|Last update on 4 July 2020|
|WHAT DISTINGUISHES OUR PARTY – The line running from Marx to Lenin to the foundation of the Third International and the birth of the Communist Party of Italy in Leghorn (Livorno) 1921, and from there to the struggle of the Italian Communist Left against the degeneration in Moscow and to the rejection of popular fronts and coalition of resistance groups – The tough work of restoring the revolutionary doctrine and the party organ, in contact with the working class, outside the realm of personal politics and electoralist manoevrings|
Though the attitude of the state and the action of the police against workers of color, specifically black workers, has not changed over the course of American history, neither has the reciprocal push labor has taken to stand against the racism of the state. Nothing more exemplifies these actions against racism than the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union (ILWU) of North America. For more than a century the ILWU has wielded its class power at the ports along the west coast of the United States to oppose racism and supported black workers across the planet: from striking after the shooting of Martin Luther King Jr. and the apartheid regime of South Africa, to establishing housing coops and providing training and education the union has shown the power working people have as an international class.
In their demands and in its opposition to employers for racial equality through the years, the ILWU has also shown that the working class is international in character, standing together against this oppression strengthens ties of the working class across countries and racial lines. Even within their own organization, the ILWU has been able to combat the pervasive racist sentiments that are encouraged in capitalist society. The economic system, and the political state that maintains the economic dominance of the ruling class, benefits from the indiscriminate killing of workers of color. Labor itself has a massive role to play in the protests against this pervasive social relationship. Society depends on the flow of commodities both in the market and across the globe to stay profitable; and it is this profitability above anything else that capitalists and their institutions listen to. The flow of commodities is where the working class can make its actions noticed! This fact is what has given the ILWU the ability to defend its members through a strike.
Anti-racism, especially that which has grown and been the cause of waves of protests and riots across the United States, can only be functional and potent in bringing racism to its knees by the international union of the working class. Racism has been historically enriched and perpetuated to the benefit of the ruling class and capitalist institutions. By allowing this division among the working class internationally, between white and black workers especially, capitalist society is able to prevent the class from uniting under a common banner to make its demands known and realized. From the continuation of discriminate killings of black people by the police across the globe to the quietly ignored but ever more apparent profiling of communities through redlining, the historic racist policies of the various capitalist states comes out from under its pleasing mask of democratic representation.
And so it is the case that on the 19th of June, the ILWU takes actions it has taken in the past to protest the racism that has been perpetuated against so many black people, in particular the killing of George Floyd. The union will walk off the ports, 29 across the west coast, to make their demands, much like in the 1973 strikes against apartheid. The impact to the shipping ports will be a loss in profits to capitalist institutions across the globe, as this wretched economic system is starved of it’s own life blood, the actual products that make it function.
Except, the union will have little power to make the demanded changes to the state that have been called by many across the country. What lessons the ILWU’s actions show the working class is that it’s power is at the workplace and in the fact that it can stop the flow of commodities; it is not only the class that produces them, it is the class that distributes them too! Without the coordinated effort of the working class across the whole planet, united as the working class of the whole of society, these demands will slide into the background, as capitalist institutions play their impotent parliamentarian games in hopes that they will be able to hide their half-hearted legislative attempts to balance their favoring of capital over human lives. They only give in to the demands of the working class to placate a revolt on the scale of a social revolution! But the working class can only see the change they demand from the state through this revolution, a coordinated effort of the united international class, using state power by their own hands and the destruction of the state that exists to perpetuate capitalism! This effort can and must be achieved, realized only by walking hand in hand with the class party, the international communist party, who has been able to guide the class through the quagmire of capitalist democratism and the racial divides that have plagued society for centuries. It isn’t any one movement of workers in any one specific location or industry that will put a stop to racism, it is the international working class that will make that possibility a reality.
The Black Lives Matter (or BLM) is a human and civil rights movement, which took shape within the African-American community around 2013. It grew as a reaction to the infamous verdict that granted full acquittal to the local man who, on February 26 of the previous year in Sanford, Florida, had shot - certainly not in self-defense, as established by the court - 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, killing him on the spot.
The demonstrations which have filled the streets of the great European capitals with young people in recent days are partly linked to the BLM. The intentions of what began as an online campaign were, in 2013 as today, to stir the "consciences" of American and international public opinion to denounce the episodes of "war on Blacks", the systematic attacks on the lives of black men and the police brutality that acts in the indifference of justice.
The individual local "structures" that adhere to the BLM and the multitude of organizations that participate in the network do not respond to any central body, a refusal that corresponds to localistic prejudices, but also to the interest of withholding funding from external subscriptions. This has not prevented in the last few days between the member structures a coordination in the organization of the protests, the request for signatures on petitions, unified under the same slogans and claims.
