This document, drawn up at a global delegate congress in July 2000 answers the questions:
Is there an alternative to capitalism?
What is globalisation?
Why do wars happen?
Why does the Third World starve?
Why do the politicians always betray us?
Who can defeat the capitalists?
What kind of global organisation do we need?
This document, drawn up at a global delegate congress in July 2000 answers the questions:
Is there an alternative to capitalism?
What is globalisation?
Why do wars happen?
Why does the Third World starve?
Why do the politicians always betray us?
Who can defeat the capitalists?
What kind of global organisation do we need?
On 11 September, the World Economic Forum met in Melbourne; on 26 September, many of the same chief executives of the world’s biggest corporations, G8 finance ministers, the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will reassemble in Prague.
The bosses of the multinational corporations, the top bankers and the heads of government of a handful of countries together rule over a global empire.
Their frequent meetings and conferences have a common agenda: how to remove any barriers to the economic domination of the giant corporations. Whether these barriers be health and safety regulations in America, welfare entitlements in Europe or environmental standards in Asia, they are targeted for destruction.
With one click of the keyboard, global capitalists shift billions of dollars from one currency to another; they close and relocate factories at a moment’s notice. They devastate communities, destroy millions of lives, ruin the health and blight the education of millions of people.
The sheer economic might of the global corporations enables them to make elected presidents and prime ministers scuttle to do their bidding. In national parliaments, they can buy or frighten the legislators and thus block all proposals hostile to their interests.
The International financial institutions â€”the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Trade Organisation (WTO), the World Bank,- force governments to abolish protective measures, to privatise not only industries but social services, to reduce levels of health care and lower standards of labour protection.
Their teams of top lawyers and judges threaten to ruin any trade unions or human rights groups which stand up to them. In many countries, whose natural resources they plunder wholesale, activists are assassinated or tortured by special high-tech paramilitary units trained by Washington, London or Paris and paid for by the multinationals.
Millions worldwide are becoming more and more aware of this system and are giving it a name â€” GLOBAL CAPITALISM. They are targeting the institutions and conferences of this system for mass protest. These protests have been met by the usual responseâ€”that the protesters are divided and incoherent and in any case there is simply NO ALTERNATIVE to global capitalism.
This is the big lie of the turn of the century. Global destruction, poverty and insecurity are not inevitable There is an alternative. But how do we change this system? What do we replace it with?
Tens of thousands of self sacrificing workers for ‘non-governmental organisations’ (NGOs) can scarcely touch the surface of the problem of world poverty.
Millions generously respond to charitable appeals to help the victims of wars, floods and drought. Yet the sums pale in comparison to the billions of dollars spent by governments and the multinational companies on the weaponry that fuels these wars and on environmental degradation which causes most of these ‘natural’ disasters.
No: the answer is not individual self-sacrifice but collective, political action â€“ linked to a vision of a new social and economic order for humanity.
Will parliaments and the road of social reform provide it? No! Millions already sense that the everyday political institutions of government exercise less and less control over the banks and the big corporations, over the bureaucrats and armed forces of the state.
Secrecy, business lobbying, corruption, and the manipulation of the media have eaten the heart out of even the formal rights of capitalist democracy. It has been transformed into a disgustingly trivial pursuit â€“ that of buying the votes of the middle classes and better-off workers with promises of privileges for themselves in education and health care, tax cuts and economic policies to boost the value of their shares.
Today, at the dawn of the new millennium, tens of millions are increasingly outraged at the crimes of the giant corporations and their crony politicians; they are appalled at the callousness and injustice of it all. We have to unleash a torrent of political mass action, not concentrate on the stagnant pond life of the national parliaments.
Away from the world of spin doctors, opinion polling, and the ever-sinking percentages of those bothering to vote, there is a whole world of intense, if fragmented, struggles. People organising themselves to defend their jobs, services, housing and environment. People fighting racial and national injustice.
The self-sacrifice, organising capacity and commitment found here is in total contrast to the cynical self-seeking, the covert and overt bribery and corruption that makes most people think of a ‘politician’ as the lowest form of human life.
