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Friday, May 4, 2012

Movements and egos: what the latest issue of Workers World newspaper reveals

Current print edition

You wouldn't think there was a class struggle going on in this country if you read the most recent Workers World newspaper editorial, "Movement Agenda: NATO summit, RNC, DNC." 

IAM strike at Illinois Caterpillar plant?  American Crystal Sugar's nine month lock-out?

You won't find the labor movement anywhere on the "agenda" of whatever movement it is that WW is talking about. 

Is the movement agenda only a laundry list of protest marches?  Where are the editorial formulations that carry the reader from isolated protest events to a broader revolutionary socialist horizon?

Here is the editorial, in full:

Published May 3, 2012 10:09 PM
May Day in the USA looks like it will be a great time to unite all sections of the working class.

You might ask, "Unite for what?"

Unite to pursue the class struggle on all fronts. The next battle comes up right away. It's life and death. It involves confronting the imperialist war drive.

The movement is mobilizing because NATO is holding a summit on May 20-21 in Chicago. NATO must be stopped.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was — from 1949 until 1991 — a military conspiracy of the major imperialist countries in Western Europe and North America to crush whatever post-World War II workers' revolutions might occur in Europe, while holding the Soviet Union at missile point.

By the end of 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved. So did its military alliance known as the Warsaw Pact. But not NATO.

Still under U.S. leadership, NATO was converted into a worldwide police force of the former colonial powers — except for Japan. In 2012 language, NATO is the armed agent of the worldwide 1%.

NATO has made three major military interventions since 1991. In one of them, far from Europe, the people of Afghanistan may have the final word and, through sheer determination and persistence, force out the well-armed occupiers after 11 years of the most uneven war.

But the other two cases satisfied the imperialists enough that they consider them "model" interventions: against Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1999 and against Libya in 2011. NATO destroyed these countries. The imperialists picked up the pieces as plunder. The casualties — among the imperialist armed forces — were so small that few people in the NATO countries thought about it enough to question the "humanitarian" pretext for the wars.

Now a similar NATO model is under consideration for imperialist intervention against Syria.

It is this possibility and the whole existence of NATO that is driving progressives to mobilize a major national protest in Chicago on May 20. The protest now includes the Occupy movement, labor and religious forces. For more information on May 20 in Chicago, see,, or

As part of building for the May 20 protest, Workers World Party has called a meeting in Chicago on the evening of May 17. It will be at the Electrical Workers union (UE) hall at 6:30 p.m. at 37 S. Ashland Ave. WWP First Secretary Larry Holmes will be among the speakers.

For us at Workers World, the demand in Chicago is simple: Abolish NATO!

Following the Chicago action, the movement will look ahead to the end of the summer to expose the reactionary and anti-working-class role of the two big U.S. capitalist parties at the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

The RNC is taking place in Tampa, Fla., with the protest against this reactionary, racist, anti-working-class, imperialist war-mongering party set for Aug. 27. (See

The DNC's venue is Charlotte, N.C., home base of Bank of America and Wells Fargo and the second largest financial center in the country after New York. Protesters there have called for a "March on Wall Street South" during the DNC, Sept. 1-6. The Sept. 2 march will point out that the Democratic Party, no less than the Republican, represents the interests of the 1%. (See

On May Day workers come out in struggle all over the world in an expression of international solidarity against the global 1%. The struggle to end imperialist wars and the capitalist governments that wage them is the next shoe dropping.

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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That last paragraph really bothers me.  Surely the writer meant: "On May Day workers came out in struggle all over the world in an expression of international solidarity against the global 1%."?  Otherwise WW is speaking in the present tense about a past event. Even more confusing is the "next shoe dropping" allusion, which is vague and confusing.  The proper phrase, "Waiting for the other shoe to drop," does not denote the arrival of glad tidings; just the opposite. 

Speaking of ill tidings, the latest WW newspaper also contains the latest article by WWP Secretariat member Monica Moorehead.  Here we move from movementarianism to bald-faced self-indulgence.  There is nothing revolutionary or socialist about the article, just more movement log-rolling and the opportunity for Moorehead to go on at length about her famous friends and family members.  The fact that this contributes zero to building Workers World Party, and is indeed embarrassing in its ephemeral character, seems lost on the editorial board.

