May-June 2014
Number 84
Publication of the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA


Ukraine: Current Focal Point of the U.S.-Led Imperialist War Drive


Also included in this issue:
AFL-CIO Road to Ruin: Part IV, Hoffa–Led Teamsters Top Brass Sells Out UPS Workers
“People’s Cry for Justice” (poem) by Professor Jose Maria Sison
Note to Readers

Do You Know Who Said It??

“We are confronted with the belief among some that bigger nations can bully smaller ones to get their way --- that recycled maxim that might somehow makes right.”

Hint: This statement was made immediately after the overwhelming majority of the people of Crimea had voted to leave the Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Was it the comment of a Russian or Crimean political spokesman or someone else?

–Still stumped?   See below.

The picturesque cover of the 4-19 to 4-25-14 edition of the British ruling class newsweekly, The Economist, is a fancifully rendered map of western Russia, Ukraine and the Black Sea. Russia is imaginatively drawn as a big, hungry bear about to devour Ukraine and the word “Insatiable” is presented in large black type so that the cover’s message is unmistakably clear. (For this Economist’s cover–see page 3 of this Newsletter.)

However, it would be a real mistake for the working people of the USA and the workers and oppressed masses of the world to believe that this Disney cartoon-like fantasy map contains a real explanation for the events of the past few months involving Ukraine, Crimea and Russia.

The truth is just the opposite. As U.S. imperialist apologist G. John Ikenberry observes in the current issue of the authoritative Foreign Affairs quarterly journal, “As worrisome [for U.S. imperialism] as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s moves in Crimea have been, they reflect Russia’s geopolitical vulnerability, not its strength.” Ikenberry substantiates his argument as follows: “Over the last two decades, the West has crept closer to Russia’s borders. In 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland entered NATO. They were joined in 2004 by seven more former members of the Soviet bloc, and in 2009, by Albania and Croatia. In the meantime, six former Soviet republics have headed down the path to membership by joining NATO’s Partnership for Peace program. … even though Putin is winning some small battles, he is losing the war. Russia is not on the rise; to the contrary, it is experiencing one of the greatest geopolitical contractions of any major power in the modern era.” (page 86, “The Illusion of Geopolitics,” Foreign Affairs, May-June 2014)

In this context, it is more accurate to view “the Russian bear,” surrounded by U.S and NATO military bases, and isolated politically and economically as well, like a cornered animal. It is the insatiable appetite of U.S.-led imperialism for maximum private profit that has finally provoked the Russian bear to lash out and fight back.

-The Debate On the U.S.-led Response to Russia’s Annexation of Crimea-

The Economist’s lead article, like its front cover in the 4-19 to 4-25 edition, is also entitled “Insatiable.” It strongly editorializes for the western imperialist powers to “stand up” to Putin’s Russia right now in order to stifle and suppress the momentum caused by Russia’s successful annexation of Crimea.* Among The Economist recommendations: NATO military exercises in central and eastern Europe, “strengthen air and cyber defenses there and immediately send some troops, missiles and aircraft to the Baltics and Poland … [and] NATO members should … increase their military spending.”  The article also recommends increasing economic and financial sanctions against powerful Russians and “cut Russia off from dollars, euros and sterling” which would “deprive Russia of revenues from oil and gas exports, priced in dollars, and force it to draw on reserves to pay for most of its imports.”(page 11)

* Incredibly, the article admits Crimea “should have been Russian all along.”

Most of the other four or five articles on Ukraine and Russia that appeared in the same issue of The Economist were much more nuanced than the “insatiable” cover and lead article or even contradicted them. The article focusing on financial sanctions (“Turning off the taps”) explained that, “Finance is the obvious place to start because of the pre-eminence of the dollar, America’s central role in the clearing of cross-border bank and credit-card transactions, and the American-led globalization of money-laundering compliance.” Nevertheless, while pointing out that even the limited sanctions already applied had had a “chilling effect on business in Russia,” the article admits that “sanctions will have collateral damage; hit Rosneft and you hurt BP, which owns 20% of it, and ExxonMobil, its partner in various projects around the world.” Furthermore, the article points to the likelihood of “countermeasures” that the Russian government could take against “foreign investors” or against “American banks and exchanges.”

