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  MIM Notes 58          NOVEMBER, 1991 

MIM Notes speaks to and from the viewpoint of the 
world's oppressed majority, and against the 
imperialist-patriarchy. Pick it up and wield it in 
the service of the people. support it, struggle 
with it and write for it.


The Maoist Internationalist Movement (MIM) is a 
revolutionary communist party that upholds 
Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, comprising the collection 
of existing or emerging Maoist internationalist 
parties in the English-speaking imperialist 
countries and their English-speaking internal 
semi-colonies, as well as the existing or emerging 
Spanish-speaking Maoist internationalist parties 
of Aztlan, Puerto Rico and other territories of 
the U.S. Empire. MIM Notes is the newspaper of 
MIM. Notas Rojas is the newspaper of the Spanish-
speaking parties or emerging parties of MIM.
MIM is an internationalist organization that works 
from the vantage point of the Third World 
proletariat; thus, its members are not Amerikans, 
but world citizens.
MIM struggles to end the oppression of all groups 
over other groups: classes, genders, nations.  MIM 
knows this is only possible by building public 
opinion to seize power through armed struggle.
Revolution is a reality for North America as the 
military becomes over-extended in the government's 
attempts to maintain world hegemony.
MIM differs from other communist parties on three 
main questions: (1) MIM holds that after the 
proletariat seizes power in socialist revolution, 
the potential exists for capitalist restoration 
under the leadership of a new bourgeoisie within 
the communist party itself. In the case of the 
USSR, the bourgeoisie seized power after the death 
of Stalin in 1953; in China, it was after Mao's 
death and the overthrow of the "Gang of Four" in 
1976. (2) MIM upholds the Chinese Cultural 
Revolution as the farthest advance of communism in 
human history. (3) MIM believes the North American 
white-working-class is primarily a non-
revolutionary worker-elite at this time; thus, it 
is not the principal vehicle to advance Maoism in 
this country.
MIM accepts people as members who agree on these 
basic principles and accept democratic centralism, 
the system of majority rule, on other questions of 
party line.
"The theory of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin is 
universally applicable. We should regard it not as 
dogma, but as a guide to action. Studying it is 
not merely a matter of learning terms and phrases, 
but of learning Marxism-Leninism as the science of 
-- Mao Zedong, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 208

* * *


After all the hoopla, the U.S. Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas to 
serve on the Supreme Court anyway. Only three senators changed 
their votes as a result of a week of dragging the Black nation 
through the mud on national television.

Professor Anita Hill's account of Thomas's harassment rings true 
to MIM; we are not surprised. But her approach-before and during 
the recent scandal-have only brought harm to Black people. The 
bourgeois three-ring circus diverted the masses from the real 
issues of structural male domination, and reinforced white male-
chauvinist attitudes.

The debate was worth its weight in gold to the ruling classes. In 
the end, the imperialist Senate and Bush got double their money: 
an Uncle Tom judge to sell out Black people for the rest of his 
life on the Court, and a great chance to discredit Black women in 
general, and women who confront their harassers.

It's all in a day's work for the Senate and the president, who 
inflict more damage on the Black nation and all women every day 
than Clarence Thomas could do in a lifetime of intimidating Anita 
Hill at work.

The Euro-Amerikan courts and Senate of the imperialist patriarchy 
have no legitimate cause to judge the disputes among the Black 
nation. The crimes of Clarence Thomas are debts owed not to the 
legal system, but to the people he sold out and left behind.


by MC5

After a week of attacking and dividing the Black nation on 
national TV-under the guise of confronting sexual harassment-the 
U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Uncle Clarence Thomas to be the new 
Supreme Court justice, in a roll-call vote on Oct. 15. Only a few 
senators changed their votes after all the posturing.(4)

Professor Anita Hill's accusations against bootlicking comprador 
Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas ring true to MIM.

But supposing Hill's accusations to be true, MIM still finds her 
approach to result in greater national oppression of Blacks and 
women. Hill and long-time white lackey Thomas have degraded the 
Black nation in front of a white-controlled Senate and national 
television- which the Senate was all-too-willing to accommodate.

The graphic discussions of barbaric pornography played over and 
over again in the press reinforce the image that Blacks have 
animal sexualities. This image has justified white rapes of Black 
women and lynchings of Black men since slavery. Of course, once 
Hill got the ball rolling, the supporters of Thomas have also 
contributed to this by portraying Hill on television as a 
grasping, illusion-chasing romantic careerist willing to fuck her 
way to the top.

Thomas's charge of high-tech lynching raises interesting 
historical questions. Lynching was used as collective intimidation 
to oppress the Black nation, and this image now serves as a 
metaphor for the collective discrediting and slandering of Black 
people that just took place on national television for white 

Whatever truth there is to either side will not matter in the end. 
The system won't be changed; white male chauvinist attitudes will 
be reinforced and the masses will be diverted from the real issues 
by a bourgeois three-ring circus, worth its weight in gold to the 
ruling class in pitting Blacks against Blacks and individual men 
against individual women. Whether Thomas was confirmed or not, the 
real losers from this misconceived battle would have been women 
and Blacks.

The focus on prosecuting individual men backfires. It puts women 
on the side of the law, and it always results in the prosecution 
of Black men. White men are relatively free to rape their wives, 
to rape their prostitutes and their children. But when it comes to 
Black men, the legal system is much less understanding. The same 
system that will fry a Black man for rape gives a white 
pornographer who rapes millions of women for millions of dollars 
in profits a plaque in celebration of the First Amendment.

Numerous pseudo-feminists have risen up to say what Hill did was 
courageous. MIM does not think so. In her life so far, Hill bought 
into the system, both as an integrationist and liberal feminist, 
accepted the rules of the career game and then launched an attack 
on one individual for something inherent to capitalism-an attack 
only made possible and taken advantage of by the imperialist 

The oppression inflicted by the white male Congress and Supreme 
Court on Blacks and women every day are much worse than anything 
Hill is talking about, but Hill succeeds with imperialist help in 
focussing everyone in the mass media for days on one person's 
character. Surprise, surprise, this individualist yuppie approach 
ended up supporting white supremacy and sexism.

The only people who really combat sexual harassment are 
communists, because they are the only people who work for the 
abolition of power of people over people. In day-to-day life 
before the imperialist patriarchy is abolished, communists must 
make compromises, because our ideals can only be lived out under 
communism. Communists want the best deals they can find on 
everything from printing propaganda to food and employment. They 
only accept those deals as part of being able to fight the system 
of oppression most effectively.

A communist in Hill's position would have either forthrightly 
organized and criticized Thomas at the time of the harassment or 
accepted that the interaction with Thomas was as good or better 
than other deals possible under the current patriarchy, and hence 
should be kept or re-negotiated. A communist is concerned about 
what is concretely gained or lost for the struggle in general and 
the individuals involved. 

A courageous person dedicates a life to struggle, not just a few 
days to glorious struggle in front of the cameras. And if Hill or 
Thomas had dedicated their lives to struggling through the issues 
of gender and national oppression, MIM does not think any of this 
would have happened. Neither person is a model for the fight 
against oppression.

Ultimately, the imperialist patriarchy itself took charge of 
reinterpreting the past of Hill and Thomas and used that to focus 
on one case of sexual harassment instead of the systems of gender 
and national oppression. While the oppressed are thinking on an 
individual level, the oppressor works on the group level and wins:

"And Mr. Kennedy [Democratic Senator from Massachusetts] also 
denounced a charge Mr. Thomas made yesterday, that he was the 
victim of racism. The senator said, 'the fact is that these points 
of sexual harassment are made by an Afro-American against an Afro-
American. The issue isn't discrimination and racism; it's about 
sexual harassment.'"(2)

In contrast, a Black man in the street knew what was going on, but 
could no longer do anything about it because the issue had been 
seized by the imperialist patriarchy. "'It really doesn't matter 
whether Judge Thomas is guilty or innocent. It doesn't matter 
whether Ms. Hill has credibility or not. What the image is 
throughout the country, throughout the world, is that we are not 
credible, trustworthy people, but vulgar, shiftless ... I could go 
on,'" he said.(3)

Kennedy might be right that it isn't an issue of racial 
discrimination, but it's definitely a question of national 
oppression taking the form of racism. When Buthelezi's Inkatha 
members make misguided attacks on other Blacks in South Africa, it 
is definitely in support of the white minority regime. That was 
finally proven when the apartheid regime admitted in 1991 that it 
had paid Buthelezi's people for their operations.

It is still possible, paid or not, for Blacks to work in the 
service of the white imperialist nation.

MIM does not support putting Blacks on trial in front of white 
courts, or in hearings of the white Senate. Similarly, MIM does 
not support letting issues of racial discrimination, national 
oppression and sexual harassment be settled by the imperialist 
patriarchy. Doing so can only reinforce oppression administered by 
these institutions. Herein lies MIM's differences with the pseudo-
feminists on the one hand and integrationists on the other. Maybe 
what happened in this spectacle will cause some people in both 
camps to realize the truth.

MC12 and MC44 contributed to this report.

1. New York Times, 10/10/91, p. 10.
2. NYT 10/14/91, p. 10.
3. NYT 10/14/91, p. 1.
4. NYT 10/16/91, p. 1.

* * *


Before he was violently deposed at the end of September, the 
president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide, was slowly giving in 
to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, slowly 
giving in to imperialist pressures. As president of a poor Third 
World nation struggling for "democratic capitalism," Aristide 
never had any real power.

But Aristide was and is popular with the Haitian people-among the 
most exploited in the world. That made him a threat to the United 
States and its imperialist corporate tentacles. Whether or not the 
U.S. government was directly involved in the coup, it has clearly 
served U.S. interests.

Although Aristide was not attempting to lead a fundamentally 
revolutionary movement, his populism and anti-capitalist speeches 
threatened to arouse a dangerous movement.

After he was removed, Aristide's detractors started spreading 
stories about acts of violence he supported, trying to portray the 
coup as a popular movement. But whatever Aristide's position-the 
real conflict in Haiti is not an internal one.

Haiti was the first colony in the West to go down to a slave 
rebellion. It has suffered at the hands of imperialism ever since. 
The latest pitfall in the Haitian people's struggle for liberation 
shows the strength and ruthlessness of U.S. imperialism. But it 
also reveals a deep-rooted U.S. defensiveness and vulnerability.


by MC42

The recent military coup in Haiti allowed for substantial, overt 
U.S. involvement and control. In capital city Port-au-Prince, 
soldiers opened fire early on Sept. 30, taking President Jean-
Bertrand Aristide prisoner-killing dozens and injuring hundreds of 
Aristide supporters who tried to resist the coup. The resultant 
three-man military junta led by General Raoul Cedras allowed 
Aristide to leave the country on Oct. 1.(1) Supreme Court Justice 
Joseph Nerette was sworn in as provisional president on Oct. 8 by 
the Haitian National Assembly.(2)

Ousted President Aristide-who had only been in office eight 
months-was "saved" by U.S., French and Venezuelan efforts and 
spent the week after the coup trying to rally support for himself 
in the United States. Although Bush's  support and interest for 
Haiti has since wavered, Aristide still has the backing of the 
United States-controlled Organization of American States (OAS).