With power in the hands of people who create the wealth of society, we can re-organise economic life to be more efficient, just and less wasteful. The rule of democratically elected and accountable workers’ councils, having smashed down the militarised machinery of injustice, intolerance and inequality, will set to work repairing the untold damage caused by capitalism.
We will eliminate the billions spent on means of mass destruction, the meaningless and harmful marketing of useless products, the billions spent in commissions to advise on the latest corporate take-over.
New technologies and scientific breakthroughs will realise their genuine potential only if they are delinked from commercially-driven priorities. Advances in genetics and pharmaceuticals can – once liberated from the tyranny of patent rights â€“ end millions of premature deaths from easily curable diseases.
Mass interactive communication systems can transform democracy by providing cheap and non-hierarchical access to information and opening up a host of forums. This is no utopia; it is just a matter of liberating the present from the chains of capital and profit-driven production.
A world without food giants poisoning our food, without trade sanctions that kill our children, without ethnic cleansing; and in its place a planet with planned allocation of resources under the direct control of the people who produce the wealth of the world â€“ this is a goal worth fighting for.
The LRCI at its congress appeals to all the world’s exploited and oppressed, those hardened by many battles and those fresh to the ranks of struggle â€“ join us!
A world without barriers
Globalisation was the catchword of the last decade of the 20th century. It describes the enormous increase in cross-border mergers, the ‘free’ movement of money around the world and the massive growth in international trade and communications.
But what does it signify? Its advocates say that by pulling down national barriers and creating a seamless web of international commerce, globalisation creates more jobs than it destroys. The pain is worth the gain, they tell the miners and steelworkers of the G7 countries, and the small farmers of the Third World â€“ eventually things will be OK. This, too, is a lie.
Despite two decades of increased suffering inflicted on the world’s workers and peasants, there is no sign of the promised increases in living standards. Even in the major imperialist countries, the profit rates of the 1960s, and the full employment and the social welfare regimes that went with them, are gone for good.
The planet is a more unequal place than at any time in history. The richest 350 people today have wealth far in excess of the income of the poorest third of the world’s population.
Every marketing director is taught at management school that, although we live on a planet of 6 billion people, 90 per cent of us can effectively be treated as non-persons, for only 600 million people are considered ‘bankable’.
A mere one-tenth of the world is seen as useful to the continued expansion of globalised capitalist markets! Their fate at best is to provide cheap and expendable labour for the goods that only others can buy.
The concentration of wealth is obscene in its effects. Bill Gates’ personal wealth would guarantee every child in Africa and Asia a primary education for ten years! Yet this basic right is presently beyond the reach of millions of children.
This massive and growing inequality is just one expression of an unresolved, and ultimately unresolvable, problem at the heart of capitalism â€“ an inability to prevent the rate of profit from falling even whilst profits are still being made.
Repeated rounds of technological innovation aim to boost productivity and profit rates. But, under capitalism, this only works so long as the technology displaces more and more workers from productive activity.
Globalisation and its accompanying high-tech revolution are just the latest attempts to restore profit rates.
Although they have had their undoubted successes â€“ the huge wave of mergers in industry, commerce and banking, the ‘internet revolution’ now in full spate â€“ these are more than outweighed by the increased inequality and instability that have been injected into the world’s economy and politics.
Globalisation will not lead to the creation of an international capitalist class peacefully cultivating a world economy through such institutions as the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO. Rather, it is leading to the creation of monster transnational corporations, locked in a struggle to the death with one another for bigger shares of the world market.
Each is backed by powerful capitalist states or regional blocs â€“ willing and able to break the rules of the free market and to resort to force if need be. In this battle of the giants, it is their workers, their customers and the planet itself that are being trampled underfoot.
Three years ago, global capitalism seemed on the edge of a major economic collapse. The most dynamic sector for the first half of the 1990s â€“ East Asia â€“plunged into a catastrophic slump. Massive over-investment of speculative short-term capital, industrial overcapacity and falling profits combined to produce a meltdown.
There was just too much capital to be profitably invested. Slump and mass unemployment were the result. In Indonesia alone, 27 million people were made unemployed by the crisis of 1997-98. Japan, the world’s second largest economy was paralysed by a decades-long stagnation and could do nothing to help.