A second article on business in Russia focuses on the already weakened ruble. But it also points to “a long promised deal for Gazprom to sell gas to China. Rosneft is seeking to treble its exports of oil to China. Sukhoi, a state-owned aircraft-maker, has just struck a deal to sell a fleet of small passenger jets to a Chinese airline … But its plane is chock full of key parts from American and European suppliers and thus its production is vulnerable to any tightening of sanctions.” Both these articles make clear that punitive measures against Russia are an even more complicated undertaking for U.S. and western finance capital than in the past. The increased internationalization of finance capital makes it even more of a priority to precisely “follow the money.”

Even the most alarming-sounding article, “Boys from the blackstuff,” dealing with “Russian-inspired occupations in the industrial east” in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea, observes that “Mr. Putin … seems unlikely to want to annex any more of the country.” Still more noteworthy is the matter of fact statement in the article’s conclusion that, “Russia wants to turn Ukraine back into a buffer state …”

It is this admission that Russia desires to have Ukraine as “a buffer state” that gives the lie to the whole propaganda campaign of U.S.-led imperialism against the allegedly “aggressive” Putin and Russia.

The May/June 2014 issue of Foreign Affairs contains three articles (including Ikenberry’s) that address the current crisis in Ukraine. Reminiscent of The Economist’s 4-19 to 4-25 “hungry bear” cover, Jeffrey Mankoff’s article is entitled, “Russia’s Latest Land Grab.” Mankoff, Deputy Director and Fellow in the Russian and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, opens with the following dramatic declaration: “Russia’s occupation and annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in February and March have plunged Europe into one of its gravest crises since the end of the Cold War.”

But Mankoff then provides some historical perspective, pointing out that, “since the early 1990’s, Russia has either directly supported or contributed to the emergence of four breakaway ethnic regions in Eurasia: … [Transnistria, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh] … in which the splinter territories remain beyond the control of the central governments and the local de facto authorities enjoy Russian protection and influence.” Furthermore, he observes that “In each of those cases, Russia intervened when it felt its influence was threatened.”

“…   In Ukraine, once again, Moscow has intervened to stop a former Soviet republic’s possible drift out of Russia’s orbit and has justified its actions as a response to ethnic persecution, the claims of which are exaggerated.”* Mankoff also acknowledges that one reason the Russian government has regarded the Crimean peninsula as being so strategically important is that it already hosted Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

* Notice Mankoff refers to the claims as “exaggerated” not false, an admission that there is indeed “ethnic persecution” going on under the pro-Western government in Kiev that deposed and replaced the elected Yanukovych regime. More on this later.

Mankoff presents Putin’s plan to push economic and political integration with post-Soviet states. For example, Putin wants to form a Eurasian Union, a new supranational bloc directly modeled on the EU that he wants to launch in 2015. Evidently, Belarus and Kazakhstan have already signed on; and Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have expressed interest. Without Ukraine joining, this Eurasian bloc will not be capable of becoming a cultural and geopolitical alternative to the West. Mankoff explains that the prospect of the Kiev government signing an association agreement with the EU back in November would have meant the permanent exclusion of  Ukraine from the Eurasian Union. It led Putin to offer President Yanukovych Russian loan guarantees so that he would reject the deal with the EU. As Mankoff points out, Yanukovych’s refusal to sign on with EU spawned the protests that toppled him. And the interim Kiev government, loaded with pro Nazi fascists and put in by the Western imperialists, signed the agreement with EU. This in turn has led to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the current turmoil in Ukraine.

Clearly, even according to Mankoff, these recent events in Ukraine were precipitated by the U.S.-led western imperialist encroachments into this key former Soviet state on Russia’s border.

The second article was written by Walter Russell Mead, a Bard College professor and the Editor-at-Large of The American Interest; he also provides the Foreign Affairs book reviews on The United States. Of the three articles by these U.S. imperialist apologists, Mead’s argument contains the strongest rose-colored glasses by far. His article has the surprising title, “The Return of Geopolitics.” For Mead argues that U.S. imperialism and its western European imperialist allies, far from having a geopolitical agenda, have been selflessly attempting to “construct a post-historical, win-win world.” (!)  According to Mead, Russia, especially in seizing Crimea, has (along with China and Iran) undermined the USA and EU both of whom “would rather move past geopolitical questions of territory and military power and focus instead on ones of world order and global governance.” “Indeed,” continues Mead, “since the end of the Cold War, the most important objective of U.S. and EU foreign policy has been to shift international relations away from zero-sum issues toward win-win ones.” (Is he writing these things with a straight face?! What world has Mead been living in since 9-11-01, during the unending Bush-Obama war of terror on the peoples of the world, including in the USA?!)

