Workers Vanguard No. 1065
3 April 2015
After Criminal Attacks on Charlie Hebdo and Jewish Market
France: Down With Anti-Muslim Repression!
The article below is translated from Le Bolchévik No. 211 (March 2015), newspaper of the Ligue Trotskyste de France.
One month after the criminal murders of Jews—targeted for the sole reason that they were Jewish—and of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris by three Islamic fundamentalists, [French president] François Hollande declared at his February 5 press conference that the “spirit” of the January 11 [reactionary “national unity”] demonstrations must live on. He added that the Republic “will be uncompromising and merciless.” Hollande and other world leaders all seized upon the killings as an opportunity to further extend their “war on terror.” Islamic reaction in the French banlieues [minority and working-class neighborhoods on the outskirts of big cities] is being fueled by racist segregation and discrimination, which mainly target youth of Muslim background, as well as by imperialist terror in the Muslim world.
During the press conference, Hollande stated that “The top challenge facing France is the struggle against terrorism.” He welcomed the “protection of the Sahel zone” in Africa provided by French troops, which are also fighting Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq. One doesn’t have to be a Marxist to know that French troops invaded Mali two years ago, and more recently invaded Niger, not to protect the local population from Islamic law but rather to secure the uranium mines operated by the French [nuclear group] Areva in Niger, not far from the border with Mali, as well as other French interests in the region. Niger provides around a third of the uranium supplied to French nuclear plants. French troops out of Africa and the Near East!
Wars and military occupations are intrinsic to the decaying capitalist system and opposition to imperialist war requires a fight for socialist revolution. Since the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, ever-bolder imperialist depredations have fanned the flames of Islamic fundamentalism. The rise of Islamic reaction in the Muslim world itself is a product of imperialist machinations and of the bankruptcy of secular bourgeois nationalism and Stalinism in the region. For example, it was the betrayals of the secular-nationalist PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] that paved the way for the rise of reactionary Islamist groups like Hamas. Hamas was initially supported by the Zionist rulers of Israel as a counterweight to Yasir Arafat’s organization.
In Afghanistan, the imperialists gave massive financial and military support to the jihad against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. French and other secret services have for years played a murky role in support of Islamic fundamentalist insurgents in Syria (until very recently). With each new massacre perpetrated by the imperialists in the countries subjected to their bombing campaigns, a new wave of Islamic fighters is created.
While the imperialists, through their military, political and economic might, are the world’s biggest criminals, the Islamic fundamentalists, who don’t have the same means at their disposal, are no less inclined to bigotry and violence. Today, groups such as Al Qaeda or ISIS are recruiting thousands of youth to their feudal worldview, which considers women to be little better than slaves and equates all Jews with the Zionist butchers running Israel. In this sense, the Islamists share the outlook of the Western racist imperialist rulers, for whom anyone of Muslim background has become the new all-purpose “enemy within” and the official “enemy without.” In the name of the “war on terror,” the imperialists are strengthening their arsenal of repression and waging war on working people at home and abroad.
The attitude of the French ruling class and its imperialist partners to other terrorist attacks in recent years shows their hypocrisy and reveals where their real concerns lie. When terrorists attacked the synagogue in the Rue Copernic in Paris in October 1980—the first deadly attack on French Jews since the days of the Vichy regime—then-Prime Minister Raymond Barre described it as an “odious act that intended to strike Jews who were going to synagogue and struck innocent Frenchmen crossing the Rue Copernic.” He thus inadvertently exposed the French bourgeoisie’s deeply held anti-Jewish prejudices, implying that Jews might not be truly French and at the same time that they might not be innocent. At the time, the French ruling class was hailing bin Laden and his mujahedin reactionaries in Afghanistan as “freedom fighters” against the Soviet Union.
In the 1980s, Catholic fundamentalists also planted bombs in French cinemas, killing one and injuring a dozen members of the audience. They were seeking to shut down [Martin] Scorsese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ as well as Une Affaire de Femmes [Story of Women], a film by Claude Chabrol about a French woman who was executed for performing abortions under Vichy. In response, there were no “republican” mass demonstrations to defend free speech.
Nor did the heads of state of the imperialist world organize a mass assembly when Anders Behring Breivik killed eight people with a van bomb in Oslo, Norway and massacred 69 social-democratic youth at a summer camp four years ago. Breivik claimed that the main motive behind his carnage was to publicize his anti-Muslim, woman-hating, white nationalist “manifesto.” The attitude of the imperialists to such crimes reveals where they really stand: for them, anti-Muslim massacres are not terrorist attacks.