The effects of this crash on capital flows and commodity prices sent shock waves around the world, crippling economies from Russia to Latin America.
The tidal wave of economic disaster threatened to sweep over the shores of the United States and engulf it. This would have devastated the world economy but the storm defences of the USA proved strong enough – at least until now.
Acting through the IMF, it injected hundreds of billions of dollars into its own exposed financial institutions and also cauterised the wounds in Russia, Brazil and South Korea.
In doing so it showed that the reserves of the richest imperial power on earth, while tested to the limit, were not exhausted. Indeed, the USA actually benefited from the huge inflow of capital seeking a ‘safe haven’, making it even stronger in relation to its rivals than before the 1997 crash.
By the end of the decade, the USA had inflation and unemployment figures not seen since the mid-1960s and company profits at late 1960s levels. But the 1990s were no rerun of mid-century prosperity. The social results were starkly different from those of the boom of the 1960s. Fifty years ago, economic growth resulted in a rise in real wage levels alongside productivity and profit growth; job security increased and working hours fell.
Since the beginning of the 80s, average real income in the USA has stagnated. Although a small group of wage earners has seen an increase, for the majority there has been a massive drop. The phenomenon of the working poor dramatically demonstrates this.
Since the middle of the 90s, the number of people living in poverty has increased despite a clear decrease in unemployment and a high level of economic growth. The highest paid fifth of the population in the USA today account for around 45% of total income (in Germany this is only 36%). At the beginning of the 80s, the figure was around 40%.
The lowest 60% of society receive just 30% of the national income. This divergence in income and the massive creation of the “working poor” is presented to the rest of the working class in the imperialist world as the US model for fighting unemployment.
The 1990s were a decade of corporate revenge and clawing back of the gains that were made in the long boom. Each year of the current phase of growth has made the USA a more and more unequal society with mounting social and racial tensions as a result.
But despite all this efforts of big capital and all these attacks against the working class US capitalism is much more vulnerable than bourgeois economists might think. Both the investment and the consumer boom have been financed by a record debt level not seen since WWII.
Spending is financed with debts today and hopes of improved profits and income tomorrow. In addition a growing share of US spending is financed by the influx of foreign capital. Again US has a record current-account deficit. This can not continue for much longer.
Today, an overvalued stock market threatens to bring the economy crashing down. This would result in a huge clearing out of e-commerce stocks and further concentrate capital in the hands of a few key monopolies.
A major crash would eliminate the current and future basis of domestic demand in the US economy, much of it based on share ownership and borrowing on the back of pension fund growth. Millions of small investors will lose out.
A US stock market crash would hit the ‘real economy’ of the US and make the recovery of the world economy falter and fail. Europe and Asia would be pushed back towards recession; Japan’s escape from stagnation, already faltering, would be blocked off.
By making itself the indispensable engine of global growth in the late 1990s, the USA has built explosive charges into the foundations of the whole economic edifice that threaten, when the US economy finally falls, to bring the rest of the world crashing down with it.
The clash of great powers
The USA is the world’s first and only ‘hyperpower’. It won the Cold War and, at least in Central Europe, it also won the peace. US military expenditure is larger than that of all other countries combined; its weapons technology is a generation ahead of its nearest potential rival.
The US is the only country capable of a sustained political intervention into every region of the world to shape outcomes favourable to itself. Via its hegemony of the IMF, WTO and World Bank, the USA is able to exert considerable pressure on the nations of the world, imposing economic systems on governments and manipulating trade and labour legislation.
The US can veto any decision it dislikes in the UN security council and is able to act unilaterally when it cannot gain consent from others. The UN will even approve the actions of the US retrospectively.
The US has used its enormous economic, political and military headstart to impose its ground rules on its potential rivals. It occupies half a continent, has a huge home market, a common language, a single currency, a two hundred year old federal system, and the most powerful centralised military force on the planet. Europe has all these features to build before it dare measure its strength with what is still ‘the transatlantic colossus’.
The military exertions of the US in the 1990s (Iraq, Bosnia, Kosova) have been victorious in terms of the goals set â€“ containment and repulsion of the regional expansionist ambitions of Hussein and Milosevic.
