggle. At the same time, together with blacks and immigrants, they face an escalation of racist repression. This was graphically shown in the case of Anthony Báez, the 22-year-old Puerto Rican whose murder by NYC cop Francis Livoti has become a symbol of racist police terror. 
      The sale of the PRTC to an American corporation, and one that has prominently lobbied for statehood, has sparked widespread opposition from those opposed to outright annexation of the island by the U.S. The working class, both in Puerto Rico and the U.S., has a vital interest in fighting colonialism. But colonial domination of Puerto Rico cannot be defeated with the bourgeois program of nationalism. Even the most “left” variants of nationalism seek to chain the workers to a supposed "national" bourgeoisie. The Puerto Rican "entrepreneurs," as the nationalist left delicately refers to them, are branch officer managers and junior partners of Yankee imperialism who exploit the working people just as their U.S. counterparts do. The fight against privatization extends throughout Latin America and the capitalist world. And this is not just the effect of "neo-liberal" policies, as reformists claim. Key to defeating this capitalist-imperialist system is the struggle to forge revolutionary workers parties internationally. 

               Mobilize the Working Class in the Struggle for Power 
      In handing control of the telephone company over to the U.S.-owned GTE Corp., Governor Rosselló has already declared war on the workers. This petty tyrant and his pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP) are seen on the picket lines as THE enemy. In order to fulfill his dreams of "crossing over" from a colonial satrap to a rising star in U.S. politics (he is chairman of the national governors conference), Rosselló is willing and even eager to spill workers' blood. But this ruthless privatizer is far from the only enemy of Puerto Rican workers. Behind him stands the power of Yankee imperialism, for which Puerto Rico is a giant base for military and economic operations to control Latin America. There is a direct connection here: a key reason why the PRTC is being sold to GTE is that latter provides the phone service for the giant U.S. Navy base at Roosevelt Roads and for the U.S. army's Southern Command, which is in the process of moving from Panama to Puerto Rico. 
      The Puerto Rican governor is trying to impress the Clinton White House, the Pentagon and Congress that he can impose heavy-handed "law and order" in the largest remaining U.S. colony, while getting rid of government-owned industry and other Puerto Rican "peculiarities" that stand in the way of statehood (annexation). Already Rosselló has privatized the shipping lines (Navieras de Puerto Rico), as well as housing projects, hospitals and jails, leading to numerous layoffs. With the PRTC on the auction block it is estimated that privatization will put 2,000 out of 6,400 union jobs on the chopping block (as well as raising telephone rates). Electrical energy, water and sewer works and a host of government services are on Rosselló’s privatization hit list. Meanwhile, he hires more and more police to put down protests.  
      And the cops have been doing their bloody job. On the first day of the strike, June 18, a phalanx of police was dispatched to the Plaza Celulares PRTC center to bring in several busloads of scab contract workers and managers. There were riot police from the Tactical Operations Unit, better known as the Shock Force, as well as the Saturation Unit and the Mounted Police. Oziel, a phone worker at the Celulares center, told The Internationalist that the workers grabbed hold of the fence and refused to move. Thereupon cops began to beat them repeatedly with macanas (riot sticks) that have steel balls protruding from one end, spray them in the face with pepper gas, and drag them into the street. Most of the police had removed or covered their identification badges. 
  Many of those who received vicious beatings were women. Soriel Cruz, a leader of the UIET phone workers union and spokesman for the group "Women Against Privatization," called workers to defend the picket lines when the buses arrived. The cops hit her in the breasts with their riot sticks, then threw her on the ground and kicked her. Photos and video shots of women being savagely beaten caused mass outrage. But the governor demanded more macanazos (beatings), and the cops were soon back at it. On June 22, at the Metro Office Park PRTC offices in Guaynabo, an estimated 100 police from the Shock Force arrested a woman student and a union lawyer, beat a TV cameraman, and beat one worker, Raúl Santana, so badly in the head that he had to be hospitalized for two days. A photo of Santana lying in a pool of blood while a baton-wielding cop stood over him was shown around the world. El Nuevo Día (23 June) headlined: "The Strike of Blood." 
