NYC: Class-­Struggle International Workers Founded

From Bridge City Militant No. 3.

Nueva York, 17 de agosto: TIC en la manifestación en defensa del magisterio mexicano y brasileño en lucha, parte de un día de acción trinacional Brasil/México/EE.UU.
NYC, 17 August: TIC in a picket of the Mexican consulate, part of a tri-national (Brazil/Mexico/U.S.) day of protest in defense of the teachers in Mexico and Brazil.

NYC: Class-­Struggle International Workers Founded

We reprint below our translation of the declaration and program of Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas (TIC, Class-Struggle International Workers), a new organization similar to CSWP that has been founded by immigrant workers in New York City. The original Spanish text can be found here.

“Neither Illegal, nor Criminals, we are International Workers”

Presently, up to 15 million immigrant workers, along with our families, reside in the U.S. without the documents demanded of us by the bosses of this country. Lacking basic democratic rights, we take on difficult and often dangerous work for poverty wages. Truly, we are what Karl Marx called over a century and a half ago, wage-slaves.

We international workers are the scapegoats for all the evils produced by capitalist society. We are called “criminals” and “illegal aliens” when we have committed no crime. We are accused of stealing the jobs of U.S. workers, when we do the jobs no one else would want to do. We are accused of taking advantage of welfare programs, when we are not eligible for any of them. In fact, undocumented workers pay up to 50 billion dollars into Social Security every year, and we will never get back a single penny.

What’s more, many of us were forced to emigrate because our livelihood was destroyed by the free-trade agreements and cruel wars unleashed by the U.S. that beset our native lands. But we aren’t just victims. Major sectors of the U.S. economy depend on immigrant labor. We form an integral part of the working class in this country. We have the power to liberate ourselves, and all the oppressed!

Various TIC founders have participated in important social struggles, for unionization and against all forms of injustice. We have learned from our own experience that what we need, and what we must organize, is a leadership adequate to the struggle we face, that is, a class-struggle leadership.

To do our part in this great undertaking, we have decided, working alongside the Internationalist Group, to form Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas on the basis of the foregoing program:

Union Power! If we Play by the Bosses’ Rules, We’re Bound to Lose

In 2012, a group of brave workers at the Hot and Crusty bakery in Manhattan decided that they couldn’t bear their cruel exploitation any longer, and moved to unionize. After 55 days on the picket line, they won. In 2015, tired of miserable wages and dangerous working conditions, hundreds of warehouse workers at the photography equipment retailer B&H. inspired by the example of Hot and Crusty, launched their own union campaign, scoring another win. But we know that all victories in the class struggle are temporary so long as the system of production for profit remains. Unionize the unorganized! Picket lines are class lines – they mean don’t cross! For fighting unions with a class-struggle leadership! For total independence of the unions from the state!

The Bosses are Afraid of Us, Because We are not Afraid

In 1886, the International Workers Day, May 1, was established when a workers demonstration that demanded an eight-hour work-day was attacked by the police, resulting in numerous casualties and leading to the state execution of the workers leaders, the eight Chicago Martyrs. Today, 130 years later, undocumented immigrant workers suffer 12-hour days and work-weeks of 48, 56 or 72 hours, for starvation wages. We won’t take it any more! In 2006 millions of immigrant workers stopped work, reviving May Day in the U.S. We demand a drastic reduction in work hours along with a whopping raise! For day-laborers, without any job security, we fight for a union hiring hall. We need free, high-quality comprehensive and universal health insurance and health care. At the workplace we fight for union committees with the power to shut down unsafe work.

Struggle, Win, Workers to Power!

We know that every class struggle is a political struggle. In this election year 2016, the Republican candidate fans the flames of racist hate against Mexicans, Arabs and Muslims while he harasses women. The Democratic candidate wants to launch new wars in the Middle East, and is responsible for the 2009 coup d’état in Honduras. TIC opposes all capitalist parties and politicians. We who lack the right to vote call for the formation of a workers party to fight for a workers government.

We Don’t Beg, We Demand: Full Citizenship Rights!

In his 2008 electoral campaign, the liberal Democrat Barack Obama promised “immigration reform.” But eight years later we have nothing. Instead, the Obama government has deported nearly five million immigrants. The odious raids go on, and there are tens of thousands of immigrants in what are really concentration camps. We call for immigrant-worker mobilization against racist attacks, to put an end to deportations, to close the detention camps and win full citizenship rights for all immigrants.

