4th IMCWP, Contribution of Communist Party, USA

6/21/02 11:41 AM
  • USA, Communist Party USA 4th IMCWP En North America Communist and workers' parties

CP USA, Contribution to the Athens Meeting 21J2002

by Marilyn Becthel


The CPUSA expresses its very great appreciation to the
Communist Party of Greece for hosting the conferences of
communist and workers parties that bring us together
annually here in Athens. These conferences, along with the
opportunities to exchange views at party congresses and
other international gatherings, help us to better
understand each other's positions and struggles. They
enable us to work ever more closely together to overcome
the growing common dangers, and to build together for a
world free of war, exploitation and oppression, a socialist

The Bush administration and the American people
In the wake of the horrific terrorist attack of Sept. 11
and its tragic consequences, we believe the great task of
left, progressive, labor, peace and justice forces in our
country -- including the Communist Party USA and the Young
Communist League -- is to work together to build a
labor-led people's movement large enough and broad enough
to turn the policies of the Bush administration away from
war, intervention, austerity, repression, anti-labor and
anti-immigrant attacks and racism. To make a shift toward
democracy, economic and social justice at home and in
international relations will take the work of tens of

The events of Sept. 11 dealt a profound shock to people in
the United States. It has taken some time for people to
find their bearings in the new situation; for many people
this process still continues. The Bush administration does
its best, almost daily, to keep people off-balance with
constant scare allegations such as bio-terror plots, bomb
alarms, and threats to public facilities, food and water

But that a broad anti-war, anti-repression coalition can be
built was foreshadowed even in the first days after Sept.
11. What was surprising then was not the overall tendency
to "rally `round the flag," but rather the extent to which
many people, even in hard-hit New York City, declared
publicly and demonstratively that war was not the answer.
Vigils for peace, and later demonstrations against the war
on Afghanistan occurred in many cities -- some rallying
tens of thousands -- while people around the country helped
protect neighbors threatened with hate crimes.

Since then, though polls continue to show support for Bush,
ever broader sections of the people are coming into action
at various levels and on various issues as the
administration raises the specter of unending war,
increasingly shifts the burden of the economic crisis
further onto the backs of working people, and gravely
threatens civil rights and civil liberties.

That a broad coalition must be built is clear from the
litany of Bush administration actions. The U.S. war on
Afghanistan has killed thousands of innocent civilians
without bringing peace and hope to that war-torn country.
U.S. military bases now encircle China. Iraq, Iran and the
DPRK are called an "axis of evil," and long-suffering Cuba
has been added to the list of alleged terrorists.

The Bush administration has greatly raised the danger of
global nuclear devastation through such measures as its
targeting of seven nations including China and Russia,
scrapping the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty -- the keystone
of arms agreements -- and speeding the weaponization of
space. The administration's nuclear doctrines and so-called
War on Terrorism provide the foundation for today's
all-too-real threat of nuclear war in South Asia. Its
failure to present the comprehensive nuclear test ban
treaty for ratification makes clear that the Bush
administration wishes to resume testing, including
developing new types of weapons more suited to regional
conflicts. In other words, the Bush administration seeks to
eliminate the barriers to use of its nuclear arms,
including against non-nuclear powers.

The Israeli government's very ability to continuously
savage the Palestinian community depends on the military
aid it receives from Washington. The U.S. administration
openly desires to see President Arafat replaced, but only
the Palestinian people have the right to determine their
leaders. The CPUSA condemns all forms of terrorism --
especially state-sponsored terrorism -- and believes the
coexistence of two sovereign, viable states is essential to
resolve this crisis. We welcome the recent initiative of
the Arab League in this regard. The majority of U.S. people
support a two-state solution.

In the western hemisphere, the U.S. Plan Colombia, once
camouflaged as a "war on drugs," now openly targets a
people's armed opposition. Though the Venezuelan people
thwarted a U.S.-sponsored coup, continued great vigilance
is needed.

In its drive for world domination, the administration
labels as terrorists those it wants to pressure into
submission, and then threatens them with a first strike.