But what kind of claims? We read on the Black Lives Matter website: "The mission is to eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in the violence inflicted on black communities by the state and its agents. By fighting and reacting to violence, creating room for Black imagination and innovation, and putting Black joy at the center, we achieve immediate improvements in our lives.”
Here, we call together the black communities, in their inter-classist totality, to defend against the attack of "white supremacy". It is an interclassist movement, therefore bourgeois, expression of a persecuted racial minority, bourgeois who want their small slice of local power recognized by the White State, without being cut or massacred by the police.
Therefore, the BLM has little to offer the black proletariat, imagination and innovation aside.
Both the demands and the ways to go, sometimes delirious, in the movement often diverge. But widely shared are the criticism of the Trump regime; a reform of the justice system; stricter penalties for violent police officers; the containment of systematic racism; the definition of local police departments (in the city of Los Angeles, 53% of the expenditure goes to the police department, a value in line with that of other American cities); support for businesses and small businesses owned by African-Americans.
These popular claims have also attracted many young white, petit-bourgeois and proletarian youth to the demonstrations, ready to express their solidarity with the cause of antiracism and their discontent with the American picture as a whole.
From media multinationals, Apple, Nike and Adidas and others, promises of long-term investment in black communities where they wave the flag of anti-racist progressivism in exchange for good business have recently arrived.
It is inevitable that the social and racial discontent tries to vent in the electoral swamp: we hear the need for the black communities to complete the electoral registration practices so that they can vote, in the next presidential elections, "blue" against the tyrant Trump, guilty of giving voice and protection to the white supremacists. In short, the Democratic Party has as its objective, nothing new, but to bring home as many African American Voters as possible.
Without continuing to plough through the various utopias of social reform within the BLM movement, one more unlikely than the other, today more than ever, the need for revolutionary theory and the Marxist party, in America and beyond, arises.
We associate ourselves with the denunciation of the condition of poverty of the black proletariat, violently affected, first, by the ongoing economic crisis of world capitalism, and then, by the Covid-19 pandemic - which in the USA has seen about a third of its victims being members of the African-American population - which has marked a surge in unemployment, already historically very high in the black communities. We denounce the absence of essential services, particularly in the health sector, the absence of housing...
The prevailing Democratic ideology pushes the proletariat of every race towards the traps of interclassism and boasts progressivism. Only if led by its class organ, the International Communist Party, only by overthrowing capitalism and its state, can the proletariat be freed once and for all from the grip of racist brutality, its murderous violence, and the moral misery of obtuse bourgeois prejudices.
A mountain had gone into labor and was groaning terribly. Such rumors excited great expectations all over the country. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse. As has been the pattern for several years, in the build-up to May Day this year, a call was put out for a general strike in observance of International Workers’ Day. Many on the left called for solidarity with workers at various establishments, such as Target and Amazon, they believed would betaking action. To cross the picket line would indeed be a grave sin. And yet, when the day came, few, if any, workers took action.
What happened? Why did no action occur? Who could be responsible? Were the workers unworthy of our support, or is the bourgeois media concealing the truth? The answer is, as usual, much more prosaic: The so-called“general strike” was nothing more than an attempt by bourgeois NGOs and regime unions to use the increasing state of labor unrest to their own advantage by increasing their profile and thus attracting more donations. This sort of grift not only gains the working class nothing, it retards the development of the necessary organization to effectively combat the increasingly desperate maneuvers on the partof the bourgeoisie to increase the rate of exploitation.
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the weakness of the US economy, which never truly recovered from the economic crisis of 2008. On paper, the free fall of the economy was retarded via the assumption of a crushing debt burden and other financial chicanery, which, as the Republicans have repeatedly harshly reprimanded the Democrats, the US government must now service, resulting in increasingly draconian labor discipline measures and cuts to vital services, including public health, that have served to soften the burden of exploitation, including public health, causing what might have been a somewhat more serious version of the 2002-2004 SARS outbreak to turn into a full-blown global pandemic. In a pattern that has been going since the economic crisis of the 1970s, the Democrats and their allied NGOs, as well as the regime unions, continue to legitimate these measures. However, the outbreak of the Covid-19 disrupted the already listless progress toward restoration of profitability.