Women’s Liberation: Duty of All Workers

March 8 is International Women’s Day, which commemorates the death of over 100 immigrant women workers in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire in New York in 1911, which was the spark for the unionization of the garment industry. Women workers shoulder a double work day, at the job and both before and afterwards in the home, where they are burdened with the responsibility for domestic labor in the family. They are constantly hounded by sexual harassment and unequal treatment. They are even denied control over their own bodies. TIC fights for equal pay for equal work. Around the world, we fight for free abortion on demand, at the sole decision of the woman. We demand free, 24-hour child care. Along with machismo, homophobic prejudices are a weapon of the exploiting class: every class-conscious worker is duty-bound to defend the democratic rights of gays, lesbians, transgender people and all the oppressed.

Black Liberation: Key to Workers Revolution in the U.S.

In this country, founded on slavery, the oppression of black people has been fundamental to capitalist rule. We immigrants are well aware of how the ruling class seeks to use us against our black sisters and brothers. We have already seen how police murder of black people goes hand-in-hand with the targeting of all immigrants by the repressive forces. The police are the armed fist of capital, racist to the core. We demand: cops out of the unions! Against racist killings, mobilize the working class! Revolution is the only solution!

Asian, Latin, Black and White, Workers of the World Unite!

Since the time of the First Workers International, the workers of all countries have had to unite our forces to win. We defend our African, Arab and Asian sisters and brothers against racist hatred! From the Middle East to Latin America, we fight for workers action to defeat imperialist war! From China to Cuba, we oppose efforts to reestablish the rule of capital.

International workers: we have nothing to lose but our chains. We have a world to win!

New York, 12 August 2016 ■

Se fundó Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas

Del Bridge City Militant, N° 3. An English translation is available here.

Ciudad de Nueva York: Se fundó

Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas

Nueva York, 17 de agosto: TIC en la manifestación en defensa del magisterio mexicano y brasileño en lucha, parte de un día de acción trinacional Brasil/México/EE.UU.
Nueva York, 17 de agosto: TIC en la manifestación en defensa del magisterio mexicano y brasileño en lucha, parte de un día de acción trinacional Brasil/México/EE.UU.

“Ni ilegales, ni criminales, somos obreros internacionales”

Hay actualmente hasta 15 millones de trabajadores internacionales junto con nuestras familias que residimos en Estados Unidos sin tener los documentos que nos exigen los dueños del país. Carecemos de derechos democráticos fundamentales mientras realizamos trabajos duros y en muchos casos peligrosos, recibiendo una miseria como pago. Somos realmente, como escribió Karl Marx hace más de siglo y medio, esclavos asalariados.

Los trabajadores internacionales somos tratados como chivos expiatorios por todos los males que produce esta sociedad capitalista. Nos dicen “criminales” e “illegal aliens” cuando no hemos cometido ningún crimen. Se nos acusa de robar los empleos de trabajadores norteamericanos cuando hacemos faenas que nadie más quiere hacer. Nos acusan de abusar de los programas sociales cuando no somos elegibles para ninguno de ellos. De hecho, los trabajadores indocumentados pagan hasta 50 mil millones de dólares al año al Seguro Social, del cual no vamos a recibir ni un centavo.

Es más, muchos de nosotros fuimos obligados a emigrar porque nuestro propio sustento fue destruido por los tratados de libre comercio y las cruentas guerras desencadenadas por EE.UU. que han acechado nuestros países. Pero no somos mereamente víctimas. Grandes sectores de la economía norteamericana dependen de la mano de obra de los migrantes. Formamos parte íntegra de la clase obrera de este país. ¡Tenemos la fuerza para ser los protagonistas de nuestra propia liberación, y la de todos los oprimidos!

Varios de nosotras y nosotros ya hemos participado en importantes luchas sociales, de sindicalización, de solidaridad y en contra de todo tipo de injusticia. Hemos aprendido de nuestra propia experiencia, que lo que precisamos, y lo que debemos formar, es una dirección a la altura de las luchas que nos incumben, es decir, una dirección de lucha clasista.