What's behind the administration's actions
George W. Bush, and the administration he heads, represent
the most reactionary sections of transnational capital and
especially its energy sector. Bush himself, Vice President
Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and
other top administration officials are all directly
involved in the energy industry. The region on which the
administration focuses -- the broad sweep of countries from
North Africa through the Middle East to Southeast Asia and
up through Central Asia -- is rich in oil and gas

The administration's warlike policies are also driven by
the military-industrial complex' insatiable appetite for
profits. The current hike in military spending to an
unprecedented $400 billion in 2003, and emphasis on new and
ever more dangerous weaponry, feed the military-corporate
sector while further starving already devastated social
programs. The most vulnerable sectors of society bear the
brunt of these economic and social consequences.

Repressive laws raise broad concern
The administration bases its across-the-boards attack on
civil rights and civil liberties -- perhaps the most
sweeping in U.S. history -- on the premise that anyone who
opposes the its actions and policies is thereby aiding
terrorists. This assault raises concerns about the
potential for fascism. The growing popular opposition to
these repressive moves extends even into Bush's own
Republican Party.

Attorney General Ashcroft's new guidelines grant FBI field
office directors authority to investigate anyone, any
place, for any reason -- giving a green light to the bad
old practices of the McCarthy era -- agents-provocateurs,
disinformation, frame-ups and getting people fired from
their jobs.

The proposed department of Homeland Security would bring
together already huge government agencies, including the
INS, Coast Guard, Secret Service, Customs Service and
Federal Emergency Management Agency, into one enormously
powerful super-agency.

Among the most serious developments is the USA Patriot Act,
which lets law enforcement agencies wiretap and monitor
Internet use without safeguards, and gives the Immigration
and Naturalization Service (INS) carte blanche to detain
non-citizens. A "federal terrorism offense" is defined so
broadly it could be interpreted to include peaceful
protests by organizations including labor unions.

Over 1,000 immigrants are still detained incommunicado by
judicial authorities after Sept. 11, without charges or
evidence of involvement in terrorist activity. Racial
profiling and attacks on immigrants are rampant, especially
of people of Middle Eastern and South Asian backgrounds.

The Port Security Act subjects port workers to screening
which will cost the jobs of those with a past (quite
possibly undeserved) felony conviction. Thousands of
airport baggage screeners now face losing their jobs
because they are not citizens. Along the way the domestic
intelligence functions of the FBI and the foreign
intelligence mandate of the CIA are increasingly merged.

Even some conservative Republicans are now joining -- for
their own reasons -- the growing array of peace, civil
liberties, labor and other organizations in protesting this
multi-layered attack on civil liberties. Right-wing
Republican Congressman James Sensenbrenner, head of the
Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives, said
earlier this month that the Justice Department has "gone
too far" in giving the FBI new authority including internet
surveillance and monitoring of libraries, churches and
political organizations.

Revelations that the Bush administration and the FBI "knew
something" before Sept. 11 have also heightened opposition
and concern over new powers for intelligence agencies and
generated calls for deeper investigation.

The collapse of the Enron corporation -- whose head was
Bush's biggest campaign contributor and a top advisor to
his administration -- has brought embarrassment and
controversy to the administration and further raised
Americans' anti corporate consciousness.

Broad forces become more active
As this year progresses, opposition activity is picking up
the pace. Besides demonstrations and marches, many public
meetings, "teach-ins," e-mail, postcard and petition
campaigns have been launched. Objectives have varied, from
ending the war in Afghanistan and preventing further U.S.
military actions abroad to eliminating weapons of mass
destruction, preserving arms treaties, upholding immigrant
rights and civil rights, and shifting military funds to
human needs.

The AFL-CIO -- in decades past often an active supporter of
U.S. imperialism's aggressive policies -- has sharply
criticized administration economic policies including the
huge bailouts to airlines and other corporations with no
aid for the millions of workers devastated by an economic
downturn worsened by September 11. At the same time, it has
given only qualified backing to the administration's war
policy. In a stirring display of its determination to fight
for immigrant rights, the labor movement has launched a
nationwide postcard campaign to collect over one million
signatures by September for legalization of immigrants. The
AFL-CIO has renewed its commitment to the struggle against
capitalist globalization and solidified its ties with other
organizations committed to global economic justice.

