RAY O’ LIGHT NEWSLETTER
Publication of the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA
–A Leninist View–
by RAY LIGHT
Also included in this issue:
AFL-CIO Road to Ruin: Part III, UAW Defeat at Volkswagen
“If You’re Not Outraged, You’re Not Paying Attention”
Note to Readers
Do You Know Who Said It??
“What system were we trying to save anyway? “... A system in which well-connected big financial institutions get government handouts while smaller institutions and homeowners are left to fend for themselves? ... “A culture of greed and shortsightedness [permeates even the best-managed banks], one that goes undetected by their executives and boards as well as their regulators.”Hint: Is this a leader of Occupy Wall Street or a Democratic Party politician looking for votes?
–Still stumped? See below.
Nelson Mandela, the world-renowned South African freedom fighter and politician, died on December 5, 2013 at the advanced age of 95. The praise for Mandela’s life and legacy was seemingly so strong and unanimous at that time that it called into question the actual experience of the oppressed peoples and of the working class movement of the world with the South African revolutionary cause over the past sixty years; it seemed to bury “the general balance sheet of the struggle against imperialism ... on a world scale.”
In this world in which the capitalist masters are running almost everything (against the interests of the 99 %, the masses of humanity, and on behalf of the interests of “the 1%”, or one-tenth of one percent), is it possible that Nelson Mandela or any individual could justifiably be universally embraced by both the oppressors and the oppressed?! Are the lions really lying down with the lambs?!
No! The main thrust of the global praise bordering on worship for the now deceased Mandela is an ideological offensive of U.S.-led monopoly capitalism and imperialism.* Serving the needs of the U.S. Empire, in particular, these monstrous reactionaries are calling on the oppressed and the exploited of the earth to “forgive” (and establish rapprochement with) international capital such as occurred in the U.S. imperialist-led “peaceful transition” of South Africa in which Mandela played a pivotal role. This “forgiveness” of and collaboration with international capital is the very antithesis of the Leninist view.
* Don’t let the presence of Clinton, Bush and Obama at Mandela’s funeral service fool you, Mandela’s name was kept on the U.S. terrorist list until 2008!
Lenin taught that the essence of imperialism lies in the fundamental distinction between oppressor and oppressed nations, that oppressed nations have the right to self-determination up to and including the right to secession, to independent existence as states, and that, in the era of imperialism and the unfolding proletarian revolution, “the victory of the working class in the developed countries and the liberation of the oppressed peoples from the yoke of imperialism are impossible without the formation and consolidation of a common revolutionary front.” (Stalin, Foundations of Leninism, p. 79)
Without sharp national and class struggle in conformity with the Leninist theory of revolution, liberation of an oppressed people from the yoke of imperialism in our time is impossible. This has been all the more true when the particular oppressed nation, such as South Africa (Azania) is suffering under the iron heel of an occupying settler regime, backed by U.S.-led imperialism.
Apparently forgotten, along with so much other historical
experience, in the wake of imperialist-induced “Mandela worship,” was
the August 16, 2012 brutal massacre at Marikana at the Lonmin platinum
mine that resulted in the South African police murder of 34 striking
miners and the wounding of dozens more. (see photo below) As we
remarked in our solidarity message to the miners, “The African miners
have created vast wealth for Lonmin Platinum PLC, the British
imperialist mining company that owns the platinum mine, while mining
families and Black communities continue to live in poverty — 18 years
after the end of the South African apartheid regime!” (Ray O’ Light Newsletter #74 (September-October 2012), “Solidarity Message to Striking Miners of South Africa,” page 21)
-Mandela’s Compromised Funeral and Memorial Service-
Indeed, it is no accident that Cyril Ramaphosa, the one-time general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers and now one of South Africa’s richest men, was recently elected as Deputy President of the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela’s organization. Even more shocking – Ramaphosa was the largest local shareholder at Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine, and a key figure responsible for the massacre of the workers there during the August 2012 strike – and he was also responsible for organizing Nelson Mandela’s funeral!
At the funeral and later the memorial service, a number of “odd” incidents occurred, reflecting the fact that liberation of the oppressed Black majority of South Africans had not been achieved. Among these: The crowd gave a positive response to former President Thabo Mbeki who had followed Mandela and served as the second Black African leader of the government but who had been pushed out of the African National Congress leadership and then the presidency because of the frustration of the Black masses with the state of affairs in the country. At the same time, the current president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who had engineered the exit of Mbeki, was booed by the crowd. Yet (according to University of Johannesburg Professor Ashwin Desai) when then President Mbeki had earlier ousted Zuma as the country’s deputy President, it was none other than Mandela himself who had provided Zuma with an R 1 million dollar check! Finally, the crowd that had come to pay respects to Mandela, the “liberator” of the people from the apartheid regime, gave a warm welcome to former President F.W. De Klerk, the last president of the Apartheid Regime!
How did Mandela’s legacy become so compromised and confused?! How had the South African Revolution become so compromised and short circuited?!
-U.S. Imperialist Hegemony and its impact in Southern Africa-
In 1979, we wrote, “An explosive revolutionary situation exists in Southern Africa. In relation to both Zimbabwe and Namibia, U.S. imperialism through Andrew Young and the United Nations has attempted to maintain its economic superprofits while supervising a change from settler domestic rule to neo-colonial rule. In both Zimbabwe and Namibia, with the aid of revisionism, U.S. imperialism has a foot in the camp of revolution and in the camp of counter-revolution. The Patriotic Front in Zimbabwe has thus far foiled U.S. imperialism’s plans there. But in Namibia, SWAPO did agree to the ‘UN’ plan drawn up by 5 major Western imperialist powers led by the USA, and were politically disarmed. Then they saw the Afrikaner settler regime reject the plan.” We continued, “All this ‘diplomatic’ activity, including extensive political cooperation with U.S. imperialism by the so-called ‘frontline’ African states influenced by Chinese revisionism as well as the active use of the UN with Soviet revisionist acquiescence, reflects the fact that U.S. imperialism remains the main danger for the revolution in Southern Africa.” (“The U.S.-China Alliance and the Question of the Main Enemy,” page 12, Ray O’ Light Newsletter #2, June 1979)
Less than two years later, “with Zimbabwe’s independence and Namibia’s uncertain but inexorable movement in the same direction,” Chester Crocker wrote a ground-breaking article on behalf of U.S. imperialism, entitled, “South Africa: A Strategy for Change” (Foreign Affairs, Winter 1980/81, pp. 323-351) Crocker was then Director of African Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown University. So important was the country of South Africa (Azania) and the region of southern Africa to the U.S. Empire that new President Ronald Reagan appointed Crocker Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs that same year. For the next eight years Crocker served as the chief U.S. imperialist political representative on all of Africa with special focus on southern Africa. [Crocker left the post in 1989, the same year that Nelson Mandela was released from prison by the apartheid government after having served twenty-seven years in prison.]