The third article is G. John Ikenberry’s “The Illusion of Geopolitics,” cited earlier in this document. Its subtitle is “The Enduring Power of the Liberal Order.” As the Foreign Affairs Book Reviewer for Political and Legal books, it seems likely that Ikenberry was asked by Pete Peterson, the billionaire publisher of Foreign Affairs, to write an article to provide a reassuring counterbalance to what Ikenberry refers to as “Mead’s alarmism” in response to Russia’s successful annexation of Crimea. Ikenberry delivers.

He ridicules Mead’s thesis that since the end of the Cold War, “the United States has ignored geopolitical issues involving territory and spheres of influence and instead adopted a Pollyannaish emphasis on building the global order.” Exposing the “false dichotomy” that Mead makes between issues of global order and geopolitical conflict, Ikenberry reveals the fact that, “the construction of a U.S.-led global order did not begin with the end of the Cold War; it won the Cold War.” (page 81)

Like Mankoff and Mead (as well as The Economist writers), Ikenberry is an imperialist apologist. He claims that, in the post WWII period, geopolitics and order building converged and that, “with some important exceptions, such as Vietnam, the United States has embraced postimperial principles.”(!) (My emphasis) He finds no contradiction between his assertion, on the one hand, that U.S. “power is still unrivalled” based on its far reaching military presence and, on the other, the U.S. Empire’s allegedly “postimperial principles.” To this end, he cites the fact that “Washington and its allies account for more than 75 percent of global military spending”(page 87) and that “the United States boasts military partnerships with more than 60 countries, whereas Russia counts eight formal allies and China has just one (North Korea).”(page 82)

But Ikenberry’s biggest reason for continued confidence in U.S.-led imperialism, even in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, is the fact that “China and Russia have become deeply integrated into the existing international order. They are both permanent members of the UN Security Council, with veto rights, and they both participate actively in the World Trade Organization, The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the G-20. They are geopolitical insiders, sitting at all the high tables of global governance.” (page 88)

Ikenberry concludes that China and Russia “wish to enhance their positions within the system, but they are not trying to replace it.” (page 89)

- Russia’s Putin as a Stooge for U.S. Imperialism-

Less than nine months ago, Vladimir Putin politically rescued U.S. imperialist chieftain Obama from the corner into which he had painted himself in a build-up to a major U.S. imperialist war against the Syrian Regime! As I pointed out at the time, “Had Congress voted on a bill to authorize an attack on Syria in the days immediately following the President’s September 10th speech, there is no doubt that the bill would have been defeated in the U.S. House and in all likelihood in the Senate as well. Reflecting the current anti-war mood and will of the people, Congress would have represented a formidable, democratic opposition to an unjust imperialist war.” (“Obama: Drum Major for Imperialist War,” Ray O’Light  Newsletter #80, September-October 2013)

There seemed to be no way out for Obama until he and Putin met secretly in Moscow during the G-20 Summit just ahead of the scheduled speech.* Putin and Obama met and “agreed to cooperate with each other on an effort to take from the Syrian government and ‘secure’ the Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles. Putin’s cooperation with Obama immediately allowed U.S. imperialism to break out of its international isolation on Syria.” (ibid., emphasis in original)

* Obama had declared to the world that he would not meet with Putin during the Moscow Summit to protest Russia’s harboring of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In the days that followed, Putin was crucial to the successful efforts to get the Assad Regime in Syria to agree to get rid of its chemical weapons stockpiles and even extended this major deal with Obama and U.S. imperialism to include cooperation from the Iranian regime.*

* Additionally, Ikenberry refers to the fact that U.S. imperialism had been successful in making Iran “the target of the strongest international sanctions regime ever assembled, with help from China and Russia.” (opus cit., page 87, my emphasis)

Putin must have been stunned when he realized, so soon thereafter, that Obama and the U.S.-led major imperialist powers of Western Europe had convinced the corrupt Yanukovych Regime in Ukraine to move decisively into the European Union orbit. This is the provocation that led Putin to provide loan guarantees for Ukraine that led Yanukovych to opt to move closer to Russia. This in turn led to the western-inspired “street demonstrations” that led to the ouster of Yanukovych by Ukrainian fascist elements around the Svoboda party and the Right Sector. Among the first actions of the rump Rada or parliament were to terminate the official status of Russian and Greek as minority languages, rescinding the Crimea’s autonomy and outlawing the Ukrainian Communist Party. The new unelected pro-western and chauvinistic government in Kiev thus scared the Russian-speaking enclaves throughout eastern Ukraine and especially the people on the Crimean Peninsula who rushed into the embrace of Putin’s Russia.*

* The one humorous aspect to this serious situation was the spectacle of Barack Obama, still wrapped in his wretched and tattered costume of “U.S. Democracy,” trying to explain to the peoples of the world why the vote by the overwhelming majority of the Crimean people to become part of Russia should be considered “illegitimate.”