Within a few days of the coup, the OAS initiated tactics to 
isolate Haiti, the poorest country in this hemisphere. President 
Bush first cut off $84 million in economic aid and $1.5 million in 
military aid for this year, along with food assistance, and then 
froze Haitian government assets.(3)

The OAS, a regional U.S.-influenced group to "protect democracy" 
in the Western Hemisphere, then passed a resolution on Oct. 2 
calling on its 34 member nations not to recognize the military 
junta and to suspend all military and economic relations with 
Haiti. The resolution also insists that the Haitian military allow 
the return of Aristide.(4) The OAS refuses to recognize the 
appointment of Justice Nerette.(2)

The OAS attempt to negotiate Aristide's return with General Cedras 
on Oct. 2 yielded no results. Nerette plans to name Jean-Jacques 
Honorat, a former official for the repressive Duvalier regime, as 
his Prime Minister. The provisional president also promises new 
elections within 90 days.(2)

Leaders of eight Haitian political parties who have accused 
Aristide of constitutional irresponsibility and using implicit 
threats of mob violence, met the OAS on Oct. 5, reluctant to have 
Aristide return. But the OAS has repeatedly hinted at the 
possibility of a multilateral force to put Aristide back in power 
if the Haitian military refuses to cooperate.(5)

By Oct. 2, a contingent of 300 to 400 marines were dispatched to 
the Guant‡namo Bay Naval Station in Cuba, approximately 100 miles 
from Haiti. This action was justified by the possible need to 
evacuate some 8,000 Amerikans living in Haiti, if their "security" 
is threatened.(6)

General Cedras claims that the military uprising began among the 
rank and file who thought Aristide was abusing his power.(6) But 
foot soldiers have nothing to gain from this coup. The more likely 
candidates are the middle-level military officers backed with 
Haitian business and U.S. imperialist money and control. 
Capitalist interests have something to gain from a subdued Haiti 
with a weak puppet president-either a "reformed" Aristide or a 
more traditional U.S. supporter.

U.S. fear of mass appeal

Why did Aristide's popular support threaten Amerikan imperialists? 
Third World proletarians tend to support revolutionary forces-and 
Aristide has been the best thing going in Haiti for a long time. 
It is likely that with his level of popular support he could have 
mobilized the masses to rebel against imperialist domination. The 
United States government has a proud history of deposing 
charismatic Third World leaders before they manage, through 
national liberation, to de-link their countries from the world 
capitalist system.

Business, legislative and military sectors in Haiti claimed that 
Aristide threatened them with mob violence, and that he supported 
the people's trials and burning tire executions of suspected 
enemies.(3) Haitian soldiers also accused Aristide of training a 
300-man private presidential militia.(4) This may have been true, 
because without some kind of military backing Aristide didn't have 
a chance against the imperialists and their lackeys.

Disarming the president

Through agreements with the World Bank and the IMF, Aristide was 
slowly giving in to imperialist pressures. As president of a poor 
Third World nation struggling for "democratic capitalism," 
Aristide never had any real power.

Although he might have controlled the national bourgeoisie, he 
could never challenge U.S. imperialism within the rules of 
capitalism. Cash crops like coffee do not feed people, so Haiti 
must choose either dependent foreign aid, starvation, or 
revolution. U.S. control-effective in the past-is only more 
powerful and visible now.

The important thing now is not whether the United States was 
directly responsible for the recent coup, but to realize instead 
that this coup benefits U.S. imperialism and exposes the fragility 
of independent "democracy." The losers in this conflict and 
similar ones in other U.S. controlled neo-colonies are the people 
who must endure worse repression and poverty.

Aristide cannot win

Aristide had popular support but little else. And the power of the 
Haitian people cannot be effective without a people's army and a 
vanguard communist party following Maoist principles. Supporting 
an elected official will never make real gains for the people, 
because an imperialist-dominated world will keep "leaders" of neo-
colonial countries like Haiti essentially powerless.

As MIM Notes goes to press, it is unclear exactly how the United 
States will resolve this situation. But there is no doubt that 
U.S. control has been firmly reestablished and in the absence of a 
socialist revolution or a national liberation struggle, Aristide 
or whoever "democratically" leads Haiti next will serve the U.S. 
imperialists and depend on the U.S. military for ultimate power.

1. Christian Science Monitor 10/2/91, p. 3.
2. NYT 10/9/91, p. 9.
3. NYT 10/5/91, p. 4.
4. NYT 10/4/91, p. 6.
5. NYT 10/6/91, p. 7.
6. NYT 10/3/91, p. 6.
Also see MIM Notes 57

* * *


President Bush has heralded the Homeownership and Opportunity For 
People Everywhere (HOPE) program as a key feature of the program 
known as "resident management."

The act is a charade designed to give big profits to banks and 
private-sector developers, even as low-income housing is 
systematically demolished or converted into expensive 
condominiums. "Non-profit" corporations are being funded to "help" 
public housing tenants "manage" their projects. In the process, 
they are being handed valuable real estate for almost nothing.

Corporate Amerika has discovered that production is cheaper 
overseas. Decent jobs are drying up for many project residents, 
and minimum wage work and welfare are for them the main source of 
income. The effort to turn cities into centers of administration 
instead of production means the people have to go.

The ruling classes don't want the traditional-and dangerous-low-
wage ghetto labor in their new international scheme. They prefer 
to decentralize the armies of the unemployed. The new program is 
part of the plan to make that transfer profitable.


by MC86

in January 1991, while Amerikan warplanes bombed Iraq back into 
the pre-industrial age, President Bush's State of the Union speech 
was televised to Amerika. As part of the "New World Order," he 
praised new government legislation called "Homeownership and 
Opportunity For People Everywhere (HOPE)." Bush encouraged public 
housing tenants to support the development of a key feature of the 
program known as "resident management."

During the last year, Jack Kemp, Secretary of the U.S. Department 
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has been touring Amerikan 
cities, touting resident management as "a far-reaching agenda to 
dramatically broaden home-ownership and upward mobility 
opportunities for low-income people."(1)

In the newest version of Amerika's bogus "War On Poverty," public 
housing residents are being given the "opportunity" to self-manage 
the hellish complexes in which three million mostly Black and 
Latino people live. Although the government's own propaganda 
admits, in its small print, that resident management will only be 
available for 10% of the residents,(2) we are expected to believe 
that George Bush and Jack Kemp have the interests of the people at 

Nothing could be further from the truth.

HOPE, which has already been cut back, promised $2.8 billion, over 
the course of two years, to "reform" the system of federally 
subsidized housing.(1) Overall, HUD's appropriation for subsidized 
housing has just drastically fallen from $32.2 billion in l978.(3)

The ratio of spending for defense and low-income housing in 1980 
was five-to-one; in l990, it was 20-to-one.(4) The new progam is 
the government's thin cover for its retreat from subsidizing 
housing for poor people.

The Cranston-Gonzalez Affordable Housing Act of November l990, 
which funds resident management, is a complex financial charade 
designed to distribute tremendous profits to banks and private 
sector developers, even as low-income housing is systematically 
demolished or converted into "fair-market rate" (expensive) 
condominiums. A slew of "non-profit" corporations are being funded 
to "help" public housing tenants "manage" their projects. 

The non-profits are actually being handed valuable real estate for 
almost nothing. Tenants are expected to fall for this scam. Those 
who do-will wake up when their mattresses are thrown onto 
sidewalks by sheriffs waving eviction papers.

How it all began

Congress began public housing in l937 for young, upwardly-mobile 
settler families. Over the years, cinder-block military housing 
was converted into projects and huge fire-trap, inner-city high-
rises were constructed out of sub-standard materials on lots rife 
with toxic wastes. As the white settlers moved "up the ladder" and 
into the suburbs, the projects became home to millions of Blacks 
and immigrants laboring in Amerika's war industries. The 
buildings, paid for many times over by rents based on a percentage 
of tenant income, were allowed to deteriorate beyond repair.

The Economy of the Ghetto

As corporate Amerika discovered that production was cheaper 
overseas, decent jobs dried up and minimum wage work and welfare 
became the main source of income for many project residents. 
Remaining industries moved to the suburbs while the cities became 
centers of administration, rather than production.(5)

"Outward flows of income, capital, and human resources to the rest 
of the economy serve to keep the ghetto in a permanently under-
developed state and feed the economic interests outside the 
ghetto. Labor is the ghetto's chief export."(6)

The massive amounts of money spent on "public assistance" has the 
effect of pumping up the Amerikan economy as these checks are 
cashed and spent.(7) And now, with the extermination of Black 
people on the government's agenda, the rulers no longer need to 
maintain traditional low-wage ghetto labor. They prefer to 
decentralize the armies of the unemployed. Their problem is how to 
profitably get rid of the projects-and the residents.


After the urban rebellions of the l960s, HUD and the Department of 
Defense implemented a plan called "spatial deconcentration."(8) 
Through "urban renewal," also known as "Negro removal," poor 
people were forced out of the downtowns so neighborhoods could be 
gentrified and made safe for commuting white collar workers, who 
prefer to live closer to their antiseptic skyscrapers and the 
monuments of High Kulture.

Lack of jobs and high rents tend to drive the proletariat away 
from the vital city centers-where they could more easily 
communicate and organize as a political force.

The projects have been sitting on real-estate which has vastly 
increased in value since World War II. With urban land at a 
premium, the capitalists are eager to get their hands on Housing 
Authority property. Until recently, only the outdated l937 laws 
stood in their way. But as of November l990, land speculators can 
seize ownership of this previously land-banked property by posing 
as friends of the people. 

HOPE is the cover for completing the process of de-Africanizing 
the cities. HOPE greases the way for developers to obtain 
guaranteed government loans and to dispossess a large portion of 
the 13.7% of the Amerikan population (at least) currently living 
below the official poverty line: $12,700 for a family of four.(9) 
HOPE is trying to throw entire populations-who have nothing to 
lose-into the racist suburban areas. In shopping-mall Amerika, 
urban refugees are forced to live in mini-ghettos, and to labor 
(if work can be found at all) in extremely low-paying service 

Smoldering in the cities

Plans to geographically disperse the revolutionary class may work 
for a time to throw water on the powderkeg. But this is a country 
where 60% of the jobs created since l979 pay less than $7,000 a 
year(10); the actual production of commodity value has moved into 
the oppressed nations abroad and partially remains in the 
oppressed nations at home; imperialism rots the spirit of those 
who live off the labor of others-in such a country revolution is 
bound to eventually triumph. Why? Capitalism does not work!

People who live in housing projects should set their sights much 
higher than the glitter of the HOPE drug that George Bush is 
trying to shove down our collective throats. Project residents 
should aim for real self-management: the dictatorship of the 

l. Homeownership and Affordable Housing, HUD, 1/91, p. ii.
2. Speech by HUD Assistant Secretary Caprera, March, l99l.
3. Homelessness and Affordable Housing, United Church Board for 
Homeless Ministries, New York, J. McDaniel, ed., l989, p. 2.
4. Beyond Shelter, SFDPH, San Francisco, l989, table 2, p. 13.
5. The Political Economy of the Urban Ghetto, Fusfeld & Bates, 
Southern Illinois University Press, l984, p. 87.
6. Ibid, p. 145-146.
7. Ibid, table p. 146.
8. Spatial Deconcentration, documents collected from HUD by the 
late Ms. Yolanda Ward (assassinated); published in World War Three 
9. NYT 9/27/91.
10. Beyond Shelter, p. 5.