Europe proved itself still incapable of acting diplomatically and militarily without US leadership and military muscle, even in its own backyard.
At the end of the 20th century, the US was, without question, stronger than at any point in its history, more unrivalled in its foreign policy objectives than at any time since it launched the Vietnam War in the mid 1960s.
Japan’s dream of dominating an East Asian zone is an even more distant one than that of the leaders of the ‘disunited states of Europe’. The Chinese bureaucracy’s flattering vision of being the world superpower in an Asian century is even more of a mirage.
However, new challenges to the USA will emerge over the next few years. The power of the US and its mega corporations, its naked self-interest when acting as the world’s policeman, are designed to ensure the continued dominance of US multinational corporations over markets and resources.
But Japan and Europe have designs on those same resources and markets. This is steadily forcing them onto the road of economic rivalry and ultimately to political conflict.
Russia’s renewed hostility to US hegemony will lead to further and greater clashes in the next few years. Nationalism is rampant. Popular sentiment is fiercely anti-western and anti-USA.
The continued decline of the Russian economy in the wake of the collapse of the rouble a year ago has discredited those forces who placed their hopes in US-sponsored capitalist restoration.
The assault on Russia’s allies, Iraq and Serbia, enraged Moscow as have further plans for the eastward expansion of NATO to include parts of ex-USSR such as the Baltic republics.
The Second Chechen War and the installation of Putin by the Russian military are warnings against future Nato expansion. They carry the message that Russia will not willingly cede control of the Caucasus and Caspian oil routes to US imperialism. Georgia, Kazakstan, Azerbaijan have all become potential flashpoints.
Russia has already reincorporated Belarus into its orbit: it may seek to create a sphere of influence in central and south eastern Europe in the struggling transitional states such as Romania and Bulgaria and even Slovakia. It will continue to ‘make mischief’ for the US in the Balkans and the Middle East.
China’s long march to capitalism has been completed. Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongi face huge difficulties, however, in dismantling those state-owned enterprises that will not survive open competition in the internal and foreign markets, with their implied mass sackings. All this will come to a head with the implementation of the WTO deal, if not before.
The sabre-rattling by China over Taiwan will not easily lead to war. China does not have the military capacity to challenge a US willing to use its fleet and airforce to defend Taiwan; such a conflict would also set back China’s attempts to integrate itself into the leading circles of finance capital.
But Peking’s bellicose air is an indication of the severe internal strains within the Chinese bureaucracy, stemming from the problems of capitalist restoration. As the recent history of Yugoslavia and Russia shows, bonapartist regimes racked by economic problems and internal political tensions can become highly unpredictable and ‘irrational’ in their foreign policy.
An increase in incidents and crises between China and her neighbours is possible, indeed probable, in the coming years.
US strategy is determined on the one side by the need to open up China â€“ over the next 20 years â€“ to the exploitation of US multinationals and, on the other, by the need to ensure that China does not become a powerful partner in, let alone leader of, an East Asian monetary and political union.
Such a body would weaken the region’s dependence on the dollar, restrict ‘free’ trade and weaken US political dominance.
Semi-colonies in turmoil
The major flashpoints in the next years are likely to be in Asia, Latin America and the Indian sub-continent. The stabilisation of the Indonesian state is fraught with difficulties. So far, the management of a controlled transition from Cold War stalwart Suharto to limited democracy has been a success for the US.
But economic and social grievances could rekindle the democratic revolution inside the country and the break up of the Indonesian state, hitherto the backbone of ASEAN, is a real danger.
The East Timorese paid a heavy price for their highly regulated ‘independence’; it was a bloody warning to all other movements claiming autonomy or independence from Jakarta. The fragmentation of Indonesia along ethnic or national lines would be immensely destabilising for SE Asia.
It would fuel Islamic separatist movements in Malaysia and the Philippines and encourage Japan and Korea to play more assertive diplomatic and military roles; hence imperialist diplomacy will do its utmost to strengthen the new regime in Jakarta.
In Africa, the chronic instability of west Africa has spread from the smaller states like Sierra Leone to draw even economic and military giants like Nigeria and the Ivory Coast into religious and ethnic conflicts which reflect in turn the economic and political interests of rival rulers.