Crocker wrote: “In deciding the course of American policy, we need to have some consensus … about basic U.S. objectives … Clearly, the fundamental goal is the emergence in South Africa of a society in which the United States can pursue its varied interests in a full and friendly relationship, without constraint, embarrassment or political damage … That goal will remain elusive in the absence of purposeful, evolutionary change toward a non-racial system. Consequently, a basic U.S. objective should be to foster and support such change, recognizing the need to minimize the damage to our interests in the process, but also recognizing that American interests will suffer inevitably if such change fails to occur. (My emphasis, ROL)
Crocker and U.S. imperialism were mainly concerned with peaceful (or at least orderly) transition from white minority rule to a shared power arrangement in which western and especially U.S. imperialism would retain economic control of the rich resources and labor power of South Africa. Crocker recognized (as did we) that the Afrikaner apartheid regime had sabotaged the treaty that would have disarmed SWAPO in Namibia. Moreover, such political sabotage by the Afrikaner regime meant that U.S. imperialism and the South African settler regime could not disarm “the frontline states” by taking advantage of the influence over them of the revisionists in state power in Russia and China and thereby make it impossible for the ANC armed forces and their allies to have access to the South African border.
-Contradictions in the South African Apartheid System-
In his 1981 Foreign Affairs article, Chester Crocker wrote: “The Afrikaner nationalist experience is unique: … Despite their 325 years in Africa, this nationalism is barely 100 years old, tracing its origins to the creation of the two Boer Republics ultimately defeated by Britain in the bloody conflict of 1899-1902. After South Africa’s independence in 1910 … the goal became the ethnic mobilization of Afrikanerdom to take over the country’s political institutions as the best route to advancing group interests. This strategy was victorious in 1948.” The result, by the end of the 1970’s, according to Crocker, was that “twenty-five to thirty percent of the private sector was in Afrikaner hands, as well as 90 percent of the top jobs in the public sector.” (My emphasis)
But with the big mines and private corporations still largely in British and western imperialist hands, Crocker raised that, “Business leaders … are the only logical white lobby for addressing the ‘skills gap’ estimated to reach over 700,000 skilled workers and 180,000 professional and technical personnel by 1990 …” And he pointed to “a sustained drive against the inequities of the apartheid education system” as “the only real solution.” As long as the entrenched Afrikaner apartheid system retained a stranglehold on political power in the country this important contradiction could not be resolved in favor of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
Crocker observed: “The American stance must be firmly supportive of a regional climate conducive to compromise and accommodation in the face of concerted attempts to discredit evolutionary change … “Provided the Western nations know how to capitalize on it, there is at present a window of opportunity to create such a climate in southern Africa. Most of the region’s governments are in pragmatic hands. With increased investor confidence and a readiness to build on the substantial interstate linkages already in place, this heartland of non-fuel minerals could surpass its already impressive 45 percent share of the gross domestic product of all of sub-Saharan Africa.” (ibid. page 345, my emphasis)
Crocker also pointed out that “the advent of African governments in Angola, Mozambique and now Zimbabwe — following upon guerilla struggles – unquestionably has had the effect of raising [South African] black hopes and expectations.” This led to the powerful urban uprisings of 1976. Having just withstood the powerful Soweto-centered uprisings, the Afrikaner government led by hard-line settler John Vorster resigned in 1978 and was replaced by P.W. Botha. Botha and his colleagues were “the first Afrikaner nationalists to articulate the view that the military’s purpose is to buy time for political solutions that would expand domestic support and permit expanded black military recruitment.” Furthermore, Botha’s new Afrikaner regime centralized power and made minimal “power sharing” gestures to the four million Coloreds and Asians.
Nevertheless, the Botha Regime itself made a separate and insulting overture toward the Black majority that sparked a new period of intense liberation struggle among the South African majority population. And it was met by the fiercest political-military repression of the Botha Regime. Crocker pointed to this 1985-87 period as the height of African resistance. He said, “Pretoria triggered a wave of black anger that led not only to three years of urban unrest in which thousands died, but also to the creation of the most effective grass-roots organizational drives in South African history. The United Democratic Front (UDF) … placed the Botha government on the strategic defensive …” This also resulted in the ANC replacing the openly collaborationist Chief Buthulezi as its leader and a more militant ANC leadership was also recognized by the settler and imperialist forces. For the U.S. imperialists and the Afrikaner regime (as well as the ANC) were afraid that the Black masses would end up with the UDF and/or other political organizations outside the control of the revisionists and therefore out of the control of U.S. imperialism.
This crisis situation frustrated and scared Crocker. More importantly, it led a number of U.S. imperialist corporations and banks to abandon South Africa. In a final act prior to the end of Crocker’s stint as Assistant Secretary of State, the U.S. government refused to refinance the South African debt, the last act of destabilization. It was Botha’s downfall. And his replacement, de Klerk, was thus “convinced” to negotiate with the ANC.
But already, as part of the protracted negotiations process, Botha, the head of the apartheid state, had met face to face with Nelson Mandela, his prisoner. And, prior to that, U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz (Crocker’s boss) had held an unprecedented face to face meeting with Oliver Tambo, the ANC leader in exile.