* * *


by MC18

On November 15, 1926, Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Bolshevik 
Party of the Soviet Union. The Party realized that Trotsky's 
ideological basis, elaborately cloaked in ahistorical revisions of 
Leninism, hinged upon industrial proletarian chauvinism-discarding 
alliances between the proletariat and the peasantry that were 
essential to successful establishment of socialism.

Trotskyism and Leninism

Denial of distinctions between Leninism and Trotskyism is both the 
most absurd and the most universal tenet of Trotskyist ideology. 
In On Trotskyism, Kostas Mavrakis systematically destroys the 
illegitimate ideological association of Trotsky and Lenin. 
Trotskyists believe that the peasantry can only be rallied to 
support the revolution after the proletariat already controls the 
state, and that socialism can only exist on a world-wide 
scale-that individual nations are incapable of establishing 
socialism one at a time. Not only have both assumptions been 
historically disproven by events both before and after Trotsky's 
time, but Lenin's writings must be significantly distorted to 
develop support for such theories.

Trotsky and the peasantry

According to Lenin, success for the proletariat is possible "only 
if the peasant masses join its revolutionary struggle." Whereas 
Trotsky said that the peasantry "will be drawn into the revolution 
and become politically organized only after the advance-guard of 
the revolution, the urban proletariat, stands at the helm of the 

Trotsky's disrespect for the peasantry's ability to be educated 
and aroused is evident: once the proletariat controls the state, 
he wrote, "nothing remains for the peasantry to do but to rally to 
the regime of the workers' democracy. It will not matter much even 
if the peasantry does this with a degree of consciousness no 
larger than that with which it usually rallies to the bourgeois 
regime."(1) The fallacy of this position is best proven by the 
Chinese Communist Party's alliance with the peasantry, which 
allowed it to successfully organize in the countryside to defeat 
the foreign imperialists and reactionary Chinese state.

Socialism in one country

Despite his stated agreement with Lenin on the law of uneven 
development (which states that revolutions will occur in 
underdeveloped countries where imperialism is weakest), Trotsky 
never fully accepted the theory. 

Mavrakis summarizes Trotsky's error: "This revolution is not 
necessarily the immediate prelude to world revolution, but the 
latter will continue ... for a long historical period. The uneven 
ripening of the conditions for a revolutionary explosion excludes 
its simultaneous occurrence in every country."(2)

Given that the Soviet revolution was not subsequently followed by 
similar European revolutions (as he had predicted that it would), 
Trotsky immediately began predicting the demise of the Soviet 
Union. Trotsky argued that stability for the Soviet Union "rests 
solely on the victory of the proletariat in the advanced 
countries." Josef Stalin countered that according to Trotsky, the 
Soviet Union should "vegetate in its own contradictions and rot 
away while waiting for the world revolution."(3) Instead, the 
Party ejected Trotsky and pursued self-reliance while aiding 
revolutions in the Third World.

Trotsky's legacy

It is fitting that modern Trotskyism has found its home among 
First-World sects allied with white labor. Trotsky's arguments 
lend support to groups that see the First World as the beginning-
place of, and the key to, world socialist revolution. 
Revolutionary parties of the Third World-where all the battles 
against imperialism have been won-find little room for the 
dogmatic outlook of Trotskyism that encourages them to await the 
coming of the revolution in First World oppressor nations.

The revolutions of China, Vietnam, Peru and others have occurred 
one at a time. Success has hinged upon national self-reliance and 
strong alliances between workers and peasants.

1. Kostas Mavrakis, On Trotskyism, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976, 
p. 24.
2. Mavrakis, p. 25.
3. Mavrakis, p. 27.

* * *

by MC59

Three thousand Zairian paratroopers who had not been paid in 
months rebelled at N'Djili on the outskirts of Kinshasa, the 
capital of Zaire, on Sept. 23, 1991.(1) Five hundred elite Belgian 
troops and 450 French paratroopers were sent to Zaire on the next 
day, Sept. 24, to protect Europeans. The intervention was approved 
by General Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire.(1)

The rebellion brought economic life to a standstill in Kinshasa, 
leaving 30 people confirmed dead, before spreading to Kizzengoni, 
Lumumbash and Kilomeni, which are south of the capital. The only 
international airport, in the capital, was also seized and air 
traffic was disrupted. (2, 7) President Mobutu called for a 
curfew, but soldiers responsible for enforcing it participated in 
the rebellion.(4)

Mobutu was vacationing in his country home outside the capital 
when the rebellion started. Although he blamed insubordinate 
officers who wanted wage increases, he also saw the rebellion as 
an attack by opposition political parties-which were made legal 
only in the past year.(7)

Afer five days of "rioting" Mobutu agreed to share power with 
members of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDSP). 
Etienne Tshisekedi, leader of UDSP, was offered a position as 
prime minister in July, but refused because the position had no 
real power. He said that he would accept such a position now.(5)

Colonial domination

Zaire was a Belgian colony known as the Congo from its conquest in 
1907 to 1960, when the Zairian masses overthrew their colonial 
oppressors. Mobutu seized power in a military coup in 1965, 
cancelling all elections and banning all opposition parties. He 
sought to nationalize the copper and cobalt mines, but under 
pressure from Belgium he instead created a state-owned mining 
company called Gecamines. Other industrial sources were similarly 
transformed, at the expense of the underdeveloped nation.(8)

 "Nationalization" of industry in Zaire did not represent the end 
of exploitation, nor the beginning of production for need rather 
than profit. Instead it represented a consolidation of industrial 
capital and a restriction of free-market capitalism to benefit 
Belgian imperialism and its comprador class, led by Mobutu.

Belgian, French and Moroccan troops- as well as American 
supplies-were sent to Zaire in 1978, when the Katangan people 
attacked the mining center of Kolwezi.(1,8) This seriously 
threatened the economic stability of Zaire, as well as the 
imperialist interests of Belgium and the International Monetary 
Fund (IMF). This imperialist invasion, which killed thousands of 
Zairian people, effectively solidified the power of the comprador 

Mobutu has been a useful ally to Western imperialists in the 
region. Just north of Angola, Mobutu helped the United States 
smuggle arms to Jonas Savimbi and UNITA (National Union for the 
Total Independence of Angola) forces there. He has also maintained 
economic ties with South Africa and Israel, despite the 
Organization for African Unity boycott of the regions.(8)

Mobutu's power may indeed be seriously threatened, and will 
certainly be reduced if the current plan to share power with the 
UDSP actually materializes. Western imperialists, apparently 
tiring of Mobutu, are unwilling to pay heavily to keep him in 
power. France and Belgium did not send in many troops, and France 
refused to send economic aid unless Mobutu agreed to a new 

Imperialism & dependence

There is clearly reason to rebel in Zaire. In 1983, for example, 
Zaire paid $2 billion for its external debt. This represented 50% 
of its Gross National Product.(8) The IMF and the World Bank have 
been sucking the country dry since it was decolonized in 1960, 
forcing the country to devalue its currency.(8)

Zaire's main export is copper. Produced by Gecamines, copper makes 
up 45% of the country's foreign exchange earnings. On May 2, 1991, 
the company suspended 45% of its copper deliveries, after strikes 
in the mines and in Zaire's national railway. A cave-in at one 
mine also contributed to the decreased production capacity. This 
has been a dramatic blow to the economy.(6)

A slump in world copper prices, as well as suspension of credits 
by the IMF, has further hurt the economy. Inflation rates are at 
least 1,000%.(1) Food shortages and dramatically devalued currency 
make it hard for the masses to survive. But Mobutu, bought off by 
imperialists including Amerika, France and Belgium, has an 
estimated personal wealth of about $5-6 billion dollars.(3)

A revolutionary opportunity 

Zaire's economic stability is precarious, and its usefulness as an 
imperialist ally is not as strong as it once was. The human rights 
abuses in that country do not make good press for supporters like 
Amerika. Imperialists are trying to hold up this bankrupt 
government with as little energy as possible, which provides a 
revolutionary opportunity for the people. 

In 1960, the masses were able to seize power from the Belgian 
imperialists, only to have a military coup which resulted in the 
repressive Mobutu regime. Revolutionary movements must have 
political education. Evicting the colonialists from our land is 
not enough-we must seize power from the comprador class and the 
national bourgeoisie. 

The masses of Zaire are in a position to seize power from Mobutu, 
and they need the lessons of their past and Maoist theory to 
overcome the corrupt seizure of power by the national bourgeoisie.

1. NYT 9/25/91
2. NYT 9/26/91
3. NYT 9/27/91
4. NYT 9/28/91
5. NYT 9/29/91
6. African Business 6/91 No. 154.
7. Newswatch: Nigeria's Weekly Newsmagazine 9/7/91.
8. Voices of Zaire: Rhetoric of Reality, by J.M. Elliot and M.M. 
Dymally 1990. (The Washington Institute for Values in Public 

* * *


by MA20

It wasn't just due to a lack of inspectors. It wasn't just due to 
a non-functioning fire extinguishing system. And it wasn't just 
because many of the doors were blocked that 25 poultry workers 
were killed and 49 injured in September's tragic fire at Imperial 
Foods' chicken processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina. Sexism, 
national oppression and the exploitation of workers in the poultry 
industry in the Black Belt South were the true causes of the fire 
and ensuing deaths and injuries.

As low-wage labor, work in the poultry industry is part of 
"women's work" in capitalist society. The hiring is based on 
gender, and the plants choose their locations based on the 
availability of cheap labor. Imperial Foods opened in the early 
1980s, initially employing more than 250 people, making it 
Hamlet's second largest employer. Hamlet is a town of 6,900 in 
south-central North Carolina.(2) The capitalist owners of Imperial 
Foods had a captive workforce which is one of the reasons that the 
plant was never inspected. To the neglect of workers, local 
officials most likely looked the other way to benefit the owners.

Many of the workers at Imperial Foods and many of the victims of 
the fire were Black. The fire caused what was probably one of the 
largest losses of Black life in an industrial setting in recent 
Amerikan memory. Chicken plant work is also a form of "nigger 
work" in the industrialized Black Belt. Working conditions in the 
plant were hazardous and oppressive.

No ethnic or national breakdown of the victims has been released 
by the bourgeois media, to MIM's knowledge. But news reports 
confirm our suspicions. "Most of the 90 workers caught in the fire 
were Black, said friends, relatives and onlookers."(2) A relative 
and friend of many of the fire's victims, Doris Fairley, "said 
she's convinced that because so many plant workers were Black, 
improper safety procedures were tolerated."(3) One of Fairley's 
relatives, Peggy Anderson, who died in the blaze, "stopped by 
every day after work ... and talked about how the bosses yelled at 
her and kept up pressure to produce."(3)

The average hourly wage at the plant was $5. "Working conditions 
are unsanitary, pay is poor and complaints about malfunctioning 
equipment are sometimes ignored."(2) "The people here care more 
about the chickens than they do about people," said one Hamlet 

Many of the exit doors at the plant were either locked or blocked. 
One door marked "Fire Exit" was actually a broom closet.(4) 
Trapped workers, firefighters and passersby had to kick open one 
door, cut a lock off another, and remove a trash bin and a tractor 
trailer which were blocking other escape paths. Twenty-two workers 
died inside the plant, and three others died after escaping the 
toxic fumes of the fire-engulfed structure.(3)

Many well-intentioned reforms are now being demanded in and 
outside of North Carolina, including an increase in the number of 
safety inspectors employed by the state government, and a 
revamping of the North Carolina occupational safety and health 

Since the Hamlet fire, rallies have been organized in Raleigh, 
N.C., the state capital, and in Hamlet itself, calling for the 
hiring of additional safety inspectors and for union organizing of 
the Imperial Foods workers. Grass roots sentiment exists for 
criminal prosecution of the Imperial Foods officials.