Zimbabwe has been rocked by trade union and democratic struggles against Mugabe who, in turn, has cynically sponsored and manipulated agrarian struggles in order to stabilise his rule.
Rwanda and Burundi have exported their civil strife into the Congo. Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea are racked with war and Somalia remains a collapsed ‘nation state’. The workers and urban poor in South Africa have been cheated of the social and economic fruits of their decades long liberation struggle against Apartheid.
In Latin America, the 1997 crash and recession created mass poverty and rebellion in the Andean region. In Venezuela, it brought a populist ‘left-general’ to power and in Ecuador two Presidents have been felled by mass action.
The determination of US multinational companies to keep the region their number one source of trading and investment profits will ensure further social and political explosions.
Colombia is riven by social struggles brought on by the deepest recession in sixty years and an entrenched civil war between peasant-based guerrillas and the government.
The guerrilla armies’ continued success now meets with a dangerous escalation of US financial and logistical support for the government, a development which promises further huge clashes.
The crisis of leadership
Who in the working class movement will lead these struggles to victory? The cowardice and collaboration of trade union and reformist leaders encouraged a savage bosses’ offensive over the last twenty years or more.
The employers demanded, and got, a massive intensification of work, short-term contracts, part-time jobs, longer working hours, more overtime and a steady rise in night and weekend shifts. Downsizing, outsourcing, merger mania, privatisation, have all put the unions in particular on the defensive.
Politically, the past decades have seen a massive move to the right by the traditional reformist parties. Under pressure from neoliberalism and globalisation, the room for political and social manoeuvre has shrunk for the reformists. For 40 years after the Second World War, the trade unions and the reformist parties policed the working class in the interests of big business.
Today, the inner life of these parties has been stifled by the leadership, their left oppositions demoralised or expelled. The roots of these parties in the working class, especially its most combative sectors and its vanguard, have been greatly weakened – a serious danger in the years to come for the social democratic and post-Stalinist leaderships.
But these roots are not completely severed. Important links still bind the workers’ movement to these parties, whether via the unions, through a passive mass membership and a loyal working class electorate that still sees these parties as theirs, or via various front organisations.
The recent struggles of workers in Europe, Australia and parts of Asia and, more importantly, the way these struggles were sold short and defused by the election victories of the reformist parties, prove this.
Millions of workers still expect that their economic struggles will lead to political reforms delivered by the reformist party in office. Indeed, many of the social democratic governments in Europe have had to respond to this pressure by conceding reforms – the 35 hour week in France, the minimum wage in Britain, for example, – though they have made sure that these do not really inconvenience the multinationals.
Workers must press their leaders from every side to force them to fight for the most important demands from ‘their’ parties, something which will soon expose these leaders as the craven servants of big business that they are.
The sharpening of the class struggle in the coming years can shatter the chains that tie workers to their reformist leaderships.
Already, across Europe, there are signs of discontent in the working class base of reformism â€“ initially through votes for parties which stand to the left of the main reformist parties, even if only marginally, or through initiatives for more radical joint platforms of far left organisations.
Meanwhile, land hunger, corrupt and bloated dictatorships and IMF imposed austerity packages are forcing workers and poor peasants in the semi-colonial countries to develop new parties of struggle.
These problems can only be solved by revolutionary actions: land occupations, free elections defended by workers’ militias, cancellation of the debts and expropriation of the multinationals.
The danger is that these new parties, like the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, will sell the workers and peasants a new deal with the landowners, the generals and the imperialists.
The crisis of working class leadership has another more sinister dimension. Right wing populist and racist parties (e.g. Fini’s Alleanza Nazionale, Haider’s FPÃ–) or even fascist front parties (Le Pen’s FN) remain a serious threat. These parties are led by – as yet – minority sectors of the bourgeoisie that refuse to make an institutional compromise with the reformist bureaucracy – even for the purpose of dismantling the welfare state.
Instead, they aim to mobilise small business owners and farmers threatened with bankruptcy by the globalisation process and demoralised elements of the working class, frustrated by the reformists and trade unions bureaucrats who, as in Austria, are seen as the architects of a regime of poverty and unemployment. This too is a global, not simply regional or national, development
Beyond these parties lies a tiny but violent fringe of outright fascist groups whose attacks on immigrants and refugees have grown in areas of high unemployment or in periods of recession.