At the end of his eight years as Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Crocker returned to Georgetown University from which he penned a follow-up Foreign Affairs article, entitled, “Southern Africa: Eight Years Later.” (Fall 1989 issue). Crocker could not suppress his feeling of triumph: “As a result of our efforts, a new regional order is emerging in southern Africa … and there is growing talk on all sides of a new era of negotiations … In the name of ‘new thinking,’ the Soviet leadership has adopted the functional equivalent of Western policy toward this most troubled and perplexing region.” (p. 147) And again, “The strategy of engagement in southern Africa problem-solving — with all its risks — worked better than I had imagined it could.” (p. 148) “The U.S.-mediated regional settlement, reached after years of negotiation, [the December 1988 regional settlement in southwestern Africa] involves a “sweeping series of reciprocal commitments … in which the signatories [Angola, Cuba and South Africa] have established an innovative Joint Commission with the United States and Soviet Union as observers. The Joint Commission reflects another new regional reality: the Soviets have … adopted major tenets of U.S. policy and explicitly endorsed a regional settlement designed in Washington over eight years ago. With our full support(!), they have instituted their own form of diplomatic engagement in southern Africa.” (pp.148 and149, my emphasis)
The Namibia-Angola settlement of December 1988 resulted in the ANC no longer having guerilla bases within reach of South Africa’s borders as all South Africa’s neighbors (the “frontline states”) committed themselves to prevent the launching of guerilla actions from their territories. Crocker pointed out that, “With both East and West now calling for negotiation, and African leaders starting to exploit the openings for diplomacy, a ripple effect of pressures to redefine positions is being felt across the South African political spectrum. This explains the current scramble for position as the government, the ANC, the United Democratic Front, black trade unions and the Zulu-based Inkatha movement all take initiatives to demonstrate their interest in breaking the logjam.” (p.155)
The white settler regime itself was under great pressure to negotiate. “By 1988 a political stalemate had emerged. Growing numbers of South Africans of all races recognized that an ominous economic decline lay down the road. The long brewing loss of confidence by market forces—locally and externally—was followed by politically motivated Western sanctions. South Africa, once the obvious centerpiece of hopes for broader regional development, now featured a collapsed currency, sustained capital export and private capital flight, no fresh money from abroad, reduced access to imported technology, growing black unemployment, higher inflation and interest rates, and declining white living standards.” (page 158) At the same time, Mandela and the ANC felt the pressure to compete with the other Black organizations to be selected as the negotiating “partner” of the Afrikaner regime.
The stage was set for the white supremacist apartheid regime to release Nelson Mandela from prison and to lay the basis for his orderly accession to become the chief of the South African state.
-Mandela: A Man of His Times-
What provided the imperialists with this opportunity was the political journey of Mandela himself.* But Mandela’s journey was itself conditioned by the ebb and flow of the national liberation struggles throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, the deteriorating state of the international communist and workers movement and the nascent socialist camp over the past sixty years, and the capacity of the hegemonic imperialist power to function decisively in defense of the U.S. Empire.
The young Nelson Mandela was a patriotic hero of the South African (Azanian) people. In a feature article for Time Magazine (12-23-13) on the occasion of Mandela’s death, Richard Stengel observed, “Much of Mandela’s belief system came from his youth in the Xhosa tribe and being raised by a local Thembu King after his own father died.”* Stengel recounts how Mandela lived in a grass hut, learned to be a shepherd but then “went off to boarding school” where he would get “a proper Methodist education” and acquire “worldliness and legal training.” To his credit, the young relatively privileged Mandela had a strong sense of justice: “If he, Nelson Mandela, the son of a chief, tall, handsome and educated, could be treated as subhuman, then what about the millions who had nothing like his advantages?”(Stengel)
* Twenty years ago, in the few key years between his release from prison and his successful campaign to be the first Black African President of modern South Africa, that is, in the course of international capital making the delicate transition from open apartheid white supremacist Afrikaner political rule to essentially “Black political rule” with Afrikaner cooperation under continued white western imperialist economic domination, Mandela chose (!) to write his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, with Stengel who was then the managing editor of Time Magazine, one of the most important mass media journals of U.S. imperialism. Was Mandela being vetted by international finance capital for the role of comprador bourgeois chief of South Africa?
For Mandela, a “natural conservative” (Stengel), to embark on the road of revolution and then to embark on the road of armed struggle, when he could have had a privileged position among the sorely oppressed Black majority population if he had chosen the path of least resistance to apartheid, was an act of great courage and commitment to the Azanian masses. It is a tribute to both Mandela and the international communist movement of that time that, as an outstanding patriotic African nationalist, the young Mandela was drawn into this movement at the height of the Stalin-led, Soviet Union-led and Communist International-led ultimately victorious global struggle against fascism in the early 1940’s. As The Economist (12-14-13) Obituary points out, “In the 1950’s he had pictures of Lenin and Stalin on the walls of his home in the Johannesburg township of Orlando. He was influenced by Marx and made common cause with the Communist Party of South Africa … and he continued to the end to hold in deep affection such people as Joe Slovo, the chairman of the party ...” *
* Slovo also followed Mandela as the head of the armed wing of ANC when Mandela went to prison. It is noteworthy that Slovo became an early proponent of support for the arch revisionist and anti-Stalin bourgeois liberal Gorbachev who took the Soviet Union backwards to the doorstep of capitalism.
The Economist continued, “Mr. Mandela insisted he was not a communist, though. He saw the ANC’s bond with the communists as a link with the only group that would treat Africans as equals.* And Mandela saw it as a natural alliance with his enemies’ enemy. He showed no desire for Soviet models, often speaking admiringly of British institutions, even to the point of calling the British Parliament, ‘the most democratic institution in the world.’ Moreover, he was consistent both in the 1950’s, when the ANC was debating its objectives, and 20 years later, when the aims of the ‘liberation movement’ were under discussion, in holding that the movement’s great statement of principles, the Freedom Charter adopted in 1956, was not a commitment to socialism but rather ‘a step toward bourgeois democracy.’”
* Compare to the strikingly similar observation about the CPUSA made by rich white Southern-born Junius Scales as the reason he joined the CPUSA in the mid 1940’s, i.e., it was the only political organization in the USA seriously fighting for Afro-American freedom.
Even during his most advanced period of revolutionary activity, Mandela was clearly a petty bourgeois nationalist revolutionary not a proletarian revolutionary Marxist-Leninist. In fact, according to The Economist, at age 33 (about 1952) Mandela startled his colleagues by announcing that he looked forward to becoming South Africa’s first Black president. He was also proud “to be a member of a royal family as a descendant of Ngubengcuka, one of the Thembu kings from whom he took the traditional name, Madiba.” (ibid.) So Mandela had bourgeois individual ambitions and goals.