These legitimate protests and demands should be generally 
supported. But much more has to be done. The disaster arose out of 
the exploitation of Blacks and women by the capitalist system. 
Ultimately, we need a communist movement, which must unite all 
oppressed nationalities and exploited workers. The goal of this 
movement is smashing the capitalist state and developing a 
people's socialist and then communist society, which is the only 
true democracy.

In the wake of the Hamlet fire, it is the responsibility of 
vanguard elements to spread this message far and wide, and to work 
to make it a reality.

1. National Public Radio 9/6/91.
2. Winston-Salem Journal 9/4/91, p. 4.
3. Greensboro News and Record 9/5/91, p. 8.
4. NBC News affiliate 9/4/91.

* * *

* * *


On Aug. 19, 1991, Jack Ryan, creator of the Barbie doll, died. For 
30 years the Barbie doll has helped the patriarchy maintain a 
destructive archetype of women. The Barbie doll is a powerful 
reflection of the many messages that tell women they must be skin 
and bones-and white-in order to be beautiful. Mr. Athas, vice 
president of the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and 
Associated Disorders, says that girls in Amerika start dieting as 
young as 8 or 9 years old,(1) prime Barbie age.

Marketing what girls all over Amerika are socialized to imagine as 
the perfect woman was not enough for this man's life-work. In 
addition to being a patriarch and creating the quintessential 
woman = object toy, Ryan appears to have been a fascist too. Not 
only is Barbie an icon of white supremacy, but when Ryan was not 
working for Mattel Inc., he was employed by the Raytheon Co in Los 
Angeles where he designed the Hawk and Sparrow missiles (2). He 
will not be missed. How many more to go?


1. NYT 8/15/91.
2. NYT 8/20/91.

* * *


The National Assembly passed a law July 5, 1991, that allowed 
opposition parties to operate in Iraq. This law is intended to 
eventually lead to national presidential elections.

A far cry from free democracy in this country ruled by the 
dictator Saddam Hussein, the law dictates that new parties must 
"appreciate the achievements" of Iraq's 1968 revolution that 
brought the ruling Ba'ath Party to power. The law also forbids 
members of any party but the Ba'ath from joining the military and 
the security police.

The law also gives Saddam's cabinet the right to dissolve any 
party that "undermines the security of the state ... and national 
unity"-a clear reference to the Kurds.


Notes: AP 7/5/91

* * *

MIM reprints the following two paper tigers from La Patria es Una.


In March 1973,  in defending Luis Jr.  Martinez, himself and 
others from a joint attack by the FBI/Secret Service and Denver 
Police, companero Mario Vasquez shot several Denver Police. Since 
that time, companero Mario has lived in clandestinity, continuing 
with our struggle for self-determination.

Recently, unprincipled and unfounded rumors (reminiscent of 
COINTELPRO) have begun to circulate that companero Mario is/was a 
police agent. As an organization, we believe that agents must be 
exposed, however, we stand 100% behind companero Mario and his 
actions. We publicly categorically deny these accusations. We 
question the motivation and timing of these accusations. Should 
these false accusations lead to his capture, as an organization we 
will be there in his defense. 

If captured, the ChicanoMexicano movement for national self-
determination must close ranks and defend companero Mario, who 
acted in defense of the movement and has continued to promote our 
right to self-determination.

* * *


During the month of August, the PROCUP-PDLP (Partido 
Revolucionario Obrero Clandestino Union del Pueblo- Partido de los 
Pobres), exploded bombs at several banks, including a branch of 
Citibank, and other representation of U.S. imperialism and the 
dependent Mexican bourgeoisie.

This limited military campaign was to demand the presentation of 
companero Jose de Jesus Hernandez Alcala, a leader of the 
PROCUP-PDLP, who was being tortured and hidden from public view (a 
last step before "disappearance"). Companero Hernandez had been 
recently captured and his whereabouts were unknown.

The PROCUP-PDLP has advanced the strategy of prolonged people's 
war in Mexico for the last 26 years. A year ago, four other 
members of the PROCUP-PDLP: Blanca Lirio Muro Gamboa, Ana Maria 
Vera Smith, Felipe E. Canseco Ruiz and David Cabanas 
Barrientos-brother of Comandante Lucio Cabanas, were captured in 
Mexico City.

As a result of this limited military campaign, companero Hernandez 
was presented and is now in Reclusorio Preventivo Norte in Mexico 

Haitians protest at U.N.

Haitians protested the recent coup in major U.S. cities as well as 
in Port-au-Prince. Haitians in New York number 300,000 and large 
communities also reside in Miami and Boston. In early October, 
Aristide supporters took to the streets in New York City, New 
Jersey and Miami to protest the military coup which forced their 
"Haitian Martin Luther King Jr." into exile.

Approximately 1,200 Haitians demonstrated outside the United 
Nations to  protest the coup and the U.N.'s lack of responsiveness 
to it. Members of New York's Haitian community looked to local 
sources of information such as Le Soleil restaurant in Manhattan 
and Radio Tropical, a 24-hour Haitian radio station.

In some demonstrations in Miami, the authorities apparently 
decided that the protesters became "violent," and the cops 
arrested 75 people and dropped tear gas to disperse the crowd.


Notes: NYT 10/2/91, p. 6.

* * *


The execution was scheduled for 7 p.m., then 10 p.m., then 
midnight. Just after two in the morning he was strapped into the 
chair, only to be led away again three minutes later. Then, just 
before 3 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, he was strapped in again. 
Electrodes were mounted on his shaved head, and a final prayer was 
read. Finally, when all was ready, word came down that the Supreme 
Court of the United States couldn't care less about Warren 
McCleskey. It took nine minutes until they were sure he was 
dead-until his flesh was seared and his eyes popped out. They just 
burned Warren McCleskey alive.

Before he was killed, McCleskey said, "I pray that one day this 
country, supposedly a civilized society, will abolish barbaric 
acts such as the death penalty."

McCleskey was convicted of killing a police officer during the 
attempted robbery of a furniture store in 1978. There was no 
evidence presented that he was guilty of murder.

The prosecution's case rested on the testimony of two men; one, 
another man in the robbery, and the other-the witness who finally 
convinced the jury-was a police informant.

Maybe McCleskey did kill the officer, although he maintained his 
innocence. The point is no one cared if he did or not. A white 
police officer was killed, and a Black man had to pay. McCleskey's 
appeal made it to the Supreme Court twice. The first time, the 
Court dismissed as irrelevant statistics showing that people 
convicted of killing white people were much more likely to be put 
to death than those convicted of killing Blacks. The second 
appeal, in which the defense pointed out that the jurors were 
never told the witness was an informant, was inadmissible because 
McCleskey's lawyers didn't include it in their first appeal. (They 
were busy prying the information loose through the Freedom of 
Information Act.) But the Court made it clear it would not be 
bothered with the facts-just the technicalities. 

The United States, which incarcerates a greater percentage of its 
population than any other country in the world, has struck again.

Lynchings used to be held in public, as were the official 
executions of the state. People used to picnic at the public 
hangings of the poor. The distasteful nature of execution only 
emerged when the conflicts in society which produced executions 
became extreme enough to warrant more extreme measures. Executions 
were moved behind closed doors. The chair and the gas chamber 
replaced the noose.

The state gave us 13 years to save Warren McCleskey, and we 
failed. The death of Warren McCleskey-like the deaths of a hundred 
thousand people in Iraq-caught us unprepared, but they were 
committed in our name. They burned Warren McCleskey alive. How 
much more will we permit?


Notes: New York Times 9/26/91, p. A10.

* * *


After the success of the TV show "America's most wanted," the TV-
lynch-mob program industry has been booming. Shows have started, 
or will soon, in Jersey City; Philadelphia; Springfield, Mo.; 
Jamestown, N.Y. and Shreveport, La.

"Everyone wants to capture a most-wanted suspect," said Jersey 
City Deputy Police Chief John McAuley.(1)

The programs, whose success coincides with the new-mostly 
fictional-real-life-style cop shows, are nothing but trouble in 
today's Amerika. Now everyone can be in on the hunt, and TV can 
show all the same stereotyped images under the guise of reality.

Minor questions on guilt or innocence, causes and effects of 
crime, are no longer necessary, because they re-enact the crime 
for you right there in grainy black-and-white.

Meanwhile, 943 Black people are waiting to die on death row (40% 
of the total number-the U.S. population is supposedly 12.1% 

Amerikan society is careening out of control toward fascism, and 
the corporate-mass culture is on the front lines of the change. 
The sequel programs-not yet out-could feature "up-close" footage 
of real-life vigilante groups finding and killing oppressed-nation 


1. New York Times 10/2/91, p. B1.
2. NYT 9/30/91, p. 9.

* * *


"Maoist guerrillas bombed 40 banks on Thursday night after 
blacking out electrical power in Lima and most of Peru's southern 
coast region, wounding three people in the attacks, the police 
said today."

That's hitting them where it hurts!


Notes: NYT 9/28/91 p. 3.

* * *


"The best insurance against another hard-line Marxist regime in 
Ethiopia  appears to be the presence in Ethiopia immediately after 
the EPRDF's victory, of an Amerikan, Paul B. Henze.

"Henze, the station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency at 
the United  States Embassy in Addis Ababa from 1969 to 1972, was 
invited to the capital as a personal guest of President Meles. He 
spent five weeks in Ethiopia advising Meles and was upbeat when he 
left. 'Meles is pragmatic,' Henze says. 'He and his colleagues are 
not bothering with ideological matters. Ethiopia has a good chance 
of becoming a productive country.'"(1)


Notes: The New York Times Magazine 9/22/91, p. 57.

* * *


As the Communist Party, USA becomes more obsolete, Party bigwig 
Angela Davis is changing the subject.

In a speech on Oct. 17 at the University of Michigan, Davis 
lectured on Columbus Day, Clarence Thomas and South Africa, which 
she just visited on a two-week revolutionary tour. She never 
mentioned the Soviet Union, and there was no question-and-answer 

Besides reminding students that "Apartheid is not dead," Davis 
concentrated on the complicity of the South African armed forces 
and the Inkatha Freedom Party in the violence which has killed 
thousands and displaced many more in the last few years. As the 
government makes the motions of "concessions" with one hand, with 
the other it is waging an all-out war on the African National 
Congress and other Azanian (Black South African) political groups.

