10 IMCWP, Contribution of CP USA

11/28/08 4:23 AM
  • USA, Communist Party USA IMCWP
http://www.cpusa.org , mailto:international@cpusa.org
International Meeting of Communist & Workers Parties São Paulo, Brazil, Nov 21-23, 2008
Remarks by Libero Della Piana Communist Party USA
It is an honor to be here representing the Communist Party of the United States of America at this important meeting at such a crucial turning point moment in world developments. I want to thank the Communist Party of Brazil for hosting this meeting and for its comradeship and hospitality.
I am coming to this meeting just days after a meeting of our National Committee and just two weeks after the historic Presidential Election is the United States. The full impact and implications of the election will not be known for some time to come, but our party is clear that the election of Barack Obama represents a decisive setback to the Republican Party and the far-right section of the transnational monopolies it represents. This meeting is also just a few weeks after the earthshaking collapse of U.S. financial institutions which has had global implications.
Historic Crisis
The dramatic and historic collapse of financial systems on Wall Street just weeks before the U.S. Presidential election made clear to all observers that global capitalism is in crisis. Despite the denials of Bush, Sarkozy, and others, the current crisis is not just the result of a few bad eggs, greedy individuals or policy errors. The crisis is the inverse of the massive explosion of wealth due to financialization of markets beginning in the 1970s. Freed from gold and silver standards, markets could expand exponentially and almost instantaneously due to the world communications network. But now the markets have imploded, bringing down the house of cards.
The housing crisis, which lit the match, continues and shows no sign of ending; credit and money markets are still frozen; the stock market is plummeting and volatile; unemployment is up sharply (and is worse still in the communities of the nationally and racially oppressed); poverty is up and wages are down; the value of the dollar is falling sharply compared to other currencies; the level of indebtedness is astronomical and will be difficult to unwind in the near term.
The development of financialization of markets is an objective process, one subject to the boom-and-bust cycle inherent to capitalism, but the recent collapse was fueled by record deregulation in the eight years under Bush. A deregulatory environment and freewheeling in Washington and Wall Street made the crisis bigger and longer lasting.
The crisis led to unprecedented actions by the U.S. government in an attempt to stabilize the system and rescue the banks and their interests. More than $800 billion was allocated for bailing out banks and financial institutions. Recently it was revealed that th U.S. Treasury used billions more to assist for other monopoly interests, many unnamed.
Some rightwing ideologues called the bailout “socialism for the rich” or “socialism for the banks.” Our party replied that the bailout was not socialism at all but the political power of the state propping up the so-called “free markets.” Workers around the country were outraged to see Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson’s original bailout plan that handed hundreds of billions of dollars to the Treasury Department to dole out to their cronies and friends in high finance with no string attached – in fact with no Congressional oversight at all.
We join with others in the U.S. calling for economic stimulus targeted at working people, bailout for the country’s cities and states in crisis. At the same time our demands of nationalizing the banks, of the government taking controlling interest of bailed out companies and other advanced anti-monopoly demands no longer seem so impossible. Mass leaders of unions and community organizations are embracing radical solutions to the crisis. And socialism has reentered the public debate on the direction of the country and the world.
Historic Election
The crisis is not the only historic element to this political moment. The results of our recent Presidential Elections are a repudiation of the policies of the administration of George W. Bush. It reflects a political shift among the U.S. people in a progressive direction. It represents a historic defeat for the ideology and institutions of racism, which has been the main weapon for division of the U.S. working class throughout our history beginning with slavery. It is the culmination of the largest political mobilization of the U.S. labor movement in history.
For the American people, this election will close the door on the eight-year nightmare of anti-democratic extremism of the Bush Administration. It opens the door for winning back many hard-fought gains from the working-class victories of the New Deal, Civil Rights era, etc. The struggle continues, but it continues on higher ground.