      Yet the strikers were not always on the receiving end. The same day, after cops beat a picketer at Plaza Celulares, angry strikers turned on the attackers and a number of cops (including several high-ranking officials) received a well-deserved drubbing. During the three-day UTIER (electrical workers) solidarity strike last week, police accused picketers of a "provocation" because their picket signs were mounted on solid 2 x 2 sticks. But readiness to defend the picket lines must be organized. The bosses appeal to the courts to get injunctions to allow management and contract scabs to enter the struck workplace. Strikers must rip the injunctions impose their own proletarian order, declaring that picket lines mean don't cross and enforcing this basic principle with union defense groups. When no one dares cross a picket line, the chances of winning strikes will be immeasurably increased. 
      So far active participation in the struggle against privatization has been mainly limited to public sector unions, the ones most directly affected. But an effective general strike must include private sector workers as well as non-unionized workers, notably from the huge petrochemical complexes that dot the island. To organize the unorganized it is necessary to put forward a class-struggle program of transitional demands to mobilize all workers in a struggle against capital and the colonial overlords. To answer the persistently double-digit unemployment, workers must fight for a sliding scale of hours, to divide the available jobs to provide work for all. As real wages have fallen steadily for the last two decades, labor must fight for the demand for a sliding scale of wages to protect against the ravages of inflation. To fight the numerous injuries and deaths due to unsafe working conditions, unions must form workers safety committees with the power to stop production when they judge necessary. 
      The biggest weakness of the workers' struggle against privatization is at the top, where 
union bureaucrats have been at odds over whether the strike should be limited or indefinite, when to call it or whether to strike at all. The leader of the largest phone workers union, the UIET, only reluctantly joined the walkout. Now, a leader of the local affiliate of the AFL-CIO, the FT, representing under 10 percent of Puerto Rico's unionized workers, declares it is pointless to strike against privatization of the phone company. The head of another federation, the CPT, declares that each of its unions will decide how long it will join in the general strike! The determination of the telephone strikers (and the overwhelming popularity of the strike) have kept it solid, but it is necessary to organize that strength. Union militants must fight for elected strike committees, which can be recalled at any time, to place control of the strike in the hands of the ranks and provide a means to block a bureaucratic sellout. 
       Such committees must establish close ties with other sections of the oppressed--strike support committees, neighborhood and block committees in poor districts, etc.--in coordinating the distribution of food and essential supplies, drawing in working-class housewives, the unemployed and youth. If the struggle intensifies, strike committees may be able to impose workers control of production and could serve as the nucleus of workers councils, as an organizational form for a struggle for socialist revolution and for a workers state. Revolutionaries must link the present struggle to the fight against colonialism and all forms of oppression, from the struggle against U.S. military bases and for the freedom of independence fighters to the fight against racism and the oppression of women. 
      All this poses the need for the working class to lead a fight against the root of the problem: the capitalist system itself. Trotsky wrote of France in the mid-1930s that in order to judge the readiness for a general strike and to "strengthen the militant mood of the masses, it is necessary to place before them a program of revolutionary action.... Above all the tasks and partial demands of our epoch there stands the question of power" ("Once Again, Whither France?" March 1935). This is no less true of the Puerto Rican general strike today. 

               For a Trotskyist Party in Puerto Rico! 
      Above all, it is necessary to build a revolutionary leadership of the proletariat. As Leon Trotsky, the co-leader together with V.I. Lenin of the October 1917 Russian Revolution, wrote in the 1938 Transitional Program, the founding document of the Fourth International, "The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of revolutionary leadership." This fundamental thesis continues to be true today, and particularly so in the case of a general strike, which poses point-blank the question: which class shall rule, the bourgeoisie or the proletariat? 
      The struggle over the Telefónica is a make-or-break battle for Puerto Rican labor. Yet even leftist union leaders approach the general strike as a pressure tactic rather than a struggle for power. In calling a general strike, the union leaderships have been forced into a corner by Rosselló's anti-labor offensive rather than systematically gearing up for a showdown with the capitalist government. Despite occasional militant rhetoric, at bottom their common program, in different variations, is that of reformism, seeking to reform the present system (such as with state-owned public services) while accepting the framework of capitalism. Revolutionary communists, in contrast, seek in every struggle to prepare the working class for a fight for state power, treating reforms as a by-product of the revolutionary struggle. 