Confronted with brutal poverty and violence, Davis said she had to 
remind herself to, "stop feeling sorry-that is not the emotion 
that is required of me." 

And yet, her empty political message amounts to no more than 
feeling sorry for Azanians.

While she declared that, "the people of South Africa are going to 
usher us into a new era of history," the work of the of the 
reformist ANC and South African Communist Party (SACP-CPUSA's 
partner in grime) is slowing progress and disarming the people.

Word that Inkatha and the government work together is not news, 
though it is worth repeating. But the ANC and the SACP continue 
erect a public facade of shock and outrage.

In a meeting with ANC head Nelson Mandela, Davis said, Mandela 
told her the ANC often knows about Inkatha attacks in advance-and 
calls the police for help! She quoted Mandela as telling President 
de Klerk in one case: "We informed you before about the attack ... I 
would have expected that you would have called for the arrest of 
the people responsible for the attack."

This is the worst opportunist sham and justification for the ANC's 
and the SACP's approach, which is to pursue useless negotiations 
and end armed struggle while the government and its Inkatha 
lackeys make open war on the people.

In one women's hostel, Davis said, the conditions were "not fit 
for animals." But she quickly retracted that phrase as ill-chosen, 
because she is "in solidarity with" the animal rights movement.

But that is a telling remark, because Davis' political strategy is 
itself more suited to animals-especially sheep-than to the people 
she is attempting to serve.

-by a comrade

* * *

* * *


by MC67

lthough the war between the imperialists and Iraq technically 
ended in February after a gruesome 100 hour ground war, in which 
the imperialists utterly destroyed the Iraqi forces; the real war 
began when the Iraqi people were forced to endure an anarchic 
civil war, tremendous infrastructural damage and famine.

We must not forget the premeditated genocide-the ongoing embargo 
initiated in August 1990 by the United States and coordinated by 
the United Nations. This tally of imperialist adventurism 
demonstrates the ugly consequences of a regional power like Iraq 
vainly attempting to join the ranks of the imperialists.

Deaths by imperialism

Starting in August, 1990, the imperialists unleashed the worst 
destruction upon the Middle East since World War I, when the 
Ottoman Empire crumbled and was carved up by European colonial 
powers. As many as 200,000 Iraqi civilians and soldiers were 
killed in the war and in the subsequent civil war.(1)

The air raid campaign dropped more than two million tons of bombs 
on Iraq and Kuwait. According to the Iraqi government, about 7,000 
Iraqi civilians were killed by the air raids alone, mostly in 
Baghdad, Basra, Falluja and Nasiriyya.(2) Amerika crudely 
calculated the civilian deaths as "collateral damage."

While Operation Desert Storm tore into the Iraqi people, the civil 
war which followed was the worst part of this living hell. Had the 
U.S.-led imperialist coalition not wanted total anarchy in Iraq, 
they would have rather easily deposed Saddam Hussein in the 

At least two thousand people were killed in the Kurdish uprisings 
in northern Iraq, and the casualty figures begin at 6,000 for the 
Shi'a uprising in southern Iraq.(1) In the long run, the civil war 
did much more damage than the ground war. "During March and April, 
as many as 2.5 million Iraqis-14 percent of the population-became 
refugees, fleeing from the soldiers of the Baghdad regime."(3)

And then there's the embargo. On Aug. 15, 1991, the U.N. Security 
Council passed Resolution 706, allowing Iraq to export $1.6 
billion worth of oil in exchange for supplies and war reparations. 
Under U.N. supervision, 70% would have gone to humanitarian 
supplies, while 30% would have gone to Kuwait for war reparations. 
But the Iraqi leadership rejected the resolution, contending that 
it would destroy their national sovereignty.(4) 

Infrastructure destroyed

Under the guise of attacking military targets, the U.S.-led aerial 
bombings destroyed vast amounts of Iraq's infrastructure. The 
destruction of bridges, roads, rail lines, port facilities, homes, 
shops, hospitals, factories, oil installations and communication 
centers amounted to $170 billion in damages, compared to $60 
billion of damage in Kuwait.(5) The Iraqi figure may not include 
the tremendous damage in northern and southern Iraq during the 
civil war.

Meanwhile, imperialist nations are flocking like hungry fiends to 
their imperialist lackey, Kuwait, in order to invest in the 
reconstruction of what the imperialists recently destroyed. 
Capitalists understand that war is profit.

A 10-member Harvard University medical team visited Iraq in late 
May and reported that 18 out of 20 of Iraq's generating plants 
were either incapacitated or destroyed.(5) Besides the electric 
generating plants, the destruction of health-related systems such 
as water purification plants and sewerage lines were extensive.(5)

The medical team also pointed out a connection between the vast 
destruction of Iraq's infrastructure and the resulting 
deterioration of public health. The team predicted that in the 
next year a minimum of 170,000 children under the age of five will 
die from infectious diseases.(5) As of the end of May, 50,000 
Iraqi children have already died as a result of the war's 
aftermath, according to the Harvard team.(7)

Famine conditions

Before the embargo, 70% of Iraq's grains were imported. For more 
than a year since the embargo began in August 1990, the Iraqi 
people have survived with their own agricultural production. But 
in addition to the bombing and civil war, the 600 oil wells 
burning in Kuwait have caused severe acid rain and drastically 
reduced domestic crops. The soot and gases from the oil fires mix 
with atmospheric moisture to form acid rain. As a result, the 
harvest shortfall may be 3 million tons of grain.(8)

The minimal food ration in Iraq is 850 calories per day, 
approximately half the amount of what a child under five requires, 
and a third of the required caloric intake for pregnant women. 
This food ration is comparable to what a dog or cat typically 
receives in Amerika. An Amerikan scientist bluntly stated: 
"Compare the food ration for [Iraqi] children to the ration of a 
dog or cat in America ... Maybe this will make them [the Amerikan 
people] think."(6)

Because there are little goods available, prices have skyrocketed. 
The minimum spending to get an adequate diet for an urban family 
is 600 dinars a month, whereas the current average wages for a 
laborer is 60 dinars a month and approximately 250 dinars for a 
government official. Most families have only one wage-earner.(8)


On Aug. 14, comrade Lieve Dehaes of the Worker's Party of Belgium 
traveled to Iraq with the "Medicine for the People" delegation to 
observe the aftermath first-hand. While she witnessed the 
suffering of the Iraqi people at the hands of the imperialists, 
she also saw the people reconstructing their country with courage 
and dignity.

The production of drinkable water has been raised to 1.5 million 
cubic meters, moving closer every day to pre-war production of 7 
million cubic meters. In the province of Meisan, furthermore, 80% 
of pre-war capacity has been restored by the people.(6)

Workers have rebuilt the important Rachid bridge in Baghdad, even 
with the scarcity of necessary materials. They have also 
reconstructed 30 primary and secondary schools in Baghdad; there 
were 58 damaged schools in the capital city. Most of the country's 
electrical capacity has been restored as of August.(6)

MIM commends the courage and strength of the Iraqi people to 
rebuild from the ashes of the imperialist blitzkrieg. With an 
unconditional lifting of the embargo, the people will soon restore 
their country back to pre-war levels. But that is not enough. Only 
revolution will truly vindicate the Iraqi people, who have been 
oppressed by imperialists and their own government.

1. Middle East Report July/August 1991, p.5. 
2. MER July/August 1991, p.4.
3. MER July/August 1991, p.8.
4. Economist 8/17/91, pp. 36-37.
5. MER July/August 1991, p.10.
6. Solidaire 9/18/91, p.16. A publication of the Worker's Party of 
Belgium. Under their charter, the Party understands the importance 
of the Third World proletariat. They write extensively on the 
Peruvian and Filipino Revolutions and have first-hand accounts of 
the war against Iraq and its aftermath.
7. Solidaire 8/7/91, p.10. 
8. Economist 7/20/91, pp.42-43.

* * *

 * * *



This is a response to an article published on the 20th anniversary 
of the Attica prison uprising, in the August 1991 issue of MIM 
Notes, which argued that reform has proven itself a failure in the 
effort to create a fair or humane criminal justice system under 
capitalism. MIM asserted that socialist revolution is the only way 
to fix Amerika's skewed definition of crime and repressive 
treatment of "criminals." Back issues of MIM Notes are available 
for $1, or free to prisoners.


Dear MIM:

About "History condemns prison reform":

Well, OK, anybody with a grain of sense knows that the repressive 
apparatuses of the state are an essential part of class rule, and 
that no reform that does not overthrow the ruling class will 
change the essential nature of these institutions.

So does that mean that we tell Mumia Abu-Jamal that we would be 
reformist pigs if we worked to save his life? Does that mean that 
we let Ahmad Abdur-Rahman and Geronimo Pratt rot away and die in 
obscurity in order to avoid tainting ourselves with reform? Does 
that mean that we let New York kill Bashir Hameed and North 
Carolina kill Eddie Hatcher by medical neglect because decent 
medical care is a "bleeding heart" demand? Does that mean that 
political prisoners and politicized social prisoners should study 
Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, but ignore their living 
conditions so as to not be liberals?

If you answer "yes" to these questions, you are dogmatists who are 
out of touch with the human aspects of oppressed people, who will 
never win much of a following. If your answer is "no," then get 
off this pompous kick and join the struggle.

-For prison reform

A MIM ally in prison responds: Struggle takes place at many levels 
and on different fronts. As long as you recognize that struggle 
against censorship, or for better conditions, isn't an end in 
itself, a lot can be done, such as politicizing and involving non-
political people. And it helps show the dead-end that reform is 
when people see that reform changes little. 

Twenty years after Attica it's the same story of crowding, racism, 
brutality. Of course we struggle against the murder of Mumia 
Jamal, medical neglect, etc. It's just that we realize saving 
Jamal's life changes nothing in the racist capitalist system of 

In the 1950s and 60s prisoners, women, etc. "won" all kinds of 
victories in court. Now the Rhenquist court is steadily rolling 
them back, exposing reformism as a hollow promise.

MC11 adds: MIM agrees with our ally's response. We have stated 
several times- most recently on the prison news page of the 
October 1991 MIM Notes-that some reforms are worth fighting for as 
part of a revolutionary strategy. Working for reforms as ends in 
themselves, however- which is what the author of the above letter 
effectively advocates-simply does not compare to the revolutionary 
work which could be done instead.

But the author's position cannot be dismissed so quickly. It is a 
problem that has confronted and continues to confront thousands of 
people who genuinely want to participate in ending oppression in 
the world. It is one many MIM cadres grappled with before joining 
the party.

Some critics reject revolutionary work because their class 
interest makes them want to maintain the capitalist system, 
regardless of the social inequalities and oppression it inevitably 
creates. This group is content with working on feel-good reforms 
that allow them to retain their class privileges. Others are 
genuinely deluded into thinking-as the ruling class would like 
them to think-that reform really makes a difference.

Starting with the assumption that, as the author acknowledges, 
repression is essential to class rule and cannot be eliminated 
through reform, the logical course of action would be to start 
organizing to overthrow the ruling class. 

Countering this logic is the immediate pain and suffering 
capitalism creates, and the desire to do something which will 
achieve quick, visible results. Whether it's homelessness, 
battered women, or the unjust imprisonment of thousands by the 
Amerikan state, the temptation is to engage in actions which will 
measurably help a few oppressed individuals in the short-term, 
rather than work to build a revolution that would end oppression 
for all-but which might take decades to succeed.

