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Workers Vanguard No. 1113

2 June 2017
The closing date for news in this issue is 30 May.

Workers Vanguard

For Black Liberation Through Socialist Revolution!

Confederate Monuments: Tear ’Em All Down!

To the jubilant cheers of hundreds, with trumpets blaring, the statue of slaveholder and Confederate general Robert E. Lee was plucked from its pedestal in New Orleans on May 19. For 133 years, the statue obscenely towered over the heart of this majority-black city. It was the last of four monuments that the New Orleans city council voted to remove following the coldblooded massacre in 2015 of nine black people in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church by Dylann Roof, a white-supremacist who had posed with Confederate flags and other racist paraphernalia in photos. In recent weeks, New Orleans also brought down statues of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general, and a monument to the Battle of Liberty Place.

The latter monument was erected in 1891 to glorify members of the White League who died fighting federal troops in the battle. The racists were defeated after they attempted to overthrow the Republican Reconstruction government in New Orleans in 1874. Until 1993, the plaque at the monument’s base commemorated the victory of “white supremacy in the South.” In 1873 the White League, in one of the bloodiest massacres in the Reconstruction era, murdered an estimated 280 black people in the Louisiana town of Colfax. In 1951, the state placed a highway marker celebrating that massacre. To this day, it still stands.

Monuments to the Confederate slaveowners who were defeated in the Civil War, as well as the flag of Dixie, are a vile celebration of black chattel slavery and Jim Crow. They represent a racist affront to black people and serve as rallying points for resurgent racist terror. The fascist “former” Klansman, David Duke, and groups like the KKK have held rallies over the years at the Battle of Liberty Place monument. The racist backlash against the dismantling of the Confederate monuments has brought out a rabble of fascists and defenders of the “Old South,” some brandishing firearms at rallies. It is a statement of the lethal threat represented by these forces that the first of the New Orleans monuments had to be taken down in the dead of night by masked workers in bulletproof vests protected by police snipers. Across the South, racists have rallied to defend their revolting “heritage.” On May 24, the Alabama governor signed into law a bill protecting Confederate monuments. (read on)

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About the ICL




V.I. LeninLeon TrotskyThe International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist) is a proletarian, revolutionary and internationalist tendency committed to the task of building Leninist parties as national sections of a democratic-centralist international. Our aim is the achievement of new October Revolutions—nothing else, nothing other, nothing less. The ICL bases itself on Marxist historical, dialectical materialism and seeks in particular to carry forward the international working-class perspectives of Marxism developed in the theory and practice of the Bolshevik leaders V. I. Lenin and L. D. Trotsky and embodied in the decisions of the first four Congresses of the Communist International as well as key documents of the Fourth International such as the Transitional Program (1938) and "War and the Fourth International" (1934). We also look to James P. Cannon, a leader of the early American Communist Party who was won to Trotskyism and went on to become a principal founder of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), working in close collaboration with Leon Trotsky. The origins of the ICL are in the Spartacist League/U.S., which began as the Revolutionary Tendency in the SWP and was bureaucratically expelled in 1963. Our ICL "Declaration of Principles and Some Elements of Program" was modeled on the Declaration of Principles adopted at the 1966 founding conference of the SL/U.S.

Adopted at the Third International Conference of the ICL in early 1998, the declaration presently exists in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, German, Russian, Polish, Italian, Turkish, Indonesian, Greek, Korean and Tagalog. In this post-Soviet period, marked by a deep regression of proletarian consciousness, we continue to be guided by Trotsky's statement that "the task of the vanguard is above all not to let itself be carried along by the backward flow; it must swim against the current." Reforge the Fourth International, world party of socialist revolution!