Seeking to take advantage of workers’ anxieties during this crisis, regime unions like SEIU and NGOs like Nation of Change, joined by the opportunist left that seeks to gain influence via capture of these groups, both openly and through proxies, have adapted the utopian slogans they have employed for years to the present situation, but neither they nor the opportunist, so-called “revolutionary left” have at no point ever adapted their tactics to encompass the one tactic that would actually produce results, namely the difficult task of building the class union. And thus, on May 1st, 2020, despite all of the hype, they gave a strike, and nobody came. None of the targets of this action reported any significant drop in attendance on that date, and business went on as usual.
None of this
is to say that a general strike, demanding fewer hours for the same pay,
access to protective equipment at the employer’s expense, or
what-have-you, is necessarily a bad idea: just the opposite.However, even
had these organizations devoted the money and effort that went into
designing the nice websites and carefully-crafted press releases been put
into developing relationships with people on the shop floor, they would
only serve to draw these efforts into the same futile struggle within the
narrow range of options presented to the proletariat by the bourgeoisie.
What the proletariat needs is to organize itself and to lead itself,
not to accept the patronage of, not to say patronizing by, bourgeois NGOs.
regime unions, and opportunistic leftists whose purpose is to contain, not
expand, the struggle and to cause any benefits from that struggle to
accrue to them rather than the class itself. Only by organizing itself
into a class union will the proletariat successfully defeat capitalism.
The worker’s movement has found itself being realized in the most remote parts of North America. Yakima, Washington has found itself caught in the midst of a massive wave of strikes from agricultural workers.
Yakima County is the leading county in the nation in apple production with over 55,000 acres of apple orchards producing premier apple varieties.
The protests began on May 7 at the Allan Bros Fruit Co. when 50 workers walked off the job voicing concerns over the company’s response to Covid-19.
On May 13, 2020 strikes by agricultural workers in Yakima County continued, with a walkout at Manson Fruit Company in Selah, Washington. Workers complained of unsafe working conditions including a lack of supply of protective equipment, sanitization and social distancing. Workers stated that, inside the facility, workers were required to work in close proximity to one another and that their employers failed to inform them when co-workers tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Shortly thereafter, workers walked out of three additional fruit packing company facilities for the same reasons. Jon Devaney, President of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association said that the association “asked for the State’s help with protective gear”. No explanation was given for why employers and owners of fruit packing facilities could not themselves provide protective gear, given that the production of fruit such as apples constitutes perhaps the largest segment of commercial agribusinesses in the state of Washington. Devaney appeared to lay blame on the workers, stating that workers complain about lack of social distancing while inside but, during protests outside congregate in large numbers in close proximity.
On May 28, 2020 Washington state Governor Jay Inslee issued an Executive Order regarding agricultural workers and Covid-19, presumably intended to address health concerns of the workers. Unfortunately, the Executive Order exempted food processing and meat packing plants, the latter being perhaps the place which, nationwide, has had among the highest levels of Covid-19 contracted by its workers.
The proletariat finds its strength in association; the language used by the workers signifies this.
On July 3rd, workers at the Pearl District Whole Foods Market (owned by Amazon) in Portland, Oregon walked off work in protest of Covid-19 conditions and the death of one of their co-workers. The walk-out was organized by the workers themselves without an official union and show a good sense of class consciousness. Workers coming to start work joined with those already out on pickets.
Whole Foods and its parent company Amazon have repeatedly demonstrated that it cares more about profits over the Team Members who put their lives on the line every day they clock in for a shift and we will not stand for it.
The grievances of the service workers of Whole Foods are a deeper reflection of the working class as a whole, and in the time of a global pandemic we see that the flow of customers is far more important than Team Members safety. You treat us as disposable, even following the death of one of our own...Team Members make your profits so put us first.
Unlike many of the “Advocacy Campaigns” at such stores as Walmart and Target, heavily promoted by capitalism’s left, these workers themselves drew up demands on management that are straight forward and actionable. “Following the passing of our friend and coworker," they wrote, "we have experienced a tepid response to health and safety concerns and are now demanding justice.”
The workers’ demands read:
- We seek the re-instatement and increase of hazard pay as cases of Covid continue to grow and we continue to put our health and well-being at risk.
- We demand that every customer be required to wear a mask or opt for a personal shop to be carried out by a Team Member to prevent exposure to customers who do not wear masks.
- We demand strict enforcement of capacity limits no matter how well staffed we are and enforcement of directional signage.
- We expect that all punitive actions expire on their original timeline and not be extended to make-up for the leniency allowed during the uncertain times of a global pandemic.
- We expect the right to express our support for marginalized communities, via buttons, pins, flare, and other apparel without punitive action being taken.
- We stand in solidarity with Team Members all across the country who have been forced to leave their shifts or have been suspended for voicing their support for Black lives.
Well done and much needed, fellow workers!