Of course MIM agrees that the lives of the prisoners the author 
mentions are worth fighting for. But not at the expense of the 
lives of the rest of the million-plus prisoners locked up by the 
Amerikan state, and not at the expense of the freedom of the 
billions of Third World people who suffer every day from the 
violence of capitalism and U.S. imperialism.

Reformist "victories" are typically concessions on the part of the 
ruling class. Providing small victories for reformist political 
work also helps the ruling class maintain the pretense of justice. 
Reformists like the author get strung along for years with the 
little tidbits thrown to them by the ruling class, only to see 
their decades of work reversed in the sweep of a president's order 
or a multinational corporation's whim.

MIM argues with some feminists along the same lines. Many women in 
the United States work with rape prevention centers or shelters 
for battered women in the belief that they are helping to fight 
the patriarchy and better the conditions of women. Others fight 
legal battles in an effort to make the bourgeois law more 
favorable to women. Yet each year, more women are battered, and 
more women are sexually assaulted.(1)

The author tells MIM to "join the struggle," if the party agrees 
with his/her assertion that fighting reformist battles is the only 
way to gain a following and be in touch with the human aspects of 
oppressed people.

To this MIM responds: what struggle? The author's prescription for 
reformist action without a revolutionary party to guide it is a 
dead end. It would be irresponsible of MIM to advocate that people 
waste their time with reformist work that even the author admits 
will never change the essential oppressive nature of capitalist 
institutions-not when they could be working with MIM to end 
oppression altogether.(2)

1. This space is too short to go into depth on this subject. MIM 
distributes a 10-page theoretical paper, entitled "Revolution and 
Violence Against Women," available for $1.
2. MIM has discussed the issue of reform work in many different 
contexts. For more literature on this subject, write to the 
address on p.2.


Dear MIM Notes: 

As you are no doubt aware MIM Notes are sometimes being 
confiscated from prisoners here at New Jersey's State Prison in 
Trenton. However, some prisoners are still receiving them because 
some of us have seen and read the September 1991 No. 56 and are 
appreciative of the spread given to Attica. The Management Control 
Units here at Trenton, which consists of 72 prisoners, will give 
commemorative recognition to the Attica massacre of September 13, 
1971 by fasting, and not participating in any MCU prison mess 
movement that day.

We concur with much of what was written regarding the Attica 
massacre in your No. 56, and we are living examples that the 
struggling of Attica's history remains alive today, and with 
consistent struggle we will progress.

In spite of the attack made against MIM Notes by prison 
authorities here, there is litigation taking place to make MIM 
Notes acceptable to any prisoner so wishing a subscription, as 
opposed to the few that are slipping through. In light of that, I 
would like to receive a subscription of MIM Notes myself, and I 
will definitely be on the struggling end of those litigating to 
defend the right of MIM Notes to be allowed within this prison.

Looking forward to your response. I remain ...
Keepin' struggle alive!
-Trenton prisoner


Prisoners have an AIDS infection rate of 5.8%, the highest of any 
group tested in a recent Centers for Disease Control study, 
including people at public universities (0.8%), at clinics for 
sexually transmitted diseases (2.9%) and at drug-treatment centers 

AIDS is currently the leading cause of death in New York State 
prisons, and the New Jersey Department of Corrections estimated 
that 30-50% of its inmates are HIV-infected.(2)

The National Institute of Justice reports a 606% increase in 
confirmed AIDS cases in U.S. prisons and a sample of large jails 
from 1985 to 1989. And prisoners with AIDS die at twice the rate 
of non-prisoners with AIDS.(2)

Such statistics are not surprising, given the facts about who goes 
to prison in capitalist countries. The AIDS infection rate for 
intravenous (IV) drug users is increasing rapidly. IV-drug use has 
a high correlation with poverty, as does going to prison. In 1979, 
40% of state prisoners had pre-arrest incomes of under $3,000, 
while almost 25% had no pre-arrest income. In 1981, the average 
pre-arrest income for those in jail was $3,714.(3) It follows 
then-and the connection is not lost on the capitalists who enforce 
the twisted logic-that prisoners have a high AIDS infection rate.

A cure for the disease is nowhere in sight, as research money for 
an AIDS cure takes a back burner to the tens of billions of 
dollars the Amerikan state spends fighting the "drug war"-aimed 
exclusively at poor communities and oppressed nationalities-and 
locking up its victims. Unfortunately this is not a case of 
misplaced priorities that can be straightened out by writing your 
congressional representative. It's just the capitalist way.


1. AP in Detroit Free Press, 10/7/91.
2. The Progressive, September 1991, cited in Prisoners' Legal 
News, Vol. 2, No.10.
3. The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison, by Jeffrey Reiman, 
Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1984.


The pigs at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, 
are testing out new ways to repress the prisoners in Camp J, the 
infamous section of the prison where KKK guards have inflicted 
every form of abuse in the book against the prisoners, including 

According to Campaign of Exposure (COE), a prisoner organization 
fighting this repression, there is a "Behavior Modification 
Program" currently in effect at Camp J. The cellblock has long 
been under an extended lockdown, where prisoners are confined to 
their cells 23 hours per day. Recently the administration has been 
under pressure to either justify the lockdown or change it. The 
new plans sound suspiciously like a fledgling control unit.

Control units, which are spreading quickly through the Amerikan 
prison system, seek to break prisoners through tortures such as 
withholding food, light, media and human contact. When a prisoner 
enters this kind of program, the state takes these things away. 
Prisoners only get them back when the arbitrary and cruel whims of 
the police are satisfied.

COE reports that the program is petty and retaliatory, coercing 
prisoners to work for rewards-including food and books. There are 
three "security levels," that a prisoner must work through to be 
reclassified from Camp J. The levels correspond to the amount of 
access prisoners are granted to the basic necessities of human 

The program can "deprive the subject of the right to purchase 
postage stamps from the prison canteen, limit the number of law 
books that an individual can possess at any one time, deprive the 
subject of the right to maintain a typewriter in his personal 
possession and limit the number of indigent letters that one can 
mail per week," writes COE.

"Its purpose is simply to turn back the hands of time to subject 
us to the exact same criminal, inhumane and repressive conditions 
that we waged a protracted and bloody battle to help do away 
with," the Campaign adds.

One prisoner who has been working with COE writes that the pigs 
transferred him to another cellblock just before the program went 
into effect, in an effort to prevent him from documenting and 
publicizing the new repression. 

"After five long years of confinement here at Camp J, Extended 
Lockdown, these pigs have transferred me to another area of this 
prison. I strongly suspect that the pigs used this transfer to 
keep me from monitoring the [Behavior Modification] program. I 
also think the pigs transferred me because they could not justify 
me being confined to Camp J for five years," the prisoner writes.

COE has written numerous other articles for MIM Notes exposing the 
inhuman policies of Angola. This is the sort of vehicle that MIM 
Notes should be for prisoners. Keep up the good work.

-MC¯ & MC11

Notes: MIM Notes 43 & 53.


Prison officials report that prisoners in one unit at Montana 
State Prison seized control of both their cell block and five 
guards. Warden Jack McCormick said the prisoners killed five 
prisoners and injured four others, all of whom were being held in 
protective custody because "they had informed on, or had been 
threatened by inmates." The siege ended when prison commandos 
stormed the facility four hours later.

MIM doesn't know much about this and would like others to send 
news of what really happened. We do know there are prisoner 
informants who work for the pigs; prisoners sometimes turn on one 
another; other times the pigs use divide and conquer tactics. And 
usually what the warden says is a lie.


Notes: Associated Press, 9/23/91.


The investigation into the recent uprising at Southport 
Correctional Facility-New York's "super secure" prison that is on 
lockdown 23 hours per day-has largely exonerated the institution 
and its designer, Commissioner of Correctional Service Thomas 
Coughlin 3rd. The report, although not yet finalized due to 
squabbling between its authors, concludes that such a prison is a 
"justifiable penal experiment."(1)

And this is a great place to be a guinea pig. As we have reported 
in past issues, the brothers in Southport get two cups of water a 
day and one meal. They are chained everywhere they go, and beaten 
by guards.(2) The only exercise they get is in small cages. It is 
a sick science that tries to justify this as an experiment. To 
counter the bourgeoisie's science of repression, the masses must 
learn the science of revolution.


1. New York Times, 10/6/91, p. 20.
2. MIM Notes 54 & 55.


Protesting proposed rule changes that would reduce visiting hours, 
slash their 21-cents-per-hour pay by 5% and raise canteen prices, 
3,400 prisoners at Folsom prison in California boycotted dinner on 
Sept. 7. The warden's reprisals against this act of resistance are 
continuing in late October as MIM Notes goes to press.

The prison was locked down for 18 days following the incident, 
supposedly because there were fires and floods. However, a member 
of the California Visitors Cooperative (CVC), a group that informs 
prison visitors of their rights, said in an interview that the 
prisoners have said there were no such disturbances.

"It scared the administration because all the races joined 
together on this," the CVC spokesperson said. 

Ten of the prisoners have been transferred to Pelican Bay and 
Corcoran prisons, which will make it nearly impossible for some of 
their families-living in Folsom-to visit. Pelican Bay is currently 
under a state investigation for inhumane conditions.

Members of CVC who staged a rally outside the prison in 
conjunction with the prisoners' meal boycott have also been 
harassed and denied information by the prison authorities. 

"It's a way of trying to break the group down because we're seen 
as a threat to them," the CVC spokesperson said.

It is unclear whether the prison administration intends to go 
through with the proposed changes.


* * *


by MC86, MC45 & MC18

Amerikan finance capitalists created massive bank-mergers this 
summer, attempting to cut losses and strengthen their command of 
international wealth. Amerikan Transnational Corporations (TNCs) 
are preparing to fight  rival imperialists-led by Japan and the 
European Community-for the privilege of further exploiting the 
Third World.

By August, 60 Amerikan banks had failed in 1991.(1) Four hundred 
are expected to die in 1992. Seventy-five banks with assets of 
over $1 billion reported net losses for 1990. Chase Manhattan, 
Bank of Boston and three others, worth up to $50 billion each, are 
limping.(2) At least 1,500 more are on death-row.(3)

Citicorp was recently declared "insolvent" by "top-banking 
regulator" Rep. John Dingell in a statement little noticed in 
Amerika,(4) but of such note in Hong Kong that a panic-run on 
Citibank there nearly shut it down.(5)

"McKinney & Co., a consulting firm, estimate[d] that by the mid-
1990s [Amerika's] 125 largest bank-holding companies, which hold 
two-thirds of the industry's $3.2 trillion in assets, will be 
winnowed down to just 10 to 15 ..."(6)

On July 16, Manufacturers Hanover and Chemical Bank, themselves 
products of mergers, merged. On July 23, recent mergers NCNB and 
C&S/Sovran merged. August 13, Bank Of America and Security Pacific 
combined. Wells Fargo and First Interstate head a long line 
waiting in the wings.