Stengel continues: “As a young revolutionary, he was fiery and rowdy. He originally wanted to exclude Indians and communists from the freedom struggle. He was the founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the military wing of the African National Congress, and was considered South Africa’s No. 1 terrorist in the 1950’s. He admired Gandhi … but regarded non-violence as a tactic, not a principle.” (ibid., P. 149)
After Stalin’s death in 1953, Nikita Krushchev, a revisionist intriguer, was able to maneuver to become the Soviet Premier and he began his erratic efforts to try, publicly at least, to bully U.S. imperialism with empty rhetoric. At the same time, he was actually making unprincipled peace with the bulwark of world capitalism, largely by selling out the interests of the international working class and the oppressed peoples. The Soviet-led international communist movement with which Mandela and ANC were so closely linked, was being disrupted and dramatically weakened. By the time Mandela founded “Spear of the Nation” the road of armed struggle undertaken by the ANC and South African Communist Party (SACP), under Khrushchev’s revisionist influence, was to use armed struggle not strategically to win state power but tactically to convince the white supremacist apartheid rulers to negotiate with ANC.* This is why the main emphasis of Spear of the Nation was on destroying buildings, vehicles, etc. rather than trying to defeat enemy troops.
* When Russian revisionist leaders, Kosygin and Brezhnev, ousted the embarrassingly inept Khrushchev in 1964, they, nonetheless, continued his revisionist path of collaboration with imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism. Eventually, Brezhnev and his coterie gave way to the openly bourgeois liberal traitor, Gorbachev. And Gorbachev was ousted by Boris Yeltsin who, if he did not return Russia to the days of the Tsar, definitely re-introduced capitalism in the former USSR.
Nelson Mandela was placed in prison by the apartheid regime in 1964. Twelve years later, he was still imprisoned on Robben Island when the powerful Soweto uprising took place in 1976. In that same year, Jimmy Kruger, Vorster’s Minister for Police, no doubt trying to quell the powerful new uprising, offered Mandela his “freedom” if he would renounce the struggle and settle in the Transkei. To Mandela’s credit, with all the pressures of being deprived of life as a family man for so long, he refused the deal.
Soon thereafter, members of a new generation of militant South African freedom fighters were imprisoned on Robben Island side by side with Mandela and his old ANC colleagues. And there was tension between the ANC veterans who had become used to their institutionalization and the fresh new generation of fighters. A little while later, Mandela was moved with his ANC colleagues into much better prison lodgings at Pollsmoor. But the new improved prison was outfitted with modern surveillance devices, including one-way mirrors and tape recording capabilities throughout their abode. This provided the apartheid regime and U.S. imperialism with intimate knowledge of the agreements and disagreements, the strengths and weaknesses, the loyalties and strains among the key imprisoned ANC leaders.
In fact, against the unanimous vote of his colleagues, Mandela began to meet by himself with representatives of the apartheid regime, including the head of intelligence. In this period, Mandela was provided luxurious prison accommodations at Victor Verster with his own cook and a fancy swimming pool. The facilities were so nice that, upon his release from prison, and with money seemingly no object, Mandela had a replica of his last prison lodgings built in his home village as his permanent home!
Stengel observed: “The man who went into prison in 1962 was hot-headed and easily stung. The man who walked out into the sunshine of the mall in Cape Town 27 years later was measured, even serene. It was a hard won moderation. In prison, he learned to control his anger. He had no choice. And he came to understand that if he was ever to achieve that free and nonracial South Africa of his dreams, he would have to come to terms with his oppressors. He would have to forgive them.” Stengel concludes: “Prison was the crucible that formed the Mandela we know.” (ibid., My emphasis)
Indeed, isn’t that the reason the bestial imperialist enemy and their puppets make such extensive use of imprisonment for liberation fighters — to break their will to resist? Isn’t it during the long years of imprisonment that Mandela came to “forgive the oppressors” and dream Stengel’s and U.S. imperialism’s dream? Of course, during those 27 years, the apartheid regime and their U.S. imperialist allies/sponsors had total control over Mandela’s life. They listened in and tape-recorded his conversations with his fellow ANC comrades, imprisoned with him. The surgical skill with which the apartheid regime and more especially its Anglo-American masters carried out psychological warfare against Mandela was tragically astonishing in its effectiveness and in its success!!
Meanwhile, such outstanding leaders as Steve Biko and Chris Hani were murdered by the same authorities that were meeting with and negotiating with Mandela. Time’s Richard Stengel was with Mandela in April of 1993 when he got the news that Chris Hani, then head of the South African Communist Party, had been assassinated. The murder of Hani, a younger man who was expected to follow Mandela and become the second Black head of the South African state, brought the country closest to going to war, according to Stengel.* Mandela “was preternaturally calm, and after making plans to go to Johannesburg to speak to the nation, he methodically finished eating his breakfast. To prevent that civil war, … he had to demonstrate rocklike strength to the Afrikaner leaders with whom he was negotiating but also show that he was not out for revenge. And he had to show his people that he was not compromising with the enemy. This was an incredibly delicate line to walk …” (p. 152, Time, 12-23-13)
* Was it a coincidence that Stengel was there with Mandela? Notice how precisely Stengel recalls Mandela’s reaction to the terrible news.
According to Mandela himself, “Mr. de Klerk and I spoke privately and agreed that we would not let Hani’s murder derail the negotiations.” “We (ANC) adopted a strategy to deal with our own constituency … to forestall outbreaks of retaliatory violence we arranged a week-long series of mass rallies and demonstrations throughout the country. This would give the people a means of expressing their frustration without resorting to violence.” (Long Walk to Freedom)
In the course of his long life, Mandela was transformed from a
courageous and committed revolutionary nationalist to a comprador
bourgeois, an iconic symbol for hire. He became the key figure in the
U.S. imperialist-led remarkably orderly transition of South Africa from
the brutal white minority apartheid regime to the Black dominated
comprador government with protective security for Afrikaner white
privilege while the political economy of South Africa remained in
the hands of the white western elites, with greater U.S. corporate and
banking participation than ever.
-Opportunism’s Role in the Current Imperialist Drive to Make Mandela a Saint-
Lenin taught that there is a dialectical interconnection between and among the leaders, the party, the class and the masses. He also taught that without the struggle against opportunism, the struggle against imperialism is “a sham and a humbug.”
