Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why we need to re-organize the Communist Party here in the United States with a Marxist-Leninist leadership and membership

[Note: This is a guest blog written by an unemployed Ford worker who feels his efforts to gain employment might be hindered should he provide his name. I thought he was entitled to express his views anonymously under these circumstances. Alan L. Maki]

The present liquidationist "leadership" of the Communist Party USA intended to "phase out" the organization and establish in its place a social democratic type organization as a support group for the Democrats. Most of this has been accomplished although the remaining 184 members of the organization, mostly high-paid staff, have been reluctant to abandon the Party's name fearing working class revolutionaries will re-establish the Party as a class conscious revolutionary anti-imperialist Marxist-Leninist working class organization.

This article tells us all we need to know about what is wrong with the CPUSA today (see full article at the very bottom):

Mark Froemke who is on the National Committee of the CPUSA is a "leader" of this union and a Vice-president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO and big-shot in the Democratic Party.

Being a Communist, one would think Mark Froemke would understand how to handle a situation when the employer announces months in advance that it would be locking out workers should they not agree to managements "final offer."

Instead of bringing forward the idea of occupying the plants, Froemke and this bunch of union "leaders" threatened and intimidated rank-and-file workers who began discussing the need to occupy American Crystal Sugar's plants instead of leaving the plants as ordered and instructed by management.

Mark Froemke, along with the rest of what remains as a "leadership" in the CPUSA, has spent their time trying to get workers engaged in supporting Barack Obama and the rest of these Dumb Donkeys instead of preparing the working class for these battles.

Even at this late date as can be seen in the article below, there is no suggestion as to what needs to be done when employers use the lockout as the weapon of choice in busting unions.

Mark Froemke sporting his Obama cap.

When employers notify workers they will be locked out and replaced by scabs any union leader worth his/her salt would respond by asking workers if they want to occupy the plants. This is the class struggle approach.

Instead, Froemke and his fellow union leaders ordered workers to leave the plants as instructed by management. What did Froemke and these union leaders expect; that Barack Obama and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton would join them in holding up signs as the scabs pass them by going to work?

No attempt has even been made by the labor movement to organize massive protests which would be required to stop the scabs.

Labor "leaders" come and make nice tough sounding speeches about the "united strength of organized labor" but do nothing of any consequence to stop the scabs. All talk; no action.

American Crystal Sugar workers have now lost more than they can ever hope to win in the next thirty years--- if they can even save their jobs after management secures replacement workers they will train who will have no union that management will have to contend with.

Why does this article not explain the terms and conditions under which Leo Gerard and the USW "leadership" will force workers back to work at Cooper Tire?

If the "pattern" continues for American Crystal Workers they will go back to work looking down at their feet accepting a contract providing them with substantially less than management's initial "final offer." All because these union "leaders" like Mark Froemke convinced workers to put their trust in worthless Democratic Party politicians instead of teaching working people that their strength comes from militant, united action which in this case required occupying and taking over the American Crystal Sugar's plants, and now requires stopping the scabs.

After failing to take the appropriate action the first time around by occupying the plants, one would expect union leaders to at least recognize after seven months this is a struggle which can't be resolved (there is nothing any longer to win) without stopping the scabs.

I find it interesting that Mark Froemke and his gang have no problem physically attacking progressives at Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party conventions where they are used to prevent progressive alternatives from reaching the convention floors; but, when it comes to stopping these dirty scabs Froemke and his ilk cower before the company security and state and local police guarding the safe passage of these scabs depriving workers of their jobs and livelihoods. 

Everything that is wrong in the CPUSA and in the U.S. labor movement can be seen in these 1,300 American Crystal Sugar workers being locked-out of their jobs left without any incomes or livelihoods.

This "Journey for Justice" should have begun long before the contract expired with workers and union leaders knowing they were facing a lockout with scabs being brought in.

Mark Froemke still wears his Obama cap even though Obama has ignored the plight these 1,300 workers living in the Red River Valley find themselves in.