Here is Moorehead's article, lest the reader think I am exaggerating for effect:

By Monica Moorehead
New York
Published May 3, 2012

African-American television journalist Gil Noble leaves behind a tremendous, inspiring legacy that should continue to be deeply explored and respected. Host of the award-winning, Black-oriented show "Like It Is," based in New York, Noble died at the age of 80 on April 5 in a New Jersey hospital. He had suffered a massive stroke last summer.

Hundreds of people, including cultural and political figures such as City Councilperson Charles Barron, Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Minister Louis Farrakhan and former editor of Essence magazine Susan Taylor, paid tribute to Noble at his funeral and memorial. It was held April 13 at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

Noble became the host of "Like It Is" at New York's ABC affiliate in 1975. Over a period of 36 years, until his stroke, he interviewed hundreds of guests. Every Sunday his shows focused primarily on the struggle of African peoples for self-determination and liberation in the diaspora.

He won seven Emmy awards for the following documentaries: "El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)," "Paul Robeson," "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," "Adam Clayton Powell Jr.," "Decade of Struggle," "Essay on Drugs" and "Outstanding Series." Not only was Noble the host of "Like It Is," but he produced it as well — meaning that he had the authority to pick and choose who to have on his show, no matter whether the studio heads liked it or not.

Many of his interviewees were both well-known and lesser-known artists, activists, politicians and historians, both in the U.S. and around the world. This writer had the honor of knowing Noble on two different occasions. The late great actor Ossie Davis and I had the honor of appearing on "Like It Is" to promote a Madison Square Garden Theater rally for death-row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal in May 2000. Noble hosted a number of shows on Abu-Jamal's case and clearly expressed his hope that Mumia would have a new, fair trial to help overturn a murder conviction. In 2011 Abu-Jamal was freed from death row, but is now serving a life sentence without parole. Besides Davis, others who came to the Garden to show support for Mumia were Mos Def, Ed Asner, Johnnie Cochran, David Dinkins and many more. The interview, taped a month before the rally, helped fill the theater to its capacity of 6,000 seats.

Support for an Alabama school

The other distinct chance meeting that I had with Noble was of a more personal nature. On Aug. 6, 1988, Noble traveled to Snow Hill, Ala., to speak at a rally in support of Snow Hill Institute for the Performing Arts, founded in 1980 by my mother, jazz pianist Consuela Lee. The Institute promoted the teaching of jazz in all its art forms to poor, rural African-American children in Alabama's Black Belt.

Months later, Noble sent a film crew to Snow Hill to take footage of my mother's efforts to revitalize Snow Hill Institute, which had been founded in 1893 by her grandfather, William James Edwards, to help educate former slaves. In December 1988, Noble had my mother's students perform on his "Like It Is" program while they were on tour in New York. While showing the Snow Hill footage, Noble explained the difficult campaign to save an isolated school like Snow Hill Institute within the overall historic framework of the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s, especially in Alabama.

Noble also wrote a moving piece about Snow Hill and my mother's CD, "Piano Voices," when it was released in 2001. Being an accomplished jazz pianist himself, Noble wrote on the CD's jacket, "Consuela Lee … even her very name swings like the end of a jazz chorus. Years ago, this magnificent artist invited me to come down to Alabama to speak to the students at her Snow Hill school. What I saw and heard at Snow Hill brought tears to my eyes. Here were grade school children playing on almost makeshift instruments the arrangements of geniuses like Milt Jackson and Charlie Parker.

"On top of this, Consuela Lee sat down to the piano. I was transfixed. Then and there I decided to find a way to have Consuela and those kids on my TV show in New York. I did.

"Now, many years later, this glorious CD has been recorded — a chance to hear this stunning pianist do her own compositions and her own absorbing reading of Duke Ellington. Steady now … you 'bout to be wiped out.'" Go to to hear parts one and two of Noble's interview with Consuela Lee.

Gil Noble exemplified tremendous integrity, dedication and fortitude. He used his journalistic skills to not only showcase great cultural and political contributions of Black people, but to help further the struggle for social equality. He was a great anti-racist fighter and humanitarian who also showed solidarity with other oppressed peoples, such as the Palestinians.

In his autobiography, "Black Is the Color of My TV Tube," he writes, "Many in this business say I am too serious. I believe I am not serious. The condition of Black people today is serious to me, and that condition requires serious action. I will be preoccupied with the question of race until racism is dead." Gil Noble presente! For more information go to

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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