Para hacer nuestro aporte a esta gran tarea, hemos decidido, trabajando en conjunto con el Grupo Internacionalista, formar Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas sobre la base del siguiente programa:

¡Unión, fuerza, solidaridad! Jugar con reglas del patrón es segura perdición

En 2012, un grupo de valientes trabajadores de la panadería Hot and Crusty de Manhattan decidieron que no podían aguantar más la explotación despiadada y tomaron la decisión de sindicalizarse. Después de 55 días en la línea de piquete, ganaron. En 2015, cansados de salarios miserables y condiciones de trabajo peligrosas, cientos de trabajadores almacenistas de la tienda de materiales fotográficos B&H, inspirados por el ejemplo de Hot and Crusty, lanzaron su propia campaña de sindicalización logrando otro triunfo. Pero sabemos que toda victoria en la lucha de clases sólo es temporal mientras persiste el sistema de producción por la ganancia. ¡Sindicalizar a los no sindicalizados! La línea de piquete es la línea de clase – significa ¡No cruzar! ¡Luchamos por sindicatos combativos con dirección clasista! ¡Por la total independencia de los sindicatos frente al estado!

Los patrones nos tienen miedo, porque no tenemos miedo

En 1886, se estableció el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores, el Primero de Mayo, luego de una manifestación obrera que exigía la jornada laboral de 8 horas, y que sufrió un ataque policíaco que cobró varias vidas y llevó a la ejecución de los dirigentes obreros, los ocho mártires de Chicago. Hoy en día, 130 años más tarde, se suele imponer a los trabajadores inmigrantes indocumentados una jornada de 12 horas y una semana laboral de 48, 56 o hasta 72 horas semanales, por un salario de hambre. ¡No aguantamos más! En 2006 fue un paro de millones de trabajadores inmigrantes lo que reavivó el Primero de Mayo en EE.UU. Exigimos una reducción drástica de la jornada de trabajo y un enorme aumento salarial. Para las jornaleras y los jornaleros, sin ninguna estabilidad y seguridad de trabajo, luchamos por una sala sindical de contratación. Necesitamos seguro médico completo y atención médica, gratuita de alta calidad. En los lugares de trabajo luchamos por comités sindicales con el poder de parar la producción cuando hay condiciones inseguras.

¡Luchar, vencer, obreros al poder!

Sabemos que toda lucha de clase es una lucha política. En este año electoral de 2016, el candidato republicano azuza el odio racista en contra de mexicanos, árabes y musulmanes a la vez que hostiga a las mujeres. La candidata demócrata quiere lanzar nuevas guerras en Medio Oriente, y es responsable del golpe de estado de 2009 en Honduras. Los Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas nos oponemos a todo partido o político capitalista. Los que no tenemos el derecho a votar llamamos a formar un partido obrero que luche por un gobierno obrero.

¡No rogamos, exigimos, plenos derechos de ciudadanía!

En su campaña electoral de 2008, el demócrata liberal Barack Obama prometió una “reforma migratoria”. Sin embargo, ocho años más tarde no hay nada. En su lugar, el gobierno de Obama ha deportado a unos 5 millones de inmigrantes. Las odiosas redadas siguen, hay decenas de miles de inmigrantes encarcelados en lo que son verdaderos campos de concentración. Llamamos a la movilización obrera e inmigrante en contra de los ataques racistas, a poner alto a las deportaciones, a cerrar los centros de detención y lograr plenos derechos de ciudadanía para todos los inmigrantes.

Liberación de la mujer: tarea de todos los trabajadores

El 8 de marzo es del Día Internacional de la Mujer, que conmemora la muerte de más de 100 trabajadoras inmigrantes en el incendio del taller de sudor Triangle Shirtwaist en Nueva York en 1911, que fue la chispa para la sindicalización de la industria costurera. Hoy las trabajadoras cumplen una doble jornada de trabajo, tanto en sus empleos como antes y después en la casa, donde se les impone la responsabilidad de hacer las tareas domésticas de la familia. Están constantemente acosadas por el hostigamiento sexual y un trato desigual. Se les niega hasta el control sobre sus propios cuerpos. Las y los Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas exigimos: al salario igual, trabajo igual. En el mundo entero, reivindicamos el derecho al aborto libre y gratuito, a decisión exclusiva de la mujer. Exigimos guarderías gratuitas abiertas las 24 horas al día. Tal como el machismo, los prejuicios homofóbicos son un arma de la clase explotadora: es deber de todo trabajador consciente defender los derechos democráticos de gays, lesbianas, personas transgénero y todos los oprimidos.