“We are Charlie”—
Recipe for Fascist Growth
and Police Repression
The “spirit of Charlie” was also evident in the early February by-election in Doubs [in eastern France]. The FN [National Front, a fascist party] came close to winning after campaigning against the “Islamic peril.” In our statement published following the January attacks [WV No. 1060, 23 January], we pointed out that the display of “national unity,” French chauvinism and anti-Muslim “Republican values” would strengthen the fascists. On February 12, five high school students desecrated hundreds of graves in a Jewish cemetery in Sarre-Union, Alsace [in northeastern France], giving Nazi salutes and spitting on Stars of David. And in the month following the January attacks, the Collective Against Islamophobia in France had already recorded 33 attacks on mosques and prayer rooms.
In the Doubs by-election, the FN got twice the number of votes it had obtained in 2012, in the context of significant working-class abstention fueled by deep disillusionment with the virulently anti-working-class policies relentlessly carried out by the Hollande government. The outgoing Socialist Party deputy Pierre Moscovici was a member of this government until he was transferred to Brussels. Moscovici, a front man for the Peugeot [auto manufacturing] family, played his part in the austerity and industrial restructuring policies that led to a massive downsizing of the local Peugeot Sochaux plant. Sochaux had been the biggest auto plant in France for decades; its workforce has shrunk from 40,000 to 10,000 workers.
The continued support of the left for the European Union (EU), with its attendant austerity and increasing economic dislocation affecting the whole of society, has also fueled the growth of the FN, which is the only significant political force opposing the EU and the euro. The left reformists spend their time spreading the lie that with a little more pressure from below, the EU could become more “social” and dole out a few crumbs to the workers and poor. Down with the capitalist-imperialist European Union!
The government has also seized on the January attacks as an opportunity to further roll back civil liberties and heighten state regimentation of the entire population. Its attacks are being carried out in the name of defending “free speech.” In our January statement, we denounced the trade-union leadership for embracing the bourgeoisie’s “Charlie” campaign of “unity” with the “republican” ruling class. The workers movement must mobilize to defend the teachers and workers under attack for refusing to march in lock step with national unity for “Charlie” and salute its racist cartoons. An attack against one is an attack against all!
There are currently 10,000 armed soldiers patrolling the country as part of Vigipirate [a police and military mobilization to sow terror in minority communities and patrol transportation hubs hunting for supposed terror suspects]. Hundreds of new hires have been announced for the political police (the DGSI) and there are plans to extend isolation wards and create mini-Guantánamos for those prisoners classed as radical Muslims. The UMP [Union for a Popular Movement, a right-wing party] and the FN are increasingly clamoring to extend the criteria for stripping people of French citizenship and to arm the cops more heavily, among other ever more draconian measures.
In February, the government added a new “Big Brother”-style tool to its arsenal in order to keep the exploited and oppressed in line. The Office Central de Lutte Contre la Cybercriminalité [Central Office for Combating Cybercrime] was launched as part of the “war on terror” law enacted in November. This “administrative body,” as the government calls it, can now block websites without first referring the decision to a judge. It has already targeted 50 “jihadist” sites for closure.
Furthermore, a new bill will be debated in March that would grant the state additional powers to extend and legalize its existing massive surveillance operation. In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the U.S. spy network in 2013, Le Monde revealed that the DGSE [the French foreign intelligence service] runs its own electronic surveillance program and uses methods similar to those of the U.S. National Security Agency’s Prism program, exposed by Snowden, to collect the population’s telephone and Internet data. We demand: Free Chelsea Manning! Hands off Edward Snowden! Hands off Julian Assange!
NPA and Lutte Ouvrière
Pay Tribute to Charlie Hebdo
The despicable murder of the Charlie Hebdo editorial team must be condemned. But that does not mean that their anti-Muslim bigotry should therefore be condoned. The Greens, the Left Party and the PCF [French Communist Party] all joined in the “national unity” for Charlie, but reformist groups such as Lutte Ouvrière (LO) and the NPA [New Anticapitalist Party] also bought into the “We are Charlie” loyalty oath to the Republic. While Israeli liberal historian Schlomo Sand could state that “In the majority of the magazine’s cartoons about Islam that came to my attention over the last decade, what I saw was a manipulative hatred, mainly designed to appeal to its readers, obviously non-Muslims,” the so-called “far left” here, the NPA and LO, instead published pages upon pages in honor of a newspaper which had become a tool in the bourgeoisie’s “war on terror.”