      "This is a political strike because the workers didn't go out for a quarter more in the contract, they're protesting against the policy of privatization. That's why the government is afraid of it," commented Ricardo Santos, secretary of health and safety of the UTIER electrical workers union (El Vocero, 25 June). That is true, and that is a key reason why this strike must be waged politically. But on the basis of what politics? Anti-statehood bourgeois parties, such as the small Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) and sections of the Popular Democrats (PPD, supporters of Puerto Rico's present "commonwealth" status, a thinly disguised form of colonialism), have engaged in electoral grandstanding by pretending to be friends of the telephone workers. Yet it was under PPD governor Hernández Colón that the first attempt was made to privatize the PRTC, in 1990, and long distance service was handed over to a Spanish company. 
      "This goes beyond any people's strike, beyond a war against privatization...the war is against the government," vituperated Puerto Rico's police chief Pedro Toledo, who has flaunted his membership in the government party. This former FBI agent has repeatedly tried to blame the strike on outside "agitators" and "subversives," listing names of leftist and university activists, and trying to whip up a scare over “terrorism.” “I think that what many of these subversive groups want is a revolution,” Toledo fulminates (San Juan Star, 30 June). In this same language of McCarthyite anti-communist witchhunting, on the day the general strike was called, the Puerto Rican House of Representatives passed a resolution, beginning: "The strike in the telephone company is only the excuse of a small group of agitators and political extremists who seek to impose themselves through violence, threats, sabotage." These are the fears of a nervous ruling class that sees behind this outbreak of sharp class struggle the spectre of red revolution. 
      The raw material for socialist revolution is there. As picketers chant, "se siente, se siente, el obrero combatiente" (you can tell the workers are fighting) the bosses are acutely aware of this, and the danger it poses to their rule. Only a few years after the imperialists trumpeted victory in the Cold War and proclaimed the "death of Communism," even some of the more intelligent pro-capitalist press has commented that, 150 years on, the Communist Manifesto is still relevant, and highly accurate in its description of present-day capitalism. What is lacking is the revolutionary proletarian vanguard to lead the combative workers in a struggle for power. The exploiters in Puerto Rico have several parties standing for different formulas of capitalist rule. The exploited masses need a revolutionary workers party to lead the class struggle against the colonial capitalist government and its Yankee imperialist masters. 
      A revolutionary workers party in Puerto Rico must be based on the Trotskyist program of permanent revolution. The democratic tasks such as national liberation can only be accomplished through workers revolution, led by a communist party, which must immediately take on socialist tasks, extending the revolution to the most advanced capitalist-imperialist countries. We seek to forge a Leninist vanguard party that would act as a tribune of the people, in championing the cause of all oppressed sectors (including minorities, women, homosexuals, immigrants) against their oppressors. Yet the group which presents itself as the “Puerto Rican section of the Fourth International,” the Taller de Formación Política (TFP), does not seek to build an independent Trotskyist party but rather seeks a “broad” socialist party. The international organization to which the TFP adheres, the United Secretariat (USec), does not represent Trotskyism but rather the program of Pabloism, of tailing after a variety of non-revolutionary forces. In Puerto Rico, the TFP is part of the Frente Socialista. 
      The Frente Socialista also includes the Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores (MST) and the Partido Revolucionario de Trabajadores Puertoriqueños-Macheteros (PRTP), who in turn are part of the Congreso Nacional Hostosiano, a coalition with petty-bourgeois and bourgeois independentista forces. When the FS talks of “internationalism” it refers to “particular ties” with “the Puerto Rican community living in the United States, because we are part of the same people,” and of the FS’ participation in the Foro de São Paulo, a popular front coalition of leftist and bourgeois nationalist parties in Latin America. This is not proletarian internationalism or the “political independence of the working class” which the Frente declares as its “fundamental political objective,” but rather class-collaborationist nationalism. 