Upon Mandela’s death, in lockstep with U.S. imperialism, virtually all the reformists, opportunists, Trotskyites, “third world” NGOers, and most of the current communist organizations world-wide (afflicted as they are with narrow bourgeois nationalism) heaped praise on Mandela. This bourgeois liberalism or indifference to the impact of leadership/misleadership on the lives of the class and the masses demonstrates opportunist concern not for the working class and the oppressed masses but for the “great individual.”*
* This was in keeping with the approach they took to Mandela when he served as the secretary-general of the unmistakable by then politically bankrupt and reactionary non-aligned movement in 1998-1999, playing a global comprador role similar to his role in South Africa. The fact that South African opportunists were silent or liberal toward Mandela, the individual, set up the working class and oppressed peoples elsewhere for non-alignment and negotiated surrender to imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism. The fact that opportunism internationally was silent or liberal toward Mandela’s sell out of the interests of the South African (Azanian) working class and masses aided imperialism, headed by U.S. imperialism, in keeping the working people of South Africa in neo-colonial enslavement.
Of course, the U.S. petty-bourgeois radical journal, The Nation waxed eloquent about “Mandela’s Last Gift.” Douglas Foster pushed aside any serious assessment of what has been accomplished in the generation-old post apartheid society. Instead, he showers paeons of praise on the great individual. (January 6/13, 2014) And this is not surprising for a representative of the privileged petty bourgeois of U.S. imperialist society that has benefited from the continued U.S.-led imperialist domination of South Africa with help from Mandela.
Arguably the most cynical and bankrupt praise for Mandela came in the Statement by Lybon Tiyani Mabasa, president of the Socialist Party of Azania (SOP). In “On the Passing of the World’s Greatest Icon,” Mabasa constantly exposed Mandela’s betrayal of the masses. “It still boggles one’s mind to think why Mandela agreed to pay the ‘Apartheid Debt,’ the debt that was not of his people, the debt which was taken to ameliorate white living standards and to the strengthening of all security structures and apparatus, also to agree to the property clause that legislated white advantage and position and thus consolidated Black poverty and disadvantage. It is indeed difficult to understand why Mandela could have agreed to the CODESA settlement in the manner in which it turned out for Black people and the Black working class — a complete sellout settlement.”
And Mabasa is clear on what this betrayal means: “The Mandela government … refused to overtly attack white skin privilege and position which has been the norm for centuries and thereby reinforced Black disadvantage. So it is Black people, in the present dispensation, who in their millions live in tin and card-box shacks, it is Black people in their majority who are landless and homeless, who live far away from the towns and cities where they work, it is them who have no access to better health facilities and education and every conceivable disadvantage is visited upon them.”
However, instead of condemning Mandela’s treacherous leadership from the standpoint of the class and the masses, Mabasa argues (from the bourgeois individual standpoint of the “great leader”) that the fact that Mandela was able to get the Black masses to follow his leadership against their own interests proved that “Nelson Mandela stood head and shoulders above any known political leader today.” (!) This cynicism enables cowardly Mabasa to join the seemingly unanimous chorus of praise for Mandela (conducted by Obama and U.S. imperialism) helping to perpetuate the continuation of a leadership of betrayal of the South African working class and masses.
Mabasa is the senior leader of SOPA which is the South African (Azanian) affiliate of the Trotskyite Fourth International (ICR). The Organizer, the U.S. magazine produced by Fourth International (ICR) U.S. affiliate Socialist Organizer was possibly embarrassed by Mabasa’s extreme cynicism. At any rate, the Organizer chose to publish a second, more substantive and serious review of Mandela and the South African revolution by Professor Ashwan Desai of the University of Johannesburg.
Desai observes: “Rather than Mandela illuminating the path to freedom from poverty and inequality, the first years of the ANC government were marked by a series of policy U-turns.” Among other points, “…in 1999, Minister of Finance Trevor Manuel allowed big business to delist from Johannesburg and relist on the London Stock Exchange. Some of the biggest companies decamped with apartheid’s plunder: Anglo-American, DeBeers diamonds, … “Mandela gave the butcher [Suharto] the highest honour for a foreigner … and after an $850 million IMF loan in late 1993, Bretton Woods Institution dictats were slavishly followed.” Desai quotes Ronnie Kasrils, the former Intelligence Minister in the ANC government, who said that in this crucial early period, “the battle for the ANC’s soul got under way, and was eventually lost to corporate power: We were entrapped by the neoliberal economy- or, as some today cry out, we ‘sold our people down the river.’” (Quote cited by Desai from The Guardian, 6-24-13)
Desai concludes: “Today, the ANC is a very different organization to the one that existed in 1990. The composition of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC), once the preserve of working class exiles and former political prisoners, is now populated by CEO’s and millionaires and billionaires.” Desai continues, “Mandela, too, was showered with a small fortune by friendly tycoons after his release from 27 years in prison in 1990, sufficient to amass a $10 million asset base in six short years …”
With all his substantial criticism, Desai, like his fellow Trotskyite, Mabasa, nevertheless shrinks from condemning Mandela’s betrayal of the working class and the masses of Azania. Says Desai, “Mandela’s bravery, mistake(s), wisdom, and retreat are what they are. He did what he thought he needed to do … His time, and all it symbolized, is over.” Like Mabasa, Desai rejects the Leninist standpoint of the working class in favor of taking the subjective standpoint of the “great bourgeois individual.” In reality, Desai knows that “Mandela-mania” is alive and well and is a current significant obstacle to the South African working class and masses winning their freedom.
Beyond the reformists and Trotskyites, most Maoists, still clinging to remnants of the bankrupt, bourgeois nationalist “Three Worlds Theory,” issued platitudes of support for Mandela’s “general” role as a liberation fighter. They failed to make a concrete analysis of the concrete conditions, as Lenin had taught, and therefore missed the fundamental arc of change from liberation fighter to comprador that Mandela’s personal journey involved. They thus failed to “combat liberalism” as Mao tse-tung himself had taught. Filled with self-satisfied sectarianism and bourgeois narrow nationalism, many of these Maoists, are only concerned about the situation in their own country, having rejected Lenin’s position that proletarian internationalism is the very foundation of our movement.
