The movements against war and capitalist globalization

 
July 18, 2003

We are sincerely thankful to the Communist Party of Greece for once again hosting this vital meeting of fraternal Parties and for the opportunity to share thoughts and learn from our collective experience so that we may heighten our unity in action.

This is a most crucial moment for humanity. The new Bush Doctrine of unending war has made the world an incredibly dangerous place. At this moment US imperialism faces no comparable political counterweight as it did during the Soviet years.

The world avoided a catastrophic nuclear confrontation as a result of the US initiated arms race in the last century. The Soviet Union, other socialist nations, the non-aligned and national liberation movements in alliance with the peace majorities in the capitalist countries prevented nuclear annihilation. Only a bigger global peace movement will prevent new wars, including the outbreak of nuclear war.

In our view, the Bush Doctrine flows from the political dominance of government by the extreme right wing sections of US monopoly capital (finance capital, the oil, energy and military transnationals) and their ideologues, including religious fundamentalists of all sorts.

The Bush Doctrine has been germinating for over two decades. But it wasnt until the theft of the White House in 2000 and the September 11 tragedy that it became policy of the most right wing sections of the US ruling class.

US imperialism has always sought world domination. But the Bush Doctrine aims for unchallenged domination for the entire 21st century. After the Soviet Union collapsed the most reactionary sections resolved to never again allow the emergence of a competitive rival or alliance of rivals.

The Bush Doctrine is a radical new set of policies marked by overwhelming military superiority, preemptive attack, regime change, first use of nuclear weapons as offensive weapons, the militarization of space, military occupation, direct colonial rule and elimination of national sovereignty.

The Bush administration is determined to develop new weapons including mini-nukes, bunker busters and pursue the missile defense shield. This will lead to proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and a new spiral in the global arms race including by countries that feel they must arm to protect themselves.

By rejecting international agreements like the ABM, Kyoto treaties and the International Criminal Court, the Bush Doctrine opens a new era of international relations whereby unilateralism reigns supreme – international law and institutions, including the UN, are being by-passed and sabotaged. Inter-imperialist rivalries are being sharpened.

The immediate strategic goal of the extreme right in the US is remaking the entire Middle East. They envision an arc of domination from Northern Africa to South Asia, particularly over the worlds oil reserves to be reinforced by a sprawling system of new military bases. Already the extreme right is eager to use the threat of invasion again, including in Iran, Cuba and the Korean Peninsula, even as US forces sink into the quagmire of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We dont believe this policy is an inevitable outcome of this stage of capitalist globalization or the balance of power on a world scale. It is a policy of choice connected with the political ascension of the extreme right wing.

We are not prepared to characterize the Bush administration as fascist. It does not yet fit the classic Marxist definition as the open terroristic dictatorship by the most reactionary sections of monopoly in which bourgeois democratic institutions are eliminated, and the working class and peoples movement is smashed by brutal force and repression. Conditions exist for the legal functioning of all types of organizations and movements including our Party, and for action in the electoral and legislative arena. It is true that basic democratic rights have been eroded, but not eliminated.

However, its true there are fascist-like forces in the Bush administration and in its orbit. It is urgent to stop this development, to block these forces from gaining strength, to struggle against them at every step before the atmosphere takes root that could lead to fascism. That is why we view the 2004 elections and preserving a democratic atmosphere in the country through mass struggle as vital.

The global peace movement is unprecedented and forced the Bush administration to delay its invasion plans and take its case to the United Nations. The US peace movement, which exploded almost overnight, is multi-sided and marked by incredible breadth. It intersects and overlaps with many other movements and struggles. It includes every sector of the population, a broad spectrum of ideological trends, large parts of labor, racially oppressed communities, women, religious communities, youth, military veterans, immigrants, many families of victims of September 11 and the anti-globalization movement.

Thousands of grassroots peace committees organized by ordinary Americans sprang up in neighborhoods, small towns and universities expressing opposition in countless creative ways. Thousands of actions, vigils, teach-ins and newspaper advertisements were organized. The largest demonstrations were held since the Vietnam War. 500,000 marched in New York after the war started. Students at over 500 universities conducted a Day of Action for Books not Bombs.

Over 150 anti-war resolutions were passed by city councils. Resolutions were passed by thousands of local unions and community organizations. Local and national actions were organized on the Internet, including the Virtual March on Washington DC in which 750,000 participated. Elected officials were flooded with millions of calls, emails and letters.

In an unprecedented development, large sections of the US labor movement officially opposed the war. In contrast, it took years to build labor opposition to the Vietnam War. Many labor for peace organizations were formed. For example in Chicago, labor leaders formed Labor United for Peace, Justice and Prosperity. They concluded that mass education of their members was essential to counter false propaganda, and that the fight for the peace, economic security and democratic rights was interrelated.

The majority of the religious community was also deeply involved, including every denomination except the politically right wing fundamentalists. Even Bushs church opposed the war policy.

Millions are connecting the mammoth military budget with cuts of social programs and the Bush Doctrine abroad with the war against the working class at home. There is widespread alarm over the attacks on basic democratic rights, of speech and assembly and rights of immigrants.

The scale, scope and rapid development of the peace movement was astounding considering the near total corporate mass media support for war. They flooded the airwaves with lies, whipped up nationalism and organized pro-war rallies. Anti-war opposition was branded as unpatriotic. Many well-known personalities were hounded into silence.