It is no wonder, too, that imperialist apologists like Walter Russell Mead and The Economist writers are extremely worried about how quickly and decisively the Putin government ceased functioning as a stooge for U.S. imperialism (at least for the moment) and made the bold move of annexing Crimea. And this has led to a general uprising of Russian speakers throughout Ukraine that Putin is trying to help the U.S.-led imperialists to contain!

-The Contradiction Among the Imperialist Countries and Groupings-

Comrade Lenin taught that, along with the contradiction between labor and capital and the contradiction between the hundreds of millions (now billions) of colonial and dependent peoples of the world and the handful of “civilized” (i.e. bestial) oppressor nations or “great powers,” the other fundamental contradiction plaguing imperialism as the last, dying stage of capitalism is the contradiction between and among the imperialist powers and groupings themselves.

The brief period of time between Putin’s rescue of Obama on Syria and Obama’s and western imperialism’s attempt to further isolate Russia economically and militarily by removing Ukraine from its orbit underscores the fact that this fundamental contradiction is an objective phenomenon. Russian and U.S. imperialism are partner-rivals. U.S.-led western imperialism, just like Russian imperialism is motivated by the constant need for maximum private profit. It is a fundamental weakness of the political-economic system of imperialism that cannot be wished away or signed away by treaties and other paper promises. Regarding Ukraine, we can hear Obama saying to Putin: “Nothing personal; it’s just business.” And, regarding Crimea, we now hear Putin saying to Obama: “Nothing personal; it’s just business.”

The Russian oligarchs have their own interests that have conflicted and will, in the future, conflict even more sharply with the interests of Wall Street finance capital. When Putin or other political representatives of the Russian monopoly capitalist class feel sufficiently threatened or find the opportunity/need to struggle against U.S. imperialism they will do so by whatever means are at hand. Economic, political and military blocs have been formed and will continue to be formed until such a time when a major war will break out so as to settle on a new redivision of the world or until the international working class leads humanity in putting an end to imperialist war and plunder and human exploitation entirely.

CONCLUSION: For now, the U.S.-led imperialist bloc is still the most belligerent and violent bloc. It remains the main danger of new wars of all kinds. The working class and oppressed peoples in the USA as well as the tiny U.S. revolutionary vanguard have a special responsibility to oppose “our own” imperialists in Crimea and Ukraine and in so many other countries around the world.   

Down with U.S.-led Imperialism  Main Source of War and Terror!

For A Soviet Socialist World!

The AFL-CIO’s Road to Ruin (Shared by Teamsters): Part IV

Hoffa–Led Teamsters Top Brass Sells Out UPS Workers


[Introduction: The sellout of the United Parcel Service workers by the James Hoffa, Jr.-led Teamsters Union top leadership follows the familiar pattern of the top leaders of the AFL-CIO. This is no surprise as Hoffa formerly was himself a top AFL-CIO Vice President. That was prior to the Teamsters 2005 split with the AFL-CIO, and the formation of the Change to Win Coalition. As we pointed out back in 2005, there is no qualitative difference between the bureaucratic top leadership of the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win union chiefs. And Hoffa may well lead the Teamsters Union back into the AFL-CIO at any time. In light of these facts, comrade Casey Cole’s article stands as the fourth in our series on the AFL-CIO’s Road to Ruin.The Editor]

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters finalized negotiations on a new National Master Agreement with United Parcel Service (UPS) during early spring of 2013. The resulting National Contract was barely passed by membership vote. It was then held up from being implemented because members across the country voted down their regional and supplemental agreements. The James Hoffa, Jr.-led Teamster Leadership, instead of respecting the rights of their members, shoved the contract down their throats and imposed the agreement at the end of April 2014.

IBT President James Hoffa

The contract struggle had included major concessionary demands by the company on health care and wages. UPS Teamsters have enjoyed some of the best benefits in the private sector under a company-controlled health care plan that required them to pay $0 in premiums. The company, using the excuse of the Affordable Care Act, now demanded that part-time and full-time Teamsters pay up to $90 a week for the same health care coverage. The IBT’s Package Division Director, Ken Hall, organized a massive campaign across the country to fight back against health care concessions.

