Bus riders union/LA, CAN, etc

neil 74742.1651 at compuserve.com
Sun Oct 6 13:53:00 MDT 1996

dear  curt,

We went to mass march (10/5) and rally downtown of about 250  members of the LA
Bus riders union (BRU).
The BRU claims to be for socailism but is actually a left-reformist mass
organization. It is growing
and was built by militant mass actions at bus stations and County bus admin.
protests. Its members are 90% workers, many very exploited, sweated workers from
LA garment and furniture, and electronics shops.These forces demand better
modern/non polluting  transport for workers (1500 new buses) and reduced fares
for ALL workers. This is  but a partial list of their fully legitimate demands.

About 160 LAWV leaflets on the need for workers  independent mass action  and
exposes on the CIA/ contra  Cocaine mass murder operations in mainly black
workers communities were snapped up and appreciated. In addition 32 copies of
Collective Action Notes (CAN) journals  were distributed to activists.

LA is a very backward area in the needs of working class transport. Many buses
are still 1970s vintage and very polluting to the environment. In addition there
is not enuogh surface transport in inner cites and many  workers wait over
three fourths an  hour for a bus on week days and maybe  over  an hour on
Many workers take 3 or more buses just  to get to their jobs.

In the meantime the Demopublicans  LA Metro Transport Authority (MTA) has a
current  $4 billion dollar Fed. contract to build modern  rail transport from
the business areas of the city to  the wealthier suburbs  to serve better off
sections , the yuppies and the petit bourgeois.
The MTA is rife with payola and cronyism. The bourgeois press even admits this.
The amounts  of graft just on the current contracts may be $250 million+! The
BRU is protesting this & demands the funds back and that they be applied for the
modernizations of inner city  buses, lower fares and hiring more bus drivers and
4 or 5 contractors usually  win 90% of the bids. They have politically paid for
insider info to help them bid.

The BRU was formed a few years back  to oppose this class and racial
discrimination and corruption  and get a bigger portion of Metro Rail $$$ back
into the inner cities for working class transport improvements.
Is is common for poorer workers (Busriders) in LA to get up at 4:30 or 5;00 in
the morning to get to a job that begins at 7:30 or 8:00! Even then they may be
late and have to be humiliated, told to be  popped tall- at attention
"explaining" "Their problem" to their capitalist exploiters.

This, along with shitty wages, dangerous working conditions, and few benefits
can caused motion to percolate and the BRU group has used  adroit methods of
community organizing to win over  many hundreds of mainly proletarians to join
the BRU to gain even  a semblnce of justice from the phony democracy  of the
racist and ruling class dominated state machine.

The Bus riders militant  actions have forced the  LA county govt. to allow
reduced fare passes (Temporarily?!)
but the busriders have to show material proof of below poverty line wages--a
very humiliating and in the case of the undocumented workers -an unacceptable
and  de-facto discriminatory  condition . The bus riders have
also gotten  promises of 160 new buses in the poorest , lousiest served working
class districts.

Well, republocrat  politicians will  promise anything necessary to stop the
militantcy, organizing and motion of these angry workers mass organization like
the BRU . Workers cannot just accept the liars promises however.
THey should not be taken in by sweetalking honeyed words of liberal politicos
who are trying to lawyerize and
electoralize the struggle into the grave yard.

The politicos, liberal and conservative, bow to the dictates of capital and
needs of the market system. Thecrisis
in the system and the accumulation process dictates more attacks on the workers
livlihoods by the rich and their state.. So, these feisty BRU rank and file
workers must remain vigilant, organize more campaigns and turn the struggle into
a political one for working class struggle---against capital..


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