Despite these efforts, over 30% of the public remained staunchly opposed to preemption during the war. Today, 67% opposes preemption and a majority supports the UN as the mediator of crises. A political firestorm is growing over revelations Bush lied to justify the invasion and that immigrants detained after September 11 have been harshly treated.

The peace and democratic forces are active in every arena of struggle: legislative, political and electoral. The objective now is to end the occupation, bring the troops home, and to prevent further preemptive attacks.

Many currents in the peace movement are fighting for a just solution to the Middle East crisis. The fight will be over details of the Road Map. But the road cannot be traveled far without total Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories including the settlements, an end to punitive repression against the Palestinian population and an international peace keeping force.

On June 6-8, United for Peace and Justice, the national network that mobilized millions for the February 15th protests, held its first national conference. Over 500 grassroots peace activists representing over 650 organizations attended and adopted long range plans.

All the major social forces that oppose the Bush Administration are now shifting their focus to the 2004 elections. The elections will be the main way to stop and reverse the Bush policies. They will be an epic battle involving millions. Most peace and justice organizations will unite with other social movements to elect a Democratic Party candidate for president and a majority Democratic congress. Plans are unfolding for a massive campaign of voter education and mobilization at the grassroots.

US politics are still deeply characterized by fear stemming from the September 11 terrorist attacks. The extreme right has skillfully manipulated the fear of terrorism. This atmosphere allowed Bush to rush through the new strategic doctrine unquestioned and to conceal the real aims of the war policy with outright lies.

The danger of terrorism is the centerpiece of Bushs campaign for reelection. The war on terrorism has replaced the use of cold war anti-communism to justify policies of military build up and curtailment of civil liberties. Terrorism and communism are equated.

The US Patriot Act has given sweeping new repressive powers to the government. This has resulted in regular terror alerts, greater political repression and the detention, mistreatment and deportation of thousands of immigrants, particularly peoples of Arab and South Asian descent, Muslims and Sikhs. Militarization of the border with Mexico has accelerated. There is a growing fight to repeal the Patriot Act.

The Bush doctrine of unending war also has its domestic expression to take back every gain won by the working class and people over the past century. It entails a massive shift in wealth to the rich and a new concentration of monopoly power, including greater concentration of the corporate mass media.

The extreme right wing is conspiring to bankrupt government through massive tax cuts to the rich. This will be a justification needed to privatize basic social programs like social security, health care and public education. It is the US version of neo-liberal policy. This has resulted in a sharpening of the class struggle.

The US economy continues to deteriorate. States and cities face the worst budget crisis in 50 years and are deeply cutting social programs. Since the stock market bubble burst in 1999 and Bush became President, over 2.5 million jobs have been lost. 41 million people are without health care and hundreds of thousands of workers have lost retirement benefits. Hunger and homelessness are mounting. The danger of deflation and stagnation is growing.

Though we are relatively small, our Party plays a unique and vital role in this movement.

Communists have been involved at every level of the peace movement. We are among the leaders of national and citywide coalitions, neighborhood grassroots organizations, and in trade unions, religious institutions, universities, and traditional peace groups.

I believe we make the following special contributions:

1. Taking initiatives that build unity and bring our multi-racial, male-female working class, especially organized labor and nationally and racially oppressed communities to the leadership in coalitions. We seek to build coalitions around the broadest points of unity, especially between the left and center political currents;

2. Making links between the struggle for peace with the movements against the economic crisis and for democratic rights.

3. Conducting mass ideological struggle to expose the Bush lies and that give the big picture behind the Bush Doctrine. We seek to connect the crises to the capitalist system and help people to understand the necessity of socialism.

US politics is marked by the long-term emergence of an all-peoples front against the extreme right. It includes organized labor, racially oppressed communities, women, peace and justice movements, immigrants, youth, environmentalists, the religious community and farmers. This front includes sections of the ruling class disturbed by the direction of Bush administration.

The all-peoples front, a concept our Party first projected for the US context, has grown in response to 20 years of struggle against the extreme right. Its development has been uneven. It took a qualitative leap in the mid 1990s with leadership changes in the US labor movement committed to building broad alliances. The process of building this front was interrupted by the developments of September 11th and the Iraq war. But these forces are now regrouping.

Confronting US imperialism militarily is not a winning strategy. Its willingness to use weapons of mass destruction and overwhelming military superiority means the political mobilization of a global peace majority is the only way to end this policy and to insist that the US military forces close the bases and return home.

Greater unity of action of all communist, working class and democratic forces in a global front for peace, democracy and economic security is essential. The anti-globalization and economic justice movements are converging with the global peace movement. It is a global counterweight to US imperialism.

This front includes mass movements, entire nations, including socialist and many non-aligned and developing nations. At the moment and on some issues, the interests of the world peace majority coincide with the interests of imperialist states who oppose the US drive for domination.

We believe a global campaign is needed to reestablish the leading role of the UN based on its founding charter to resolve urgent global problems of abolishment of weapons of mass destruction, environmental destruction, disease, poverty and hunger. We urge support for the petition of Non Governmental Organizations calling for an emergency meeting of UN General Session to mandate actions including deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in Iraq and immediate withdrawal of the invading powers.

This is the great struggle of our time. The world peace and democratic majority will defeat the Bush Doctrine and win a new system of peaceful international relations and an equitable and sustainable system of economic relations and save humanitys future.

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