This danger facing the labour movement is a further motivation for it to transform itself into a fighting force which can recover the backward workers and chase the racist scum out of the working class and back into the sewers from which they have emerged.
The class that will change the world
A large part of the old ‘aristocracy’ of skilled labour has disappeared and at the same time new layers of skilled workers have emerged whom big business tries to keep as ‘professionals’, un-unionised and competing fiercely with each other in the scramble up the career ladder.
Companies trick this layer with share options and other corporate benefits and, thereby, bind them more closely to the fate of the company. The impact of information technology has increased the gap between this new labour aristocracy and the rest of the labour force.
But the first serious recession will reveal, even to these workers, the reality of their social situation – at the beck and call of capital – when it decides that they are surplus to requirements.
In the first rank of those fighting back against the big corporations are women and youth. In particular, the employment policies of the neo-liberals have placed women in the forefront of the workplace struggle as never before.
The past decades have seen more and more women in employment. But women still get paid substantially less than men, even where they do the same job. Women still have to bear the main burden of household and childcare work.
They are disproportionately over-represented in part-time work, which has worse working conditions and is less unionised. At the same time, reactionary governments try to lay the burden of the crisis on the shoulders of women workers by increasing part-time instead of full-time jobs and cut money for public child-care institutions.
Young people have been in the forefront of struggles in the last years. They are denied basic democratic rights, they are railroaded onto fake training schemes, corralled into sweated labour.
They are forced into low wage jobs, with insecure working conditions and contracts. Capitalism offers a bleak future for the majority of young people. Free education is being slashed, its quality diluted and the courses increasingly geared to the agenda of big business.
At the same time, young people are not yet daunted by a string of defeats and betrayals, not dogged by the dead weight of routinism, reformism and outlived national prejudices. They are looking for radical solutions – and revolutionary socialism, communism, is the most radical and only workable solution.
The youth – like all socially oppressed layers of society – can only be won to the workers’ movement, if their demands and needs are taken seriously and fought for as a central part of the struggle. They cannot be expected to wait till “the grown ups” have made the labour movement ready and attractive to them.
Indeed, so long as reformism dominates the official workers’ movement, petit-bourgeois radicalism will grow among young workers and students. But there is no reason for the next generation to relive the defeats of the last century, if revolutionary communists give a practical lead.
They need their own independent and democratic organisation to struggle now against oppression and exploitation. They have the energy and the sense of urgency to build a mass international revolutionary socialist youth movement. Such a movement and its sections across the globe can play a pioneering role in transforming the whole workers’ movement.
Racism, both that is sanctioned by the state and that is summoned up from below by racists and fascist gangs, has created in each country a new generation of fighters against racist oppression. In its ranks are found citizens born to the country but treated as second class as well as immigrants and refugees.
But anti-fascism or anti-racism – as a single issue, special activity – however useful against the provocations and crimes of the fascist grouplets – will not uproot the social roots of fascism and racism.
The struggle against fascist and racist organisations has to be combined with the struggle for the defence of the social and democratic gains of the workers and oppressed and with the struggle against the capitalist system itself which can never be cleansed of racism.
The struggles ahead will recharge some old and traditional organisations which are prepared to adopt new leaders and revolutionary methods of struggle.
Workplace occupations, mass strike action, the general strike, the blockade of roads and rail lines, marches to the capital city – these can challenge and break the stranglehold of the bureaucrats and stand up to the giant corporations and the bosses’ state no matter how imposing they seem at first.
New organisations of the grass roots will be built, too, and they will take their place in a mass united front of combat. But this new tapestry of resistance must include a revolutionary workers’ party equipped with a clear view of what it is fighting for and how it intends to get it – a revolutionary programme.
This programme is not “too good” or “too advanced” for the mass workers’ vanguard. On the contrary, nothing else will suffice to arm it with a strategic goal – the overthrow of capitalism.
This can only mean the revolutionary overthrow of the ruling class, necessarily involving violence since it will never yield to the simple will of the majority. It means the establishment of working class power expressed through workers’ councils, elected in the factories and working class districts and defended by workers? militias. This is nothing less than the dictatorship of the proletariat necessary to smash all counter-revolution.