      During the current labor struggle against privatization, many leftist militants have been active in building pickets and as part of the CAOS umbrella group of labor and leftist organizations, but there has been a striking absence of political propaganda by self-proclaimed socialist groups. Their activity in the strike has been limited to militant trade-unionism and nationalism. 

               For Proletarian Internationalism, Not Nationalist Popular Frontism 
      In the present strike, there are ubiquitous references to "the people." In declaring the phone workers' struggle against privatization a "strike of the people," many militants want to underline the widespread popular support for the strikers against the despised Rosselló. But contained in the idea of an undivided "people" is a whole program--the program of “classless” (in fact, bourgeois) populism. The chant, often repeated on the picket lines, that "The people united will never be defeated," was the slogan of the Chilean Unidad Popular government under Salvador Allende. This was a classic "popular front," which politically ties the working class to a sector of the capitalist class in the name of “anti-imperialism,” “anti-fascism” or other bourgeois-“democratic” labels. Such class-collaborationist coalitions are a favorite device of the reformists to block revolutionary struggle and keep the working masses confined within the limits of capitalism. By doing so, the popular front in fact aids fascist and pro-imperialist forces. 
      The "people united" was defeated in Chile, in the bloody coup of September 1973, precisely because of the absence of a proletarian vanguard to split the false "unity" of class collaboration and to organize the working class in the struggle for its revolutionary class interests. The butcher Pinochet himself was brought into the "Popular Unity" government in a bid to win "moderate" Christian Democratic support. The result was a bloody massacre, just as when Stalin ordered the Chinese Communists to "ally" with the Nationalist general Chiang Kai-shek in 1927, or when the Maoist Stalinists of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) bound the masses to the nationalist general Sukarno, producing the 1965 bloodbath in which more than a million PKI members, labor activists and ethnic minorities were killed. More recently, in Haiti the popular front around the Lavalas movement of Aristide paved the way for U.S. military intervention, giving neo-colonialism a new face while maintaining the wretched poverty and exploitation of the workers and peasants. 
      In the struggle for their emancipation, the working people must rely on their own class strength and the support of other oppressed sectors against capitalism. Any political alliance with sectors of the bourgeoisie can only paralyze the strength of the exploited and oppressed. Even Rubén Berríos' minuscule PIP with its independentista rhetoric only wants to "independently" exploit Puerto Rican workers under U.S. tutelage (and with fees from U.S. bases, "for a time" of course). In Puerto Rico today, the program of class collaboration is expressed in a pervasive nationalist rhetoric characteristic of almost the entire left. Thus while the MST called in its Third Congress (June 1996) for “giving priority to the struggles and demands representing the interests of the working class and oppressed sectors of society,” it placed these in the framework of “independentista unity.” The political consequences of this nationalist program and rhetoric are extremely harmful for the workers struggle. 
      Much has been made of the fact that the PRTC is a profitable and modern (fully digitalized) phone company, which Rosselló is selling off for a pittance (GTE will pay at most $300 million for a company valued at over $2.2 billion), likely leading to sharply increased rates. Many have pointed out that after buying out ITT (which ran the phone system until 1974), the PRTC increased the number of telephones in Puerto Rico from 200,000 to 1.6 million. But referring to "Our Telefónica," as a leftist university professor did in a recent column (Claridad, 2 July), or saying that the Telefónica "belongs to the people of Puerto Rico," as the former leader of the UIET phone workers union did in a picket line speech, is false and diverts the struggle. The PRTC belongs to the Puerto Rican capitalist government, and its profits are taken from the sweat of its workers. The only way utilities and social services will really become “ours” is through the revolutionary expropriation of all the exploiters, when a government of the working class in Puerto Rico and internationally can organize the economy to serve the interests of the workers and oppressed. 