Then, UPS seemingly relented and agreed to transfer over 140,000 UPS Teamsters - most of whom were part-time - from the company-controlled health care plans into the union-controlled Central States Health & Welfare Plan (re-branded as TEAMCARE due to the poor reputation of the failing Central States Pension plan.) The fight-back by the International Union top leadership immediately stopped at the prospect of thousands of young part-time workers being enrolled in the Teamster union health care plan thereby enriching the plan and strengthening the union bureaucracy.

The result was a concessionary contract that allows the company to continue a de facto two-tiered hierarchy at UPS that does little to create additional full time jobs. Existing part-timers at UPS can already expect to wait over a decade for a chance at a full-time job and a newly hired part-timer has to wait a calendar year for health insurance coverage. The IBT even added insult to injury by conceding to UPS an increase in the time it takes for a newly promoted full-time employee to attain top pay from three years to four.

A rank-and-file campaign to vote down the agreement emerged, aided by Teamsters for a Democratic Union and a “VOTE NO ON THE UPS CONTRACT” Facebook Group. The National Master Agreement was approved by a record-low 53%.
In addition, 17 regional supplements were voted down. The supplemental agreements have existed, historically, since the National Master Freight Agreement was first conceived and realized by James R. Hoffa in 1964. The senior Hoffa found that the only way to get Teamster locals to agree to a Master Agreement was to still allow them some measure of autonomy over local or regional issues via a supplemental agreement. Per the IBT Constitution, a National Master Agreement cannot be ratified until all supplemental agreements have passed. After 17 UPS supplements were voted down under this 2013 contract, UPS accordingly granted an indefinite contract extension to the Teamsters.

The strongest region to vote down its supplement was Local 89 in Louisville, Kentucky. Over 9,000 Local 89 UPS Teamsters work at one of the largest package hubs in the country: Worldport. Many of them are part-timers working under inferior conditions. Worldport Teamsters are guaranteed fewer hours (3.0/day vs. 3.5/day for a PT UPS employee in other parts of the country) and are forced to ride a shuttle – unpaid – to and from the job site for over an hour a day.

During the contract extension, workers’ anger over the unaddressed problems with working conditions even led to an unprecedented (in recent times) wildcat strike at the Maspeth Package Center in New York City, NY in Teamster Local 804’s jurisdiction. Over 250 package delivery drivers walked off the job in response to the wrongful termination of Brother Jairo Reyes for “dishonesty” and for working conditions that permit the company to force drivers to work over 12 hours a day rather than hiring more workers.* While all of the Maspeth strikers (including Reyes) were reinstated after an outpouring of community support, the results of the negotiated settlement were telling: Local 804 was required to pay over $250,000 in damages to the company, all drivers involved in the 90 minute work stoppage were required to serve 10 day suspensions, and Liam Russert (the Local 804 Business Agent that called the strike) has been banned from all UPS facilities and any negotiations involving the company for life.

* Dishonesty is a blanket term UPS uses to take drivers and other workers off the job, often for months at a time until they can be reinstated at a grievance panel. In this instance, the company claimed Brother Reyes was being “dishonest” in starting his workday earlier than authorized when, in fact, he had been permitted to do so for several months before his termination.

The IBT eventually whittled the 17 supplemental agreements down to three remaining holdouts — the Western PA Teamsters, Local 623 Air Teamsters in Philadelphia, and Local 89 at the Worldport. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues money was spent on mailing fliers to members urging them to approve their supplemental agreements, on a DVD explaining the new health insurance plan to entice members to approve the contract, and sending IBT staffers out to the areas that had voted down their supplements. West PA and Local 623 had both voted down their supplements twice and the third vote, per the IBT constitution, required a strike authorization vote. The Local 89 Teamsters had voted down their first supplement by a whopping 87% and received a last, best, and final offer from the company that was substantially worse than the first, eliminating a $1,000 “shuttle pay” incentive over the five years of the contract to compensate part-timers for the hundreds of hours they would spend riding a shuttle to the job site. The second offer was voted down by 94%.

However, on April 23rd 2014, the greedy and corrupt IBT leadership made the unprecedented move of implementing all of the outstanding supplements citing over $300 million in wages and benefit fund payments owed retroactively by the company. The memo sent to the local unions from the IBT Executive Board claimed that the National Negotiating Committee now had the authority to impose supplemental agreements when the members were rejecting them due to disagreements with the language in the National Master agreement. (The Hoffa leadership claimed that the holdouts were voting down their supplements over the move to TeamCare, covered under the National Master Contract.)  This authority has never before existed with a Teamster National Negotiating Committee. However, James P. Hoffa and Ken Hall were revealed to have secretly amended the IBT Constitution to give them the authority to impose the agreements!!* This maneuver, done entirely behind closed doors, harkens back to the “old guard” Teamster days of outright corruption rather than mere business unionist collusion with the bosses.