“The Road to Socialism USA,” the Program of the Communist Party USA identifies the strategic challenge for the working class and people to defeat the most reactionary, ultra-right section of the transnational corporations who have dominated American political life for thirty years. The Program reads, “A major, lasting rebuff to the ultra-right, rendered by the all-people’s front, will represent a qualitative change in the domestic balance of forces.”
We believe this election marks a turning point in that strategic struggle, and that we have begun a transition to a new strategic period, that of curbing monopolies as a whole. This transition period we are in will open the possibilities for new struggles and demands of an anti-monopoly character and opportunities to enact policies that severely curb the power of monopoly as a whole such as nationalizing the banks or auto industry, establishing a national health system, taking big money out of politics, etc.
Despite all of the media distortions and rightwing lies, U.S. voters of every color and race voted for Obama. As the descendent of slaves, I cannot convey to you what it meant to me personally to see a Black man win the White House. The White House itself, the residence of the U.S. presidents, was built with slave labor.
This election shows that our Party’s long-held belief in a growing anti-racist majority has been proven true. It represents a momentous defeat to the foundations of racist ideology: the concepts of white superiority and Black inferiority.
Of course, an Obama victory does not represent a revolutionary change or a socialist revolution. The only ones who claim so were the washed up ideologues of the far right and the commentators on Fox News who also insist he is a Muslim. But it does represent a decisive victory for the U.S. people and the people of the world. It changes the terrain of struggles in a favorable direction and creates openings for the people’s movements to assert its agenda and win victories.
Latin American Developments
American communists and progressive people generally are inspired by the great social and political gains that have been won in the past few years. The overextension of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East and the unity of class and social forces in Latin American countries have led to dramatic national-democratic governments in many countries and counting.
Particularly heroic the advances of the Venezuelan people in this period, overcoming a U.S.-designed coup d’état. It is clear that the violent threats against these movements from the U.S. and local oligarchs are growing as the regional unity and this Bolivarian process of economic and diplomatic integration continues. We pledge to help defend these gains and the democratic will of the Latin American people. We believe the U.S. working class and people will be very skeptical of any U.S. intervention in the region.
We look forward to a day when the people of all the Americas can live in cooperation and friendship not based on U.S domination, intervention and wars. Already sections of the labor movement are developing relations with Latin American unions, developing international solidarity with the trade unionists in Colombia who face murder and violence from government agents and paramilitaries. And there is today almost unanimity in the U.S. labor movement against the Colombia Free Trade Agreement which has no guarantees for protection of labor, environmental or human rights.
The new U.S. Congress and the chairmanships of key committees also raises possibilities for ending the travel ban to Cuba. The demand by U.S farmers for new food markets, other division in the ruling class over Cuba and the shifting sentiments of the Cuban American community in the U.S. lay the basis also for a renewed struggle to Free the Cuban Five heroes and ultimately to . Reforming relations with Cuba is not going to be the top of the list in Washington going forward, but we must take new initiatives on Cuba in this new moment.
The Bush Doctrine and Wars
The centerpiece of the neo-Conservative agenda was the “Bush Doctrine” a set of foreign policy principals based on preemption, unilateralism and aggression. None of these are new to U.S. foreign policy, but the Bush Administration made them the guiding principals of U.S role in the world. Bush openly argued for and implemented. Bush abrogated international treaties, violated sovereignty with impunity and established with his European allies a policy of extrajudicial extraditions of suspected terrorists, which amount to kidnapping.
Bush and his cronies made torture a matter of policy in U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Cuba and beyond. He suspended habeas corpus, a founding principal of Western juris prudence. Bush undermined the U.S. Constitution and basic human and civil rights unlike any President in our history. These policies have helped lead to a crisis of U.S. hegemony and subsequent splits in the U.S. ruling class. The financial crisis dealt another sever blow to U.S. unilateral super power dominance.
His was not just one of a long series of administrations to sit in the White House. The Bush Administration was a conservative-totalitarian regime that openly mocked democratic institutions and opened the door to a greater threat of fascism in the U.S. with its corporatism, increase of police powers and appeals to the mob.