A bit more surprising is the fact that even parties which had broken with Mao and the Chinese CP in the late 1970’s and supported the more proletarian approach of Enver Hoxha and the Albanian Party of Labor at that time are today afflicted with the same kind of bourgeois nationalist preoccupation with the struggle in their own country. For example, the “Declaration of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador (PCE-ML),” a serious party, nevertheless, provides no deep concrete analysis of the concrete conditions in South Africa. Consequently, the PCE-ML has no material basis for examining the actual role that Nelson Mandela played in the 1940’s, the 1960’s, the 1990’s when he was president of South Africa, etc. And this lack of a serious analysis demonstrates a lack of real respect and concern for the South African working class and masses. Such an approach shows how riddled with narrow nationalism the international communist movement is today.
One bright spot in the pantheon of the international communist movement on the question of Nelson Mandela and his legacy in South Africa and the world has been provided by the Communist Party India, Marxist-Leninist, the CPI (ML). In their article, “Remembering Nelson Mandela” (Red Star, February 2014), the CPI (ML) comrades live up to their generally consistent proletarian internationalist outlook by presenting the dialectical truth. CPI (ML) points out: “While world attention was focused on the talks between Mandela and de Klerk, leader of the ruling National Party, the less noticed economic negotiations between the ANC and the government was a sell out by the ANC.”
The comrades cite John Pilger who observed that, “The most important ‘historic compromise’ was made not with the apartheid regime, but with the forces of Western and white South African capital, which changed their allegiance from FW de Klerk to Nelson Mandela on condition that their multinational corporations would not be obstructed … and that the ANC would drop the ‘foolish promises’ in its Freedom Charter about equity and the country’s natural resources ‘belonging to the people.’”(Cited from “The View from Dimbaza” in Hidden Agendas)
The CPI (ML) correctly concludes that, “Post apartheid South Africa is a matter of shame for Mandela and the ANC.” Yet they find positive advice from Mandela himself upon which to end their article. In 1993 (a year before he came to the Presidency), while addressing the Special Congress of COSATU (the trade union federation), Mandela, in conformity with the Leninist approach to the working class and masses, said: “You must support the African National Congress only so far as it delivers the goods, if the ANC does not deliver the goods, you must do to it what you have done to the apartheid regime.”
As we have pointed out over many decades now:
With Leninism, even in an objectively unfavorable situation, victories.
Without Leninism, even in an objectively favorable situation, defeats.
LONG LIVE LENINISM!
TOWARD A NEW COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL!
Still stumped?! See answer below to front page mystery quotation.
Answer: Sheila Bair, former chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC), had to liquidate hundreds of smaller banks during this crisis. The Nation’s William Grieder, in his 3/3/14 article, “The Federal Reserve at 100 and why it needs a total overhaul,” describes Bair as “a conservative Republican, an insider disgusted with the failure of her fellow regulators.”
The AFL-CIO Road to Ruin: Part III
by RAY LIGHT
The previous two issues of Ray O’ Light Newsletter (Numbers 81 and 82) featured front page articles dealing with the current treacherous class collaborationist leadership of the AFL-CIO, at the head of the organized section of the U.S. working class.
The first article was our assessment of the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention, a convention which is now held only once every four years. We exposed the fact that the convention theme of “inclusiveness,” while, on the surface, “welcoming” new and non-traditional community “allies” to join the ranks of organized labor, actually represented the watering down of the concept of union membership and served to weaken the rights and authority of the current members in relation to the union bureaucracy. (It is no wonder the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), arguably the most democratic, militant and internationalist U.S. union today, had been forced out.) The presence of hundreds of invited guests from “solidarity partners” such as labor support coalitions, public policy groups, student, feminist and community organizations et al., masked the inability, the unwillingness, the utter failure of the current Richard Trumka-led AFL-CIO officialdom, hog-tied politically to U.S. monopoly capitalism and imperialism through the Democratic Party, to defend the interests of the current union members.
The second article dealt with the direct intervention, mid-contract, of International Association of Machinists’ (IAM) President (and AFL-CIO Vice President) R. Thomas Buffenbarger on the side of Boeing Corporation, with its record profits, in order to help (along with the major Democratic Party politicians of Washington state) this monopoly corporation to reap even greater profits at the expense of the thousands of IAM members in the Boeing locals in the Seattle, Washington area, including the largest local in the entire union.
It is very encouraging that a reform slate is currently running for
the IAM national leadership against the Buffenbarger machine in a
re-run of a protested election. And it is all the more encouraging that
this reform slate now includes two Seattle-area Boeing worker
activists, fresh from the contract re-opener struggle in which
Buffenbarger openly betrayed the working class rank and file of his own union! (See the accompanying photo, courtesy of March 2014 Labor Notes, to see what angry and committed union members look like.)
Here is our attempt to answer this question.
We have ended each of the first two articles dealing with the current AFL-CIO leadership’s Road to Ruin for the U.S. working class with the following: In opposition to the bureaucratic leadership of the AFL-CIO: The Path to Working Class Gains against Wall Street Capital and ultimately for Power for the U.S. working class over capital has to begin with this: We’ve got to fight the powers that be! Bob King, President of the once powerful United Auto Workers (UAW), does everything he can to avoid such a struggle. He even supports the powers that be whenever he possibly can.
On February 14th Corporate America handed the UAW and President King, a Valentine’s Day card carrying a message of just how little the love expressed for automobile corporations by the King-led UAW bureaucracy is reciprocated by the corporations, and the U.S. monopoly capitalists and imperialists in general.* On that day, with an 89% turnout, the UAW lost the election at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, TN with 626 votes for the UAW and 712 votes for no union.
* In Europe, where the working class (in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Russia and others) has fought for its own class power as well as aided the rising capitalist class to defeat the feudal nobility and come to state power, there is an historical role of class consciousness and of Social Democracy that has been largely absent from the historical experience of the U.S. working class. This helps account for the difference in the ways that Volkswagen and its political representatives try to control its workers and the more directly oppressive and anti-union ways that U.S. corporations with their politicians do.
King thought that he had a guaranteed victory since the German automaker had indicated in a number of ways that the corporation wanted the workers to vote for UAW! Among other things: When workers at the VW plant had started collecting signed cards of support for UAW in March 2012, they got almost immediate help from the company. Frank Patta, secretary general of VW’s global works council, came to Chattanooga that June and told workers it was to their advantage to have a German-style works council. At the time, VW’s global council chief, Bernd Osterloh, stated that, “Of course, we will support the UAW …” (“4 key VW Decisions shaped vote’s course,” Gabe Nelson)
That same month VW announced the retirement of the president of Volkswagen of America who was openly hostile to unions. Seen as another clear sign of VW’s support for the UAW, this conviction was only strengthened in January 2013 when VW appointed Frank Patta’s brother as the Chattanooga plant’s human resources director. Later that year a human resources board member at Volkswagen, AG announced that VW would need to have a union in order to set up a works council, under U.S. law. Even though any union would have suited that purpose, the corporation concluded that “UAW would be the natural partner.” “With this stamp of approval, the UAW campaigned all summer in Chattanooga alongside its German counterpart, IG Metall.” The representative of the German union encouraged the Tennessee workers not to be the “odd man out” “since VW had works councils at nearly all its global plants.” (ibid.)
