6th IMCWP, Contribution of CP USA

10/8/04 12:45 PM
  • USA, Communist Party USA 6th IMCWP En North America Communist and workers' parties

Athens Meeting 8-10 October 2004, Contribution of CP USA
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From: SolidNet, Friday, October 22, 2004
http://www.cpusa.org , mailto:international@cpusa.org
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International Meeting Communist and Workers' Parties
"Resistance to Imperialist Aggressiveness. Fronts of
Struggle and Alternatives"
8 10 October 2004, Athens
Contribution of Communist Party, USA

Comrades,

As we meet here in Athens, the US is in the middle of a
gigantic electoral contest. It is difficult to convey the
fervour and intensity of this great fight. Some have
compared it to the civil rights movement of the 1960s,
others to the momentum behind the efforts to found the
industrial unions in 30s, still others to the movement
against the Vietnam war. But whatever the comparison, back
home, it is seen as perhaps the greatest and most important
battle of our lives.

The understanding of this simple truth has awakened
millions and drawn them into political life. From New York
to Los Angeles, from Seattle to Miami, a march to the
ballot box on election day is underway. This is a march
already four years old. It began with George Bush's theft
of the election in Florida in 2000. Even as the dust
settled from the terrorist attack of September 11th it
continued. It grew larger with the protests against the
illegal war in Afghanistan. This march became a mass
all-peoples protest movement in the demonstrations led by
United for Peace and Justice, that occurred before and
after the overthrow and occupation of Iraq.

There has been an almost a continuous stream of protest:
around abortion rights, immigrant rights, the environment,
racism, a two-state solution in the Middle East, an end to
the embargo against Cuba to mention only a few. Millions
have taken to the streets, in small towns as well as big
cities. And while the issues vary, all have had a sharp
anti-Bush, anti-ultra-right character. This was especially
evident in the historic march of half-a-million against the
Republican Convention in New York City, just a few weeks
ago.

The demonstrations signify the deep misgivings and fear
about the direction of the country. These fears are not
unfounded. At issue is the victory of democracy or the
triumph of extreme right reaction. The choices are crystal
clear: pre-emptive war against the world, or peaceful
cooperation among the family of nations within the
framework of the United Nations. State-sponsored terror,
individual acts of terrorism, the inevitable retaliation,
or dialog and non-violent resolution of conflict. he
long-term occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan or the
withdrawal of US forces.

The American people are faced with two distinct choices:
tax giveaways to the super-rich or overtime pay for
workers; the corporate rape of the environment or the
observance of international treaties and agreements; the
suppression of dissent, police-state surveillance and
intimidation of protest or a return to democratic norms, a
healthcare program for the 80 million without insurance or
the privatization of public pensions and other services,
the widespread use of torture and other forms of barbarism
, or a return to the arms of civilization.

It was almost a truism in our movement that imperialism in
20th century meant reaction all down the line. This is
certainly no less true in the 21st century in the era
dominated by the US imperialist transnationals. The fight
against such reaction as expressed in the policies of the
US ruling class through the Bush administration therefore
must be at the center of the battle against imperialism.

There is a growing awareness in our country of what is at
stake. Despite the fog of fear woven by the relentless
right-wing propaganda machine the American people are
inching steadily towards a democratic outcome. Although the
contest is still undecided, such a victory remains
possible.

The idea of a Democratic victory may come as a surprise to
you. Public opinion both at home and abroad has been molded
to believe the election is all but decided. Some have
already lost faith, considering the Republicans too strong,
the Democrats too vacillating and the working-class
movement too weak. But such views, while popular, do not
correspond to the reality on the ground.

However the Republicans have spent billions to convince the
public that victory is at hand. The US people and the world
community have been subject to what might be called a
campaign of ideological shock and awe, borrowed from
psychological warfare manuals of the CIA and Army
intelligence and used on the battlefields of Iraq. The aim
is to create an aura of invincibility around the campaign.
This is accomplished by repeating the mantra of the
inevitability of their victory. Their design is to
disorient and demoralize the opposition. The goal is to
suppress by all possible means the voter turnout. However
this attempt goes beyond the battle of ideas to actual
efforts to forcibly suppress the vote as we saw in Florida
in 2000. These efforts are underway again today and have a
sharp racist edge.

If voters are convinced their candidate stands no chance,
they are less likely to come out and vote. In this regard,
public opinion polls have taken on a new quality. Some have
had Bush ahead other show a closer race: all are very
volatile. Can the polls be trusted? There's an old American
expression that sums this all up: "Figures never lie, but
liars always figure."

As we well know it is better to keep ones eyes and ears,
closer to the ground in the voter registration and
mobilization efforts particularly in what are called the
battleground states. Here a huge effort is being undertaken
that is truly without precedent.