The NPA published a full page of politically correct cartoons as a “tribute” to Charb [Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier] & Co., noting that they had “known and appreciated” them. They managed to add a note of caution: “even though disagreements have for some time led us to debate and polemicize with Charlie Hebdo” (L’Anticapitaliste, 15 January). For Lutte Ouvrière, there was no such hint of criticism of Charlie Hebdo’s constant racist provocations. They too printed a set of cartoons under a great big “Merci Charlie” headline to thank the paper for its “uncompromising vision of this society, of the political leaders or even the religious dignitaries, many of whom are today singing the praises [of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists] with the utmost hypocrisy while yesterday they fought against them. Thank you for this courage, which they paid for with their lives” (Lutte Ouvrière, 16 January). For LO, the anti-Jewish attack at the Hyper Cacher supermarket was barely worth a mention, while they were busy paying tribute to their “secular” buddies. Obviously, with such odes to “Charlie,” neither LO nor the NPA can begin to explain why Hollande, Obama, Netanyahu et al. were also all “Charlie.”
At its third congress, which ended on February 1, the NPA passed a motion calling for a “Campaign against national unity,” criticizing the fact that “most of the organizations of the workers movement lined up behind national unity by calling to demonstrate in Paris on January 11, at the risk of deepening the rift with a section of the population which felt stigmatized.” This is all well and good, but while the NPA may not have marched in Paris alongside Hollande and the other imperialist war criminals who attended on January 11, they did however call on the population to participate in similar “republican” demonstrations across the country (L’Anticapitaliste, 15 January).
These demonstrations, featuring the mayor or prefect and the whole gamut of local bourgeois and social-democratic politicians, had fundamentally the same politics of national unity as the Paris one. In Toulouse, the NPA built a demonstration called on the slogan “Charlie will live, hate will not pass.” It signed the call for the march, which stated: “It is by continuing the struggle of those who have fallen in the fight against obscurantism and for freedom, peace, solidarity, respect and tolerance that the demands for justice and social progress that they stood for will go forward.” In Perpignan, “every republican, man or woman, every democrat and every lover of liberty, equality and fraternity” was invited to the demonstration, which the NPA and others were building. The NPA finally pulled out when those most ardent “lovers” of French chauvinism, the fascists of the FN, accepted the organizers’ invitation and sent [FN vice-president and member of the EU parliament] Louis Aliot to head up their contingent. The ultimate target of the fascists is the organized workers movement. In the absence of a revolutionary working-class leadership pointing the way toward a struggle against the racist capitalist order, the FN is dangerously gaining ground.
We call on workers to reject the drive for national unity and to fight instead for class unity. The reformist labor misleaders who are inspired by the “spirit of January 11” are an obstacle to this class perspective. Instead, it is necessary and urgent to mobilize workers and immigrants to stop the fascists.
NPA’s Pro-Imperialist Record
Just as hypocritical was the NPA’s newfound political virginity in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, with regard to the role of French imperialism. On January 9, just after the attacks, the NPA stated that “this barbaric violence is the monstrous child...of the continuous wars waged against the people since the first Iraq war, in Afghanistan, Libya, Africa and Syria.... These wars, which are solely aimed at maintaining the rule of multinational corporations and their right to plunder the wealth, thereby fuel the worst reactionary fundamentalists.” But they simply forgot to add that they themselves, or their predecessor, the LCR [Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire, affiliated with the United Secretariat], had most of the time criminally lined up behind their own imperialism in these bloody wars.
In the 1980s, at the time of the war in Afghanistan between the Soviet Union and the CIA-funded mujahedin Islamists, the LCR called for a Soviet withdrawal as early as 1981. In 1979, the Soviet Army was asked by the left-nationalist PDPA [People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan] government to intervene militarily against the anti-Communist tribal chiefs and mullahs, who were committed to mass illiteracy and the enslavement of women. We said: “Hail Red Army!” and called to “Extend the social gains of the October Revolution to the Afghan peoples!”