Really out of touch with the Chattanooga workers, the UAW “organizers” apparently thought they had 70 to 80 percent on their side as election time approached. Despite this fact, in preparation for the February 12-14 election, the UAW and VW signed a 22-page “neutrality agreement” on January 27th. Evidently, in the spirit of the Valentine Day’s vote, labor writer Steve Early referred to the overtures from the UAW to the corporation as its “own distinctive charm offensive aimed at winning over VW management.” (Counterpunch, 2-19-14)
While neutrality agreements can be quite positive for unions and worker activists in a real union organizing drive, this agreement virtually ensured that no real struggle for a union would be waged. In exchange for union access to the workroom floor the UAW gave up fundamentals such as: a. home visits to workers to discuss the issues with them and their families away from the company’s influence; b. the right to strike or picket for a first contract; and c. the right to say negative things about the company during the campaign.
Even more outrageous, the UAW pledged to support the creation of an elected “works council” composed of both union-represented hourly workers and non-union salaried workers and to “delegate functions and responsibilities ordinarily belonging to a union” to the council so the latter could engage in “co-determination with the employer.” In line with this abject surrender of authority, the UAW committed itself in writing “to maintaining and where possible enhancing the cost advantages and other competitive advantages that Volkswagen enjoys relative to its competitors in the United States.”
Given this unprecedented level of class collaboration, it’s surprising that the UAW received as many votes as it did. However, since many UAW voters were casting that union vote because they trust the company which encouraged them to vote UAW, if the majority had voted for UAW, it still may not have represented anything more positive for the working class than the no union vote!! The No vote at least can serve as a wake-up call for those in the labor movement that are committed to fighting for economic and social justice for working people.
In defeat, Bob King and the UAW top brass blamed the Republican politicians in Tennessee who, at the eleventh hour, threatened the workers with loss of contracts and jobs if they voted union. Yet, the only unusual aspect of this is that such threats usually come from within the companies being organized.* King’s complaint is in line with his company stooge status, i.e. “we had a deal.” It also serves him well as a loyal flunkey for the Democratic Party wing of the U.S. imperialist ruling “Republicrat” Party.
* King’s rhetorical declaration that “never before in this country have we seen … [political leaders]” threaten workers, etc. etc. just provided him with excuses for his sorry and treacherous leadership of the autoworkers in this country. Even he knows how much worse the violence from Ford’s private thugs and the police and national guard as well as the verbal threats of state violence by Michigan Governor Murphy and others against the auto workers were in the very founding of the United Auto Workers Union-CIO in the 1930’s. The UAW’s “patron saint,” Walter Reuther, was blinded in one eye by a gun thug in the employ of the automakers. But, at least in that period, Reuther could still see out of his other eye. King may have twenty-twenty vision but he’s blind when it comes to defending the interests of his members.
We should remember that it was none other than Bob King who had spoken for organized labor at the 2012 Democratic Party National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Keeping strict party discipline, the Democrats had carefully avoided using the term, “working class,” using instead “middle class” and “working families” to describe the people who make up the party’s working class base. In an article more than a year ago, comrade Mike S. described the situation, as follows: In the closing comments of his nationally televised speech, “he [King] made an error and started to say the words ‘working class’ instead of ‘working families.’ King literally choked over the letter ‘C’ in the word ‘class’ as he quickly corrected himself.” (A Labor Movement Lacking “Class,” Ray O’Light Newsletter #76, January-February 2013)
Comrade Mike continued, “With elected leaders of the working class union movement, like the UAW’s King, choking on the words ‘working class’ is it any wonder why workers are disarmed and find themselves with little organized power in the fight against their class enemy? Thus, it should come as little surprise that in the state of Michigan, the birthplace and largest base of the UAW, the U.S. union movement was just dealt a severe blow. Anti-union forces, funded by the right-wing corporate Koch brothers … were successful in passing right to work legislation. … So what was UAW President King’s response to the class war waged against the workers in the industrial heartland? He was taken aback that the legislation was supported by the governor. King pledged that organized labor would support candidates in the future who want to ‘take care of everybody’ and that union attorneys would look into ways to repeal the laws. Anything but class struggle!” (ibid.)
So it was that, when questioned by the Washington Post about the UAW agreement in advance to cost containment, King responded: “Our philosophy is, we want to work in partnership with companies to succeed … .With every company we work with we’re concerned about competitiveness.” If one were not so outraged, and if the answer were not so obvious, one would be tempted to reply in the words of the old U.S. union miners’ song: “Which side are you on?”
Other lessons from the UAW defeat include:
1. In line with our exposure of the bankruptcy of the 2013 AFL-CIO Convention’s “inclusiveness,” Chattanooga labor and community activists reported that the UAW organizing “campaign” kept them out of any role, even when perhaps a few hundred approached the union about the need to take on the concerted attacks that were being launched against the union in the local community. This is all the more true in the historic anti-labor bastion of the USA, the South. According to Labor Fightback Network, “Community activists said they had a hard time finding ways to coordinate solidarity efforts with the UAW, whose campaign they saw as insular rather than community-based.” Of course, if one is not engaged in a struggle, there is no need for “allies.”
2. White supremacy among white workers in the South (and elsewhere) is still a significant obstacle to working class unity.* Commercial billboards used by Corporate America in the anti-union campaign pushed the reactionary button of white supremacy by slandering Detroit and blaming its current problems on the UAW and by calling the United Auto Workers the “United Obama Workers.”
* So is narrow nationalism among the generally more militant Black and Latino workers who often don’t use their advanced understanding and commitment to the class struggle to show the more backward white workers what working class solidarity on the workroom floor can accomplish.