* The memo was attained by Teamsters for a Democratic Union and can be found at: https://tdu.org/sites/default/files/Article%20XII%20resolution.pdf

UPS Teamsters are some of the most abused workers in the US. The work is backbreaking under military-style supervision; and many part-time workers live below the poverty line. While many UPS workers are forced to remain for years in such low-wage and part-time status, one of the primary demands from package delivery drivers is a relief from overtime and to have excessively long workdays reduced so they can enjoy time with their families. The IBT misleadership did almost nothing to address either of these major concerns in this concessionary contract.

Rebuild working class strength in the labor movement!

End Class Betrayal Unionism!

We’ve got to fight the powers that be!!

We are pleased to present this edited excerpt from “People’s Cry for Justice,” a poem by Professor Jose Maria Sison, the Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It was published in November 2013 in response to the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan. Professor Sison, an award winning poet, movingly underscores the revolutionary significance of the struggle to defend the environment and end the criminal rule of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

the Editor

People’s Cry for Justice


“We must help raise a stronger super typhoon of the people
To smite the imperialist criminals culpable for global warming
And the lack of emergency shelter, food, water and medicine,
The delay and paucity of relief and rehabilitation
And the looting of funds and supplies by the corrupt puppets.

We must arouse, organize and mobilize the people
To hold assemblies to condemn the crimes and the criminals,
To carry out the people’s judgement against the imperialists
And their puppets who scheme and collaborate
In robbing the people of their natural and social wealth.

If we waver in our determination to go after the criminals,
They will surely continue to generate their super typhoons
Of propaganda to blame their own victims of greed and terror,
Their super typhoons of super-exploitation and social disasters,
Whether or not there are natural disasters.

The vultures are hell-bent on making bigger disasters.
The imperialists invoke Haiyan to escalate military intervention,
To bring in more investors for exploiting the people and the land,
And to load the country with a heavier debt burden
In the name of reconstruction but in fact to benefit themselves.

The criminals continue to hold sway and make people suffer
The long accumulated and ever growing injustices:
The violence of perpetuated aggression, oppression and plunder.
These will not cease until the people themselves end them
In a super typhoon that will topple the entire unjust svstem. ...”

Still stumped?! See answer below to front page mystery quotation.

Answer: Incredibly, the statement was made by President Barack Obama, the current chieftain of the U.S. Empire, who was opposing the Crimean peoples’ overwhelming vote! Even Simon Tisdall, the assistant editor and foreign affairs columnist for the British ruling class newspaper, the Guardian, admitted that, “the majority of residents of Crimea are only too happy to abandon Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.”

Indeed, it was Obama, with no popular vote expressing the Libyan people’s will, who had shamelessly declared that President Moammar Gadhafi, head of the sovereign Libyan state, had to leave. In 2011, Obama proceeded to lead a coalition of imperialist powers, including France and Italy, traditional colonial powers in Africa, in invading Libya, murdering Gadhafi and creating an anti-Black African hysteria among the Libyan people. With this invasion, Obama and U.S. imperialism opened a new stage in the imperialist occupation and plunder of the entire African continent. Since then, Libya has become a lawless and chaotic country and French troops with vital U.S. imperialist logistical support, invaded and occupied Mali. More recently, again with no vote of the Syrian people, Obama has unilaterally declared that President Bashar Assad has to leave Syria. Thus far, however, Obama’s imperial decree regarding Syria has not been carried out.


the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA

“In the post World War II period, during sixty years of U.S. imperialist hegemony in the world capitalist camp, the U.S. working class, especially its more privileged sector, was bribed out of the U.S. imperialist super-profits. Even more problematic for the U.S. working class was the dissolution of the socialist camp as well as the dismantling of the international communist movement. Taken together, this resulted in extreme political isolation of the U.S. working class from the rest of the international working class. This was the general situation in which the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA (ROL, USA) and its even smaller predecessor organizations have functioned in the U.S. working class movement over the past forty-five years.”

—Ray Light   [Introduction, p. xviii]

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        — Camille Desmoulins


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.


Ray Light —  Editor

Boxholder   607 Boylston St.   Lower Level Box 464   Boston, MA  02116  USA

Dear Readers,

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

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