Liberación de los negros, clave para la revolución obrera norteamericana

En este país, fundado sobre la esclavitud, la opresión de los negros ha sido fundamental para el dominio capitalista. Los inmigrantes estamos bien conscientes de cómo la clase dominante busca usarnos en contra de nuestras hermanas y hermanos afroamericanos. Ya hemos visto cómo a la par de los asesinatos policíacos de negros, todos los inmigrantes están en la mira de las fuerzas represivas. La policía es el brazo armado del capital, racista hasta la médula. Exigimos, ¡Policías fuera del movimiento sindical! ¡Contra los asesinatos racistas, movilización clasista! ¡La revolución es la única solución!

Asiáticos, latinos, negros y blancos, Obreros del mundo ¡uníos!

Desde tiempos de la Primera Internacional Obrera, los trabajadores de todos los países tenemos que unir nuestras fuerzas para ganar. ¡Defendemos a nuestros hermanos africanos, árabes, asiáticos en contra del odio racista! Del Medio Oriente a América Latina, ¡luchamos por la acción obrera para aplastar las guerras imperialistas! De China a Cuba, nos oponemos a los intentos de restablecer el dominio del capital.

Los trabajadores internacionales no tenemos nada que perder más que nuestras cadenas. ¡Tenemos un mundo que ganar!

Nueva York, 12 de agosto de 2016

Para más información sobre Trabajadores Internacionales Clasistas, llame a (212) 460-0983, o escriba a ■

Painters, Drywall Finishers say: Break with the Democrats! For a Class-Struggle Workers Party!

From Bridge City Militant No. 3. Available in Spanish here.

Painters, Drywall Finishers say:

Break with the Democrats!
For a Class-­Struggle Workers Party!

In a historic decision, the 17 August meeting of Painters and Drywall Finishers, IUPAT Local 10, voted unanimously to reject the Democratic and Republican parties or “any Party of the Bosses,” and to “call on the labor movement to break from the Democratic Party, and build a class-struggle workers party.” The resolution was introduced by CSWP members, the result of years of patient political education and struggle. Union members spoke passionately from the floor about the need to organize and rely on our own power as workers.

Momentum for the resolution grew as members came up against the same bleak reality that people across the country are confronting: as the resolution states, “the 2016 presidential election offers us the ‘choice’ between a raving, bigoted clown and a career representative of Wall Street” (we leave it to readers to decide which is which). The news has been buzzing from member to member, from local to local across the country. Workers are fed up that “the bosses have two parties to represent their class while the millions of working people have none.” Two days later, as if to emphasize our point, Democratic VP nominee Tim “right-to-work” Kaine jetted into Portland for an exclusive, $27,000-per-ticket country club fund-raiser hosted by prominent Republican businessmen.

So, Local 10 took a very bold and important stand for working class political independence. What now? Class-struggle militants hope to promote Local 10’s example to encourage initiatives, here and across the country, for labor to do what the resolution says: to build a class-struggle workers party.

Throughout the history of this country, the unions have been in political chains, tied to one or another party representing the interests of capital, limited to the hopeless task of pressuring these political representatives of the bosses and seeking the “lesser evil” among them. So when the workers begin to move to break those chains, as we in CSWP hope the decision of Local 10 portends, it opens a whole series of political questions that have never been widely discussed in the U.S. labor movement. What should a workers party look like? What would it do? What do we mean by “class struggle”?

No to the Greens and other Bern-outs

One of the factors contributing to the support for our resolution in Local 10, and its growing resonance nationally, is the disillusionment felt by many partisans of Bernie Sanders’ “political revolution.” Millions across the country are realizing that this “revolution” was phony from the start. Many so-called “radicals” and “socialists” showed their true colors by encouraging support for the Vermont senator who is a de facto Democrat. Not us. We told the truth, in issue No. 1 of Bridge City Militant, that “Sanders supporters are certainly chumps for Wall Street’s preferred party: ‘energizing’ the ‘base’ – the workers, poor people, oppressed racial minorities, and women – to vote for the ‘lesser evil’ party of their oppressors. It’s a con game.” Let’s not get conned again.