Banks and the Third World

TNCs brutally exploit Third World workers. In Peru, workers create 
five times the value of their wages.(7) Corporations go outside 
the First World to find cheap, non-unionized labor. In countries 
with underdeveloped domestic economies, capitalists can pay 
workers less than they need to feed themselves and their families. 
These families try to survive by farming or sending children to 
work in urban areas. The process is called super-exploitation.

In Amerika, capitalists sell the products of Third World labor 
cheaply to buy the allegiance of Euro-Amerikan workers. Portions 
of the profits are used as capital for investment, which create 
illusory profits in the credit system.

Giant private banks offer tremendous loans to the Third World to 
"aid development." Loans to Third World nations foster economic 
dependence, which means the recipients are forced to provide cheap 
raw materials and labor for export products for the First World. 
The quick cash fixes-from loans and industry-are used to import 
basic necessities, which the national economies cannot provide.

Now nations must comply with International Monetary Fund/World 
Bank policies for short-term cash loans just to pay the interest 
on the loans. National bourgeoisies-local ruling classes of the 
oppressed nations-are restricting development of domestic markets, 
looking for foreign investments. Individual foreign companies buy 
out state-owned industries, which increases national economic 
dependency on imperialist dollars.

Paper tigers,  paper profits

"All nations with a capitalist mode of production are seized 
periodically by a feverish attempt to make money without the 
intervention of the process of production."(8)

Paper profits are made by a process called  leveraging: making 
something out of nothing. Capitalism calculates the power of 
investments by matching them to the profit they could have made if 
they had been used as capital to create profit. 

The initial investment is considered, on paper, to "own" the 
profit. The hypothetical profit is "fictitious capital"-invented 
by guessing the outcome of an investment-and its paths are 
difficult to track. It contributes to clogging the system.

Looking to restore the tiny bit of real money on which they built 
mountains of fictitious garbage, banks have rediscovered small 
depositors.(9,10) Bankers and brokers hold a portion of the 
investment capital, using it to create domestic financial markets 
to attract the savings of the working classes. The bankers pay 
depositors approximately 5% interest for use of their money. They 
charge up to 20% interest on personal loans.(11)

Corporations receive loans at 8.5% interest, while bankers and 
brokers  loan each other money at 5.5%. Wheeling and dealing in 
paper money, banks deal in deposits and loans while unable to 
produce cash to depositor or borrower.

The showdown

Amerika needs big banks to compete in international finance. 
Citicorp, the largest U.S. bank, is not even in the top 20 
worldwide.(4) As the mergers race to the top, 500,000 bank 
clerical workers-mostly women and members of oppressed 
nationalities-will lose their jobs.(2)

The bourgeoisie is tightening belts domestically by concentrating 
capital, liquidating unprofitable debt structures, re-transforming 
fictitious capital into productive capital and subordinating the 
banks to the TNCs. A powerful imperialist unity is preparing to 
move on newly developed productive forces-against the Third World 
proletariat. Mao warned: "If the U.S. Monopoly groups persist in 
their policies of aggression and war, the day is bound to come 
when the people of the world will hang them by the neck."(12)

1. Economist 8/10/91, p. 68.
2. Financial World 8/20/91, p. 28.
3. Naylor,  Hot Money And The Politics Of Debt,  Unwin, 1987, p. 
4. NYT 8/14/91, p. C1.
5. Far Eastern Economic Review 8/22/91, p. 32.
6. NYT 7/17/91, p. C6.
7. Pastor & Dymski, "Debt Crisis and Class Conflict in Latin 
America (table 7)," Review of Radical Political Economy, Spring 
1990, p. 167.
8. Marx, Capital, Vol.2, International Publishers, 1967, p. 58.
9. NYT 8/13/91 p. C1. 
10. Investors Daily 8/29/91, p. 30.
11. New York Times 8/23/91, p. C1.
12. NYT 7/29/91, p. C1.
13. Renmin Ribao (Mao Zedong) 9/9/58.

* * *


by MC18

Heavy metal has developed through the 1980s, with artists 
encompassing a wide variety of social and political views. As 
producers and recording labels began to realize the market value 
of this subspecies of rock, hundreds of "genetically engineered" 
bands flooded the market. Marketability rules over image, sound 
and lyrics. So-called "glamour" metal arrived, epitomizing the 
manufacturing process for the music product. Elaborate and 
expensive stage shows and layers of make-up thinly cover 
reactionary ruling-class ideology on sex and money. Still, some 
aspects of heavy metal are not without integrity, and it is 
possible to find pieces of accurate analysis among a variety of 

Metal origins

Both the hard rock legacy of the 1960s and 1970s-including Led 
Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and many 
others-and the later anarchist hard-core "punk" movement of the 
1970s and 1980s have contributed to the definition of modern heavy 
metal. While metal has developed several distinctive images, the 
basis for the sound was set down much earlier.

Any semblance of progressive politics-typically anarchist 
critiques of militarism and authority-can usually be traced back 
to hardcore origins-Sex Pistols, the Clash, Dead Kennedys and 
dozens of others. The artists most influenced by this tradition 
are typically those with the highest degree of political 
integrity, and the least "manufactured" product. Dave Mustaine of 
Megadeth, a fast metal group with a history of more political 
lyrics, reflects on the typical decadent lifestyle: "That's 
megalomania to me ... I want to stay at the street-level, because 
then I don't have any pretentious values in life, and I don't 
start writing music just for the dollar sign."(1)

Examples of relatively politically advanced metal bands are not 
hard to identify, but the analysis is usually superficial. 
Metallica's anti-militarism of "Disposable Heroes"(2) and "For 
Whom the Bell Tolls"(3) focuses on the uselessness of war deaths, 
especially for soldiers, but there is no analysis of imperialism. 
By far the most advanced analysis of settler imperialism came from 
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden in 1982, in "Run to the Hills," which 
discusses the Euro-Amerikan invasion of North America and genocide 
of the Cree nation: "Murder for freedom, the stab in the back."(4)


Ultimately, heavy metal does not provide revolutionary 
inspiration. It despairs of the lack of control white youth have 
over their lives, and descends to nihilist anti-authority 
positions. Lemmy of Motorhead explains the attraction: "It's fast 
and it's aggressive and it's rebellious and their parents hate it. 
That's always been the mark of good rock and roll-if your parents 
hate it, it's good."(1) Metallica's "Escape" is an excellent 
tribute to this sentiment: "Feed my brain with your so called 
standards / Who says that I ain't right / ... Life is for my own to 
live my own way."(3) The socially escapist position of many of the 
groups does nothing to help this problem, a trait clearly 
displayed even by the more politically-oriented bands.

1. "Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years," 
RCA/Columbia Pictures, 1988.
2. Metallica, "Master of Puppets," Elektra Records, 1986.
3. Metallica, "Ride the Lightning," Elektra Records, 1984.
4. Iron Maiden, "The Number of the Beast," EMI Records, 1982.

* * *


Black Voice
Popular Paper of the Black Unity & Freedom Party (BUFP)
Vol. 22:1 1991
Box 1, 122 Vassall Rd. London SW9 6JB BRITAIN
£10 for 12 issues overseas

This paper is right on. MIM cannot tell what its differences with 
the BUFP are for sure, but the paper does not name itself Maoist.

The paper correctly stands against both the U.S. imperialists in 
the war in Iraq and the repressive bourgeois regime in Iraq for 
oppressing the people.

Rather than kiss up to Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, 
the BUFP calls him a "Black face for imperialism."(p. 2)

The one difference that MIM can point to is that apparently the 
BUFP does not believe in a vanguard party. But what that means is 
not clear because the BUFP advocates principled unity and the 
formation of a party to build independent power for socialism.

MIM agrees with BUFP's assessment of Trotskyism. They explain that 
Trotsky "produced little on the nature of Black struggle."(p.5)

The end of the article could have come right out of MIM Notes, 
which is very significant because none of the three Maoist groups 
in England have a line like MIM's on the labor aristocracy: "The 
slogan 'Black and white unite and fight,' so favoured by the SWP 
[might as well be the Socialist Workers Party, USA -MC5], might be 
a nice ideal-but in the real world we have to develop our own 
effective strategies and tactics, and identify how class interacts 
with race.

"No Trotskyist group has tried to do this. They either subordinate 
the Black struggle to class, or use the fight against racism only 
as part of a struggle to protect 'democratic rights' as a whole ... 
This is the petit-bourgeois politics of opportunism and will take 
on a hysterical edge as crisis-ridden capitalism erodes the 
privileges of a corrupt labour movement..."(p. 5)

BUFP also correctly labels racism a product of imperialism. While 
the issues are a little murky based on this one issue, one thing 
is clear: at least one party in England holds a line on the labour 
aristocracy and Black nationalism similar to MIM's.


* * *

Elektra, 1991

Metallica, a heavy metal band which has received much critical 
acclaim, demonstrates an important phenomenon in American culture. 
With virtually no air play, the band's latest album started out at 
number one on the Billboard charts.

Like much metal, Metallica's tone is very angry, and very anti-
authority, without much materialist analysis. In fact, most of 
Metallica's music ends up as political nihilism-the philosophy 
that says political structures are corrupt and should be 
destroyed, period.

This disc points to the degeneracy of the Amerikan war mentality 
and the Church, but it provides no options, instead focusing on 
the continuous oppression of people by some unnamed socializing 

The heavy metal phenomenon serves the interest of the Amerikan 
superstructure. It fosters the notion that free speech is free to 
flourish, because "anti-government" heavy metal acts are allowed 
to become millionaires. It allows a great number of people to be 
critical of politicians and capitalists without being analytical, 
or without taking steps to eradicate this degenerate capitalist 

Almost everybody in this country knows that "the rich" have all 
the power, just as everyone can say all politicians are corrupt. 
What does this mean? Absolutely nothing. Most Amerikans, including 
the labor aristocracy, benefit from maintaining an exploitative 
system, and therefore in a global context they are "rich" too.

Music like Metallica's allows people to be critical, yet never 
look for solutions. Would-be revolutionaries are told, through 
this music, not to do anything. It is easier to give up than to 
fight for justice. It is easier to be critical of a system than to 
propose an alternative, and make that a reality.

MIM realizes that it is necessary to criticize the current power 
structure, and expose it for the bloody regime that it is. We also 
realize that fundamental change will only come through revolution, 
guided by Maoist thought. Music is frequently a tool that is used 
to oppress and fool the masses. Revolutionary music does not come 
from the bourgeoisie, but from the oppressed masses. We must look 
to the music of the oppressed masses throughout the world, and 
create our own revolutionary music. -MC59

* * *



The main premise in this movie is spelled out by one Irish working 
class musician: "The Irish are the Blacks of Europe. Dubliners are 
the Blacks of Ireland ... Say it once; say it loud: I'm Black and 
I'm proud!"

And so he launches a new band, dedicated to playing Black soul 
music a la James Brown, etc. The band takes off, instantly 
striking a powerful chord in proletarian Dubliner culture. 
Eventually, the Commitments come apart at the seams, split along 
ego lines as their popularity climbs.

The movie features a bunch of unheard-of new actors and musicians. 
Along with the on-location filming, the cast gives the movie a 
being-there feeling which is surprisingly convincing.

As far as it goes, the main thrust is good: oppressed people make 
better music.