The American public increasingly rejects the Bush Doctrine and the fear used to enshrine it. Bush callously used the tragedy of the September 11 2001 terrorist attack to advance a policy of military aggression and global domination for aims of geopolitics, resource control and even narrow self-interested goals. Fear, intimidation and lies were the backbone of the Bush Presidency. But the old tricks are not working as they once did.
It was Obama’s stance against the war in Iraq and his voting record on the funding of the war that helped distinguish him from Senator Hillary Clinton in the primary and mobilized many millions of grassroots activists during the general election. While inconsistent, Obama has articulated the need to end the war and bring home U.S. troops in order to address the urgent needs of the U.S. people. His emphasis on diplomacy and negotiation as a method for resolving conflict is in striking contrast to Bush’s approach.
Labor and People’s Agenda
We are leaving a period where the balance of forces in the country and the government was very unfavorable. We had many large setbacks and defeats with few victories for the working class and people. Now we are entering a period where it is possible to have bigger victories and smaller setbacks.
One result of the elections is that expectations are high. There will be a strong pressure to follow through on promises made during the election and many demands impossible to win in the past will arise again in a new political context.
The main legislative agenda of the labor movement in 2009 is passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. The law, if passed, would make it much easier for workers to join unions in the U.S. by barring the bosses from punishing union activists or those seeking a union. It would reverse decades of draconian restrictions on the right to organize workers. The Employee Free Choice Act, along with a change in the Republican-controlled National labor relations Board will open the way for organizing millions of workers into unions. A poll showed 42 million Americans would join a union if they could, but only about 12% of the U.S workforce is unionized.
The healthcare crisis in the U.S. has made the country look for new radical solutions. The call for a nationalized system of healthcare has become a mass demand embraced by millions. Even sections of the ruling class and monopoly are looking to nationalized healthcare to restrain runaway healthcare costs.
The U.S. needs a green jobs revolution. Many organizations and movements—including the unions— are calling for a radical transformation of the U.S economy on the basis of environmental sustainability. Proposals for massive investment in new “green” technology, the renovation of millions of buildings and homes to reduce greenhouse emotions and other transformative proposals are clearly only possible as government projects. No private corporation would or could take on such an endeavor. A capitalist economy cannot ever be truly sustainable environmentally or otherwise, but the demand advances a key anti-monopoly program and emphasizes the need for a socialist solution. Plus, the future of the planet requires such bold ideas.
As we make the turn from the period of limiting the power of the ultra-right section of monopoly to the period of united front against the monopolies as a whole, opportunities will arise for advancing and winning more advanced demands, anti-monopoly demands. If we underestimate the significance of the new moment, we will miss the chance to win these demands that were not possible when labor and the people’s movement as well as the Left were all on the defensive during ultra-right domination of the country.
Socialist USA
Of course, our ultimate goal and mission is to help usher in a socialist USA. Next year marks the 90th Anniversary of our Party, an organization with a unique and unparalleled history of working-class leadership, rank-and-file organizing, multiracial struggle against racism and international solidarity.
Anti-communism is still alive in the U.S., but it is not what it once was. It has been nearly fifty years since the McCarthy era, and there is a new openness to the Communist Party and its ideas in the labor movement, peace movement, other mass movements and among the people as a whole. But anti-communism remains a real barrier to building a bigger, stronger Communist Party USA. A bigger Communist Party is essential to strengthening the working-class movement as a whole and preparing for higher levels of struggle and eventually socialism.
Of course we know that socialism is the only alternative to capitalism, a system that depends of exploiting the many for the wealth of a few. But we don’t just say socialism ids inevitable. We also say socialism is necessary. We need a socialist USA to stop wars of capitalist aggression and to ensure peace in the world, to stop the insane destruction of the environment that imperils human existence. We need a socialist USA because American people need it to solve their urgent problems and fulfill their needs.
We are on the road to socialism and we will get there yet.
Thank you.