      The same unionist praised the strike as the struggle of "a whole united people," and noted that the PRTC up until now has subsidized various state services, including education "and the raises for the police itself." He went on to appeal to "our police brothers," to say that they should not become accomplices of this privatization if they want support in their struggles! This is dangerously wrong in every way. False consciousness about the role of the police is pervasive in the strike. A banner and picket chants declare "Club-wielding policeman, you too are a worker." No, a cop is a cop. The police are not workers but professional strikebreakers and racist killers, the enforcers of the anti-working-class laws of the bourgeoisie. The slightest confusion about the nature of the police produces illusions that will be paid in more workers' blood. 
      Our comrades of the Liga Quarta-Internacionalista do Brasil (LQB), section of the League for the Fourth International, have waged a bitter struggle, facing armed military police and endless court suits against them, to carry out the expulsion of the police from the Municipal Workers Union of the steel city of Volta Redonda. As Marxists they declare that the police are not "brothers" or "fellow workers," but the armed fist of the bourgeoisie, as shown from the “war on drugs” in Puerto Rican housing projects to the murder of Anthony Báez and the police torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima in New York City. This understanding is vital to the victory of the Puerto Rican strikers today. 
      Puerto Rican nationalism narrows the struggle to the confines of this Caribbean island. Yet the drive for privatization is international in scope and has escalated in recent years as a direct result of the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union and the bureaucratically deformed workers states of East Europe. Today, workers from Mexico and Brazil to France and Italy are fighting against privatization of state-owned companies and the accompanying slashing of workers gains.  Meanwhile, the threat of counterrevolution and the destruction of the planned economy and collectivized property looms in Cuba and China, which would spell disaster for Cuban and Chinese workers and further embolden the capitalists internationally. It is impossible to struggle against privatization in Puerto Rico without fighting against the imperialist system which is behind it. That means in the first instance, forging a close alliance with U.S. workers who face the same bosses. 
      Puerto Rican nationalism also turns its back on a key section of the working class, the 300,000 immigrants from the Dominican Republic, both legal and “illegal,” who live and work here. They are subject to arbitrary raids, detention and deportation by the INS immigration cops who also raid sweatshops in New York and Los Angeles. Even on the left there are instances of hostility to Dominicans. A class-conscious workers movement in Puerto Rico must champion their cause, fighting against deportations here just as it must in the U.S. There is ample support for this. At the assembly of thousands of union delegates in Carolina on June 28, a representative from the Dominican unions received tremendous and prolonged applause. A revolutionary internationalist vanguard is needed to mobilize this sentiment, raising among demands of the strike an end to all deportations, and calling for workers action to stop them. 
      Likewise, a revolutionary workers party would struggle for the liberation of women and highlight the role of women workers, who have played a key role in the telephone workers strike. Most of the PRTC’s unionized employees are women, women have been targeted by the police thugs, and many of the union delegates and leaders are women. The working class as a whole must take up the fight against women’s oppression, including raising demands for free abortion on demand and for free 24-hour day care centers, and for extending this to all. 

               For a Socialist Federation of the Caribbean! 
      The telephone workers strike and the general strike against privatization are intimately related to the eternal question of Puerto Rico’s “status.” A key reason for Rosselló’s push to sell off the Telefónica is to make Puerto Rico more eligible for statehood by further integrating its economy into that of the mainland U.S. What this means in practice is U.S. corporations buying up everything they don’t already own on the island. 
     The position of the Clinton administration and the U.S. Democratic Party has recently shifted from support for the present “commonwealth” status to backing statehood for Puerto Rico. This is partly from a calculation that Puerto Rico would vote Democratic, and also in order to ensure the continued presence of the numerous U.S. military installations on the island (instead of being forced out as the U.S. Army’s SouthCom was from Panama). This shift, reflected in the Young/Craig amendment now before the U.S. Congress calling for a new referendum slanted toward statehood, has also led to a switch of political alliances in Puerto Rico. The pro-statehood PNP, traditionally aligned with the U.S. Republicans, is now lined up with Clinton’s Democrats, while the PPD (and the PIP) are looking to the most reactionary, racist forces in Congress to oppose statehood, particularly those pushing for “English only”! The Puerto Rican masses can only lose from this cynical maneuvering. 