3. Speaking of President Obama, it is noteworthy that the U.S.
government bailout of U.S. auto companies General Motors and Chrysler
included the Obama-led agreement by the UAW leadership to establish
two-tier contracts to cut union auto worker wages down to the
level of the non-union (foreign) automakers. The fact that the UAW,
prior to the vote, committed to maintaining VW’s competitive position
vis-à-vis other auto companies was used by the anti-union forces to
underscore the fact that the UAW was not going to increase the workers’
4. As we pointed out in both the first and second articles on this subject, the AFL-CIO bureaucracy has no respect for the working class, including its own members. Organizing 101 would teach that a functioning organizing committee of rank and file workers needs to be empowered in the organizing campaign process. And such a committee gives the undecided workers a glimpse of the opportunity for a voice on the job. By failing to provide such a vehicle for dignity and respect for themselves and each other, the UAW was only able to get workers to remain passive victims in support of the status quo. So some workers voted for the union because the boss told them to! Others voted against because the UAW couldn’t do anything for them financially and/or because the UAW had already negotiated an agreement with the corporation without consulting them and at their expense. Either way, as was reported in several publications, the two “sides” in this “campaign” were able to be amicable to each other because so little was actually at stake for the workers.
As Lenin so well described the Kings, Buffenbargers and Trumkas over one hundred years ago, “… The bourgeoisie of an imperialist ‘Great Power’ can economically bribe the upper strata of ‘its’ workers by spending on this a hundred million or so francs a year, for its super-profits most likely amount to about a thousand million … On the economic basis referred to above, the political institutions of modern capitalism -— press, parliament, associations, congresses, etc. — have created political privileges for the respectful, meek, reformist, and patriotic office employees and workers, corresponding to the economic privileges and sops. Lucrative and soft jobs in the government or on the war industries committees, in parliament and on diverse committees, on the editorial staffs of ‘respectable’ legally published newspapers or on the management councils of no less respectable and ‘bourgeois law-abiding’ trade unions — this is the bait by which the imperialist bourgeoisie attracts and rewards the representatives and supporters of the ‘bourgeois labor parties.’” (Lenin’s emphasis except for my bold, Imperialism and the Split in Socialism, 1916)
At the heart of this latest UAW debacle lies the fact that the current AFL-CIO bureaucracy, after more than sixty years of loyal service to the hegemonic imperialist power, U.S. imperialism, is dominated by “respectful, meek, reformist, and patriotic” managers of no less respectable and “bourgeois law-abiding” trade unions such as Bob King. Now that the U.S. Empire is in decline, now that U.S. hegemony is being lost and U.S. imperialism can no longer bribe such a large strata of its own working class with crumbs from it exploitation and oppression of the rest of the international working class and the oppressed nations, such sellout leaders have no capacity to mobilize the increasingly hard-pressed U.S. working class for struggle against capital. As should be clear from this article, Bob King cannot even conceive of such a struggle.
Bob King’s frivolous and bankrupt negotiations with the VW corporation in Tennessee behind the backs of the VW workers not only alienated those workers but raises the question of whether U.S. auto workers will defend such a bankrupt organization as the current UAW under the King leadership. For the U.S. working class, the most dangerous implication of the UAW defeat at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant is that it can become a monopoly capitalist springboard for a U.S. auto industry-wide drive to eliminate the UAW entirely! The specter of such an anti-union campaign should be haunting the entire AFL-CIO bureaucracy because it could potentially bring the entire ossified house of labor down.
Again, In opposition to the bureaucratic leadership of the
AFL-CIO: The Path to Working Class Gains against Wall Street Capital
and ultimately for Power for the U.S. working class over capital has to
begin with this: We’ve got to fight the powers that be!
*A good bumper sticker reads, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” If you are
paying attention, please send me the items that are enraging you.
Thanks to comrade Lea Charles for submitting the items in this issue.
- the Editor
Sixteen people were killed in stampedes at job centers in Nigeria on March 16, 2014. Hospital officials and the Nigerian Red cross said many seriously injured patients were admitted, and the death toll could rise.
500,000 applicants had been invited to apply for 4,556 job vacancies! In Nigeria youth aged 24 and younger have an official unemployment of 38% but a real rate nearer to 80%, according to the World Bank. Yet, Interior Minister Abba Moro disgustingly said, applicants “jumped through the fences of affected (job) centers and did not conduct themselves in an orderly manner” and they “lost their lives through their impatience.” Incredibly, each applicant had paid about six dollars for the right to take tests at the application centers. The corrupt Nigerian government collected about $3 million from the desperate applicants.
Several issues ago, Ray O’ Light Newsletter #80, we began using a new format. Over the next few issues, including this one, we will continue with this new format. We would greatly appreciate your feedback. In a few more months we will evaluate the responses of our readers, our contacts and our membership to determine whether to keep the new format, go back to the old one or do some other modifications.
— Is the new format encouraging you to read the Newsletter more or to read more of it?
— Do you like the increased number of cartoons and photos? The mystery quotation?
— Do you prefer the old format? If so, why?
— Do you have any other suggestions for making the Newsletter a more attractive, more effective and more educational tool for helping to empower the U.S. and international working class and the oppressed peoples?
We look forward to your fraternal, supportive and constructive criticisms and suggestions.
Ray O. Light –Editor
(Please respond to: Boxholder, 607 Boylston Street, Lower Level Box 464, Boston, MA 02116, USA)
the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA
Snowden’s revelations … of NSA spying on everyone in the US ... dramatically confirm our exposure of the U.S. Empire’s war of terror at home against us as well as abroad against the rest of the peoples of the world. In their immortal call to the workers of the world, Marx and Engels revealed that we have “nothing to lose but our chains and a world to win.”
LET’S STRUGGLE FOR WORKERS POWER IN THE HEARTLAND OF THE U.S. EMPIRE!
TOWARD A SOVIET SOCIALIST USA!
—Ray Light [Introduction, p. xxxi]
(518 pages, illustrated)
Write to: Boxholder, 607 Boylston St., Lower Level Box 464, Boston, MA 02116, USA
Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL), USA is a revolutionary working class organization that fights for working class power and the elimination of all human exploitation. Ray O’ Light Newsletter is the regular publication of ROL, USA. We believe, with comrade Lenin, that the working class “… needs the truth and there is nothing so harmful to its cause as plausible, respectable petty bourgeois lies.” In the spirit of Karl Marx who taught that “our theory is not a dogma but a guide to action,” we welcome your comments.
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