Forward to a new, revolutionary workers International!
Globalisation is teaching the working class that it needs to overcome national-centredness and to build strong international links and organisations. Already, the first international wage bargaining is taking place in EU countries. Close co-operation is being developed between US-American and Mexican unions.
Active international solidarity was also shown around the Liverpool and the Australian dockers strikes, the national liberation struggle in East Timor and between the workers’ committees from the Belgian Clabeq steel factory and from the Russian mill in Vyborg.
Although still on a small scale, these are important first steps in the right direction: globalisation of class organisation and struggle to counter the globalisation of capital.
At the Melbourne and Prague conferences in September, in Nice at the end of the year, the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and EU will meet to plan their strategy â€“ how to raise profits, how to resolve damaging conflicts among themselves and how to put the workers, the peasants and the poor on shorter rations.
Together, they represent the International of the Exploiters. Unfortunately, today, the exploited have no International body in which to plan their strategy for resistance.
Millions of activists from Seattle to Singapore struggle on a thousand fronts: against unfair global trade, for the restoration of human rights in Burma, against national genocide in the Balkans, for a decent wage and trade union rights in Mexico’s maquilladoras.
The most important feature of these struggles has been that they have sought and received a quite remarkable degree of international support from the very beginning.
International solidarity action or co-ordinated activity has been actively taken in the struggle of the Australian and Liverpool dockers, in transport workers’ actions in Europe, of Renault and Alcatel workers.
In the mobilisation against the WTO in Seattle, workers and youth came together in a massive anti-capitalist demonstration and fight. When the police gassed and batoned them they chanted ‘The world is watching’ and they were right.
From one trench of the class battlefield to another, calls for help and offers of solidarity have been sought and sent over the Internet, bypassing layers of traditional bureaucracy and injecting a sense of urgency into the cause. This spontaneous ‘new internationalism’ is a tremendously encouraging feature of the world at the beginning of the twenty first century.
All this shows that there is a progressive and growing recognition of the need for internationally co-ordinated action, of the need to put every ‘local’ and economic struggle into the context of wider joint action.
True, these forces are not yet part of the same army, do not yet share a common understanding of what can unite their different struggles. They sense the need to do this but they do not yet have a global strategy which links them together. But it is only with such unity that each and all of these struggles can win!
If we are not to fall prey to isolation and defeat â€“ or be demobilised by partial concessions only to see these snatched away the moment we lower our guard â€“ then we need a mass international organisation to weld these struggles and the activists together.
This current wave of radicalisation by workers and young people is the fore-runner of an increasingly international mobilisation.
Whilst their political ideologies are often confused, petit-bourgeois, reformist, centrist, environmentalist, they nevertheless reflect a progressive movement away from the right-wing bureaucratic leaderships.
They are elements of an emerging vanguard of struggle against global capitalism, which have to be won to a new revolutionary international and to communism.
A new, Revolutionary International can only be formed by drawing in the new forces fighting global capitalism. This means developing a new world programme of socialist revolution in common struggles and in debate with them.
At the same time, it means creating, internationally and within each country, a democratic party of working class activists and leaders of struggles.
Our goal must not be a federation of ‘independent’, that is, nationally-centred, organisations, not a confusion of banners between revolutionaries and non-revolutionaries. Such an international would replicate the weakest sides of the First and the Second Internationals.
It would be confused and divided in its actions from the outset and fall easy prey to our global enemies.
But, with a common revolutionary programme, with democratic and centralised combat organisations, a genuine proletarian revolutionary international can be created â€“ a worthy successor to the preceding four â€“ which can lead the struggle for world revolution to victory.
The LRCI is fighting to win the millions of active fighters of the working class and all progressive struggles world wide to the construction of a New Revolutionary International.
We appeal to all individuals and organisations that share this goal to take practical steps to achieve it now â€“ not in an indeterminate future but in the years immediately ahead. Join with us in this struggle!
League for a Revolutionary Communist International
27 July 2000
Author: League for a Revolutionary Communist International
News Service: DestroyIMF