The criminal withdrawal of the Soviet troops in 1989 opened the door to the triumph of capitalist counterrevolution in the USSR itself and greatly contributed to the growth of Islamic reaction today. The NPA’s predecessor, however, supported mujahedin leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, claiming he was a progressive element fighting both the imperialists and the Soviet Union. When this same Massoud took power in Kabul in 1992, he instituted sharia law and reimposed the burqa. At the time of the 2001 imperialist attack, his [Northern Alliance] forces served as ground troops for NATO.
In 2011, the NPA also declared “its total support to the insurgents in their struggle for democracy and for the fall of the dictatorship” of Qaddafi in Libya. They maintained this position even after [then-president] Nicolas Sarkozy and other imperialists intervened militarily to topple Qaddafi and place these same “insurgents” in power.
The NPA learned no lessons from the imperialist devastation in Libya. Two years later, they were begging Hollande to arm the rebels in Syria: “The international workers and democratic movement must demand from our governments that they immediately provide weapons to the Free Syrian Army which has been mandated by the Syrian revolution to defend it” (Tout est à nous!, 13 June 2013). As for us, we have no side in the reactionary civil war between Assad and the rebels.
Last fall, the NPA went on to call on their own imperialist government to send weapons to the Kurdish nationalists of the PYD [Democratic Union Party] in Kobani (NPA statement, 9 October 2014), knowing full well that the PYD had become the imperialists’ ground troops against ISIS, with whom these same imperialists were allied only yesterday. In contrast, while stating our intransigent political opposition to the obscurantist reactionaries of ISIS, we wrote: “Marxists side militarily with the ISIS fighters when they target the imperialists and their proxies, be they Syrian or Iraqi Kurdish nationalists, or the Baghdad government and its Shi’ite militias” (Le Bolchévik No. 210, December 2014).
Since the start of the Syrian conflict, which is fueled by the imperialists in order to bring about regime change, over 200,000 people have died and more than 10 million Syrians have been forced to flee their homes. Looking to the imperialists for aid is like asking an arsonist to put out a fire; it is a suicidal strategy for the Syrian population. In this way, the reformists contribute to the current rise of reaction.
LO Provides Left Cover for “Republican Secularism”
As for Lutte Ouvrière, they denounced the “despicable policies and wars carried out by the great powers” which have fueled Islamic fundamentalism. They continued: “But what is most detrimental is that there is now almost no workers movement left worthy of its name, which makes it possible for reactionary ideas to spread among some youth” (Lutte Ouvrière, 16 January). In particular, LO has for many years bemoaned the weakening of the PCF, but back in the days when it was strong and administered the capitalist state in numerous municipal councils, the PCF betrayed the working class over and over again. For example, it betrayed the revolutionary opportunity in May 1968. A dozen years later, in 1980, it sent a bulldozer to tear down a hostel for Malian workers in Vitry in order to prove their credentials in the hope of obtaining ministerial posts in the future government of [Socialist president] François Mitterrand. Such betrayals have greatly helped “reactionary ideas to spread among some youth.” LO here demonstrates that its political perspective does not go beyond a reformist workers movement negotiating a few reforms in exchange for maintaining social peace, i.e., the capitalist order.
The French workers movement has certainly been weakened by many betrayals, especially since the capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union. But the problem is not per se the weakening of reformist organizations such as the PCF or LO. It is the general, albeit uneven and not eternal, retrogression of workers’ consciousness. The most advanced layer of workers no longer believes that a collectivized, socialist society is possible. Workers no longer believe that this is an achievable goal, or that it is worth pursuing. This is an expression of the lying dogma, constantly propounded by the bourgeoisie since the destruction of the Soviet Union, that “communism is dead.”
The number of people who fundamentally identify with the proletariat has fallen, as seen by the growing appeal of petty-bourgeois populist formations like Podemos and Syriza. In France, we are also seeing certain sections of the proletariat, even some who were formerly on the left, starting to vote for the FN, the most dangerous enemies of the working class and the oppressed. The period will need to change, with a sharp increase in working-class struggle and the intervention of a communist vanguard, in order for Marxism to once again win the allegiance of a layer of the proletariat.
By joining the French bourgeoisie’s campaign to promote “secular” republican values, LO bears particular responsibility. Their own campaigns against the Islamic headscarf have contributed to racist segregation and to the exclusion of French youth of Muslim background today. This in turn encourages these youth to search for an illusory refuge in religion and other forms of social backwardness like anti-Jewish racism. This is both exploited and fueled by anti-Jewish demagogues like Dieudonné and his sidekick Alain Soral, a bona fide “national socialist” fascist.