Organized labor is at the center of this effort and they
have devoted their resources, cadres, and finances to it.
For several years now US labor is playing a new role, which
shifted the terrain on which the battle for the White House
and Congress is being fought. It should not be forgotten
that wide sections of labor, far more than during the
height of the anti-Vietnam war movement came out against
intervention in Iraq. They have joined with the movements
of the racially and nationally oppressed, the women's
movement, youth and students, environmentalists, business
people, artists, gays, lesbians and bi-sexuals, and even
some sections of the ruling class itself have joined them.
An extremely broad, all-peoples electoral front against the
far right has come together and it is slowly but steadily
gaining momentum.

They have been doing door-to-door voter registration,
canvassing voters, raising money, making telephone calls,
putting in place plans to bring out the vote on election
day. Hundreds of thousands of new voters have been added to
the rolls in the battleground states as a result of these
efforts. From all reports, Democratic efforts at
registering new voters have surpassed Republican and these
voters that may well decide the outcome. In our opinion,
the election will stand or fall on which side is able to
turn out the highest vote.

It is important to note these efforts have given rise to
new forms of organization, cooperation and action. The
anti-ultra-right upsurge has released the creative impulses
of the masses. They have employed great imagination in
setting up new structures and combining old and new methods
of resistance and struggle. Of vital significance has been
the strengthening of the forms of political independence of
the working-class and peoples movement. Again we must
underscore the role of organized labor: trade unions, along
with civil rights groups and peace organizations have
established independent political structures working both
inside and outside of the Democratic party.

These structures, while in existence for some time, have
taken on a whole new level over the last several months.
Organizations like Working America, Moveon.org, are but a
few examples of the new structures. All signs point to
their becoming a permanent feature of the political
landscape and the shape of things to come.

Some have taken internet organizing to a whole new level,
creating organizations of millions and raising tens
(hundreds) of millions of dollars. Others have focused on
working with the aged, unregistered voters and youth. Still
others have focused their attention on the field of
ideology and culture, making TV commercials, feature films,
cds, and concerts. As we sit round this table, artists
like Bruce Springsteen, REM, the Dixie Chicks, and Babyface
are holding concerts in the battleground states of Ohio,
Pennsylvania and Missouri. Spurred on by their class
brothers in the organized labor, the movement against the
far right among cultural workers is simply phenomenal
without precedent in recent memory.

It may be that a new social movement has been born in this
battle against neo-conservative right-wing extremism. Taken
as a whole, the quantitative developments of the past few
years may give life to a new quality. Much depends on the
outcome in three weeks. A victory will give new impetus to
the peoples movement as it struggles to give meaning to the
electoral platform and keep the new president steady in the
face of what is sure to be tremendous pressure from the
right. A loss will setback this movement and force it to
fight defensive battles against a no-holds-barred right
ascendancy. Still it is unlikely to defeat it. A
longer-term outlook is already anticipated.

We have argued today that the battle against imperialism in
its center lies through the defeat of its most reactionary
sectors grouped in and around the presidency of George W.
Bush. Recall that they control the White House, the
Congress, and Supreme Court. This struggle while sure to be
long and protracted, must confront new realities.

The framework for our struggle in the US changed after
September 11th. The terrorist attack reversed the fortunes
of an unpopular and failing presidency and precipitated an
onslaught with which we are reeling still. Fear of
terrorism has become the backdrop against which the
election and indeed all other things are placed.

It may be that internationally this problem is playing a
different role as seen in recent events. US imperialism is
conducting a phony war on terror, using it as the basis to
re-divide the world and attack movements and countries
fighting for national sovereignty. They are also busy
inventing new and ever more terrible methods of mass
destruction, while the danger of their proliferation to
fanatical right-wing individuals and groups like Al Queda
grows more possible.

How should our movement confront this? We remember the
leadership given on this question by President Fidel Castro
who in the aftermath of September 11th called for an
international conference on terror. In the face of US
imperialism's brutal onslaught in Iraq that call has
receded to the background, but the issue will not go away.

We recognize that imperialism uses the "terrorism" charge
with a broad stroke to attack peoples' and nations'
legitimate right to defend their homes, lives and national
sovereignty. We completely support this right. At the same
time, it should not deter us from engaging this issue. We
should think through the ways and means of grappling with
it.

Terrorism the attack on civilian targets is mainly a right
wing tool and so it must be exposed. At the same time,
frustration and centuries old oppression at times gives
rise to terrorist tactics. Our complete solidarity with
peoples and countries fighting for their sovereignty and
independence need not require endorsement of every tactic.

 

For now we engage it by building a broad popular movement
against the far right. We do it by recognizing the right of
the Palestinian people to a homeland within the framework
of a two-state solution, in which they and Israel can live
in peace. We do it by calling for an end to the blockade of
Cuba, and demanding the withdrawal of US troops from all
bases abroad, and for a serious resolution to the problems
of the world's poor.

We are fighting for a more peaceful, but also a more
lovable world. As the world anti-war and anti-globalization
movements, alongside many new victories for our movement
attest, there is much to build on.

Comrades we thank you for listening. We embrace our hosts,
we greet you and wish you well.

Secretary, International Department
Communist Party USA

235 West 23 rd Street
New York, NY 10011