The United Steelworkers of America, with full AFL-CIO
support, has taken up the cause of beleaguered Colombian
unionists, thousands of whom have been murdered by
paramilitaries in recent years. At the same time, unionists
around the country including a number of local officers
have begun to build Labor for Peace and Justice
organizations to bring peace and non-intervention issues
into the labor movement as well as to the general public.

As the crisis in Palestine and Israel has sharpened, the
movement among Jewish people and others for a just peace
based on the United Nations resolutions and two viable,
sovereign states, has grown and become much more vocal.

The biggest single peace actions so far have been the April
20 demonstrations in Washington and San Francisco against
the administration`s policies of militarism, economic
austerity and gutting of democratic liberties. Over 100,000
came out in Washington, and some 35,000 in San Francisco.
Initiated by a youth and student coalition in which the
Young Communist League USA participates, the Washington
demonstration drew together a broad array of organizations
including longstanding and newer peace and justice groups,
solidarity organizations, religious groups, Palestinian and
other Muslim organizations, civil liberties advocates,
labor, youth and students, and others. On the road to
successes far outstripping the organizers' original
predictions, a number of complex issues of unity and
coalition functioning had to be worked out. The Communist
Party USA and Young Communist League played a significant
role, together with other organizations, in working to
assure a focus to mobilize broad sectors of people.

What's next?
The participants in the effort to significantly change the
U.S. administration's policies away from war, austerity,
privatization, racial profiling and endless corporate
maneuvering will respond in many different ways, and on
many different issues. To the growing anti-war,
pro-democracy, anti-corporate sentiment can be added even
some corporate forces whose interests are not satisfied by
the current policies. But the stake of tens of millions in
winning a significant change toward economic and social
justice, civil liberties and peace is growing daily, first
of all among labor and its allies among oppressed minority

These struggles have to be based on what millions are ready
to do and what will stimulate further millions to act. For
example, demonstrations, marches, teach-ins, town hall
meetings, delegations to Congresspeople, protests based
around sports and the arts. The CPUSA and YCL are
increasingly engaged, with many other organizations, in
building of broad anti-ultra-right coalitions.

In the coming months, the most important focus of the
effort to halt and reverse the Bush administration's
warlike, repressive policies will be the mid-term elections
in November. One-third of the Senate and all members of the
House of Representatives as well as many state and local
officials must stand for election. This is a crucial
opportunity to make sure control of the Senate stays out of
Republican hands, and break the ultra-right's hold on the
House of Representatives. Election results at the state and
local level also have a profound effect on national policy.

A defeat for the ultra-right administration will resound
through every aspect of international and domestic policy.
A failure to defeat the ultra-right in November will make
the people's fightback much more difficult and complex. In
this process the labor movement's drive to field
issue-oriented candidates from its own ranks is extremely
important to develop greater independent political power
for working people. So, too, left and other independent
candidates can play an important role in concentrating
their fire on the ultra-right, while running to win.

In conclusion, the CPUSA again expresses its great
appreciation for the gathering in which we are
participating this weekend. Nothing can match the
opportunity -- in formal plenaries and in the many informal
discussions and smaller meetings -- to exchange views,
learn about and from each others' struggles and gain that
very special confidence which comes from being part of a
worldwide movement for the shared goals of democracy,
peace, social and economic justice, and socialism.

Another aspect of our coming together is the fine flow of
news, analysis, statements and campaigns brought to us all
by the RedNet/SolidNet system of internet communications.
Our party derives great benefit from participating in this
network. We extend heartfelt thanks to the parties and
comrades who make these electronic links possible, and
would like to encourage all parties to make much fuller use
of this great resource.

The CPUSA is confident that together -- and arm-in-arm with
the labor, progressive and democratic movements of which we
are a part -- we communist and workers parties will play
our role in helping to build the sweeping people's
movements which are vital today to save humanity from U.S.
and world imperialism`s greed. Fulfilling this task today
holds the key to turning back state monopoly capitalism's
drive toward war and fascism, and winning humanity's bright
socialist future.