LO was instrumental in spearheading the 2004 law banning the headscarf in schools through their active role in expelling two veiled high school students, Alma and Lila Lévy, from their school in Aubervilliers [a Paris suburb] in 2003. Ten years later, in the context of the economic crisis, anti-Muslim attacks are on the rise, particularly against veiled women. The FN is the first to benefit from this. Despite this, LO continues its secular preaching, and in 2013 they sided with the boss of the Baby Loup day-care center in a Parisian suburb, who fired a young childcare worker, Fatima Afif, for wearing a headscarf.
This “republican secularism,” which is a cover for anti-Muslim prejudices, has nothing to do with the principle of secularism established by the French Revolution of 1789 and which we uphold to this day. As we explained in our article “Women and Immigration in France” (Spartacist [English edition] No. 57, Winter 2002-2003):
“The French state deformed the goals and values of the French Revolution with this attack on these Muslim girls. Under the ancien régime of the French king, France was known as ‘the eldest daughter of the Church.’ The principle of secularism in the French Revolution came from the need to protect the freedom to express ideas and to free society from the hands of the Catholic church. That this principle is used today by a Catholic majority to oppress a Muslim minority in French society is a cruel irony of history. It underscores the degree to which the French bourgeoisie in the epoch of capitalist decay has degenerated from the class that led the 1789 Revolution, a historic watershed in the struggle for human emancipation.”
While we fight against the ban on the veil, the Ligue Trotskyste de France has always opposed the headscarf and the veil, which represent a reactionary social program for keeping women within the narrow confines of the family and the home, and in a position of servitude. Likewise, we oppose the trappings of other religions, all of which promote the family, which is the basis of women’s oppression.
In France, the 1905 law [on the separation of church and state] went some way toward the separation of church and state, but Catholicism remains powerful and privileged. One-sixth of the school system is private and in the hands of the Catholic church, but it is funded by the state. The ruling class uses religion to reinforce social conservatism and sanctify capitalist class rule as seen in the recent anti-gay and anti-abortion mobilizations led by the Church. By 2010, “republican secularism” had become so synonymous with anti-Muslim racism that [FN leader] Marine Le Pen made the “Islamic danger” the central issue in her party’s propaganda, arguing that Islam was incompatible with the “secular values” at the core of the French Republic.
The “Muslim problem” is in reality a fabrication of the French bourgeoisie and above all of its social-democratic lackeys. In the early 1980s, there was a series of important strikes in the French auto industry. Immigrant workers, mainly from North Africa, spearheaded these powerful workers mobilizations which shook the SP-PCF popular-front government. The government sought to break the strikes by using the classic tactic of divide-and-rule and denounced the strikers, claiming that they were being manipulated by the ayatollahs and other religious leaders.
Up until the 1970s, the bourgeoisie needed extra labor power and brought hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers into the country, particularly from North Africa. But in recent decades, deindustrialization has made jobs scarce, a situation that has only gotten worse with the economic crisis. Today, with widespread unemployment, the capitalists consider the children and grandchildren of these immigrant workers a surplus population from whose labor little profit can be extracted.
Back in the 1980s, these youth demonstrated for equality, most notably at the 1983 “great march of the beurs” [“beurs” referred to children of North African immigrants]. Their hopes were cruelly dashed by Mitterrand’s social democrats and their cynical ploys such as SOS-Racisme; as a result, some of them turned to religion. This is the origin of the Islamic headscarf affair in the schools, which dates back to 1989. Since that time, the French bourgeoisie has continually added to its bans on Muslim dress, while condemning Muslims’ so-called failure to integrate. Today the anti-Muslim witchhunt has reached such a point that the likes of Eric Zemmour [a right-wing anti-Muslim journalist and author] are given press columns and airtime to argue for the mass expulsion of France’s estimated four million Muslims. It is clearly the fascists who benefit from such calls, and without a doubt they will turn against the Jews as well, despite the services rendered by individuals like Zemmour [who is Jewish].