The rank-and-file will have to develop a new union leadership quickly lest they wind up without a union contract and without jobs.

Another thing complicating this situation is that for years Mark Froemke has been doing the dirty work for the well-heeled Summit Hill Club in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party by attacking those seeking real reforms and standing aloof of auto workers trying to save their jobs as the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant closed. Fromeke and this joke called the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union (BCTGM) which passes itself off as a union has never demonstrated let alone shown any sympathy or support for other working people and their struggles for justice. Had they, workers would have turned out to stop these scabs many months ago.

The working class needs a strong Communist Party now more than ever so these mis-leaders of organized laborcan't continue to sell out the working class.

We didn't learn that our union leaders in the UAW had sold us out until it was too late. We believed all their tough sounding talk about how they would never allow our plant, the St. Paul Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant to close. The CPUSA and the Democrats sold us out. So did the Trotskyists like they usually do. American Crystal Sugar workers still have their union. If they don't take a stand and stop the scabs they will be no better off than us Ford workers.

Locked-out workers and supporters converge on Minnesota town

CHASKA, Minn. - Locked out workers and their supporters from all over the Midwest were on the move yesterday.

The workers  locked out from American Crystal Sugar's plant in Mason City, Iowa, traveled north to join the Journey for Justice entourage as it pulled into this Twin Cities suburb.

The rally they held here and a picket line brought together in one big crowd locked-out workers form five Crystal Sugar plants -  Mason City, and four Minnesota plants: Chaska, Moorhead, Hillsboro and Drayton - as well as locked-out workers from Cooper Tire in Findlay, Ohio.

Later in the day the Steelworkers announced a tentative agreement had been reached with Cooper Tire to end that lockout. The agreement will be outlined for 1,000 members Saturday and they will vote on it in Findlay on Monday.

Michael Moore, press director for the Journey for Justice, told the People's World today that the Cooper Tire workers would continue on the 1,000-mile Journey for Justice in solidarity with the locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers.

He said that while the locked-out Cooper Tire workers "haven't yet broken out the bottles of champagne, they are guardedly optimistic." Cooper Tire workers had rejected the last contract offer in November. Terms of the new agreement won't be disclosed by the union until members have had their chance to see those terms.

Before rallying and throwing up a picket line here the eight Journey for Justice riders entered CoBank, the primary lender for Crystal Sugar.

They delivered a letter telling the institution's officers that CoBank is incurring increased risk by doing business with Crystal Sugar during the lockout. The letter explained that it is costing the company more money to transport scabs in and out of the facility, in addition to having to feed and house them. The scabs, the letter points out, are also less productive than Crystal Sugar's union workers.

Workers note that the proof is in American Crystal's profits which, according to the letter, fell 39 percent in the first quarter after the lockout began August 1.

A representative of the bank accepted the letter, promising to get it to the bank's executives.

The eight locked-out workers gave CoBank 24 hours to respond to the letter or be faced with a demonstration outside its corporate headquarters later today.

Robert Greer, one of the eight making the 1,000-mile Journey for Justice through six states,  was locked out from Cooper Tire after working for the company as an electrician for 22 years. Greer, the Rapid Response Political Action Coordinator for Steelworkers Local 207L, which represents Cooper workers,  says companies have what they consider good reasons for paying the high costs of lockouts.

"You have lockouts going on all over for the same reason you have right-to-work-for-less laws being pushed in the states. They want to take advantage of the economic climate and use it to cut pay and benefits and to destroy unions," Greer said.

Greer said it is important that all workers, union and non-union, see the importance of stopping lockouts and other corporate attacks on collective bargaining rights.

"We've lost 58,000 manufacturing plants during this recession," Greer said. "The attacks on unions have created a situation that in a town like mine jobs now start at $8 or $10 an hour. This hurts everyone, including the people not in unions. You can't raise a family on the kind of money they are paying. Everyone needs to see this as their fight."

Photo: Workers from five American Crystal Sugar facilities across the Midwest converge on the plant in Chaska, Minn. Photo courtesy of Bakery Workers union.