The 21st Century is the Century of Socialism
Speech by Comrade Lee Dlugin, International Secretary of the Communist Party USA, at the international meeting of communist and workers parties of May 21 to 23, 1999 in Athens on: The Crisis of Capitalism, “Globalisation” and the Response of the Labour Movement.
Dear Comrades, we bring you warmest greetings from the National Committee of the Communist Party USA and from our National Chairman, Comrade Gus Hall.
We express our greatest appreciation to the Communist Party of Greece for the work in initiating and organising this conference.
The world Communist movement has struggled and matured in the past period.
This conference comes at a very important moment. The dust has settled and the basis for moving forward from the setbacks to socialism is greater now than ever before. There is a higher level of unity and the possibility of further deepening it.
The globalisation of the world capitalist economy, the world capitalist crisis and the military adventures led by US imperialism have sharpened the class struggle from which new levels of Communist and working class unity are being forged.
This conference itself is a demonstration of that new and expanding unity. We must find every opportunity to come together, to meet, to discuss and to act unitedly.
US imperialism has become bolder and more aggressive. Its aim is to create a one-nation world state which it would dominate.
In addition to its economic expansionism, they use military force, with ever-new weapons of mass destruction, in their quest for world hegemony.
US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright put it like this: “If we have to use force, it is because we are America! We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future.”
It is this outrageous policy which is the underlying reason for the US imperialist aggression and bombing in Yugoslavia.
The bombing of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China has laid bare the now admitted truth that this is US imperialism's dirty war, directed by the CIA and that NATO is a thinly veneered cover for this terrorist war against the people of Yugoslavia.
US imperialism seeks to balkanise the Balkans and exercise its control over all of Europe and is using NATO to carry out its drive for maximum profits and for further expansion into the oil and mineral rich areas of Eastern Europe and Asia.
Just days after the bombing began, a spokesman for the US State Department had the gall to proclaim the United States a European power.
In the United States, as in all countries, there is mass anger and action against the war. There have been anti-war actions across the country demanding an immediate end to the bombing and no ground troops.
Trade unions, peace organisations, civil rights groups, the churches and millions of people from all walks of life are expressing their opposition to the war.
This is seen in the vote of the US Congress against the use of ground troops. It took 5 years to reach this level of response against the war in Vietnam. Because of the pressure of the American people and the demonstrations world wide, this came after 5 weeks in the war against Yugoslavia.
Our Party has been a leading force in these developments. It continues to struggle to broaden the anti-war movement. And now we have a journalist in Belgrade which will be very useful in bringing the impact of the war in Yugoslavia to the US people.
The war is already impacting heavily on the quality of life of the American people. The billions already spent on the war are being taken from the social welfare funds.
Hardest hit are the senior citizens and children. They are being deprived of the basic necessities of life.
The brutality of US foreign policy is coupled with the brutal domestic policy against the American working class.
There is an atmosphere that life is cheap. Across the country, police violence and killing against the people, especially African Americans and other racially and nationally oppressed people is rising precipitously.
The Joint Statements issued by the Balkan Communist Parties, the Communist Parties of the NATO countries, the Communist Parties of the Arab countries, the Communist and Left Parties of Europe, and all other statements of Communist Parties have been important factors in building the anti-war sentiment.
It demonstrates the importance of world Communist unity and action. We should examine the possibilities of some kind of co-ordinated Communist-led action against the war.
A very important first step in this direction is the signing of the draft Joint Statement Against the Criminal War Against Yugoslavia. We are in full agreement with the draft presented here.
This is the time to implement the proposal made last year by the Belarus Communist Party for a conference for the abolition of NATO and the proposal made in this conference by the Communist Party of Greece in Comrade Paparigha’s presentation.
The globalisation of the world economy stems from the drive for maximum profits of all leading capitalist countries.
However, they are just junior partners to the US transnational corporations whose power engulfs not only developing countries but also the rival imperialist countries.
Its penetration is concentrated in basic and heavy industries and raw materials — in steel, auto, oil production.
US capitalism has got so rich by the extraction of superprofits from privatisation and lowering wages and living standards in the United States and other countries where they have gained control that they now use those excess profits through the IMF to make loans to the countries they have devastated.