LO claims that Chirac’s 2004 law protects young women. In fact, racist expulsions as a result of this law can only serve to deepen these young women’s oppression, driving them out of the public schools and into religious schools or even keeping them at home! It is the capitalist state which is the main source of oppression of these women! In reality, LO reveals its touching faith in this racist French state, which it portrays as a bulwark for protecting young women against anti-woman (Arab) reactionaries. In 2012, [LO spokesperson] Nathalie Arthaud explained her position on this question: “The law, far from excluding girls, allows them all to come to school and allows those who don’t want to wear the veil to retain that realm of freedom.”
Schools: Key Prop of the Capitalist State
Today, even Arthaud probably wouldn’t dare claim that public schools are a “realm of freedom” when eight-, nine- and ten-year-old children have been reported to the police, suspected of “justifying terrorism.” Dozens of teenagers facing the same charge have also been reported to and questioned by the cops. Kids as young as 13 can face criminal prosecution. After two of his young students were arrested, one teacher stated:
“I believe that placing them in custody for remarks which are certainly shocking, but are still only words, is totally out of proportion and it is not educational! How can you talk to them about the Republic, democracy and the rule of law after all this? I am deeply upset by what is happening to these kids. I talked to my student. He is what you would call a big mouth. He refused to talk about what happened while he was in custody. He is devastated.”
We demand that all charges be dropped immediately—for youth and adults alike. Free all those who have been jailed!
In mid January, Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem announced that the government was planning to strengthen republican values. From the beginning of the next school year, teachers, students and parents will have to sign a “charter of secularism” (and one can only imagine what punishment is being dreamed up for the heretics who refuse to sign). One thousand teachers will be trained to preach “secularism,” and there will be a special day in schools every year, on December 9, to celebrate “secular” mass. There are also plans afoot to implement and strengthen the authority of public school institutions with republican rites and symbols such as the Marseillaise and the tricolor flag being taught as early as the first year of primary school. In contrast, there will be no extra money for special education for students with difficulties, nor any money for more teachers to reduce class sizes or replace absent teachers. But there is plenty of money to teach kids in the ghetto schools to “conform” and respect authority from a tender age.
Schools are key institutions for maintaining capitalist rule. The bourgeoisie maintains elite schools to ensure quality education for its children and to train the managers and technicians it needs to administer the capitalist system. When it comes to the working class and the poor, the capitalists seek to spend on education only what they calculate they can get back in profits. These youth are taught to comply with bourgeois authority or face expulsion.
Once out of school, many banlieue youth are faced with having no job security, or with unemployment and prison. Hollande has now announced that, starting in June, youth can sign up for “voluntary civil service,” which would nevertheless be “universal.” This scheme was originally dreamed up by Sarkozy, and Hollande now plans to extend it. For half the minimum wage and over a period of six or 12 months, young people will be able to help prop up the woefully understaffed public services by working in schools, retirement homes, hospitals and government administration. This is a gift to the capitalists which will drive down wages and working conditions fought for by the unions, destroy jobs and increase competition among the poorest. It is also a bid by Hollande to reverse the unemployment trend, a goal he has vowed to achieve if he is to run for president again in 2017. What’s needed is a massive program of hiring in the public services, with equal pay for equal work and permanent work contracts!
Nearly ten years ago, at the time of the 2005 banlieue revolt, we called on the workers movement to defend the banlieue youth. We do so again today in the face of the government’s holy war against Muslim youth. To fight the policy of the French bourgeoisie and its reformist lackeys of continually pitting Muslims against Jews, whites against non-whites, men against women, heterosexuals against homosexuals, what is posed is the need for a revolutionary workers party, a tribune of the people fighting for the unity of the working class and for workers to take the lead of all the oppressed in a struggle for socialist revolution.
The multiracial working class has enormous social power—its labor produces the capitalists’ enormous profits. When the workers decide to collectively withdraw their labor through strike action, then the profit tap is turned off, the transport network shuts down and the lights go out. This social power must be wielded and linked with the anger of dispossessed ghetto youth in a fight to overthrow this rotting system.
We live in a reactionary period—the epoch of imperialist decay. But the only way to fight for a future for working class youth today is to study the lessons of the history of class struggle and try to apply them. Lenin studied the lessons of the Paris Commune in order to lead the Russian Revolution to victory. Likewise, today we study the lessons of the Russian Revolution to prepare for the inevitable future outbreaks of class struggle. We seek to build a revolutionary party, part of a reforged Fourth International, grounded in the Marxist understanding that this racist capitalist system must be overthrown through socialist revolution.