The culture of oppressed peoples is both an expression of 
oppression and a struggle against it. Both of these elements come 
out in the movie, though there is way too much emphasis on the 
first. In other words, we get a sense of the crush of urban Irish 
proletarian life: its brutal grind (gut fish all day, jam all 
night) and its bleak outlook, countered only by the occasional 
romance or flitting feeling of community. But there is no sense of 
the struggle these conditions produce. The movie avoids "politics" 
beyond the smallest hints, and therefore leaves the cultural 
expression empty and one-sided.

For as crucial a role as cultural expressions play in the 
development of class struggle, in the long run they are only as 
powerful as the political struggles they support and represent. 
The Commitments gives a small taste of that powerful brew, but in 
the end leaves the revolutionary mouth very dry.


What starts as a stark portrayal of the "underside" of New York 
City life-homelessness and poverty framed against a sickly 
backdrop of inhuman wealth-turns into a fluffy dream-piece with 
nowhere to go and no way to get there.

Jeff Bridges is a radio talk show host whose cynicism inspires a 
caller to take a shotgun to a crowded yuppie bar. Bridges' radio 
career is ruined. One of the people killed is the wife of a now-
homeless man (Robin Williams) who ends up saving Bridges' life, 

It's the kind of plot whose main overall point seems to be that 
life is pre-determined by fate. This may be the movie's biggest 
drawback, since the fate approach to life is in the end completely 
individualist and self-absorbed. Everyone has got their own little 
destiny to fulfill.

Except for some insight into the alienation of big city life (for 
white people), as well as a reminder that misery rules beneath the 
surface and "insanity" is the product of material conditions, 
there is very little here to go on. To hell with mysticism and 
fate-we've got a long way to go before we've even got reality 


Chalk up another one to fate.

This time it's about past lives, an endless treadmill of a supreme 

In a past life two people were married. The husband was 
electrocuted for the murder of the wife, though he didn't do 
it-the son of the maid did it. Now it's the next time around. The 
husband has come back as a woman, the wife has come back as a man. 
The son of the maid is still alive, as is his mother-for a while.

Everyone has to first figure out who was who in the last life, 
then decide who they need to take revenge on, and then they're 

There really isn't much to recommend this movie. Fate is a 
reactionary concept which ultimately says everything is infinitely 
repeated so there is no such thing as progress, and that people 
have no effect on the course of history. With regard to romance, 
which is almost always portrayed in bourgeois culture as a matter 
of fate, it is especially bad, because its bottom line is 
submission to pre-ordained gender relations.

Don't believe it. Prove them wrong: get with the program to change 
the world and overturn the mythology of fate.

* * *


by MC86

MIM Notes did an exhausting read of 20 leftist newspapers to find 
out what the Amerikan left believes about the August coup in the 
newly re-named Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics.

The Soviet Union continues to be a dividing line question among 
revolutionaries; MIM's analysis of the Soviet economy and the 
historical moment that capitalism was restored is crucial to the 
way we view prospects for revolution today. It shapes our 
understanding of what it takes to make a revolution, and to resist 
counterrevolution and revision.

So while anti-sectarian, coalition-seeking "progressives" bemoan 
the divisions among the left as inconsequential, MIM believes that 
the masses are capable of making the important distinctions 
between Maoist Internationalists and, for example, the Communist 
Party, USA which was on record after the coup with the following 
reactionary and contradictory messages: "I'm not for any kind of 
condemnation of the coup," and "Mikhail Gorbachev deserves the 
Nobel Prize!"(1)

The choice is yours.


Trotskyists have long held that the USSR is not capitalist. By 
their reasoning, the USSR and its client states in Eastern Europe 
are still under a dictatorship of the proletariat, but it has 
become distorted. This is the "deformed workers' state" theory. 
Under the rule of "deformed" workers, they argue, the development 
of socialism is hung up. This theory rests on a formalistic 
approach to social relations, which basically believes that state 
ownership equals public ownership. The more dogmatic strains of 
Trotskyism have argued that a return to capitalism was simply 

MIM sees this theory as not materialist because it reflects no 
class analysis. Which class rules? Who controls the means of 
production, and who allocates society's surplus? For materialists, 
"workers" who control the means of production, hire and fire at 
will, pass wealth on to their children, and cut the majority of 
people out of the political system are not "deformed"-they  are 
capitalists. This helps explain, which the Trots never can, why 
the USSR experienced unemployment and recessions-characteristic 
features of capitalism.

The Trotskyist view also maintains that Soviet expansionism 
represents "deformed" internationalism, which means imperialist 
actions such as the invasion of Afghanistan and the USSR's neo-
colonial relations with Cuba and other Third World countries 
represented the spread of socialism, but it was deformed 
socialism. MIM rejects this as an apology for imperialism and 
opposes all such expansionism. (See "Revolutionary History," p. 3)

So rather than seeing the Soviet coup as an expression of class 
struggle between capitalist elements, none of whom represent the 
Soviet masses, Trots have implicitly supported the "deformed 
workers"-those usually called "hard-liners"-over those now in 
power, represented by Boris Yeltsin. On the positive side, recent 
events may make some Trotskyists realize that capitalist 
restoration is indeed possible after socialist revolution has 

To those who belatedly come to realize what Maoists understood in 
the 1950s, MIM says, "better late than never," and urges them to 
come over to the side of the international proletariat before it's 
too late.

International Socialist Organization

The Socialist Worker, publication of the International Socialist 
Organization (ISO), claims that the coup was a "blow to orthodox 
Trotskyism." Orthodox Trotskyism labels the USSR a "deformed 
worker's state," as opposed to the ISO's characterization of the 
USSR as "state capitalist for more than 40 years." ISO follows 
this correct analysis of the social relations prevailing in the 
USSR with an incorrect statement typical of "settler-radicalism," 
a trend holding that the Amerikan white working class is 
revolutionary. ISO writes:

"Stalinism, in its Maoist guise, won the allegiance of a 
generation of revolutionaries in the 1960s. But these politics led 
the generation of 1968 to focus on Third World liberation 
movements rather than addressing issues important to the U.S. 

Maoists are, above all, internationalists. We don't address the 
interests of U.S. white workers because the large U.S. labor 
aristocracy is currently allied with Amerikan imperialism, and 
therefore its interests contradict those of the international 

According to Socialist Worker, small groups of Greens, anarchists, 
and "socialists" mingled amongst the Moscovites surrounding 
Yeltsin's appropriately-named "White House." The common complaint 
was, "We can't give out a leaflet critical of Yeltsin when all 
these people support him."(1)

Spartacist League
P.O. Box 1377 G.P.O.
New York, NY 10116

The Trotskyist Workers Vanguard, published by the Spartacist 
League, holds that the main enemy of the "degenerate Stalinist 
socialist workers' state" is Boris Yeltsin, Bush's weasel inside 
the USSR. While MIM also recognizes Yeltsin as an enemy of the 
people, MIM understands that the real coup happened in the USSR in 
1954, when a new bourgeoisie seized state power and imposed 
capitalism on the socialist production relations built by the 
masses under the revolutionary leadership of Lenin, Stalin, and 
the Communist Party. (See MIM's literature list for more 

The Sparts go on to urge the Soviet working class to mobilize 
their soviets (councils) against the bureaucracy-as if the 
dictatorship of the proletariat still existed in the USSR! 
Following this non-materialist exhortation, they boast of having 
supported the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Socialist Worker's Party
410 West Street
New York, NY 10014
12 wks/$4.00

The Militant, publication of the Socialist Worker's Party, claims 
that the USSR remains socialist because "nationalized property 
relations remain in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe." MIM 
understands that any state can nationalize the ownership of the 
means of production (things), but "property relations" are social 
relations and can no more be "nationalized" than ideas can change 
"owners." (See The Fundamentals of Political Economy. Available 
from MIM for $15.)

All revisionists-no matter how much they may dislike each 
other-are linked by a common "theory of the productive forces," 
which crows that it is possible to achieve communism by profitably 
investing in state-owned machinery.

During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, revolutionary Maoists 
fought this theory tooth and nail by raising the slogan: "Promote 
production, grasp revolution!" For Maoists, the class struggle is 
key during the stages of transitions from capitalism to socialism 
to communism. People who emphasize forms of production over 
revolutionary ideological content set the scene for capitalist 

Workers World Party
46 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10010

Kissing cousin to the Trotskyists is Sam Marcy's Workers World 
Party, publisher of the Workers World newspaper. Like the name of 
the party, Workers World contains no possessive punctuation mark 
after "workers." Marcy hailed the reactionary coup as an "attempt 
to restore the socialist structure of the USSR."

Down with Sam.


Newspapers like The Guardian and The Nation are not sectarian, but 
many single-issue group activists and progressives look toward 
them on issues such as the Soviet Union. That is why MIM includes 
them in this review.

Socialist Labor Party
914 Industrial Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94303

The People, organ of the Socialist Labor Party (SLP), minces no 
words. The heck with the coup. It headlines, "The Bolshevik 
Revolution Wasn't a Socialist Revolution." SLP will concede, 
however, that the Revolution was "progressive."

24 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10010

The Guardian features an array of comments by acceptable leftists 
(MIM not included) and exposes its own line in commenting that, 
"Yeltsin behaved sensibly, honorably and with great personal 
courage throughout the crisis."

So did Julius Caesar.

Ever the fence-straddlers, these folks claim that Gorbachev's 
restructuring "had a distinctly socialist content," and that 
perestroika failed because "the workers did not march in to claim 
what was rightfully theirs." How convenient. When "neo-Marxist" 
theory fails, blame the masses.

But The Guardian does bring us up to date on the European left. 
The Italian Communist Party welcomes the "dissolution of the 
Soviet party," calling it a "tragedy of Leninism." Presumably 
they, like their counterparts in Spain, fail to recognize that 
when you throw out the bathwater (Lenin), you toss out the baby 

Italy's Rifonazione Comunista, on the other hand, attacked the 
post-coup decision to dissolve the Soviet Communist party as 
"disgraceful, an indecorous surrender by Gorbachev, which opens 
the path towards crude, primitive capitalism."

72 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011

The Nation gives its space to Boris Kagarlitsky, billed as "a 
leader of the socialist reform movement in the USSR." With the 
Soviet ruling class's formal adoption of naked capitalism and 
abandonment of revisionism, space has been made for a new, 
subservient Soviet "left."

Kagarlitsky's contribution: "The events of recent months have 
demonstrated not only how little prepared Russia is for democracy 
but also how little we deserve it." MIM hopes that any underground 
Maoists alive in the Soviet territories soon begin to learn the 
art of war by making war.

Communist Labor Party
P.O. Box 3524
Chicago, IL 60654

The Communist Labor Party's People's Tribune is the willfully 
ignorant National Enquirer of the Marx-less world. Its version of 
the "theory of the productive forces" runs:

"The basis for a communist society is electronics and robotics, 
which can create enough goods to end poverty ... Now that 
electronics is here ... the (Soviet) workers have to get rid of ... 
managers belonging to the age of industrial socialism. These 
people deliberately held back the development of electronics ... The 
new worldwide communist movement is led by workers ... fighting for 
their practical needs because that is what the change to 
electronics calls for."

1. The Guardian 9/11/91, p. 11.

MC44 & MC12 contributed to this report.

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