Now that the inevitable has happened, many Bernie supporters are deserting the Democrats for the Green Party ticket of Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka. But the Green Party is a capitalist party just as much as the Democrats and Republicans. And the class line is fundamental. While some supposed “radicals” call to “break with the two-party system” or promote some vague “party of the 99%” (which would include most bosses and their hired thugs, the police!), it’s not the number of parties that matters, but which class they represent. Accept no alternatives: we need a party for the workers.

The Green Party platform is a mishmash of liberal wishful thinking, evidently developed under the influence of healing crystals and homeopathic vapors. Fundamentally, it enshrines the right of capitalist private property. When you start by accepting the basis of the capitalist system, all the various reform proposals in the Green platform, some of which are supportable in the abstract, are just empty talk.

But the Green platform isn’t just misguided good ideas, either. It proposes a future of imperialist war for the U.S., so long as these wars are sanctioned by the United Nations. The UN? The den of thieves that currently provides the fig-leaf for the imperialist occupation of Haiti, and was born in the genocidal U.S.-led war against Korea? The Green Party is for “peace,” of course. Cut the U.S. military budget in half, it says: that would be $350 billion per year! On those conditions, many a mass-murdering Pentagon general could find a comfortable home in the Green Party. Class-conscious workers, on the other hand, oppose “our own” government in its wars, by seeking to mobilize workers power here and across national boundaries.

Just because the bosses have no need for the Green Party doesn’t make it any less a capitalist party or an ally of the working people. It’s a home for homeless Democrats. But the working class, the vast majority of U.S. society and the class whose labor makes all the wealth of the world, doesn’t need a political homeless camp. We need our own political instrument, one that mobilizes and coordinates the power that we have as a class.

What Should a Workers Party Do?

A class struggle workers party would lead the fight on the picket lines and in the streets: to shut down the cities in protest against the epidemic of racist police murder. Build on examples like the Oakland, CA ILWU Local 10 May Day 2015 against racist police attacks.

To rip up the anti-union laws like Taft-Hartley and roll the unions on into the unorganized industries, by building massive picket lines that scabs won’t dare to cross. To tear down the concentration camps holding thousands of our immigrant sisters and brothers, stop the ICE raids and demand full citizenship rights for all immigrants.

How many anti-war movements have we been through? Free our sisters and brothers around the world from the nightmare of imperialist war: strike against war, “hot cargo” shut down war shipments. This struggle cannot stop and won’t succeed until the working class is in its rightful place as the rulers of this country. That’s what we in CSWP mean by class-struggle.

Clearly, our perspective is currently a tiny minority in the labor movement. No doubt most workers today still hold illusions in the bosses’ “democracy,” and hope to reform it to make it fairer to the people on the bottom of society. The current leaders of the unions have built their careers on betraying the workers and serving us up as voter-victims for the bosses’ parties. The struggle for a real workers party will be a fight against the sellouts running the unions today.

Nowadays “politics” and “parties” are often thought of as meaning the cynical game of vote-getting and office-hunting, all within the bounds of what is acceptable to the bosses’ dollar democracy. Most countries in Europe and many other parts of the world, from Brazil to India, have long experiences with “workers,” “labor,” “socialist” or “communist” parties that are important partners in the administration of the bosses’ governments. In this country, there have been a series of half-baked attempts at a “labor party” built on a program designed to be harmless to the the Democrats and the bureaucrats. In Oregon and some other states, we have a “Working Families Party,” which is not a party at all, but a cynical fraud committed against the union membership by the labor tops. Its presidential candidate is … Hillary Clinton. What a joke!

But as Karl Marx remarked over a century and a half ago, “every class struggle is a political struggle.” In this epoch of decaying capitalism, every struggle to defend the most basic interests of the working people runs up against the limits of private property. What’s needed is a workers party that is ready and willing to take that struggle to its necessary conclusion.

The ice is starting to break. Many people can see the writing on the wall. We in the CSWP want to bring the message to working people across the country that we need to fight for political independence. And while the first steps may be partial, we won’t stop advocating for the only kind of workers party that can actually fight for the interests of the working class and oppressed all along the line: a party with a program of class struggle, fighting for a workers government. This fight will require a hard core of class struggle militants in the workers organizations dedicated to this program. The CSWP seeks to build that hard core. Join us! ■