While US imperialism is the mortgage holder on all these economies, it has to deal with the mortgaged economies unable to meet IMF obligations.
This leads to the compounding of the crisis and conflicts. The presence of US military forces around the world serves as the guarantor and collector of the debt for US imperialism.
All trade agreements such as NAFTA, GATT, the proposed MAI, etc. are geared to deepening the control of the US transnational corporations.
The trade agreements, the easy quick use of military aggression, the US State Department declarations of control described earlier make it clear there is no democracy in the MAI/imperialist process. Their motto is “live in bondage within or be destroyed”.
The global economy is impacting deeply on the US working class and people.
The export of capital to low wage areas has served to de-industrialise the US economy. In addition, there is a continuing process of monopoly mergers resulting in hundreds of thousands of layoffs. Basic industry factory closings have resulted in the loss of high-paying union wage jobs.
The greatest job growth in the US is in the low wage, unskilled service industries. The working class has been largely denuded of its skills. There is massive unemployment and underemployment at the same time the weekly hours of work go up.
There are 21 million unemployed, part-time workers and temporary workers.
- 43 million people have no medical care protection of any kind.
- There are 5 million homeless people.
- 37 million people are illiterate.
- One out of every five children goes to bed hungry.
- 80 per cent of African American teenagers are unemployed.
The government closes its eyes to the easy flow of narcotics into the country.
Drugs serve to pacify large numbers of people and remove them from the struggle.
The US ruling class has launched a national effort to destroy free public education. They are trying to privatise education, create an educated elite, and leave millions without learning and training for the new millenium. This fight against public education is being led by the ultra-right and corporations.
There have been new positive changes in the trade union movement. The Cold War leaders who dominated the AFL-CIO for 40 years were defeated and replaced by progressive, more militant leaders.
Additionally, the new leadership removed the clauses in the AFL-CIO constitution which specifically barred the Communist Party and its members from leadership positions. The new policies are based on class struggle trade unionism.
Strike solidarity, organising the unorganised workers, building election coalitions between the labour movement and the community are the cornerstones of the new forward-looking policies.
The trade union movement played the decisive mass role in the defeat of the ultra-right, pro-fascist forces in the 1998 US elections. They educated and organised millions of people to vote against the ultra-right.
The AFL-CIO is preparing for the year 2000 elections. They will run 2000 labour candidates. They are speeding up their coalition building.
They are creating a multi-million dollar fighting fund to further defeat the ultra right and reverse government policies.
Strike struggles in the United States are sharp and long.
There are strikes in steel, coal, auto, transportation and many other industries.
Workers are fighting to put an end to union contracts which contained cuts in wages and benefits and are now fighting for new gains.
Only last Wednesday in New York City, 50,000 workers demonstrated at Wall Street against privatisation, wage cutting, job export, child labor and all other forms of corporate plunder of working people.
Our Party and our newspaper, the People’s Weekly World, have been an integral part of all of these struggles. Leaders of the trade union movement refer to our newspaper as labour’s paper. It has received awards for its strike support coverage.
We have developed a new method of mass outreach, a weekly 30-minute television program, Changing America. It is already showing in more than 24 major cities.
The early 1990s were very tumultuous times for the world Communist movement.
During this period we struggled to maintain the principles of Marxism-Leninism which led to the stability of our Party.
Thousands of new members have joined our Party in the recent period. This is a reflection of the change in thought patterns and the decline in anti-communism. There is a very substantial growth in anti-monopoly feeling, even a hatred and anger at monopoly activity and the harm it is causing people. People know that capitalism cannot solve their problems and the crisis of everyday living.
They know the only aim of the system is to make profits. Therefore they don’t see where they fit into such a system, what it has to offer them.
When they join the Party, they see themselves joining an organisation that is working to change conditions, to improve life, to create a more equal society, economically, politically and socially.
They may not yet know what socialism is but they want to learn about it. Therefore we have placed great priority on presenting socialism as the solution to the crisis of capitalism.
We are entering a new century. The struggle lies between the efforts of US imperialism to control all human activity and its willingness to resort to war to enforce its aims and the fightback of the people.
US imperialism comes into direct conflict with the aims and aspirations and main direction of the class struggle of the working class and people of the world who seek peace, peaceful construction, social development and socialism.
The 21st Century is our century. It is the century of socialism.