     Statehood, no less than the present colonial status, would be inherently inimical to the interests of Puerto Rican working people, whose incomes are presently far below those of the poorest U.S. state. It would be accompanied by a further slashing of social programs, an offensive against the Spanish language and other forms of racist discrimination. The Internationalist Group and the League for the Fourth International advocate independence for Puerto Rico, in order to strike a blow against U.S. imperialism and because only by breaking out of the national subjugation of colonial rule can the international class struggle come to the fore. We support struggles for independence from colonial rule, even when they are led by petty-bourgeois and bourgeois forces, at the same time as we fight for proletarian leadership of the struggle against imperialism through international socialist revolution. Genuine national liberation can only be achieved by workers revolution, in Puerto Rico and the U.S. We demand: Yankee imperialism get out! U.S. military out of Puerto Rico and all of the Caribbean! Return Guantánamo to Cuba! 
     At the same time, however distorted by the mechanisms of colonial referendums, the fact remains that an overwhelming majority of the Puerto Rican population does not presently favor independence. As the right to self-determination is a democratic question, and the working class has no interest in forcing independence against the will of the Puerto Rican population--especially when the impetus for separation comes from right-wing reactionaries--we underline our defense of Puerto Rico’s right to independence. We also stress the need for a socialist federation of the Caribbean. A large part of the opposition to immediate independence is the (accurate) perception that an independent capitalist Puerto Rico would quickly see its living standards fall to the level of desperate poverty of the Dominican Republic next door. An isolated workers state, on the other hand, would face the imperialist boycott and encirclement that has pushed Cuba to the wall economically. 
      From Marx to Lenin and Trotsky, genuine communists have always held that socialism cannot be built in one country. This lesson, underlined by the collapse of the USSR, is all the more true of a small Caribbean island in what U.S. rulers regard as an “American lake.” But fighting for a voluntary socialist federation of workers states in the region as part of a socialist united states of Latin America, in conjunction with socialist revolution in the United States itself, could unite the ethnically and linguistically diverse peoples of the region in a common struggle against imperialism. From the time of the 1789 Haitian Revolution against colonial slavery to the Cuban Revolution, struggles for social progress have quickly spread through the Antilles. 
      Both in Puerto Rican and the U.S., revolutionaries have a special responsibility to defend the Cuban bureaucratically deformed workers state against imperialist military aggression and internal counterrevolution. Puerto Rico has been used by the Yankee imperialists as a staging ground for its attacks on and encirclement of Cuba, and as a training ground for counterrevolutionaries throughout Latin America. At the same time and as a key part of our defense of the Cuban Revolution, we fight for proletarian political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucratic leadership under Castro, which is paving the way for capitalist restoration, and to replace it with soviet democracy in the form of revolutionary workers councils. In Puerto Rico, Cuba, the United States and throughout the world, we fight to build Trotskyist parties in the struggle to reforge the Fourth International as the world party of socialist revolution. 
      If the general strike called for July 7 and 8 is to be anything more than a two-day work stoppage and parade, it must be animated by a program of revolutionary class struggle. As Leon Trotsky wrote in his 1935 pamphlet, "Once Again, Whither France?": 

    "The fundamental importance of the general strike independent of the partial successes, which it may and then again may not provide, lies in the fact that it poses the question of power in a revolutionary manner. By shutting down the factories, transport, and generally all the means of communication, power stations, etc., the proletariat by this very act paralyzes not only production but also the government. The state power remains suspended in mid-air.... 
    "Whatever may be the slogans and the motive for which the general strike is initiated, if it includes the genuine masses and if these masses are quite resolved to struggle, the general strike inevitably poses before all the classes in the nation the question: who will be the master." 
Since the general strike poses this question, it is essential that a vanguard party of the working class be forged to provide the answer, to lead a revolutionary struggle for power. Today there is no such party, yet a general strike is urgently needed in Puerto Rico in order to defeat the government's anti-worker privatization offensive. This requires of revolutionaries that they redouble their efforts to forge the revolutionary workers party that is indispensable for the victory of the working class through international socialist revolution. 
Yankee Imperialism Out - for Puerto Rico’s Right to Independence!
For a Socialist Federation of the Caribbean!

E-mail: internationalistgroup@msn.com