Red Flag Newspaper
International Communist Workers Party
Thousands defied the state of emergency in France to protest in advance of the Climate Summit in Paris. Capitalist competition to maximize profits prevents real change in energy policy. Meanwhile clashes over control of fossil fuels are driving the world toward war. (more here)
After a flight of thirty two hours, I got to El Salvador. The next day we met with my group of friends to enjoy a good welcome back. They asked me many things. We talked about daily life in the townships of South Africa, the segregation, and how the party is advancing. They were excited about making videos of the conference and about dialectics.
We spent all night hanging out and talking about different topics, personal and political, and how they are related with each other. We discussed how the people we know reacted to the attacks in Paris. This led us to a discussion about interimperialist rivalry.
“The only ones who can reverse this situation and avoid mass slaughter are the workers and the soldiers,” I put in. Someone else responded and that’s how we started to discuss how the soldiers can be won to communist revolution.
It was four o’clock in the morning and we started talking about our work situation. Most of this group are students and only two have a degree. We are all unemployed. “The thing is, it’s messed up. Where haven’t I put in an application? I feel like I wasted my time going to school.”
Our situation of being unemployed led us to a discussion about capitalist education. “It’s that school takes you away from everything. It removes you and locks you into only one thing. If I had a child, I would not put him/her in school. I would take them out to know things in reality,” said a friend.
We argued that while it was true that school takes you away from reality, isolation is an individualist attitude. In capitalism, there is no possibility for a good education.
“What you are saying is similar to what our pamphlet on education says,” I said. And on every point that we talked about, we agreed.
Then, at that moment, I turned the conversation to a point where we could sharpen the contradiction that I had observed for a long time: the need for the party.
“It’s that everything sounds good, but why do you have to call it a Party?” asked the same friend. I answered that the working class needs to organize worldwide. It is a process and that it has been shown that this is the way that revolutions can triumph, not through individual acts of heroism.
“I understand and I don’t agree with the anarchists who say that we have to put bombs and things like that, but what is the difference between the Party and what happened in the Soviet Union and China?”
Many people have the same question. Our best tool to mobilize the masses is Red Flag. I told him about our series of articles called “Why Communism Can Win,” and how the error of the old movement was to fight for socialism. The ideological and organic aspect of our party is different from the moment that we eliminate the stage of socialism. On this point we agree, even though the discussion continued until dawn.
At the end, I concluded with a question. “If I ask you to help me distribute Red Flag in the maquilas, will you come with me?”
“Yes! Let’s go, just tell me when,” he answered, just like the other three who were in the house.
An historic moment in the fight for communism and in the Party has begun. The communist conference in South Africa has given emotional and political motivation to the fight to mobilize the masses for communism. As was explained in letters and articles in previous editions, we see how the masses are open to communism. We learn how the comrades in South Africa spread the ideas on a mass level and among all their friends.
After all the experiences, the knowledge gained, and the motivation, what is next? Those of us who came from other parts of the world to the conference agree that this is an historic moment. Today our task is to put these experiences and knowledge into communist practice. The communist future of the working class depends on us.
I am eternally grateful to the comrades in South Africa who welcomed me into their homes, and who shared their meals with me. I learned once more that borders are only imaginary lines to divide us. I brought back a backpack full of experiences, like all who were there, and today we must take advantage of our communist line. We must fearlessly take our politics to our friends, and co-workers in the factories and barracks. A Red Flag in the hands of one more person is a bullet in the heart of the enemy.
LOS ANGELES—“The MTA CEO is having a meeting inside,” texted a bus operator at the Metropolitan Transit Authority to a comrade distributing Red Flag at Division 18. Workers leaving for the day knew about the meeting but chose not to attend.
“It was the new person in charge of security, not MTA’s CEO. He also came here,” replied an operator from Division 15 when asked about the meeting.
“What was the purpose?” asked our comrade
“Just PR (public relations). We have nothing to do with each other. They secure MTA’s property, not ours. Our cars are broken into or stolen from in the parking lots. MTA washes its hands by posting signs saying “Park at your own risk.” The Director of Security (his official title) said he wanted to improve safety for everyone and wanted our opinions. When asked about more protection for drivers, he did the same thing as management: just beat around the bush.”
“Why do you need security on the buses?”
“Well, dealing with the public is not easy. We are the punching bag where people take out their frustrations and anger about daily life. Operators see MTA providing security at the rails, pretending to check for fares. However, on the bus side we get no security at all, not even for the passengers. Some time ago, a young lady got raped on the bus. Many passengers are assaulted on the buses. I can see it coming—the bus drivers’ new job title: ‘driver/security.’”
“What are the main gripes operators have with the public?”
“Passengers that won’t pay the fare and homeless people.”
“Under communism that wouldn’t be a problem. There would be no fares to pay because there would be no money, no homeless people and no greedy bankers repossessing our homes or landlords charging exorbitant rents. This will require a revolution and the unity of the working class. We need to unite with our riders, not with the cops who defend the capitalists and their inhumane racist system.”
“We MTA workers have a hard time seeing ourselves as brothers and sisters, and a harder time seeing our riders as our less unfortunate cousins.”
“But why be so hard on homeless people?”
“The company has made us disdainful of homeless people and others who can’t or refuse to pay the fare. So, many work to rule. Besides, homeless people carry their worldly belongings with them and don’t smell good. ”
“Many of the homeless are veterans who fought for the greater glory of US imperialism. Now they are discarded as useless. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development claims that 50,000 veterans sleep on the street on any given night. Military.com says it is more like 200,000, half of whom have mental problems. We shouldn’t blame the victims, but the capitalists and their system. Only communism can meet the needs of veterans and all workers. But you have said that MTA is not really interested in collecting the fare.”
“Yes. They don’t really need the money. MTA is subsidized by the government, and we workers subsidize the government. Some operators, however, take it personally when passengers have the attitude of ‘I’m short, not paying, what are you going to do about it?’”
“They shouldn’t. They should understand that public transportation is mainly a subsidy for some capitalists like the owners of the garment sweat shops, fast food restaurants, hotels and other low-paid industries. These bosses make billions a year in extra profits by not paying their workers enough to buy reliable transportation, forcing them to rely on MTA. We have already paid with our taxes. Besides, whose buses are these anyhow? Who built them and who runs them? Who pays for them? Workers! Operators should be mad at these bosses and their racist system, not other workers. They should join the fight for communism!”